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Coffee break

Started by Hardy Heinlin, Sat, 4 Jun 2011 16:30

martin

Quote from: Hardy HeinlinEven the entire universe as a whole might have a soul. Or that jumping electron may have a soul, during its ride, or during the change of its motion direction.
Dies, this and dies [size=8](allow scripts or else the format doesn't make sense!)[/size] may be relevant.

Or not.

(I remembered it because a zoologist also once tried his hand on this.)

Kicked but inactive,
Martin

martin

Quote from: Hardy HeinlinThirdly, the decision must be self-reflective, self-aware in some way, in order not to destroy itself by its own kick.
Why?

There is, by common consensus*, a vast range of animals (in fact, practically all, excepting the apes, possibly some whales and relatives, and of course and allegedly Us) without self-awareness.

But there can be no doubt that they
a) show activity (and thus, by your theory, must also have those kicks);
b) do not destroy themselves.

Works just fine, as evolution has made sure that the non-self-destructivity is built right into them.

Without them knowing the first thing about it.*

Cheers,
Martin

* I don't think it is really that simple, but that's another discussion.

Phil Bunch

"Are you a body or do you have a body."

Not sure where I heard this question, but I think it's the same as we're discussing.  

Just because it feels like I have a body doesn't mean that I am not a body, IMO.

Also, neurosurgeons can stimulate specific places in the brain and cause a person to experience various religious and out-of-body events.  This would argue that we are a body instead of having a body.

As a (medical) physicist, I told my kids when they asked what happens to a person when they die, it's basically the same as when one turns off a light switch.  The light energy turns into random translational kinetic energy aka heat.

But, we may live on in the memories of others, at least for a while, and in the ripples of the things we've done and accomplished, and of the kindnesses we've shown others.
Best wishes,

Phil Bunch

Hardy Heinlin

#23
Good morning,

more replies from me perhaps later, just one important reply first: I don't use the word "soul" in a religious sense. Maybe I'm too influenced by musical language or arts. Actually, I don't know what "soul" could mean, I just know that there is this "certain something" and I find no word for it.


Ahoi

|-|ardy

Hardy Heinlin

#24
Quote from: martin
Quote from: Hardy HeinlinThirdly, the decision must be self-reflective, self-aware in some way, in order not to destroy itself by its own kick.
Why?

There is, by common consensus*, a vast range of animals (in fact, practically all, excepting the apes, possibly some whales and relatives, and of course and allegedly Us) without self-awareness.

But there can be no doubt that they
a) show activity (and thus, by your theory, must also have those kicks);
b) do not destroy themselves.

Works just fine, as evolution has made sure that the non-self-destructivity is built right into them.

Without them knowing the first thing about it.*

Cheers,
Martin

* I don't think it is really that simple, but that's another discussion.

Is seems to me that every creature which is able to move from A to B in a selective way, or which uses social systems in a selective way, has a brain. And it seems that this works best if the control feedback functions with direct qualia instead of longwinded time-consuming data analyses. Acoustic waves are directly converted to sound qualia, there are no wave analyzers; similarly, certain electromagnetic waves are directly converted to color qualia, physical or social injuries are directly converted to pain qualia, there is no injury data report, just a feel of pain, and so on.

I assume the brains of animals work with qualia as well. Why? Well, why does the human brain work with qualia? When your tooth decays by caries, why doesn't your body tell to the brain just ">CARIES"? Why is the smell and sight of caries accompanied by pain? Perhaps pain, just like color signals etc., forces quicker decisions. (I still don't know why. An autopilot, after all, is also quick, even quicker than humans, but an autopilot system probably experiences no pain or any other qualia.) Anyway, for biological creatures, like humans, qualia seem to be a big supporter when it comes to evolutionary survival of moving or social objects. (But then, qualia, too, are just information after all. My analysis is running in circles :-)).

What I'm trying to say is this: The qualia method which humans and animals use needs a certain system requirement: The Self.

Without the Self, qualia have no target. There must be something that receives the qualia. "Recieves" in the sense of "suffers", "enjoys" ... The colors, smells, tones, pains, tastes don't exist if they aren't there ... my vocabulary ends here.

Edit: OK, one could also put the Self itself [sic] as another item on the list of qualia. Experiencing the Self be a quale, just like experiencing a color, a fear, a joy etc. It's just a vocabulary problem. Nevertheless, there must be a central qualia experiencing instance in the core of a biologial unit. It's not just a calculator.


Cheers,

|-|ardy

Richard McDonald Woods

#25
Hardy,
'Qualia' is beyond my OED's ability, so I have to assume that you mean a quality of a signal.

I still feel that you are going in circles. This is because the nervous systems do analyze their inputs. There is no such thing in a nervous system as a middle-C, a green, a pain, or a Bach organ toccata. They are just stimuli (both electrical and chemical) which the nervous system (ultimately the brain) learns and relearns as middle-C, green, pain, good music, etc.

Science has a good reputation of describing and testing most things that previously have been thought the 'works of the creator'. Examples are the workings of chemistry (versus alchemy), physics (quantum theory) and evolution (versus creation). I feel that we shall gradually understand the physical nature of everything within and around us, although I hate to think how our educational system will be able to keep up with the sheer quantity of knowledge that will have to be imparted to our offspring.

I believe that our nervous system will gradually be understood as a chaotic (not random) system where the 'images' of self are built from an ever-changing and learning set of inter-related neurons and their axons. I was impressed to learn recently that the beautiful shapes created by flocks of starlings flying is simply caused by a few simple rules used by each bird regarding its nearest seven neighbours, and the delays inherent in the brain of each bird.

We believe that, at maturity, no new neurons can be created. Axons, on the other hand, continue to grow new connections, break existing connections, and increase/decrease their promotion/inhibition signals to other neurons caused by our experiences.

So learning can be understood as the adjustment of neuronal connections to our individual environments, and 'awareness' as the picture that this appears to present to ourselves. Then, as we grow older and perhaps suffer from dementia, this picture gradually dims, and its parts become less and less inter-related (we lose our individuality) until the point where we can no longer function successfully and we die.

So perhaps we each live a temporary, fantastic delusion of something?
Cheers, Richard

brian747

#26
Perhaps you should have looked for the singular form of the word, Richard? In other words 'quale' — as in "Neglege quale, respice quantum" (Never mind the quality, feel the width). The OED in fact offers two definitions of 'quale', and although the first of them is marked as obselete (being about 800 years old), it may not be without interest in this connection, so I will include it:

quale (Obs.)

Death, destruction, mortality.

In combinations: as quale-house, house of torture; quale-sithe, death from pestilence. [The accompanying 'quale-house' quote is from 1205, incidentally].

Also, definition 2:

quale

The quality of a thing; a thing having certain qualities.

That having been said, I do fear that Hardy is using the word in its philosophical context, as a technical term. Since I couldn't philosophise my way out of a wet paper bag, I can have nothing to say about that.

But if I may introduce perhaps one more ingredient into this already rather heady and eclectic mix: an eminent German theologian of the last century called Rudolf Otto introduced the concept of the 'numinous' (a word still in active use in theological circles to this day). The numinous is seen as a sense of the holy which is experienced in a supernatural or other-worldly way, something which can be sensed but not pinned down or clearly defined. Or in Hardy's words '...there is this "certain something" and I find no word for it'. Yup, that's the numinous all right, and the term came into being precisely because of the variability of our perception of such experiences and our ability or otherwise to analyze or vocalise our feelings about them.

Clearly, this is not a concept within the comprehension of those who wish to deny the existence of anything beyond their immediate senses: so it would be denied by Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan, whilst being perfectly understood by C.S. Lewis or Carl Jung.

Which brings me (at last — I know, I know) to my point: could the division of opinion within this thread therefore be related to the extent to which the numinous is meaningful to the person concerned?

Just my 2¢....    ;)

Cheers,

Brian
(Author of "The Big Tutorial" for PS1, and "Getting started with PSX" Parts 1, 2, and 3).

Hardy Heinlin

Who, in this thread, do you mean is 'the person concerned', Brian? :-)

(Technical question.)


Cheers,

|-|ardy


P.S.: My OED on the Mac has qualia and quale.

martin

Quote from: brian747...those who wish to deny the existence of anything beyond their immediate senses: so it would be denied by Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan ...
Can't vouch for Sagan, but do seriously doubt that Dawkins would deny the existence of, among other things, ultraviolet, infrared, ultra and infra sound, electric and magnetic fields, neutrino fluxes etc etc  
 8)
Martin

martin

Quote from: Hardy HeinlinWho, in this thread, do you mean is 'the person concerned'
In my understanding this is not referring to a specific person but generally to "whoever is the respective {reader|writer} {of|in} the thread"
(cf. "Könnte die Spaltung der Meinungen in diesem Dialog in Verbindung stehen mit dem Ausmaße, in dem das Numinosum für die jeweilige Person von Bedeutung ist?").

[size=8](It appears that we are rapidly approaching the phraseology of German Idealism!)[/size]

Just (hi Brian!) my 0.01¢ ...
8)

Martin

Hardy Heinlin

#30
As far as my opinion is concerned among the diverse opinions within this thread: The phenomenon what they call "numinous" is not meaningful to me. I have no religious experience.

My hypothesis is independent of theism and atheism. I just think that every creature that is able to experience colors, sounds, pain etc. has a certain intensity of self-awareness. Information arrives in form of a direct quality (I call it quale), instead of being presented in form of abstract numbers which are used in robots. (Not to mention that a number is meaningless if it doesn't refer to a quality anyway.) And this very quality is not presented to the Self in form of wavelength millimeter data or geometric expressions, but directly and quickly as an experience ... which cannot be described further by language (blue is blue).

A pain can exist only if there's a Self that experiences that pain. I think pain, for example, is not something that only humans experience. And the Self is not something that is suddenly there, it has a variable intensity.


Cheers,

|-|ardy

Hardy Heinlin

#31
Is there another question going around in this thread asking if this is all "real"?

That has never been a problem for me. I consider this question a pseudo problem. When I experience a quality, the quality is absolutely real. Be it in a dream or not, when I see a blue sky I see a blue sky. What's the problem? :-)

brian747

#32
Ah, as I had feared, a philosopher indeed.    :roll:

Martin's interpretation was indeed the correct one; however I regret that we are unlikely to be able to correlate the reference systems by which we view the universe, my friend. Do you force me to quote the Bard?

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Hardy,
 Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."    ;)

I can't resist adding (from the same play) —

"Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."    8)

B.
(Author of "The Big Tutorial" for PS1, and "Getting started with PSX" Parts 1, 2, and 3).

Hardy Heinlin

Quote from: brian747"There are more things in heaven and earth, Hardy,
 Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."    ;)
Sure. I know that I know almost nothing :-)

I just enjoy thinking about ... many things  ...


|-|

John Golin

I've always wondered what other people actually see when they look at the colour 'blue'.  Would I call what they see red?  It is only blue because we have both been told 'That IS blue'.

We are each an individual, forever separated from everyone else by how we perceive the common environment.
John Golin.
www.simulatorsolutions.com.au

torrence

I hereby invite everyone on this thread to the Pan-Galactic Solipsism Tournament.  Even if you don't exist outside my mind, please feel free to attend.  I'll dream up a location for it later  :) .

Cheers,
Torrence
Cheers
Torrence

Hardy Heinlin

#36
Solipsist Caught by Surprise

I say, someone who can be surprised cannot be a solipsist.

When the solipsist is surprised, the thing that caused the surprise cannot be created by the solipsist himself intentionally.

And if he created the surprise unintentionally, he had no control in that moment because it was without intention.

And if anything outside the solipsist's control and mind still should belong to him, then anything is anything and solipsism is just anything of anything, in other words, exactly the same as non-solipsism just under a different name :-)


Ahoy

|-|ard

Richard McDonald Woods

I will agree with Hardy. Numinous has no personal meaning.

I also agree that self probably has a variable intensity amongst living things.

As soon as we head towards discussions about philosophy, I will return to my original point that like so many imponderables, we approach madness if we persist.

Finished your coffee yet, Hardy? ;)
Cheers, Richard

Hardy Heinlin

Quote from: mcdonarFinished your coffee yet, Hardy? ;)
I just woke up after a 12 hour sleep, after 25 hours of non-stop work yesterday. Yes, the last coffee is finished :-)

But the next is not :-)


Good morning

|-|ardy

martin

Quote from: mcdonarI also agree that self probably has a variable intensity amongst living things.
Of course: Take the simplest uni-cellular organism (an amoeba, say, or even a bacterium), and put something nasty (for her) in her way, and she will remove herself, and not the colleague next to her.

So, at least an "operational" concept of Self.

QED

Numismatically*,
Martin

* i.e. my 0.02¢