NOTES:Hofstadter, Douglas I am a Strange Loop Basic Books

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I AM A STRANGE LOOP Notes

by Douglas Hofstadter


Synopsis

Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here? I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop”—a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is the one called “I.” The “I” is the nexus in our brain, one of many symbols seeming to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.

How can a mysterious abstraction be real—or is our “I” merely a convenient fiction? Does an “I” exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the laws of physics?

These are the mysteries tackled in I Am a Strange Loop, Douglas Hofstadter’s first book-length journey into philosophy since Gödel, Escher, Bach. Compulsively readable and endlessly thought-provoking, this is a moving and profound inquiry into the nature of mind.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2007: Pulitzer-Prize winner Douglas Hofstadter takes on some weighty and wonderful questions in I Am a Strange Loop--among them, the "size" of a soul and the vagaries of thought--and proposes persuasive answers that surprised me both with their simplicity and their sense of optimism: a rare combination to be found in a book that tackles the mysteries of the brain. This long-awaited book is a must-have for avid science readers and navel-gazers. --Anne Bartholomew

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hofstadter—who won a Pulitzer for his 1979 book, Gödel, Escher, Bach—blends a surprising array of disciplines and styles in his continuing rumination on the nature of consciousness. Eschewing the study of biological processes as inadequate to the task, he argues that the phenomenon of self-awareness is best explained by an abstract model based on symbols and self-referential "loops," which, as they accumulate experiences, create high-level consciousness. Theories aside, it's impossible not to experience this book as a tender, remarkably personal and poignant effort to understand the death of his wife from cancer in 1993—and to grasp how consciousness mediates our otherwise ineffable relationships. In the end, Hofstadter's view is deeply philosophical rather than scientific. It's hopeful and romantic as well, as his model allows one consciousness to create and maintain within itself true representations of the essence of another. The book is all Hofstadter—part theory, some of it difficult; part affecting memoir; part inventive thought experiment—presented for the most part with an incorrigible playfulness. And whatever readers' reaction to the underlying arguments for this unique view of consciousness, they will find the model provocative and heroically humane. (Mar.)

General Reviews

Another visit to the metaphors of GEB, April 20, 2007 By Michael J Edelman (Huntington Woods, MI USA) This review is from: I Am a Strange Loop (Hardcover) Douglas Hofstadter is an exceptionally bright and witty man, with a gift for analogy. This no doubt makes him entertaining company and a pleasure to have as a teacher, but at the same time it sometimes gets in the way of the message he's trying to convey- the allegories and metaphors become the dominant message, and the core gets lost in translation.

This is of course exactly what happened with Hofstadter's 1979 tour-de-force "Godel, Escher and Bach"; it was roundly praised to the heavens by scores of reviewers, none of whom seemed to notice that it was in fact a very clever way of presenting a theory of conciousness and intelligence. This bothered Hofstadter as well, as he tells us in the introduction to "I Am a Strange Loop", and so he set out to tell the story again, this time in a more straightforward manner. I'm not so sure he succeeded.

The bulk of "I Am a Strange Loop" is devoted to explaining Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, with a minimum of math and a lot of allegory and allusion. Much of it seems repetitious, and all of it is, I think, wasted, as the end product of all this attmepted explanation seems to be simply one more metaphor- that what's going on in the brain/mind is something very much like what's going on in Godel's theory: That a theory, or a formula, or a sentance, or a "thing," can contain within it a complete representation of itself. Hofstadter calls this a "strange loop", and believes that, combined with input from outside that adds to this (and other) loops is the wellspring from which consciousness springs.

I first heard this notion expressed in the following manner (although I don't recall who wrote it):

Every living thing has in it some representition of the outside world.

A plant has in some sense a representation of the sun, that allows it to bend towards it. A bacterium moving along a gradient of nutrients contains within it a representation of this source of nutrition. A bee has representations of hive, flower, sun, and other concepts that guide it goal-seeking behavcior. And so on, up the evolutionary line. When that representation become complete and complex enough to include itself, that is the birth of consciousness. This is not a particularly original notion, although when Hofstadter wrote GEB back in the 70s it wasn't a particularly widely held idea in psychology. At the same time, it was't a completely alien idea, either.

In the last few chapters Hofstadter toys with some more or less current ideas in the philosophy of mind, like Chalmer's "zombie", and presents us with a few more allegories and clever tales, none of which, I think, end up clarifying this position terribly well. One is left with the feeling that Hofstadter has a very strong intuitive sense of how conciousness evolves from these strange loops of self-representation, and what's he's struggling to do is to let us share his intuitions. I find that I share some of these intuitions with him, particularly with his notions of where the self is represented, and representations of others alongside the self, and I think there's a germ of some powerful explanation hiding in there, but I can't seem to provide any more illumination than can Hofstadter.

And that in turn reminds me of something I was told at the beginning of my teaching career: If you can't explain something clearly and simply to another person, then you don't fully undertsand it. I think that's where Hofstadter is with respect to consciousness: He has a lot of intutions and parallels he can pull out, but in the end, he doesn't really have a theory of conciousness.


By R. Hardy "Rob Hardy" (Columbus, Mississippi USA) This review is from: I Am a Strange Loop (Hardcover) You have certainly enjoyed the sensation of looking into a mirror that itself reflected a mirror, making a tunnel of reflections that went as deep as you could see. The same sort of thing happens when you take a television camera and turn it onto a monitor that is showing what the television camera is taking a picture of. But there is something spooky about such a loop. In fact, when young Doug Hofstadter's family was looking to purchase its first video camera, Hofstadter (showing in youth the sort of interest in self-reference that he would turn into a writing career) wondered what would happen if he showed the camera a monitor that itself showed the camera's own output. He remembers with some shame that he was hesitant to close the loop, as if he were crossing into forbidden territory. So he asked the salesman for permission to do so. "No, no, _no_!" came the reply from the salesman, who obviously shared the same fears, "Don't do _that_ - you'll break the camera." And young Hofstadter, unsure of himself, refrained from the experiment. Afterwards he thought about it on the drive home, and could see no danger to the system, and of course he tried it when they got home. And he tried it again many times; video feedback is one of the themes in Hofstadter's monumental and delightful _Gödel, Escher, Bach_ (known by millions as GEB) from 1979, and it comes back for further discussion (with more advanced hardware) in Hofstadter's new _I Am a Strange Loop_ (Basic Books). As in his other books, Hofstadter has written a deeply personal work, even though he is taking on the eternal philosophical bogey of consciousness, and has written once again with a smoothness and a sense of fun that will entrance even casual readers with no particular interest in philosophy or consciousness or mathematics into deep and rewarding thought.

Hofstadter's theme here is consciousness, or "I" or (and he shuns religious connections to the word) the soul. Humans have consciousness. Dogs seem to have some ability to understand what other dogs (and humans) are feeling, some way of representing themselves and others within their own brains. Goldfish, well that's pretty iffy. Mosquitoes have no capacity for self-knowledge. And go further down that scale. How about the neuron itself? Is there any consciousness there? After all, mosquito neurons aren't really much different from human ones, they are just more numerous and tangled in humans. Further down: DNA molecules - conscious or not? Further: carbon atoms - wait a minute, there's not even the possibility that an inanimate atom could have consciousness. Thus the great paradox, looked at repeatedly from different viewpoints here: inanimate matter, properly organized, yields consciousness. We take it all for granted, but it is all profoundly puzzling. Every human brain working at the symbol level (but very much dependent on neural and chemical foundations) "perceives its very own 'I' as a pusher and a mover, never entertaining for a moment the idea that its star player might [[[merely be a useful shorthand]] standing for a myriad infinitesimal entities and the invisible chemical transactions taking place among them." The "I" is an illusion, an effective one that has great survival value for its possessors. This could be dense stuff, but Hofstadter's analogies are brilliant, as are many of his puns; he reminds us, "Just as we need our eyes in order to _see_, we need our "I"'s in order to _be_!" Hofstadter is fun to read.

Hofstadter's last book, _Le Ton beau de Marot_, was a long meditation on language and translation, and contained many reflections about his wife Carol, who sadly and suddenly died of a brain tumor in 1993 before she was 43. Carol reappears many times in the current work; it is clear that she and Hofstadter had an unusually deep and affectionate marriage, "one individual with two bodies". He is able to write movingly of what he has learned from the loss, how Carol's mind, her "Carolness" or "Carol-consciousness" has been incorporated into his own "I". He isn't Carol, and carries only an imperfect copy of Carol's soul within his own soul, but he shows how her strange loop has been incorporated into his, and just how strong and loving such an incorporation must be. It is a deeply humanistic vision of empathy, the sort of generous personal insight that shows that though souls might be merely the product of atoms and neurons interacting, might be merely illusory, they can still be grand and fully empathetic. Hofstadter has written another book to increase our wonder over the workings of our wonderworking brains.

In the "strange loop," Douglas Hofstadter has come up with a pretty fertile metaphor. The problem is that the book doesn't do a whole lot to explain it. If you can "dig" or "grok" or "intuit" that consciousness is a strange loop, then you won't need the long portions of this book that attempt to promote this thesis. If you cannot so grok, then reading those same portions will be confusing and unhelpful.

This is not Hofstadter's fault. Trying to understand consciousness in this way is like "the art of seeing one's own eye" - it pushes up at the limits of language and reason. Good writing can only get you so far.

There are other portions that are quite enjoyable and these are the ones that are less thesis-driven and more literary. Hofstadter's youthful attempt at his own Socratic dialogue is fun and -although he apologizes at length for its immaturity- actually pretty good. I could have read a book-length chat between his "Plato" and "Socrates" (who seem -anachronistically- to be aware of computers and fruit-canning machines).

But even these bits could have done with a bit more editorial direction. The main problem with this book is Hofstadter's isolation within the closed-universe of the academic philosophy of mind. He clearly attaches an undue importance to this vanishingly small world. Hofstadter's snipes at John Searle are embarrassingly frank in their personal bitterness. I have never thought Searle was worth taking very seriously, but Hofstadter has little sense of humor about him or his work.

The same problem colors Hofstadter's frequent digressions into ethics, since his ethical positions seem to stem more directly from the cultural values of the academy than from his own ideas. He makes clear that he is pro-animal rights and pro-choice, since animals have consciousness and fetuses do not. He proposes that there exists a hierarchy of consciousness, with "small-souled" beings (e.g. fetuses, vegetables, retarded human beings) at or near the bottom and "large-souled" beings (e.g. adult humans) at the top. I happen to agree with him here, but Hofstadter's ethical discussion would be greatly enlivened by a familiarity with mysticism and religion, especially Buddhism and Aristotle. Instead, his horizons seem limited to journal-page arguments with Dennett, Churchland and Searle (ethical geniuses none).

Specifically, Hofstadter conflates "degree of consciousness" with "relative right to exist." If he fails to recognize that this is a nonsequitur, he does at least acknowledge that it commits him to a troublesome implication: that 2-year old humans have less right to exist than adult humans. He deals with this as follows:

"Even though I sincerely believe there is much more of a soul in a twenty-year-old than in a two-year-old (a view that will no doubt dismay many readers), I nonetheless have enormous respect for the potential of the two-year-old to develop a much larger soul over the course of a dozen or so years."

It is entirely obvious that fetuses (not to mention spermatazoa) have this same potential, so to the extent that "potential" is the reason for Hofstadter's pro-choice views, his argument is unsatisfactory.

He gives another: cuteness. Perhaps, he suggests, the sensation of cuteness reflects a protective instinct in humans. But this is clearly a positive fact and not a normative one - Badtz Maru is cute, but this alone does not give him rights. Indeed, it seems to me that the OPPOSITE is often true. Babies are precious by virtue of their limited awareness, not in spite of it. (Which is a greater tragedy: the death of child or a highly realized being?) Viewed with a cold eye, the "strange loop" theory of consciousness simply has no necessary ethical implications. Like Dennett, Hofstadter is a terrific thinker but a hamfisted ethicist - an unreflective mouthpiece for the ideology of the academy.

By far, the most useful contribution here is Hofstadter's specific discussion of video feedback as a metaphor for consciousness. Again, you either "grok" this or you don't - there is just no explaining something this weird. In the most novel and interesting portion of the book, he uses Marvin Minksy's term "telepresence" to explore the notion that consciousness is not singular, discrete or correlated with a spatial location or any single "body." He suggests, I think rightly, that mind exists wherever there is sufficient feedback of information, and that it spills over from one feedback loop into another, without respect for bodies, matter, or location. However, in my view, the same prejudices that prevent Hofstadter from confronting the ethical implications of his views also commit him to a reductive, ateleological worldview (again, he is here in lockstep with Dennett here), and this forces him over and over again to explain mind as some sort of emergent (and therefore anomalous) property of information itself. It also forces him to spill gallons of ink unnecessarily in an (unsuccessful) attempt to salvage free will. Finally, it keeps him from exploring the teleological (and much more parsimonious) alternative: that information exists in order to facilitate the emergence of mind.

At the end of the day, this is a self-indulgent book-length footnote to Hofstadter's masterpiece, GEB. Rather than pick at these scraps, the reader should take the opportunity to read or re-read that work.

Text Notes

What is meant by 'brain research?'


What are the structures in the brain one could in principle study?

Saying that the study of the brain is limited to the study of physical entities such as these would be like saying that literary criticism must focus on paper and bookbinding, ink & chemistry.

ABSTRACTIONS ARE CENTRAL when studying literature on the brain.

e.g.

  • the concept of 'day' the associative link between the concepts of “dog” and “bark”
  • object files (Anne Treisman)
  • frames (Marvin Minsky)
  • memory organization packages
  • episodic memory and melodic memory
  • memes (Richard Dawkins)
  • native language grammar
  • sense of humor
  • "I"

---

Some notions unlikely to have lasting validity, while others may be increasingly confirmed by current lines of research.


THE GRADUAL GROWTH OF A SOUL

The soul comes slowly into being over the course of years of development.

Conception results in dynamic soul dwelling entity

Result is entity capable of developing a complex set of internal structures and patterns

souledness is a shaded blurry numerical value that ranges continually across different species and varieties of object and that can also rise or fall over time as a result of growth or decay.

Unconscious prejudices reflect precisely this kind of numerical continuum in their mind whether they admit it or not.

Greater soul in 20 year old than 2 year old nonetheless 2 year old has soul potential

We have been built to perceive cuteness

SOUL – [Having a Light on Inside] [Possessing Intentionality] [Having Sentiments]

Ability to think about things as complicated patterns

I AM A STRANGE LOOP

c.f. Strange Loop

What is really going on when you dream or think about someone you love?

At the moment this happens your mind starts acting differently from how it acts in a normal context – you have allowed yourself to be invaded by an 'alien universal being'

Brain is a stage on which active symbols dance

Self is also a concept

Your brain is necessarily inhabited by other souls. The degree of each is that which you faithfully represent and resonate with the others encapsulated.

We automatically incorporate into our repitore behavior fragments of others.

Our own style bears countless fragments of the style of others.

Everything (nearly) you do is a kind of modified borrowing from others.

Virtual influences among the most profound.

We are all curious collages.

We are selective in what we internalize.

Even our style of selectivity is itself influenced over the years by what we have turned into by repeated accretions.

What was once on the surface gradually becomes buried like a Roman ruin, growing closer and closer to the core as our radius keeps increasing.

MOSAICS OF DIFFERENT GRAIN SIZE

What seems to matter the most is the “degree of fidelity” to original an idea which found a metaphor based on portraits rendered as mosaics made out of small colored stones.

The more intimately someone comes to know you the finer grained will be the portrait of you inside their head.

The highest resolution portrait of you is of course your own self portrait – your own mosaic of self built up over your entire life, exquisitely fine grained.

What is the difference between actual personal memories and pseudo memories?

Very little.

There is no fundamental distinction between actual personal memories and pseudo memories : all for part of an emotional library. They are all part of emotional library waiting for trigger just as genuine memories are waiting there is no fundamental distinction!

As time passes and the shapes of one's memory fades, the distinction grows even blurrier.

Does the actual hardware matter?

The cells inside the brain are not bearers of consciousness – THE BEARERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS ARE PATTERNS.

Patterns can be transplanted from one media to another, even between radically different media – such an act is transplantation.

No copy is perfect – yet.

Since normal adult human brain is a representationally universal machine and since humans are social beings, adult brain is locus of many strange loops.

Every normal adult human soul is housed in many brains in varying degrees of fidelity, every human consciousness lives on in a collective of others.

TELEPRESENCE

Teleportation goggles.

Telepresence – telepresence vs. real presence?

AS TELEPRESENCE TECHNOLOGY IMPROVES THE PRIMARY LOCATION BECOMES LESS AND LESS PRIMARY

Dan Dennett – Philosophical Fantasy “Where am I?”

Self – Soul – I – A Light on Inside – Consciousness

Consciousness is the dance of symbols across the brain – i.e. consciousness is thinking most of the time any given symbol in the brain lies dormant like a book sitting inertly in the remote stacks of a huge library.

Every so often an event will trigger the retreival of this book from the stacks and the pages will come alive.

Dance of symbols in the brain is what consciousness is – it is also what thinking is.

Mature human brains are constantly trying to reduce the complexity of what the perceive to trigger just one familiar pre existing symbol.

Main business of human brains – take a complex situation and put one finger on what matters in it : to distill from an initial welter of sensations and ideas what a situation is about.

SYMBOLS TRIGGER MORE SYMBOLS.

When all this activity has flowed around for a while something slowly settles out : some kind of percipitate – a phenomenal reduction in complexity.

Brain is constantly seeking to label, categorize, find precedents and analogues i.e. to simplify while not letting essence slip away. It carries this out relentlessly not only in re: fresh sensory input but also in re: its own internal dance : there is really not much of a difference between these two cases.

Perceiver of symbolic activity is itself just a symbol.

I is outcome, not the starting point.

The "I" myth wins hands down without a debate ever taking place even in the minds of the majority of scientifically minded people.

"I admit my stance has a definite ironic tinge to it. Sometimes the strict scientific viewpoint is useless even if it is correct. That is a dilemma.

THE HUMAN CONDITION IS BY ITS VERY NATURE ONE OF BELIEVING A MYTH. WE ARE PERMANENTLY TRAPPED IN THAT CONDITION WHICH MAKES LIFE INTERESTING.

eyes in order to see "I" in order to be.

Our fate is to be able to perceive abstractions and to be driven to do so.

We spend our lives sorting the world into and ever growing hearty of patterns, all represented by symbols in our brains.

We can not see way down to the level where physical casualty happens so in compensation we find all sorts of marvelously efficient shorthand ways of describing what goes on because the world, although pretty crazy and chaotic, is nonetheless filled with regularities that can be counted on most of the time.

Since each perceiver is always swimming in its own activities and their countless consequence it can't keep itself from fabricating a particularly interesting and intricate tale about its own soul, its own central essence.

The fact that the system can watch itself dooms it to this illusion. Not only can it watch itself, it does watch itself.

We ar macroscopic creatures and so our perception and our categories are enormously coarse grained relative to the fabric at which the casualty of the universe lies. We are stuck at the level of radical simplification for better or worse.

Using words necessitates living with paradox

I is an expression denoting a set of very high abstractions

Key to self replicating physical entities: DNA is the blueprint. It all hinges on the existence of stable mappings and the meanings that come from them. All life, as far as it has come wherever it is heading. Sense of being an I merely a mundane consequence of mapping?

Unique link in an infinite chain

The sole root of all these phenomena is perception, bringing symbols and meanings into physical systems

Perception focuses on itself and you get rich magical seeming consequences.


Humans automatically see our brain activity as entirely symbolic

  • KG is not a random string of PM symbols but a formula possessing a great deal of structure.
  • Human mind works by compounding of old ideas into new structures that become new ideas that can themselves be used in compounds, and round and round endlessly, growing ever more remote the earthbound imagery that is the language's soil.

Pure PM Strings - contain no abbreviations whatsoever

Any attempt to read them as statements about numbers will yield no (unreadable) at all

I is outcome, not a starting point

The "I" myth wins hands down without a debate ever taking place even in the minds of the majority of scientifically inclined people

  • "I admit my stance has a definite ironic tinge to it. Sometimes ste strict scientific viewpoint is useless even if it is correct. Thats a dilemma.

THE HUMAN CONDITION IS BY ITS VERY NATURE ONE OF BELIEVING A MYTH.

WE ARE PERMANENTLY TRAPPED IN THAT CONDITION WHICH MAKES LIFE INTERESTING.

Eyes in order to see "I" in order to be

Our fate is to be able to perceive abstractions and to be driven to do so.

We spend our lives sorting the world into an ever growing heiarchy of patterns, all represented by symbols in our brains.

We can not see way down to the leve where physical casuality happens so in compensation we find all sorts of marvelously efficient shorthand ways of describing what goes on because the world, although pretty crazy and chaotic, is nonetheless filled with regularities that can be counted on most of the time.

Since each perceiver is always swimming in its own activities and their countless consequences it can't keep itself from fabricating a particularly interesting and intricate tale about its own soul, its own central essence.

The fact that the system can watch itself dooms it to this illusion. Not only can it watch itself, it does watch itself.

We are macroscopic creatures and our categories are enormously coarse grained relative to the fabric at which true casuality of the universe lies. We are stuck at the level of radical simplification for better or for worse

Using Words Necessitates Living With Paradox

I is an expression denoting a set of very high abstractions

Key to self replicating physical entities: DNA is the blueprint it al hinges on the existence of stable mappings and the meanings that come from them.

All life, as far as it has come, wherever it is heading.

Sense of being an I merely a mundane consequence of being a mapping?

Unique link in an infinite chain

The sole root of all these phenomena is perception, bringing symbols and meanings into physical systems.

perception focused on itself and you get magical seeming consequences.

WE can will away all we want but our will, quite the opposite of being free, is steady and stable, life on inner gyroscope and it is the stability and constancy of our non free will that makes me me and you you and that also keeps me me and you you.

On Magnamity and Friendship

Short of capital punishment there is incarceration where society treats people with many levels of dignity or lack thereof, implicitly showing different levels of respect for different sized souls.

Head of state has better medical treatment than an average person

Lion can and will internalize certain limited aspects of the interiority of at least some creatures.

Pamela McCorduck wrote a history of artificial intelligence with the title Machines Who Think

Who my closets friends are: it all comes down to "how" they are; how they smile; how they talk; how they laugh; how they listen; how they suffer, etcetera.

The collection of "knows" is the answer, the full answer - to "who is this person?"

"I" is like a billof paper money --- it feels as if it is worth a great deal but ultimately it is just a social convention, a kind of illusion that we all tacitly agree on without ever having been asked & which despite being illusory, supports our entire economy. Yet the bill is just a piece of paper with no intrinsic worth at all.

David Chalmas - well known Austrian philosopher

consciousness is nothing but the upper end of a continuous spectrum of self perception levels that brains automatically possess as a result of their design.

CONSCIOUSNESS IS NOT AN ADD ON OPTION WHEN ONE HAS A 100 HUNEKER BRAIN: it is an inevitable consequence of a feedback loop memory system with robust enough types.

Level of emotionality unquestioningly a spectrum

Our decisions by an analogue to a voting process in a democracy. Much of life is incredibly random and we have no control over it.

Emergence and Layers of Abstraction

In our day we take for granted that bodies and their organs are made of cells

Heart is a pump- beyond physical level

Brain is a thinking machine


Nature favored designs that were more efficient.

Rival architectures became cief contenders for selection even more complex patterns quickly emerged.

  • Car buyers focus on high abstractions such as comfort, safety, fuel efficiency, manuverability, sexinesss, etc

Microscopic level wrong level to look at brain to explain -



Turing Machine - Infinite Tape. Turing Machine is an ABSTRACT machine, could in principle be built of ANY MATERIAL WHATSOEVER.

Thinking & Feeling - vast processes over millions of beer cans

Thirst intricate pattern over millions of beer cans. Mental processes of brain are vast abstract processes of underlting constituents

  • Who pushes who around in the population of causal forces that occupy the cranium?

Straightening out the pecking order among intracranial control agents

There exist within cranium a whole world of diverse casual forces; what is more: there are forces within forces within forces within forces.

If one keeps climbing upward in chain of command

Very top over all organizational forces and dynamic properties of the large patterns of cerebral excitation

  • What is the apex of this command system? idea

Casual potency of idea

becomes just as real as that of molecule, cell or nerve impulse

IDEAS CAUSE IDEAS & help evolve new ideas in toro -- burstwise advance in evolution that is far beyond anything to hit evolutionary scene yet, including emergence of living cell.

  • I "decide"

dread/dream/hope/grief/idea/belief/interest/doubt/information/envy/memories/ambitions/Nostalgia/empathy/guilt/genius

Do pure abstractions have casual powers?

  • Laws of Physics
  • Selves / Souls
  • Dreads / Dreams
  • Love / Marriage
  • Smile / Swoon
  • Joke / Laughter
  • Done / Boredom
  • Car / Smog
  • Smoke / Fire

Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics

4 Basic forces

  • Gravity
  • Electromagnetism
  • Strong Nuclear
  • Weak Nuclear

"Macroscopic Forces" - ways of describing complex patterns


Comprehensibility

Gigantic text w/ Avogadro's # of equations not to help anybody.

Throwing away huge amounts of info and just making a statistical sumary could do a lot for comprehensibility.

STATISTICAL MECHANICS CAN BE BYPASSED BY TALKING AT THE LEVEL OFTHERMODYNAMICS

Thinkodynamics -- large scale structures and patterns, no reference to microscopic events.

  • Make Chains
  • Commit Errors
  • Perceive Patterns
  • Novel Remindings

Etc

--Mentalities

  • Small scale phenomena

--neurotrans

--cell wiring

--assemblies reverb in synch.

etc.

Pressures of daily life require us: FORCE US to talk about events at the level we perceive them

We perceive the world in terms of these notions.

We necessarily simplify, indeed, vastly so.

Drastic simplification is what allows us to reduce situations to bare bones, discern abstract essenses, put our fingers on what matters, understand phenomena at amazingly high levels. Survive reliably in the world.

FORMULATE literature art music science

The Casual Potency of Patterns

THE PRIME MOVER

Falling Dominoes - Each spring loaded, flips back up with such a system we can implement a mechanical contraption, details of no concern.

  • processes purposeful, teleological and goal directed

First and final cause

internal logic filled with circular reasoning

mathematical biophysics

rebuild biology on the bedrock of physical sciences.

devise a logical model of nervous system and brain

A Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in the Nervous System - Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics

Simple sensory experiences computed logically by the brain

Immanent computation activity innate within the brain -- higher mental processes such as learning mand memory computed and leat on formation of new synaptic connections between neurons

Nets with Circles

Self perpetuating networks of neural circuity - electrical activity

MOST IMPORTANT - These networks allow brain to predict future from present events.

The Science of Teleology

Living things and machines alike behave with purpose

First formulation in scientific terms of the strange circular logic of feedback loops that lay at the heart of all intelligent behavior.

Maximize positive feedback to pursue your goals. Align your goals with the divine positive feedback loop.

The divine force gives both positive feedback and negative feedback

Seek first the positive feedback of God

Very notion of purpose was heresy amongst reductionist scientific thinkers

Russell & Whitehead & Wittgenstein had banished the mention of "mind" itself --- THE WHOLE SUBJECTIVE REALM OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE - EMOTIONS, PURPOSES and OTHER DISUTED "INTERNAL STATES" THAT COULD NOT READILY BE DETECTED BY THE SENSES, DESCRIBED MATHEMATICALLY AND VERIFIED EXPERIMENTALLY

PURPOSEFUL ACTION ALONG CIRCULAR PATHS

(pp. 133)

All purposeful actions were governed by circular communication processes and guided to their goals by error checking negative feedback

Purposeful action - directed towards attainment of a goal - virtually every form of higher order animal behavior

All those purposeful actions governed by circular communication processes

BY INFORMING THE LOOPED BACK CONTINUOUSLY HOW FOR OFF THE MARK IT WAS STRAYING AND THE CORRECTIONS FOR THE SYSTEM NEEDED TO REACH ITS GOAL

The first knights of [[circular causality soon found themselves joined in common cause with a greater purpose.

TO FIND AND RETRIEVE THE DEFINING FEATURES OF HUMANITY

pp 135

The rudiments of human intelligence in all of its inward and outward expression

To ground them logically and neurologically theoretically and experimentally

THEREBY PROVIDE AND ANTIDOTE TO THE 20th CENTURY'S RAMPANT REDUCTIONISM

The Core of Control Theory

Purposeful action (teleological governed by negative feedback and circular causality

The best way to get something done is to propagandize anyone who is a reasonable prospect of support.

Von Neumann Architecture

Breach the bulwark of reductionism that had held fast on Western Science for decades.

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