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Messages - sciborg2

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1
Is there Ultimate Stuff and are there Ultimate Reasons?

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In this essay, we reflect on two fundamental assumptions, the one philosophical and the other scientific. The first has been called the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR). This encapsulates the idea that there is (at least in principle) a complete explanation for everything that exists or happens. We argue that recent attempts in philosophy to undermine the PSR should be rejected on a combination of philosophical and scientific grounds, and PSR should be upheld. Secondly, we argue, from the assumption that PSR is true, that the quantum vacuum (QV) is not the most fundamental stuff that exists, and moreover that we can say something positive about the nature of the “more fundamental” stuff. We argue that these conclusions follow from the implications that PSR carries for the nature of scientific explanations applied within the framework of the model of Nature indicated by Systems Philosophy. We show that under PSR the indicated substance underlying the QV has promise for developing solutions to certain fundamental empirical puzzles in science such as the nature of dark energy and the foundations of consciousness.

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General Misc. / Re: What are you watching?
« on: June 28, 2020, 10:14:07 pm »
I've been meaning to look again at Avenue 5...your review seems mixed...would it make sense to start in the middle of it?

I blew through the John Wick movies and have come away convinced they are a prequel or sequel to the Matrix. They seem to purposely go out of their way to suggest video games, some of which I admit can be accidental or just thematic but other things - like passerbys being so NPC-ish they don't care about the bodies - seem deliberate....

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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: June 28, 2020, 10:02:33 pm »
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"The meaning of the water bearer for Aquarius is that the star sign can carry the emotions of others and not be influenced by them. This has to do with their quest for higher truth. They are able to carry emotions to reach an understanding of the truth. Aquarius bears the water, it can carry the water, or it can pour out the water with their mind. Aquarius has the ability to do this because carrying or transmitting water, which represents our emotions, happens through language. And, the Air signs, such as Aquarius, represent language. Aquarius is able to express emotions but it’s not the emotions -- or the 'water' -- itself."

I am very curious about this turn toward the Zodiac...I kinda feel like there are RPG aspects to the Zodiac that haven't been properly explored/exploited...

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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: June 24, 2020, 03:51:20 am »
...there’s no such thing as “technology” in the singular, only technologies in the plural. The notion that technology is a single monolithic thing is a convenient bit of mystification, used to hide the fact that our society, like all others, picks and chooses among available technological options, implementing some and neglecting others. This needs hiding because most of these choices are made by influential members and groups within the political class for their own private profit, very often at the expense of the rest of the public. Wrapping the process in a smokescreen of impersonal inevitability is a convenient way to keep awkward questions from being raised via what remains of the democratic institutions of an earlier age.

Greer, John Michael. The Blood of the Earth: An essay on magic and peak oil . Scarlet Imprint / Bibliothèque Rouge. Kindle Edition.

"Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating across lives & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — or the water in the four great oceans? Which is greater, the blood you have shed from having your heads cut off while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time, or the water in the four great oceans?

From an in-construable beginning comes lifetimes of transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating and wandering on. Just as a stick thrown up in the air lands sometimes on its base, sometimes on its side, sometimes on its tip; in the same way, beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving, transmigrating and wandering on, sometimes go from this world to another world, sometimes come from another world to this.

Long have you thus experienced suffering, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabrications, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."
 -Siddhārtha Gautama

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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: June 23, 2020, 11:25:32 pm »
...there’s no such thing as “technology” in the singular, only technologies in the plural. The notion that technology is a single monolithic thing is a convenient bit of mystification, used to hide the fact that our society, like all others, picks and chooses among available technological options, implementing some and neglecting others. This needs hiding because most of these choices are made by influential members and groups within the political class for their own private profit, very often at the expense of the rest of the public. Wrapping the process in a smokescreen of impersonal inevitability is a convenient way to keep awkward questions from being raised via what remains of the democratic institutions of an earlier age.

Greer, John Michael. The Blood of the Earth: An essay on magic and peak oil . Scarlet Imprint / Bibliothèque Rouge. Kindle Edition.

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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: June 23, 2020, 12:32:25 am »
And where was Atman to be found...but in one's own self, in its innermost part, in its indestructible part, which everyone had in himself?

But where, where was this self, this innermost part, this ultimate part?
 -Herman Hesse

Any manifestation, any functioning, any witnessing, can only take place in duality. There has to be a subject and an object, they are two, but they are not two, they are two ends of the same thing. When consciousness stirs, duality arises. There are millions of objects, but each object,when it sees another, assumes the subjectivity of the Absolute ....
 -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Each one of us, as a phenomenon, is merely an appearance in the consciousness of those who perceive us, and, therefore, what we appear to be is a phenomenon — temporal, finite and perceptible to the senses, whereas what we are, what we have always been and always will be, without name and form, is the noumenon — timeless,spaceless imperceptible being.
 -Ramesh Balsekar

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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: June 20, 2020, 12:09:06 am »
And where was Atman to be found...but in one's own self, in its innermost part, in its indestructible part, which everyone had in himself?

But where, where was this self, this innermost part, this ultimate part?
 -Herman Hesse

8
General Misc. / Re: Politics
« on: June 17, 2020, 07:47:15 pm »
Yeah I felt the doom & gloom of the article might've been over the top...but then I felt the same way about the pandemic so...

One thing we can see happening is that companies want to *appear* more socially conscious. This might just be a facade, and likely is in many ways, but I do think this can shift the needle a bit. Community organizations don't necessarily have to be toothless, depending on the strength of their local economies as an example.

Even nations - aka the ones with military power - don't have to just bend over for corporations and top-down groups like the EU.

As you point out the current order has taken quite a supposed licking in recent years but so far manages to hold its own against the vagaries that are thrown at it.

9
General Misc. / Re: Politics
« on: June 17, 2020, 07:18:49 am »
The ungoverned globe

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Both the radical democrats and the nationalists would create a situation in which the nation-state cannot meaningfully be blamed for the consequences of the liberal order. The nationalists accomplish this by blaming the order, performing subversion while continuing to obey. The radical democrats accomplish this by creating new institutions that make the people themselves feel responsible for their own situations. They attempt to ‘responsibilise’ ordinary voters. The nationalist strategy’s weakness is that it maintains the liberal order by condemning it, undermining the very thing it maintains. The radical democrats completely divert attention from the order by making politics about the local level – about you. You become the one responsible for the order, for the flows, and for any instability those flows bring to your community.

These local institutions, however, cannot actually alter the flows. This responsibility is built on lies and misdirection. It functions as an elaborate way of forcing the citizens to internalise the political system’s failures as their own. Radical democrats would give citizens the appearance of direct power without the fact of it, obscuring where the real power lies – with the liberal order. That would suit the order just fine. But radical democracy wouldn’t deal with the substance of the grievances that have led so many voters to grow frustrated. It would enable the order to continue disappointing people by convincing them that they are the ones disappointing themselves.

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Opponents of the liberal order have substantive grievances. Rapid, ungoverned flows of capital and labour destabilise their lives. The nation-state cannot take back control of the flows, and radical democracy provides only an illusion of control. To truly govern the flows, the liberal order itself must be made directly responsible to the people whose lives it affects. As long as the liberal order is organised through global and regional institutions that have no direct links to voting populations, it will be mediated through networks of nation-states. As economic integration increases, those nation-states lose the ability to meaningfully represent their populations in the order’s institutions. The more economic power the liberal order has, the more vestigial the nation-states become. The nation-states attempt to obscure this reality with nationalism and radical democratic reforms, and in doing so they enable themselves and the order to go on, but at a cost of completely stripping the public of any meaningful say. The nation-state continues, but only as a shell of itself, unable to represent anything. The liberal order continues, but with no legitimacy, at best surviving by pitting individuals and groups against each other in local fights with no practical stakes.

Alternatively, we could decide that the only way to govern a global economy is to have global political institutions. The radical democrats scale down, situating politics far beneath the level where the crucial decisions are taken. The nationalists pretend politics still exists at the level of the nation-state, cathartically denying a reality that they themselves implicitly recognise. The other option is to scale up and make a genuine effort to build some kind of global polity.

The trouble is that there are few people who want to do this. Part of what makes both nationalism and radical democracy appealing is that these strategies emphasise our national, individual or group distinctiveness. Global political institutions collapse distinctions, making singular decisions for the whole world. We don’t want a one-size-fits-all model. But unfortunately for us, the liberal order has already given us one. In the liberal order’s one-size-fits-all model, we must all accept ungoverned flows of capital and labour and, if we try to resist those flows, economic devastation is visited upon us. We have no say in the model, because the nation-states that are meant to represent us are increasingly moribund.

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General Misc. / Re: Politics
« on: June 04, 2020, 07:21:12 pm »
I think the big issue is that China is the world's future superpower...maybe? Depends on how brittle it is internally.

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General Misc. / Re: Politics
« on: June 04, 2020, 03:55:44 am »
Not sure this is the right place but ->

Nobody Knows Anything About China: Including the Chinese government.

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We don’t know the real figures for GDP growth, for example. GDP growth has long been one of the main criteria used to judge officials’ careers — as a result, the relevant data is warped at every level, since the folk reporting it are the same ones benefitting from it being high. If you add up the GDP figures issued by the provinces, the sum is 10 percent higher than the figure ultimately issued by the national government, which in itself is tweaked to hit politicized targets. Provincial governments have increasingly admitted to this in recent years, but the fakery has been going on for decades. We don’t know the extent of bad loans, routinely concealed by banks. We don’t know the makeup of most Chinese financial assets. Sometimes we don’t know the good news of recoveries because the concealment of bad news beforehand has disguised it. We don’t know China’s real Gini coefficient, the measure of economic inequality.

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We don’t know the true size of the Chinese population because of the reluctance to register unapproved second children or for the family planning bureau to report that they’d failed to control births. We don’t know where those people are; rural counties are incentivized to overreport population to receive more benefits from higher levels of government, while city districts report lower figures to hit population control targets. Beijing’s official population is 21.7 million; it may really be as high as 30 or 35 million. Tens — perhaps hundreds — of millions of migrants are officially in the countryside but really in the cities. (Perhaps. We don’t know the extent of the recent winter expulsions of the poor from the metropolises.) We don’t know whether these people are breathing clean air or drinking clean water because the environmental data is full of holes.

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We don’t know how good Chinese schools really are because the much-quoted statistics provided by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) that placed China first in the world were taken from the study of a small group of elite Shanghai schools. As soon as that was expanded merely to Beijing — another metropolis — and two rich provinces, the results dropped sharply. (PISA’s willingness to accept only this limited sample is typical of the gullibility and compliance of many foreign NGOs, especially in education, when dealing with China; I have seen numerous foreign educators fall victim to obvious Potemkinism, including believing that Beijing No. 4 High School — the rough equivalent of Eton — was a “typical Chinese public school.”) We don’t know the extent of the collapse of rural education. We don’t know the real literacy figures, not least because rural and urban literacy is measured by different standards — a common trick for many figures.

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We don’t know the real crime figures, especially in the cities, which may represent as little as 2.5 percent of the actual total. We don’t know the death toll for the ethnic Uighur insurgency in Xinjiang, where local officials, in the words of one government terrorism expert, “bend figures as much as during the Great Leap Forward,” nor do we know how many people are currently held in “re-education camps.” (Incidentally, we don’t know how many people died in the Great Leap Forward, piled up in village ditches or abandoned on empty grasslands: the 16.5 million once given in official tolls or the 45 million estimated by some historians.)

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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: June 03, 2020, 03:45:24 am »
'Materialism ... is the philosophy of the subject who forgets himself in his calculation.'
  – Schopenhauer

“It is an odd sort of intellect which ranks matter before itself and attributes real being to matter but not to itself.” -Plotinus

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General Misc. / Re: Politics
« on: May 31, 2020, 08:58:05 pm »
Well politically and religiously I'm a Fundamentalist Agnostic Contextualist...but yeah Big Tech is due for a fall.

Sadly I think only the octopus and cockroach hybrid people (cocktopuses heh) who will replace us are going to acknowledge the wisdom of social media being our Great Filter...

In all seriousness though it seems the ability of software technology to enable tyranny/anarchy is going to outpace the contribution it could make to a functioning democracy.

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General Misc. / Re: Quotes
« on: May 27, 2020, 01:49:51 am »
"The Greeks had no depth psychology and psychopathology such as we have. They had myths. And we have no myths as such--instead, depth psychology & psychopathology. Therefore, psychology shows myths in modern dress and myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress."
    -James Hillman

La Lune au plain de nuict sur le haut mont,
Le nouueau sophe d’un seul cerueau la veu:
Par ses disciples estre Immortel semond,
Yeux au mydi, en seins mains corps au feu.
 —Nostradamus, Quatrain 4, 31

The Moon in the full of night over the high mountain,
The new philosopher sees this with a unique brain:
By his disciples summoned to be immortal,
Eyes to the zenith, hands in the breasts of burning bodies.

15
Dr. Johannes Kleiner: Why the universe might be conscious

This is a pathbreaking conversation with Dr. Johannes Kleiner, a mathematician and physicist at the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy. He works at the cutting edge of an ever urgent question — is the universe conscious? He explains to Grin why the answer could well be, yes.

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The crucial ingredient in constructing and studying mathematical models of consciousness is to represent conscious experience in mathematical terms. This is what makes mathematical models of consciousness so powerful. One can use what is called a ‘mathematical space’ to represents the content of conscious experience. Once provided with some mathematical description of the physical domain (e.g. of the neural network in the brain), on can then apply a model of consciousness to calculate which conscious experience it would have.

    Now the crucial ingredient here is that any physical system that can be represented mathematically (in principle) can be ‘plugged into’ a model of consciousness to calculate the conscious experience of that system according to that model. Next to brains, this could be a mathematical description of a computer, a large network or even a approximate mathematical description of the universe.

This is where the headline you have quoted above comes from. Mathematical models of consciousness allow us to calculate the conscious experience of all sorts of systems. And while a final verdict is still pending of which model of consciousness describes reality correctly, it is a possibility that the universe as a whole has some conscious experience.
     



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