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« Remembrance of Human Lacking | Main | Why A Person Learns (and what it means for education) »

August 08, 2010

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Florifulgurator

Which reminds me of the paper:

John Baez and Mike Stay, "Physics, topology, logic and computation: a Rosetta Stone"

http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/category/2009/02/new_structures_for_physics_iii.html


Is there any connection: Higher category theory and systems diagramming?

(I still need to postpone reading all that yummy stuff...)

Molly Radke

http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/
Stoneleigh's writing here is interesting.

Phil Henshaw

I prefer to think of the "rosetta stone" for natural systems to be the natural systems themselves, considered as identifiable physical things for which no model or interpretation is sufficient but to which each model and interpretation needs to refer.

What would you call that approach? I call that the physical science approach to natural systems. Is there a better thing to call it? My current draft (in progress) of "The curious case of Stimulus as Constraint" does a reasonable job of introducing it I think.
http://www.synapse9.com/drafts/StimAsConstraint3.1.pdf

George Mobus

All,

Thanks for the links. I will try to take a look and see if I need to do any follow up.

George

Jordan Flight 45

Bad excuses are worse than none.

t0wnp1ann3r

I can't remember the reference specifically, but I've read something before about "the illusion of choice." What people think of as their own decisions are so heavily influenced by external forces that replacing one decision maker with a decision maker who holds completely opposing values will still often make the same choice. It's like a fallacy of free will. We think we can do anything and be anything, and yet we can't wrap our brains around how much the various systems in which we are engaged guide our decisions.

The inherent complexity in our lives, combined with a lack of sapience, means that we are unable to recognize the influences shaping our decisions based on delays in feedback that happen at every level.

What would it take to be able to fully accept that you are powerless to see through your own veneer of certainty?

George Mobus

T0wnp1ann3r,

There have been numerous neurobiological experiments showing that choices for movement (say deciding to extend a finger) are actually initiated in the pre-motor region of the prefrontal cortex 1/3 to 1/2 second before the "decider" became conscious of "making the decision". Dan Dennett made a great deal out of this in his explanation for consciousness ("Consciousness Explaind") using this as a basis for claiming that consciousness is just an epiphenomenon and as such, possibly of no real purpose from an evolutionary point of view.

Not sure if this is what you were referring to or not.

From the other side of the phenomenological perspective, we are embedded in a culture and a biophysical reality that shapes and molds our beliefs in such a way that when we make a decision subconsciously (or rather preconsciously) we think we are free to choose (see Milton Friedman's book by that title) when, in fact, we have been conditioned to make choices of only certain kinds.

The brain has evolved to construct an ongoing narrative of our behavior that the prefrontal cortex uses to evaluate successes and failures. The narrative apparently comes later than the actual initiation of behavior, but the illusion is that we made a free choice. What I suspect second and 1/2 order consciousness is about is to evaluate the results and use that to further modify our mental models in tacit memory so that our future choices (coming as they do from judgment) will be better.

As to your last question: More sapient individuals are more willing to accept ambiguity, uncertainty, and that they are not in 'control' than less sapient (these are some of the characteristics of wisdom). As for any individual, they are probably stuck with whatever mental capacity they have. I don't think it is something that you can learn through intelligence.

George

Square OntheLevel

Despite abundant evidence of decline (social, ethical, educational, economic...) from drift in standards within human systems, I remain more 'optimistic' about our capacity for responding to feedback and producing positive change.

I'm "certain" that man has the power to see through his own veneer of mental constructs, but perhaps not the inclination! It seems more a cost/value proposition: what's to gain by seizing some control? Will collective / cultural intelligence support it? Am I willing to risk leaving my comfort zone?

Is it really our mental capacity that keeps us stuck? Or could it be an unwillingness to change our dysfunctional systems?!

For a sapient individual to fully exercise choice, there's a requisite level of sentience to perceive the dynamics of the system. I believe the human brain is equipped with capacity for much more awareness and perception than we apply.

Maybe that's what the transition we seem to be entering is all about. Mankind could use some enlightenment!

George Mobus

Square,

I'm "certain" that man has the power to see through his own veneer of mental constructs, but perhaps not the inclination!

It would be nice to know the basis of your certainty for this power.

Is it really our mental capacity that keeps us stuck? Or could it be an unwillingness to change our dysfunctional systems?!

Wouldn't unwillingness be a function of lack of mental capacity? I should think if we are wise enough we would be willing.

The problem I see with your proposition:

For a sapient individual to fully exercise choice, there's a requisite level of sentience to perceive the dynamics of the system.

is that sentience precedes the development of sapience. Intelligence and sapience are correlated, but it is possible to see instances of high intelligence (equated here with your use of the term sentience) and low sapience (as determined by the exercise of poor judgment).

In my studies of sapience I concluded that the perception of the dynamics of systems (our global system) is actually a function of sapience, not intelligence alone. It is sapience that guides the attention of younger individuals toward the phenomena that help in the perceptual and conceptual discovery of those dynamics. It also guides the shaping of our conceptual models in tacit memory that is later (in life) used to generate veridical intuitions and judgements.

I agree, mankind could indeed use enlightenment, but I think it more a matter of continued evolution of sapience rather than some form of education. But, as always, I'm open to evidence.

George

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