Freedom regained

Do Electrons Think?

Let me rephrase this: when, and how, do we know that something, somebody, is thinking? Well, when they can make intelligent choices systematically, well beyond chance and necessity. This is exactly what Quantum Processes, not only electrons, do. All over. Everywhere. All the time.

The Quantum is becoming crucially important in understanding biological efficiency:

The otherwise incredible, classically unachievable efficiency of photosynthesis rests in the property of Quantum Systems (in the demonstrated case, the chlorophyll molecule) to enable electrons to find the lowest energy solution, as if they could see, feel and decide.

Some will object that it is philosophically evident (whatever that means) that electrons do not really see, feel, and think. However, they behave, as if they did. Conclusion? Elementary particles may have a whiff of what are the most fundamental elements of consciousness.

Elementary particles themselves, maybe the ultimate elements of consciousness.

Quantum Physics has introduced an element of panpsychism all over nature. And it can be mathematically described; given a situation, a space is determined. Then the Quantum knows all about this space which matters. It knows. Independently of time itself.

Classical physics had not prepared classical physicists for these non-local “elements of reality” (to use Einstein’s semantics). Einstein called them “spooky”. The ghosts of consciousness?

When does thinking start? We don’t know, but we know much more than, say, ten years ago. Here is some of the state of the art, by the Founding Editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine

Scientia Salon

81lyH-va9ELby Julian Baggini

[This is an edited extract from Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will, University of Chicago Press. Not to be reproduced without permission of the publisher.]

We’ve heard a lot in recent years about how scientists — neuroscientists in particular — have “discovered” that actions in the body and thoughts in the mind can be traced back to events in the brain. In many ways it is puzzling why so many are worried by this. Given what we believe about the brain’s role in consciousness, wouldn’t it be more surprising if nothing was going on in your brain before you made a decision? As the scientist Colin Blakemore asks, “What else could it be that’s making our muscles move if it’s not our brains?” And what else could be making thoughts possible other than neurons firing? No one should pretend that we understand exactly how it…

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30 Responses to “Freedom regained”

  1. gmax Says:

    I zap zerefore I zink? Interesting. …

  2. EugenR Says:

    you should remind your readers of your previous article about the subject.

  3. brodix Says:


    As usual my comment didn’t make it past the moderators. Hope you don’t mind my posting it here;


    I do think some of these ideas, free will, thought, consciousness, can be unpacked and examined a little further.

    For instance, will is the conscious process of determination, so what is it to be free of? We don’t analyze all the input and prior knowledge going into our decision making process in order to just randomly choose an action. The decision is the effect of the process and if the process were free of the influence of input, then it would also be free of influence in output as well. We affect our reality as it affects us.

    As for whether subconscious processes determine our conscious decisions, this not only goes to the relationship between the two, but to individual people’s processing of information. As someone who lives a fairly physical existence and has to juggle a lot of diverse input(and currently suffering a broken collar bone, due to such an error) I find I have to shut down or seriously un-focus my powers of concentration, in order to sense as much of the input as possible. Then rely on years of experience to provide an instinctive response. To not either over think, or under think the situation.

    A further thought that might apply is one I’ve raised at Scientia Salon before; That we experience change as a sequence of events and so think of this effect of time as the point of the present moving from past events to future ones. Thus prior events must provide all input into subsequent events, consequently determining their outcome. Aka determinism.

    While the actual physical process is a changing configuration of the state of the present creating and dissolving these events, such that it is they which go future to past, through the state of the present. In this view, events are first in the present, then in the past, so that they have to actually occur in order to be determined. As total input only arrives with the occurrence of the event, the outcome cannot be determined prior.

    So in this view, our conscious thought process is an elemental aspect of how we engage our situation and we all need different techniques to fully connect to it.”

    Along with not being able to decipher my comment, they thought I’ve already raised the point about time enough already, which seems a poor excuse to dismiss an observation in a philosophic debate. If novelty were a requirement for philosophy, wouldn’t most of it have to be relegated to the past due file by now?

    I’d be less irritated, if I weren’t house bound at the moment. I know that as we grow older, we trade energy for opinion and so I try to whittle my opinions down as far as possible and they do become well worn in the process.

  4. EugenR Says:

    The problem of body and mind is one of the major questions the human intellect tries to cope with since the down of the humanity, either in religions or in philosophical terms. So what can be added to this subject after more than two millennium of intellectual activity with the subject? Few decades ago with the development of brain research, computer sciences, quantum physics and understanding the material behavior on the smallest sub-sub-atomic scale of individual electrons, the hard sciences joined the philosophers and started to ask the question, what is consciousness, what is this I, who is always with me, what is mind etc. To start to answer to the question we have to try to go to the very start, and probably begin with a provocative “well chewed problem; “While to most of the people it seems obvious what body is they have never saw a soul or what we call consciousness”.

    Yet if you think about a question, how do you know about what you know, about the world around you and about yourself, you will come to the conclusion that it is by receiving through your senses data in form of sight (eye), voice (ear), smell (smell), taste (tongue ), touch (whole your body, when parts are more sensitive to your touch like tongue, hand, fingers, and parts are less sensitive your back). But this data the senses transfer to you to your brain, and there it creates a complete meaningful picture, noise, feeling, etc. All this my be a deception or is just a deception. Maybe it my represent a hallucination or phantom reception of the senses (phantom limb) or maybe it can be a deception because we all know when you see on a table a glass of water, that looks to you as glass of water, what actually you have on the table is certain crystal form of silicon atoms containing H2O molecules.

    If I would be a blind human whose sight miraculously healed or a new born baby just borne with perfect eyes still i couldn’t comprehend what I see. But if you or any living creature are thirsty you and every creature will know perfectly well that he sees water in bowl that can be drunken to eliminate the thirst. So what every living creature sees is not the molecules in the micro scale and not the bowl filled with water on the human scale, but the mental concept of water in a bowl perfectly fine to help you with the thirst. The idea of water is an idea not learned but inherited in the genetic code. viz. the example of new born turtle in the lonely island who immediately after is born runs with all his strength towards the sea. Yet when first time in my life i went to an Eastern restaurant I wondered what taste this water like sup with all these lives in it will have. Then my colleague washed his fingers in the bowl and my perception of the reality what is in the bowl changed. I was cultured. It means some mental concepts are cultural or even a better word for the same thing social.

    So what we have here? In the turtle case the water is obviously an inherited idea about the function of the water, while the new born baby is born with an inherited idea of water too, but later he can learn about the function of the water, its composition, etc., exactly like me in an eastern restaurant, when i had to learn the function of water in the bowl the waitress put on the table.
    The conclusion is, our perceptions, even if seems to be perfectly coherent with the reality, it represents a partial reality, that can change according to the situation and can’t be seen as an absolute objective reality.
    So if not the objective reality we see, what exactly do we see? We see a comprehensive complex perception of a familiar object that fits into a preconceived idea of the object with all its attributes, character and functionality. These preconceived ideas, stored in our memory we can arrange in a way, that we can at need find and use in a new concept whenever it is needed. This stored memory, always present in your mind, ready to pump up when needed, to create a meaningful thought, feeling, new understanding etc. is the conscious mind.

    The conscious mind is a huge reservoir of words, symbols impressions feelings, shapes, or any other information or concept we as humans, continuously absorb as pieces of information when interacting with the world external to our consciousness. These pieces of information are stored physically probably in very disordered way, yet they can be reached easily. It appears this information preexist in certain meaningful form before it is expressed.
    The big question is; can we prove pre-existence of meaningful thought before it’s expressed and the second question is, in what mental form is this information stored. Is it in form of emotion, picture, smell and voice etc.

    To my understanding the stored memory is not in form of concrete words interconnected but rather as a general idea, that has not been translated yet to verbal expression. So what form this general idea has? Does it have a form at all? Or is it kind of blurry feeling, that takes shape at the moment of when the idea and words are expressed?

    I have personally a problem to recite a poem, I can’t memorize poems at all, even not those that I wrote myself. But still I do have in my memory one small German proverb, my mother thought me at my young age. “When this wort when nicht were, jeden armen were millioner”. (When this word When were not, every poor were millioner). I have to admit my German is very poor, since haven’t spoken this language for decades. Still when I try to express this sentence, it pops out as words. Now if I try an other proverb “Morgen morgen nur nicht heute sagen alle faule leute” (Tomorrow, tomorrow, just not today, that’s what all the lazy people say.) It is enough for me to express in my mind the word Morgen, even without to make out of it a vocal expression, and the rest of the sentence just pops to my mind. In this case the idea behind the sentence comes out after a few seconds of act of cognition. I have to think what is exactly the meaning of this sentence. Ah that. Now since German is far from being my strongest language, I use on daily basis four other languages very different from German, it could explain my need to make a process of cognition after expressing the sentence and before perceiving its meaning. Yet I ask what about single lingual person? If he recites a poem out of memory, does he perceives its meaning at the moment of the recitation? A singer when singing a song, does he perceive its meaning, or rather he just feels the meaning or even not that? I believe, definitely there can be technique of reciting poem without to be attentive to its meaning at all. Probably a singer a piano player, an actor does do sometime its performance out of his subconscious mind.

    Now when I decide to write the next sentence, which I hope will be meaningful, before writing it down, do i have to think about the next word I am going to use, or maybe it is pre-deposited in my mind before expressed. But do I have in my conscious mind the sentence I am going to write? Definitely not. So what do I have? A general concept, meaning a complete comprehensive idea. No words no sentences. Just a general idea. It has no form of words, letters sentences. Does it have a shape at all? Or it is rather a certain form of feeling, intuition, etc.
    So who writes the words sentences that come up to a meaningful structure, when I don’t know what will be the next sentence or words I am going to write? From where it comes? How ideas get their shape, out of sentences. Are those phenomenon coming from the territories we call feelings? But we, self conscious humans with capacity of critical thinking know perfectly well, feelings, good or constructive ( love ) or bad or destructive ( hate) are out of the reach of our will.

    Then other words for hate, feelings like fear or desire for domination are just other side of the same coin. To try to explain chimpanzees or human behavior on rational terms, like territorial fight would need a big rationale decision maker, the ultimate Will of the I. Is there any? We know very well, that most of our minds activity operating all our metabolism, and is directly connected to almost every cell in our body is subconscious. And there is more of it. Most of the cognitive activity of our brains is also autonomous to the will of the I. Then who is in control of our mind if not us? Is it something some people like to call God?

    The ideas, sentences, words can be predefined before expressed, or can pomp out from nowhere. This pomp out of ideas phenomena i like to call EURICA. The idea can pop out from nowhere, can be also result of long process of collected and converted data, either as separate units of information, in form of words, pictures, smells, voices, touches, that are joined together to a meaningful sequences of experience, that later pup out as sentences, feelings, ideas. These sequences when joined together create complete systems of ideas, understandings and believes. The ideas as develop become ideologies, and believes become faith, while understandings become new forms of perceiving the material reality.

    This process that started with collecting words, impressions, feeling, etc. hierarchically are joined to more and more complex ideas, then by synthesis of the separate ideas that are adaptive to the greater idea, while filtering the contradictory ideas, create a complete comprehensive system of ideology, faith, or understanding. At the substance of these ideologies, faith and understandings, (in other words knowledge) are axiomatic sentences, and the following structure of the knowledge can exist only if these axioms are commonly believed. And here we come to the differences between the two different forms of knowledge, the one, that makes the axioms to a dogma and these are the ideologies and beliefs against the other form of knowledge the understanding. Those who are creating knowledge out of understanding, are always ready to accept a process of verification of the basic axioms, and when the findings and evidence of the verification contradicts the previous understanding, they are ready to change it to a new axiom and new understanding. As contrary to them, those who generate knowledge based of faith in a dogmatic axioms, be it faith in extra-anthropic power, myths, spiritual connections, mystical experiences, will always oppose data in form of words sentences or ideas that evidently contradict the axioms that lay in the foundation of their belief.
    We may think that the beliefs are all based on irrationality, but it is far from the truth. Most of the modern ideologies and conspiracy theories are rational systems of thoughts based on dogmatic axiom foundations, out of which they derived rationally the conclusions. These theories always base their claim on some partial information, perceived its meaning in a very deformed way and using it out of context.

    The major difference between those who follow the knowledge system called religion and knowledge system of modern ideologies is that while the religion has in its substance a dogma of belief in an extra-anthropic, extra-terrestrial power, to whom they voluntarily submit their will. They except the this extra human reality power as supreme and in control of all the existence. While the religious process is process of submission, the modern rational ideologies are based on illusion of human capacity for full control of our destiny, events and reality.

    The human need of controlling the events, be it daily events or destiny is universal and comes out of the need to overcome the fear, that escorts the homo sapience since he was completely at the mercy of the nature. The illusion of control is connected to need for perfect order, where everything has its exact place, character, feature.

    The conclusion, while the religion is looking for submitting the control of the human destiny to ex-human power, the modern rational ideologies look for human control of the destiny. This modern ideological approach of putting the human into the center of the control system, has in itself a approach of arrogance, when applied in political systems based on dogmatic axioms. The historical consequences of this arrogance had catastrophic historic consequences in the case of the two major dogmatic modern ideologies the Communism and Fascism.

    To those who can perceive the reality only as material one, I have to ask, “do you feel you fully control your thoughts? “. Most probably if you think sincerely about it, you will have to admit that the answer will be not. most of the time not only you don’t have control upon your thoughts, but you are not conscious of them. The words you are saying are not words that exist in your mind before they are expressed. They come to the mind as if by themselves and find their place in the general context of the speech. With written words it is very similar. Only from practical point of view you can correct yourself by reading and rereading it and put the right wording into the context. The context is the only thing it has pre-existence, before it is expressed. Not the exact wording. but where is the concept stored? In your brain, in your memory? is it exactly and perfectly formulated?

    Your physical brains controls your body most of the time unconsciously. The only aspect of conscious control of your body is when you use your hands, mouth, eyes, and legs, or in other word all your instruments of senses. The rest of your body is acting autonomously. But if most of the times your thoughts and your material body are autonomous from your will , your will has only very little to do with your behavior. Then if not the will of the “I” is the manager or the big boss, who is the boss? Is there any? At the end someone has to control our behavior, otherwise it would be just too chaotic or what we call mentally disordered. And if in normal state of our mind we do act out of order, or in other words we are under control, then who is in control? Who is controlling the boss

    The thoughts are autonomous from the will and the body. The thoughts before expressed are in form of preconceptions. When expressed they charge to words explaining the concept. Some people have difficulty to translate concepts to words even if fully understand the concept. These are the worst teachers, the worst to explain the concept even if they can very successfully implement the concept while in act. When a sentence is said, it is not pre formulated before said. So it doesn’t exist in the consciousness before expressed, it usually also disappears after it is formulated, unless special effort is taken, like writing down the idea, recording it. Some people may have talent to memorize words and sentences, many times they use special techniques to do so, like rimes, music, tempo, etc.
    There is a difference between memorizing words and memorizing concepts. Computer can perfectly memorize world, but not at all concept. To memorize concept, human has to compile it through the process of understanding. Understanding is tool for memorizing concepts.

    What’s the difference between understanding and memorizing words? Understanding process of putting words or pieces of information in whole concept, or connecting any other form of information to its network of pieces of information that together they create a concept. The concept can be preexisting in the consciousness or be created by gradual processing, and sometime in one moment of comprehending the whole as one. This is the case of eureka that in some well know cases brought big leaps in human knowledge. But the Eureka phenomena is not such a rarity as it may appear. Every student experiences from while to while such experience, that for him is an Eureka, even if not for the humanity.

    Eureka is not just prerogative of scientists, composers, painters and all other kinds of creative people. Their eureka or what is commonly recognized as genius is capacity to create completely new concepts, that have evidently strong connection to the reality external to them. But exists eureka that is common to every self conscious human being and this is the Eureka called consciousness. Consciousness is the ever present eureka that propels continually the mind and makes us conscious about our surrounding and ourselves. It is the self-ignited continues process of conceptualization. This what makes the humanity different from the rest of the animal kingdom. (There are some who claim certain animals do have capacity of conceptualization. Probably they are right, but it will be a limited forms of conceptualization, while there can be created a ladder of biological creatures, different from Darwinistic approach, where the level of capacity to conceptualize will place the different living creatures.)

    To be conscious of yourself means understanding the I, as an interconnected being networked with the surroundings. The surroundings is observed by the I from inside out but almost never from out to in, (except if meditating). This is why usually the human is more aware of the out, than the in.

    Cognition is conceptualization, while the senses act mechanically. The computer science successfully coped the capacity of the human to gather information, but it has no tool for self creating cognition. The algorithm is a tool of cognition implanted by human into the computer. Yet the algorithm even if will have capacity for creating algorithm, will it have the will to do it? Can we think about possibility that one day the computer wakes up with a cry EURICA.

  5. brodix Says:


    Consciousness and thought are fundamentally connected, but it might be helpful to look at them separately, like two sides of the same coin.
    All consciousness is expressed as thoughts, but it is a constantly changing landscape of perception, this “stream of consciousness.”
    Consider that consciousness is always in this state of the present and so as these thoughts form and dissolve, they go from being in the future to being in the past.
    While we think of time as this narrative vector from past to future, along which the present and our consciousness travels, logically that is only an individual perception of this changing state, as only the present is physically real, while the events and thoughts are transient.
    In physical terms, compare it to the relationship of order and energy. Theorists(complexity theory being the field this is formalized) like to think of the opposite of order as disorder/chaos, yet really that is no more than unquantified order. The noise from which no signal is identified.
    In reality the opposite side of the coin from order is energy. It is what manifests form and form defines it. Think of a wave. Its form is amplitude and frequency, yet the energy creates that form, there is no form without the energy and so chaos is just energy that hasn’t yet a clear form. Say the wave hasn’t crested and so the amplitude isn’t known.
    So the energy, like consciousness, is always moving to what we call the future, the form that is not quite complete, like emotions not quite defined as concepts and words.
    Meanwhile those fully forms thoughts are like waves that have crested and then recede into the past, either to be stored or forgotten, or mixed in with many other such forms and create that store of information in the subconscious.
    Now consider the relation of the conscious to the subconscious; We think of ourselves as the consciousness and the subconscious as some “other,” but it too is seemingly conscious on another level.
    Consider some other person on the other side of a window, trying to get your attention. Obviously they are as conscious as you are, yet your consciousness and theirs are separate. You cannot read their mind and vice versa, yet there is some signal, like a bell, alerting you to more information.
    Compare that to the feeling of a thought in your mind that you can’t quite remember, but it is just below the surface of consciousness.
    Could it be that you/your consciousness, that other person and your subconscious are all quantizations of some deeper consciousness, but separate?
    Think what knowledge is. It is particular perceptions of the larger reality, compiled with many others in some larger system of ordering.
    Now they all have their distinct features and are related in groups to file them in some order.
    Yet those distinctions are the form which make them knowledge in the first place. You cannot combine knowledge as one big mass, or the very features would be destroyed. It would descend back into noise and all the signals would be lost.
    For example, consider taking a picture. You set the shutter speed, aperture, lighting, focus, aim, angle, etc. to get the picture you want. So if you were to simply leave the shutter open too long, it would take in much more energy manifesting information, yet it would overwhelm all the actual features and forms, leaving white out.
    So knowledge is very much a function of subjectivity.
    Consider that in terms of your consciousness and subconsciousness;
    If you suddenly had access to all the knowledge stored in your mind, would it be a super human talent, or would it simply be overwhelming and result in mental break down, as all your mental circuits are fried, leaving just that white out?
    Then relate this to how we exist as humans. What if you could read other people’s minds? We all now have these wireless devices, constantly sending out electromagnetic signals to one another. Yet our brains and central nervous systems are also composed of electricity and chemistry, so why wouldn’t we be able to signal one another? Probably because we already do, but also because we have to shield ourselves from one another, since we no longer live in life long groups of a few dozen and the mental information from masses of strangers would overwhelm our sense of self.
    In fact, while the more cultured among us think of civilization as thousands of years old, for much of humanity, it has largely been the introduction of mass media, over the last few hundred years and mostly the last hundred, that has truly broken people out of the more tight knit bonds of community and turned vast swathes of people into atomized individuals, largely dependent on public media for mental engagement and the financial system for economic connectivity. Making huge numbers of people pawns to those controlling these systems.
    Although those tending to rise to the top of such power structures also tend to be the more short sighted, self centered, greedy, manipulative and megalomaniacal individuals, so they lack the collective wisdom to sustain this power for long. Especially since it depends on an economic momentum which cannot be sustained for much longer.
    Ultimately, after this current wave of technological advancement crashes the underlaying social structures, we will become more cognizant of that deeper sense of being running through all of life and be more willing to be the stewards, the central nervous system of this planet, making it more of a single organism, a Gaia, than just resources to be plundered.
    Then our wealth will be stored on the strength of those communal bonds and the healthy environment they need to survive, not as promises in some corrupt banking system.

    • EugenR Says:

      Dear Brodix, Thank you for your response and let me try to understand and react in my terminology to your ideas:
      I agree very much with your idea bringing the time as major factor into the stream of consciousness. Yes, conscious stream of thoughts is always at present, while the streams in the past has become memory, and that of the future can be day dreaming, predictions, prophecy (fulfilled or not) etc.
      When you say …In reality the opposite side of the coin from order is energy… , are you speaking about entropy or anti- entropy? I would agree to this. Life as Schrödinger said is a process opposing the entropy. Consciousness to my opinion is also a process opposing entropy. Entropy is a process from chaotic to ordered, or from state of local concentration of energy towards evenly distributed energy in absolute equilibrium of energy states. A conscious thought is both, a local concentration of energy and an orderly state. To generate a thought, you need an orderly state of energy. When the mind jumps from unconscious or subconscious state to a conscious state definitely must focus physical energy to this act, (i wonder if ever was done a research on this question if a conscious mind consumes different energy level compared to an unconscious mind while it is awaken)

      You then wrote….. that other person and your subconscious are all quantizations of some deeper consciousness, but separate?….. I am not sure what you mean by quantization. Could you explain it?

      You wrote…. If you suddenly had access to all the knowledge stored in your mind, would it be a super human talent, or would it simply be overwhelming and result in mental break down, as all your mental circuits are fried, leaving just that white out?….. I came to the same realization, and understanding, that we can’t think about more than one idea at once. This is an absolute filter of the mind. And good that so it is.

      At the end you wrote ……….. Ultimately, after this current wave of technological advancement crashes the underlaying social structures, we will become more cognizant of that deeper sense of being running through all of life and be more willing to be the stewards, the central nervous system of this planet, making it more of a single organism, a Gaia,…….
      I tend also to see the world as one living organ, interconnected by its global environment. Apparently there is another phenomena, the network of conscious minds, who consume and digest all the new information published and maybe even not published on the web. Out of this interconnected information and knowledge, one day may pop out a conscious being (if it did not pop out already) and it will be a new intelligent being, not necessarily in conflict with the humanity, as some Hollywood movies like to show. You mentioned the theory of complexity. If to believe to the theory that consciousness is a emerging property of complexity, why the same phenomena couldn’t happen in a silicon world of www?

      • brodix Says:

        Entropy is that energy tends toward equilibrium in a closed set, but what is truly a closed set? Theorists like to propose the entire universe as one, but then get stuck with lots of loose ends, like where did it comes from, the initial high energy, low entropy state, dark energy/matter, does it dissipate/recycle, etc.
        I think we have to accept infinity as a useful explanation. For one thing, in an infinite networked universe, energy dissipated from one area is replaced by energy radiating in from surrounding areas. Does energy truly settle out to equilibrium in infinity, or does it reach a point where its natural quantization sets in and it coalesces into point particles of energy/gas/mass and then start gravitating toward others, setting the whole gravitational collapse process into gear, as one side of a cycle of expanding radiation and contracting mass.
        The problem with entropy as pointing in a final direction, is that energy is energy. Yes, it dissipates, but it is also conserved. As it is, we don’t understand gravity, which seems to be the real anti-entropy, as it coalesces mass and thus creating the state of raised energy, which starts the process again.
        Quantization is the seemingly inherent tendency to coalesce, just as entropy is a seemingly inherent tendency to disperse.
        Possibly quantization and gravity are two aspects of the same tendency and the reason we cannot isolate out gravity as any more than geometry, is that it is part of this deeper dynamic and a composite of all the various processes making it up.

        I would instead say that thought is the concentration of consciousness from the dispersed state. It is ordered by this direction, rather than equilibrium. It is the disruption of the flatline of equilibrium. As such it is a concentration and focusing of consciousness out of the subconscious state, not necessarily the source.
        Science likes to think consciousness is emergent from thought, but it makes more sense to consider thought as an effect, a quantification of consciousness and that as yet, consciousness can’t be explained.
        When science and math run up against what they can’t explain or measure, either they dismiss it as not being real/not existing, or else they make it an axiom and work around it.
        I think we need to quit dismissing consciousness as not being real, or just an effect of higher order thought and consider it as an elemental axiom, of which we have no current effective explanation.

        Consider those various relationships of emotions, concepts, thought forming processes, ordered descriptions, beliefs, theories etc, as various structures of consciousness and consciousness as the elemental energy flowing through these expressions of awareness.
        The logical fallacy of monotheism is that it assumes a spiritual absolute would be some ideal form from which we have fallen. A theistic Platonism. Yet the absolute, the universal state, would be one of equilibrium, the entropic state of the energy, where all form is balanced and canceled. So logically, a spiritual absolute would be that raw essence of being, consciousness as an axiom, from which we rise, not an ideal form of knowledge and judgement/distinction from which we fell.
        Quantization then becomes our need to have and give form. Our stable structure and patterns of knowledge to give us definition and form.
        What sets limits creates definition and what defines creates limits. Without these, the spirit would only be nebulous, not super human.
        Then think of this in dynamic social terms, with the inherent liberal tendency to reach out and make connections and extend, while the conservative tendency is to consolidate and compress, concentrating the energy and building up the form.
        Just as we have these cycles of energy radiating out and structure/mass coalescing inward, we have intellectual, social and political processes doing the same.
        All in endless cycles of creation and dissolution.

        To go back to the idea of time as an effect of action, what we measure, when we measure time, is frequency. Naturally the other elemental measure of energy is amplitude. We experience amplitude en masse as temperature, but because our flow of conscious experience is sequential, like ticks of a clock, then frequency en masse is noise, from which we extract a single action, like rotations of the planet, or oscillations of an atom, to measure as time. Yet the overall reality is that non-linear sea of thermal activity and change is cumulative. A faster clock only uses energy quicker and fades into the past faster. The hare has long died, as the tortoise still plods along.
        Now our emotional, intuitive side of the brain is like a thermostat, or pressure gauge. So our emotions are analogous to temperature or pressure, hot, cold, stress, etc.
        Meanwhile our intuitive, subconscious functions are more like a consensus of the masses of information swirling around in our minds, presenting us with the conscious connections that bubble to the top, like a spike or spark of energy.
        As for complexity, like structure and form, it tends to multiply, until it becomes unstable and then collapses/coalesces back to a more basic and stable level, before building out again. I think that in the current state of civilization, we should be preparing for that collapse by developing models to explain and further educate humanity to the processes at work, in order for those who rise back up to be better integrated into the natural order of things and not fall victim too easily to the same sort of confidence tricks being pulled by those controlling our financial circulation systems.

        Not the most organized stream of thought processes, but trying to touch based on your observations, from my point of perspective.

    • EugenR Says:

      Dear Brodix,
      You speak about….closed set, but what is truly a closed set? Theorists like to propose the entire universe as one, but then get stuck with lots of loose ends, like where did it comes from, the initial high energy, low entropy state, dark energy/matter, does it dissipate/recycle, etc…..
      To my dilettante vision Universe is not a closed set, but rather with border caused by final speed of light, that prevents us to see beyond this line. The space (if i may call it space) beyond this line can exist and be a very different one from the knowable universe. It can be infinite, and we can still live very well with the dark sky, the physical constants can be very different, or not exist at all, etc. The existence there doesn’t have to be limited to the speed of light. I can even imagine that there is a force pulling the Universe apart, and then the big bang did not have to be a big bang but rather a big pull. But of course all this is a science fiction and not science. Unless someone develops a nice equation supporting my thesis.:)
      You put it in very clear words, …. entropy is a tendency to disperse… while anti-entropy is a tendency to coalesces mass/energy.,,,, It is much clearer description of entropy than the usual formulation of “natural tendency of the universe from order to chaos”. Gravity definitely opposes entropy, but i am not so sure about the quantum phenomena.
      Somewhere i read that consciousness is a collapse of an electron from non-locality state to a local state. I am not sure which state is with higher entropy if any, the local or the non-local state. But if to see consciousness as an anti-entropy phenomena, it would be better the right way.
      You wrote; …….Consider …… as various structures of consciousness and consciousness as the elemental energy flowing ……….
      To my understanding energy is measurable, while consciousness is not or at least it was not measured yet.
      I agree that monotheism or any other form of monolithic belief system has tendency to reach equilibrium, or in other words a non-dynamic state. Ideal is always about a steady equilibrium. If i translate equilibrium in musical terms to harmony, there are harmonies out of chaos, like that of a jazz band, and there is harmony of Bach’s fugue.
      At the end you say: ….complexity, like structure and form, it tends to multiply, until it becomes unstable and then collapses/coalesces back to a more basic and stable level, before building out again….. It definitely happens in human societies. As to the plutocratic financial system, i don’t see its tendency to complexity. Rather i would say their lies are becoming more and more twisted and complex, when trying to cover their own follies and discrepancies.

      • brodix Says:


        I’m one of those cranks who think cosmology has gone way off the deep and and Patrice and I have been debating the issue at the end of the Enslaved, But Saved thread(, so I won’t go too far into that discussion, but I will say that I see redshift as an optical effect and so there is a horizon line for visible light, as it reaches the point of appearing to recede at the speed of light, creating the impression the edge of the visible universe is flying away in all directions at the speed of light. Yet infrared radiation would still go over this and that would make the cosmic background radiation which we do see as emanating from the edge of the universe actually be light from ever more distant sources, that has been redshifted off the visible scale. This would make the CMBR the solution to Olber’s Paradox.
        As I see it and go into on the other thread, this intergalactic expansion is counterbalanced by the intra galactic contraction of gravity. That in physical terms, the mass falling into galaxies is ultimately balanced by the radiation emanating away from them and it is ultimately one big cycle. Redshift being an optical expansion of the light, not the recession of the source.

        Really what we measure of energy is its effects and we can certainly detect the effects of consciousness. Even with a moving car, it is the rate it goes from one spot to the next that we measure, basically its frequency, be it images of a radar, or rotations of the tires. As well as such effects as force, temperature, etc.

        Professionally I work with race horses, mostly breaking and riding them on a farm, so I have learned to seriously unfocus my state of consciousness, in order to sense the horses emotions and attention. Now that I’m also getting older and have done enough damage to my own brain, I also realize the extent to which remaining focused is necessary for one’s sense of equilibrium. So I tend to see that focusing and concentration of attention, otherwise known as thought, as being an expression of consciousness, then the source of it.
        In fact it has become my considered opinion, over the course of decades and innumerable weird situations, that at some elemental level, there is just this basic state of consciousness and we are all just complex lensing and reflections of it.
        Also, that since it seems to manifest as a sort of energy, that it is not inherently stable as form and thus has no trouble with treating its innumerable manifestations as extremely expendable, even though, as individual sense of being, they tend not to see it that way, given any sense of afterlife would supposedly manifest as another expression of form and death is the very negation of form.
        When you think of it this way, lots of emotional tendencies seem more explainable, from love to egocentrism, as well as the tendency of consciousness to have a love/hate relation with order. As both definition and limitation.
        As a form of social premise, monotheism tends toward monolithic visions of society. Islam being the most doctrinaire form of monotheism, has the most strict interpretations of how to express the social order. While Judaism tends to focus more on the original tribal origins of theism and Christianity has strong pantheistic undertones, somewhat moderating the monolithic views of its more conservative interpreters.
        The problem is that what starts as a unified vision of nature, eventually coalesces into a unitary vision. The oneness becomes one. The infinite network becomes a singular node.
        Even now, this tendency is expressed in the current cosmology of the universe as a single entity, which is now crumbling due to the many loose ends this leaves.
        Much as we expand out in our youthful energy and then coalesce into various opinions and habits of age, it is all constant cycles. Individuals and forms fade into the past, as species and processes move to the future.

        The energy presses out and upward, as the form pushes down and inward. We and our world are expressions of this relationship, from social energies versus civil order, to the relationship between consciousness and thought.

        • EugenR Says:

          I just read in the link you gave above the following quotation :

          Think of the country as a large old tree that is rotted on the inside. Much of the outside is still healthy, but the further inside you get, the more termites, bugs, fungus, mold, etc. have eaten it out.
          So a healthy system selects for those interested in the health of the whole, while an unhealthy system is ruled by self interest. Large systems tend to fragment, like the Tower of Babel, because there are a multitude of points of view and they start moving in different directions.
          This is a beautiful metaphor to the state of the Western, mainly speaking European societies and politics. The misfortune is, that this is our society, and i can’t think about an alternative one that i could or wanted live in.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Life was always a struggle. And having the best is never good enough. Sometimes not even good enough for survival of the tribe… The human condition is a war situation…

            Just look at Israel: doing great (except morally!). Yet, living under Damocles sword, and never to forget that. We are all in that situation. Even the USA could be nuked by North Korea, and I just saw a guy on Chinese TV saying the USA will not win a war with China…

          • brodix Says:


            As I see it, it is a stage we are going through, in that we are building this globalized society, based on quantized hope and trust in each other, in the form of currency. Yet money is a contract we have come to treat as a commodity, so the banks empower themselves by “manufacturing” far more than the system can support and so the downside of the wave appears upon us.
            The lessons to be learned are that we can’t atomize the organic society and rely on notional devices to replace the natural bonds of trust and reciprocity on which any strong community is based.
            Of course, it will likely take a few generations for the dust to start to settle.
            Here is an essay I wrote as an entry in an FQXI contest, that asked; How should humanity steer the future;

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          If I were SS, I would say I understood nothing, and feel free to resubmit, but I actually understood a lot, so I can’t say that… A point where I disagree: the “event horizon” (that’s the official term), would block the light beyond it, not just shift it to infra-red…

          You are right about space expansion stretching light:

          As Weinberg put it in his Gravitation book: “The increase of wavelength from emission to absorption of light does not depend on the rate of change of a(t) [here a(t) is the Robertson-Walker COSMOLOGICAL scale factor, the universe expansion speed] at the times of emission or absorption, but on the increase of a(t) in the whole period from emission to absorption.”

          Popular expositions (and even myself, but I promise to discontinue the habit) often uses the expression “Doppler redshift” instead of “cosmological redshift” to describe the redshift of galaxies dominated by the expansion of spacetime, but the cosmological redshift is not found using the relativistic Doppler equation. Thus cosmological v > c is possible for cosmological redshifts: distant galaxies can separate at supra luminal speeds.

          BTW, this shows light is non-local…

          • brodix Says:


            “but on the increase of a(t) in the whole period from emission to absorption.”

            If the light is taking longer to cross from one galaxy to another, no matter how it is explained, that still implies one metric for the speed of light and one that is “increased.”
            In General Relativity, the speed of light remains Constant, even as acceleration or gravity affects the frame, because it affects the measure of the light as well.
            So if the frame is increasing in size and the light takes longer to cross it, that isn’t adhering to the premise of GR.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            With all due respect, John, you have no idea how differential (Lorentzian) manifolds work, how Elie Cartan’s mobile frames work. Thus you systematically confuse the local (speed of light, gravitation), and the global (light crossing the universe, not necessarily along geodesics). GR is infinitesimally respectful of Special Relativity. I N F I N I T E S I M A L L Y. Only infinitesimally. So basically what you say is that a parabola is a straight line, because it is infinitesimally one. Well, yes to the latter, no to the former. It’s all about integrating PDEs.

          • brodix Says:


            The speed of light is always local, but it still provides our ruler for intergalactic space.
            If that local frame were being “carried” along by the expansion of space, why would it be redshifted? Isn’t the frame in question the space between galaxies and it is the assumption that as the galaxies move apart in this frame, it will take light longer to cross between them and this is the cause of the redshift?

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Comments too nestled, and real far from the OP…. The ruler is “COMOVING DISTANCE”, not the “speed of light”. A curved manifold such as n dim spacetime can be embedded in a larger flat manifold (2n + 1) dim manifold , and one can even consider an induced metric. These are complicated subjects. Math majors spend four hard years studying math, post high school, before hoping to understand a graduate course in cosmological relativity.
            Once again, cause of redshift is the stretching of intergalactic space. The proof implicitly assumes photons are non local.

          • brodix Says:

            Increased versus Constant?

          • brodix Says:


            “the “event horizon” (that’s the official term), would block the light beyond it, not just shift it to infra-red…”

            Yet there is that diffuse “cosmic background radiation” coming from the “event horizon.” So either there was some “bang” as the source, or it has traveled from the other side.
            If you want me to shut up on the subject, I’ll certainly comply.

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            CBR does not come from the “event horizon” (not just because such a thing was never seen).

          • brodix Says:


            Isn’t it assumed to be the “glow” of the big bang?
            Which presumably having occurred 13.8 billion years ago, is the radiation diffused across all of the visible universe?
            I guess I’m just reading popular sources on this, but that has been the general description of it, as emanating from that receding edge of the universe.

  6. brodix Says:

    “cause of redshift is the stretching of intergalactic space.”

    The subject is far afield, so I will drop it, yet it does seem this stretching makes more lightyears between galaxies, not stretched lightyears, so I guess we will agree to disagree.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear John: I don’t see you understanding what I am saying. Yes, stretching space creates more light years. I never said the opposite. So there is no agreement to disagree. We have freedom to think, but not to think what is not, ethically speaking. If you like the subject as much as I do, maybe you should study it formally. As I have.
      Moving frame theory and horseback riding, why not? ;-)!

      • brodix Says:


        I realize I’m being thick headed, but it seems a basic observation in the first place. Where does this dimension defined by lightyears come from, if it’s not space?

        Which is space? The metric being extracted from the shifted spectrum of intergalactic light, or the metric being extracted from the speed of the very same intergalactic light? It’s the same light, so it travels the same manifold.

        If there are more lightyears, the ruler based on the speed of light isn’t being stretched, so what is its basis? What is this vacuum it traverses, if not space?

        If we were to say that space is really the distance between galaxies, that would make it the denominator, the baseline. So if that is the baseline and it is taking light longer to cross this distance, i.e. more lightyears, wouldn’t we be saying instead, that the speed of light is slowing?

        I realize its not my field, but it doesn’t seem to add up.
        Safe to say, that in horse racing, there is a lot of slippery math, trying to quantify a large number of variables. Horses are very good at generating random outcomes.

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