A workable solution to the problem of other minds

Deciding whether other entities are also conscious is not an insoluble philosophical problem. It is tricky. A good analogy might be a wire puzzle. At a first glance, the piece you have to free looks completely locked. And yet a solution does exist, it just requires to represent a sufficiently large number of facts and features that our working memory is not enough.


Usually showing the solution once will not fully satisfy one’s curiosity. It takes some time to develop a personally satisfying account. And to do so, we need to unpack how the various components interact with one another. After a while the reason why the free piece is not locked becomes intuitive, and at the same time you may also encounter mathematical arguments and principles to complement your understanding.

At first, though, the free piece looks and feels locked.

I think the problem of other minds is perceived similarly to a wire puzzle. At first it looks and feels insoluble. After a while, though, many suspect that the problem can be solved. This essay proposes a protocol that may point in the right direction. It could have some flaws as it is currently formulated, so I’m open to refinements of any kind. But I believe that it represents a drastic improvement over previous protocols, and it gets close to being a fully functioning proof of concept.

Starting from the basics: An approach that is widely discussed is the application of a Turing test. But a Turing test has several serious flaws when used as a test of consciousness. First, many conscious entities can’t pass a Turing test. So we know that it could have a very poor recall (missing most conscious entities). This problem is also present in every protocol I’m aware of. The major problem with it is that when an entity passes a Turing test, this can be counted as probabilistic evidence in favor of a large number of hypothesis, and not only to the desired conclusion that “this entity is conscious.” In principle highly persuasive chatbots could hack your entity recognition module by presenting hyperstimuli created by analyzing your biases for styles of conversation.

Your brain sees faces everywhere (cartoons, 2D computer screens, even clouds). It also sees entities where there are none. It might be much more simple to *trick* your judgement than actually create a sentient intelligence. Could the entity given the Turing test be an elaborate chatobot with no phenomenal binding? It seems likely that could take place.

Thus passing a Turing test is also not a guarantee that an entity is conscious. The method would have low recall and probably low accuracy too.

The second approach would be to simply *connect* your brain to the other entity’s brain (that is, of course, if you are not talking about a disembodied entity). We already have something like the Corpus Callosum, which seems to be capable of providing a bridge that solves the phenomenal binding problem between the hemispheres of a single person. In principle we could create a biologically similar, microfunctionally equivalent neural bridge between two persons.

Assuming physicalism, it seems very likely that there is a way for this to be done. Here, rather than merely observing the other person’s conscious experience, the point of connecting would be to become one entity. Strong, extremely compelling personal identity problems aside (Who are you really? Can you expect to ‘survive’ after the union? If you are the merged entity, does that mean you were always the same consciousness as the one with whom you merged?, etc. More on this on later posts), this possibility opens up the opportunity to actually corroborate that another entity is indeed conscious.

Indeed separate hemispheres can have very different opinions about the nature of reality. Assuming physicalism, why would it be the case that you can’t actually revert (or instantiate for the first time) the union between brains?

The previous idea has been proposed before. I think it is a significant improvement over the use of a Turing test, since you are directly addressing the main phenomenon in question (rather than its ripples). That said, the method has problems, and epistemic holes.  In brief, a big unknown is the effect that interfacing with another conscious experience has on both conscious experiences. For example, some people have (like Eliezer Yudkowsky and Brian Tomasik) argued that your interaction with the other brain could functionally expand your own mind. As it were, the interaction with the other brain could be interpreted as expanding your own mind by obtaining a large hardware upgrade. Thus it could be that the whole experience of being connected and becoming one with another entity is a fantasy of your recently-expanded mind. It can give you the impression that the other brain was already conscious before you were connected to it. So you can’t rule out that it was a zombie before and after the connection was over.

But there is a way out. And this is the stimulating part of the essay. Because I’m about to untangle the wires.

The great idea behind this solution is: Phenomenal puzzles. This one phenomenal puzzle linked here is about figuring out the appropriate geometry of color (arranging the state-space in an Euclidean manifold so that the degrees of subjective differences between colors are proportional to their distances). Doing this requires the ability of comparing the various parts of an experience to each other and being able to remember the comparison. In turn this can be iterated and generate a map of subjective differences. This is an instance of what I call qualia computing, where you need to be in touch with the subjective quality of your experience and to be capable of comparing sensations.

In brief, you want to give the other entity a puzzle that can only be solved by a conscious entity via manipulating and comparing qualia. The medium used to deliver the puzzle will be a first-person merging of brains: To share the puzzle you first connect with the entity you want to test.

By doing this, by sharing the puzzle when you are connected to the other entity, you will be able to know its inner referents in terms of qualia. While connected, you can point to a yellow patch and say “this is yellow.” Possibly, both halfs will have their own system of private referents (a natural consequence of having slightly different sense organs which make variable mappings between physical stimuli and qualia). But as a whole the merged entity will be able to compare notes with itself about the mapping of stimuli to qualia in both halfs. The entity could look at the same object from the point of view of its two heads at the same time and form an unified visual field, which incorporates the feed from the two former “personal-sized” visual fields (similarly to how you incorporate sensory stimuli from two eyes. Now you’ll see with four). The color appearance of the object could have a slightly different quality when the two visual fields are compared. That’s the fascinating thing about phenomenal binding. The differences in mappings between stimuli and qualia of the two former entities can be compared, which means that this difference can be analyzed and reasoned about and added to both repertoires of hippocampal snapshots of the current experience.

Then, when you disconnect from the other and there are two streams of consciousness going on again, you will both know what that “yellow” referred to. This overcomes the age-old problem of communicating private referents, and mutually agreeing on name for private referents. This way, the pieces of the (phenomenal) puzzle will be the same in both minds.

For the test to work, the specific question needs to stay secret until it is revealed briefly before merging.

Imagine that you have a set of standardized phenomenal puzzles. Psychologists and people who have done the test before tend to agree that the puzzles in the set do require you to explore a minimum number of states of consciousness. The tests have precise conceptual answers. These answers are extremely difficult to deliver by accident or luck.

The puzzles may require you to use external tools like an image editor or a computer. This is because computers can enable you to program combinations of sensory input in precise ways. This expands the phenomenal gamut you can reach. In turn one can calibrate sensory input to have nice properties (ex. use gamma correction).  The puzzles will also be selected based on the time sentient beings typically take to solve them.

When you want to perform the test, you meet with the entity right after you finish reading the phenomenal puzzle. The puzzle is calibrated to not be solvable in the time it will take you to connect to the other entity.

When you connect your brain to the other entity and become one conscious narrative, the entire entity reads the puzzle to itself. In other words, you state out loud the phenomenal puzzle by clearly pointing to the referents of the puzzle within your own “shared” experience. Then you disconnect the two brains.

In the time that the other entity is trying to solve the puzzle you distract yourself. This way you can prevent yourself from solving the puzzle. Ideally you might want to bring your state of consciousness to a very low activity. The other entity will have all of its stimuli controlled to guarantee there is no incoming information. All the “qualia processing” is going on through approved channels. When the entity claims to have solved the puzzle, at that point you connect your brain back to it.

Does the merged entity know anything about the solution to the puzzle? You search for a memory thread that shows the process of solving the puzzle and the eventual answer. Thanks to the calibration of this puzzle (it has also been given to “merged” entities before) we know you would need more time to solve it. Now you may find yourself in a position where you realize that if the other entity was a zombie, you would have somehow solved a phenomenal puzzle without using experience at all. If so, where did that information come from?

With the memory thread you can remember how the other entity arrived at the conclusion. All of the hard work can be attributed to the other entity now. You witness this confirmation as the merged entity, and then you disconnect. You will still hold redundant memories of the period of merging (both brains do, like the hemispheres in split-brain patients). Do you know the answer to the puzzle? You can now check your memory for it and see that you can reconstruct the answer very quickly. The whole process may even take less time than it would take you to solve the puzzle.

If you know the answer to the puzzle you can infer that the other entity is capable of manipulating qualia in the same way that you can. You would now have information that your mind/brain could only obtain by exploring a large region of the state-space of consciousness… which takes time. The answer to the puzzle is a verifiable fact about the structure of your conscious experience. It gives you information about your own qualia gamut (think CIELAB). In summary, the other entity figured out a fact about your own conscious experience, and explained it to you using your own private referents.

You can then conclude that if the entity solved the phenomenal puzzle for you, it must be capable of manipulating its qualia in a semantically consistent way to how you do it. A positive result reveals that the entity utilizes conscious algorithms. Perhaps even stronger: It also shares the generalizable computational power of a sapient mind.

Unfortunately just as for the Turing test, not passing this test is not a guarantee that the other entity lacks consciousness. What the test guarantees is a high precision: Near every entity that passes the test is conscious. And that is a milestone, I think.

Do you agree that the problem of other minds is like a wire puzzle?

Now go ahead and brainstorm more phenomenal puzzles!

The fire that breathes reality into the equations of physics

“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Or does it need a creator, and, if so, does he have any other effect on the universe? And who created him?” (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Books, Toronto, 1988, p.174.)

I’m going to go with “the fire in the equations of physics is consciousness itself.”

Phenomenal Binding is incompatible with the Computational Theory of Mind

Daniel Dennet, in his multi-draft theory of consciousness explains that we have the belief that our consciousness is far more unified than it really is. This is true as far as it goes, experimentally and philosophically. Dennett and other philosophers of mind (and nearly everyone I’ve met who roots for him) take this one step further. The unity of consciousness is an illusion. This is not incidental, from a functionalist point of view any sort of unity of consciousness is not something you would actually be able to predict. Hence in order to justify that model the unity of consciousness that does exist has to be explained away somehow (as an “illusion” more often than not).

The need for a radically new paradigm, however, does not come from the idea that our consciousness is always fully unified in the sort of naïve way common sense tells us. It simply comes from the existence of some unity, any amount of unity, however little that is, because a purely computational account would not predict any sort of unity of the sort we see in consciousness.

I usually start with the following “your left and right visual field are currently being experienced as a unitary visual field.” Many object to this, in part perhaps because you can only focus your attention on one side at a time (awareness of the other side, as opposed to attention, does remain in most cases though). A more thoroughly indisputable instance of unitary consciousness is the fact that you can recognize objects, which itself requires instantaneous information unity. For example, you look at your hand, and you don’t only see it as a collection of shapes and colors, but you see it and recognize it as a “hand.” The very concept of a hand has implicitly in it a wide variety of pieces of information instantaneously joined together.

Some argue that the unity of consciousness is not good for anything. It is just an epiphenomenon. But it isn’t. You just need to look at what happens when it breaks down, as in the case of simultagnosia, schizophrenia or high doses of ketamine. Not being able to unify features of an experience into an integrated whole impairs the information processing that your mind typically accomplishes. So here is another big hint: Phenomenal binding is computationally relevant. I think that a strong argument could be made for “why we are conscious” by merely looking at the advantages of phenomenal binding over classical computers. If such advantages exist, they may explain why natural selection would have *recruited* consciousness as an information processing device instead of sticking to classical information processing.

Some people bring Integrated Information Theory of consciousness (Tonini) into the picture when asked about phenomenal binding. However, IIT does not provide a mechanism of action for the unity of consciousness. It *assumes it is the result of irreducible information*! IIT acknowledges that conscious states simultaneously represent multiple pieces of information in an indivisible whole. The problem, though, is that rather than asking “what is the mechanism of action for this unity?” the theory instead has a false start: It asks “under the assumption that the mind is a classical computer, what kind of physical systems would display integrated information?” But if you go out and look for integrated information in that sense, already defined within a classical paradigm, you already made a mistake. You assumed a specific framework for how the information gets integrated, one that cannot even in principle work. This is because the various parts of classical systems are not in direct instantaneous communication to each other. If you remove a part, the news that such part does not exist takes time to reach the other parts. And at a given time you cannot really define a “global state” because the changes in each part have not had the chance to influence the other parts.

In contrast to a classical system, each part of your local consciousness (whatever bundle IS unified, as opposed to the naïve view Dennett discredits) is instantaneously a part of a whole. A “whole.” due to delays in information propagation, cannot be defined in a classical system, and yet it is a central feature of consciousness.

In addition, in a classical system you can fully account for the emergent behavior by using a strict bottom-up approach. The large scale behavior is an emergent phenomena of the small-scale interactions (such as wetness being nothing but the interaction of water molecules). Contra classical systems, your consciousness has an instantaneous bottom-up *and* top-down relationship. Not only is the meaning of the whole determined by the interactions of the parts, but the nature of the parts are determined by the whole. An example of this is how when you see a cube, each of its square sides stops being just a square. They become “the sides of a cube.” The very nature of the experience of such squares as the sides of a cube cannot be accounted for without taking into account the entire experience.

The correct approach, I think, would be to focus on the unity of consciousness itself and ask “what sort of beast is this?” Not assume it has to be the result of some predefined process. Tentatively, I think that the way to investigate this would be to try to replace the corpus callosum with other machinery that is functionally identical in some sense. If we replace it by synthetic neurons that have the same macrofunctionality as biological neurons and the unity of consciousness breaks down, we would know that such unity is not accounted by simple information transmission in the classical sense. In addition, and in parallel, we could start a research program that seeks to define the computational advantages of consciousness over classical systems. Personally, I think this will be a very fruitful project, and will ultimately have tremendous applications (Better Computing Through Qualia!).

David Hamilton’s conversation with Alf Bruce about the nature of the mind


“It is important to note that some of the world’s foremost neuroscientists have believed that the mind is immaterial. These neuroscientists have been well aware that stimulating the brain can produce some intriguing psychological results. One of the pioneers in the field of neuroscience was Wilder Penfield. In his fascinating book The Mystery of the Mind, he writes the following:

{When I have caused a conscious patient to move his hand by applying an electrode to the motor cortex of one hemisphere, I have often asked him about it. Invariably his response was: ‘I didn’t do that. You did.’ When I caused him to vocalize, he said: ‘I didn’t make that sound. You pulled it out of me.’ When I caused the record of the stream of consciousness to run again and so presented to him the record of his past experience, he marveled that he should be conscious of the past as well as of the present. He was astonished that it should come back to him so completely, with more detail than he could possibly recall voluntarily. He assumed at once that, somehow, the surgeon was responsible for the phenomenon, but he recognized the details as those of his own past experience.} (76)

Penfield goes on to note that “There is no place in the cerebral cortex where electrical stimulation will cause a patient . . . to decide” (77). In light of his work as a neuroscientist, Penfield concludes the following: “For my own part, after years of striving to explain the mind on the basis of brain-action alone, I have come to the conclusion that it is simpler (and far easier and logical) if one adopts the hypothesis that our being does consist of two fundamental elements” (80).”

While it wouldn’t strictly debunk dualism if it weren’t true, the fact that neuroscience still has never found a way to convince a patient that they themselves made the decision to commit an action is highly intriguing. It doesn’t strictly prove dualism is true, either, but it does undercut the anti-dualist claims about how neuroscience shows that everything normally attributed to the mind can be produced by physical stimulation. The one thing dualism would most highly lead us to expect can’t be, it just so happens is one of the most significant exceptions to that rule.”

AB: In my perspective, the question of mind-body duality is like someone asking if the mind of Donald Duck exists outside Donald Duck’s body or not. It doesn’t matter, Donald Duck is a fictional character.

I believe that the mind is a myth. The self is an illusion, fiction.

Your true self consists of “emptiness”, “pure awareness”, an empty mirror that reflects the universe but don’t contain anything in itself.

In zen the koans are tools for trying to point out the direction to our “original self”, “our face that existed before our parents were born”.

And the world of senses, forms, thoughts, exists due to that we project it through active action through “our” “intentions” of thinking, sensing, pecieving, and that intentiion is is in itself an extension of the genetic programs “intention” to replicate and sustain itself (survival, metabolism).

The heart sutra says:
“Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
Emptiness is not separate from form, form is not separate from emptiness.
Whatever is form is emptiness, whatever is emptiness is form.”

Brain transformed guy UG Krishnamurti describes it in an entertaining way, he wrote a book named “The mind is a myth”

U. G. Krishnamurti: Complete Part 1 – Mystique of Enlightenment

Sam Harris has some nice descriptions,

Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion

One classic example:
Emperor Wu: “So what is the highest meaning of noble truth?”
Bodhidharma: “There is no noble truth, there is only emptiness.”
Emperor Wu: “Then, who is standing before me?”
Bodhidharma: “I know not, Your Majesty.”

And one of my favourites on this issue is Aldous Huxleys Doors of perception: Seeing the mind as a filter for consciousness, clear white light that gets filtered trough our human bodies and creates a prism of colours on the other side that appears to us as a separate consciousness.

Aldous Huxley, Doors of Perception excerpt

DHThat is, of course, however, itself a form of dualism – extremely so, in fact; and while it bears some superficial similarities with the extreme materialist line that the self is an illusion because consciousness doesn’t exist at all because there’s no room for it in a physical world, no eliminative materialist would take that sort of *attitude* towards it as a result of their belief. But whether dualistic (or idealistic) or materialistic views are plausible, possible, and likely as opening stating points still sets the tone of a debate which the position you’re expressing there is a complicated point on one of the branches of.

Without breaking spoilers, I think your comments about scare-quote “intentions” borrow too much from the extreme materialist, rather than idealistic tone of the rest of your comments, and in fact I argue from precisely the opposite line: intentionality itself, as a category of types of phenomena in the world, is indispensable. Someone who thinks we’re just the epiphenomena of blindly causal building blocks lacking intentionality has to think any “intentionality” we possess is just the illusory epiphenomena of the causal pseudo-intentionality of those building blocks. But, as I’ll argue, such a project is absolutely utterly impossible. That leaves us, I claim, with a stark choice between either eliminating intentionality (an extremely dehumanizing option that is both untenable and would erase a huge portion of what all of us value about the experience of being human if it even {could be} true), or else acknowledging it as an irreducible aspect of the irreducibly experiential and mental side of reality.

I’m definitely a fan of Huxley’s conception in Doors of Perception, but in an of itself, nothing about this concept requires that the consciousness being so filtered is a “universal” or “empty” one rather than potentially being an individual one, and perhaps even one with some degree of intrinsic content.

William James proposed an equivalent metaphor: “When the physiologist who thinks that his science cuts off all hope of immortality pronounces the phrase, “Thought is a function of the brain,” he thinks of the matter just as he thinks when he says, “Steam is a function of the tea-kettle,” “Light is a function of the electric circuit,” “Power is a function of the moving waterfall.” In these latter cases the several material objects have the function of inwardly creating or engendering their effects, and their function must be called productive function. Just so, he thinks, it must be with the brain. Engendering consciousness in its interior, much as it engenders cholesterin and creatin and carbonic acid, its relation to our soul’s life must also be called productive function. Of course, if such production be the function, then when the organ perishes, since the production can no longer continue, the soul must surely die. Such a conclusion as this is indeed inevitable from that particular conception of the facts.

But in the world of physical nature productive function of this sort is not the only kind of function with which we are familiar. We have also releasing or permissive function; and we have transmissive function.

The trigger of a crossbow has a releasing function: it removes the obstacle that holds the string, and lets the bow fly back to its natural shape. So when the hammer falls upon a detonating compound. By knocking out the inner molecular obstructions, it lets the constituent gases resume their normal bulk, and so permits the explosion to take place.

In the case of a colored glass, a prism, or a refracting lens, we have transmissive function. The energy of light, no matter how produced, is by the glass sifted and limited in color, and by the lens or prism determined to a certain path and shape. Similarly, the keys of an organ have only a transmissive function. They open successively the various pipes and let the wind in the air-chest escape in various ways. The voices of the various pipes are constituted by the columns of air trembling as they emerge. But the air is not engendered in the organ. The organ proper, as distinguished from its air-chest, is only an apparatus for letting portions of it loose upon the world in these peculiarly limited shapes.

My thesis now is this: that, when we think of the law that thought is a function of the brain, we are not required to think of productive function only; we are entitled also to consider permissive or transmissive function. And this the ordinary psycho-physiologist leaves out of his account.”

And, in the source lecture on Human Immortality [http://godconsciousness.com/humanimmortality.php], elaborated it as so: “In note 5 on page 58 I partially guarded against it by saying that the “mother sea” from which the finite mind is supposed to be strained by the brain, need not be conceived of in pantheistic terms exclusively. There might be, I said, many minds behind the scenes as well as one. The plain truth is that one may conceive the mental world behind the veil in as individualistic a form as one pleases, without any detriment to the general scheme by which the brain is represented as a transmissive organ.
If the extreme individualistic view were taken, one’s finite mundane consciousness would be an extract from one’s larger, truer personality, the latter having even now some sort of reality behind the scenes. And in transmitting it — to keep to our extremely mechanical metaphor, which confessedly throws no light on the actual modus operandi– one’s brain would also leave effects upon the part remaining behind the veil; for when a thing is torn, both fragments feel the operation.
And just as (to use a very coarse figure) the stubs remain in a check-book whenever a check is used, to register the transaction, so these impressions on the transcendent self might constitute so many vouchers of the finite experiences of which the brain had been the mediator; and ultimately they might form that collection within the larger self of memories of our earthly passage, which is all that, since Locke’s day, the continuance of our personal identity beyond the grave has by psychology been recognized to mean.
It is true that all this would seem to have affinities rather with preëxistence and with possible re-incarnations than with the Christian notion of immortality. But my concern in the lecture was not to discuss immortality in general. It was confined to showing it to be not incompatible with the brain-function theory of our present mundane consciousness. I hold that it is so compatible, and compatible moreover in fully individualized form. The reader would be in accord with everything that the text of my lecture intended to say, were he to assert that every memory and affection of his present life is to be preserved, and that he shall never in sæcula sæculorum cease to be able to say to himself: “I am the same personal being who in old times upon the earth had those experiences.””

Still, establishing the baseline that the materialistic, “productive” account of consciousness is not the only rationally considerable or rationally believable option is a prerequisite before that debate between us can even take place. Should the “productive” account be the only possibility, both of us are necessarily mistaken, and we aren’t even entitled to try to have that conversation. If and when we establish that dualistic and/or idealistic accounts truly can be worthy of consideration in principle in the first place, then we can perhaps try to move forward on arguing the specifics.

ABI don’t really think of it in terms of materialism or idealism, to me that is more western style concepts, I have more of a background in eastern concepts, they are more natural and comfortable for me to use.

There is a buddhist concept called “dependent origination”;
So if I try to translate it, it will be as I am fully a materialist and fully an idealist “at the same time”.

I don’t know if you are into low level computer languages, but a methaphor in C programming, when you ask for data, built in the question, you declare what shape of data you are looking for, and where to look before you get the data, so: That means that the answer you get, it’s based on the question you made.

A similar methaphor is the double slit experiment in quantum physics; The instant you look for idealism, idealism is the answer you get, the instant you look for materialism, materialism is the answer you get.

I had an altered state of conciousness after doing zen meditation some year ago, where I saw stuff that has been describet by Viktor Frankl, Eckhart Tolle amongst others:
It was like:
Aha the universe is in constant motion, the instant I make some kind of mental construct about the nature of the universe, my mental construct gets disconnected, from the universe, the mental constructs become false the same moment they are constructed. Usually my brain automatically interprets the input that reaches my senses, but now I can see there is a space between input-stimulus and response, that I haven’t noticed before.

DH{{Your true self consists of […] “pure awareness”}}

Whether you like categorizing it in those terms or not, a claim of this sort is either dualist or idealist, and if materialism is true, this claim is false. Concepts are, as Alan Watts put it, something like fish nets thrown over the world to map it out rather than something describing the way the world really is in and of itself, but regardless of that fact, the “Western” concepts are one way of mapping the territory no less valid than any other, and it *is true* that anything floating in the ocean is going to fall into one of the spaces inside the net. What you’re describing here, with the exception of one tiny nuance that borrows premises from a worldview your other statements have flatly rejected, is unavoidably non-materialist.

ABI don’t really care if a claim is either dualist or idealist, as I see it, all claims are ultimately false the moment you make the claim, since the universe is a constant flux, you cannot step in the same river twice as Herakleitos described it. ( I think being on Ketamine activates a kind of awareness of this state in a way)

I see it as the “true” state of the world is “paradoxical” “self contradictionary”, and as soon we put out our mental “fish nets” over the world, we get stuck in the nets, and lose our authentic connection to the world.

If you look at zen koans, they have no answer, that can be reached by logic or thinking, they are tools for trying to force yourself to step out of the fishnet, and plunge yourself into the floating ocean.

(Perhaps we are talking past each other, right now I’m quite tired and have somewhat hard to concentrate and think)

DH“[A] all claims are ultimately false the moment you
make the claim, since [B] the universe is a constant flux, you

cannot step in the same river twice as Herakleitos described it.”

Is [B] true? Is it true that there is a logical relationship between
[B] and [A], so that the truth of [A] follows from the truth of [B]?

ABThere ulimately cannot be a relationship between [A] and [B].
The truth of [A] cannot follow the truth of [B].

Because, when you read and make up the sentence in your head, the act of reading the sentence is a process in time.

Your eyes goes from the beginning of the sentence to the end of the sentence, but when you reach the end of the sentence, the beginning of the sentence is not “valid” anymore, since the universe have changed shape.

So in that way, logic itself will ultimately always be invalid.

But you can make logic valit within its own self contained system, but that is ultimately a “pseudo” system, its disconnected from reality, one gets stuck in the fishing net.

The staues of Dancing Shiva, he dances on a dwarf, The dwarf symbolizes “logic” among other things. The dwarf will always be there, it’s immortal. But Shiva dances outside all logical systems, always in motion.

DH“[C] […] There ulimately cannot be a relationship between [A] and [B]. The truth of [A] cannot follow the truth of [B]. […] So in that way, logic itself will ultimately always be invalid.

[D] Because, when you read and make up the sentence in your head, the act of reading the sentence is a process in time. […] Your eyes goes from the beginning of the sentence to the end of the sentence, but when you reach the end of the sentence, the beginning of the sentence is not “valid” anymore, since the universe have changed shape.”

Are any of the statements in [D] true? Is there any logical relationship between any of the statements in [C] and any of the statements in [D], such that the truth of [C] follows from the truth of [D]? If not, how is your use of the word “because” not implying the opposite and therefore employing a fallacy of stolen concept, and are you not therefore compelled to refrain from using it?

AB: Is there an answer to your question, if you haven’t even began to ask any question?

DH: Does a world still in fact exist, in which you are dreaming, and which your dreaming self will inevitably wake up into, when you are asleep?

ABDepends on if the world you wake up to, also happen to be another dream.

DH: Dream-worlds still {{-exist-}}, whether they exist as “dream-worlds” or regular “worlds.” The question was whether a world exists, not in what form it does, so that doesn’t actually answer the question.

ABAs I see it, the active act of looking for something, itself in a way creates something to look at.

Gonna go to sleep now. Thanks for the brain gymnastics.

I assume that I already have posted this one to you, I still think it’s cool. Perhaps one can see it as Shiva represents the idealist perspective, and Kali represents the materialist perspective, and that ulitmately, if ones goes beyond the fishing net, one can come to realize that they are two sides of the same coin. cya later.


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Breathing qualia in your qualiafield

Would you believe it? QualiaTATIVELY superior!

Use the computational comparative advantage of phenomenal binding to obtain polynomial running times rather than exponential. Maximize your potential by using qualia computing algorithms. Polynomial experience, super low super effective running time guaranteed. Save money and space. Low prices! Save money, time and effort with polynomial time experience of your algorithms. Adaptable to 30% of all computational needs known.

Qualia is superior to serial computing in the search of unconceived ideas. Serial computing can be optimized to be better than qualia systems for pre-established models. But for model conception in a larger space, qualia is the only viable candidate.

DON’T MISS OUT THE QUALIA TRAIN the qualia train will depart and the discoveries will be made. It is about to blow up, as an industry, be the first in your social circle to use qualia computing services.

Manifolds of Consciousness: The emerging geometries of iterated local binding

The qualia manifolds

Ever noticed implicit geometries in the structure of the qualia you deal with on a daily basis?

So here is one observation about our experience. Visual experience has two major dimensions and one minor one (depth). This sensory modality is experienced as either 2 or 3 dimensional (and ambiguous points in between are also instantiated at times). Now, it also has a specific kind of topological features. It seems that the edges of the visual field are the edges of a patch in Euclidean space. The edges are not connected to each other. At first, it might take you by surprise to consider hypothetical visual fields with edges that are actually connected. Maybe you could make it a torus, by connecting edges left and right as well as those at the top and the bottom of the visual field. It’ll make a manifold of experience. You may also twist it before connecting it, making a Klein bottle or a projective plane.


Real Projective Plane. Imagine your visual field connected to itself in this way by twisting and joining the edges. 

A common reaction to this idea is “it may be impossible to do that, maybe the geometry of our visual field is the only possible one.” Without actually going ahead and interfering with your mind and brain directly it is unlikely I’ll be able to show conclusively it is possible. But there is a strong intuition pump available to help you conceive of the possibility.

So, touch your arm. Your writs more specifically. Using a finger make a circle around the wrist. You end up where you started, and yet you only advanced in one direction.

The Real Tree of Life


Remember, kids, the ‘Tree of Life’ is not a metaphor. It is an actual 4-dimensional object. It starts with the first living photocell and its leaves are us, the plants, the fungi, the bacteria, the virus you see all around, right now, here. We are all physically interconnected in the space-time continuum. Our branches meet to eat, to mate and play. We will always be one complex macro-organism.

Phenomenal puzzles – CIELAB

Answer sheet to phenomenal puzzle #1:

Phenomenological studies reveal that we have three major qualia-poles that compose all experienced colors. Luminance is the first: How subjectively bright is it? The other two: We obtain red and green on two opposite sides, and blue and yellow on the normal of that pole.



The qualia that you are now experiencing on the left of your sensorium must match the schema to your right. Allow some room for normal human drawing errors. Is the chart similar enough to the subject’s solution to warrant a positive result?

Materials: Tester (t), neural bridge (nb), and entity (e).

Protocol: t and e must read the protocol. Let t read the promt of the phenomenal puzzle. Connect t’s brain to e’s brain with the nb at time t = 0. Adjust the connection setting to 1st person merging (fully unified sense of self). Phenomenal binding between brains is achieved. In that state, the equivalence between qualias in, say, vision, can be established. The united mind determines the relationship between visual qualias of both sub units (like a person would compare the feeling in both her hands). Then from the memory of t the entire being retells the puzzle using the available qualia, so that he visualizes what has to be solved in both of its subunits. Then both brains are disconnected.

During the phase that follows after the first disconnection e attempts to solve the phenomenal puzzle on its own. All of the sensory stimuli to e are carefully controlled to prevent any form of leakage of the solution. e is allowed to use visual aids such as computer programs that help him manipulate his experience with great freedom.

At the same time, one needs to carefully control the mental state of t. The particular sensory input t receives is less important than guaranteeing that t does not make the sort of cognitive moves that would lead to an answer to the puzzle. For instance, distractions are great ways of doing this.

If the puzzle has been ‘standardized’ to be solved within a given range of time (its ecological difficulty has been assessed widely) one waits that amount and then reconnect t’s and e’s brain.

In that second period of union, the united entity assesses e’s solution to the phenomenal puzzle. If it has been solved, then t will be able to conclude that e is conscious even when they are disconnected. For e to have that certainty the roles will have to be reversed.

The puzzle itself

What are the axis of phenomenal color? Draw a map of color that separates it into phenomenally continuous colors at the same distance in terms of subjective difference.

The psychedelic future of consciousness

What can 1,800,000 human days per day accomplish?

Imagine the events that happen in a city of near two million persons. How much thinking is done? How many atypical views about the nature of reality take place in the sunny hours of a city of this size?

Psychedelic experiences are eventful, so they have to be weighted more than typical days in any sum total of the quantity of conscious events and conscious luminance. Not to say, the local consciousness flux capacity co-peaks with the peak of an entheogenic trip.

Now imagine, 1,800,000 humans who dedicate their lives to serious psychedelic and consciousness research. A large fraction of this population is experienced in employing psychedelic states of consciousness for qualia-computing applications (that is, for applications suited to the specific state of consciousness, that takes advantage of the computational trade-offs of different states of consciousness to perform certain operations more efficiently). Another large fraction frequently interacts with people reporting from myriad kingdoms of consciousness (which are as different from one another as you could say the kingdoms of life are to each other).

Many of them develop computational models of the dynamics of qualia for a living. They study how varieties of consciousness interact with one another. They ask questions like: How quickly can a conscious experience intensify? What is the function that maps present content of conscious experience to the set of conceivable ideas? How fast can phenomenal yellow be transformed/substituted by phenomenal blue?

They develop probabilistic models that predict the possible transitions between states of consciousness, at all time scales. In the microsecond domain, we see resonant chambers of qualia filaments dynamically modifying manifolds of experience with variable Fourier transforms. In the ‘real-subjective-time’ scale, we would see the change from one emotional state into another. The differential equations that govern the possible affective transitions between emotions in a sober state would have long been figured out. Predicting those equations for hypothetical states of consciousness which are then found in the lab (well, the psychedelic research center) is where the field’s at.

Other people develop connections between consciousness and mathematics themselves. Philosophy of qualiamatics. After all, the semantic content of a mathematical propositions is enclosed within and a part of the experience of doing and thinking mathematics. The engineering of semantically rich states of consciousness is now of interest to pure mathematics researchers, if for no other reason than to improve their investigative mathematical skills. Drugs and techniques that specifically target the kind of meaning-making useful for mathematics are developed and used by many.

And others do a whole flip within and study the nature of philosophical thought. If you are an astute reader, you’ll notice that philosophy of the science of consciousness (just as there is philosophy of the science of physics!) cannot be complete without an understanding of philosophy through the science of consciousness. While first dismissed as a simple circularity, a play of words, universities now offer serious classes on (1) the phenomenal quality of philosophy of consciousness, and (2) the philosophical implications of the science of the consciousness of philosophy. And as you may expect, both courses have a required lab component.

People have been working for a few decades already in the creation of an agreed-upon map of the varieties of conscious experience. Most of the daily experience of most of the persons alive belong to some of the few large and broad regions of the state-space of consciousness defined in standard charts available everywhere. There is also knowledge about general regions (i.e. kinds of experiences) to completely avoid, given their intrinsically negative subjective character. However, a sizable minority of states of consciousness are still completely unclassified and unclassifiable given the present vocabulary and shared conceptions. It is not that these states are in principle inaccessible to scientific study. Instead, there either is no reliable way of reproducing the states, or the current degrees of freedom don’t allow researchers to compare them to other states of consciousness.

Yes, it is true that in some sense every state of consciousness is inconmensurable to every other state. But you can always put them side by side in a phenomenally bound entity and see what happens. Subjective affinities can be quantified, and subsequent behavior is measurable. Consistent findings tend to happen, unless there is an intrinsically chaotic result, in which case that fact is noted. The vast majority of the state space of consciousness remains undiscovered, unexplored, and unconceived. And yet, general key principles of consciousness (such as relationships between behavior and intrinsic quality) are already known and applied widely in the exploration of uncharted states of consciousness. What shamans, psychologists and even philosophers of the past did more or less as an art (with 99.9% of practice time) is now done systematically, more thoroughly and better recorded (with no practice time needed) via technologically enhanced thinking.

Just as the mathematical characterization of tiny physical components of matter in the 19th century led to the development of computing machines made of tiny systems in the 20th century, we now see the mathematical formalisms of the behavior of consciousness are paying off computationally. The computational advantages of phenomenal binding are harnessed in the processing of information in a way that is far superior to digital computers. With the integration of semantics modules of thought, and mathematical renderers, conscious experience can quickly explore vast regions of possibility space. Now thinking about the nature of the possible has been transformed from an art to an engineering discipline.

Qualia treasures are discovered all the time. What used to be a person’s peak experience in a lifetime (a moment of transcendent delight from which the rest of the cosmos seems more profound and deeply significant than at any other point in life) are now a possible baseline of consciousness for many experimental subjects and artists of the mind alike. Yet, there are far greater and significant worlds of qualia discovered from time to time. And there is no sign that the rate of discoveries will slow down. Like prime numbers, perhaps, the interval between them increases as you find the ones closer to zero, and yet you are guaranteed to find one if you keep counting.

Needless to say, the discoveries of qualia treasures are welcomed by the general population, who get to try them and delight in them after robust accessing methods are proved safe. Qualia safety engineers work hard to avoid even the presence of the conceivability of a problem in a qualia world shipped to the general public.

Imagine, 1,800,000 researchers conducting all of this work on a daily basis. That’s a possible future. A very possible, perhaps inevitable one. Perhaps you are unaware of it, but this is a fact: We are at the edge of something big, unimaginably big.