The strange link between the mind and quantum physics - Page 2 - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 01:19 PM
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You make a good point. It's hard to talk about causality outside of time and space. A ball rolls through space because a hand imparted kinetic energy to it. How does that causality work when there is no space for the ball to roll in, and the hand and the ball exist together in a singularity, and there is no time over which a stationary ball is struck and becomes a ball in motion. There can be no motion without space and time. There can be no cause and effect. Everything just is. It's as though motion over time never occurred, and what we experience as motion results from consciousness adding time and space to make sense of signals coming into the 5 senses. So causality is something that we imagine. Each person might attribute a different cause to an action. So that makes causality seem like an attribute of consciousness too.

But, looking at it from the consciousness perspective, something caused me to reach out and push the ball. I believe that causality chain extends all the way back to my first quickening in the womb. And, barring a free-will soul, that cause could only have originated in the environment that I experience with my senses, and learn everything from. So causality has its roots in the environment. Spacetime has its roots in consciousness. Maybe that's why I say that causality exists, but space and time do not. Because I believe that consciousness has a physical cause, and that cause is the environment, as experienced by the 5 senses, which molds us into the minds that we are. We are DNA programmed environmental sampling machines.



I agree. There is no division between the mind and the body. The mind is a physical mechanism. Sensors at different locations send electro-chemical signals to the spinal cord and the brain. The brain sends signals back to the sensors. The sensors work at different layers of fidelity and varying catchment areas. They send signals to the brain at different speeds. And signals flow constantly. And they are mixed together/integrated in the spinal cord and brain to yield an overall feeling, or quale, or quality. At that point, we lose track of specific times and places and so it seems like some spiritual world, but I believe that the overall feeling (love etc) is the product of the same body sensors that produces physical experience.
But even all of this -- electrochemical signals, the brain, the mind, signal flow, quale, etc. -- all of these are models of phenomenon. 'Mind' is the word we use for certain kinds of experiences, 'brain' is the word we use for other kinds of experiences ... and then we try to fit them together. But they were never divided. We're taking two abstractions and trying to work out the connection but there is nothing to work out in fact, only in theory.

Reality just is; it is ultimately, utterly mysterious; that doesn't mean we can't create increasingly accurate models of it, but all of the "puzzles" that arise (eg. "the strange link between the mind and quantum physics") are artifacts of the models we use to describe it. They turn up when two (or more) conceptual models fail to interact in a way that we expect. Our model of mind is wrong in some way, and/or our model of physical reality is wrong in some way, such that when we try to understand how they work together we run into logical paradoxes (like the observer effect).

Brain and mind are not separate. Brain matter is the physically manifested portion of certain phenomenon that are also mental. We've sliced an arbitrary line through these phenomenon and now we're trying to stitch them back together, but all we're really doing is describing different parts of the same thing.

It's like we believe that John Smith, the doctor, and John Smith, the father, are two separate people and we're trying to figure out how they can both occupy the same space and time. (How do they manage to stay in sync?! Lol.) Our models create a problem which doesn't exist anywhere in reality. We think mind and brain are separate (it's the function of thought to divide them), so we have the puzzle of trying to figure out how they interact. But a thing can be both mental and physical just like John Smith can be both a doctor and a father. Whether we call him one or the other depends on which of his activities we're observing. They're like two ends of the same stick: if you pull one end (matter) the other end (mind) comes along with it. People who believe in a soul are like people who believe that if you kill John Smith the doctor John Smith the father can still attend all his children's birthday parties; but people who believe that the mind is an epiphenomenon are like people who believe that John Smith the father is an epiphenomenon of John Smith the doctor.

Finding consciousness at the lowest levels of matter is just scraping the bottom of the barrel of experience and finding more wood, or going all the way around the world and finding yourself back where you started. At some point, because everything is ultimately connected (one, undivided), you will end up going all the way around human experience. But that doesn't necessarily imply anything metaphysical. It just illustrates that there is a limit to how deeply you can explore things.

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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 09:13 AM
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But even all of this -- electrochemical signals, the brain, the mind, signal flow, quale, etc. -- all of these are models of phenomenon. 'Mind' is the word we use for certain kinds of experiences, 'brain' is the word we use for other kinds of experiences ... and then we try to fit them together. But they were never divided. We're taking two abstractions and trying to work out the connection but there is nothing to work out in fact, only in theory.
The way I see it, the brain is the hardware and the mind is the software. The brain and body specifications are in the DNA within each cell. The mind grows out of thebrain/body's experience of the environment. The brain/body is the experience machine. The mind is the sum total remembered experiences. The environment determines which molecules the DNA will synthesize to bring about experience.


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Reality just is; it is ultimately, utterly mysterious; that doesn't mean we can't create increasingly accurate models of it, but all of the "puzzles" that arise (eg. "the strange link between the mind and quantum physics") are artifacts of the models we use to describe it. They turn up when two (or more) conceptual models fail to interact in a way that we expect. Our model of mind is wrong in some way, and/or our model of physical reality is wrong in some way, such that when we try to understand how they work together we run into logical paradoxes (like the observer effect).
I agree. We only know reality through our senses. And our senses only communicate information that is important for our survival. Thus, we don't see a gorilla on the basketball court, because we have learned that gorillas do not appear during basketball games. Our senses observe only what they have been taught to observe; stuff that impacts us. So what we see is not necessarily what is out there. How can we know reality when we are locked in bone boxes, without any windows, detecting reality only via electro-chemical impulses in the brain, from sensor cells?

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Brain and mind are not separate. Brain matter is the physically manifested portion of certain phenomenon that are also mental. We've sliced an arbitrary line through these phenomenon and now we're trying to stitch them back together, but all we're really doing is describing different parts of the same thing.
Brain is the substrate of mind. Although there is no proof that thoughts emanate from brains, numerous correlates of consciousness have been detected. They can tell that increased blood flow to the amygdala indicates a person is feeling fear. For me, these correlates of consciousness are too numerous and have been witnessed too many times in relation to feelings, that it might as well be considered as a fact, even though we can not know for sure if things like amygdala cells produce this or that cascade of molecule synthesis, that react with other cells and other memories to produce fear.

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It's like we believe that John Smith, the doctor, and John Smith, the father, are two separate people and we're trying to figure out how they can both occupy the same space and time. (How do they manage to stay in sync?! Lol.) Our models create a problem which doesn't exist anywhere in reality. We think mind and brain are separate (it's the function of thought to divide them), so we have the puzzle of trying to figure out how they interact. But a thing can be both mental and physical just like John Smith can be both a doctor and a father. Whether we call him one or the other depends on which of his activities we're observing. They're like two ends of the same stick: if you pull one end (matter) the other end (mind) comes along with it. People who believe in a soul are like people who believe that if you kill John Smith the doctor John Smith the father can still attend all his children's birthday parties; but people who believe that the mind is an epiphenomenon are like people who believe that John Smith the father is an epiphenomenon of John Smith the doctor.
Double slit experiment, quantum entanglement, electron cloud, quantum jumps in electron energy levels; all kinds of strange **** happens when we describe the world with our physics models. With our math, infinities of numbers exist between any two numbers, and we say that anything multiplied by itself zero times is equal to 1, and a point is a location without dimension. All kinds of crazy stuff come out of our models, which are accurate to an extent, but become silly at some point (just how long is the coast of england? Do we measure from space, or do we measure with a microscope, and is a measurement at any level truly accurate?) When you look at Chaos Theory, it is always an iterative setup; the output from one loop feeds in as input to the next iteration of the loop. When you have a setup like this minuscule differences in the initial conditions lead to totally different outcomes (Einstein said that the compounding of interest was his greatest discovery). We can not be 100% accurate on any measurement, so we can not set the initial conditions for a specified outcome accurately; and no matter the how microscopic error, it will become manifest with enough iterations of the cycle.

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Originally Posted by truant View Post
Finding consciousness at the lowest levels of matter is just scraping the bottom of the barrel of experience and finding more wood, or going all the way around the world and finding yourself back where you started. At some point, because everything is ultimately connected (one, undivided), you will end up going all the way around human experience. But that doesn't necessarily imply anything metaphysical. It just illustrates that there is a limit to how deeply you can explore things.
True. The best we can do is our best hypothesis, based on our best knowledge at any given time. These guesses seem to work in the limited circumstances we encounter in doing the job our DNA was meant to do; to sample the environment and accommodate ourselves to it. We will never know everything, even if we lived forever and had optimum brain power and eons of experience. It's like we're bowling in the dark. Roll the ball down the dark alley and listen to see if we hit anything, and judge from the sound how many pins fell.

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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 10:04 AM
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The way I see it, the brain is the hardware and the mind is the software. The brain and body specifications are in the DNA within each cell. The mind grows out of thebrain/body's experience of the environment. The brain/body is the experience machine. The mind is the sum total remembered experiences. The environment determines which molecules the DNA will synthesize to bring about experience.




I agree. We only know reality through our senses. And our senses only communicate information that is important for our survival. Thus, we don't see a gorilla on the basketball court, because we have learned that gorillas do not appear during basketball games. Our senses observe only what they have been taught to observe; stuff that impacts us. So what we see is not necessarily what is out there. How can we know reality when we are locked in bone boxes, without any windows, detecting reality only via electro-chemical impulses in the brain, from sensor cells?



Brain is the substrate of mind. Although there is no proof that thoughts emanate from brains, numerous correlates of consciousness have been detected. They can tell that increased blood flow to the amygdala indicates a person is feeling fear. For me, these correlates of consciousness are too numerous and have been witnessed too many times in relation to feelings, that it might as well be considered as a fact, even though we can not know for sure if things like amygdala cells produce this or that cascade of molecule synthesis, that react with other cells and other memories to produce fear.



Double slit experiment, quantum entanglement, electron cloud, quantum jumps in electron energy levels; all kinds of strange **** happens when we describe the world with our physics models. With our math, infinities of numbers exist between any two numbers, and we say that anything multiplied by itself zero times is equal to 1, and a point is a location without dimension. All kinds of crazy stuff come out of our models, which are accurate to an extent, but become silly at some point (just how long is the coast of england? Do we measure from space, or do we measure with a microscope, and is a measurement at any level truly accurate?) When you look at Chaos Theory, it is always an iterative setup; the output from one loop feeds in as input to the next iteration of the loop. When you have a setup like this minuscule differences in the initial conditions lead to totally different outcomes (Einstein said that the compounding of interest was his greatest discovery). We can not be 100% accurate on any measurement, so we can not set the initial conditions for a specified outcome accurately; and no matter the how microscopic error, it will become manifest with enough iterations of the cycle.



True. The best we can do is our best hypothesis, based on our best knowledge at any given time. These guesses seem to work in the limited circumstances we encounter in doing the job our DNA was meant to do; to sample the environment and accommodate ourselves to it. We will never know everything, even if we lived forever and had optimum brain power and eons of experience. It's like we're bowling in the dark. Roll the ball down the dark alley and listen to see if we hit anything, and judge from the sound how many pins fell.
"Hardware and software" is a model of the brain/mind connection. It's still dividing mind from matter and opposing them, and as long as you have that division you're going to have the mind/matter paradox. There is no division between physical matter and consciousness. There can't be, because reality has to be whole and undivided. The division exists only in our thinking. Separating them is like separating John Smith the doctor from John Smith the father.

"Mind" is a concept, a collection of certain observed phenomena (conscious states) and "matter" is a concept, a collection of other observed phenomena. There will always be physical correlates for every mental phenomenon because you can't have mind without matter; but you also can't have matter without mind. There is always a mental correlate to every physical phenomenon -- the appearance of the physical object to consciousness. The appearance of the object to consciousness is an indivisible experience. If you remove the consciousness, you remove the object; if you remove the object, you remove the consciousness (of the object).

We've taken this unitary phenomenon and created an artificial intellectual distinction between them which doesn't exist anywhere in reality; just like the division between John Smith the doctor and John Smith the father doesn't exist. The paradox arises from an error introduced by the way we think about experience.

No matter what conscious experience you go after, you will be able to find (eventually) the physical basis in the brain -- the complex electrochemical sequences in neural architecture -- but it's arbitrary that we say that these physical states cause the mental state. The causal direction: physical brain state -> conscious experience, is a conclusion drawn from our existing model. It's as accurate (or inaccurate) to say: conscious experience -> physical brain state because they occur simultaneously. If two things occur simultaneously, it's incorrect to say that one causes the other. That's like saying John Smith the doctor causes John Smith the father.

In certain cases, of course, it will be more practical to think in one way (eg. medicating mental illness) and in other cases it will be more practical to think in another way (eg. CBT). The reason why both forms of therapy can be effective (or ineffective) is because every phenomenon is both mental and physical. If you want to change something, you can grab one end of the stick or the other. The mind/body paradox is created by the delusion that mind and body are two separate sticks running parallel. In fact, there's a single stick. You can't pull one end without moving the other.

No matter where you look in your experience, whether it's "outside" in nature, or "inside" in consciousness, you will never find anything that isn't both mental and physical. Mental and physical aren't separate things; they're positions on unitary phenomena, like the top and bottom of a ball, or the left and right end of a stick.

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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 08:28 AM
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"Hardware and software" is a model of the brain/mind connection. It's still dividing mind from matter and opposing them, and as long as you have that division you're going to have the mind/matter paradox. There is no division between physical matter and consciousness. There can't be, because reality has to be whole and undivided. The division exists only in our thinking. Separating them is like separating John Smith the doctor from John Smith the father.

"Mind" is a concept, a collection of certain observed phenomena (conscious states) and "matter" is a concept, a collection of other observed phenomena. There will always be physical correlates for every mental phenomenon because you can't have mind without matter; but you also can't have matter without mind. There is always a mental correlate to every physical phenomenon -- the appearance of the physical object to consciousness. The appearance of the object to consciousness is an indivisible experience. If you remove the consciousness, you remove the object; if you remove the object, you remove the consciousness (of the object).

We've taken this unitary phenomenon and created an artificial intellectual distinction between them which doesn't exist anywhere in reality; just like the division between John Smith the doctor and John Smith the father doesn't exist. The paradox arises from an error introduced by the way we think about experience.

No matter what conscious experience you go after, you will be able to find (eventually) the physical basis in the brain -- the complex electrochemical sequences in neural architecture -- but it's arbitrary that we say that these physical states cause the mental state. The causal direction: physical brain state -> conscious experience, is a conclusion drawn from our existing model. It's as accurate (or inaccurate) to say: conscious experience -> physical brain state because they occur simultaneously. If two things occur simultaneously, it's incorrect to say that one causes the other. That's like saying John Smith the doctor causes John Smith the father.

In certain cases, of course, it will be more practical to think in one way (eg. medicating mental illness) and in other cases it will be more practical to think in another way (eg. CBT). The reason why both forms of therapy can be effective (or ineffective) is because every phenomenon is both mental and physical. If you want to change something, you can grab one end of the stick or the other. The mind/body paradox is created by the delusion that mind and body are two separate sticks running parallel. In fact, there's a single stick. You can't pull one end without moving the other.

No matter where you look in your experience, whether it's "outside" in nature, or "inside" in consciousness, you will never find anything that isn't both mental and physical. Mental and physical aren't separate things; they're positions on unitary phenomena, like the top and bottom of a ball, or the left and right end of a stick.
I do not believe that all matter is conscious. Only matter that is arranged in accordance with a DNA blueprint. The matter is arranged just so, in order to allow consciousness. But they are not arranged spatially or over a period of time, since (per my thinking) space and time do not exist in the physical world.

So we don't really have a language to talk about a world devoid of space and time. All the separations and sequences are additive to raw sensed reality; products of consciousness. So mind and brain are the same thing in the sense that everything is contained in a timeless, dimensionless point universe (big bang never happened).

But our brain separates out information needed for our survival, in order to suss out relationships that we use to determine causation. We can not imagine causation without time and order, because consciousness always operates under the veil of time and space. So we really have no way of explaining how there are relationships and causes, outside of space and time. Our mind presents us with separations and sequences, and these lead to all of the paradoxes inherent in talking about parts of an elementary universal whole.

In short, I agree with what you say. But there will always be paradoxes in trying to explain things that we can not directly access. We always experience separation in time and space. We can't experience anything as a universal whole. The best we can do is to say that the universe consists of information that body sensors read as time and space. Like John A Wheeler's 'it from bit'. The mind builds perceived reality from electro-chemical signals feeding in from the sensory apparatus.

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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 10:37 PM
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There are many different models for quantum physics and nobody really knows the correct one, but the Copenhagen interpretation is almost undoubtedly wrong.
Conscious, human observation is not special in modern quantum mechanics, and assuming it to be will obviously lead to problematic ideas.

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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 11:10 PM
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I'd be very careful taking a pop-science article at face value. First of all, Penrose's ideas about the role of quantum mechanics in consciousness are definitely not mainstream science and he is considered to be something of a crackpot on this issue. Secondly, an observation need not have a conscious observer - it's just something that forces a system to take on a single state. Third, quantum mechanics is extremely hard to understand. If you don't have some kind of expertise in it, you're probably talking nonsense.
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