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washedup  ·  2987 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Our Memories

We may only remember a very small percentage of specific memories (sound, vision, touch, taste, etc..), but wouldn't it be fair to say that everything we have experienced is somehow stored in us, although we are not able to consciously recall some of these memories? Maybe the term "remember" is too narrowly used.

For example, if someone throws a ball at me, I will be able to react fast and catch it. However, there is no way in hell that I can remember the specific moment when I was able to do this. This muscle memory has been built over time from every instance of having to use the muscle to produce a "positive" outcome (catch the ball and avoid being hit in the face).

How can we separate these types of memories? Is it even possible?

washedup  ·  2987 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Will We Ever Know Everything About Human Evolution?

For Idea #1, this is extremely hard to do, but fun to think about. Information from 1913 is already 100 light years away, so it would be impossible to send a craft today to be able to capture that information. Here is an article that takes this idea to the extreme:


washedup  ·  3012 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What's then difference between this and reddit?

This platform reminds me more of Hacker News (https://news.ycombinator.com/news), which I highly suggest you check out. It is much more tech/programming heavy, but there is generally a lot of good links.

washedup  ·  3013 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Religion and Our Evolution

Thanks for the response.

I am aware of the programmable universe theories, and many of the scientists behind them are beginning to develop ways to test such theories. What a mind-boggling scenario!

washedup  ·  3013 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Religion and Our Evolution

Great post. I agree with you on the different foundations of religion, and also how they have been or how they might be eliminated over time.

I have always thought of religion and science as two sides of the same coin. When humans developed self and environmental awareness, we probably had many questions about the world and how it worked. With our early beginnings, and specifically, the beginnings of civilization, much of humanities time revolved around crop production. It makes sense that many early religions tried to appease the sun, atmosphere, and the seasons.

Religion's function is to help explain the world which we cannot explain, and as a result, offer comfort when there are so many unknowns. It evolved as a tool of comfort, but obviously came with many terrible side effects, the worst being a violent divider of people. Over the past century we have revealed so much about the universe that there are less questions to be answered, and less need to use religion as a guiding post. As a result, we see a trend towards new atheism and a new sense of spirituality, or connectedness with one's self, while religious systems become less able to offer the comfort it once did. Religion will suffer even more when we finally answer the questions of extraterrestrial life and possibly the origins.

However, it seems to me that as long as there are questions that have yet to be solved by science, humanity will find a use for religion. This is why I say "two sides of the same coin." As long as there exists some "unknown" about the Universe, religion will have an applicable place; somewhere to hide where it can't be disproved until science has a look. Similarly, as long as there are unknowns about the Universe, science is the only useful tool to really uncover the mystery. As soon as the entire universe has unfolded before our eyes, and once science has solved everything, religion disappears. But so does the need for science. I don't believe we will ever come to this point because surely the Universe extends beyond what we currently perceive as possible, and its complexities may develop infinity.

I always considered the greatest irony to be if there is a god, that they are a scientist who simply discovered a way to program or create a universe.

washedup  ·  3013 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Options Enable Consciousness

Correct, a rock does not solve problems so it doesn't fit into the paradigm of consciousness in the scope we are talking about. I am just considering the fact that there is some inherent informational quality to it in a minimal sense.

As for crystals, check out these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(statistical_thermodyna... http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091209134633.ht... Very simply, the lattice structure that spontaneously arises from high pressure and temperature can reach a zero-entropic state. You may be able to consider this one of the simplest and earliest forms of spontaneous order. What do you think of this?

Just as with all systems, if you pump it with enough energy, it will lead to higher levels of complexity and order.

As for the singularity, I think it makes sense to use the concept as the jumping point for the next "breakthrough" in the evolution of life, but as something more powerful than speciation. The new order created by the meta-system transition (or phase transition) will result in (whether we know it or not) giving up some of our more primitive freedoms so that we may reach a higher level of order and complexity as a whole species, not unlike the development of the first multi-cellular organisms. Humanity went through a similar transition when we started to coalesce into cities. We suddenly became subject to a larger set of social laws which guided our behavior. This was essential for the new order and higher living standards we now benefit from.

washedup  ·  3014 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Options Enable Consciousness

Last, thanks for pointing me here. I read many of your articles and have thought similarly about many of the issues you write about.

As far as a theory of consciousness, I think you have accurately described a way to measure such an intangible subject. I have often thought of consciousness in a similar scope, but from an information-processing approach.

Everyone is born with a similar capacity to learn and evolve their own consciousness, assuming they are interacting with the world at large and not tied up in some dark room. Surely such a person would struggle greatly when released into a world of things they have had no interaction with.

For each option that is available to a self-aware individual, there must have been some foundation of learning and information processing to make that option available. The person sitting in the dark room all their life has had no chance to develop a portfolio of options. That is why I believe a good metric for consciousness is memory and information processing ability (not unlike a computer). If you can measure the amount of information that is captured and processed by an individual on some scale of time, you have a direct measure for intelligence and consciousness. This idea is not mine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_information_theory), but I find it to be extremely elegant.

So now we can measure the conscious ability of all creatures on some scale. However, I think this can be extrapolated even further. Take, for example, the extreme example of a rock. A rock has no active information processing capability. It has no brain, no nervous system, no cells, and for our general purposes is completely inanimate and illiquid. However, even the rock contains some information about the universe, which is has gathered simply by existing and taking up a portion of space. A crystal, for example, contains information about chemical structures. Again, this is a form of passive information processing and has little to do with what you are discussing. I simply want to point out there there could exist a spectrum from the information that an inanimate object contains all the way up to something that is actually capable of processing information actively; a conscious.

That is a little off point, however. You bring up in other posts how our individual conscious are evolving into a more unified meta-consciousness. The appropriate question to ask now is how should we categorize this meta-concious? Is it simply another tool or extension of ourselves, or could it even be listed as a higher-level conscious on the spectrum of information processing? If so, where does this put ants? Should we consider the ant on the conscious spectrum and the colony higher on the same spectrum?

Thanks for reading.