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More About Dots And Stuff - To Alan

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Posted by Paul R. Martin on May 6, 2002 04:37:49 UTC

Hi Alan,

This is in response to

***Paul wrote: "It seems to me that a pattern has no meaning and maybe no existence outside of a mind that notices it."

Alan wrote: "That looks like the old Dirac contoversy about "are things there when you are not looking?".***

I don't think it is the same debate. It seems to me that the pattern formed by things is different from the things themselves. The things might exist independently of any mind, but if so, there would be no concept of any pattern they might form. A pattern is a concept and a concept can't exist outside of a mind.

So, I don't think shadows of houses and overflowing bathtubs apply in this case.

***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".***

I agree that "consciousness" seems to be somehow "embedded in the very notion of "pattern"", but I don't agree with the part about John Smith. Let's say that there are three dots existing in space, and that John Smith sees them forming the pattern of the vertices of a right triangle. Let's say also that Joe Jones sees the same three dots from a different angle, say from some point in the plane defined by the three dots. Jones sees the dots forming the pattern of lying on the same straight line. Those patterns don't have much to do with the dots themselves and their positions. The patterns are strictly concepts in the minds of Smith and Jones.

***The intersection of all these ideas [(color, structure, etc.)] 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.***

Using my previous example, the three dots just are. But, the patterns they form are something else again.

***Its not "what are they?"; that question is "what ideas spin around them, what relationships are within and about them?" "They" ARE.***

Let me see if I understand what you are getting at here, Alan. Using my three dot example again, if you asked "what are they?" you would not be answering the question if you described the patterns the dots formed when someone looked at them. Is that what you meant?

If you said that the dots form a triangle or lie on a line, you would be describing "ideas spin[ning] around them" and "relationships...within and about them" but you would not be answering the question, What are they? The question, What are they? is asking, What is it that exists that causes the perceptions of triangles etc. So we have a causal relationship going from existence to perception. I think we agree, but I'm just trying to confirm it by stating it a little differently.

***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.***

This seems to confirm that we really do agree on this point. But here you introduce the notion again of "conservation of pattern". "Holding to a particular perspective" seems to me to mean that there is some persistence in the concept of the pattern conceived in the mind. Sounds like memory to me.

***On a more intrinsic level; a pattern is "conservation" and may be inherently "conscious".***

You have lost me here, Alan. It seems to me that the pattern might persist in the mind, i.e. be remembered or committed to memory, and that this could be seen as "conservation". But, I don't see how you can attribute consciousness, either inherently or otherwise, to the pattern. Maybe I am missing something here.

***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.***

It's not obvious to me. I would say no continuity, no discontinuity, just "dot". But go on...

***Introduce other dots, and you get a continuity of one dot-arrangement, per some changes in other dot arrangements.***

I'm sorry, but I don't get it. I don't know what "continuity per changes" means.

***(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). ***

That doesn't help much; I still don't get it. But the notion of noticing (or minding) dots from a particular viewpoint makes some sense to me. But let's back up. We started with one dot being the whole universe. You didn't mention the existence of a mind which could be aware of the dot. Now, here you are talking about a mind noticing the dots from a particular viewpoint. Where did it come from? Well, let's say we just posited the mind, just as we posited the original dot and the new dots. Okay. But I think this introduces another problem. How can this mind perceive the dot(s)? How can the mind be aware of the existence of the dots? Of course, I leap to the easy answer: There is no objective space "out there" with dots in it. Instead, there is only the mind and the dots are simply ideas imagined in the mind. Now you might say that I have the difficult problem of explaining the mind, but then I will respond that so does anyone who acknowledges the existence of any mind under any circumstances.

***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.***

I think so. I think the possible views are limited thus: If the dots persist and have individual identities, then the relationships among them are limited to those of mathematical points in a coordinate system. I think that in this case, Dick's "theorem" would apply and the "activity" of the dots would be limited by the laws of physics. In other words, a universe that does not obey the laws of physics is unimaginable.

***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);***

Your guess is the same as mine.

***(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.***

Here's where I start getting dizzy trying to follow you, Alan. I get vague glimpses of the interplay between a mind and the concepts it imagines, sort of like imagining a game of tic-tac-toe. And, I can relate these vague glimpses to the even vaguer glimpses of whatever I "saw" under the laughing gas in the dentist's chair. But that's as far as it goes. I think you might be on to something profound, but it is beyond me to grasp hold of it.

***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.***

Blub. Blub. Blub. I'm deep under water and drowning.

***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".) ***

I'm not sure I caught all of this, but I agree with all those suggestions.

***Suppose you had a cloud of bees zapping about....Perhaps QED works like this with its virtual particles etc.***

Perhaps...I can neither confirm nor deny it.

***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***

I agree; it is rather rambling stuff.

***any more thoughts on dots, Dirac deltas, and consciousness?***

Yes, lots of thoughts. But none that would make any sense here (or anywhere else for that matter).

It's been fun talking to you Alan. I'm sorry I can't find more time to talk more.

Warm regards,


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