Author Topic: The Spirit World of Ideas  (Read 3792 times)

Golden Applesauce

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2012, 04:39:53 am »
I had a conversation yesterday about Georg Cantor, his theory of infinities.

I've experienced this reaction twice: When I talk about Georg Cantor and his concept that there are multiple infinities, and some are bigger than others, people get angry. It's a reaction that confuses me, I think because people view Infinity as the "highest amount", so how could anything be higher? But if there are infinite fractions between each integer, then the number of (infinite) fractions  is larger than the number of (infinite) integers.

What he hated the most was the idea that Georg Cantor found "God" at the top of all those infinities.

And I had to interject there - because my friend is really into Carl Sagan, so I figured that this mathematical way of understanding of the universe's beauty would really appeal to him. But he's so hung up on there not being a "god" that he's shielded himself from the divine revelation Cantor found between all those numbers.

Anyone should be terrified by the idea of God being in or around or on the other sides of those numbers.  After a point, the transfinites get boring.  Sure, ω (the "number of integers") is cool and useful, and there's interesting things happening at a couple of points after that... but eventually you get to where you have more numbers than you have notational schemes to represent them and then more numbers than there are possible true statements in an arbitrary system with an arbitrary number of axioms.  And then there's nothing really to talk about, because we've invented a model for numbers that are simply to big to make meaningful statements about.  You'd get a god whose existence is implied by a model, and who can't be removed without breaking the model (even that might not be true; I haven't wrapped my head around the non-recursive numbers yet) but other than that - the god's existence wouldn't imply anything.  It would be provably impossible to even conceive of a symbolic system that would have a symbol for god.  It would be a god that fundamentally couldn't be understood by humans.
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Placid Dingo

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2012, 10:58:48 am »
Cram; you've said before that a number of your ideas have been influenced by Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintainence. I found that a really useful work for understanding memetics.

I was explaining memetics to a friend and was getting stuck with the question 'are memes real or are they in our head'. I was stuck on this until I read ZATAOMM.

Pirsig talks a lot about 'value' and trying to define it; is it objective? Is it subjective? Pirsig ends up saying that value is created at the point where the objective meets the subjective.

The same became my way of thinking of memes. You can have a meme that is made of the subjective concept melding with another subjective concept. However things like seeing an image in nature and in some way repeating it; I would argue that the meme is created when that objective meatspace element is converted into a subjective memespace element.

---

Also, it's interesting to think of some of Telarus's ideas in the sense of a multiplied self. If there's a memespace I out there (on this forum 24/7 for example, likewise on my blog, on my twitter) essentially to gain some kind of power or success, can I think in terms of creating a memetic 'army of me' to proselytise my views?

That's some of my ideas that this discussion brought up.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

Cramulus

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2012, 01:36:06 pm »
Great question Dingo... I'm going to answer with a passage from the book I'm reading right now, Godel Escher Bach ---

Hofstader's view is that the job of the brain is to create mirror copies of what it experiences, a little universe within the self where you've projected a working copy of the universe. Your ideas about the universe, projections about the future, and sense of self, are all created in this private internal chamber.

But where did the meaning come from? Did we put it in the chamber, or are we mirroring the meaning that exists in the objective universe?

Here's Hofstadter's take, and I admit I found it jarring at first, but I think he's nailed it --------------



[Page P-3]

...Language is umbelievably fluid and subtle in its patterns of tracking reality, and for that reason the symbols in formal systems can seem quite arid; indeed, without too much trouble, one can look at them as totally devoid of meaning. But then again, one can look at a newspaper written in an unfamiliar writing system, and the strange shapes seem like nothing more than wondrously intricate but totally meaningless patterns. Thus even human language, rich though it is, can be drained of its seeming significance.

As a matter of fact, there are still quite a few philosophers, scientists, and so forth who believe that patterns of symbols per se (such as books or movies or libraries or CD-ROMS's or computer programs, no matter how complex or dynamic) never have meaning on their own, but that meaning instead, in osme most mysterious matter, springs only from the organic chemistry, or perhaps the quantum mechanics, of processes that take place in carbon-based biological brains. Although I have no patience with this parochial, bio-chauvinistic view, I nonetheless have a pretty clear sense of its intuitive appeal. Trying to don the hat of a believer in the primacy, indeed the uniqueness, of brains, I can see where such people are coming from.

Such people feel that some kind of "semantic magic" takes place only inside our "teetering bulbs [of dreams and dread]", somewhere behind pairs of eyeballs, even though they can never quite put their finger on how or why this is so; moreover they believe that this semantic magic is what is responsible for the existence of human selves, souls, consciousness, "I"'s. And I, as a matter of fact, quite agree with such thinkers that selves and semantics --in other words me's and meanings -- do spring from one and the same source; where I take issue with these people is over their contention that such phenomena are due entirely to some special, though as yet undiscovered, properties of the microscopic hardware of brains.

As I see it, the only way of overcoming this magical view of what "I" and consciousness are is to keep on reminding oneself, unpleasant though it may seem, that the "teetering bulb of dread and dream" that nestles safely inside one's own cranium is a purely physical object made up of completely sterile and inanimate components, all of which obey exactly teh same laws as those that govern all the rest of the universe, such as pieces of text, or CD-ROM's, or computers. Only if one keeps on bashing up against hte disturbing fact can one slowly beigin to develop a feel for the way out of the mysterious of consciousness: that the key is not the stuff out of which brains are made, but the patterns that can come to exist inside the stuff of a brain.

This is a liberating shift, because it allows one to move to a different level of considering what brains are: as media that support complex patterns that mirror, albeit far from perfectly, the world, of which, needless to say, those brains are themselves denizens -- and it is in the inevitable self-mirroring that arises, however impartial or imperfect it may be, that the strange loops of consciousness start to swirl.

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2012, 11:38:57 pm »
In the Spirit World of Ideas, information is the real life force in the cosmos, and we are just the dumb hardware designed to carry it.

I kinda disagree with this. A lot, in fact.

Switching it around:

In the "Physical World of Physics", matter and electromagnetic forces* is the real life force in the cosmos, and our mind is just a side effect of localized systems of matter interacting with their environment.

(*or whatever)

It's kind of deliberately missing the point.

Ok I'm aware I'm getting pretty mired in Cartesian duality here, but you started it :P

See I'd sooner say,

In the "Spirit World of Ideas", information is the real life force in the cosmos, and we are just smaller information systems in a larger whole.

Which of course doesn't sound as profound as the other statement, since humans are always smaller components of a much larger whole, no matter if you look at it from a physical, informational or other angle.

But the point is, in this "Spirit World of Ideas", we are not "just" our hardware. It's unfair to look at it only like that, because even if we're not a bigass information virus like a City or a Religion, but in that same world, the individual person is also a small whirlpool system of information doing its thing in the network.

And just because those particular small whirlpool systems are often carriers of all sorts of memetic viruses much bigger than themselves, doesn't mean they're "just" hardware carriers. Because that phenomenon occurs on all (or most) levels: Medium-sized memetic viruses are also carriers of larger ones: Urban legends about gypsies are just as much "just" a carrier medium for the larger memetic virus of Racism.

That said, our "hardware", being our brain and body, is a medium that's exceptionally suited for carrying all sorts of memetic viruses. And most (but not all!) other kinds of hardware media (say, books) may be able to carry such viruses, but are often inert by themselves unless "activated" by sentient hardware such as our brain-body. But with the advent of computers, this is no longer always the case, there's all sorts of epiphenomena occurring on the Internet that actively carry memetic viruses of some sort, without needing explicit interaction by human brain-bodies to activate them. Think for example of Bayesian spam-poetry, qxapoiu, bogons or the crazy movements of High Frequency Trading bots.
And even then, before computers, there's been other kinds of non-sentient hardware media that actively carried informational viruses, in some sense. Think of depleted soil, forests burned for agriculture or how heath exists only because of sheep eating baby trees preventing the heath from turning into a forest.
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Placid Dingo

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2012, 12:38:24 am »
Is part of your argument Trip saying that it's dose genius to consider humans hardware separate from the information stream because we are as much a part of it as anything else in the universe?
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2012, 01:22:49 am »
Dose genius? What's that?

I don't understand what you're trying to say?
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Placid Dingo

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2012, 03:34:31 am »
Fucking autocorrect. 'disingenuous'.

Do you mean that people are part of the big stream of information systems and it's a false dichotomy to say people are just carriers and everything else is just information?
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

Golden Applesauce

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2012, 04:11:18 am »
It is deliberately missing the point - looking at the world through a lens that we know is imperfect to see if that view reveals anything of interest.
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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2012, 09:17:15 am »
Another thought regarding Roger's idea of False Memetic Conciousness. 

If we reduce the idea to Memetic Consciousness (for now) it makes some more sense to me. If we have a brain that is absolutely disconnected from any sensory input, will it learn to think? I suspect not. All information the brain has comes in from outside. Looking at Crams GED system which I'm still digesting and the appropriated ideas of Pirsig's concept of value applied to memes this suggests to me that the process of taking in any new information is inherently Memetic.

To come into the brain an idea from meatspace must be interpreted. Essentially the process in question is the conversion of the objective (existing in meatspace) into the subjective (existing in memespace).

What I get from Rodger's work is that he is rejecting the idea that we as humans can be reduced to a competing collection of memes. Instead of Memetic Consciousness being simply false, I'd argue that perhaps it's the idea that humans are nothing more than Memetic Consciousness that is itself false.

A dichotomy;

Subjective vs Objective
Memespace vs Meatspace
Perception vs Reality

As humans we straddle both sides of this fence. Our brain may run non-stop Memetic patterns but the organ itself, the electric impulses, the chemical reactions are all of Meatspace. We can reject the idea that we are nothing but a collection of memes because we have a centre of command that has an objective power over our Memetic experience; to what extent this remains true might be interpreted as a spectrum of to the extent that one can recognise the illusions or be enslaved to them.

Anyway, not meaning to redefine TGGRs idea, just riffing off some ideas it inspired for me personally.
If sheep entrails could in any way be related to the weather, i.e. sheep trails only originate where it rains, then you could use it as an accurate model for discerning what the weathers going to be like. Either, sheep shit makes it rain, or raining makes sheep shit. Sheep don't shit "randomly" sheep shit after they eat, it doesn't rain "randomly" it rains after water collects in the atmosphere.

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2012, 05:31:24 pm »
Fucking autocorrect. 'disingenuous'.

Do you mean that people are part of the big stream of information systems and it's a false dichotomy to say people are just carriers and everything else is just information?

Then, yes, that's pretty much what I was trying to say :)

Also, Roger, on your simultaneous inventions subject, I think it was Black Swan where I read that it's not just that all the prerequisite technologies being in place makes a new technological advancement inevitable, but that it's in fact already enough if people (proper scientists/engineers) really know and believe that something is possible, when it's a matter of time before the first prototype shows up. Meaning that this belief is enough to really motivate these people to just fucking build the prerequisite tech, because they know that the payoff is just around the corner. Doesn't change your argument, just an interesting thing to mention.
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Wolfgang Absolutus

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2012, 12:15:32 am »
This is quite interesting. You take a bucket of various atoms and assemble them in the form of a human brain and start it up. Suddenly you have created something that is somehow different than each of its parts individually. This 'universe machine' when interacting with the out-world, create an in-world using their senses. If more and more of these universe machines come in contact with each other the in-worlds intersect with each other through communication and a third 'psychic' world is created. The psychic world and the various in-worlds however are limited in that they only have a few different ways of interacting with the out-world, the objective reality. Thus only the out-world can be objective while the others don't necessarily reflect it. Memes float around in this alternative universe, the psychic world, interacting with forces beyond them, the force of the mind itself. Some of these memes catch on while others die in a kind of Darwinian way. This selection is more artificial rather than natural however. Some ideas are left on their own to survive in the psychic world, but the higher powers of this world, the universe machines, can artificially hinder or refine ideas. These memes can also be taxonomically related to one another, like all the different memes about God, god, or gods which are different species of the same genus of religious meme.

Would that be a fair representation? I haven't done much reading on the subject.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2012, 12:23:49 am »
This is quite interesting. You take a bucket of various atoms and assemble them in the form of a human brain and start it up. Suddenly you have created something that is somehow different than each of its parts individually. This 'universe machine' when interacting with the out-world, create an in-world using their senses. If more and more of these universe machines come in contact with each other the in-worlds intersect with each other through communication and a third 'psychic' world is created. The psychic world and the various in-worlds however are limited in that they only have a few different ways of interacting with the out-world, the objective reality. Thus only the out-world can be objective while the others don't necessarily reflect it. Memes float around in this alternative universe, the psychic world, interacting with forces beyond them, the force of the mind itself. Some of these memes catch on while others die in a kind of Darwinian way. This selection is more artificial rather than natural however. Some ideas are left on their own to survive in the psychic world, but the higher powers of this world, the universe machines, can artificially hinder or refine ideas. These memes can also be taxonomically related to one another, like all the different memes about God, god, or gods which are different species of the same genus of religious meme.

Would that be a fair representation? I haven't done much reading on the subject.

We could probably market this as a religion, and make $$$.
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Wolfgang Absolutus

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2012, 12:29:31 am »
This is quite interesting. You take a bucket of various atoms and assemble them in the form of a human brain and start it up. Suddenly you have created something that is somehow different than each of its parts individually. This 'universe machine' when interacting with the out-world, create an in-world using their senses. If more and more of these universe machines come in contact with each other the in-worlds intersect with each other through communication and a third 'psychic' world is created. The psychic world and the various in-worlds however are limited in that they only have a few different ways of interacting with the out-world, the objective reality. Thus only the out-world can be objective while the others don't necessarily reflect it. Memes float around in this alternative universe, the psychic world, interacting with forces beyond them, the force of the mind itself. Some of these memes catch on while others die in a kind of Darwinian way. This selection is more artificial rather than natural however. Some ideas are left on their own to survive in the psychic world, but the higher powers of this world, the universe machines, can artificially hinder or refine ideas. These memes can also be taxonomically related to one another, like all the different memes about God, god, or gods which are different species of the same genus of religious meme.

Would that be a fair representation? I haven't done much reading on the subject.

We could probably market this as a religion, and make $$$.
I'm not sure that anyone who truly understood the concepts would pay you. Though then again that would kind of already be like mainstream religion. It wouldn't be like non-mainstream religion, mainly because they don't really make any money, or at least when compared to the catholic church or something.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2012, 12:30:05 am »

I'm not sure that anyone who truly understood the concepts would pay you.

I think YOU'RE not grasping a crucial concept, here.
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Wolfgang Absolutus

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Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2012, 12:34:40 am »

I'm not sure that anyone who truly understood the concepts would pay you.

I think YOU'RE not grasping a crucial concept, here.
That when you say we you mean all of us here including me? Or that the fact they don't really understand 'it' is the reason they would give you money? Or maybe that you were pointing out my analysis was flawed and I didn't get it?
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