Monday, December 10, 2018

Quantum Quora

I'm going to try this again. It's important, but I have to say at the outset that I've been trying for over 40 years. I doubt I'll succeed this time. There are so many distractions. I'll start with those.

I have so many devices, all obsolete, but some running the latest OS, albeit slowly. I don't understand why Microsoft doesn't move beyond the utterly wrong assumption about the interchangeability of mouse and touch. I get what Apple meant by their touchbar, an apparently unpopular move in the right direction, and I find tablets needlessly clumsy.

Long ago there was this youtube about an intuitive interface, all touch, and I wondered then why it hadn't been adapted universally. And I really really don't understand why all the news apps give you interesting glimpses at yesterday's news that you can't nohow get back to, before loading the news of today. It messes with my mind.

I guess I figure we're stuck on metaphors of vision which fit themselves to a screen, along with metaphors of alphabet and numbers which fit themselves to keyboards. Or in other words, the devices won't change until we finally grow out of cars and packaged food and ultimately capitalism itself. OK, I'm not even going to try for the logic in that one. But I just know it's there!

But speaking of universal, that's what I aim to rant on and about. Every once in a while, I take glimpses at news about quantum physics, never very hopefully and now very desultorily. But today again I have a hook for hanging my point on right here. It ends in a paradox, which I just don't find very paradoxical. It's my common sense.

And anyhow, paradox is just the end of sense and you always get there sooner or later, so why do we ever think we have to get beyond it. But for the fun of it.

The one I started with was the Twin Paradox, but this new thought experiment works just as well. You end up finding otherwise connected individuals at the macro-level inhabiting non-commensurate universes because of quantum fallout. Some crazy things like the so-called "many universes" theory get way more play than mine does, and mine's not even crazy.

Apart from quantum physics, my inputs come from classical Chinese poetry (lets call it differences in metaphorical usage for short-hand), evolution and epigenetics in particular, literary theory about metaphor, philosophy of language, philosophical theory about metaphor, and probably quite a few more.

I'm no expert at any of the list, but at their intersection I may or must have some cutting edge advancement. Maybe.

So, let's start with evolution, where a non-academic debate keeps lingering about any direction away or toward complexity, entropy, and the position of humans in the whole mess. Mostly, I think, well-informed evolutionary scientists eschew any (Abrahamic religion descended) notion that we are at the pinnacle of some sort of chain. That we are much differentiated from the general soup of life, nor especially that we are moving away from the competition in any way or shape or form. That we might become or even imagine.

But there do linger these atavistic senses that we somehow should and must take over the planet and evolution to save us from ourselves, as it were, and to give life a living chance. That, to me, is just simply nuts!

On the face of it, I find the notion that our intelligence can be somehow superior to the millions of years of complexity implied by the evolution (is it billions?) which got us here to be nuts as well. And my personal nightmare is that humans end up in charge. Can't end well. Those genetically CRISPR'd babes in China are just the tip of that iceberg. I'm glad we're still somewhat appalled.

We imagine a self as the unintended consequence of overreach. The horror!  But I may not be as scared of that as you are. I haven't found real choice in all that much about my life, no matter what choices were made before I took over.

But CRISPR or not, we are not even close to making that collective decision, and I rather suspect we won't have the chance. An edge keeps tipping closer, and we seem on the wrong side of the evolutionary pressures which got us life. We seem to be going over the edge as a species, and seem intent on taking the planet with us.

I don't mean that dogmatically. It's just a sense.

But the thing that blew my mind so many years ago might yet provide some clue. I keep hoping to blow some other mind with it, that thing, but seem to veer off the traceable path no matter where I start from and so people just stop listening. Too many mental taboos broken is how I see it. But that must just be my own mental taboo against accepting any conventional wisdom.

My resolution - that thing that blew my mind - has been to find emotion as part of the universal structure of the cosmos. This differentiates it from common usage, where - let's say in the Abrahamic religionist traditions again - emotions only emerge after a certain level of complexity, and in some interpretations only in humans. So we get emotion and intelligence to set us off from all else.

Along with Aristotle, I don't identify my intelligence as much with my brain as I do with language, that social extension of my being. My brain the instrument which requires language to play.

Needless to say, artificial intelligence is devoid of emotion, just simply because emotion hasn't generally been included in definitions for intelligence. I suppose I must say here toward the outset that I am very attracted to Julian Jaynes' notion that consciousness descends from the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, to form the most diminutive instance of dialogic intelligence which is to say intelligence mediated by language.

So, in the particular or particulate or wave-function cosmos of the standard model of physics, there are these forces, all supposed to be mediated by bosons (???) which are the force carrying "particles" and then there is the temptation to suppose that there can be some complete description of the physical cosmos somewhere down the road. Or rather a complete description of what is physically possible. In any case, someday soon we will be able to describe all the forces and all the physical interactions, which is to say reality apart from the mind or apart from consciousness, in case those are the same thing.

But of course in my cosmic meanderings, along with emotion, mind itself is eternally present, cosmically constant, and necessary for completeness. Which is to say that mind is not separable from physical reality.

Emotion is then the prognostication of physical implication between and among bodies in motion, in the absence of any force. Absent force, the thingy things of reality have no implication with one another at all. They must exist in separate cosmoses, which might (I have no way to comment on that) conform to one or many of the many universes hypotheses.

Prognostication of that sort must, of course, inhere in mind, since it can't be a part of the physical world.

OK, so the path is broken, since I've already descended into language indistinguishable from punning, which is to say that I find all of this very funny somehow, but still serious for that.

So mind is severable from what we (seem to) mean by intelligence and emotion, which are more caught up in the post-bicameral-breakdown selfie-self, which has personality, nationality, ethnicity, familial and genetic relations and so-forth. The mind I speak of is disembodied, but not prior to embodiment any more than there can be some first particle or wave or what-you-will. But mind is not severable from the cosmic emotion that I'm speaking of.

Mind and cosmic emotion interrelate in ways similar to particles and wave functions. I don't think I'm writing either metaphorically or precisely. It's more of a resonance. Emotions move the mind in the way that forces move things around in the cosmos.

To get it out of the way, yes, that might mean that there is a kind of direction to evolution in the sense that sexual couplings may involve or engage emotive attraction, otherwise indistinguishable from chance encounter, and that these may condition survival in ways obvious (mother's love) and not so much so (random processes just don't seem any more emotive than AI).

Please note that I see no need to posit God (as some analog to the selfie-self), nor have the Chinese for the most part down through their history. But I am compelled to suppose that however intelligent or soulfully emotional we may find ourselves, it amounts to the equivalent of nothing up against the complexity implied by the many interactions across billions of years (I think that time-scale is more correct here than millions) of evolution and life in the cosmos.

I guess that's why I think we aren't and never will be ready to be in charge. We can't wreck evolution. We can't even interfere with it. We are in it, just as we are in Gaia, because that's the meaning of the term. Apart from nature is as oxymoronic as it gets.

So, I'm not trying to describe mind, and I'm not trying to describe emotion. These are definitions, which seem to work all up and down the stack as far as I can tell. It doesn't change much, but it does conveniently relieve any anxiety about finding the rock bottom to real, or explanations (descriptions?) for life and everything. The quest to go beyond the standard theory to something like completeness becomes subsumed in definitions for infinite regression, and loses lots of impetus - if not interest - right away.

And the big bonus is that we can become creative (again?) and not just slaves to our current definitions for what's human, what's intelligent, and what's art and so on and so forth ad infinitum. We can make choices again as actual choices and not suppose some imperative somewhere somehow.

I mean it works for me, but I can't make inroads apparently up against what seems to be working for everyone else. That would include such things as immortality, reincarnation, literal heaven and hell and all sorts of techno-utopia/dystopia take-your-pick. I guess you can tell by now that I'm not hankering for thingie-things any more than I'm concerned with my selfie-self, though I AM at least as concerned as you are with creature comforts and a nice bit of security. I just happen to find the conventional arrangements as we find them now a bit on the terroristic side, and playing too many favorites for the lucky and powerful side for my comfort, creature or otherwise.

I mean, let's call this queer science. It's just as rigorous as the straight kind, but not so, well, um, patriarchal. You don't have to play by the terms of the powerful to have the right to know. Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas in advance of it.

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