Stephen P. King (email@example.com)
Tue, 25 May 1999 12:21:50 -0400
I would like to explore my thinking of information and the "modeling of
subjectivity" a bit more closely. :) I believe that we are using
different paradigms (ways of thinking) and misunderstand each other. :(
Matti Pitkanen wrote:
> Quantum histories are quantum superpositions of these spacetime surfaces
> and moments of consciousness (observations) give conscious information
> about them and create 'I', the illusion about observer as continuous
> stream of consciousness.
What is "information" to you? I see is as a quality that is *what
symbols or configurations represent*; it is "meaning" in-tself! To
identify "physical states" with the "meaning of symbols" would, to me,
imply that the symbols are a priori synthetics. This is, IMHO, not even
wrong, it is meaningless. I can understand that spacetime
[hyper]surfaces do encode information and consciousness is definable as
sequences (or ensembles?!) of mappings between such. And, yes, the
"observer as continuous stream of consciousness" is a concept I agree
with! It is "how" the "illusion" is generated that I am talking about
and I think you are also!
> > > > We need to carefully consider what is computation! I see these
> > > > "associations" as an example of computation! It is the identification of
> > > > *output* by a given physical process with some *input*. We think of
> > > > "input" as data or equations and variables or signals from arbitrary
> > > > sources or ... and "output" as patterns or solutions or messages or ..
> > > In this sense you could regard classical time evolution of physical
> > > system as computation. But quantum jumps is not a computation: it is
> > > not modellable. Or so I believe....
> > Not modelable in a Turing Machine (TM) sense, yes, but it is modelable
> > in an Interaction Machine (IM) sense! The property of
> > "nonserializability" of MIMs (see section 10 of Peter's paper) speaks
> > directly to this point! :) The key idea is that these "quantum jumps",
> > as experiences, are _*NOT*_ a priori synthetics! They are constructed by
> > finite local systems in an "on the fly" way! This is a direct
> > contradiction to the LaPlacean vision of a 4-dimensional frozen
> > universe! Please read Peter's paper. ;)
> > also: http://hume.ucdavis.edu/kant/pap1comm.htm for comments on a priori
> > synthetics...
> I think I understand you point here. My belief (we are
> now in dangerous zone(;-)) is that the basic property of subjective
> experience is nonmodellability but I could be wrong.
It is obvious that a mathematical model of subjectivity can not have an
intentional stance or "be aware" of anything. So I agree with your
statement that "the basic property of subjective experience is
nonmodellability", but I am trying to discuss how to deal with the
subject-object dichotomy itself as a object of a model. When an observer
A observes another observer B and attempts to model B's subjective
stance, A is modeling B's point of view, but A's model of B's point of
view is not B's point of view unless A = B and thus when A =/= B, we
have to conclude that A's observations and B's observations are at least
non-Hausdorf in their classes of observations. In other words, we can
say that A and B can have similar observations, but the subjective
observation of A by B and B by A are not the same topologically set
Umm, all of this wording tacitly assumes a third observer C, here me
writing these words, and this is one of the reasons why this issue is so
difficult! A third observer C observing the behavior of A and B
perceives them as systems with some dynamics and is only capable of
modeling them as objects separate from itself.
One of the actions that we, as conscious observers, do is to jump from
on "vantage point" to another, much like, I think, you mean with your
talk of "quantum jumps". If we do not explicitly take into account this
nonmonotonic (if this is the correct term) property we get lost!
> If quantum jump is modellable, the model must
> explain why only a discrete subset of all
> possible final states (eigenstates of 'measured' observables)
> and predict correctly the probabilities of various outcomes.
> Here is formidable challenge for IM.
Is it explaining "why only a discrete subset of all possible
eigenstates" is experienced by any given observer? I can only say
"whatever happens happens because it was the easiest given the
circumstances", e.g. the Principle of Least Action. But, I am thinking
of such as an "action", like a verb. I see this as a problem or an
equation that the Universe is trying to solve. This "solving" is what I
mean by "computation"! The solutions do not exist in a way that is
accessible without constraints; this is an assumption of Classical
thinking, that knowledge is obtainable without a price. We see the
subtleties of this in the study of Maxwell's Demon:
http://members.home.net/stephenk1/Outlaw/maxdemon.html I have been
trying to speak about this in my previous posts but it seems that I am
not understood. :( Also, to say that "this as a problem or an equation
that the Universe is trying to solve" is a figure of language, I mean it
metaphorically, but I do intend the meaning! :)
"Predict correctly the probabilities of various outcomes" seems to
imply, to my thinking, that it is somehow possible to compute the
outcome of a given equation "faster" than it takes Nature to generate
it! This is why I say that observations qua experiences are
constructions! It is well known that it is impossible to simulate most
phenomena "faster" that Nature makes them happen. (the NP-Completeness
This last point speaks to two issues that at first do not appear to be
related: 1) the finite "speed" of signals and 2) the "why" one thing
happens rather than another (Leibnitz's Principle of Sufficient Reason).
But I don't wish to get into this thorny line of thinking directly here
and now. :)
We could say that what we experience is the Universes simulation, but
we must understand the subject-object duality better. I say that the
subject-object relation is a duality because, well, to think of one
without at least tacitly assuming the existence of the other is
impossible and it is obvious that they are not ontologically identical.
What I am trying to do here is to see if there is an algebra that can
be represented symbolically. One thing that see as lacking in other
attempts to construct such kinds of algebra is that they tend to only
for a single set of observables. There does appear to be an identity and
an operation and an inverse, but there is also something else! There is
not an equality, there is an equivalence that I see explained well by
the concept of observational equivalence. I will try to get to the
detail of Peter's discussion in a future post.
I found an interesting paper that discusses these issues:
PS, I am pasting a letter that discusses these issues:
Subject: Re: Consciousness
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 09:07:43 -0400
From: "Stephen P. King" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: OutLaw Scientific
Dear Frater Rex,
> >Ahh, yes! "recursion"!
> >I have to ask some questions... You know what a time series and an
> >ensemble is, in that statistics, and/or a Fourier transform is? I have
> >been working on a thought experiment to illustrate what we are both
> >talking about! :)
> Yes. I have been studying the Fourier series lately to better
> understand holography. Since I'm no mathematician, it is
> slow going. What's the gist of your thought experiment?
A local friend has also. :) The idea is to consider that the
relationship between a time series of observations and an ensemble of
observations as a Fourier transform. (I think!)
What I am trying to do is to see if it is possible to model
time in terms of the way discrete time systems (that have time varying
over Z) can sample each others events as isomorphisms into some
of their phase space. Umm, the math is a mess. The problem here is that
there is no natural (english) language to explain what I am thinking.
:( I will try to build up to it as we correspond, if you put up with my
> >Is it assumed that information *is* the configurations of
> Well, I think in reference to what you write further down
> in this note, that information equates more to the Platonic
> realm. I think there is much merit in Rupert Sheldrake's
> morphogentic field theory. One thing that I asked my
> biology professor in college was "How can an organism
> take a certain form when each cell contains the same
> genetic coding, i.e., there is no "master cell." You have
> many copies of a software program which are identical,
> each one capable of producing the whole (as with
> cloning). But if this is so, how do you get tissue
> differentiation? What tells this group of cells to start
> becoming muscle, these cells bone, etc., and to
> begin growing and stop growing at point x, if each cell
> contains identical information? Of course, he didn't
> have a clue.
I have read all of Sheldrake's book that I have been able to
find and I
think that he was (I don't know if he is still "into it...) onto a good
idea. The way that cell differentiation occurs is a strange thing
indeed. I have read the chemical signal + number of cell divisions
theory, but I am a bit agnostic on the issue. There are some very subtle
processes going on! But, I will say that if the information/matter
duality holds, effects such as that Sheldrake describes are more likely
> >I have found Berkeley's idealism (mental monist) to
> >suffer from the same incompleteness as that of the material monist. :(
> Yes, I agree, as I've written before, that he failed to see that there is
> no distinction between the two, and sought the exclusivity of one
> (ideal). I was afraid to bring him up, but I think he does give a good
> refutation of qualia being inherent characteristics of an object rather
> than mental constructs.
I agree. It is easy to see from QM that qualia, qua definite
properties, are not inherent, but rather selected by observation...
> >They both can not deal with the fact that knowledge presupposes a
> >standard against which propositions can be decided against. Problem is
> >that the validity of a standard that can be encoded into a finite set of
> >configurations of matter/energy is not decidable by any algorithm
> >encodable in the dynamics of the matter/energy.
> Are you talking about Roger Penrose's algorithmic argument against the
> ability of a machine to be conscious?
Sort of, I had not consciously considered Penrose's argument
when I was writing, but I
have read all his papers and books so I could except some influence. :)
I was thinking more in terms of Goedel Incompleteness from Calude and
> >This line of thought is mute if one is convinced that matter/energy
> >*is* information and vise versa at all levels of recursion. The mind can
> >be seen as pure information, once we understand that information has
> >dynamics "of its own" independent of any particular motion of
> >matter/energy. And, dually, we see that a particular motion of
> >matter/energy can be described by many different pattern of shifting
> The very word "information" or "in-form-ation" implies that it is
> a process whereby form is given to something which was previously
> formless. It would seem to me that information is the raw potential
> which mind operates on, i.e., the rules of thought (mind) which
> then process this raw potential to "in form" an object.
Yes, that makes sense, but this argument does not categorically
distinguish mind from information! Mind is structured information, but
not is a static sense; it orders and correlated bits. Web weaving is a
good analogy. :) Information, in it-self is just as meaning-less as
matter in it-self is property-less.
> >The idea that I am talking about does not consider matter/energy and
> >information as different in essence, as Decartes at al posited, they are
> >the Forms of subject and object, in the Platonic sense (if that means
> >something to you. ;) ) in that they are necessary aspects of
> >consciousness that are a priori to any particular "initial" act of such.
> I would say that information and certain aspects of
> mind are a priori, but not matter. The reason I state that certain aspects
> of mind are a priori and others not is because I see the a priori aspect
> of mind as the rules which determine how the information is going to
> be explicated as object. However, sensation is not a priori, and
> sensation is an aspect of mind. Is this a sublte form of dualism? I
> don't think so because if mind can be roughly equated with a program,
> then sensation would be the identification of certain information from
> the implicate realm (to borrow a phrase from Bohm) and using this
> to form constructs which are themselves, of course, information, but
> in explicate form, i.e, the information has been given form. The form
> that this information takes will be determined by the a priori rules
> of mind. It is this explicate form that we call matter.
umm, I don't take Bohm that way. I see his explicate and
identical to my existence and actualize concepts. Explication is the
process of selecting out one particular set of properties from the
infinitude just as actualization, and both are relative to observational
Well, I found this: http://www.qedcorp.com/book/tsld005.htm which back
This paper is excellent:
The matter/information duality is different as I see it. I see
as categorically different from information in that they are co-defining
substances, information requires some substance that is not information
to be actualized and matter requires some substance that is not matter
to label its properties. Vaughan Pratt, as I interpret him, shows that
it is the dynamics of each that distinguishes their substanceness. They
have opposite arrows of entropy! For matter we identify time's direction
with the arrow of thermodynamic entropy and for information we identify
the logic's direction of implication with the arrow of Fisher
When we look at the situation in the limit of infinity, we see
their "motions" exactly cancel leaving us with the no-thing-ness of the
grundlagen of Totality. Thus, to get mystical, we can echo A. Crowley's
assertion that 0 = 2 = |1| + |-1| :)
> >But, to think of them, like the physicists do, as aspects of some
> >"pre-spacetime" vacuum from which the Big Bang "singularity" inflated.
> >(Oh, BTW, I do think that the Big Bang is a giant optical illusion!)
> Do you propose a steady-state theory or something else?
The Universe is only "static" en toto, any finite observational
will have the appearance of expansion due to the increase in information
encoded in an observer as their time goes on. Think of this as how any
given observer has its own finite actuality - their own universe- as we
allow (within the model) for increasing information content of the
knowledge base, e.g. increasing experience, there must also be a
proportional increase in the material content to encode such
Equivalently, we can think of increases in the efficiency of
compressing the knowledge base of the observer, but we trade off space
for time. Either way, if we think of the subsets of the Totality, a
subset of which are us, are being aspects of the Universe experiencing
itself, we must consider the consequences of knowledge increases! :)
> >The key is that interchanging subject and object is equivalent to
> >turning one into the other, such that their mutual 'motions' are
> >unobservable. I am trying to see if this can be modeled mathematically,
> >but you do make a good point below...
> I don't follow what you mean by interchanging subject and object?
I am thinking of the "involution", we change an object into a
and vise versa.
> >I mean the "reflection"; of course that which Perceives, (P), can not
> >be that which P is not, e.g. (~P), e.g. (P) = (~P); or can it?! Ever
> >hear of the Liar's Paradox? Ever heard of fuzzy set theory? I do not
> >mean to be arrogant or whatever, it is just that I need to understand
> >your background to understand that you "mean" with these words used. I
> >have experience how even simple ideas can be terribly misunderstood. :(
> >So I try to be sure that I am making sense in my arguments by trying to
> >be sure I understand your thinking.
> P observes itself by becoming false to itself, e.g., by splitting itself
> into subject and object. So in this sense, P is ~P. I think most
> physicists would agree that everthing came from nothing, that or
> everthing has always existed. How does everyting come from
> nothing? Because no-thing is the ultimate level of reality, that level
> which exists beyond dualism, beyond subject and object, beyond the
> created world of thingness. When you keep tracing matters back
> far enough, it gets strange by anyone's standards, and the ultimate
> question is why there is something rather than nothing, and how
> this could occur. Anyone who thinks talk of "that which perceives" is
> muddy headed new age nonsense hasn't really come to grips with
> how bizarre this subject is (obviously I'm not stating that YOU are
> such a person, since you have obviously though of it a lot !)
You do cut to the quick! ;) This property of "P observes itself
becoming false to itself" is what I would consider the essential
property of consciousness! The distinguishability of Self from not-Self
via negation can be considered as a sequence of questions that act to
asymptotically to select properties. This is the act of actualization.
Thus we affirm that actualization is the act of selecting a finite set
of properties out (via negation) from the infinitude of possibilities.
The renormalization procedure in physics work the same way! For example
> > What is it that is observing your thoughts? That is the
> > level of Absolute Subjectivity which cannot itself be an
> > object of perception, and it is this level that I believe
> > Erwin Schrodinger and others have written of, one perceiver
> > "multitasking" through many nodes, the One looking at
> > itself through an infinite number of conscious beings
> > which in fact only exist by virtue of the One dividing
> > itself up infinitely through the creation of subject/object
> > duality, which relates back to your statement that in a
> > sense duality doesn't exist, but is a necessary "artificial"
> > splitting up in order for any awareness to even be
> > possible.
> >Absolute Subject-ivity necessitates Absolute Object-ivity, problem is
> >that the very attempt to talk about "subject" makes it an object. It is
> >not unlike me responding to your post here, I am responding to my mental
> >version (VR) of what you wrote and your response to my post with follow
> >the same pattern. There is thinking of this type of idea running
> >throughout Peter Wegner's work...
> This I would have to strongly disagree with. Absolute subjectivity is subject
> without object. It is utterly unconscious, unaware, it is pure being. There is no
> absolute objectivity, which is not a contradiction since there is no
> awareness at the level of absolute subjectivity, and hence no objectification.
> Absolute subjectivity, as opposed to "regular" subjectivity, is unconscious!
> This is why I make the distinction between consciousness and absolute
> subjectivity. Otherwise, you fall into infinite regress.
Well, I agree when it is put that way! :) But one could argue
absolute objectivity has exactly the same properties of "utterly
unconscious, unaware, it is pure being"! So we are left with relative
subjectitivy/objectivity! Relative to finite "local" standards with
which actualization may occur. These finite standards relate to clocks,
rods and orderings that each observer has as the categories (filters)
with which to distinguish qualia. But note that in the big picture,
these standards are only asymptotically accurate up to the limit of
infinite certainty at which point subject-object distinguishability
> >YES! :) We are on the same wavelength! What I am arguing is that since
> >there are more than one "way" that the "frames" in the film can be
> >ordered in such a way that is consistent, e.g. ... frame(1) -> frame (2)
> -> ... frame (N) -> frame (N+1) ... Thus we must understand that where
> >is *not* just One Film with its One Now within Existence at any finite
> >order of complexity. The key point is that there is no absolute
> >"initiality", there is no way of uniquely ordering all possible
> >(nonenumerable) number of possible events. There are many finitely
> >consistent orderings. Only at the Infinite level is there one unique
> >ordering, but, such is unknowable! To Know something is to be able to
> >represent it is some way within one's repertoire of possible finite
Ok, then given that line of thinking, we realize that the
causality and logical implication are tied into the notion of
constructed orderings. Question: We say "a priori" to denote a property
that exists "from the beginning", what word would we use to denote a
property that is actualized relative to some finite observational
context? We can associate an ordering with a particular observer's
"history" but with the caveat that such histories are NOT experienciably
a priori but ongoing constructions such that they can be altered within
the limits of the observer's ability to distinguish differences. Again,
Peter Wegner discusses this better in his later papers...
> >I think of events as finite actualizations and since the Universe is
> >infinite, in it-self, it contains all possible possible actualizations
> >or observations of itself. If we assume a finite Universe we can not
> >escape the contradiction of infinite regress, since any finite Universe
> >would have to include all possible subsets of itself *and* all possible
> >information encoding the difference between the subsets and such
> >introduces a diagonalization. I do not have time to work through the
> >proof tonight... :( Got to go soon!
> Please do comment further on this!
We start with a set X (representing a finite universe) with N
states that can encode 2^N bits of information. We can see that we can
also construct a set X' that has N+1 different states and thus encode
2^N+1 bits of information which can simulate all possible behavior of X
but X can't simulate all of X's repertoire. We then see that we can
construct an endless sequence of sets X </= X' </= X" </= X"' </= ...
with N </= N+1 </= N+2 </= ... such that each includes the prior's
behavior in its repertoire and encode 2^N+... information.
The question then becomes: Is there an X^oo that includes all of
as subsets? If we are going to assume the potential experienciability of
any X we also must allow for the existence of X^oo (and its 2^oo bits of
information encodable) that includes it; either it exists via a priori
reasons or it exists via construction. I am here distinguishing
"potential" from "actual".
There is more involved, of course, but lets see what your
> Frater Rex
Onward to the Unknown,
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