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comment by Devac
Devac  ·  95 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Musing on Life and Retrocausality

    Within consciousness, the outcome precedes the event. Where else in the universe does this happen?

This depends on the timeframe of events. Case in point: cyclical events.

    We might say the mental model is a result of cause, but success (or even definition) of the model is a reflection of the future, which has not occurred when the model is cause.

Yes, because we model based on current/past needs and observations. If I'm hungry (cause: lack of food, secondary cause: no fruit-bearing trees, tertiary cause: nobody planted them, ...), then I'll try to get food (solution 1: migrate, solution 2: hunt, solution 3: look what other things eat and see if I can do it too...).

I think it's less about consciousness being retrocausal and more about conceptualizing time beyond "now." Going back to cyclical events, if I was hungry once, I might be again in the future, therefore store some for later. Can you expect future outcomes without differentiating, consciously or not, past, present, and future?





mk  ·  94 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks for the thoughts.

    I think it's less about consciousness being retrocausal and more about conceptualizing time beyond "now."

IMO this is the crux of the issue. Trust that I am not getting at all spritual here. I think this "conceptualization" needs a very hard look. What are the differences between a "conceptualization" of future state, and a future state having influence?

Toss aside the fact that the conceptualization is localized to some weird sort of animate matter that we call Life, and consider the conceptualization is a present characteristic of matter that reflects possible future state. Interestingly, relative qualities of the future state and present state determine the likelihood of the future state. Yes, we can say this "conceptualization" is a blend of past states (which nevermind seems to include novel characteristics), but this conceptualization does exist and has potential energy, and that very thing might actually be even weirder if completely causal.

I think we are quite hand-wavy with notions such as knowledge, and memory, and prediction, giving living matter a pass that other matter does not get. These are qualities that we don't have physical measures for, as far as I am aware.

Retrocausality might not be part of the explantion, and if it is, I expect it to be something narrow where causality is preserved from a perspective like Feynman propagators in QED.

This is all to say, there is something very peculiar about Life and what it does, and how it relates to the Second Law. In relation to the Second Law, Life looks to me as an Entropy Accelerator, creating local order with the effect of increasing total Entropy, but on what physical path is it drawn to do so? Is the disordered state reaching back and paving the way? Maybe not, but I think we assume that present explantions are sufficient if we just summed up all the physical components despite the fact that we can point to an emergent living quality that we cannot define.

IMHO we need to do better and get serious about this Life thing. Superfluids are weird as fuck but we can say "look it's less weird if you understand long-range quantum entanglement, and look what else we can predict based on our understanding" but superfluids are still weird as fuck, just like Life. We have been pretty liberal with our interpretations of quantum physics (many worlds, pilot wave, etc.) but have been driven by the physicality of quantum systems (and the cultural acceptabiliity) to create useful theory. But we seem lackadaisical about Life.