David Albert: consciousness, science, mysticism...

#1
This is a nice interview touching on several topics we discuss here. Very conventional take on the "big picture" questions...


Very telling of our fragmented, left brain dominant approach to the discovery of the self and the world around us. This passage is pretty funny:

The image of the world and our place in the world that emerges through science is getting more and more uncomfortable for us, as time goes by. It's getting farther and farther from the image that emerges in the great religious traditions, the great mystical traditions...
Yes, that's true... and who wants to live in the world described by dogmatic religious elites... That's all fine and dandy.

We're being presented with a mechanical picture of ourselves, by science, that we don't know how to take in...

Of course we are! What the hell kind of surprise is that?! :D The exploration of physical mechanisms will
indubitably give us a mechanical picture of the world and ourselves!

The interesting part is that 5 minutes earlier in the interview he also said that the intuitive, revelatory side of mystical/contemplative traditions is an entirely valid modality of inquiring the world and ourselves but, for some unspecified reason the two should stay separate and never share notes. :eek:

So we end up with this contradictory notion where we have multiple tools for investigating reality but we prefer to compartmentalize them and make sure they never get in touch... as if they were matter and anti-matter, ready to blow up on contact.

I can only see a chance for us to know the world and ourselves by allowing all sources of knowledge to converge and influence one another. Even if the overlap is difficult or contradictory. I find it very foolish to put on a pair of color lens glasses, filter out all the rest of the spectrum and then say... "Oh wow, all this red is pretty hard to swallow, it gives us back an unsettling picture of the world".

Albert comments on the convergence of science and mysticism and says he doesn't see it happening, which is essentially true. There is a tiny bit of convergence, a growing interest in taking subjective and objective knowledge together but, on the whole, the two fields still run on separate tracks.

He also doesn't seem to be interested or aspiring that such convergence should be realized, which is very telling of the above and it's the trademark of Western culture: we are happy with our technological prowess and hope that building more sophisticated gadgets, and smashing more particles with brute force will tell us who we are and what is this all about.

Fascinating and juvenile at the same time...
 
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#2
Small rant on the "uncomfortable truth of science"

It's interesting how many philosophers and scientists emphasize how science is painting a picture of the world that is not comfortable but at least less wrong (than before), while at the same time they all are utterly uncomfortable with the science that points to an intangible side of the human being...

The question is: once the shadow of organized religion is removed off the table, what is the true discomfort here? It seems to me that the dominating view is perfectly comfortable with a gloomy picture of the universe as long as it fits "common sense" and rational thinking (whatever this means).

There is indeed a lot of comfort in the realization that we are in control and powerful. Not very different from the Christian view that put us at the center of the world and the universe. We're still in the center, as the smartest living beings (that we know of).

We can build technology to control the violence of nature, disease, and even existential dissatisfaction. Even more so, if Kurzweil is right, in 30-some years we'll all upload our consciousness in the cloud and live forever with the help of prosthetic robotic bodies. We'll probably even have multiple bodies, depending on the activity we want to engage in… :D

The discomfort comes exactly when the idea of intangible, mystical elements reappear on the scene thanks to the same scientific method that should give us techno-immortality... and suggests there's more to our being than just firing neurons. But this "layer" of existence is fuzzy and mystical, subject to subjective interpretation and without physical mechanisms to crack open...

I think materialists posing as "bold heroes staring at the true face of nature" are in fact hiding from the scary thought of a spiritual dimension that doesn't obey the comforting mechanistic rules. Spiritual exploration is not for the faint of heart and escapes linear thinking. It's multi-dimensional in the true sense of the word (not the new agey one) as it peels off the layers of the psyche going deeper and deeper. The larger reality can be vertiginous and unsettling as well as intriguing. There aren't any set, easy answers to what lies beyond "the veil"... most likely even more veils ... which can be easily misinterpreted as the ultimate "truth", which is probably ineffable.

Transhumanists are the perfect example of the obsessive, maniacal attachment of the ego to what is physical, rational and objective. Transhumanists horrify at the idea of a spiritual afterlife where the narrative of the ego dissolves into a grander reality, where we loose the material perspective and fuse with a larger self.

So are strict physicalists, who may not agree with the radicalism of transhumanism, but still find comfort in the idea of discovering themselves by overanalyzing the outside world.

I really don't buy this sort of unilateral approach but I am fascinated by its rethoric and consequences.

Rant over :) … probably inspired by a couple extra drinks of Italian Barbaresco ;)
cheers
 
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#3
Understanding Reality PDF https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1t3dP66nJluVWNFWnRHWmRORU0/view?usp=sharing

Time, gravity, the stretching out of space and the second law of thermal dynamics are linked in a manner which has yet to be described.

The resolution of a system defines the limits of any value assigned to it. Infinity could be the changing value inside of a cycle.

At the finest scale what we end up with is unity.

If reality contains both infinity and unity it is either a multifaceted jewel or the singularity dancing.

It is variation that creates reality. Everything in the universe is vibrating and emitting light.

It may be fluctuation of probabilities or fractal reiteration with varying degrees of freedom in an information field stored holographically.

Can the past present and future appear together at a certain scale?

Is it a precise computation with an outcome that is certain?

What if reality is a set of Russian dolls nested inside of one another. Each doll is one tick of time and it is we who are moving, or our consciousness?

Is time the framework in which choices are made? Could it be the vehicle for our fractal journey?


If I have valuable information and you reject it.
I am not obligated to fight with you until I make my point, unless this information is helpful to you in some way.

A trinity of trouble.
1. Deception in the garden.
2. It was the woman you gave me.
3. Am I my brothers keeper.

1. This deception in the garden is a fractal expression of how we perceive the world around us. We need to get back to the unfiltered eyes of a child that can see all of the possibilities. This to me speaks of faith.

2. This passing the buck behavior (by Adam) says that I am not responsible for my actions. This would not work in a perfect court of law.

3. The truth is that I am in fact my brothers keeper and I should care about his welfare.

If I am having an argument trying to prove my point, then my ego is involved and I have put up a brick wall. My ego/your ego is impenetrable. No useful information will be conveyed.



The idea of being a friend would involve trust.

It is important at the beginning of any relationship that those involved keep trust in the center. It is to be earned, it is to be rewarded, and it is to be cherished. It is in this way that true friends are united.

Adam and Eve were not required to understand every little nuance of their reality.
All they had to do was trust God.
Abraham pleased God by trusting Him as well as King David.
We are in the same position.


The placebo effect requires us to trust in a deception.
No deception, no placebo effect.

Our reality appears to have some element of deception built into it.
Speed of light measurements fluctuate for no known reason, outside the value of the margin of error.


Quantum mechanics tells us that we can not really be sure about anything. The most deceived man is the one who is sure that he knows something.


The absurdity of conflict suggests that the collective consciousness of all humanity is being manipulated.


The union of all of the variation contained within humanity will be our success.
Our failure will be going out in a blaze of glory fighting each other.
I do not speak of the hive mind of the puppeteer, but of the wondrous symphony of the great composer.








Theory of reality
Truth is the highest energy state of a system, it is also the foundation or unity.
Innocence is the ability to see things for what they are.
Intelligence is the ability to make great conceptual leaps.
Knowledge is the physical manifestation of consciousness.
Wisdom is the ability to project into the future and see the consequences of every choice.
As we continue our journey through life we built up layers of filters in our minds until innocence is buried. A small child is closer to innocence than an adult.
These filters can be beneficial in a material sense or harmful in a spiritual sense and affect our perception of the world around us.
They have an effect on the degrees of freedom in a fractal sense. The limiting of our choices can be expressed mathematically.
Imagination is an echo of creation, (an echo is an impure copy of the original).

Novelty is the fuel on which the imagination runs, (for good or evil).

Love only has value if it is given away.
Freewill is the material expression of love.
There is a fractal and holographic aspect to our reality. There is at one level a material expression of the information stored holographically that we perceive. At a deeper level we connect to this information through our consciousness and every choice we make is branching out in a fractal pattern.












The tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The tree of life.
The tree is a fractal representation of the heavens and the earth.
It is inside of the time domain.
It is consciousness.
Choices bifurcating there way to somewhere or some-when else.
There are only so many choices that can be made in one lifetime but every choice branches out into infinity. The arrow of time is pointing down.
Notice that in the lower half of the tree (the root system) which represents the earth, most of the paths lead to the abyss, only one path leads to the light.
Every choice has a fractal quality to it and you have to figure out which way leads to the light.
Love and freewill are connected.
Stay on the path of love.
This path leads to the light.
All of the other paths lead to the abyss/chaos.


The right hand path
While you may agree with some points, you will probably not agree with all points.
There is what I will call the religion of the 10,000 lies. It does not matter which of these lies you believe, they are all the same religion.
Then there is truth, which I will call a secure foundation.
This quest for truth is what I will call the right hand path. When you make a decision ask yourself, is it true, is it kind, is it helpful. This is the golden rule.
The difference that becomes a point of contention is that I believe I have to rely on the still small voice, because I do not possess the understanding required to make these choices correctly every time. I am human and so I fail to make the correct choice, or to hear the still small voice on occasion.
The right hand path/choice leads to the light. This is the straight and narrow road.
The left hand path/choice leads to the abyss/chaos. This is the broad way that leads to destruction.
I also believe that Jesus made the correct choice every single time. He is a trailblazer, the one way out of this fractal maze.
The scaffolding we use to ask the right questions may not necessarily be of any benefit when trying to answer those questions.
These filters in our minds may block the direction we should be looking.


I would like to define some of my terms.
The God I refer to is the God of my understanding.
I have struggled with this idea of God as much as anyone has for many many years.
The American Indians have a saying: There are two wolves inside of you fighting, one is good and one is evil. The one that will win is the one you feed the most.
God looks on the heart.


At the scene of an accident you could have ten witnesses and eleven different accounts.
This is understanding based on the perception of each witness.
I do not take my understanding lightly and do not wish to be attacked at every turn.

Let me try to understand this non-God position.
Order out of chaos.
It is possible to look out at the universe and see the immense scale. There is a grandeur and an elegance.
Our position is absolutely miniscule. There is a sense of mystery here, we should have some humility.
If we take a position of authority and say that random processes have been the cause of all of this,
it is like saying in the beginning was nothing, then it exploded.

If we say that reality is created by our consciousness or that the universe is created by some computer program, we will not be able to prove it.
If we say that the universe is a great cosmic accident, we will not be able to prove it.
If we say that a God or many Gods are involved in creation, we will not be able to prove it.
Einstein believed that space/time is smooth and continuous. I think at the finest scale it will be proven to be grainy, so that no matter how large the universe is, it is not big enough to hold an infinite number, in fact, it is not big enough to represent an infinite number in any manner, take your pick.

Example: every particle in the universe represents one digit. You will run out of particles.

So I can say that the universe is a multifaceted jewel or it is the singularity dancing and I would not be anymore incorrect than the next guy.
My understanding of God may not be anymore incorrect than the next guy.

The universe is dying and can not be rewound. In deep time all of the stars will exhaust their fuel and eventually even the black holes will evaporate. Can we place any hope in nature? Hope is indeterminately linked with the spiritual world.


At some point before my time is up, I will have to exercise faith.
I will want to pick something to hold onto.
What should I choose?
This is my struggle.
In this we are all kind of in the same position.





Profound absurdities link perception and imagination. If we take the intangible and encapsulate it within the vessel of reason, then we turn it this way and that looking for clues, we may discover something unexpected or we may have to discard the thing and move on. There is an awful lot to sift through and all too often no clear direction, we do this however because we must.


The true value of something is the portion of your life you are willing to trade for it. What is often overlooked in this equation is the spiritual component. If we are to be guided by the unshakable faith of our convictions, we must keep before us the principles of love, peace, and charity.

We are all on a journey. we are all headed somewhere. The reason for the journey is connections. Some of us carry scars. The scars remind us to watch out for things like landmines, potholes and the occasional sharp pointy object. No-one is going to beat a path to your door. You have to be present. You have to keep moving. You have to keep growing, and learning, and most importantly, you have to care.
Only deeply broken people destroy connections. Deeply broken people are falling or are just about to fall into the abyss. Trying to catch them before they fall can be tricky.
 
#4
T as if they were matter and anti-matter, ready to blow up on contact.
An interesting choice of analogy. Given that, based on what is known currently, a controlled antimatter matter reactions are the only possible source for the energy it would take to allow interstellar travel in any practical way. :)
 
#6
Understanding Reality PDF https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1t3dP66nJluVWNFWnRHWmRORU0/view?usp=sharing

Time, gravity, the stretching out of space and the second law of thermal dynamics are linked in a manner which has yet to be described.

The resolution of a system defines the limits of any value assigned to it. Infinity could be the changing value inside of a cycle.

At the finest scale what we end up with is unity.

If reality contains both infinity and unity it is either a multifaceted jewel or the singularity dancing.

It is variation that creates reality. Everything in the universe is vibrating and emitting light.

It may be fluctuation of probabilities or fractal reiteration with varying degrees of freedom in an information field stored holographically.

Can the past present and future appear together at a certain scale?

Is it a precise computation with an outcome that is certain?

What if reality is a set of Russian dolls nested inside of one another. Each doll is one tick of time and it is we who are moving, or our consciousness?

Is time the framework in which choices are made? Could it be the vehicle for our fractal journey?


If I have valuable information and you reject it.
I am not obligated to fight with you until I make my point, unless this information is helpful to you in some way.

A trinity of trouble.
1. Deception in the garden.
2. It was the woman you gave me.
3. Am I my brothers keeper.

1. This deception in the garden is a fractal expression of how we perceive the world around us. We need to get back to the unfiltered eyes of a child that can see all of the possibilities. This to me speaks of faith.

2. This passing the buck behavior (by Adam) says that I am not responsible for my actions. This would not work in a perfect court of law.

3. The truth is that I am in fact my brothers keeper and I should care about his welfare.

If I am having an argument trying to prove my point, then my ego is involved and I have put up a brick wall. My ego/your ego is impenetrable. No useful information will be conveyed.



The idea of being a friend would involve trust.

It is important at the beginning of any relationship that those involved keep trust in the center. It is to be earned, it is to be rewarded, and it is to be cherished. It is in this way that true friends are united.

Adam and Eve were not required to understand every little nuance of their reality.
All they had to do was trust God.
Abraham pleased God by trusting Him as well as King David.
We are in the same position.


The placebo effect requires us to trust in a deception.
No deception, no placebo effect.

Our reality appears to have some element of deception built into it.
Speed of light measurements fluctuate for no known reason, outside the value of the margin of error.


Quantum mechanics tells us that we can not really be sure about anything. The most deceived man is the one who is sure that he knows something.


The absurdity of conflict suggests that the collective consciousness of all humanity is being manipulated.


The union of all of the variation contained within humanity will be our success.
Our failure will be going out in a blaze of glory fighting each other.
I do not speak of the hive mind of the puppeteer, but of the wondrous symphony of the great composer.








Theory of reality
Truth is the highest energy state of a system, it is also the foundation or unity.
Innocence is the ability to see things for what they are.
Intelligence is the ability to make great conceptual leaps.
Knowledge is the physical manifestation of consciousness.
Wisdom is the ability to project into the future and see the consequences of every choice.
As we continue our journey through life we built up layers of filters in our minds until innocence is buried. A small child is closer to innocence than an adult.
These filters can be beneficial in a material sense or harmful in a spiritual sense and affect our perception of the world around us.
They have an effect on the degrees of freedom in a fractal sense. The limiting of our choices can be expressed mathematically.
Imagination is an echo of creation, (an echo is an impure copy of the original).

Novelty is the fuel on which the imagination runs, (for good or evil).

Love only has value if it is given away.
Freewill is the material expression of love.
There is a fractal and holographic aspect to our reality. There is at one level a material expression of the information stored holographically that we perceive. At a deeper level we connect to this information through our consciousness and every choice we make is branching out in a fractal pattern.












The tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The tree of life.
The tree is a fractal representation of the heavens and the earth.
It is inside of the time domain.
It is consciousness.
Choices bifurcating there way to somewhere or some-when else.
There are only so many choices that can be made in one lifetime but every choice branches out into infinity. The arrow of time is pointing down.
Notice that in the lower half of the tree (the root system) which represents the earth, most of the paths lead to the abyss, only one path leads to the light.
Every choice has a fractal quality to it and you have to figure out which way leads to the light.
Love and freewill are connected.
Stay on the path of love.
This path leads to the light.
All of the other paths lead to the abyss/chaos.


The right hand path
While you may agree with some points, you will probably not agree with all points.
There is what I will call the religion of the 10,000 lies. It does not matter which of these lies you believe, they are all the same religion.
Then there is truth, which I will call a secure foundation.
This quest for truth is what I will call the right hand path. When you make a decision ask yourself, is it true, is it kind, is it helpful. This is the golden rule.
The difference that becomes a point of contention is that I believe I have to rely on the still small voice, because I do not possess the understanding required to make these choices correctly every time. I am human and so I fail to make the correct choice, or to hear the still small voice on occasion.
The right hand path/choice leads to the light. This is the straight and narrow road.
The left hand path/choice leads to the abyss/chaos. This is the broad way that leads to destruction.
I also believe that Jesus made the correct choice every single time. He is a trailblazer, the one way out of this fractal maze.
The scaffolding we use to ask the right questions may not necessarily be of any benefit when trying to answer those questions.
These filters in our minds may block the direction we should be looking.


I would like to define some of my terms.
The God I refer to is the God of my understanding.
I have struggled with this idea of God as much as anyone has for many many years.
The American Indians have a saying: There are two wolves inside of you fighting, one is good and one is evil. The one that will win is the one you feed the most.
God looks on the heart.


At the scene of an accident you could have ten witnesses and eleven different accounts.
This is understanding based on the perception of each witness.
I do not take my understanding lightly and do not wish to be attacked at every turn.

Let me try to understand this non-God position.
Order out of chaos.
It is possible to look out at the universe and see the immense scale. There is a grandeur and an elegance.
Our position is absolutely miniscule. There is a sense of mystery here, we should have some humility.
If we take a position of authority and say that random processes have been the cause of all of this,
it is like saying in the beginning was nothing, then it exploded.

If we say that reality is created by our consciousness or that the universe is created by some computer program, we will not be able to prove it.
If we say that the universe is a great cosmic accident, we will not be able to prove it.
If we say that a God or many Gods are involved in creation, we will not be able to prove it.
Einstein believed that space/time is smooth and continuous. I think at the finest scale it will be proven to be grainy, so that no matter how large the universe is, it is not big enough to hold an infinite number, in fact, it is not big enough to represent an infinite number in any manner, take your pick.

Example: every particle in the universe represents one digit. You will run out of particles.

So I can say that the universe is a multifaceted jewel or it is the singularity dancing and I would not be anymore incorrect than the next guy.
My understanding of God may not be anymore incorrect than the next guy.

The universe is dying and can not be rewound. In deep time all of the stars will exhaust their fuel and eventually even the black holes will evaporate. Can we place any hope in nature? Hope is indeterminately linked with the spiritual world.


At some point before my time is up, I will have to exercise faith.
I will want to pick something to hold onto.
What should I choose?
This is my struggle.
In this we are all kind of in the same position.





Profound absurdities link perception and imagination. If we take the intangible and encapsulate it within the vessel of reason, then we turn it this way and that looking for clues, we may discover something unexpected or we may have to discard the thing and move on. There is an awful lot to sift through and all too often no clear direction, we do this however because we must.


The true value of something is the portion of your life you are willing to trade for it. What is often overlooked in this equation is the spiritual component. If we are to be guided by the unshakable faith of our convictions, we must keep before us the principles of love, peace, and charity.

We are all on a journey. we are all headed somewhere. The reason for the journey is connections. Some of us carry scars. The scars remind us to watch out for things like landmines, potholes and the occasional sharp pointy object. No-one is going to beat a path to your door. You have to be present. You have to keep moving. You have to keep growing, and learning, and most importantly, you have to care.
Only deeply broken people destroy connections. Deeply broken people are falling or are just about to fall into the abyss. Trying to catch them before they fall can be tricky.
Holy Crap! My mind exploded.
 
#7
I'm not surprised. IMO a "philosopher of science" has little to offer. Especially when it really means "philosopher of materialism".
Yeah, I am not familiar with Albert's bio. He sounds kind of open minded but in the end it seems for of a facade than a real curiosity for other options...
 
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