There has been a lot of talk lately about using corporate taxes to fund social services like healthcare. Can we? And if so, how much can we skim off the top before damaging the economy? The answer may be “no,” and “nothing.”
Socialist thinkers put a lot of stock in the notion of “excess profits.” Meaning, by Marx’s definition, profits above the prevailing interest rate on money loans. The theory is, those excess profits could go to better use, rather than lining some rich guy’s pockets.
But let’s consider the entrepreneur’s perspective on things.
Here’s one way of expressing the use of Godel’s theorem as it applies to my theory of information spaces. Remember, I’ve hypothesized that every computer, including the human brain, implies two information spaces. One that precedes the machine, and one that follows from it. Let’s call the information space that precedes the human brain “the mind,” and that which follows, “intelligence.”
Given: reality is relative.
Reality varies with a couple of parameters, most notably scale. Start with a human-sized observer. According to the Minkowski space-time model, at an given moment, Continue reading
The question of whether information precedes matter, or vice versa, is not a new argument. In some respects, I’m wondering if Plato was right. The concept of an attractor that specifies the conformation of a system correlates pretty well with the Platonic notion of form. The advantage we have over Plato is that we understand these days that reality is relative — that objects only appear mass-like, and space only appears space-like, when we are speaking of reality on the scale of a human observer. Once we start looking at systems that are too large, too small, or too fast, these appearances start to evaporate. To give an example, look at the word Hawking uses to refer to matter-energy in the context of his theory about how stuff could escape from a black hole. Since he is referring to quantum effects, it would not be correct to refer to this stuff as “matter” or “energy” as we experience such things in the macroscopic world. In particular, neither matter nor energy could escape from a black hole. Whatever “stuff” is at the quantum level could, though. Hawking calls this stuff “information.” Continue reading
I think the next revolution in scientific thinking is upon us, and it’s coming from the fields of computer science and neuroscience. Every article on artificial intelligence gets us closer. Every article on the neurology of consciousness builds tension, in much the same way tension builds along a fault line prior to an earthquake.
Upshot: the laws of thermodynamics are going to be rewritten. They need to be taken up a notch. Continue reading
Twitter has been abuzz about a theory that consciousness is a state of matter. See here and commentary here.
Couple of critical errors.
The first has to do with the researchers’ definition of “consciousness,” which is always the problem with scientific papers that contain that word in the title. Some aspects of consciousness, including wakefulness and capacity for cognition, are legitimate areas of scientific research. The spiritual aspects are not. Inasmuch as there are other words that can be used with precision, the use of the term “consciousness” in a scientific research article is inappropriate. To be more specific, it’s trashy attention-seeking behavior. In a review article, or a general-readership article, it’s fine. But it’s not science. Continue reading
Peter Russell was a dual major. Halfway through theoretical physics, he bailed and decided to study theoretical psychology. He makes a compelling argument that consciousness precedes reality. He is well aware of the difficulties inherent in the use of the word “consciousness.” He uses it synonymously with the way I use the term “information,” depending on the context. A couple of important points.
One way of looking at reality is that we live in a space of four dimensions, where the fourth dimension is time. The problem is, “reality” is relative. Continue reading
I’ve started a new blog to focus attention on addictions. I call it Find Step 2 because, like this blog, it deals to a great extent with spirituality. The spiritual focus is on deconstructing the post-modernist view of the self, and discussing how a view of the self that allows for spirituality does not violate modern scientific concepts about the nature of the brain and mind. I will also spend some time talking about the neurochemistry of drugs. I’ve also done something I said I would never do; namely, started a Facebook page. Once you have a Twitter account, I guess you’ve hit rock bottom, and anything is possible.
Here’s an article from the New York Times on the dreams that people have about death. This is a common phenomenon in the final weeks of life. It probably happens more than we think; not everyone shares such things, no doubt because it is very difficult to predict how people will react. Family members get dreams like this, too. I think we know, intuitively, when our loved ones are ready to leave us, in much the same way we know intuitively when they are not feeling well.
I think the best explanation is that these dreams arise in the subconscious; it’s a way for the subconscious mind to communicate with the conscious mind. But keep in mind my Jungian tendencies; I see evidence that there is a great deal of information available in the subconscious mind that speaks to what it means to be human. There is evidence that there are parts of the Self that transcend spatial and temporal boundaries; these parts are located where dreams come from. I rather suspect we are all connected to “The River” way down deep. This is an important article, and speaks to a part of the mind from which we all to often cut ourselves off.
This week, we will be celebrating the human tongue. Language is one of the key features that makes us human, along with praxis (tool use). In both cases, the evolutionary breakthrough required both cognitive and motor structures. In the case of praxis, we needed both the ability to visualize tools, and the hand to make and use them. Moreover, the hand’s fine sense of touch, along with it’s intricate propioceptive ability, completes the loop. The hand, then, is a key motor and sensory structure in the tool-use domain, and praxis wouldn’t be possible without it.
Likewise, language required an effector organ; and the tongue was it for many thousands of years before the hand got in on the action. Continue reading