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Author Topic:   universe- why is it here?
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 31 of 144 (122567)
07-07-2004 3:17 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by sidelined
06-23-2004 8:40 AM


It doesn't appear the original poster is taking an interest in this.

I'll use this thread to see what the response might be to more eastern philosophy. Most debates here seem to be between the Judeo-Christian revealed faith group and the Greek rationalist science group. Both viewpoints tend to ignore the observer in favor of the observed.

What is consciousness, awareness of being? Is the universe aware? Is it conscious? and if not then what is? The Buddhist formulate it without a divinity, the Advaitist call it Brahman or the Godhead yet both viewpoints are non dual, very much the same thing I think. This is one Universe of interdependant and interacting processes of one whole. None of us is separate from it though the ego idea results in a feeling of separation. Revealed western religion and other popular religions are belief structures to meet the needs of the ego. Buddha means Awake. When the illusions and fantasies of the ego disolve who or what is it can be said to wake up?

Ramana Maharshi would return a philosophical question to the questioner. Who is it that wants to know why the universe is here? Who is it that is aware of being? If consciousness is the last mystery and I think it might be then who or what can solve it?

I have a dim recall of an exchange of two Zen Buddhist. I don't remember their names. The first asked the second, "Where is the Buddha?". The second one called the first by name who replied, "Yes?" and was then asked, "Where are you?"

Ask why the universe is here? Where would you be if it wasn't? The answer may not be out there either in revealed religion or researched science. The answer may be that that asks the question. It may be that which sees and not the seen at all, or rather that which sees is that which it sees...non dual.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by sidelined, posted 06-23-2004 8:40 AM sidelined has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by contracycle, posted 07-07-2004 9:44 AM lfen has replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 33 of 144 (122679)
07-07-2004 10:44 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by contracycle
07-07-2004 9:44 AM


Hi Contracycle,

A self-monitoring information transaction.

A cryptically succinct definition. Where and how do you see the transaction taking place? My first guess is the central nervous system?
And this definition would suggest you see consciousness as an emergent property rather than fundamental?

None of us is separate from it though the ego idea results in a feeling of separation.

Correct - the ego exists so I don't get integrated into the universe through a wolfs belly.

Correct? or "Correction - etc". I was saying the ego doesn't exist except as an idea or illusion. I'm interrested in what you see as the distinction between the "ego" and "I". The atoms and molecules of our bodies are just passing through. An organism eating an organism is a transformational activity. Structures arise out of structures and change. Sooner or later all bodies die and enter new forms. Wouldn't it be more accurate if your statement read, "the ego exists to delay my getting intergrated into the universe through a wolfs belly for as long as possible hopefully until I die of old age."???


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by contracycle, posted 07-07-2004 9:44 AM contracycle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by contracycle, posted 07-07-2004 11:43 AM lfen has replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 35 of 144 (122791)
07-07-2004 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by contracycle
07-07-2004 11:43 AM


Correct. I think consciousness is an information systems' monitoring of its own integrity and processes.

This would appear to go along the lines Damasio and Crick are exploring each in their own way. And this is very important research and will be very useful. This is looking to find consciousness as an emergent property of complex systems. For myself I can see how complex systems can represent themselves but I can't yet imagine how that results in the awareness that I am. This is partly the issue of how we experience "qualia" but perhaps more importantly how we have a sense that I know that I am.

To the organism, that programme has a real and useful function - self-preservation.

Looking at an organism it suddenly strikes me that almost all its functions are self preservative or specie perservative. I recently read an author who was a specialist in the immune system where he disagreed with another writer who said that the immune system was part of the brain and nervous system. He disagreed only because the immune system was far older and he thought it would be more proper to regard the brain and nervous system as part of the immune system. Unfortunately I can't remember the author's name at the moment but I like that idea.

We may be using differing definitions of the consciousness and ego. I'll just note now that ego is not the only self preservation process and it may not be the most reliable process.

If I see a person on TV, I am only seeing an illusion of that person... but light from the CRT is still actually falling on my retina.

I'm not sure I would use illusion in that sense of the word. Few people would mistake the television image for a person actually being in the room. I'm thinking of illusion more in the sense of a distortion of information processing or false conclusions about information. I'll grab a quick example and it may not be the best, but I'm trying to keep this witht he t.v. example. What if I talked to the image because I thought it was a person?

But where we differ slightly is your claim that the ego is an idea or illusion. This is where, IMO, information theory lets us cut through a lot of psychobabble.

The illusion of the ego that I'm speaking about is that the processes of the organism are experienced by an entity, a permanent entity. I'm using concepts from Buddhism and Advaita which you may find flawed but I wouldn't characterize their philosophy as psychobabble as it's not based on western pyschological theory or practise.

To the organism, that programme has a real and useful function - self-preservation. Whether or not survival is an important issue in the grand scheme of things is a 'meaning of life' question.

Self preservation until DNA has been replicated and propagated. Organisms as DNA's way to make more DNA. But I'm not identifying the ego with the self preservation programs. My claim is that the organism can preserve it's self and function quite well without the illusion that it consistutes a permanent entity. I'm not saying without an ego, but without the illusion that the ego is a permanent entity.

If consciousness is an emergent property of highly compex organisms then it disappears when that complexity ceases its function. An eastern based position that I am favoring here asserts conscious, not what it's aware of, but simply that it is aware is a fundamental, perhaps the fundamental property of the universe. At this point I don't belive there are any proofs of this or of the emergent notion. But the eastern approach factors in the observer, whereas the religious and scientic approach don't pay as much attention to the role the observer plays in these questions.

I'm guessing Wittgenstein could easily demostrate that "Universe - why is it here" is a meaningless sentence. I'm pointing out that the more fundanmental questions to be addressed are why am I here, how do I know I am here, and what or who am I. Am I information? Information about information? Or am I awareness itself looking at the contents of this nervous system and body, but not identical with those contents and that body.

edited because I clicked on the wrong button when attempting to preview.

lfen

This message has been edited by lfen, 07-07-2004 06:24 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by contracycle, posted 07-07-2004 11:43 AM contracycle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 39 by RingoKid, posted 07-08-2004 12:48 AM lfen has replied
 Message 43 by contracycle, posted 07-08-2004 5:10 AM lfen has replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 40 of 144 (122862)
07-08-2004 1:07 AM
Reply to: Message 39 by RingoKid
07-08-2004 12:48 AM


Are wishes horses?
what if all consciousness resides in a hidden dimension of

Bout the same as:

If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride
All dreams and desires would ride along side
Worries and troubles would fall off behind
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

BRYAN ADAMS

I suppose.

What mathematics are you studying?

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 39 by RingoKid, posted 07-08-2004 12:48 AM RingoKid has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by RingoKid, posted 07-08-2004 1:26 AM lfen has not replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 45 of 144 (122920)
07-08-2004 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by contracycle
07-08-2004 5:10 AM


contra,
A very thought provoking reply. I've too little time this morning to reply to it. I'm wondering if you could recommend a book or two that you consider a good introduction to information theory? I did a brief google search and found some sites on the internet. The impression I got was that it was very mathematical analysis of entropy, noise, and data transmission arising from the computer field. But that is a first impression based on maybe 10 minutes of poking around on the net.

now I must get ready to be off to work.
edit adding this: I'll respond to your post most likely this evening.

lfen

This message has been edited by lfen, 07-08-2004 09:22 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by contracycle, posted 07-08-2004 5:10 AM contracycle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 59 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 9:54 AM lfen has replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 47 of 144 (123075)
07-08-2004 6:31 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by contracycle
07-08-2004 5:10 AM


Difference between computer and human is?
Contra,

But putting that aside, if the machine REFERENCES ITSELF - like doing a table lookup of some kind - and also has a mechanism to monitor that self reference, then it MUST be self aware. Thats what the system is built to do. And that, I contend, is the sense of knowing that you are.

I'm going to focus on this one example hoping we can callibrate our terms a bit more. Awareness and consciousness tricky terms to use.

Do you see a difference between a human and a computer with self monitoring feedback? The sense in which you "know" yourself, your feelings, your sensory experience do you think it differs in any way from a machine using feedback loops, look up tables etc to reference it's state?

I obviously do. I don't think a computer "experiences" itself in the same way a person does. That a machine has feedback and responds to it's own state seems very different from the way I experience myself.
If you want to use the word "awareness" for self referential circuits or actions by a machine and a human, okay. But do you see any further distinction, and if you do what would you call it?

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by contracycle, posted 07-08-2004 5:10 AM contracycle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 9:27 AM lfen has replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 60 of 144 (124970)
07-16-2004 10:14 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by contracycle
07-16-2004 9:27 AM


Re: Difference between computer and human is?
Not only is this mechanical, but we are well aware its mechanical.

Yes. But I'm trying to get at the distinction between "mechanical" and "aware". What is it that is aware of the mechanical? and that seems conceptual, so also what is aware of the sensory information?

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 58 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 9:27 AM contracycle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 62 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 11:19 AM lfen has replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 61 of 144 (124974)
07-16-2004 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by contracycle
07-16-2004 9:54 AM


Contra,

Pierce's book is available at the library here. I'll take a look at it. Thanks for lead. My math skills are extremely rusty though I've taken intro statistics and some calculus. It's a "I didn't use and lost it proposition" for me.

You mention math, biology, and philosophy. If this isn't too personal a question (ignore it if it is) is your training in biology with background in math and philosophy?

I used to run a simple version of life on my Commodore 64 years ago.

The old school behaviourist just wouldn't deal with consciousness at all. I woke up this morning and though my body functioned through the night there is a difference in my awareness as I type this in the cool morning air.

Are you advocating an extreme reductionist argument similiar to the behaviorist postition?

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 9:54 AM contracycle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 63 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 11:35 AM lfen has not replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 64 of 144 (125364)
07-18-2004 12:49 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by contracycle
07-16-2004 11:19 AM


Re: Difference between computer and human is?
Contra,

Imagine two cogs; both contact and interact with the other, both are 'aware' of each other.

That is a very radical (i.e. to the root) statement. You are asserting that the awareness that I have as I write is a quality that is also found in inanimate interactions? If a rock rolls down a slope would you say the rock and earth of the slope are aware of each other?

Further are you saying that awareness is identical to information?
Matter/energy, space/time, information=awareness? information/awareness?

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 11:19 AM contracycle has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by contracycle, posted 07-19-2004 5:11 AM lfen has not replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 65 of 144 (125365)
07-18-2004 12:59 AM
Reply to: Message 62 by contracycle
07-16-2004 11:19 AM


Re: Difference between computer and human is
Contra,

Without pseudo-mystical starting assumptions that there Must Be a difference between "matter" and "life", there seems to me no reason to hypothesize any difference at all.

Do you mean "pseudo-mystical" or did you intend to say "psuedo-scientific"? If the former is what you meant I'd be interested in what you regard as truly mystical.

I see life as a property of the universe, it is a potential developement of atoms and molecules that has taken place at least on earth and could arise elsewhere given the right conditions. Awareness also must be a part of the universe. But I confess to not being able to believe that my coffee cup and the table it sits on are aware of one another in the same way that a fly and I are aware of each other as I try to eliminate the buzzing little devil and it avoids my hand.
And even less that the coffee cup has anything remotely like my awareness that "I" exist, and that "I am aware the coffee cup exists.".

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by contracycle, posted 07-16-2004 11:19 AM contracycle has not replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 67 of 144 (128534)
07-29-2004 3:03 AM
Reply to: Message 43 by contracycle
07-08-2004 5:10 AM


Dr Werner Gitt a creationist uses information theory
Contra,

I'm revisiting our discussion as I came across the name Werner Gitt in another thread and googling on it discovered he defends the notion of a creater using some varient of information theory. You heard of this guy?

http://www.answersingenesis.org/Home/Area/bios/w_gitt.asp

I don't know what to make of his argument as information theory is something I know so little about.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by contracycle, posted 07-08-2004 5:10 AM contracycle has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by AdminNosy, posted 07-29-2004 4:02 AM lfen has not replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 71 of 144 (135328)
08-19-2004 5:02 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by General Nazort
08-19-2004 3:01 PM


He thinks people are so important that he created this huge universe just for us.

General,

Just for homo sapiens???
I find that mind boggling. I understand being species centric but I wouldn't attribute that to the source of the universe.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by General Nazort, posted 08-19-2004 3:01 PM General Nazort has not replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 78 of 144 (135691)
08-20-2004 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by General Nazort
08-19-2004 6:33 PM


What is the human image of God?
Just sayin what the Bible says, Ifen
If we were created in the image of God, then one human is more important than the whole universe. Makes me feel special.

"For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, So your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you."

What about a human is the image of God?

I don't see how your conclusions follows from your premise.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by General Nazort, posted 08-19-2004 6:33 PM General Nazort has not replied

  
lfen
Member (Idle past 3993 days)
Posts: 2189
From: Oregon
Joined: 06-24-2004


Message 112 of 144 (137791)
08-29-2004 4:56 AM
Reply to: Message 106 by happy_atheist
08-28-2004 8:47 AM


Re: Causation and the universe
teleportation, its a real phenomenon and has been performed in a lab.

Yeaah, but the scientist got his head swapped with a fly! Talk about your bugs, bet you never saw that happen on Star Trek. You won't find me teleporting. I don't want to end up being sucked dry by some spider.

lfen


This message is a reply to:
 Message 106 by happy_atheist, posted 08-28-2004 8:47 AM happy_atheist has not replied

  
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