Friday, April 21, 2017

I challenge you all to jump off a tall building

David Schwartzman Apr 21, 2017
Your conclusion: consciousness is unexplainable by science, now and forever, therefore, we must adopt on an idealist philosophical position, mind/consciousness is primary, obviously ignoring all the knowledge produced by science, i.e., the universe and the Earth existed long before human consciousness emerged. 

I submit  Benjamin Farrington argued persuasively that Plato’s idealism was associated with the emergence of an aristocracy doing no manual labor,  served by slaves, leading to the concept of mind being primary, in contrast to the materialism of Thales of Miletus who lived in a more equal society where everyone worked with their hands. Carlo Ginzburg’s “The Cheese and the Worms” is recommended, supporting this take on the relation of materialism to social reality (Menocchio the miller:  God and the angels came out of the foam of ocean waves, spontaneous materialism). Menocchio burned at the stake one year before Giordano Bruno; witness the fate of outspoken atheists in Bangladesh, and other victims of religious intolerance of non-believers.

If material reality is just an illusion, as all of you idealists claim, I challenge you all to stand in front of an incoming train or truck, or jump off a tall building, your choice.  Again it is obvious that common sense, grounded in conscious realization that material reality exists outside our consciousness will prevail for your personal survival.  Of course, I anticipate some convoluted argument to the contrary. 


Hi Avtar,
Indian philosophy calls the collection of all the thoughts, desires, emotions, memories, etc, of an individual as the individual's mind and emphasizes that just like lifeless matter, an individual's mind is NOT conscious! The philosophy explains the solution to the hard problem by means of an analogy as follows: When sun light falls in a pot containing water, the light is reflected by the water creating an image of the sun. The image has some brightness but its origin is in the sun light and not in the pot nor in the water. A living being is a body with a mind and similar to a pot containing water; the mind is like water and the body is like the pot. Consciousness (with big C) is the sun light. The consciousness appearing in a living being is like the image of the sun in water. Just as there is no reflection in an empty pot, there is no appearance of consciousness in lifeless matter but only in living beings because they have minds and life is the interaction of mind with matter. Again, just as the water needs a pot to hold it, and the reflection is gone if the pot is broken, the mind cannot exhibit the apparently conscious behavior after the death of the physical body.

Syamala Hari
...

Sri Aurobindo wrote extensively on Consciousness a century back but referring to his Ontology is being avoided in these conversations. He provides a much advanced point of departure to study this problem which, I hope, can help in resolving many difficult dilemmas. Thanks to everyone participating in these discussions.

Tusar Nath Mohapatra
Apr 20, 2017
...

Hi Surge:
I do not agree with the widely-used definition (Hard Problem) - "By a "theory of consciousness" I suggest to mean an explanatory framework which is able to explain how the physical (sensory) signals become transformed into experience.....If a theory is not able to explain this, then it is not a theory of consciousness.....So, may I as Deepak to name, at least, one theory of consciousness known for him? Who is its author?"

Theory of consciousness must address the physical mechanism that powers the firing of neurons to generate signals; how the signals generate experience is only a limited sensation - manifestation of the fundamental consciousness or free willed energy in the universe as evidenced in the spontaneous expansion of the universe a physical model of the universal consciousness. The so-called Hard Problem only addresses limited biological experience and not the fundamental consciousness.

Best Regards
Avtar Singh, Sc.D.
Alumni, MIT
Author of "The Hidden Factor - An Approach for Resolving Paradoxes of Science, Cosmology, and Universal Reality"

Dear Serge

In case Deepak can't answer your very reasonable challenge, let me draw your attention to my theory of consciousness (Position Selecting  Interactionism) because it is a theory that does fulfill your criteria.

It really does provide an explanatory framework that scientifically explains how the physical sensory signals became transformed into experience. And it does this without invoking any functionalism. Moreover, this theory appears to be testable.  Unfortunately Deepak may not have heard of it yet as it has so far only been published in my book THE BLIND MINDMAKER which has only been available on Amazon since Christmas.

Best wishes,
Colin

C.  S.  Morrison,  author of THE BLIND MINDMAKER: Explaining Consciousness without Magic or Misrepresentation


Dear Peter and Serge,

There does seem to be a range of meaning to the notion of ‘theory’ when we look at examples of theories.  So, although Newton’s theory of gravitation does not give an ‘explanation’ for how gravity is able to affect objects at a distance, it is still an adequate and rather successful explanation and predictive model for a large set of observations over a wide range of scales. In the effort to widen the range of applicability and predictive power of a theory of gravitation (i.e. to understand why the environment of an accelerating elevator looks just like the environment in a stationary elevator in the presence of a gravitational field), Einstein came upon the idea of curvature of spacetime as an ‘explanation’ for how gravity can influence objects at a distance: a massive object at location A results in the spacetime near it to be curved in such a way as to influence another object at location B.   

This theory greatly expands the range of applicability and predictive power to include behavior of masses that are highly concentrated (neutron stars and black holes), and large energy events that generate gravitational waves (predicted by Einstein and confirmed by the LIGO experiment).  But even this theory does not account for all phenomena, as evidenced by its extension by Hawking to include some quantum effects near black holes. My intention in responding here is to highlight three things about theories in general (of the many characteristics that could be highlighted), and how these things apply, in particular, to a purported theory of consciousness. 

The first is the presence and assumption of primitives, or concepts that are considered ‘givens’.  For example, in the case of a theory of gravitation, a ‘given’ is that it acts at a distance.  Who can argue with that, right?  Except that within this assumption is embedded the particular ways our human senses perceive and our minds interpret distinction or separation between what we see as different objects, and the distances between them.  So, although Newton could not account for that particular aspect of gravity, his theory still stands as a valid and effective theory.  And this leads to the second aspect of theories, which is their range of applicability, to some degree determined by the primitives of the theory.  So, both Newton’s and Einstein’s theories of gravitation are limited in their applicability to scales (in phase space) much larger than the quantum of action. The primitive in this case is the assumption of the unrestricted divisibility of matter.  Questioning the validity or essential nature of the primitives creates the opportunity to expand the range of applicability of the theory, as does Einstein’s in relation to Newton’s.  So, these two aspects can be summarized as: 1) what question(s) does the theory try to answer? and 2) what are the givens it must answer these questions in terms of? The third aspect is that a theory that is expanded in its range by changing the primitives does not necessarily invalidate the former theory: Newton’s theory is still adequate for many things, and far easier to use than Einstein’s.

I basically agree with you, Peter, that Serge is pointing to a demanding concept of theory.  But I would also say that behaviorist theories of consciousness have a (limited) range of validity.  So, as long as the primitives are clear, and the range of applicability is clear, then perhaps there can be a little more agreement on what is valid theory?  For example, consider the challenge to Deepak from Serge:

“I suggest to mean an explanatory framework which is able to explain how the physical (sensory) signals become transformed into experience.”

Within this challenge there appears to me to be embedded an already virtually complete theory for how experience happens: it happens when “physical (sensory) signals become transformed into experience”.  First there is a signal, which has physical roots or are physical in nature, and then somehow these are transformed—altered in their essential nature as physical things—into experience (assumed, I guess, to be non-physical in nature).  Hence the difficulty in answering the challenge—how can we give an explanatory framework for something that is already assumed without question to be a certain way?  I believe what Deepak is saying is that he disagrees with the most commonly assumed primitives, the ‘given’s’. 

We have a ‘common’ narrative born of historical record that life evolves from physical things that begin with simple interactions, and such interactions grow in complexity until ‘poof’ - life emerges.  If we accept this narrative as a given, along with the more subtle embedded assumptions, then we appear to be constrained to pose the question as SP did above. 

I would also like to point out there are many theories of consciousness already, but they can be viewed from the perspective described above—clearly demarcate the primitives and their range of applicability.  I can mention two I am familiar with (arguments against them are a separate issue): Giulio Tononi’s Integrated Information Theory (which doesn’t so much explain consciousness in physical terms as it gives constraints on a physical substrate sufficient to account for the phenomenology of consciousness), and Penrose and Hameroff’s Orchestrated Objective Reduction hypothesis.
Regards,
Siegfried

Dear Serge,

How do you distinguish informational factors from information, energy factors from energy and material factors from matter? What  are the different  informational factors and  from where  they emrrgre out?

I never indicated  that you consider    consciousness  as more fundamental   than information 

If a person likes red cars more than green cars, no need for criticism by a person  who likes green  cars. But some logical reasons in the genetic structure can be sought. If meta theory can't be sought based upon grounds  that it is one's belief than why  discussions on this forum? What I intend to convey that by rational  logical deliberations  with open mind, gap between meta theory of two persons can also be narrowed down.

Does hypothesis  of information  without consciousness  appears  sensible  to you? Every rational  person  with sense is an author of this. Could you please cite even a single example in our worldly life where information might have come. Into existence without the interventions  from some consciousness possessing agency?

You are  stating applied theory  of consciousness  as one which explains  transformation  of physical signals  into new products viz thoughts or experiences  of all variety. I treat  any such theory  as theory  of cognition  and not of consciousness  with due difference  between  consciousness  and cognition.

Regards

Vinod Sehgal

Respected Dr. Ram,

Thanks.

What  I wanted  to highlight and  convey was that quantum  uncertainty is not an inherent feature  of nature  and that this property  arise in nature due to interaction  of matter particles with the measuring dignal. In other words, if there were no measurement, quantum particles  at the ground level should not have any intrinsic and inherent uncertainty. My arguments  for this hypothesis are summarized at following:

Distinction between  macro and quantum scales are arbitrary one. If we measure a macro level  object say a tree from the macro level  observational platform, no  uncertainty is detected. Had uncertainty been an inherent and implicit property of nature, the same should have continued to any scale from electronic  to galactic  one. But this does not happens. This indicates that uncertainty is property as induced  in quantum particles by the signal of the measuring  instruments.  A related corollary  of this hypothesis should be that even a macro level object say a tree should reveal  also reveal uncertainty  if  the measuring signal is quite strong enough. When measuring a macro level object from the same macro level, there may not be the need to have a quite strong signal to induce uncertainty  in tree. But if  the tree is measured  from the galactic observational scale, a  very strong measuring signal  may be needed enabled to induce uncertainty  in a tree which we call as macro one from our present observational scale . It is for  the same reasons that  atoms and molecules should not exhibit  any uncertainty when measured from the same quantum observational plateforms since  in that case a very weak measuring signal  may be needed unable to induce any uncertainty.

If above hypothesis are correct, this will have very serious implications for the quantum  theories/models related to thr creation of the universe. If uncertainty is not an inherent property of nature but a property as induced by measuring signals in nature, it means all the quantum theories and models  of creation are wrong since creation  commenced and continued  to go forward  without any measurement. If it is so, Einstein was  correct  when he made the famous statement: God does not play dice with the nature.

To sum up,  key question  is : Is uncertainty an inherent property of nature or an induced one by measurement ? You may please respond against  this query in a direct and frontal manner.

Regards

Vinod Sehgal 

Respected Vinod ji,

In physics, as per my understanding, some physicists propose that Nature is deterministic at sub-microscopic level (such as Planck level, deeper than quantum level) and stochasticity in QM is an artifact of measurement and probability is subjective probability due to our ignorance. If we do not make a measurement, a quantum particle follows deterministic Schrödinger equation. If this is true, then I would agree with you that Nature is deterministic except initial condition. This is ('t Hooft, 2015).

On the other hand, some argue that Nature is fundamentally stochastic as in ZPF fluctuations and the objective probability is real. This is (de la Peña, Cetto & Valdes-Hernandez, 2015)’s position.

Therefore, to be on safe side, we should make a model in both ways and perhaps, we can find some real contradiction so one of the views can be rejected in future.

Cheers!

Kind regards,
Rām
----------------------------------------------------------
Rām Lakhan Pāndey Vimal, Ph.D.
Amarāvati-Hīrāmaṇi Professor (Research)
Vision Research Institute, Physics, Neuroscience, & Consciousness Research Dept.
25 Rita Street, Lowell, MA 01854 USA

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Human body is a busy chemical plant

By opening the gates of publishing to all, the internet has flattened hierarchies everywhere they exist. We no longer live in a world in which elites of accredited experts are able to dominate conversations about complex or contested matters. Politicians cannot rely on the aura of office to persuade, newspapers struggle to assert the superior integrity of their stories. It is not clear that this change is, overall, a boon for the public realm. But in areas where experts have a track record of getting it wrong, it is hard to see how it could be worse. If ever there was a case that an information democracy, even a very messy one, is preferable to an information oligarchy, then the history of nutrition advice is it. [...]

But it is a biological error to confuse what a person puts in their mouth with what it becomes after it is swallowed. The human body, far from being a passive vessel for whatever we choose to fill it with, is a busy chemical plant, transforming and redistributing the energy it receives. Its governing principle is homeostasis, or the maintenance of energy equilibrium (when exercise heats us up, sweat cools us down). Cholesterol, present in all of our cells, is created by the liver. Biochemists had long known that the more cholesterol you eat, the less your liver produces. Unsurprisingly, then, repeated attempts to prove a correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol failed. [...]

A scientist is part of what the Polish philosopher of science Ludwik Fleck called a “thought collective”: a group of people exchanging ideas in a mutually comprehensible idiom. The group, suggested Fleck, inevitably develops a mind of its own, as the individuals in it converge on a way of communicating, thinking and feeling. This makes scientific inquiry prone to the eternal rules of human social life: deference to the charismatic, herding towards majority opinion, punishment for deviance, and intense discomfort with admitting to error. Of course, such tendencies are precisely what the scientific method was invented to correct for, and over the long run, it does a good job of it. [...]
We tend to think of heretics as contrarians, individuals with a compulsion to flout conventional wisdom. But sometimes a heretic is simply a mainstream thinker who stays facing the same way while everyone around him turns 180 degrees. When, in 1957, John Yudkin first floated his hypothesis that sugar was a hazard to public health, it was taken seriously, as was its proponent. By the time Yudkin retired, 14 years later, both theory and author had been marginalised and derided. Only now is Yudkin’s work being returned, posthumously, to the scientific mainstream. [...]
Max Planck: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

In the past, we only had two sources of nutritional authority: our doctor and government officials. It was a system that worked well as long as the doctors and officials were informed by good science. But what happens if that cannot be relied on?

Ian Leslie, the author of Curious: the Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It, is a regular contributor to the Long Read. Twitter: @mrianleslie Thursday 7 April 2016 

Hindustan Times-9 hours ago
Dietary combination of protein and carbohydrate may help promote good gut health as such a diet encourages cooperation between ourselves ...

Savitri Study Camp 19-13 “The Deformed Dwarf” "One day I will return, a bringer of light; Then will I give to thee the mirror of God; Thou shalt see self and world as by him they are seen Reflected in ...

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Visceral, lived experiences best activate emotional circuits

Why Leadership Development Isn’t Developing Leaders
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In general, I can confidently state that the most essential pre-requisite on the part of the therapist/spiritual guide for healing to take place, is a posture of and groundedness in unconditionallove. Without this, healing cannot begin, and thus the importance of self work/sādhanā. This has been notedin the Western context by the eminent psychotherapist Carl Rogers (1961) in his emphasis on the absolute necessity of the attitude of "unconditional positive regard‟ on the part of the therapist toward the client, and more explicitly by the eminent psychiatrist M. Scott Peck (1978) in his well known work, "The Road Less Travelled". A moment's reflection on healing in the traditional Indian context immediately reveals that when individuals in distress approach their guru, the healing process begins with the love and unconditional acceptance of the person in distress by the guru. Thus, at the risk of overstating, I again underscore the key importance of self-work on the part of the therapist/guru. [...] More generally, a genuine spiritual outlook fosters greater harmony and promotes a healthy and vibrant co-existence. It thus becomes important to examine what is it in spirituality that helps in reducing conflict.

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Posted on October 18, 2016 by Divya
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Unlike the usual parameters of attachment, selfishness, insecurity, desire, fear that define most human relationships, the Guru-disciple relationship bases itself on some of the most beautiful ideals of human existence. It is a relationship that is built on profound love and respect, real trust and freedom and a natural and simple obedience. The central purpose of the relationship is to help and guide the disciple to undertake his inner search for the Self.

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While answering this question, it is essential to understand the literal translation of the word ‘guru’, which is described as someone who takes us away from darkness and leads us towards light. In the light of Indian Psychology, it is not a physical body in the form of a guru but your belief in those thoughts and ideas that take you away from darkness. It can be in any form and if you really are a self-aware individual then you will find the guiding light within you which will help you solve all your problems. As they say all knowledge is an unfolding, so the essence of the ‘guru’ is present in each one of us. If we operate from that state of awareness, our life will be full of light and we will be able to walk on the sunlit path with our guru forever in our hearts. It’s not an external phenomenon, it’s internal. Tuning into our inner guiding light is being constantly in touch with the guru within.

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GA Parry - Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social …, 2016 ... The Indian sage Sri Aurobindo said something quite similar. Page 7. COSMOS AND HISTORY ... Something like this happened when Jean Gebser and Sri Aurobindo (contemporaries who never met), both wrote about the structures of consciousness in the mid-twentieth century. ...

Off the beaten Tracks: the neglected significance of interiority for sustainable urban development
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Interiority, the inner being, consciousness, is the core theme of this essay. My main concern is the application of rather marginal approaches to address future. [...] A key argument is that as much as we recognize the outer built environment of cities to address major challenges of our times like the ecological crisis, we also need to integrate the much more subtle interior dimensions of human existence to address them adequately. On the one hand, this research inquires about the potentials of social urban pioneers and change agents, intentional communities and such transnational initiatives like the transition town movement, which are discussed within the context of their global relevance in developed and developing countries illustrated by the case of India. While on the other hand, it is a quest to develop a conceptual-theoretical approach to what may be called integral transformative urban development planning.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Vedic hymns could also be read as metrical poetry

How to understand the world is a perpetual challenge and philosophy will survive because thinking doesn't require much material assistance.
On the whole, though one's philosophical treasure can't assure unadulterated truth, it would help in showing right direction and lighting path.
Interesting that while writing a previous tweet, I have valorised two terms, right and light, quite normally, as if they are self evident truth.

I’ve either forgotten who the Alien Ecologies blogger is, or never knew it. But THIS POST HERE is one of the best interpretations of my first book that I’ve ever seen.
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Chathapuram S. RamanathanSrilatha JuvvaSubhabrata Dutta,Khadija Khaja
Rowman & Littlefield15-Oct-2016 - Social Science - 298 pages 0 Reviews
This book explores culture, development, and spirituality from the perspective of social work. This framework serves as foundation and guides analytical deliberation through the use of case studies from around the world. With emerging trends in development, synchronistic synthesis between the inner self and interventions, it is anticipated to contribute to advancing well-being of all people. The book reflects global experiences from both the social work professions and development practitioner’s perspectives, as it pertains to economic and social development. 
The book serves as a guide to those who want to better understand and incorporate spirituality into successful social work interventions, practice, and research. It examines social development in the daily lives of children and families by looking at larger national and international phenomenon that can affect the well-being of communities. The book further discusses natural disasters, poverty, war, migration, human trafficking, war, violence and other factors with suggestions of innovative global interventions that have been utilized to assist diverse marginalized groups and communities.

ritam - Scribd

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We thank the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, Pondicherry for granting permission to print material from the .... of which the right principle of action and the right spiritual and divine result of works emerged naturally like a ...

Feb 8, 2016 - Ritam "The Word in the Rig-Veda and in Sri Aurobindo's epic poem Savitri" ... In regard to the Veda it must be said right from the outset that there exists the special barrier of the Sanskrit language in ... In this context it is also necessary to mention the fact – of which hardly anyone even in India seems to be aware today – that besides the so-called Vedic chanting (which most likely was developed millennia ago to simply preserve the text and allow a single human being to retain by heart without distortions thousands of verses) these ancient hymns could also be read as metrical poetry. That Sri Aurobindo knew this – and even implied this fact when time and again he refers to the Veda in his work The Future Poetry – can be ascertained by his mentioning the need to restore the metre of some verses while he worked on their translation. And also Western academic scholarship – even though until today it is not able to appreciate the esoteric meaning of these inspired hymns – has recognized this from the 19th century onwards and in recent years has created the website "The Rigveda Metrically Restored Text".

Feb 5, 2016 - Ritam "Evolution towards Human Unity: Some passages from Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with ... ear', doing what seemed right at the time, improvising, and being ready to change according to  ...

Ritam "Sri Aurobindo Comes to Auroville" - Auroville Wiki

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Feb 8, 2016 - The power of Sri Aurobindo's presence most people find in his eyes, each eye radiating a very different light. Like the Mother's eyes, the right one is piercing, all seeing, while the left is remote ...

Nature of SpaceTime | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

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This is denoted as Triple Time Vision (Trikal-drishti) by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother Mirra Alfassa and was .... Only right at the top of the ladder, when one reaches what could be called the centre of the universe, the ...

From the Tapas comes out first Ritam ca Satyam, that which is Truth and the Right. This is the first. In other words, out of the Sat–Chit–Ananda, by the power of Tapas comes out Supermind. Satyam, Ritam, Brihat ...
Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo & The Mother.