Archive for the ‘Consciousness’ Category

Consciousness, Nonlocality, Free Will

March 26, 2017

DS asked in Aeon: “Patrice, in what way is consciousness “nonlocal”, and what is the evidence for this?”

DS: Science  and technique progress, and thus so do our visions of the world. Quantum computers are becoming a reality. Quantum computers work in a completely different way from the classical computers we presently have (which, fundamentally are of the same type as those the Greeks had, more than 2,000 years ago!). Present (2017) versions of Quantum computers are primitive relative to what’s coming (Artificial Consciousness computers). And you know what? Full Quantum computers depend crucially upon nonlocality.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/artificial-consciousness/

Descartes located consciousness (“the soul”) in a tiny part of the brain (the pituitary gland).  I guess because Descartes considered it was the only part of the brain with a unique character, just like the soul is unique to the mind? Now we know the pituitary is just a master neurohormonal center…) 

Philosophers And People of Culture Have to Learn New Words and Especially the Concepts Having to Do With Quantum & Nonlocality. Lest they Become the New Barbarians…

Split brain, and other surgeries have revealed that consciousness can’t be localized that way, inside a tiny organ (whereas short-term memory can be localized, to the hippocampus, fear to the amygdala, vision to 17 areas in the cortex, etc.)

So, in that gross sense, consciousness is non-local.

Next, we are now basically certain that basic biology uses the Quantum (we have a few telling examples already, not just chlorophyll). By this I mean that consciousness uses individual quanta and their nonlocal behavior (for example individual photon, or individual electrons, the latter when, and precisely because, delocalized).

Indeed, what is the most fundamental property of the Quantum? Not just that it is quantified. Nonlocality is the Quantum most important property. The Quantum is quantified because it is nonlocal (Einstein did not understand this his entire life, from 1905 to his death). Nonlocality is the crucial difficulty of Quantum Physics (it shows up as Schrödinger cats, EPR paradox, etc.)

Supposing that the most fundamental thing we know of in the universe, consciousness, can, somehow, avoid the most fundamental physics we have found in the universe, is a form of denial akin to climate denial, or parallel universes. Ignoring Quantum Physics, as a fundamental conceptual tool to understand consciousness can only be explained by prejudice.

What prejudice? Most cultured people have no understanding, let alone feeling, for the Quantum. So they desperately clinging to Classical mechanics, something best suited for artillery shells…

As the Quantum is essentially nonlocal, and fundamental to consciousness, so is consciousness.

And what of the Quantum deniers? Well they miss entirely the immensely rich new logic that Quantum logic has offered beyond Classical logic…

The preceding should not be construed as an endorsement of so-called weirdly named “extrasensory perception”. Instead, I have argued that the sensory system itself is nonlocal (pretty much a physiological evidence, too, as we see with 17 areas…)

A trivial, but telling, case could be called “Free Will and Cosmic Rays”. Cosmic rays, cosmic elementary particles, can be millions of times more energetic than the most powerful elementary particles created by man, at CERN (their origin is obscure, logically speaking). It is known that cosmic rays can change the states of present computers (so even present computers are unpredictable!) Now the scale at which present computers operate is classical (as in classical mechanics), it is hundreds of times larger than the scale at which the inner machinery of cells operate.

That means that the inner machinery of neurons will be put in different states by cosmic rays, just like smartphones. There goes the freedom of Free Will. “Free Will” may feel free, but it may well have, and sometimes surely will have been, directed from a galaxy long ago, far away… This spectacular conclusion is not a matter of opinion. It’s a matter of science. And I have not even considered the question of (the extremely nonlocal) Quantum Entanglement. Quantum Entanglement is real and makes matters way worse.

Some will say, that’s fine, we don’t need to know all this stuff, we can be happy, and we can still pontificate about our classical notions of “Free Will” and “Consciousness”. Indeed, those who want to stay primitive, should. Yes. Yet, within bounds. There are limits to barbarity that civilization needs to set-up, as a matter of survival.

Those who want to cling to a more barbarian, less scientific past certainly cannot claim to have the will to moral superiority. They are like those who believe Muhammad rode to Jerusalem on a winged mule. One cannot accept the principle that one can believe in anything, accept that anybody can believe in anything, and civilization will go on. Verily, superior morality, superior smarts.

If anything, Quantum Physics show that much more things are connected in mysterious ways than ever thought possible. Even space and time get entangled in “Quantum Procrastination“, and cease to have any conventional meaning.

To believe that this completely new, immensely more subtle than was ever suspected (Quantum) universe, has nothing to do with the way we perceive it, and conceive of it, would be an astoundingly naive, revoltingly obsolete, lack of introspection, a short step away from those winged mules.

Patrice Ayme’

No Many-Worlds Consciousness

September 2, 2016

OFF WITH DENNETT’S CONFUSED THEORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Consciousness is not part of science… Yet. Science will be complete, when it is. Except, and that is a huge ‘except’, possibly, most people would have to admit, consciousness may already haunt the foundations of Quantum Physics: this is what the ‘Schrodinger Cat’ paradox is all about (the lives of cats depends upon what we think!). And, indeed, I believe consciousness has to do with the Quantum.

But first I have to dispose of those who claim that consciousness is a non-problem. The famous academic philosopher Dennett asserts that consciousness has to do with brain parallelism. My friend Karen Eilbeck, a ‘biomedical informatics’ professor: “I never was satisfied with [Dennett’s] explanation of consciousness”. Indeed. Consciousness and ‘multimodal parcellationare completely unrelated.

It is now considered that there are around 180 different areas of the cortex, per hemisphere, each doing different things (it used to be 83 different “areas”). 

The Brain Is An Orchestra With More Than 180 Players

The Brain Is An Orchestra With More Than 180 Players, Per Hemisphere

As the authors of  “A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex” (August 11, 2016), have it:

Understanding the amazingly complex human cerebral cortex requires a map (or parcellation) of its major subdivisions, known as cortical areas. Making an accurate areal map has been a century-old objective in neuroscience. Using multi-modal magnetic resonance images from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) and an objective semi-automated neuroanatomical approach, we delineated 180 areas per hemisphere bounded by sharp changes in cortical architecture, function, connectivity, and/or topography in a precisely aligned group average of 210 healthy young adults. We characterized 97 new areas and 83 areas previously reported using post-mortem microscopy or other specialized study-specific approaches. To enable automated delineation and identification of these areas in new HCP subjects and in future studies, we trained a machine-learning classifier…”

Thus the science of finding regions in the brain is more than a century old, it was not viewed as, nor has anything to do with trying to make a theory of consciousness . Yet, Dennett confuses brain activity here, there, and every way, with consciousness. 

Dennett observes that there are “various events of content-fixation occurring in various places at various times in the brain”. (everybody knows this: reach synapse, each neuron, even each axon and dendrite, etc.) The brain consists of a “bundle of semi-independent agencies“; when “content-fixation” takes place in one of these, its effects may propagate so that it leads to the utterance of sentences that make up the story in which the central character is one’s “self”.

A pretty useless ‘explanation’, dear Dennett, and not the problem of consciousness: consciousness is a feeling we all have, not just an utterance. If consciousness were an utterance, the speaking robots we are now interacting with, would be conscious. They are not. They are just algorithms. An algorithm does not have any more consciousness than a canal system. (Philosophers love to pontificate by calling what Dennett did, a ‘category error’; namely one confuses unrelated categories.)

Dennett followers claim that “subjectivity” can NEVER be made a subject to objective inquiry. That is a contradiction with the entire history of science, ever since the first Homo made the first fire.

What do I mean by this? ANY scientific theory started from a subjective experience. The first hominid who realized he could generate sparks with flints was subjectively engaged. So was the first who realized rubbing sticks could also generate incandescence. So the entire history of science, in the last three million years, has consisted, again and again and again, into turning subjectivity into objective inquiry.

When Dennett’s followers claim to have discovered that ‘subjectivity’ can never turn ‘objective’, they fail to understand that science rests precisely on this. In other words, they think as if they did not know that science is possible. Sorry to ask them to jump three million years.

Dennett looks a bit like Socrates with a big bushy beard, he is paid to utter statements viewed as philosophical, and has no doubt many other duties to attend to his enthusiastic following. So much thinking to produce, so little time, drowning in an ocean of fame. Can’t be easy.

How can fame and mental depth coincide? They are adverse to each other. It would be like getting money from oligarchs or financial monopolists, while claiming to want to help average people.

Is there really no connection whatsoever between the brain’s cortex working in plenty of little areas (brain parallelism) and consciousness? I did not say that. Dennett identifies consciousness and parallelism. That’s wrong. But that does not mean that consciousness did not evolve to make arbitrage between all these little areas, being the conductor of that otherwise discordant orchestra.

So Dennett confuses one evolutionary advantages of consciousness and the nature of consciousness. That nature probably has to do with the nature of the Quantum, and the difference between vegetal and animal. “Animal” comes from anima (soul in Latin). The soul is Quantum, this is what the Schrödinger(-Einstein) Cat thought experiment says.

Why the allusion to the “Many Worlds” Interpretation of Quantum Physics in the title? It is more than an allusion. The Many Worlds interpretation of the Quantum consists into sweeping the difficulty of how one goes from many possible outcomes to just a single one, under the rug of formalism. Instead of figuring out what is really going on, Many Worlders of physics say basically that everything and anything goes (all outcomes are ‘real’). One can say that Many World physicists shrug and answer the way Valley Girls do:”Whatever!“. Dennett does just the same. And this is not just a meta-analogy. If I am correct, and consciousness is intrinsically Quantum, the reason is exactly the same: evading a serious attempt at a deeper explanation… of the same phenomenon.

I don’t really expect celebrity physicists and celebrity philosophers to acknowledge that their cute little reasonings are shallow cope-outs, and popular, precisely because they are shallow and cute. However, the last nail in their coffins consist in pointing out that they offer an endearing, yet really terrible example of superficiality to the rest of debating society. Civilization rots by its head.

Patrice Ayme’  

Hard Wired? Not So fast!

March 3, 2016

Swallowing is self-taught. Anything else a bit more sophisticated is taught by others. We are cultural animals. Discuss.

Massimo Pigliucci, a (Roman!) biology PhD cum philosophy PhD teaching from an elevated chair in New York, objected to my tweeting aphorism above: “That is contradicted by a number of well established studies in developmental psychology, as well as by research on other primates.”

OK, Massimo, relax, I was a bit quick, thus simplistic in my formulation. Any discourse is incomplete, I was pointing at a direction. Indeed, I am a great advocate of ethology. Ethology, the experimental study of behavior, is an experimental field. That means its fundamental architecture is made of experiments.

Nicotinoid Insecticides Don't Kill Bees Directly, But Make Them Neurologically Dysfunctional Enough To Die From It

Nicotinoid Insecticides Don’t Kill Bees Directly, But Make Them Neurologically Dysfunctional Enough To Die From It

[All scientific fields are like gravity, they are experimentally driven. We basically know, experimentally speaking, not much more than what Newton knew already, as far as gravity is concerned (with the further twist of gravity being a field at speed c, like electromagnetism, hence, waves, etc.). A true revolution will happen in gravity the day we find something completely unexpected (the fact that gravity at this point is also equivalent to a space curvature theory is a triviality consecutive to Bernhard Riemann’s deep differential manifold theory). Some say we already found something unexpected, the phenomenon known as “Dark Matter”]

Ethology is also experiment driven. And our experiments are not as sophisticated as they soon will be. Differently from gravity, the progress in ethology is going to be quick, and very deep.

Ethology discovered already what writers of fables for children, and “primitive” “savages” hunting for survival, have long known: advanced animals care, have a sense of justice, are observant, loving, etc. More generally, advanced animals,, and others, not even very advanced are endowed with many other sophisticated behaviors we used to attribute to humans exclusively, etc.

Ethology has now gone further: ethologists also discovered that sophisticated, virtuous human-like “instincts” are not universal, even in a species which exhibit them: exploiters and freaks are not just a human phenomenon. In prides of lionesses, the same particular individuals tend to do all the work. Worse: lionesses have been observed having no maternal “””instinct”””. Other, experienced and caring lionesses had to intervene.

So animals have been observed to have altruistic behaviors, or behaviors making group life possible. (It’s quite a bit a chicken and egg situation: without apparently “hard wired” behavior, group life is impossible; the “group” could be just mother and child, such as a leopard and her kitten, or a mother orangutan and her child…)

However, ethology has not yet determined systematically how much is learned from others, and from the environment.

Hence the role of other animals, and how much is self taught is not clear at this point (insects such as wasps and bees “think” at least seven times faster than humans, so they can learn fast, and it looks like “instinct” to us!). In either case, when there is learning, there is no “hard wiring”. Or more exactly much of the “hard wiring” comes from the neurological life of the individual, as it does in any… creator. The creature being created by itself as creator of itself. God inside.

Learning is essential for survival of bees. Honey bees make repeat visits only if said plant provides enough reward. A single forager will make visits to that type of flower for most of the day, unless the plants stop producing nectar or weather gets adverse. Honey bees practice associative learning, and standard classical conditioning, which is the same in honey bees as it is in the vertebrates.

In other words, if even insects learn much more than a few tricks, as I have long suspected, we don’t know what “instincts” are really made of. This will have to be determined by further, much more refined ethological studies (differently from gravity, where it’s not clear what new experiments to do, and how to get results, although LIGO and VIRGO may well bring breakthroughs… In ethology, new experiments are just matter of financing, considering the progress of micro-electronics).

A famous example of what I am talking about is Lorentz’s geese (he got the Nobel for that). Young geese were imprinted on Konrad being their mom, and thereafter followed him everywhere, at some point of their development.

Why can’t that happen for all behaviors, and all species with advanced brains? In other words, could not just all our behaviors come, to a great extent, from some sort of imprinting?

Hey, one can self-imprint. When I want to eat more correctly, I starve myself a bit, and then eat the correct foods (say apples, carrots, tofu). Then I repeat a few times. Then I long for apples, carrots, tofu…

So south American monkeys have a sense of justice. But that does not mean that sense of justice is “hard-wired”. It may just have been taught. By others. Other monkeys. Or it may even be a sort of natural monkey science. Indeed natural interactions with others can be a teaching experience (or a succession of experiences, until a theory arises)…

But that does not mean that sense of justice is “hard wired”. It may just have been taught. By others. Other monkeys. Or it may even be a sort of natural monkey science. Indeed natural interactions with others can be a teaching experience (or a succession of experiences, until a theory arises)…

Standing up, and being able to run, is crucial to the survival of herbivores. A casual look at how a new born herbivore stands up shows that it learns to do so in a few minutes. Some moves are learned in a few seconds. However, today’s most sophisticated programmers could not write such a program. Nor does the brain of a small antelope contain a large computer loaded with such a software. Thus the truth: the antelope learns to stand up. That means it hard wires itself through the learning process. The environment in the most general sense imprints it with the appropriate circuitry.

Ethology will enlighten neurology, and conversely. Both fields are just getting started.

Patrice Ayme’

I FEEL, THEREFORE I AM

December 3, 2015

Descartes Cut Down To Size, Consciousness Extracted:

Concepts such as “consciousness”, “free will”, “sentience”, or (to sound learned) “qualia”, are often brandished, without connecting them to (what are called in Quantum Physics) “observables“.

I will try to correct this here. I will associate “consciousness”, “free will”, “sentience”, or “qualia” with something observable, namely unpredictability. This enables me to claim that even simple animals have emotions, consciousness, etc.

Yet my approach, unpredictability, provides with a measure (of consciousness, free will, sentience, qualia), thus does not put all species in the same basket (as the unpredictability a mind is capable of will vary; and not just vary as a number).

Approaching intelligence through unpredictability does not fall in the same excesses as Princeton’s Peter Singer and other in the “animal rights movement who claim (with the Nazis) that fleas and humans have equal rights (so we may as well treat humans as fleas).

The notion of “observable” was central to the birth of Quantum Physics, and still is.

Aplysia: Brainy, Thus Sentient, Conscious & Also Unpredictable

Aplysia: Brainy, Thus Sentient, Conscious & Also Unpredictable

Clever Enough to Become a Plantimal…

There are more than 3,000 species of “Nudibranchs”, these sea slugs, as their branchies are nude… Just when you thought you were safe from French. the particular one above steal genes from photosynthesizing algae it eats. Then it becomes solar powered. Science does not know how this works, because Obama prefers to finance his friend Elon Musk rather than fundamental research in genetics and solar power. TO SOLVE THE GREEN HOUSE GASES CRISIS, ONE NEEDS MORE FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH. NOW. Finance it with the 6,000 billions dollars given to fossil fuel plutocrats and their obsequious lackeys.

The notion of “observable” is central to Quantum Physics, and irritated Einstein, especially when Heisenberg pointed out that it was he, Einstein, who had introduced it in physics. It is no coincidence that I was driven to capture it for consciousness: it is central to science.

Quantum processes “behave” as if they were conscious of the environment at a distance. Einstein is unhappy in his grave: reality has turned into his worst nightmare. Poor Einstein was very much a Nineteenth Century physicist, he did not graduate to the new age of implicit wholeness.

Chris Snuggs: “As if” they are conscious. Does that mean they ARE conscious?

Patrice: Not an answerable question, because Quantum Processes cannot be interviewed. But I am sure that the feeling of consciousness is rooted in those Quantum Processes. Precisely because Quantum Processes behave as one could imagine elements of consciousness to behave: they are both unknowable and retrospectively determinable.

Chris Snuggs: “Does not “consciousness” need a brain?”

Patrice Ayme: First for the simple answer. What’s a brain? A set of neural networks. Aplysia has around 650 neurons.

A brain “thinks”. What is thinking? How do we know that an animal thinks? When it behave in a way we cannot always predict. Thinking manifests itself by the ability to make a (set of) neural network(s) behave UNPREDICTABLY.

Thinking is detected by the ability to go beyond (rote) learning, thus, to be unpredictable.

At least that’s what I claim. I claim this, because that’s the best I can… think of. What else?

Here is an example illustrating the preceding concepts. I met a giant sea turtle in the ocean. I knew it was thinking. How? because it showed a lot of initiative (especially for a supposedly stupid reptile).

First it determined I was no threat. It swam towards me. I could see its eye moving, inspecting me. I could not predict what it was going to do. It extended a vast flipper next to my fingers, we delicately touched. It was a sort of respectful handshake across 400 million years of evolution. I have been at the (very obscure, as it should be!) Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican, where God extents a finger to man.

This was much better. A flipper was extended, from turtle, to human. Then my reptilian friend slowly dove. I had done nearly nothing. The sea creature had created the encounter. Deliberately. Unpredictably.

Two days earlier me and the same turtle (it is particularly large, so I know it was the same one) swam on the surface in a particularly strong current, in the exact same spot, so it probably recognized me: sea turtles have color vision, and I am unmistakable with bright fluorescent orange and yellow shirt, pants and socks and giant bright yellow fins.

It is precisely because a human being, the world’s smartest animal, cannot predict the behavior of another organism, that we know that this organism thinks, is conscious, has sentience. The first time it decided to swim 5 feet apart, although I was all business, having trouble with the current, and not interested at that point by socializing sea monsters. My sole aim was to regain the beach, 400 meters away, past a sea cliff.

“Sentience” comes from the Latin sentientem (nominative sentiens) “feeling,” present participle of sentire “to feel”. The turtle was at the very least intrigued by my behavior the first time (‘crazy human swims against current pretending to be a turtle’), and was interested to inspect me some more.

In the case of three neurons, free will (or at least unpredictability) has been demonstrated. https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/…/three-neurons-free…/

The question of what is “consciousness” and how it can be determined to happen arises. That’s harder.

In “Surveiller et Punir” (mistranslated in English as “Discipline and Punish” instead of “Surveillance and Punishment”) Michel Foucault quoted at length the full execution of Damiens a religious fanatic who had pricked Louis XV with a knife. Foucault wanted to show how punishment changed. That gives me a justification to set-up my own gory scheme.

Descartes is famous for his “I think therefore I am”. What he was after was finding the simplest, most fundamental basis to start from. So doing, he made a huge mistake.

Indeed, one does not need to think to know that one is.

That can easily be shown by a thought experiment. Grab Descartes, tie him up on a table. The strength and number of bounds is important. Then take a rusty saw, and start to cut Descartes’ leg off. After Descartes puts in doubt your philosophical qualifications, he will start screaming. By the time you get to the sensitive nerves, next to the bone, his discourse will have lost any apparent method. At this point Descartes will not be thinking, but busy screaming his head off. Still, he would be fully existent, and feeling more alive than ever.

Thus sentience is more fundamental than thinking.

This shows, once again, that correct thinking starts with the correct feelings, moods, emotions.

This has many applications. When people extol Christianism, or Islamism, as if they were civilizations, instead of crazy superstitions with a very LETHAL Dark Side, one has to ask whether they set-up the mood of the Enlightenment.

When “leaders’ gather in Paris for the Green House Gas (GHG) crisis, are they aware of the correct emotion, the correct mood, that they should be infused with? Namely that they have only a few years to research the technologies which will allow to get rid of the GHG crisis, or an unprecedented holocaust, of the entire biosphere, may, or  will happen…

And will they be conscious that it will be their fault, and the fault of the 6,000 billion dollars of yearly fossil fuel subsidies they preside over, like the ecological terrorists they are?

This is an example of the following:

Verily, if you want to think right, you have to feel right. First.

Patrice Ayme’

Save Species By Exploiting Them

August 16, 2015

BETTER CYNIC THAN DEAD.

It’s Not Just A Question Of Saving Them, But Saving Our Mental Potential.

Ah, Cecil the Lion, this blood thirsty monster, with giant fangs, was slowly and cruelly assassinated by an evil American dentist. Let’s cry, say the politically correct. Hypocrisy and false reality are the gifts which keep on giving.

A few days ago, a “Mother Bear”, called “Blaze”, in Yellowstone National Park killed and ate, in part, a 63 year old hiker. When she, and her brood, came back for more choice morsels, inhuman, or all-too-human, rangers shot her to death. Her cubs were sent to Toledo, presumably to learn the Flamenco. Let’s cry, it’s the politically correct thing to do.

Rocks @ High Velocity Is The Compassionate Way To Handle Attacking Predators

Rocks @ High Velocity Is The Compassionate Way To Handle Attacking Predators

[Years ago, the recommendation was to lay prone in case of predator attack; this is wrong: predators don’t like to be hurt, a fortiori crippled. By the way, the largest bears are much larger than described above; some subspecies can reach a ton.]

I read some of the “Compassionate Conservationism” press. They are all over the Internet, including the Huffington Post (of course). The comments posted are bloodthirsty against the killer species, man. If only people stopped killing, everything would be great, they scream.

The “Compassionate” ones are against all and any killing. They are also against all and any suffering. As if suffering was the exclusive invention, and province, of human killers. They are completely hysterical about it, forgetting the following: part of wisdom is learning to not be too easily offended.

The problem is not just that suffering is part of the world, and thus, the mind, in full, as I have argued in:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/why-killing-beauty-makes-sense/

The problem is that the best way to insure no animal suffering in a given species is by killing the species. Thus the truly compassionate are terminators. As all good terminators, they don’t have any inkling of the horror they are visiting on the world.

Where is this going?

Last time we had frantic animal rights people in power, they called themselves Nazis:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare_in_Nazi_Germany

This made sense: the Nazis tended to hate human beings. To show that, nevertheless, they were good and their hearts were pure, they disingenuously claimed to love animals to death.

People who are so sensitive and unreal to believe that if only people stopped killing animals, the world would be set right, are neither very capable mentally, nor capable of defending themselves.

But there is even a deeper analysis: remember that death, nirvana, annihilation, is the best way to terminate animal suffering. Thus those who advocate stridently to terminate animal suffering are actually advocating annihilation.

Philosophically, I disagree with them. Socrates said that the unexamined life was not worth living. Indeed. But what is the examination made of? Of the mind, applying itself. And what is the mind made of? Of the world. The fuller the world, the fuller the life. Hence the interest of REWILDING US. It’s not just about them, it’s even more about us.

A life less full in less worth living. The examining mind fosters, and is fostered, by surviving the world in full.

Ecology, in full, is the ultimate capital given to us by nature. It has to be protected, and, in particular, the species do. This means finding them economic utility.

Man-eating bears roaming national parks is no way to encourage other human beings to visit the parks, or making people feel warmer and cuddlier about bears.

The 63 year old hiker was “experienced”, said the National Park Service. Although he did not carry bear spray (so the “compassionate conservationists claimed he was at fault).

I carry bear spray when in grizzly country, and nearly used it once against a charging moose (with calf). Charging moose with calf kills more people than grizzlies in Alaska. The calf slipped and fell, and I was able to skirt that unbalanced duo through small diameter trees (having made the theory they would hinder those gigantic quadrupeds). I was not at fault: I had stopped, one hundred meters away, and waited calmly for those ferocious beasts to get off the trail. But, half an hour later, they did the Mohican hairdo thing, lowered their ears, both well-known ominous signs, and charged me casually.

In most of the Alaskan temperate jungle, the safety bear spray provides with is illusory: vision is extremely limited by an exuberant vegetation, with giant leaves, you would smell the bear before you see it!

Half-Ton Bear, Flying To Your Annihilation. No Beast That Could Survive The Genus Homo For Millions Of Years Is Easy Game

Half-Ton Bear, Flying To Your Annihilation. No Beast That Could Survive The Genus Homo For Millions Of Years Is Easy Game

Bears charge at 20 miles an hour through thickets, that’s a problem. Bear spray also has a guard and is cumbersome: one cannot spent hours with a finger on the trigger. (Bear hunters in the past used dogs, who provide warning, or stick to open country.) Black bears are also very dangerous: they can kill and eat humans, where they think they can get away with it. I have been charged by black bears more than once, and had to go full prehistoric, even hitting a bear with a large rock, with drastic effect.

The way to handle dangerous predators is to collar them with GPS, and have professionals track their activities. You want some employment for the future? Here is one of them! One should make an app giving the location of the ferocious beasts. The National Park in Banff, Alberta, already handles grizzlies that way when they approach inhabited areas.

If we want to save nature, we have to endow it with economic utility. This is the highest morality. Let me repeat slowly: if we want to save nature, all of nature, we have to endow nature, all of nature, with economic utility. This means, in particular rewilding. However, rewilding does not mean that human beings ought to be made fair game.

Quite the opposite. The essence of humanity is that human beings are not fair game.

We own this planet, all of it, and our minds depend upon that. Saving them is about saving us, but it cannot come cheap, so we have to redefine what is expensive, and compassion is one of those values which have to be redefined.

Those who claim animals deserve as much, or more, compassion than human beings are either not honest, or mental weakling whose logic will never stand the heat of reality. They bestow nature a disservice, by brandishing useless, self-defeating, narcissistic self-admiring considerations which aim at befuddling the cosmos.

Not feeling the pain we deserve to make us whole, is a pain we can’t afford.

Patrice Ayme’

When A Child Fights Evil Well

October 10, 2014

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2014 peace prize on Friday to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India. Excellent. The teenage Pakistani known around the world for fighting sexist terror, and an Indian veteran of campaigns to save from slave labor  “tens of millions of children” were celebrated jointly.

A sober moment: only three countries or so do not recognize the right of children NOT to work (be it only so that they can concentrate on studying). The USA is one of them. One of the violators of this UN law. Obama, who can’t close Gitmo, a prison where people are held unlawfully, and force-fed as if they were geese, did not even have the force to evoke that gross violation, in the six years he spent being honored as a great leader.

Hey, otherwise the agriculture of the USA would not be as profitable!

Have You As Much Courage? As Much Brains? That's What The World Needs.

Have You As Much Courage? As Much Brains? That’s What The World Needs.

This 2014 Peace Nobel is obviously a good award. Not a half silly one as the BLUE LED award in physics (why did the inventor(s) of the green LED not get the Nobel, and even earlier, those who invented the RED LED? Oh, because the Nobel clowns don’t give more than three awards? Do you have any other superstitions to impose on us, Nobel guys, to educate us further in the irrational?)

Ms. Yousafzai, 17, the youngest recipient of the prize since it was created in 1901, got a bullet in the head, courtesy of the Islamist terrorist known as Taliban, for advocating secular schooling, rather the medieval superstitious stupidities they read in the Qur’an and the like.

To announce her award, she was taken out of a chemistry class, in Birmingham, where she was treated for her grave injuries and stayed, ever since. (There are probably Taliban foaming at the mouth in gleeful anticipation of pumping her with more bullets.)

The committee’s chairman said: “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism…”

This is wishful thinking: troops from Pakistan and India exchanged artillery and machine-gun fire across their disputed Himalayan border in the last few days. The last duel killed 11 Pakistani and eight Indian villagers.

“Children must go to school and not be financially exploited,” Chair Jagland pursued. “It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”

That’s the problem of the Islamists: as women are maintained in a state of oppressive violence, subjugation, stupidity, torpor, and ignorance, they bestow these qualities to their children. That’s why the Muslim empires have been down and out for at least eight centuries (occupied by Franks, Mongols, ruled by Turks, liberated by the French, British… and now invaded by the Jews, in a supreme irony, considering the anti-Jewish character of the Islamists’ most sacred texts. All of this humiliation and degeneracy submitted constantly under indigenous plutocratic overlords.)

Malala has much more intelligence and courage than the many pseudo-intellectuals in the West who have imposed the wrong mood (“Islam is peace”) by sheer greediness (Political Correctness sells!), cowardice, and blatant ignorant stupidity. Some variants of Islam are peace (say West African Islam, circa 1950). But the Qur’an is not. Consider the (extreme, astounding) Violence In Holy Qur’an.

Patrice Ayme’

The West: Hong Kong In Reverse?

October 5, 2014

In Hong Kong, students are demonstrating. Beijing plutocrats are throwing at them what they can: professional politicians, popular singers, and professional gangsters from the renowned triads.

This is what happens when you educate your youths too well: they get ideas, and contest the rule of the alpha male, in this case the omnipotent president Xi (who claims an official right to rig elections by choosing the three candidates to lead Hong Kong; in the West, the process is the same, but behind closed doors).

Cynics will sneer that this was the whole idea about degenerating the educational system in the West since the (world) disturbances of 1968 (which topped in the USA, France, and Prague). Precisely to avoid what is happening in Hong-Kong now.

How come the left in the West is a right? The answer is obvious: “democracy” is just a sham.

Let’s nevertheless waste a few minutes to describe the right that calls itself a left…. Now that France has a so called “socialist” government which governs on the right of the official French right, this burning question comes back to the fore, six years after Obama sold himself, body and soul, to the greediest financial sector in the history of civilization.

In the last 20 years, the self-described “left” came to power in the USA (twice: Clinton, Obama; moreover Reagan had to govern with a Congress controlled by democrats), in Germany (Schroeder, and now an union government of CDU and SPD), in Britain (a decade of Blair, Brown). France is the extreme of that: she enjoyed decades of “socialist” rule (Mitterrand, Jospin, Hollande).

The result is everywhere the same: plutocracy has kept encroaching (as depicted in Piketty’s “capital). There is even worse: the educational systems have collapsed, all over the West.

Indeed, in 1900, the West had, by far the best educational systems in the World. Now the results are eloquent. They are established by PISA, a subdivision of the OECD (the Organisation De Co-operation Economique et Development, in its original French; it was founded, and is based, in Paris).

France, Britain and the USA completely fail their new generations. Refined tests on problem solving show that the youngsters of these nations are three years late in their mental development on Asian students.

Apparently, the mental retardation has set quite a while ago, because present date politicians do not understand the problem. It’s simple, though: these countries made a huge effort in national education a century ago. Not so much anymore.

To get a good education in 1950, one went to public school. Now one goes to private school. The quality of education is just as abysmal, studies suggest. But the networking is everything

Valls is a theoretician of greed: he can’t imagine anything else as a human motivation. At least that’s what he said as much about GPA.

It’s a bit like Lenin’s apology of dictatorship. Lenin could not imagine a more effective government than dictatorship.

Valls is not pecuniary greedy, or let’s say he can wait, as the greed for power is even more direct than the one for money. My tolerance exhausted itself after he made Macron economy minister. Macron’s career is a short resume’ of the genetics of the cancer that infects the West most: a know-nothing, made into a top finance inspector who teaches the world’s most notorious bank how to evade taxes and financially conspire, thus putting himself into orbit for highest rule.

The Romans had the Cursus Honorum, we now have the Cursus Damnarum. In the Cursus Honorum, would-be politicians, after a top education, became first top officers in the Roman army. And then, only then, would go back to politics.

Because Rome had strict term limits, politics was spread among the many. For example a Consul had full power for just a month, and then, after his one year term, could not be re-elected for another year.

Here, of course I am talking of the full Roman Republic, not the diseased system which agonized for centuries after Augustus came to power. Conventional historians prefer to talk about the latter, because they are the Gibbons of the plutocratic system we have the dubious honor to enjoy.

How could the so-called left not be a right?

It’s all about how politicians are selected. First, they are most greedy. They are all about the Will To Power.

Second, if not 100% greedy, they are somewhat deranged: they really believe that, with their puny minds, and extravagantly modest propositions, in these most alarming circumstances, they will really make a difference.

Third, they give themselves what scientific psychologists, the ethologists, call “moral license”. That’s the idea that, if one has made what one perceives as a good deal, or has the right to trample others, somewhat.

Indeed, the leaders of the West now, in their collective, have rights not really different from that of the omni-president Xi and his colleagues. It is for example against the law in France to insult one of the goons of the government. The powers that the top politicians in the USA have, are awesome.

And forget about checks and balances, as the presidency of W. Bush demonstrated! The entire USA was committed to a war crime course in 2003 with as much ease as Nazi Germany in 1933.

And please don’t tell me that’s ancient history. The present war against ISIS/ISIL/ “Caliphate”/Daech springs directly from this. The essence of the power of that organization is that the tribes that the USA struck against in 2003 are now sitting on their hands at best (when they are not outright helping the Islamist insurgents).

This entire political system of the West rests on greed and delusion. It’s a system of thoughts and moods, where greed, sugar-coated with the appearance of altruism, rules.

Blossoming plutocracy is a consequence. And the more it goes, the more education, reflection and civilization, degenerate.

The type of remedy needed can be observed in the streets of Hong-Kong.

It is easy for the Hong-Kong protesters: they want what the West already has. In the West what is needed has to be invented. Looking around (Switzerland), or learning history (fully Republican Rome, Athens), will help the imagination.

The real problem is that there is no progressive guidance. A proof is my struggle in philosophical circles right now to impose the correct view on Aristotle. Aristotle was first and foremost, the greatest architect of plutocracy ever. That’s how, and why, he got to be viewed as the greatest philosopher ever.

Everybody drank the poisonous cool-aid, ever since.

Something similar is happening now, live: Krugman’s position of Quantitative Easing (giving money to the largest, most powerful banks) is (still) viewed as highly progressive… And so apparently, is austerity.

And where is the money found to fund all this austerity? Some of it is found all the way into the bone. Fundamental education (That’s now called the “Common Core” in the USA), and fundamental research.

Obama is urging schools to teach the Common Core, and that’s good. (It’s even better that it costs him nothing, as the Federal Education budget is just 1%. Always this 1% thing.)

Maybe, if he had been taught the Common Core, Prime Minister Valls would be able to logically determine he stands on the right of the National Front’s Marine Le Pen, in several dimensions.

Maybe, if he had been taught the Common Core, Obama would fund fundamental research: unbelievably, he has been cutting into the bone there… Just when everything is becoming possible, the leadership of the West is trying to make the impossible possible, by closing the future to progress.

Patrice Ayme’

CONSCIOUSNESS IS QUANTUM

August 30, 2014

Consciousness is Quantum, because it cannot be anything else. Another, more vague argument, is that consciousness is ultimate, and so is Quantum Physics. It’s simple and natural to identify them, on the ground that there should be just one ultimate thing.

If consciousness were not Quantum, it would have to be classically explained. On the face of it, this is completely stupid: the world is Quantum, not classical. If consciousness were not Quantum, it would have to be “classical”, that is, not fundamental.

The Quantum is so incredibly fundamentally new, that it has changed even the notion of what it means to be enlightened:

Cat Seen From Entanglement, Not Light (!)

Cat Seen From Entanglement, Not Light (!)

[One of these Schrödinger cats was created by Entanglement, not Light!]

An argument for the Quantum nature of consciousness can also be derived along… classical lines familiar to old fashion philosophers.

Consider Classical Mechanics. Classical Mechanics is completely deterministic: given initial conditions, which can be determined with complete precision, a few differential evolution equation determine fully what will happen forever thereafter.

Thus, in Classical Mechanics, there cannot be any free will. Contrarily to observation. Also one then is left to ponder what good consciousness would have. Even pain would be useless, because the very conception of warning does not present any utility. Any process being ineluctable, human beings, and other animals are just witnesses to their own condition.

This means that the basic philosophy of consciousness and freedom contradicts Classical Mechanics.

Far from being philosophically satisfying, Classical mechanics is absurd. Descartes guessed this, as, inspired by Classical Mechanics (then being elaborated to the point it was clear that the equations were fully deterministic), he suggested animals were just machines.

To make human beings in something more, God was needed, it was confusedly felt. But then the omnipotence of God re-created the same problem as before: an omnipotent God replaces Classical Mechanics, and remakes the world into something humans cannot influence.

Quantum Physics has provided with a way out. It’s everywhere, unbeknownst. It is not just a physics of space and time, as so called “Relativity” is. When Poincare’ suggested the concept of Relativity, he meant one of space and time.

However, Quantum Physics entails a much more general relativity, the relativity of knowledge itself. Such is the Schrödinger Cat Paradox. Cats can be seen where one’s light has NOT reached. (The experiment was published a few weeks ago.)

What else do we know that can extent where no light of ours has passed? Consciousness, of course.

And the brain in all this?

The brain is a classical object, at first sight, a topology, a place with a notion of neighborhood. Different organs and networks in the brain accomplish different tasks, all at the same time. That’s what led some to the notion of subconscious. Indeed, most of these tasks are not consciously perceived: most of what the brain does is done in the background, and at best only very dimly perceived. For example heart management is hidden.

Yet, should one get a heart attack, one’s heart will become the focus of one’s consciousness (starting with a big pain). So what does consciousness do? It brings problems to the fore, and tasks where creativity, neurological creativity, is needed right away.

The brain, at first sight, is a classical object. But, at second sight, and actually, beyond sight, there is entanglement. And it allows to see.

It’s not as Pascal put it posthumously, that the heart can see where reason cannot, it’s that consciousness can see where light cannot. Remember the picture above.

How does consciousness do this? The brain, as I said has a local topology, yet consciousness rules over it all, that is, non-locally (we know this intuitively, or, as we also say, philosophically).

That perceived non-locality is something in common with Quantum Physics. The picture of the Schrödinger Cat made without light having gone from the cat to us was obtained by Quantum Entanglement, and not by a physical (“Hausdorff topology”) process.

Quantum Physics is not Hausdorff: points cannot be separated from each other. Not just that, but Quantum Physics is not local. Neither does consciousness feels like something, nor should it be, philosophically speaking as something that can be separated, and localized.

Some may scoff that the preceding may be all very interesting, a perspective on what may one day be better understood. But that it’s not practical.

Not so. The day has come, it’s here now.

Robots will seriously replace, displace and overcome humans when Quantum Physics becomes the core of Artificial Intelligence. Verily, one should talk about Artificial Consciousness (AC).

Indeed, the Quantum, once installed within machines in full, will show up as synthetic free will. The first Quantum computers are officially operational (see the D-Wave Two, an Adiabatic Quantum Computer; actually, you won’t see it, it’s sold for ten million dollars each).

Quantum processes, at best, are determined by non-local processes that we cannot inspect. Another point in common with consciousness.

So we are, most probably, Quantum computers. Classical Mechanics could explain us, Quantum Mechanics gives us freedom, and all what conscience is. This means that, as we create full Quantum computers, we will create, if my guess is correct, full consciousness of our own making. And we will be able to augment at will how conscious those machines will be.

Until they take over, of course.

The crown of creation will soon create souls. And soon engineer souls. Our apish ancestors started by stealing fire, we will end up giving birth to gods.

Patrice Ayme’