[ExI] Possible seat of consciousness found

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Sun Feb 23 18:14:47 UTC 2020

Hi Stuart,
Thanks for jumping in with so much great thinking.  I think you are really
understanding, mostly.

I must really be failing at communication.  Both you, John, and others
often appear to disagree, but then what you talk about as if it was a
different view than what I was saying, it is exactly the point I was trying
to make.

On Sat, Feb 22, 2020 at 11:58 PM Stuart LaForge via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Quoting Brent Allsop:
> > Our eyes, and everything else need to do lots of tricks (such as the 60
> HZ
> > saccades your are describing) so that we can have accurate and
> > consistent knowledge.
> But we don't have accurate and consistent knowledge due to those
> tricks. We have a hastily constructed Umvelt of convenience that is
> biased, self-serving, and sometimes even in direct conflict with the
> actual underlying physical reality. Without specialized
> instrumentation, we can perceive maybe 1% of reality. Without our
> technology, we really are looking at shadows in Plato's cave.
> For example the ongoing continuity of the present moment that you
> sense is a construct of your brain. Everything that you see happening
> around you has already happened several microseconds in the past. Your
> sight and hearing are bounded from both below and above by the minimum
> and maximum frequencies that you can sense. And you are prone to
> zoning out on the occasional sexual fantasy. Half the cells in your
> body are a diverse ecosystem of microorganisms that you are for the
> most part blissfully unaware of until they wander into the wrong areas
> cause you to feel ill.

Yes, all this is all exactly what I've been trying to say.

> > If our conscious knowledge of such, fades, because we are overriding the
> > tricks our eyes are attempting to do, this change or fading in our
> > awareness of what we are seeing is what we are talking about, which you
> > seem to be completely ignoring.
> I am not sure what your point is here. Qualia fade when you stop
> tickling the sensory apparatus that activates them. Or are you talking
> about attenuation or the Ganzfield effect? The Ganzfield effect is
> such that you stare at uniform color field like red with no detail of
> distinguishing feature, for example, after a few minutes you will stop
> seeing red and your vision will just go black.

Right, what you are saying is the red quale changes to a black quale,
right?  Again, that is what I've been attempting to say when things 'fade'
or 'just go black'.
These are the conscious changes I'm talking about.  If you know something,
whether it is red or black, or fading or whatever, there must be something
that is that changing conscious awareness.

> You just continue to map everything I say into  a world where this
> changing
> > conscious awareness isn't real or something.
> Your changing conscious awareness is real, it is still however a
> mental construct, just as thoughts are real but nonetheless mental
> constructs. Your constructed awareness is meant to model those aspects
> of the world important to your genes and to a lesser extent you
> yourself. The problem is not that your conscious awareness is not
> real; the problem is that without compensatory technology, it is very
> limited and rather inaccurate.

Exactly what I've been attempting to say.

For what it's worth, I checked out your video and some of your more
> recent content on your site, and I noticed that you didn't mention
> glutamate or reference material qualia at all and it actually made
> your argument much more credible. Good job. The animation and graphics
> are pretty slick as well.

Thanks!  Yay, at least I"m making some progress.  Yes, the main ideas are
what everyone agrees on: that we have qualia, and as you say qualia are "a
mental construct" that is our conscious knowledge.  This is the only
doctrine contained in the general super "Representational Qualia Theory
<https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Representational-Qualia/6>."  The only
thing everyone disagrees about is the nature of qualia.  Communicating the
high level RQT ideas about what 'qualia blindness' is, and how there is not
a "hard mind body problem", it's just a color problem is already very
difficult to communicate.  It requires some major surgery to people's naive
epistemology of color.  So we simplify everything as much as possible.
(only talk about red and green - no other colors or more subtle qualia).
Glutamate being redness is only in the small low level minority camp "Molecular
Materialism <https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Molecular-Materialism/36>".
This camp is the simplest and most importantly, easy to falsify.  If
someone experiences redness, with no glutamate, redness = glutamate
prediction falsified.  The ease of falsifiability is what is important.
For example, I see no possible way to falsify most of the other theories,
especially the leading consensus camp which Stathis supports: "Functionalism
<https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Qualia-Emerge-from-Function/18>".  If they
could provide any easily falsifiable example of what redness could be, I'd
be happy to use that in place of glutamate, but they never provide anything
even close to that.  It's all just sloppy hand waving with the small
required "a miracle happens here" step they always ignore.    Of course, it
is my conjecture that if they did provide something that could be redness,
it couldn't be that for the same reason it can't be glutamate, proving the
absurdity of their substitution argument.

So, we don't use glutamate because it is likely true, we use it because it
is the easiest to falsify and easiest to understand.  The general idea is
just that whatever redness is, it is objectively observable (giving us only
an abstract description of such.)  I often describe an overly simplified
physical world with only red and only green, and only in that simple world
is it glutamate that has redness and glycine that has greenness.  If you
can understand how experimentalists in such a simple world could fully
describe the behavior of glutamate, reacting in a synapse, without knowing
this was redness, then you can apply that same non qualia blind thinking to
all more capable theories.  You've got to understand qualia blindness,
first, in the simplest possible world.  Then you can start to observe the
complex brain in a non qualia blind way (use more than one word for all
things red) so we can discover what it is that does have a redness quality
- finally giving us the required factual dictionary between the abstract
objective and the qualitative subjective.  Until we do this we will
continue to have no idea what color anything is.  In other words, you just
start with glutamate and redness are abstract labels for the same thing.
Once you falsify glutamate, then substitute glutamate for your next working
hypothesis (starting with the easy to falsify one's first) until it can't
be falsified.  Then you will finally have the required dictionary
definition for which abstract description of something in our brain is a
description of what we can directly/subjectively experience as redness.

Incidentally, I think you might have been too reductionist in your
> search for the material correlates of color. Material redness is not a
> molecule, material redness is the L-cone cell in your retina that
> fires more strongly in response to red light than green light. M-cone
> cells conversely fire more strongly in response to green light than
> red.

Um, yea.  What you say below (as illustrated in this "Perception Inverted
section of the video) proves what you say above is mistaken, right?  You
can have redness, in a brain, in a vat, with no light, and no retina.  so
we're not talking about the retina.  Redness is the final result of
perception, far downstream from even the optic nerve, let alone anything in
the retina.  You just need to stimulate the optic nerve the same as the
retina would and due to this input, the brain creates knowledge or a
construct made out of something that has a redness quality we can
directly/subjectively experience.

> if you could somehow switch the wiring of the two types of one
> cells between the retina and the visual cortex, you might be able to
> achieve your inverted qualia or whatever you call it.
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