Saturday, May 7, 2022

Bernardo Kastrup Explains Everything

Well, I feel mildy excited, and greatly relieved today, I don't quite understand how my son-in-law decided that Kastrup's thinking reminded him of mine, since I don't have too many actual memories of exposing my thinking to him or to anyone else. I only ever get so far. But then I'm on the slope down now toward the singularity of collapse into the enternal present of death. Memory, in other words, ain't what it used to be. Anyhow, thanks to him that I watched (listened to) the YouTube hereinbelow.

So I watched it, and was utterly amazed at Kastrup's lucidity, and at the completeness of his philosophy (be forewarned, it's two hours long):

His view of consciousness seems to conform to mine, as well as his placement of narration on the "inside" of our own strangely individuated whorls in the continuum of universal "mentation." He uses the term "alter", derived from dissociative identity disorder in the field of psychology, to describe the (pathological?) sequestration of a self from cosmic mentation. 

I am left with two or three basic questions that I have yet to find an answer to:
  • I haven't found his opinion yet on whether artificial consciousness is possible. Since he lists that field as one of those in which he holds degrees, I think the answer might be consequential. And does he really find the film Inception to be anything but trash?
  • While he acknowledges the importance of emotion to mentation, at least implicitly, I wonder if he's done any theoretical work on emotion.
  • While the non-dualism of his idealism manages to retain the validity of the empirical scientific method, I haven't seen where he actually defines mentation in any way to cosmically differentiate it from whatever are the processes of materialism. He erases an unnecessary boundary, sure, but doesn't quite, to my satisfaction, answer the "OK then, so what?" question. He seems still to imply a before and after and is therefore stuck with chicken/egg.
  • Somewhere in this YouTube, he says something that I also have said; that the mutations on which evolutionary theory depends are not random (not accidents), and I want more on that. He indicates somewhere in this YouTube that the closely watched mutations across the past couple of years somehow demonstrate this. How? Fate and subconscious; same thing. Duh.
I think that I want to suggest that he doesn't really follow his own rules of maximum parsimony, derived from Occam's Razor. Yes, physical descriptions of reality will always be incomplete, but not only because of leaving out any adequate function for consciousness. His version of idealism suffers the same limitation without his supplying some more fulsome definition for what mentation actually is.

Sadly for me, there is no way even to attempt to contact the fellow. I'd have to stalk him to conferences, or get him somehow to read my own writing. It feels like the identical problem of getting to the bottom of almost anything these days as you slog past the money and the motivations of the publishing organs to sort out if you're seeing what you want or need to see or simply living out what the powers-that-be want for you to see. That is especially true when a guy like Kastrup relegates me to the need to abide by his "social media policy." Social media?? Are you freaking kidding me?

Look, I am nowhere near as intelligent as Bernardo, nor certainly as educated. I have near zero ability to cite philosophers or to name theories from physics. I am a good troubleshooter and problem-solver in all fields, which include physics and philosophy, but is mostly limited to machines and constructs, including computer hardware and software and especially networks. And I know how to read classical Chinese poetry, which is not exactly nothing, though it may come close. 

If I am right about Bernardo Kastrup, then he may be one among bejillions who might have the capacity intelligently to comment on the following propositions. I hold their truth to be self-evident, and once deployed to offer a far more parsimonious approach to understanding than Kastrup's unitary Idealism.
  • There is no meaning to the question of which comes first, mind or matter.
  • That is partly because of the impossibility to define time in purely physical terms, but more fundamentally because our linguistic usages prevent us from a coherent understanding of narration, which is the basis for time and causality in the context of universal mentation.
  • Concepts are the primitives for the ideas of Kastrup's idealism. He calls genes something like 'physical information' in implicit accord with his insistence that there is nothing to be gained by distinguishing mentation from physical processes.
  • Just as do the so-called "particles" of the standard model of physics, the component parts of static concepts move apart or together, but without the necessity for force to do so. Force in the physical sense is a function of the exchange of "smaller" particles. Movement without force is emotion. This cannot occur in a unitary material world, nor in a unitary ideal world. It's always both/and.
  • Emotional connections, which are not mediated by forces, define simultaneity. (Physical simultaneity is meaningless by analogy to the precise position or mass of a "particle". Waveform collapse defines the boundary.)
  • Particles are realized by implication with other particles and ultimately with consciousness as that which collapses them from conceptual waveforms.
  • At least two "alters" are required for emotional impingement and for simultaneity. This is the only cosmic meaning of "contact." Ditto physics, where contact is not possible. Entanglement is not yet contact. (Kastrup's description of Quantum Entanglement - Dick and Jane simultaneously - is as incoherent as most descriptions of the Twin Paradox. He doesn't provide any definitions for such basics as what simultaneity means, or distance, or how consciousness at either end is connected)
In brief, there is no irony about Bernardo Kastrup's cosmology/philosophy. Irony is the fundament of everything, or as I responded to my son-in-law in my skepticism before starting my witness of the YouTube:

I read thousands-page books, while two hour YouTubes may be a challenge, though I’m intrigued. At the outset I will impudently say that the fellow seems too utter in his idealistic philosophy. My own view tends more toward irony - both/and. Once time is idealized, before and after, like chickens and eggs, collapse into the same eternal present which we mistakenly sometimes think is compatible with physical reality. Time is an emotional concept, felt directly by universal mind, while perceptual reality is always distant and felt at the remove of physical distance prior to being narrativized by mind, which means in time and space, and which is the only meaning of causality which is not a physical reality. Now is only emotively real, and physically impossible. All cognition is, therefore, precognition (ironically!). Cognition conditions understanding which provides the basis to act. All who act are conscious. Maybe not plants. 

Gobbledegook for sure!!
CODA updated 5/11/22

Materialism is tested by what it enables humans to do by virtue of understanding. Science has moved far beyond mechanism to descriptions of things and processes which we can only describe and never understand nor often embody, the way that we can with mechanism. Perhaps we can realize some implementation of all of the fundamental forces of nature by way of our technologies, in just the way that we might realize some new techniques for encryption based on our understanding of quantum physics. Anyhow, it all comes down to agency for most humans, no matter how well-read.

My own contribution, if it is a contribution, would be to describe what Kastrup calls mentation by way of some redefinitions for things and processes that we only think we understand. We are far too busy learning to exploit our understanding of the material world to turn our attention to the more fulsome world of emotive consciousness. Emotion may goad action, but it also redefines agency. There is no starting point for emotion; no place to lever from. It takes at minimum two. Emotion defines simultaneity. 

This is even while those at the extremes of our society exhibit ever more serious psychoses. Emotional disturbance. We have homelessness and QAnon on one end, and insanely manic consumption and self-promotion on the other, without any way to challenge these realities, though they spell our collective doom; what most of us would consider to be the end of agency.

So, to reiterate, here are my redefinitions:

Time is not divided between forward and backward, but rather between the entropic time of material physics, and the lived time of life's evolution, which direction is defined as love. There is no physical force which drives it, which might be what we mean by random. History is neither teleological nor progressive, but is, rather, a description of socio-emotional alignments as these tend toward or away from life as a cosmic and primordial process. The tendency of current history is neither destruction nor apotheosis. It is our choice, collectively, and so why not make it apotheotic? 

Deliberate love is not love. Falling is not the same as choosing.

Just as Freud might have alluded, there are no accidents and there is no random except as defined by materialist physics and gambling, whose usages are solid as far as they go. 

Viewed from the widest possible distance, the processes of evolution move in the direction of love.

It is not scientific to leave moral guidance for behavior beyond the reach of science. Religion as a basis for moral behavior is right out there with QAnon, and not incidentally for that. Scientifically moral behavior, guided by universal understanding, would never allow the likes of Samuel Alito to dictate civic law, nor Amy Coney Barrett to sit as judge for any legal proceedings. I won't elaborate. 

Concepts are mental arrays of conceptual primitives, which may be composed of physical approximations of those primitives, like the pointers of words, for instance. Emotion is defined as the motion toward or away of conceptual primitives which do not entail physical forces; those forces are described by an exchange of still more primitive primitives. Emotions are felt directly by mind, unlike perceptions which are felt at the remove of an extended body. The mind narrates perceptions which have no order without mind. This is trivial to demonstrate given the slow speed of neural transmission. Now is fuzzy until it's felt.

Mine is a literary rather than scientific approach to understanding. Bernardo is utterly correct as to the singularity of NOW - the present - as the ALL that there is. But his ALL is as metaphorically one-dimensional as materialism is. Mind/body sounds like dualism until you take it ironically when it becomes the transmutational dynamic of yin/yang. Mind and body, or perhaps mind and its embodiment are the reductive minimum for any reality at all. Can't have one without the other.

As creatures in the cosmos, humans are consequential. Morally consequential. God has moved from being a guide to being a COPOUT. God is love, and as such is not constituted to tell us what to do or how to behave. We have that in us. We must and will narrate our own future, just as we narrate our pasts, thus engendering time. The cosmos is not mind or mentation, it is God and divinity. 

Blahbeddy blah gobbledegook. I haven't the words to true. But like Robert Wright, I can true bicycle wheels.