Sunday, 28 March 2010

Consciousness haunted:

an epidemic story from a Heraclitean fugue

Sometimes, it happens. To think whether we are awake or not. To think it seems we are playing someone's script. To feel the scenario we are living in is incomplete.

But no matter how delirious our worst fears are, there is always a way to put together the pieces, isn't it? From Cartesius to Matrix, from Kant to transcendental meditation, it's always a struggle to either reaffirm the robustness of our mind horizon or the necessity to overcome the limit. This battle is typically human. No matter how close are other creatures to us: the possible inclusion of other living being is out of the question: not even our beloved ape mates can be listed in these files. Gorillas and chimpanzees, though very likely are minded, don't suffer of the limit-horizon problem.
The limit-horizon problem basically speaks of the mind as necessarily limited stage to be acted or a artificial barrier, arbitrarily posed.
Horizon way: we can think only because there is an horizon, whose beyond is simply a non-sense. A bit like the origin of axes on a Cartesian diagram: the zero in the middle is the horizon, but is pointless to try “to go beyond”.

Limit way: it speaks of a visual impediment: we see the panoramic view of our narrow valley, but if we climb over the mountains (barrier), we'll see a new extension of land, our over the limit promised land.
We speak and sometimes take a clear position on the limit-horizon, but rarely we spend enough time discussing the assumption of the problem. And the problem is clearly inside the conscious reasoning. To clarify possible misunderstanding, here consciousness is the cultural, linguistic dimension, produced by human minds. Specifically produced by human minds.
So, what is the structure of this product?
Our brains, apelike, are plugged in a virtual environment. This environment overheats our ape brains and trigger a powerful imaginarium. Indeed this powerful imaginarium feeds back the virtual environment. That's why we can project our delirious, fantastic, inventions (the “we” is a very collective term here). One of the first outcome (and constantly updated) is actually the consciousness. We couldn't think to ourselves without a self... It would be very difficult to require sophisticated collaboration amongst selves without consciousness....But this is actually an obsession. Our original psychological sin. We are obsessed with consciousness, because we are obsessed by consciousness.
Our ape brains are haunted by consciousness, a spirit produced in an overheated brainstorming. Normal primate bodies are forced to stage a show of consciousness. And the way to keep it on going, is simple: narrative contagion. To give a character life, you need to transmit the narrative torch. You need to train an ape brain to be a consciousness, through homeopathic doses of characters.
But what are characters? They are brought along side the centuries, like dead ancestors. Indeed nobody has been “a first character”. Only the sedimentation of narratives, step by step, built the possibility to be trained as a character: you need a stage made by hundreds of anonymous failed characters, before someone finally could act. A layer of narratives, traditions and habits of dead characters finally produced autonomous self: this is civilization. We know how is it to be a person through imitation. And after the imitation, we react as a person and we'll give others a model to pursue. That is, the infection spreads and everyone has is own consciousness infection. We spread the myth of being conscious, from the lessons of dead characters: we learn how to be alive consciousness, from dead ones. We learn how to be alive in a civilization, being the parody of the dead ones.
Our natural primate selfless mind, has be invaded by the narrative civilization ghost: consciousness. So it is that we are haunted by this spirit. The point is not trying to accept it or to overcome it, but realizing we are the process of this haunting: we are the ghosts.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Semantic insemination:

a narrative-organic self explanation

If you see a meaningful world, it's because you spread meanings in a world. To be more precise, you see meanings spread by others; to be even more precise, you are a bundle of those meanings. Finally and reaching the point, in order to see meanings, you need to spread them. You can't be a passive meanings observer. From a pure objective perspective, there are no meanings in the world. The semantic environment we see, it's a semiotic illusion, produced by our narrations (based on meanings).
Other primates enjoy a social space. Our ape friends are actively involved in complex society. They feel a lot of sophisticated emotions, like pride, jealousy, vanity (quite a narcissistic arsenal...). But none of them is living in a semantic environment: despite huge, massive information crunching brains ( in the same league of ours), an ape brain doesn't see the augmented reality of narrations. An ape brain will see his mates moving in an environment, without semantic augmentation.

Our experience of seeing meanings all around us, it's very peculiar and made possible by our narrative insemination. When you are contemplating parts of your semantic environment, you are far from being passive: every narrative features you see in the world, is actually spread by you. It's a reciprocal effect: others are spreading meanings, but they are silent, until they meet the semantic insemination of being observed (enjoyed) by a narrative mind.
The more you forget about your contribution, the more autonomous, independent and fecund will appear in front of you. And when they look so living they are telling you stories (they are telling you to be as a story), you will consider them such as real as the ground under your feet and the stars upon your head.

And they are real, it's only created by you (by the narrative gang we all are). But this Hegelian delirium must be forgot. It's definitely insane to remind yourself constantly the meaningful world in front of you is handcrafted by your own imaginary:especially because the observer is created by the observation: when you see a semantic world, you're chasing your narrative tail. This is human destiny.
At the end, the world you see, it's a secretion of yours. And yourself is a drop in this self-emerging reality. A drop containing myself as a universe??? This is mad, self-deprecating, logic-insulting...Like being generated by secretions...Welcome to the narrative organic universe. You are making possible your ancestors, observing their narratives, you're making their semantic existance real. You are your father generator. And the yourself narrative can be deployed only through semiotic spreading in the environment: your very reality is made possible by our narrative spreading. You are made possible by your offsprings. Nothing impossible, under the narrative organic sun.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Fallible perfectible: Schizophrenic boring intelligent machines

Feedback is an essential part of a intelligent system. Indeed it constitutes the architecture of what an intelligent system is: we can say the intelligence is produced by the every fact of being re-fed. A feedback is an information about the environment but most of all a reaction of the system itself as a entity in the environment. So the most important thing feedback is telling, is about the system itself. An eternal intelligence, a perfect system not requiring feedback will be difficult to imagine. We can call this hypothetical machine, a god's mind. We can say, cybernetically, that feedback is the speculation of the machine about itself. A god's mind actually wouldn't require this kind of information. A god's mind would prefigure every possible configurations of the system. So in other terms, a god's mind doesn't think. In a certain way, given our tradition to describe intelligent systems, a god's mind is not intelligent at all. What an irreverent conclusion! And all for the power of feedback...

In a very crude, engineering perspective, feedback is what make our algorithmic reasoning machines the fallible, perfectible humans we are. So we like feedback? Well, yes and no (of course, damn human condition: you always want to swing in between two opposite poles: why???). The feedback, insofar constitutes the very horizon of our possibility to know and to reflect and to be the fallible perfectible systems we are, also feeds our suicidal epistemic appetite.

A feedback is designed to come back to the system and to inform it about the new configuration of the system itself. Per definition a feedback is the most valuable element for the system to know. Knowledge in mathematical terms can happen instantaneously. A theorem is what it is regardless of time. On the contrary real machines (and for this argument, living beings are real machines), require to be place in time. The process of knowing is placed in time. The intelligence of the intelligent systems is placed in steps orchestrated by feedback. A feedback is the intrinsic reminder of the system of itself. An intelligent system is constantly put together by the memory the feedback is feeding. We can say that the “space-time” of the intelligence of an intelligent system, is made possible by feedback. Or that a mind is made possible by its reminder

Alleluia feedback? Unfortunately what is the happiness of engineering is also the damnation of the human condition (in this case only...). First, our mind is not just an intelligent system: it's also a theory generator about the environment is which is placed (which is not entailed by the mere fact of being an intelligent system). A human mind will tend also to give description of its place in the environment and consequentially of itself in the environment. But, accordingly to the distinguished philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine, we can give an infinite number of different descriptions (theories) of the same configurations of world. These infinite descriptions can be reciprocally contradictory, though with equal descriptive power. For our argument, our feedback can confirm and remind an infinite number of different variations of the same intelligent system that originated the impulse of the feedback: the feedback is reminding the identity of the source intelligent system, but it is reminding an infinite series of possible identities. This is the Pirandello fallacy: an intelligent system is ONE, but it will forget his own intelligent process unless reminded by feedback. Feedback can remind the intelligent system of 100 000 alternative, concurrent, reciprocally contradictory but descriptively equal intelligent systems. Consequence, for Pirandello, we don't have ANY true intelligent system.

The second paradox lies in the contrary effect of the feedback reminding: the genuine exploration of different possibilities of description from the intelligent system will be constantly aborted by the feedback, that will prevent the intelligent system from changing: if the real process of knowing is the evolution of alternative description of configurations and feedback is reminding the original descriptive system, then every feedback will reinforce the source request and will prevent every genuine mutation of description.

I hope not to have raised a generation of feedback-haters. This was just a recreational philosophical Con-Und-Drum. Though some real perplexities can remain, if we consider that since the appearance of Homo Sapiens Sapiens, we are actually nothing more nothing less than humans: always with the same annoying philosophical problems. On the other hand, in comparison with our ape mates, we present a much higher mind instability. Good night.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Total communication:massive content mobilization

Welcome in the era of total communication. To be honest, humans always inhabit an environment of total communication, but it's different when they realize it (or they pretend to realize it: it's the same). Thanks to tools enabling a bi-directional exchange, we are enabled to perceive our environment as a communicative environment. Before men pretend to stand in front a world, events, experience and the communication process followed the real: information of something, where something is the thing, the real one, and the information is the ghost.

Now, clearly, we live in an environment of phantoms: information of information, communicating communications. Scared of living amongst ghosts? Don't worry, you're part of the family...

The experience of total communication simply made explicit what underlies the consciousness and mind process.

Just giving an example: contents. When we are saying something meaningful, we are saying something with a content. A what is a content? A content can stand out in a meaningful environment...And a meaningful environment...what is made of..? Well, we can say the bundle of stories generate an environment of narratives: like there energy distribution “makes” space-time, and only after space-time you can have “something that can be somewhere”.

In the same way, the ontology of communication deploys itself as ideas,concepts,concepts from the pure noise, because it is pure noise. It's a meaningful content stand out in relation to a system of contents. The system turns out to be...just a layers of communication exchange.

Our era shows the factory of content: massive transformation of contents in contents. Content production means will become strategically important. And as soon as people realize the importance of content production, they will start to explore and discover more and more source of production, like exploiting a commodity...

The fact is that the territories to be explored...are ourselves. And the commodity to be extracted is intangible. So communication is nothing?? On the contrary, but you'll find yourself in scary territories, if you don't realize that contents are hosted in semiotic environments and this communicative worlds are ghostly exchange of meaningless actions, performed by anxious primates. 

Who gets the means of (content production), gets the meanings. And if you catch them, you'll find your fist...empty. It doesn't matter if you realize that more than nothing caught, is the nothing of observing this activity. The observer is the true nothing: at the end the mind thing is a story. And when you stretch narratives, you always will find that only when there are other minds you can tell a story: what you communicate is your mind!

The message is...putting together the message.