July 28, 2006

Solidified Godstuff, pure consciousness

grant said...Bob, I sure like your writing style. Anyway, on the subject of "interiority" as a property of life, I have a take from the Aurobindonian system that has a slightly different flavor to it--perhaps you'll like the taste.
First, maybe rocks and other inanimate things already have a dim form of consciousness buried within their humming nuclei and electron clouds. It seems counterintuitive, but nevertheless, perhaps even brute matter has a latent seed of consciousness (Aurobindo postulates that matter is constructed of 'frozen' consciousness, so the idea that a peice of granite may have some form of awareness shouldn't be intuited as impossible). In that case, life simply concentrates and amplifies that seed, in ever greater ways, chiefly by complex organization. Humanity (and specifically the human brain) is the greatest concentrator of consciousness yet. But, life did not introduce consciousness (that "interior view" of which you speak) 'twas already there, and in fact it is all that there is.
In the Aurobindonian creation story rocks and trees and fish and people are made of solidified Godstuff, pure consciousness. Therefore, anything and everything may become highly aware, even machines, under the right conditions of complexity. Or, it could be seen as process like oxidation; at a cetain level of complexity, awareness begins to 'burn' in something. Artificial intelligences are quite possible if this view is correct, in fact they would be hard to prevent. 12:50 PM
Gagdad Bob said...Grant--Oh, absolutely. That's exactly it--involution precedes evolution. Whitehead has the same idea, with his concept of "prehension." Evolution is the evolution of subjects, and subjectivity runs "all the way down" to its apparent negation. But it's only apparent. 1:04 PM
The Tetrast said...Actually I'd tend to hold with two pre-life levels rather than one. (1) A dynamic level, which is time-symmetric or nearly so; and (2) the material level, which is thermodynamic and which involves stochastic processes in which fluctuations tend to cancel each other out toward common tendencies and likenesses, qualities, a kind of natural coarse-graining, which implies a question of fineness or coarseness view; at any rate, before-&-after info equivalence become obscured and it's a swamp of imperfect representations, signs, in which life comes to thrive. With (3) life, there are particular viewpoints automatically interpretive by evolved goals and standards of value & importance; systems lower their internal entropy, sifting for useful energy.
With (4) intelligence, not only ends govern, but also governing and "causing" are side effects and after-effects, as confirmations, evidences, etc., e.g., the impact of knowledge and expectation on a market. Truth becomes open to question and to answer. Interpretations are learned and checked such as not to leave that task to biological evolution which tends to punish a bad interpretation by removal of the interpreter from the gene pool; and entropy is both raised and lowered by design, and this intelligence becomes a redesigner (an adventure which may have only just begun) of the overall system and is something of sink, retaining things and founding on knowledge.Thass my two cents' worth. 5:20 PM

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