"It seems to me that a pattern has no meaning and maybe no existence outside of a mind that notices it."
That looks like the old Dirac contoversy about "are things there when you are not looking?". A philosophy book gave a good account of this debate. They gave a good answer but I don't have it with me here.
On the way to that answer, they talked about how you may stand in the shadow of a house and take it that the house is there from seeing its shadow yet not looking at the house itself.
Another one is you turn a tap on over a bath, go away and come back to find the tap running and the bath full of water. If it wasn't there when you were not looking; how did the water get in the bath?
They had a good punch-line to the debate but I have to come back with that. Something along the lines of it turns out that the very definition of objective objects becomes the simplest explanation of all the supposed coincidences that 'holographically' (my term) project the assumption of an independent object.
While it does not seem necessary for a pattern to be seen by say John Smith, for it to exist; there does seem to be "consciousness" embedded in the very notion of "pattern".
Of course you may look at a tree many different ways: as childhood recollections of tree-climbing the tree; as many subtle shades of leaf colour; as a geometry of structural engineering of load-bearing branches; as a collection of cells; as vast numbers of atoms; as something that reminds you of something else; and so on. Which of these is the tree?
The intersection of all these ideas is the tree?
An "explanation" of a tree is a collection of ideas "spinning" around the tree. But the tree? One cannot ask finally "What is tree?" in that you can go for a spin through some network of ideas, but "tree" is not something else. Tree is related to something else. But "tree" just IS. Ultimately things just are.
Its not "what are they?"; that question is "what ideas spin around them, what relationships are within and about them?" "They" ARE.
Since there are lots of ways to view something, chosing which perspective is a matter of "mind" (a matter of 'paying attention to' ('minding') a particular perspective). Holding to a particular perspective involves conservation of pattern.
On a more intrinsic level; a pattern is "conservation" and may be inherently "conscious". Suppose one dot was the whole universe. So no time, no beginning or end, no finity or infinity, just "dot".
Obviously "dot" is both continuous and discontinous; just as an object is infinitely itself. Introduce other dots, and you get a continuity of one dot-arrangement, per some changes in other dot arrangements.
(Relative to that first viewpoint being a relatively unchanging group of dots). As you say, those continuous dot-groups among changing dots, could be noticed (minded) from a chosen dot view-point (i.e. from the "view" of a particular group of dots).
Change the view and you may see different groupings of fixed-dots versus changing dots. But surely there must be some absolute dot activity which limits the possible views of the dotty universe to only so-many alternatives. Start adding alternative possible views relative to possible viewpoints and you get patterns of freedom versus constraint (call the dots "numbers" you get Dr. Dick's paper I guess); (call the changing dots and the view (C) of a change or difference (A to B) the: "comparing and matching of patterns"; and you get my "musical chairs, join the dots, Know the difference" ideas.
Any "change" requires dot 1, dot 2 (change in dot 1) and "background" (e.g. the pair (1,2) called 3) that allows the difference to be known between the two. This three-basis to patterns seems to be already conscious in that 1 dot (call 3) self-refers via comparing itself as a constant during jumping attention between the other two dots.
Quote: "I think that our perception of images on screens made up of discrete dots can supply the examples we need to think these ideas through. It seems that for continuity (which I think is only an illusion) it is only necessary that the image change faster or more subtly than the mind can detect."
Yeah good point (Or should that be "dot"?!) A really fast camera shutter (high dot frequency you might say) may reveal just one dot on a screen. A really slow shutter may reveal a continuous picture.
Then there is the "dot" frequency between the observer and the screen. Watch a distant lightning bolt and the "light dot" frequency between you and the flash is much higher than the "sound dot" frequency.
No doubt Dr. Dick might suggest now to replace "dot" with "number" and deduce his paper! Someone just suggested I say to Dr. Dick "What's up, Doc?" (a famous line from Bugs Bunny).
Role of consciousness? Yeah Chris Langan seems to be saying that this is integral (actually "integral" suggests "integration" suggests "conservation" suggests "continuity"; and I just wrote how "contnuity" seems to involve "self-reference".)
Thinking: to even talk of "continuity" of A with B you have to have a constant C (or even WXYZ as a 'sum' "C" which stays constant during A jump to B.) So "C" is kind of conscious or self-referent with respect to "A" jump to "B". But is it aware of its awareness?
Suppose you had a cloud of bees zapping about. Suppose you hold one bee's (call "A") motion as constant and map all the other bees movement against that one. Suppose you did this for a different bee's (say "B") perspective. If bees "A" and "B" collided, for an instant their respective views on the movements of all the other bees will coincide. Maybe the "phase differences" between the two "all bees movements" view from "A" versus from "B" may be regarded as a virtual third bee view, "C", of the other bees.
Perhaps QED works like this with its virtual particles etc.
Seems to me that QED is about discreteness, gravitation is about continuity, Relativity is about the alternative perspectives on constraint-freedom (mass-energy) (gravitation-QED). The jump of a Dirac Delta function seems rather like the jump of matching two patterns, the jump of making a definition. A universal Dirac delta function could be "definition itself" or "matching".
Well this is rather rambling stuff; any more thoughts on dots, Dirac deltas, and consciousness?