Tuesday, February 17, 2009

BLOG: Some thoughts on the nature of reality.

CONSCIOUSNESS: It is essentially like a carrier wave similar to static hum or white noise of a TV screen when no station is broadcasting. Our thoughts, ideas, images, emotions etc. are signals modulating the waves. These signals, comparable to the machine language of computers, produce an emergent meta-language of concepts analogous to the computer’s programming language. This conceptual language allows the emergence of all human theories and ideas just as the computer’s program language allows the creation of meta-programs such as word processors, search engines, financial organizers etc. These in turn create essays, spread sheets, data etc. The reflexive uniqueness of consciousness caused by feedback loops is best explained in Hofstadter’s "I Am a Strange Loop" (based on the work of Cantor, Turing, Godel). The important thing to note is that at each step up from basic language to meta-language and meta-meta-language, different signals and symbols are employed. This is why one can no more read a person’s thoughts by cutting up his brain than one can read an essay in Word by examining the circuits in the computer that holds it.

DETERMINISM: A basic concept of quantum theory is that the photon, electron, atomic particle etc. when traveling takes every possible path. Each path occurs in a separate universe. If every possible universe is generated, each must be determined since if it were changed it would be a different universe and the original would not exist, which would be illogical by definition since every possible universe must exist. By the same reasoning, FREE WILL is precluded. We think we do what we want but we don’t control what we want. We can’t choose what we want to want. This redefines us as mere passengers in our bodies looking on (often with strong emotions) as we do all sorts of things without having the slightest idea why. True, we often seem to do what we want, but this might just be analogous to actions in our dreams where we often do things without volition. It is only required to keep a kaleidoscope turning in order to shuttle through all possible combinations; the little colored glass pieces have no say in the matter.

MANY WORLDS INTERPRETATION: Hugh Everette III advanced the theory, based on quantum equations, that particle actions don’t collapse into a single result as per the Copenhagen interpretation, but diverge into separate universes wherein—as in the preceding section—all possibilities are realized. Theorists like David Deutsch predict that quantum computers, once developed, will prove the MWI by accessing information from vast numbers of parallel worlds thus utilizing more particles than are known to exist in our universe. Deutsch believes that free will does operate in MWI to skew the averages of possible universes toward better or worse outcomes.

MATERIALISM: All universes may be moot if matter boils down to vibrations of energy in different frequencies as sub-atomic concepts and string theory posits. Here there is no bedrock reality, no matter, just mathematical relationships ruling the sub-atomic world. All that exists proceeds from arithmetic. Since particle behavior cannot be predicted on an individual basis, chaos and probability theory may render free will credible.

PERSONAL BELIEF: I don't think we are necessarily here to help the poor, cure the ill, improve the government or worship God. I think each one of us is playing a role; following a script that he cannot possibly read because it's inscribed in his DNA. Those who are scripted to help the poor etc. will do so thinking that they have made a decision to do so. That is the grand illusion. Free will is an oxymoron.

When the Dalai Lama was asked if he didn't think there was too much suffering in the world, he replied, "No, there is exactly the right amount."