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There is no such thing as "there is no such thing"

Zenbane
Level 16
Philosophy!
During Pandemic 2020, I've been able to get caught up on all sorts of reading. I recently re-visted the old favorite subject of Philosophy, and came across a fun list:

Some favorites:
Big Freeze.
Big Freeze is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward. The universe has a limited supply of energy. According to this theory, when that energy finally runs out, the universe will devolve into a frozen state. The thermal energy produced by the motion of the particles will gradually wear out, which means that eventually, this particle motion will slow down and, presumably, one day, everything will stop.

A bit doom and gloom, since this means that even in a multi-verse, everything eventually stops, freezes, and dies. Although... what about the Law of motion? Everything in motion stays in motion until acted upon by an external force, right? Yet this theory says... everything in motion stays in motion until it runs out of thermal energy, which is an internal force. Hmmm.


Solipsism.
Solipsism is a philosophical theory, which asserts that nothing exists but the individual’s consciousness.

I find this one fascinating, as it emphasizes the power of the mind. It also helps understand how different people experience Virtual Reality; since no two people experience things the same way, and how one person experiences something cannot be known by another. We can only attempt to share these experiences through analogy.


Idealism
George Berkeley, the father of Idealism, argued that everything exists as an idea in someone’s mind.
All things are real but only in your mind? I like the attempt at disproving this, by kicking a rock with your eyes closed.

Presentism vs Eternalism

In one, only the present is real because we cannot exist in the past nor
future; thus the past and future are imagined concepts. Whereas in the
other, time is multi-layered, and all layers of time exist
simultaneously. Where we exist is determined by the observer.

Eternalism
is a personal favorite of mine. Although it poses the problem of free
will potentially being an illusion; since the future already exists.


Fictional realism.
This branch of the theory argues that given an infinite number of universes, everything must exist somewhere. So, all of our favorite fiction and fantasy may be descriptive of an alternate universe, one where all the right pieces came into place to make it happen.

I like this idea because it relies on the concept of the Multi-verse coupled with the endless possibilities of infinity.


While I put this in the Off-Topic thread, I did start to thinking... how awesome would it be if a VR App was created that allowed people to exist in each of these philosophical worlds?

7 REPLIES 7

nalex66
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator
I studied my share of philosophy back in university. I found it was a nice complement and counterpoint to all the science courses that were required for my engineering degree. 

The Big Freeze: conservation of energy means it can’t run out. I think the more likely end state of the universe, as the black holes at the centres of galaxies gobble up everything, is collapse to a singularity, followed by another Big Bang and the birth of a new universe. Whether it’s identical to the previous one or wildly different, we will never know. 

Solipsism and idealism are not useful for understanding anything (except selfishness). They’re self-indulgent mental masterbation, in my opinion. 

Eternalism is interesting, and I think it can coexist with free will, as contradictory as that sounds. As chronologically-confined individuals, we can look at past events and see that choices were made and resulted in consequences. Despite us being able to see the whole flow of it, those choices were still real and immediate to the people at that point in time. An observer free to move in time can see the same thing, but for all events and all times. Our choices, actions and consequences still exist and are real to us, but they are also all laid out in time. Time is just another dimension of space, but we can only see it in sequential slices.

I used to play around with rendering fourth-dimensional mathematical objects which could be defined by a non-linear equation and represented as a 3D object changing over time. The resulting animation looked like a blob appearing out of nothing, writhing around for a while, then disappearing. It was really just a 4D object that was fully defined, but seen one 3D slice at a time. Here’s an example I found on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onpYCvytUQI

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Zenbane
Level 16

nalex66 said:
The Big Freeze: conservation of energy means it can’t run out. I think the more likely end state of the universe, as the black holes at the centres of galaxies gobble up everything, is collapse to a singularity, followed by another Big Bang and the birth of a new universe. Whether it’s identical to the previous one or wildly different, we will never know.




Agreed on the idea behind the big bang. I recently saw some videos on the theory behind White Holes. They have never been confirmed, but they are theoretically true based on the math behind black holes. So where everything goes in to a Black Hole, everything is forced out of a White Hole. My first thought was... isn't that what the Big Bang is?


Solipsism and idealism are not useful for understanding anything (except
selfishness). They’re self-indulgent mental masterbation, in my
opinion.

Nice!

2o0co8hc19tj.jpg


Eternalism is interesting, and I think it can coexist with free will, as
contradictory as that sounds. As chronologically-confined individuals,
we can look at past events and see that choices were made and resulted
in consequences. Despite us being able to see the whole flow of it,
those choices were still real and immediate to the people at that point
in time. An observer free to move in time can see the same thing, but
for all events and all times. Our choices, actions and consequences
still exist and are real to us, but they are also all laid out in time.
Time is just another dimension of space, but we can only see it in
sequential slices.


Hmm, so if I'm understanding this correctly, that would mean that each decision tree creates its own time thread? Thus, free will is possible because we will follow different decision trees in time based on the choices we make? I can agree with that, however, it does create "choice" as some sort of measurable manifestation. I can see where Time and Space can be woven in to separate threads, but adding Choice as a thread seems to be an attempt to create a measurement of something that can't be measured. Choice, action, and consequence are things that "take place within a specific space during a particular moment in time." We would need to explore what exactly gives "choice" the power to create new Time and Space threads.

The way I see Eternalism, is that all consequences and learning from those consequences has already taken place. So whatever choices we think we're making of our own free will, have already been made and we're following a single thread (in reality) where we only imagine what other paths we could have taken; but those other paths were never woven in to Time and Space because we never made those other choices.

I need my tin foil hat. Brb.

nalex66
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

Zenbane said:

...Hmm, so if I'm understanding this correctly, that would mean that each decision tree creates its own time thread? Thus, free will is possible because we will follow different decision trees in time based on the choices we make? I can agree with that, however, it does create "choice" as some sort of measurable manifestation. I can see where Time and Space can be woven in to separate threads, but adding Choice as a thread seems to be an attempt to create a measurement of something that can't be measured. Choice, action, and consequence are things that "take place within a specific space during a particular moment in time." We would need to explore what exactly gives "choice" the power to create new Time and Space threads.

The way I see Eternalism, is that all consequences and learning from those consequences has already taken place. So whatever choices we think we're making of our own free will, have already been made and we're following a single thread (in reality) where we only imagine what other paths we could have taken; but those other paths were never woven in to Time and Space because we never made those other choices.

I need my tin foil hat. Brb.


I believe that we can imagine alternate timelines to be additional dimensions of space; just as time is an axis along which the 3D universe progresses, we can mathematically define an unlimited number of dimensions which would represent other paths that our universe could take.


I think, when we talk about alternate time threads, it might be more useful to think about actions rather than choices. Choices are only thoughts in my own head until I turn them into actions that can have some impact in the world. Every action has the potential to branch to a different timeline, but most actions are small and insignificant and don't change any outcomes. Some actions may seem equally inconsequential, but can have some impact in the world that can lead to major timeline diversions. I picture this as analogous to a fractal pattern. Sometimes the pattern just goes along repeating similar shapes, then suddenly something leads to huge changes on a whole different scale. Does that make sense?

4hdc03idjy1q.jpg

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lensmandave
Level 9
Why is a mouse when it spins?
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RuneSR2
Level 16
Awesome thread, also there's this event today:

pick44x0xycd.png


 - it's free - I've got a "ticket" (not sure you really need that), but the family is forcing me to do time at the beach today, not sure I'll make it...

https://www.infinitepotential.com/science/?utm_source=Science%20Event&utm_medium=IP%20Email%20Market...

https://youtu.be/ie-M7Ioo_qk

https://youtu.be/GzbgdI3NLiY

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"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

sara200
Level 3
this thread was awesome indeed! some really cool theories and interpretations of them 🙂

RuneSR2
Level 16
Spent a lot of time on consciousness many years ago - this is the abstract from my bachelor's thesis - I hope my English wasn't too bad back then, I got the thesis published in a journal - my first scientific paper, lol:

Abstract.






A Theoretical Introduction to a Model of Human Consciousness.



It is possible to describe
human consciousness as a representational
system
. This system consists of 3 main interacting levels: (1) The presentation, which is the part of
the physical reality that influences the human senses. (2) The representation, which is defined by; (2a) a selective mental
reflection of the presentation; (2b) a mental reflection of stored information from long term memory; (2c) a selective mental reflection of the presentation in
relation to stored information from long term memory. (3) The meta-representation, which is an abstraction and/or an
expansion of an original representation.



 



It is argued that the
function of the human representational system must be understood in relation to
problem-solving skills and capacity.



 



New evidence concerning the
mental and cultural levels of chimpanzees is examined in relation to an
understanding of the phylogenetic development of the human representational
system. This evidence includes examination of the cultural development within different
societies of chimpanzees: an examination of the hunting behavior and tool use
of the Taï chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus), the Mahale and Gombe
chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). The basic assumption is that the
chimpanzees do posses a representational system, which is different from the
human representational system. It is argued that this difference is best understood in relation to the capacity of each representational system.



 



Evidence concerning the
mental and cultural levels of chimpanzees is further extended in the light of
archaeological findings, which indicate that a development of the capacity of
the human representational system is related directly to the phylogenetic development
of larger brain sizes. 


I've long been thinking that consciousness may be easier to define by taking a look at the closest thing to us (homo sapiens sapiens - the human who knows that it knows), which today would be chimpanzees (and we share 99% of the same genes).  Seems like first chimpanzees started to walk upright, then hand modifications evolved - which increased the ability to manipulate objects - and first then the brain started to increase in size. An ordinary adult chimp has about 400 cm3 brain volume, while a 25 year old human has about 1400 cm3. Thus even though humans genetically are extremely close to chimpanzees the 1% difference does cause some profound miracles...   For 3 to 6 million years ago, the world was ruled by quite small brains it seems - but then something happened, like shown here:

Introduction to Paleoanthropology  Biology  Visionlearning

Of course there are many interesting discussions, like if one brain consists of let's say 84 billion neurons and has consciousness, does 1 neuron have a super-tiny bit of consciousness? 

Are ants conscious? Are dogs? 

Personally I think ants are conscious to some extremely basic and rudimentary level - that is they process and react to information in the world, might be able to store some info too. Unfortunately their processing capacity is quite limited. I'd probably mostly consider consciousness a sensory processing capacity - depending on memory systems and more (the short version lol). Such a system easily gets impacted by brain damage. 

Btw, seems this quote (more than 100 years old) is still going strong - just to underline that consciousness is like a constant stream of information processing, it's never some kind of fixed object/entity... 

The great basic idea
that the world is not to be viewed as a complex of fully fashioned objects, but
as a complex of processes, in which apparently stable objects, no less than the
image of them inside our heads (our concepts), are undergoing incessant changes



In the eyes of dialectical philosophy,
nothing is established for all time, nothing is absolute or sacred. On
everything and in everything it sees the stamp of inevitable decline; nothing
can resist it save the unceasing process of formation and destruction, the
unending ascent from lower to the higher – a process of which that philosophy
itself is only a simple reflection within the thinking brain.



 



Friedrich Engels, Ludwig Feuerbach


I guess we should all try to enjoy the journey - and VR certainly is one way to greatly enhance it and to expand conscious experiences. 

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