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Posted by Paul R. Martin on June 8, 2003 05:33:58 UTC

Hi Harv,

"Ignore the tirade and think principle..., ignore those questions and focus on this issue"

Thank you for that invitation. That is exactly what I would like to do.

"Can you state your assumptions with as few as possible and generate your entire structure from those first principles?"

Yes and yes. I'll state those assumptions here, but generating the entire structure from those principles will take more than I can compose before bedtime. I will sketch it out, however. First the assumptions.

There are a number of assumptions that I think we can both accept that I must make in order to take any position and which we needn't discuss. If you want me to list those, I could try but I don't think that is what you are looking for. They are things like, I assume that you have more or less the same understanding I do of the meaning of each English word either of us uses. I assume some kind of continuity in my being and in yours during our conversation. I assume you have roughly the same kind of mental faculties I do. Etc. Etc.

And, before I go any further, let me say that I admit that what I refer to as "my theory" is not a theory in any scientific sense. When I say "my theory" I merely mean my best guess at the moment as to what I think is the fundamental basis of reality. It's only my guess. In my judgement, it provides more plausible answers to the questions that interest me than any other theory or explanation I have heard.

So, setting the type of assumptions I mentioned above aside, my theory is based on two assumptions:

1. Consciousness is elementary and singular.

2. All action is accompanied by unintended consequences.

By 'elementary' I mean that consciousness is the fundamental stuff of which everything that exists consists. Or, in other words, consciousness is the only thing that, at base, really exists.

By 'singular' I mean 'not plural'. That is, there is only one consciousness in all of reality.

By 'action' I mean any change of state.

By 'unintended consequences' I mean that the one consciousness (which based on my assumptions so far is the only candidate for the possibility of intension or intention or intent) is unaware prior to the action of some part of the new state in any action. You might interpret this as, 'God is frequently surprised'.

So those are my assumptions. The sketch of how I generate my entire structure from this will have to be really sketchy for now. Here goes. (I'll call the one consciousness 'God' just to make my typing easier.)

God started out simple, imagined a lot of things, imagined and remembered things that somehow persisted so they could be thought of as objects of further thought, "games" or manipulations of these thought-objects were tried, constructs such as music and mathematics were probably tried, surprises in these endeavors (such as Moire Patterns, or the intricate boundary of the Mandelbrot Set) were unintended consequences which prompted further exploration.

This led to the development of the mathematics of numbers which in turn led to the unintended consequence of the behavior of those numbers if consistency is to be maintained. This led to the necessity of the familiar laws of physics (I won't drag you into my reason for accepting this idea. (Smile)).

In order to maintain consistency (my guess is that God does this for the same reasons we adhere to the rules when playing a game of chess) hte "Physical" structure thus generated can't be tampered with except at planck length scales. God does tamper at these scales in order to get certain tricky chemical reactions to take place at critical points along the way during the evolution of the "physical" universe. He also figured out a very complex and clever way to do it. That is the development of biological nervous systems which act as "communication devices" between the "attention" of God and the structure of thought objects which we know as the physical universe. The way it works is that God is able to cause specific quantum effects which the nervous system amplifies into coordinated muscle movements. It also works the other way by taking stimuli from the physical world and transducing them in a way that God's attention can be focused on them and thereby experience qualia vicariously through the organism with the brain.

Now, I left out the hyper-temporal and spatial dimensions. I left out the levels of entities which inhabit the various levels of this multi-dimensional structure. And I probably left out a bunch of other stuff. But you have heard me talk about those things enough that it probably doesn't matter for the purposes of answering your question. So I'll close off my sketch here.

But before I post this, I want to point out what I think are the two features of my previous explanation which got in the way of your understanding it. First is the real question of "What do you mean by 'we', or 'I', or 'you', or any other personal pronoun. You mentioned some of the difficulty in identifying the real person in the face of changes. But I maintain that the difficulty goes way beyond that. So if you have any preconceived notions about what you think a "person" is, then you will have a hard time understanding what I am talking about.

The other thing is my analogy of a radio to explain the nature of the brain wrt consciousness. That simple analogy would answer most of the objections you stated in your tirade, if you just think about the analogy and think it through.

Anyway, good talking to you, Harv. Let me know what else you would like me to explain about my guess.

Warm regards,


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