Technotopia, the consciousness problem, and the basis of reality. Options
The Concept Guy
#1 Posted : 9/16/2020 12:50:38 PM
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Greetings DMT nexus. I wrote this just now while high after watching the social dilemma documentary on netflix then watching a closer to the truth episode 802 "what's beyond physics?". This is one of the stream of consciousness things, I just wrote what I was thinking. I'm half-stoned as well but the thoughts actually make sense (I reread it and error corrected). When I thought about sharing it this was the place seemed like the the right place to share. Apologies for it's length, I have broken it into paragraphs that loosely have a main topic for each one. Hopefully, some will enjoy it Thumbs up

Sell me an algorithm that I can choose what I want it to curate, what information I want or how I want to receive information. For example, in a biased or unbiased way. Do I want to see opinions from people across a spectrum of concerns or do I want to make money? What information do I feed myself? Can I have control over an AI so that I can get it to give me what I want not what an advertiser wants? I’m not interested in engagement. I want the right information. The type of information that places me in a position of knowledge. This knowledge will allow me to make better decisions.

What are better decisions? Better decisions are based on my point of view, my values, my culture, my ethics, my life experiences. So, if I change my experiences, I change what is good, what is bad, what is right, what is wrong.

What is good for me? From a biological perspective its living, living without severe pain, having offspring, projecting the human species into the future.

Am I philosophically aligned with the human species? Is what the human species represents something I wish to promote? What do we represent? Problem solvers. But we define the problems.
Is death a “problem” we need to solve? Some suggest it is. We need to live longer, happier, healthier lives. Is this good? From my perspective it is. From an individual human level, I want to maximise my wellbeing, or do I? This is not completely true. I also want to increase others overall wellbeing because if I am selfish this still benefits me. Co-operation allows us to define our reality more precisely. We have control over our environment. We make it nice to live in. We can choose our own reality bubble. We can decide to allow ourselves to become slowly manipulated into puppets for corporations or enormously wealthy people for profit.

Is this a good thing for our species? The consideration of this question shows that the collective wellbeing of our society is actually important to us and ultimately suggests we are not entirely egocentric as individuals, but it is indicative of egocentrism as a species. We ignore our impact on our environment which when really considered seriously, we are entirely dependent. We live in a narrow band of survivability and our collective action is seriously jeopardising the future of not just our species but mammals on the whole. If we destroy ourselves through a mismanagement of our extractive process, we are likely to wipe out hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Now this might ultimately be good, maybe humans have an inbuilt flaw that should it play out on even larger scales the suffering would be even more immense. It could also be terrible.

Terrible in what sense? Where does the value judgement come in? Does the universe care what humans want? We care, certainly. It’s a necessary part of our code to exist but maybe it’s not necessarily enough and we might self-extinguish ourselves through a utopia such as an infinitely deep virtual world where we lose ourselves for our entire lives, never procreating and having children. It might be such a fantasy filling world that living in the real world is just unbearable, even what we consider minor suffering today would be intense for someone who only knows what we consider “pleasure”. Our utopia would be their normal. So where do you go from there? Ever more deeply down the pleasure hole? Very likely, at least for some time.

Will we lose track of other fellow humans? Will our consciousness be so free that the idea of the human form becomes irrelevant? Sounds like a technotopia but what happens to the things we leave behind? If we calibrate our AI’s wrong, they may wreak havoc on the universe in service of fulfilling our virtual utopias. Will we leave an anchor line back to where consciousness comes from? Do we even know if the human experiences we are having now are the bedrock of consciousness? Might this just be a virtual experience, upon death we release into one level up? We return to the body that is dreaming our life, ad infinitum.

Is there a beginning to consciousness? Does it come from the material universe? Does it come from another dimension? Are we simply projections? Ephemeral spirits inhabiting a physical body? Like how our avatars in video games come alive when we control them? Might our sense that we control our actions simply be a mental trick? An illusion. We deceive ourselves as being the ones in control. Is consciousness the slave of the body or is the body a slave of consciousness? Is consciousness a product of the body? The body constrains and curates the type of consciousness experience that can be had. But is it the seat of consciousness? Does consciousness rest inside the body, attached to it, and with its passing, the light snuffs out? It seems plausible. From my perspective I have only ever known the consciousness supported by my physical body. It seems to follow me everywhere. If I want to go somewhere the body must go too. Except with imagination. The body falls away and consciousness is in some sense detached from the body. It goes wandering in the possibilities of ideas. We construct realities in our minds but there seems to be limitations to the corporealness of these experiences. They lack physicality. They are visual, emotional, they contain space, and even sounds but they are not felt by the body. There is no physical sense of touch in these places and that’s why they aren’t “real”.

Can societies exist without a physical reference? Can customs of living be formed without a stable physical reality to embed itself in? Living in an ever-morphing virtual pleasure dome will likely preclude the necessity for interacting with other beings that have physical bodies. Then again, it is possible that we can emulate physical sensation. If this is the case, then I guess there are no sense left to distinguish reality from fantasy. With consciousness unbound to the laws of physics and with the capacity to generate internal fantasy worlds that feel as real as any reality we could experience we may develop new sense modalities. Capacities for experience that are beyond current human experience not limited by natural laws. If this was to become the case it is very likely that our internal models of reality and the things that are important to us would change. It could be seen as morally outrageous to stop living inside these fantasy worlds. To lose these new senses would be like plucking out someone’s eyes.

If you now experience reality through additional senses, then you have more information streams that need to cohere to create a clear experience / model of your new reality. These additional senses would therefore change how you operate in your reality and the types of things you could do, will do, and therefore what is ultimately important.

The social media phenomenon that is supercomputer AI’s tweaking how they present information to us to influence our behaviour towards increased engagement with their platform to maximise add revenue needs to change. At its core it is misaligned with our species wellbeing. It maximises time spent but not quality of experience. It pulls at deep biological strings which hotwire the brains attention. We need to be in control of our own algorithms….. or do we? Maybe the idea that “individuals” should dictate their lives is naïve. If our human nature has been given to us through evolution then the fact that we’re learning to game ourselves is just a new iteration of the “more resources = better” biological drive in us. Humans are now seen as a resource for other humans. Why shouldn’t humans be a resource? If we hopped outside of our human centric perspective. Being able to be manipulated is the flip side of being able adapt to the environment. To be honest, I think reality will win out. The fears of misinformation distorting the world so much it implodes is plausible. But you can’t ignore physical reality. At least not yet. Not sufficiently that it doesn’t matter. That which works will survive. That which does not will die. It’s evolution baby. If humans are a resource we know how to create more of them. Co-operation is a resource. Conflict is a resource, it forces adaption. Consciousness allows us to navigate new problems. Consciousness is the trouble shooter; it is the thing which does the living. Evolutionary history gives us instincts, provides us a body, it sets the stage. Consciousness is the link between the past and the future. It’s the experience of the present moment. The only moment there will ever be is right now. It is always happening. Consciousness is like a giant synchronome. Consciousness is the act of being alive. It is the current happening. Based on our understanding, consciousness stops when you die.

Or might all consciousnesses be stuck in an infinite now? How could one tell time has passed if not for consciousness? If consciousness occurs just by random luck it would be inevitable. Infinite time, infinite possibilities would manifest in the moment between death and life. Nonexistence and existence. Why does time pass quickly when you’re asleep? Because there is relatively less going on? If consciousness is the cosmic timekeeper then time goes away, space goes away, everything goes away upon consciousness ceasing. In this infinite void of timelessness can exist all time. Let me clarify. Through reduced awareness of events, time speeds up relatively to the conscious observer. Take this to the extreme no consciousness means infinite time. With an infinite amount of time consciousness will re-emerge. It must. Consciousness must exist because if it didn’t it would at some point and there is nothing there to limit the passing of time and the passing of possibility. So, consciousness creates time, but time simultaneously creates consciousness. If everything was frozen, consciousness would not exist. Consciousness is the flow of experience. It is movement, it is change. No change, no consciousness. There is nothing to be conscious of. How to perceive the sun if its photon is but stuck inside it’s belly? I cannot. How too might I gaze upon an open field if not for the light for which the sun shares. I cannot. So too would be gone my sense of sight, for no stimulation of my nervous system would be available. Without stimulation of sight, I am blind. Without stimulation of sound, I am deaf. Without sensation of touch, I cannot feel. Without sensation of smell there are no fragrances. Without taste there is no flavour. Without temperature there is no cold, no warmth. Everything frozen, locked in absolute relation. No atom, molecule, cell or organism could experience anything. No interaction, no reaction. No cause, no effect. To freeze time is to remove causality. The fundamental pattern of our universe. The past causes the present, the present causes the future, consciousness is the medium through which the present comes into being. No observer, no time. No change, No consciousness.

Unless of course consciousness is not bound to matter but simply conforms to it. Consciousness, all pervading, existing beyond space and time, permeating the universe. It crystallises in human minds, in animal minds, in organisms. Maybe our concept of consciousness is too limited? What does it mean to be aware? For this is the root definition of consciousness. To be aware. Is awareness a product of consciousness or its cause? Do they mutually arise? Might consciousness simple be energy? Is energy the timekeeper? It seems very likely. Is consciousness energy? It must be. Because energy is underpins all that we know. What is the essence of energy? It’s the universe, it’s us, our bodies and the hardware of our minds. So, energy and consciousness are the same thing but energy is not necessarily aware. Blind energy, non-feeling. Reaction without experience. Evolution, change, adaptation, pattern forming protozoic plasmodial movement. Life without consciousness. Change without mind. Our basic assumptions of how the universe came to be suggest this is the fact of existence. So, from nothing came consciousness.

Awareness is claimed to be a property of our brain. Yet our brain is ephemeral but a transient pattern of energy, literally. Our atoms are energy, so must be our brains. If our brains are the seat of consciousness, then consciousness must also be temporary. A temporary pattern of energy. A pattern that relates to and understands the world in a constrained way. It has limitations in the way it can operate due to it being of a particular kind of pattern and not another. To have form it is necessary to dispel possibility for actuality, collapse the wave function. In doing so we are born, consciousness comes into being. But when it blinks out. What happens? Does it all just cease? To the individual, time ends. But that means to that individual infinite time begins. So, with unlimited possible unconscious primordial states of infinite universes the individual is inevitably born again. The form is made, the stage is set and the drama begins again. The drama is very engaging. It is what gives life its spice. We are problem solvers after all. If there were no problems what would we do? Die of boredom? Seek infinite pleasure? The possibilities are endless but to get there in this world we must survive. It’s an odd paradox. Death could be absolutely final and this thesis wrong or it could just be a nonexperience infinity remerging as a conscious being In a new universe. We all must face it in the end, at least for now.

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#2 Posted : 9/16/2020 8:38:36 PM

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Welcome! I would suggest editing the post and sectioning into paragraphs of 4-10 lines of length. Reading the text as it stands now simply feels like too much effort Shocked

Intensity increases exponentially until you reach the I of the storm.
#3 Posted : 9/17/2020 11:56:41 AM

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Read through it now. I (and likely many others here) have spent time contemplating similar thoughts on the nature of conciousness. I never reached any conclusion Big grin It is the great mystery. For me, the question "what is conciousness" almost equates to "what is existence". I find it very very hard to imagine or understand how a universe without conciousness could exists in any sense except theoretically in the minds of beings residing in universes with conciousness!

Most of the time I feel like conciousness itself has to be an integral part of the universe, one of the essential building blocks, equal to the forces of gravity and the weak force etc. Things that just are themselves, not composed of anything else. (I am not a physicist, so might be misusing terms here though).

Intensity increases exponentially until you reach the I of the storm.
#4 Posted : 9/17/2020 12:52:32 PM

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I believe there is a serious flaw in the idea of technotopia, and I think that the questions you ask are pointing in the direction of this conclusion.

#5 Posted : 9/17/2020 1:57:06 PM

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Personally I've grown away of the habit to ponder myself to shreds about not well defined definitions (consciousness etc..), actively tempering the by-human constructed cesspools of haziness.

some main world involving items to decide about can hardly be technologically assessed. Immigration for example. Try calculating where to draw a line, impossible.

While balance is my favour, I do think we should be more techno-topia that emo-topia though. In recent times the latter is waving a bullying scepter a notch too much imho.
#6 Posted : 9/17/2020 4:08:14 PM

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The misconception is about time. Nowadays we live in a world that is very tailored by time, ever more precise yet and closed upon itself. If the man of yesterday would have to look at the sky to estimate when he was, the man of tomorrow look at his wrist. We don't look up at the world anymore, to those eternal celestial beings, but down to a machinery of our own creation over which we have entire control. A time we can fix.

Yet, if time has never been more precise, it also has never been more corrupted. The environnement that use to dictate time, the cyle of night and day is now stripped entirely. There is with electricity, an enormous amount of day within nights, and with passing most of our lives in closed walles, nights in our days. Both similuation of their aformentioned respective state.

Another layer of this quest of time, is the general strive toward linearity. Because things are not cycles interlinked in cycles anymore, because we have blurred those frontiers and they do not make the rythm of our lives in the same way anymore, there is a sense of finality in what is happening. A strive for meaning and the ability to define our evolution , not through the cycles of rebirth that is the act of being born, but through our hands. Outside the body.

As such, the first objects all have been the first time something was, not born, but created. It is non organic and cannot evolve by itself. It's life depends only of us. It is a world of which we are the center. And because it was not born, it is not on the same temporal line as the rest of the world. This act of "creation" is far inferior to the creative process of birth. So, because we cannot left behind this new thing that we have created, those childs seemingly eternal, geared toward posterity, we have to make them more complex, ever more complex, so they reach the complexity of the world.

To make a simple analogy that resumes this: There used to be ground under our feet. In act of genius ingeniosity, we have the idea to create a new floor. So we create this new thing, but, as it is not possible another way, the ground that is created by one, "mono", over a rather short period of time, cannot be the same as the ground created by mny, "poly", other a long period of time. But because this soil that has been created is so simple, so comforting in it's simplicty, we canno't abandon it. Yet, because our bodies are still of this natural complexity, it is not satisfied by it. Eventually, we take more and more bits of the world to make this soil we created as complex as the ground of the world. A very tedious and convoluted process that supposes that we interact with the world in opposite terms: if the first ground was the result of many, it is not there specially for us, we have to adpat to it, whereas the latter ground, created for us, by us, is there for us, we have adapted the world to our needs in a domination approach. As such, we cannot let filth fill this ground and have to keep it clean, keep it eternal. If in the soil that was there before, of his complexity you could see a million little things in it, let your imagination run wild, the new soil, very polished, presents but a few pattern.

Since the beggining of all human, nothing much has changed. People are born, breath, drink, eat, shit, interact and die. As such we can say and assert that there has always been two principale state in the life of a human being: outside the womb, and, outside the womb. If you take the blue pill, inside the womb: a simple world, that is only there for you, center of everything, of all creation, no days, no night, no winters, you are carried away like on a throne, no efforts, no turmoil and pain, protected. If you take the red pill, outside of the womb: the world doesn't really care bout you, it cares about nothing really this world, it just is. And it goes on. You, swallowed in it. Like some great old master this world that has seen many more lives than you (and here the meaning is MANY) is setting rules and all that sort of thing, and you have to adapt and you will be well formed by this well made world and well sustaining world.

So obviously, it is very hard not to see that an appartement, a car, that sort of things, bare a lot of ressemblances to one of those two states. Which can makes us ponder, as the future only exist in our imagination, and your imagination is rooted in our memories and longings, could it be that the only future we will ever create has actually nothing to do with being the future but everything to do with the past ? That what we create, and by definition control, is only the longing for something that isn't there, and that any "wish of somehting that isn"t there" can but only, if it not satisfied with one of those two states, conjure the other ?

Now about imagination, as defined by OP as the ability of projection, a dissocation from the body that allows the mind to transform seemingly unbounded. Well, this definitly has lead us to create sets of tools through which we can interact such as computer for exemple. Sitting in your sofa, you can travel to very distant places, transcend time and space, to the eternal realms of electricity, conjuring death in a grand liturgy that sort of thing. So it's a real attraction. But let's try to find an older pattern as to where this ability for projection can come from. A time where, your body wasn't moving, but you were experiencing the body of someone else. You were still but yet in movement. Well, again, this looks awfully like a certain womb we are becoming to be well accustomed to. And cars, are there not this "throne that carries you" - well, it ends up being quite mysoginistic it seems, female object, all that sort of thing. Alas, women carried men in their wombs for nine month and in return man build little boxes to put them in, and then an entire world for everyone to stay in. It's like a superhero origin story when you think of it, only the scale and the sheer magnitude is vastly different and a bit more on the lunatic side ...

Anyway, if we go back to the red pill sates, in this red pile states they are again two states: night and day. Day has the attributes of the red pill sate, but night calls back to blue pill state: our body do not move, a world of imagination seperated from this one happens. Whereas the sun shines for all, the light of the night shines only for us . (Here is the way to say why the Stoned Aped theory is valid: if you are to observ a source of light that is non depented of the exterior cycles, then it inevitably draws focus to the "inner light", the spark of perception - and eventually we end up creating little flat screen things that we can look out at night, like mirrors) . From this experience, the guess is made that after life, in the time to unite with the great shadow and all that spooky thing death called, something similar happens, or that our very life function in some sense similarly o that of a dream. Well, it is not false, though it also vague. Yet more importantly, if this pattern is present everywhere, why look far away for it ? The experience of the singularity that is conscioucness happens at every moment. As is the birth of entire universes happens at our very feets. Is it that the people who seek to understand or replicate it do so because they can no more experience it ? In a lack of awarness of their own sensible experience, too absorbed that they are in those bodies they have created to experience the world through ? To create something beyond the body, the thing that is born and dies, that is out of our hands, for something more graspable ?


#7 Posted : 9/17/2020 5:11:21 PM
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Ah, my favorite kind of thread: stoned thoughts. A lot of them. One of my favorite McLuhan ideas is that humans are the sex organs of the machine world. We are the unicellular organisms of social structures. We have, simply put, evolved evolution. Our cars, our computers, our tools are all nova organa (new organs and I'm entirely sure I didn't conjugate that right). We haven't changed much from our Lascaux brethren that painted art on the walls of their caves, it's just that we've found new methods to make caves wherever we want. That, and the art on our walls come from factories.

One of my favorite takes on the idea of technotopia comes from Arkady Brothers. The Noon Universe is a study on human nature and our interaction with progress; so, too, is Roadside Picnic, but Picnic is recommended enough.
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