Sun, 21 Mar 1999 00:03:26 -0800
Dear Hitoshi and Time folk,
Hitoshi Kitada wrote:
> Dear Ben,
> I have read GOERTZEL.html It is most impressive paper that I have read
> recently. I agree with your usage of the word "randomness," which I understand
> as the randomness seen from the side of the observer/recognitioner, who cannot
> know which choice it would do right now nor its probability unlike the people
> who are at the position of forming a theory, looking things from the outside.
> If one sees things from the outside, it would even be possible to explain
> "measurement procedure" including Wheeler's delayed recognition by "quantum
> eraser." (This might be a good exercise for mathematicians. :) ) But if one
> is constructing/searching his recognition, it is impossible to explain what he
> is doing: You explain this situation using Goedel's Incompleteness result.
> I understand why you showed interest in my formulation: wholes vs. parts, when
> seeing the part:
> > Now neuropsychologists have shown that the role of consciousness
> > in perception and cognition is precisely that of grouping, of forming
> in section 3. I understand that grouping is important in your formulation as a
> procedure of recognition.
> Although I might disagree with Julian Jaynes' view that "(consciousness
> evolved suddenly rather than rapidly, and that) this sudden evolution occurred
> in the very recent past," I agree with your understanding of unconscious
> awareness, which you describe by quoting Nietzsche and (somewhat contrastly)
> Huang Po. I personally think they are experiencing the same thing. Just
> Nietzsche found it in his philosophical thoughts/life, and Huang Po in the
> things in daily life (Zen is a recognition or finding in usual life, so it can
> be a common practice for general people who are not specialists).
> I expect your article will be helps and a guideline for the people who are
> trying to understand the procedure of recognition and want to go further.
I agree with the idea that "consciousness is simple" and that
randomness is a part of it. But the association of "consciousness"
with quantum measurement is not a complete use of the word
"consciousness", which can to many be synonymous with self-awareness,
and sentience and more transcendent states of mind and so be misleading.
In the usuage of the word "consciousness" as a physical quantum measurement,
one cannot equate it with "randomness" because the measurement is
deterministic in terms of the outcome of the measurement. The randomness
exists only prior to measurement and as I hopefully pointed out clearly
in my reply to Matti, this "prior to measurement" stage is wholely
subjective and open to lies in the extream. Even when we lie, the
wavefunction components will interfere, because that non-physical
interference cannot be measured without the total or partial collapse
of the wavefunction evidenced in the photon tagging experiments
The quantum eraser is not as mysterious as the text makes it sound.
The "machine record" is not a blind paper record that when looked at
or not, changes the image on the photographic plate; for then one could
look at the plate see one thing, then look at the paper record,
and then look back at the plate and see something else. This doesn't
happen as vaguish discription in the text seems to imply but quantum theory
abounds with such grandiose statements of what are really simple and
rational results when analyzed with more scrutiny. The recent reports
of FTL travel by Chaio and of quantum teleportation by Zeilinger et al
are evidently hyped up for mass consumption.
The mathematics for the quantum eraser is best reviewed in Born and Wolf
where in the simplest and clearest form of the experiement, over each slit
a polarizer is placed. The angle between the two polarizers controls the
the degree of distinguishability of individual photons (photon tagging)
and so then the degree of interference. Here's the math as simple as
I can make it:
If you run this program it allows you to plot any "interference" pattern
from the M-B classical distribution to the full B-E interference pattern
*continuously* as parametrized by the angle between the polarizers and
not binarily as Ben writes "forces it to make a choice between one of the
The Buddhist term "mentation" more closely describes this effect of increasing
the degree of distinguishability than the word "consciousness" and so having
has less synonyms than "consciousness" is a better word for what is
described by Ben as "consciousness". "Mentation" has less overlap
(non-orthogonality) than "consciousness" with other meanings given
In this sense names themselves, which we give to things and
concepts, are particulate to the degree we refine their usage.
The more narrowly we refine and constrain a word's usage, the more
it becomes a part of a particulate machine language with a specific
functional meaning to it. Such a machine language existing within
manifold of many words with more broad ranging semantics is reminiscent
of Hitoshi's Local Systems embedded in the more semantically fluid
space of GR.
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