Friday, December 02, 2016

Reality Is Experience

http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/04/the-illusion-of-reality/479559/

A likely important article that I may return to and dig deeper into. Apparently the physical universe can be replaced with "a conscious entity" and at least this new model "still works".

As a conscious realist, I am postulating conscious experiences as ontological primitives, the most basic ingredients of the world. I’m claiming that experiences are the real coin of the realm. The experiences of everyday life—my real feeling of a headache, my real taste of chocolate—that really is the ultimate nature of reality.
"Ontological" -- being ... what IS.  The territory "real" as opposed to the map ... those being words like virtual, representation, metaphorical. This computer analogy gives a good idea why seeing "what is the most useful to the designer, or random chance" makes more sense than the "most realistic detail".

There’s a metaphor that’s only been available to us in the past 30 or 40 years, and that’s the desktop interface. Suppose there’s a blue rectangular icon on the lower right corner of your computer’s desktop — does that mean that the file itself is blue and rectangular and lives in the lower right corner of your computer? Of course not. But those are the only things that can be asserted about anything on the desktop — it has color, position, and shape. Those are the only categories available to you, and yet none of them are true about the file itself or anything in the computer. 
They couldn’t possibly be true. That’s an interesting thing. You could not form a true description of the innards of the computer if your entire view of reality was confined to the desktop. And yet the desktop is useful. That blue rectangular icon guides my behavior, and it hides a complex reality that I don’t need to know. That’s the key idea. 
Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. They guide adaptive behaviors. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know. And that’s pretty much all of reality, whatever reality might be. If you had to spend all that time figuring it out, the tiger would eat you.
It's always intriguing to me that a super intelligent guy, so non-traditional he is willing to question the MOST fundamental aspects of the nature of existence, still finds "evolution " as somehow a worthy explanation for how we came to be (or maybe "not **BE** as in being physical", but rather "be" experience only) in this non-physical reality. It is always possible that the computer desktop "just evolved" after all. Actually, if you are an evolutionist, the development of the computer and the desktop metaphor is simply evolution still operating in what we have no doubt mistakenly labeled "consciousness", meaning "something special", but in evolutionary "reality",  just more evolutionary adaptive algorithms.

 (column author) But if there’s a W, are you saying there is an external world?
Hoffman: Here’s the striking thing about that. I can pull the W out of the model and stick a conscious agent in its place and get a circuit of conscious agents. In fact, you can have whole networks of arbitrary complexity. And that’s the world.
So a mathematic attempt to understand consciousness replaces "the world" with "a conscious agent"  and it all works ... and it doesn't give him any inking that God would fill that "conscious agent" role quite nicely?

The discoveries of quantum mechanics, the ,mystery of consciousness and things like the insane small amount of information that seems to be coming in through our optic nerves for us to create what we are "seeing" all point to some fundamental misconceptions about what "reality" is -- if it "is" (ontology again) at all! 

"I think, therefore I am" was always tenuous -- perhaps, a universal consciousness is reality and "I" am an illusion. Perhaps when God speaks to Moses and says "I am that I am" he was really de-referencing the THAT!  (C++ programming, the "this pointer" is the pointer to the object itself) "I'm THAT  "I am" ... the ultimate base of existence.  You (Moses) are another "I am", created in my image.

Roger Scruton has covered this philosophically quite well

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