Tuesday, July 27, 2021

And Furthermore . . .

Yes, indeed, just as Riccardo Manzotti insists that our mind is outside the brain, in the form of actual perceptions of actual reality, I am insisting that conceptual reality is also outside.

I recognize that these distinctions between in and out have been and will be hard to swallow, but we have been utterly deluded by the locution of  "in the mind." According to Manzotti, the mind is able to cycle perceptions in a manner to delay their "reception," in a functional equivalence to "memory." The vital function of the brain is to match new perceptions to memorized experience, in a kind of generalizing activity.

As we all know, memories are prompted by the emotions associated with them. We remember best being almost eaten by that lion, and want never to allow that to happen again. The present emotion on seeing a new lion is fear. That fear is highly functional. Cognition cannot even approach the speed of emotion, which endures no time for "transmission."

Emotion is present. Cognition, as does physical signalling, takes time.

I have determined to my own satisfaction, once by touring work I'd done on people's houses in and around New Haven with my daughter, that my memories do indeed exist outside me. I was able to "retrieve" an amazing depth of memory, well beyond which house-repair I had effected, by prompt from the relatively unchanged environment. 

In effect, this is why I retire to Buffalo, an almost incredibly unchanging environment. I feel intact here.

Thanks to the enduring quality of some repairs, and thanks to the endurance of hard goods, I could recall to my daughter events significant to me. As I'm certain you will appreciate, it is true that she became bored by my droning, and also true that no non-relation, not bound by love, would have endured it. She might have enjoyed my coming alive.

Collectively, we all must realize, our dominant emotions have returned to fear. We are unsettled by the plague, and by the evident consequences of global warming, even in the face of better present living than in any time in history.

Politicians may try to harness our fear in service to some international rivalry. Only rarely anymore do news sources report lions on the loose.

Perhaps our anxiety reflects the near-certainty that 'this cannot last.' Our experience is of a geometric curve of near explosive change. Displaced from places like Buffalo, we become slightly unhinged, and almost demand that our environments converge on something that will be familiar everywhere within our nation. I may be done with my travels. Aliner for sale.

So what could it mean that conceptual reality exists outside of us? I suppose that Plato might have understood. But I am also writing of the encoding of conceptual reality in the form of words. This process is somehow identical in emotive valence to what goes on "inside" our brains when we process present reality according to our stored generalizations. Conceptualizations. The resulting words have given us a social sapience, and ultimately, a handle on the world around us. 

Words are outside the brain, though we may rehearse them there when we "think." Writing and speaking silently to ourselves, conceptualizing durable generalities about reality.

I am also suggesting that this emergent sapience was already happening when certain responses were encoded in genetic material. The valence, then and now, was survival. The vector was encoded, in effect memorializing innumerable encounters with a perilous environment. So that some conceptual model could endure.

Since, by my definition, concepts are a function of mind, and mind is not some quality that can be contained by something like the brain alone, then mind was already in existence at the instant of the first living replicator. Elementary. 

I mean that life was elementary, as was the reality to be built on perceptual "particles."

But we elaborate. I elaborate. Particles can be combined into larger structures which persist. Their shapes, to the extent that they are durable, can be described as concepts - the schematic archetype, perhaps - as well as percepts. The match between concept and percept is what I would call an emotional event, which happens (also) outside of our personal experience. It is as recognizable and common as lived and shared perceptual reality.

I am refining my insights; their inception remains constant. I have been wrong far more than I have been right. I had thought that concepts must also move, and of course they do. I now feel again that elation of discovery, of something already and always there. The direction of evolution is defined by love. The emotion is in the encoding, the discovery, the getting a handle on what can be done for those we love. 

Patrician Leonard Cohen sang of love and hate, and died in sorrow at our recent turns. My sense is that it is time to take responsibility, and that that border had already been crossed when we learned to code digitally. The imitation game was tragic for Turing. It feels tragic again when we allow martial instincts - those collective fears drove most everything about our every technology - to overwhelm the commonality of our planet.

We can now rise up and sing a joyful song, if only we would. Not slingshot rides to space aboard phallic masculinity taken by triumphal vectorialists. Not imperial dominance for vectorialist economic triumph. But rather, in celebration of life, where we already have the means, if not the want, to live altogether in peace and prosperity, without utter destruction of our earth.

Letting the algorithms run amok has always been our doom. The argument is not about whether artificial anything can be made to exist. The argument is about responsibility, that thing we must share with those that we care for.

And now it's one earth. One reality. And I am all all one. Alone where the artifice of individualism wants me. 

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