Thursday, 7 April 2016

An Anthology of Bloom: A Solution to “The God Problem”

(Also published on in modified form)

Have you ever come across a better plea for the notion of Panprotopsychism? In his book “The God Problem, How a Godless cosmos creates” Howard Bloom hunts for the very key of semiosis: How does life the universe and everything unfold from a set of simple starting rules. And what does Bloom show? That the universe unfolds in a profoundly social, a profoundly conversational manner. That the smallest particles in the universe show “will, compulsion, drive and unrelenting determination” – “virtues” Bloom says, “that we say belong only to conscious entities”.
“Why does it appear to be a cosmos with a primitive precursor of will?” asks Bloom. He describes “Time” as the great Translator, the great extractor of implicit properties, the prime mover that constantly inches the cosmos into the wilderness of possibility space”…

Bloom imparts unintentionally intent to the most various phenomena by posing the question: “Why are Ur-patterns like spheres, spirals, quarks and stars anxious to repeat themselves”?
And he challenges the second law of thermodynamics, the sacred cow of science, because Bloom says, the universe is not running down, the universe is running up.
Existence as a “manifestation of ambition”…

It seems like we have a zealous advocate of a new religion, giving “God” new names, in the name of atheism…

And Bloom challenges more sacred cows, he ventures his other heresies:

Aristotle’s A=A, because frog 1 is not frog 2; because although they share a same pattern, a same ontology, they are different instances of the same concept each with a different space time location, carrying out its own froggy role in a slightly different environment.

1 +1 does not always equal 2. Why? Because of emergence of unforeseen properties that are not present in either contributor.

Randomness is not so random: It is rigidly constraint and gives rise to a very limited numbers of relatively stable phenomena when compared to what would have been expected when the universe would have been randomly generated by six monkeys with six typewriters.

Information theory is wrong, because Shannon left out “Meaning” from the equation.

And I agree on all these points with Bloom. But I disagree on one point evoked elsewhere in his book.

And that one is Consciousness.

Bloom writes “Though many spiritually oriented folks and even a few scientists believe that the universe began with consciousness, I think that is extremely unlikely. Consciousness is an animal and a human thing. It is not a thing of protons and stones.” Huh? Did not Bloom himself argue the Global brain mindedness of beehives, anthills, termite hive structures and even bacterial colonies. Does not Bloom zealously advocate a universe springing from simple rules at every level of existence as a consequence of Stimulus and Response? What are the Hallmarks of conscious behaviour? Stimulus and Response. Weber Fechner’s S=k ln A/A0. The virtue to experience a maximum of diversity by having a logarithmic way of dealing with information at the level of the diaphora de re, the signals, by having dendritic nodal structures that abstract the essential ontologies and compare them heuristically with a vast array of Yoneda embedded functor patterns, translating the information of the diaphora de signo in the right context of its relational meaning so as to present this knowledge of meaningful information to the primary being, the primary experiencing entity, the consciousness.

And how could it be different? Why is our brain/mind architecture with its nodes and cliques so isomorphous to the world around us? Because the very underlying nature of existence appears to be a nodal clique system as well. Because the nodes at sub Planck scale form cliques, that act as new nodes, which unfold the whole plethora of quantum behaviour, space-time and special relativity theory. Cliques that build space time, by anisobaric links between them, which we experience as topological distances.
Because information storage is optimally using storage space in a logarithmic manner, that’s how sunflowers present their seeds, How the curvature of the Nautilus comes into existence. That’s how essentials are abstracted, patterns recognised, for the virtue of functional and spatial optimisation. What is the difference between Bloom’s Time as ultimate extractor of meaning and my Consciousness as ultimate abstractor of meaning
Perhaps because the very underlying nature of existence IS Consciousness?

Bloom describes the behaviour of the most elementary particles as “social”, as showing “behaviour”. His attraction-repulsion, differentiation-integration, fission-fusion metaphors of the Ur-patterns of transformation, metamorphosis, combined with his competition and emergence are they not another way of describing the very essentials of the algorithm of Intelligence, the ability to achieve complex goals? Raw being (thesis, Peircean and Palmerian first), triggered by a Stimulus (antithesis, P&P’s second) leads to a heuristic competitive screening/pruning protocol for pattern identification, pattern abstraction,  or pattern recognition (P&P’s third), if needed results in the abstraction and distillation of new patterns with emergent properties (synthesis, Goertzelian fourth), which undergo the same cycle again and so on ad infinitum, leading to various niches and symbiotic relationships, maximising variety on ever higher levels allowing for interacting with (Response) and mining ever more complex resources? Allowing for exponentially extending into the diversity of existence by the very nature of parsimony giving rise to the ultimate optimised formula for Stimulus and response S= k ln A/A0?

Bloom may not have realised it, but when he questions why this cosmos appears “to be a cosmos with a very primitive precursor of will” he is almost acknowledging the very essence of panprotopsychism. So I may not see God as a bearded man on a cloud determining each and every event, but I do find the fact that the very simple rules that shape and evolve the cosmos are strongly isomorphous to what we generally refer to as conscious behaviour a very convincing pointer to a strong presumption of consciousness as the underlying fabric on which the Rules are played. Consciousness may well be the checkerboard of digital pancomputationalism. Yes, it remains a chicken and egg problem, conscious behaviour can look isomorphous to the behavioural rules of existence because it is part of existence, because it mimics existence, yes there are also good arguments for a “consciousness” as emergent property and yes if you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail, but the fact that the principles of conscious behaviour manifest in every octave of existence and are like a pantelic universal metaphor of metamorphosis rather are in favour of “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's a duck”.
Most phenomena are relative and have no universal applicability. But those patterns, those principles, those rules that are uniform and universal throughout existence, are they not at least the first derivative of the underlying noumenal absolute nature of existence?

Bloom extracts perhaps these very universal rules of how a seemingly Godless universe creates, but like Bohm he cheats a bit: He looks at what is there, he captures the existing rule-pattern. Which requires a lot of intelligence, which is very smart, and act of highly developed consciousness, a very inventive synthesis indeed, but which nonetheless is not the designing of these rules. So where do these rules come from? An infinite regress?

No need for a bearded God and no need for six monkeys with six typewriters… BUT as far as we know it does require an intelligent screening/pruning algorithm to find the “causally invariant rules”, Stephen Wolfram is working on. It required the conscious attention of Stephen Wolfram himself to come up with sets of simple rules for his screening/pruning protocols. And guess what, what he finds are systems self-organised in nodes and cliques…how mind like, how fractal like… And how much like the condensation of nodes and cliques into matter described by Abraham and Roy (Demystifying the Akasha) in their quantum vacuum theory, how much like Kaufman’s (Unified Reality Theory) and Campbell’s (My Big TOE) digital consciousness.

But there is more to the story of extracting the rules, that Bloom has not touched upon. The whole business Bloom describes about the fact the it would be expected that a purely random universe after the big bang would yield particles in a zillion different shapes and sizes, but instead condenses to a parsimony of a mere 57 particles. A process repeated throughout the history of emergent patterns: The variety at every level (quarks, protons/neutrons/electrons, stars, galaxies, life forms) is rather limited.

A theory which may give a hint to a rationale for this limited number of hits in a screening protocol may be reflected in the principle of “Entropic attraction”: the emergence of a limited number and forms of structures arising from the fusion of the elementary building blocks causes the maximal dissipation of energy. Yes, you read this well, Entropic energy dissipation is higher in the presence of a few structures than in more homogenous field of
apparently more random elementary building blocks. Why? Because the aggregates create more space for dissipation for the remaining elements, because by clustering i.e. “attracting each other”, the remaining elements can better dissipate their heat. And guess what, Verlinde has shown that this form of entropic attraction can also be considered a computational process, which gives rise to… of all things Newtonian gravity.
So it would appear that Chaos drives the creation of levels of Order.
Really? Or do we need a paradigm shift, an “axiom flipping” as Bloom would call it, a Gestalt-switch.

Campbell sees in the autopoietic morphogenesis of emergent properties, of qualities, what he and others would call negentropy. Not the negentropy of Shannon’s information; that one lacks meaning. But the negentropy of meaningful information: the abstraction or extraction of essential qualities, which make one entity different from another. A diffeont: a set of ontological parameters to distinguish one pattern from another. Hey, that’s what a Mind does when it tries to distinguish A from B. In my book “Technovedanta, Internet architecture of a quasiconscious Vedantic Webmind” I suggest an architecture for an artificial equivalent of consciousness for the internet, the essence of which is that websites are hierachically embedded in Hubs of ever higher ontological categories, which Hubs extract which Websites get the most attention, (attention being a multidimensionally defined concept here). Attention, like bees giving in a beehive, the abstraction of the essential, the most successful heuristic, like pillars of a termite hive. This extraction process of what is most essential to the existence of the Webmind is presented to higher ontologies, decision making routines of the Webmind, the upper ontologies of which could be considered as its (quasi)consciousness. Because it abstracts the stimuli and reacts thereon with a response. The higher the quality of this architecture, the more it optimises its interaction with its environment. And the structure is fractalised; lower ranking ontological Hubs still have capacity to carry our decisions unless overruled by a higher ranking Hub. Basically the structure reflects the potential of dealing with its environment. It is a type of a reservoir of highly ordered energy capable of highly ordered release thereof in its response.

In fact what I am arguing is that consciousness itself is a reservoir of highly ordered energy, huge amounts of energy with a very low entropy due to its structure, based on the attention it gets bottom-up and executing top-down in a highly structured way by focussing on what is most essential, what has the greatest optimised utility for the whole system. How it can reach a sustainable equilibrium with its environment for as long as possible. The inbuilt hunger for sustainable symbiosis as its emergent morality, because that is the most probable way for its survival.
And the higher the quality of the consciousness, the lower its entropy, resulting in more control when responding to the attention it receives in the form of stimuli. And you may recognise this from your own ways of dealing with tasks: If you do it with love and care, with attention and control, the result is better and you enjoy the doing more. So if consciousness gives attention back, it autocatalytically improves itself by autopoietically generating joy. Giving attention results in receiving attention, from others and from your own mind.

Consciousness has therefore a strong relationship with pattern, with structure and it may well be that if we find the right formula to quantise consciousness quality as negentropy and weigh this against the heat dissipation created in a conscious creative process, that the ultimate outcome is that the heat dissipation entropy is more than compensated for by the gain in consciousness quality. And perhaps Weber Fechner’s law is the right metaphor for both consciousness quality and pattern emergence. Perhaps the quality of consciousness is indeed reflected in the constant k in the formula S= klnA/A0 which should be summed over all the processes and senses involved. Because stimuli corresponding to greater differences can be dealt with by a consciousness with more versatility, with more resistance. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the formula of entropy, Boltzmann’s DS=k ln W/W0 is highly isomorphous to that of Weber-Fechner, as its symmetric counterpart in the world of matter. Perhaps the degree of randomness of an event is linked to the degree of order created in a process (without them necessarily being quantitatively equivalent).
Because opposites are joined at the hip.

And what do we see, the more structure, the more consciousness a species has, the more versatility it has, the more variety it can create, all aiding to maximise heat dissipation – and to build ever further structures until the system at a new meta-level becomes isomorphous again with a previous level far away: Until it becomes an abstractor per se: a nodal network of mindedness, and interconnected dendrogram.
And perhaps it is not entropy that causes the attraction resulting in levels of order, but its consciousness counterpart. Perhaps we mistake the rope for a snake. Perhaps the solution to the God problem is that there is no bearded God-as we-know-it, but that there is a fractal of consciousness, of self-repetition in ever increasing variety, ever increasing potential. An interference pattern of beautiful structures of panprotopsychism, of psychic interacting social entities, particles and waves singing the harmonies of quantification, commune-icating. Which ultimately manifest at the highest semiotic level as a one transforming into a zero and back again ad infinitum, an ever repeating bagel and stick of Bloom’s toroidal model of the universe… part of a yet bigger matrix of digitality, which is only part of the fractal the Maya-fabric of consciousness uses for self-expression. Self-expression of the simple rule solve et coagula, differentiate and integrate. How to differentiate optimally? By using meta-transformators transforming transformators into new ones following the optimal asymmetry ratio parameter F (1.618) of beauty. The same ratio parameter that forms the basis of Fibonacci’s spirals. Spirals which are the semiotic expression of logarithmicity and parsimony. The logos of the arithmos: The ultimate ratio expressed in number. How to integrate? By attracting harmonies, clustering attention of admiration of inequalities. By screening for the highest pile being built and focussing your attention there and pruning the not so successful recruitment strategies away, by recycling them. By creating meaning in the form of Bayesian proximity co-occurrence, a Yoneda didensity love relationship shaping a new ontology.

The purpose of this level of the game Lila is to find out the rules of the game. The purpose of the next level of the game Lila (autopoiesis) is to find the purpose of the game (resulting in an infinite loop of self-redefinition).

15-04-2014 by Antonin Tuynman

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