Posts Tagged ‘Brain’

Split Brains And Multi Consciousness

April 13, 2022

Wisdom forges ahead of the self, however full of books the latter may be. New wisdom arises from beyond, and putting the mind out of the culturally expected zone.

Trail running means a potentially fully different world every couples of seconds. It takes one second to go from routine to head first at several meters per second (with potentially a terminal outcome [1]). Exactly what will happen if one quits concentrating. Foot landing is an adventure at any step, or bound, or leap (downhill mountain running is truly a succession of leaps, and a good runner can achieve dangerously high sustained speeds). Not surprisingly, command and control tends to be extremely localized and automatized. Here is an example, today:  

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Suddenly wiggly is detected. There are no words, no thought, just wiggly is generating motion. The quickest part of the brain, and I literally felt to be in the back of the head going straight from visual area to cerebellum and legs, orders a general danger emergency jump, with particular lift of the left leg, where wiggly has been perceived. The wiggly input also launches an adrenaline burst. And a visual, directed inspection of wiggly.

Meanwhile the frontal cortex, and one literally feels it’s in the front, retorts with a slower analysis. Wiggly has got to be a root because of its general location, on a piece of asphalt, and it was not actually dynamic, and strong winds have brought innocuous wigglies down. 

Then an arbitration area kicks in, and I feel it’s in between. Arbitration decretes that the quick reaction area probably got it wrong, but it does not hurt to jump, but arbitration sends a moderation order to the jump, because emergency jumps are dangerous.

Such is the human brain.

Or more exactly, the human brains. The human brain is made of many. 

Even with half his brain dead, from strokes, bullets and what not, the bloody tyrant Lenin could provide astute opinions about his successors…  

Human brains are made of different pieces, not all equal, doing different things, and then conferring at a higher level called “consciousness” or “thinking”. 

The situation above happened April 12, 2022, but I had encountered an ultra rare snake on cement, a few miles away wiggling away very fast, a few days prior. It was of a sub-species of Garter snake, mostly jet black and scarlet red, related to the colorful one represented. A few weeks prior, on dirt, the scene above repeated, but that time there was a real snake below my left shoe! It nearly got pancaked. (Those snakes are not dangerous)

Conclusions:

  1. To speak of human consciousness is a simplification: a given brain has many coexistent consciousnesses, and they work at different speeds, in different ways, and are focused on non-intersecting inputs and outputs [2]. The wiggly = jump away is obviously a primitive form of hard wired consciousness (prehistoric men evolved in regions full of extremely dangerous snakes). 
  2. What we call “thinking” is often high level arbitrage. That doesn’t mean that lower level areas and entanglement are not conscious and thinking.
  3. The brain is a sort of democracy, with its own institutions: brain organs entangled through neural networks, and different areas get to vote.
  4. Social organizations should mimic the brain and for the same reason: neural democracy is hardwired. The brain works the world in parallel, not top down. That means democratically, not fascistically. Why? Because this way the brain can do more, and some of it at extreme speed.

Some currents of Buddhism suggest to rest the mind by doing nothing, that’s supposed to be meditative. However, rock climbers learn to rest dynamically. I believe in dynamic meditation, and putting the entire brain to work, resting dynamically, not just breathing… The Dyonisos approach, embraced by Socrates, getting drunk to reach joy and perspective, is part and parcel of this dynamical meditation (I don’t drink alcohol… no need… Crazy enough already…) 

Ah, wiggly was just a sinuous branch thrown by the strong, cold wind. And the frontal cortex was right to suspect that, in spite of the sun, it was no snake weather. 

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Once on Mount Tamalpais in California, my right shoe caught a thin piece of steel (!) which was sticking out after a (botched) trail repair job by rangers. I crashed over the next ten meters; the trail was straight, so the crash happened on the trail rather than the precipice on the right… Last summer I crashed twice in quick succession on icy rocks at 3,500 meters (!). Bad soles on those shoes I discovered. There again I was lucky not to have fallen off trail… Just got decorated with blood… Those crashes were actually more dangerous than the ones where I broke bones…

What I nearly stepped on a few years ago. (Actually a related subspecies, even rarer, as it is found just around one hill.)

[2] I think many things in many ways, all at the same times. Does that mean that I am many, Mr. Descartes?

NOVELTY SEEKING IS HARD WIRED Even In Primitive Brains. Censors Are Then Against Brains.

February 6, 2022

NOVELTY SEEKING IS ITS OWN REWARD, PHILOSOPHY GUESSED, AND NEUROLOGY NOW SHOWS!

Why do we have brains, we advanced animals? Because brains enable us to predict the world. Brains make us stand under the world, knowing its inner machinery, and see where it will go, before it gets there. That’s how falcons intercept ducks… They anticipate where the duck is going. Cheetas do the same and estimate carefully which leg to swipe to make their prey tumble. Dogs, of course make calculus of variations to find out when they have to keave run along the beach to swim to the ball in the least time…

And thus how do we, brainy animals, figure out the world? By the so-called “scientific method” invented over 370 million years ago, when fishes became amphibians. Stepping onto the land, and figuring out what to do with all that mud and beyond, no doubt required a lot of experimenting. 

Is experimenting amusing? It better be! Given two genetic variants of the same species, the one amphibian who tended to explore more, we descend from. But it turns out that NOVELTY SEEKING is so fundamental that being pleased by it is not enough. Novelty seeking turns out to be an automatic circuitry of the brain, at its core, a mandatory pathway, a general dispatch center, the Zona Incerta. In particular, ZI is more fundamental than the frontal lobes, showing that curiosity preceded and is more important than, the higher intelligence of the frontal lobes. This ontic order has enormous consequences, starting with civilization, sociology and politics.

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A study published in Nature Neuroscience December 13, by Ilya Monosov, and Al. (Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine), shows that the Zona Incertaa region deep within the brain—is responsible for controlling novelty seeking in animals.

The very fact that this is happening deep within the brain, not within the frontal cortex shows that evolutionary speaking the trait may be as old as half a billion years, and curiosity, novelty seeking is a fundamental characteristic of brainy animals. .

Zona incerta neurons predict future novel objects and move our gaze to them. Turning them off, disrupts novelty seeking.

An important aspect of the discovery is that the mechanism for novelty-seeking is partly separate from the usual dopamine reward system: there is a brain circuit for seeking out novelty for novelty’s sake.

Philosophically, that’s not surprising. It’s well known that curiosity kills cats. Even cows have it: novelty seeking explains why the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

It turns out that monkey brains can react differently to bad news: some wanting to know, others avoiding bad news… Interesting two monkeys can react identically to good news, but one may confront bad news, and the colleague avoids them.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210611110807.htm

In the latest study from the same lab, the authors first tested whether novelty seeking was encoded by the dopamine reward system. They first showed that animals predict and actively seek out novelty similarly to how they seek out primary rewards, for its own sake. They then tested if dopamine-producing neurons, known to regulate reward seeking, could also regulate novelty seeking. Surprisingly, the researchers found that dopamine neurons were indifferent to predictions of future novelty.

However not so the adjacent zona incerta (ZI). “The ZI is ideally suited to control novelty seeking behavior,” Monosov explains. The ZI receives input from higher-order visual areas that encode meaning and novelty of objects, and projects to the superior colliculus, which controls the eye. When animals performed novelty seeking, ZI neurons there were active. And when ZI cells’ activity was disrupted, the animals had less motivation to look for novel images.

The finding dissociates the mechanisms of reward-seeking and novelty-seeking when novelty has on extrinsic reward value, illustrating that the motivation to experience novelty can be independent from the motivation to gain reward.

Monosov says one of the interesting aspects of the zona incerta is that it appears to be a relay station for novelty seeking—processing information about the novelty and directly sending that signal to the motor control area that regulates gaze shifts—without additional stops along the way.

As fundamental as it gets: emotions are what comes out of motion, here we have in the Zona Incerta of the brain, what ordered motion itself. So the Zona Incerta is more fundamental than the emotional system.

And it’s an automatic system.

Consequence, philosophically, of the existence and primacy of the Zona Incerta’s novelty seeking nature? What political or thought system represses curiosity for novel things is not just anti-human, or anti-amphibian, but even anti-brain. In particular censors of novel ideas, perspectives, etc. are anti-brain.

Curiosity is its own morality, a morality that is half a billion years old!

Patrice Ayme 

P/S 1: And now a word for those who criticize space exploration: So doing, they criticize the fact of having a brain. Landscapes on Mars are novel. Total area of Mars is roughly that of all continents on Earth, 150 million square kilometers (with 13% or so submitted to Putin’s dictatorship, one must destroy Putin…

Photo taken by NASA/ESA Curiosity Rover, Gale Crater, 2015. Image looking toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp was taken on September 9, 2015, by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In the foreground — about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover — is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide. Just beyond is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond that are a multitude of rounded buttes, all high in sulfate minerals. The changing mineralogy in these layers of Mount Sharp suggests a changing environment in early Mars, though all involve exposure to water billions of years ago

P/S 2: The Roman Republic had actually an office of “censor”. Should we then attribute the destruction of thr Roman Republic to this anti-brain structure? Good question!

P/S 3: Einstein famously said “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” Well, sorry to say he did not understand the first reason why brains evolved, precisely to under-stand the world. Now many people understands this, and thus can bask in the satisfaction that they understood all along why Einstein had a brain, although he himself had not figured it out…

P/S 4: the long and harduous genesis of the concept of “emotion” took at least 5 centuries in France and was born greatly out of the notion that motion in political matters was disquieting, risked “riotes” (same meaning as modern English “riots”). So “emotion” was related, in its etymology, its true and original meaning, to out-of control novelty, disturbance, etc.

BRAIN MODULARITY, NONLOCALITY, CONSCIOUSNESS, QUANTUM

November 22, 2019

MANY BRAINS NEED ONE MIND…

Abstract: Brain modularity makes consciousness mandatory to enable motor neural command. Consciousness thus has to act as one, but nonlocally. The analogy with the Quantum Effect, how the whole gets to the point, is absolute. Thus it is compelling to suggest both physical phenomena are actually one.

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It is known that the human mind consists of many specialized units designed by the process of natural selection. For example, there are auditory, visual, equilibrium, fear, language systems (Broca area, Wernicke area)… There is for example a system to detect motion (to spot predators, dangers and prey). Balance is processed in the cerebellum, short term memory in the hippocampus, etc.

While these modules often work together seamlessly, they don’t always, resulting in impossibly contradictory beliefs, or, more fundamentally contrary desires (or watch what happen when patients have Parkinson). A little sound in the bush can mean delicious prey, dangerous snake, or a calmly waiting leopard (the latter happened to me in Africa, for real. Twice.) The possibilities are connected to wildly different e-motions: move to grab, move to flee. Thus several contradictory systems can get pre-activated (amygdalia for fear, hunting systems).  

The modular view of the mind evolved, starting in the Nineteenth Century with the discovery of various localizations in the brain (some even overdid it, and confused brain and shape of the skull).

That the brain is made of brains is not a new discovery. But I claim the consequence is mandatory consciousness. That’s new.

A contemporary author makes moralistic conclusions from the observed modularity. Modularity would cause “vacillations between patience and impulsiveness, violations of our supposed moral principles, and overinflated views of ourselves”. 

Modularity suggests to the same author that there is no “I”, no “self”. Instead, he insists that each of us is a contentious and debating “we”—a collection of discrete, interacting systems whose constant exchanges shape our interactions with one another and our experience of the world. This sort of revelation is not new: it’s already found in Freud, following the French neurology professor of Freud, Jean-martin Charcot, and Nietzsche… And originally Sade, or even Socrates and his famous “demons”. 

Verily, while brain modularity is known to be true, that doesn’t imply there is no “I”. Just the opposite. Come to think of it.

Consciousness exists, just to fabricate that “I”. To fabricate an executive agent, the “I”. The “I” engages the neuromotor system, and, or the hierarchy of modules within. One authority to decide is necessary, so the “I” is necessary.

So what is this consciousness made of, how does it work? Many of the brightest minds have considered the question. I, in turn, question what they questioned, and the little they knew. 

Descartes, contrarily to what Demasio assumed, was no fool, and more penetrating a mind that Demasio… three centuries earlier. Descartes’ observations on the nature of mathematical reasoning were so deep, I was really surprised (as I thought only yours truly was capable of them, being a mix of the bold, the deep and the obvious).

Descartes, of course, had no idea of Quantum Mechanics. QM was hard to produce: Planck was amazing that way, and then came a flurry of geniuses: Einstein, Bohr, Bose, De Broglie, Heisenberg, Dirac, Pauli… (Among others.)

Francis Crick came up with what he grandiloquently called “the astonishing hypothesis”. It posits that “a person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influence them.” Crick claims that scientific study of the brain during the 20th century led to acceptance of consciousness, free will, and the human soul as subjects for scientific investigation. Of course none of this is new, except for the detailed machinery: Descartes proposed the soul was in the Pituitary gland, and asserted animals (hence, implicitly, humans) were machines… 

Meanwhile the notion of machines has now been completely changed in something nonlocal and quirky, thanks to Quantum Mechanics, which has blown up laboratory reality into something… cosmic. Thus Crick and all others miss one point: the brain is not a classical machine, it’s a Quantum one. How do I know this? In the simplest way: the universe is Quantum, not classical. Quantum is complex, first of all, because it’s nonlocal. That means reality is entangled at a distance: that’s the entire challenge of the Quantum computer. Recently a baby Quantum computer entangled ten photons: that was viewed as a great success. In a brain, at least trillions of trillions of particles get entangled, each microsecond…

Guess what? To treat all these brain modules as one, to bring them to cooperate, one conductor, consciousness too, has to be nonlocal. 

Right, a sort of classical non locality in the brain is not just imaginable, but a fact: why else all those long connections (axons) throughout the brain? But the brain is involved in zillions of zillions of Quantum processes every microsecond (zillions is a tech term meaning more than any known number; just kidding but not really). 

Some will say QM is not room temperature, not long range at room temperature, etc. But they don’t know anything, they just talk like they know they are supposed to. In truth, High Temperature Superconductivity is a fact… And NOT explained. The only thing clear is that long range, non local Quantum effects are involved (the efficiency is 100%). If, out of a trillion Quantum processes in the brain in one microsecond, one such processes delocalize enough to cover the brain, that’s enough to create a plausible Quantum substrate for Quantum epistemology.

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Don’t sneer that Quantum effects would be too small, involve too few particles. A few Quantum particles (“Lichtquanten” of Einstein) can have a big effect: when a probe passing Pluto at an infernal clip shot photons towards Earth, very few of these were received. Actually, Voyager I, launched decades ago, and now out of the heliosphere is an even better example [1]. We get just one photon from Voyager every few seconds, but that’s enough.

Quantum Mechanics computes by being all over simultaneously. The brain does the same, because being all over the place, in all localities simultaneously, enables contextual computing. Consciousness then tries to put some order, to result in action items.

 

The exact same thing happens in Quantum Mechanics: the fabrication of order in Quantum Mechanics is from singularization (also known as “collapse of the wave packet” which happens after “decoherence”, a distinction of no difference…)… Which is equivalent to CONSCIOUSLY firing a particular module in the brain by connecting to the action neurology (the neuromotor cortex and sub-systems such as the intestine, with its 35,000 neurons…). 

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In conclusion, that the brain was made of modules was already obvious to Descartes, and amply confirmed by 1900 CE. What is new is that now we have a candidate to use as a  medium for consciousness: what underlays Quantum Physics itself, with its nonlocal, and non-measurable nature.

Philosophically, the Brain and the Quantum exist to steer globally according to local conditions [2]. The Quantum is the solution to the same problem the Brain has: how to steer the general, from local conditions.

Suggesting that consciousness is a Quantum phenomenon from the preceding is not foolhardy. There is a precedent. After Maxwell found that electromagnetic waves were going at the speed of light, he suggested to identify both. The situation here is not as clear, and we don’t have a few equations and one speed. Instead we have the need for brain nonlocality, from brain modularity. Right, it is classically achieved with axons. But it is tempting to suggest the feeling of existence is achieved through the Quantum.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Passing Jupiter Voyager I sent photons towards an antenna which received around 700 of them per second. Now it’s roughly 20 billion kilometers away, 40 times further, so the same antenna would receive only 700/(40^2) ~ one photon every two seconds. We still can get a correct information flow from that. Point is we don’t need to many event to picture a higher signal.

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[2] This is the famous two-slit experiment. What is local (a slit) is having a global effect (the global interference pattern). Similarly a Brain has to take into account what is found locally to establish a general, adaptable model of reality 

What Is A Logic? Just A Piece Of Mind

January 15, 2017

I would propose that a logic is anything which can be modelled with a piece and parcel of brain.

I will show, surprisingly enough, that this is a further step in Cartesian Logic.

At first sight, it may look as if I were answering a riddle, by further mysteries. Indeed, but with mysteries which can be subjected to experimental inquiry (now or tomorrow).

What is a brain? A type of Quantum Computer! And what is Computing, and the Quantum? Well, works in progress. There is something called Quantum Logic, but it does not necessarily defines the world, as exactly what Quantum Physics is, is still obscure.

In practice? Logic is what works, a set of rules to go from a set A of statements to a set B of statements.

In this perspective, Medieval logic did not decline. Instead it transmutated into mathematics.

 The teaching of Logic or Dialetics from a collection of scientific, philosophical and poetic writings, French, 13th century; Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, Paris, France. The 13th century was a time of extreme intellectual activity in Europe, superior to anything else in the world, centered 800 miles around Paris. In particular the heliocentric system was proposed by Buridan, after he overthrew Aristotelian Physics, by inventing and discovering inertia.

The teaching of Logic or Dialetics from a collection of scientific, philosophical and poetic writings, French, 13th century; Bibliotheque Sainte-Genevieve, Paris, France. The 13th century was a time of extreme intellectual activity in Europe, superior to anything else in the world, centered 800 miles around Paris. In particular the heliocentric system was proposed by Buridan, after he overthrew Aristotelian Physics, by inventing and discovering inertia.

An article in Aeon, “The Rise And Fall And Rise Of Logic”,

https://aeon.co/essays/the-rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-logic

Reflects on the importance on the history of the notion of logic:

Reflecting on the history of logic forces us to reflect on what it means to be a reasonable cognitive agent, to think properly. Is it to engage in discussions with others? Is it to think for ourselves? Is it to perform calculations?

In the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Immanuel Kant stated that no progress in logic had been made since Aristotle. He therefore concludes that the logic of his time had reached the point of completion. There was no more work to be done. Two hundred years later, after the astonishing developments in the 19th and 20th centuries, with the mathematisation of logic at the hands of thinkers such as George Boole, Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Alfred Tarski and Kurt Gödel, it’s clear that Kant was dead wrong. But he was also wrong in thinking that there had been no progress since Aristotle up to his time. According to A History of Formal Logic (1961) by the distinguished J M Bocheński, the golden periods for logic were the ancient Greek period, the medieval scholastic period, and the mathematical period of the 19th and 20th centuries. (Throughout this piece, the focus is on the logical traditions that emerged against the background of ancient Greek logic. So Indian and Chinese logic are not included, but medieval Arabic logic is.)”

The old racist Prussian, Kant, a fascist, enslaving cog in the imperial machine turned false philosopher was unsurprisingly incorrect.

The author of the referenced article, Catarina Dutilh Novaes, is professor of philosophy and the Rosalind Franklin fellow in the Department of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her work focuses on the philosophy of logic and mathematics, and she is broadly interested in philosophy of mind and science. Her latest book is The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Logic (2016).

She attributes the decline of logic, in the post-medieval period known as the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, to the rise of printed books, self-study and the independent thinker. She rolls out Descartes, and his break from formal logic:

Catarina writes: “Another reason logic gradually lost its prominence in the modern period was the abandonment of predominantly dialectical modes of intellectual enquiry. A passage by René Descartes – yes, the fellow who built a whole philosophical system while sitting on his own by the fireplace in a dressing gown – represents this shift in a particularly poignant way.”

Speaking of how the education of a young pupil should proceed, in Principles of Philosophy (1644) René Descartes writes:

After that, he should study logic. I do not mean the logic of the Schools, for this is strictly speaking nothing but a dialectic which teaches ways of expounding to others what one already knows or even of holding forth without judgment about things one does not know. Such logic corrupts good sense rather than increasing it. I mean instead the kind of logic which teaches us to direct our reason with a view to discovering the truths of which we are ignorant.

Catarina adds: “Descartes hits the nail on the head when he claims that the logic of the Schools (scholastic logic) is not really a logic of discovery. Its chief purpose is justification and exposition.”

Instead, Descartes claims and I claim that a new sort of logic arose: Medieval Logic transmuted itself into mathematics (Descartes does not say this, but he means it). And mathematics is not really logical in the strictest sense. As it has too many rules to be strictly logical.

Buridan, a great logician who studied well the Liar Paradox (which gave the Incompleteness Theorems) had students such as (bishop) Oresme, who demonstrated what, it turned out, were the first practical theorems in calculus (more than 2 centuries before the formal invention of calculus by Fermat, and Fermat’s discovery of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus, that integration and differentiation are inverse to each other).

For example, under the influence of Buridan and then Oresme, graphs and later equations themselves were invented. So logic became mathematics. That was blatant by the time Descartes invented Algebraic Geometry. Algebraic Geometry gave ways to deduce, to go from a set A to a set B, using a completely new method never seen before.

In turn, by the Nineteenth Century, mathematical methods contributed to old questions in Logic (the most striking being the use of Cantor Diagonalization to show incompleteness, thanks to the Liar Paradox, self-referential method.

In this spirit, not only Set Theory, naive or not, but Category Theory can be viewed as types of logic. So is, of course, computer science. Logic is whatever enables to deduce. Thus even poetry is a form of logic.

Logic is everywhere there is mental activity, and it is never complete.

If logic is just pieces of brain, then what? Well, some progress in pure logic can be made, just paying attention to how the brain works. The brain works sequentially, temporally, with local linear logics (axonal and dendritic systems). The brain tends to be deprived of contradictions (but not always, and nothing infuriates people more, than to be exposed to their own contradictions and gaps in… logic). Also all these pieces of brain, these logics, are not just temporally ordered, but finite.

As we try to use logic to look forward, as a bunch of monkeys messing up our space rock, it is important to realize that what logic is, has not been properly defined, let alone circumscribed. Indeed, if, surprise, surprise, logic has not been properly defined, let alone circumscribed, much more is logically possible than people suspect!

Patrice Ayme’

 

Bees Learn From Culture & Experience

October 25, 2016

When “INSTINCT” IN BEES:TURNS OUT TO BE LEARNING JUST AS HUMANS DO. Bees Practice The Experimental Method, Observe Others & Transmit Knowledge To Others!

Bumblebees can experiment and learn to pull a string to get a sugar water reward and then pass that skill on to other bees.

This comforts a long-held opinion of mine. See: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/instinct-is-fast-learning/.

There I claimed that:

“Innate Knowledge” is a stupid idea. The truth is the exact opposite: LEARNING IS EVERYWHERE, OUT THERE. Learning is the opposite of innate. This insight has tremendous consequences on our entire prehension of the world.

My reasoning was typical philosophy: well-informed general reasons. Now there is increasing evidence that not only big brained vertebrates, but smaller brained invertebrates learn.

Conclusion: we humans do not differ from other animals, even insects, in kind, but in the amount of capability we enjoy. Thus, if we want to be truly human as much as we cannot just lay there like cows.  If we want to be fully human we must learn more of what is significant, and learn how to learn it. We cannot just sit on our hands and do as Barack Obama, the do-not much not-so-funny clown in chief, did, obsess about easy one liners and sport scores.

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Intelligence Is A Fact, Instinct Just A Vague Theory:

For years, cognitive scientist Lars Chittka was intimidated by studies of apes, crows, parrots, and other brainy giants. Crows make tools. And they obviously talk to each other (my personal observation in the mountains). From the latest research in Brazil, parrots seem to have advanced language among themselves (which we don’t understand yet, as it too fast and high pitch for humans to hear it, and there is too much “austerity” around to pay scientists to understand the world as much as they could).

Chittka worked on bees, and almost everyone assumed that the insects acted on so-called instinct, not intelligence. Instinct? Come again.

As Bumblebees Can Learn To Pull Strings, So Can Plutocrats. Thus We Need To Outlaw Such Pluto Strings

Hillary Pulling Out Her Reward? As Bumblebees Can Learn To Pull Strings, So Can Plutocrats. Thus We Need To Outlaw Such Pluto Strings

Sophisticated behavior from “instinct” is a rather stupid assumption, because it is a superfluous assumption: Who needs instinct to explain an animal’s behavior, when we have simple, old fashion intelligence to explain it? Well, speciesists! (Same as who needs the Big Bang, a theory, when we have Dark Energy, a fact, to explain the expansion of the universe.)

Indeed we know of intelligence (some people, and certainly children, can be observed to have it). We can observe intelligence, and roughly understand how it works (it works by establishing better neurology, that is, neurology which fits facts better).

We can define intelligence, we cannot define instinct. But what is an instinct? We can neither observe “instinct”, for sure, instead of learning. Nor can we give a plausible mechanism of how “instinct” would generate complex behaviors (DNA does not code for “instinct”).  

When carefully analyzed, complex behaviors turn out to be learned. In humans, social motivations such as the Will to Power, are primary, thus Chitkka was motivated by : “…a challenge for me: Could we get our small-brained bees to solve tasks that would impress a bird cognition researcher?”

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Einstein Bumblebees & Their Superstrings:

Now, it seems his team has succeeded in duplicating, with insects, what many birds and mammals are famous for. It shows that bumblebees can not only learn to pull a string to retrieve a reward, but they can also learn this trick from other bees, even though they have no experience with such a task in nature. Christian Rutz, a bird cognition specialist at St. Andrews university in Scotland concludes that the study “successfully challenges the notion that ‘big brains’ are necessary for new skills to spread”.  

Chittka and his colleagues set up a clear plastic table barely tall enough to lay three flat artificial blue flowers underneath. Each flower contained a well of sugar water in the center and had a string attached that extended beyond the table’s boundaries. The only way the bumble bee could get the sugar water was to pull the flower out from under the table by tugging on the string.

The team put 110 bumblebees, one at a time, next to the table to see what they would do. Some tugged at the strings and gave up, but two actually kept at it until they retrieved the sugar water: two Einstein bees out of 110! In another series of experiments, the researchers trained the bees by first placing the flower next to the bee and then moving it ever farther under the table. More than half of the 40 bees tested learned what to do with the strings. See: .Associative Mechanisms Allow for Social Learning and Cultural Transmission of String Pulling in an Insect.

Next, the researchers placed untrained bees behind a clear plastic wall so they could see the other bees retrieving the sugar water. More than 60% of the insects that watched knew to pull the string when it was their turn. In another experiment, scientists put bees that knew how to pull the string back into their colony and a majority of the colony’s workers picked up string pulling by watching one trained bee do it when it left the colony in search of food. The bees usually learned this trick after watching the trained bee five times, and sometimes even after one single observation. Even after the trained bee died, string pulling continued to spread among the colony’s younger workers.   

But pulling a string does not quite qualify as tool use, because a tool has to be an independent object that wasn’t attached to the flower in the first place. Yet other invertebrates have shown they can use tools: Digger wasps pick up small stones and use them to pack down their burrow entrances, for example.

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Bees: New Aplysias For Intelligence & Culture?

Nobel laureate Eric Kandel, following a mentor of his in Paris, worked on the brain of the giant California sea snail, Aplysia Californica with its 26,000 neurons. This enabled to progress in the understanding of basic learning and memory mechanisms. However, Aplysias are not into tools and culture. Bees are. Bees have a million neurons, and a billion synapses.

[The bee brain is only .5 mm; whereas the human brain is ~ 400 larger, thus 4x 10^2 larger, its volume is thus ~ 10^2 x 10^6 = 10^8 larger than that of the bee brain; thus scaled up, with the same neuronal density, the human brain should have 10^14 neurons! Which is the number of synapses in the human brain. The density of the bee brain Thus we see, in passing, that human neurons pack up much more power than bee neurons! That has got to be a quantitative difference…]

The discovery of bee culture involved almost 300 bees, documenting how string pulling spread from bee to bee in multiple colonies. Cognitive studies of vertebrates like birds and monkeys typically involve smaller tribal units (30, not 300). Thus the bee studies on culture, more broadly based, show better propagation (at least at this point). .

Clearly bees are equipped, psychobiologically, for the meta behavior known as creative culture: learning from others, while experimenting on one’s own. Thinkers of old used to believe these behaviors were exclusively humans: animals were machines (Descartes) and only man used tools (Bergson, who called man ‘Homo Faber”, Homo Worker)

That insect can learn and experiment, and have culture was obvious all along, according to my personal observations of wasps’ intelligence: when I threaten a wasp. It gets the message, and flies away (I have done the experiment hundreds of times; it does not work with mosquitoes). Reciprocally, if I try to get a wasp out from behind a window, it somewhat cooperates, instead of attacking me. Whereas if I come next to a nest, I will be attacked when my intent is deemed aggressive (reciprocally if a nest is established in a high traffic area, the culture of the local wasps makes it so that they will not attack).   

What is the neural basis for these “smarts”? Some say that the insects might not be all that intelligent, but that instead, “these results may mean that culture-like phenomena might actually be based on relatively simple mechanisms.” Hope springs eternal that, somehow, human intelligence is different.

Don’t bet on it. Studying how bees think will help us find how, and why, we think. And the first conclusion is that it matters what we do with our brains. If we want to rise above insects, we cannot mentally behave as if we were insects all day long. Being endowed with human intelligence is not just an honor, but a moral duty. (Learn that, clown in chief!)

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’  

MENTAL INERTIA, EVIL’s Friend

February 3, 2015

Mental Inertia: Putin, Germans and their Evil Ways, Obama…

Or Why Doing Nothing, That Is, Collaborating With Evil, Is So Comfortable:

It is well known that: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (attributed to Plato and then Mill, Burke, Arendt, etc.). The question is: why would good men do nothing, when evil is triumphing? The short of it: (barring unsavory explanations) because of mental inertia.

The Parisian mathematician, physicists, philosopher and adviser to Kings, Buridan, discovered what had eluded Aristotle. Inertia. Circa 1340 CE (Buridan named it “impetus”; see note on inertia.)

Mental inertia was not an obvious feature, if one did not know what the brain was made of (as was the case in the Middle Ages). But now we do. Modern neurology has revealed the immense complexity of the brain, as a physical object. The brain is not something that can be tinkered with in five minutes. We now know that the brain is the most complex architecture, a physical object, hard to build, hard to take down.

Just as it takes a long time to erect, or change a vast building, so it is with the brain. The brain has inertia. Thus psychological inertia.

This mental inertia is why human beings tend to go on with a task, or with an attitude, once they got launched into it (a Jihadist laden with explosives just flew by).

Once a force is applied to an object, for example a propaganda to a brain, it tends to gather momentum, and develop ever more inertia.

Putin of course creates his own propaganda, and then can listen to it, reinforcing his deviance, in a self-reflective way. It’s all the more efficient if others repeat his ideas, and he listens to them. Actually that’s not just a problem with Putin, but with all Great Leaders. (And that’s one reason why Great Leadership has to be discontinued, and replaced by Direct Democracy.)

This amplifies the inertia.

By not fiercely opposing Putin, one collaborates with him. It is not just a question of sanctions. Putin is a liar, and an aggressive one, he should be publicly called for what he is.

Another example of inertia is the lethal mood that makes a strength of Germany: discipline.

GERMANY’S PERSISTANCE IN EVIL WAYS:

It was a case of splendid mental inertia. Why did the Germans persist with deplorable ways for more than a century (I am referring here to the acerbic critique patriots such as Nietzsche made of Germany, by the 1870S; and also the fact Prussia, soon to unify Germany was already racist and “anti-Semitic”, by the 1700s). Why did Kant want to enslave Africans, why did Luther want to hear the screams of tortured Jews (that’s what both of them wrote, I am just repeating, while full of contempt… for those two).

This is a highly practical question nowadays, now that the evil extreme left in power in Greece has made extremely reasonable proposals to reduce Greece’s otherwise lethal debt burden.

In German “Shuld” means both crime and debt. Thus a debt feels like a crime. Unfortunately for Germany, both have been more indulged by Germans rather than by Greeks in the last century or so.

One can visit Northern France. There was the tallest castle of the Middle Ages, the tallest dungeon in the world. The Coucy Castle. In 1918, the German army, facing a sea of French tanks, some supporting fresh American troops, was thoroughly defeated. The French Air Force, the world’s largest, could roam at will, so it could not be argued that Coucy had a military value for observation. Still, the retreating Germans dynamited the castle (and not just the dungeon).

For decades, a French public-private effort has tried to rebuild the completely shattered castle, still reduced to a sea of stones.

I do not see the Germans anxious to repay that debt. Their Coucy debt. Actually Germany repaid its (much reduced) reparations for World War One, only a few years ago.

Germany had deliberately destroyed all of the industrial base of North East France, and most of Belgium, including the mines, and paid back only a small fraction of the cost of its destruction.

Germany’s debt was extinguished, or partly extinguished 4 times during the Twentieth Century. Germany didn’t pay for Nazism, and the wanton destruction it inflicted on Europe, including Greece. At least, not financially.

It is not that 340 billion were given to the Greeks. That’s propaganda. 340 billion was given to the banksters who had invested with their accomplices, some of them, Greek plutocrats.

But back to Germany, and its moral rectitude.

And how did all this Twentieth Century German mayhem originate? Because Germans did exactly what they were told. By whom? By the plutocrats who ruled over them. Surely, the Kaiser and his ruffians were the essence of plutocracy. Afraid to lose their plutocratic hold on Germany to the German Socialist Party, and see the rise of Parliamentary Democracy inside Germany, they decided instead to attach the French Republic, a Parliamentary Democracy.

Then, of course, Hitler was the pawn of plutocrats (ironically enough, many, if not most of them, were American plutocrats).

By doing what today’s plutocrats want, Germany is repeating history. Time to wake up!

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/europes-greek-tragedy/

Notice that German attitude is a case of mental inertia: used to obey to masters, first Prussian aristocrats, then crazed fascists fronting for rabid plutocrats, now Germans want to do exactly what banksters say (said banksters don’t have a Euro in the Greek fight; what they are afraid is that, if the discourse switches from accusing the Greeks, it may well accuse the real culprits, namely high finance, of which they are a part).

OBAMA’S INERTIA:

So Obama came and gave us change we could believe in, namely none at all. So now we get a course correction:

Obama’s Budget: Plenty Enough, Six Years Too Late.

Nice, very nice. This near 4 trillion dollar budget. No more financing of the wealthiest. At last. At last a progressive budget, turned towards the future, reducing inequality, while augmenting opportunity for all, and thus improving both society and economy. We little people can dream again.

Question: why was not this proposed when “Democrats” controlled Congress, say six years ago? Because then it could have passed? Fortunately, it was not presented, so it did not pass, and now plutocrats are richer, and more splendid than ever. They will be happy to reward Obama and his collaborators handsomely, with very nice tips.

Better: Obama can now safely pose as a great progressive, giving a chance to the next fake progressive sponsored by plutocracy through the “Democratic” Party, to come up with more smoke and mirrors.

Democrats hope, that, somehow, We The People will end up believing that the Obama revolution was stopped by evil Republicans (instead as do-nothing “Democrats”, as it truly was!) Then, by mental inertia, they will come out pristine as freshly fallen snow…

Was Obama unable to rule in part because of mental inertia? No doubt. Is it enough of an excuse? Fat chance.

Patrice Ayme’

On inertia: that its discovery is still attributed to Newton is a great scandal. Buridan wrote “Newton’s First Law” very explicitly, 340 years before Newton. They both wrote in Latin, so one cannot argue that Newton deserves priority because he wrote in English…

Not all the details of how one goes from inertia in Quantum processes to brain inertia are in, but that Quantum inertia, and then Mental inertia RULE, is clear enough. Yes, one can be ruled by the laws of physics, not just those of men… (By the way, Einstein’s motivation in his Theory of so-called General Relativity was to explain inertia: he failed miserably, as his theory is local, not global; I suggest it has to do with Quantum Entanglement, I win!)

 

Lots of inertia there, from millions of generations of evolution…

More On Quantum Consciousness

September 5, 2014

Human brains are built from ideas. Any change in such ideas is lots of work, thus pain, and is always resisted. Often viciously. The greater the change, the more vicious the backlash.

A contributor, “Disagreeable Me” (who had published an extensive essay on consciousness, Sept 1, 2014) rose strident objections to my thesis (found in preceding comments; such stridency is not new: I am used to violent critiques against Quantum Consciousness, in the last few decades that I have dragged this pet around). Here is some of the dialogue, raw (co-sent to Scientia Salon):

 

Disagreeable Me: “Most people seem to assume that their consciousness is in some way located in their brains. Personally, I agree with you that it is not a localized thing, but this is because I think consciousness is a property of a mind, and that a mind is an abstract object. 

That’s quite different meaning of the word, however. In quantum mechanics, non-locality means that effects seem to work instantaneously at a distance. I don’t see any reason for believing that consciousness has these attributes unless you want to bring up woo such as remote viewing or clairvoyance or mind-reading.”

Patrice: One could argue that all “objects” are “abstract” (or at least abstractions, in the mathematical sense Alonso Church gave that in the 1930s; Church was Turing’s thesis adviser). Abstraction is characterized by the stripping of secondary, inessential characteristics. So one may, indeed, loose localization. That’s vague (joke intended: vague = wave -> delocalized).

However, my point about localization is different. And precise. Brain delocalization is biologically grounded. The brain is, physiologically, a delocalized object.

The brain is made of many neighborhoods, and subsystems. Is the brain the temporal lobe? The cerebellum? The right brain? The frontal cortex? Clearly much of the brain is working all over, much of the time. Some parts get active, others go to sleep, other parts never stop (say those watching over basic functions such as breathing or neurohormonal cycles).

So, when we consider the brain, we consider something spatially spread out. Yet, the conscious feeling that emanates from it, what we call consciousness, somehow, is centralized. Consciousness is one, not multiple, not spread out, at any instant of time.

How to make one, out of many? This is a question that arises naturally when considering both brain, and consciousness.

One could object that the same can be said about a bridge. A bridge is an abstraction of many characteristics. Yet, what makes the perception of a bridge one? Consciousness.

If one focuses on one’s breathing and heart rate, as conscience can do, and commands them, the mind is then just about that. Conscience focuses on a (few) characteristic(s). One could say that conscience collapses on particular points.

Now think about the way a Quantum process enfolds: it’s about something wavy spread about that is processed, to become, in the end, just one.

This sole sentence abstracts the basic set-up of Quantum physics: “something wavy”: the wavefunction, the “spread about” is a Hilbert space; “processed” is about time as an evolution parameter; “in the end” is about collapse/decoherence; “the one” is the so called “particle state” that results.

The analogy with the contrast of the delocalized brain in an union with a focused, localized consciousness, free to localize inside the brain wherever it wills, jumps at me.

 

DM: …”the following sentence makes your meaning clearer. “If consciousness were not Quantum, it would have to be “classical”, that is, not fundamental.” So, you’re argument is that everything that is fundamental is quantum, and it is completely stupid to imagine that consciousness is not fundamental. 

This is largely meaningless to me. I don’t know what you mean by fundamental, and it is not obvious to me that everything that is fundamental is quantum. I might, for instance, claim that logic (i.e. the law of non-contradiction) is fundamental, but it would seem to be very strange to claim that logic is Quantum, whatever that would mean.”

Patrice: That’s indeed my argument. Although it’s not yet clear how exactly, all of Classical Mechanics, Relativity, and Thermodynamics have to emerge from Quantum Physics, I believe. I would call that Ultimate Unification (UU). (GUT, Grand Unified Theories, are less ambitious: they unify only at high energies; UU is a conjecture, right, but so is Langlands program in mathematics; nobody sneers at that.)

Right now, experimental research is exploring the transition from QM to CM, and has been honored with the 2012 Nobel Prize. (Haroche in Paris, for counting photons without disturbing them, and his colleague Wineland in Boulder, for doing quantum computing with ions, among other things.) We are very far from a full picture on how to implement UU (the Nobel committee recognized Haroche and Wineland’s works as first timid steps to the Quantum computer).

Logic is a vast subject. In 1936, two of the most advanced mathematicians (Birkhoff and Von Neumann) invented something they called Quantum Logic, doing away with the distributive law. I do not doubt, though, that logic is a form of empiricism (whether the one gets from reality, or… the imagination).

It’s curious that you mention the law of non-contradiction as fundamental (as Aristotle held, in contradiction with Heraclitus). Quantum Physics is well known to enjoy things that are alive and dead simultaneously. It seems rather contradictory to me that some don’t appreciate the contradiction.

 

DM: “What you call freedom I call randomness. Randomness is not freedom, but if nature is indeterministic then all objects are random anyway. Chaos theory suggests that small perturbations in complex systems such as brains can lead to radically different outcomes. “

Patrice: Agreed. Except that I do not confuse freedom and randomness. Randomness can help freedom, and vice versa, but they are not the same. Schopenhauer famously claimed he could not will what he willed. I beg to disagree: the wise will will what she wills, such is her definition. Higher reflectivity, and detachment from contingency, is what intelligence is all about.

I thank Disagreeable Me for giving me the occasion to become more conscious in the matter of consciousness (and offering me the occasion to make a quantum jump of understanding, etc.)

Patrice Ayme’

Unbelievable Comfort: NO BRAIN, NO PAIN

June 1, 2014

Madness Of The Crowds: Comfortable, Cuddly, Yet Also Experimentally Useful.

In brief: Why do people “believe”? Superstitious religions are tools of oppression. They impose the unbelievable, making the masses stupid and gullible. If so why do they still seduce people? The charitable explanation, is that they offer hope: be nice to Moloch, and Moloch shall give you everything.

But is that all? No. The main reason (for higher-ups) to believe the unbelievable, is that it introduces a simplification of the mental system. It forces a hierarchy of causality that denies whatever contradicts the religion. That means, of course, that it denies most of the world. So the world goes poof. Is not that great?

Baal Temple, Syria: Yesterday’s God, Today’s Lord Of The Flies

Baal Temple, Syria: Yesterday’s God, Today’s Lord Of The Flies

[Ba‘al dhubaab: in Arabic, “Lord of the Flies”, that is, Lord of Dung, a rich idea coming from the Jews, two millennia earlier! Someday soon the Abrahamic religion will also be seen as a pile of dung to join Beelzebub.]

Superstitious systems of thought occupy a double-faced position in the jungle of ideas. On one end of the spectrum, they are a simplification, a laziness, a creature’s comfort, a herd phenomenon.

On the other end, being a simplification, precisely, they allow to experiment more cleanly with new systems of thought. For example, Christianism imposed murderous altruism: an interesting experiment.

 

WE ARE GOD, And TO PROVE IT, WE KILL YOU:

A young mother, who does not even look Sudanese, was raised an Orthodox Christian (her Muslim father was in absentia). Later she married a Christian Sudanese. Some Muslim then accused her of adultery (if a Muslim woman has sex with a non-Muslim, she is committing adultery, says that religion).

While she was waiting for another child, Sudanese authorities decided that she had renounced Islam.

Renouncing Islam is a capital crime in Sharia, a set of “laws” (of the jungle) invented by Muslims a few generations after the Qur’an, the book of eternal peace, 5 feet under.

Sharia is the law in Sudan. So the 27 year old mother was condemned by a so called “judge”, to be whipped 100 times, before being hanged to death. No doubt the “judge” had some prurient interest. (Sudan’s president there is under an international arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court. I propose to arrest the “judge” too.)

Chris Snuggs a rather fierce participant to this site wrote: “Islam in many countries is a hideous barbarity, the ultimate manifestation of unhinged minds. Perverted “religions” of this kind are the most staggering example of mass-hysteria the world has ever seen, and peculiar to Homo Sapiens. No “ordinary” animals suffer from this kind of mass simultaneous mental illness. Three billion people need psychiatric help. Astonishing. Why are we prone to mass-hysteria and irrationality on this scale? The French people regularly voting socialist is another example, and of course reminds us of the definition of a lunatic: someone who does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”

Renounce Islam, Die: Does Sharia Hate Islam?

Renounce Islam, Die: Does Sharia Hate Islam?

[This is the wedding picture of the woman who got condemned to death for marrying the Christian on the left. Is Islamophobia truly Homophilia?]

By “belief, and believers” one commonly means “deciding to believe in the unbelievable, because it’s so convenient”. “Belief” is commonly believed to be an acquired taste at best, an imposed violence at worst.

Nietzsche pointed out about Christianism, Voltaire, about Islam, or Marx, in general, that religion is the opium of the people, or something to make the people into a herd.

More generally, theocracy has been used as a weapon of terror, for the oppression of all sorts of peoples.  The Aztecs captured their enemies alive, and then sacrificed them, opening them up, and tearing out their beating hearts. Before cutting them up, and throwing the proteins down the steep pyramids.

This robust religion kept peoples subjected. However, when Cortez showed up with 2,000 super warriors, those the Aztecs terrorized were enthusiastic to levee huge armies to help the Spaniards with the Hummingbird God.

Christianism and Islam do not basically differ from the Aztec gig. The Aztecs brought death through cannibalism. But it was a rather quick death. The Aztecs were horrified by the tortures of the Spaniards. Those knew no bounds. If Spanish tortures were so advanced that was, no doubt, to keep up with the Muslims, and beat them on their own torturous ground.

In Islam, slavery is kosher. All men are viewed as slaves of dog (typo, sorry!) god. A standard punishment for Muslim slaves who had tried to escape was impalement. As the patient could take several days to jerk about, all transpierced, that procedure had an educative effect on the otherwise ignorant masses.

Violence is intrinsic to the Abrahamic religion. It all started with the Bible, a compendium of holocausts, praising an holocaust driven god. Getting advice and example from the Bible allowed Europeans, clutching their bibles, to massacre the Americas, and much of Eurasia and Oceania.

Now religious fanaticism is less of a problem than a distraction, as the secular, republican spirit mostly rules, except in a few places: Israel, some places in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, where old fashion Islam is gaining ground.

Does that mean we are getting rid of the COMFORTABLY UNBELIEVABLE?

No. Why?

 

INSANITY BRINGS THE COMFORT OF THE HERD, THE ECONOMY OF STUPIDITY:

Because having unbelievable beliefs brings mental economy, and ties that bind. What could go wrong?

Let me explain a bit more: intelligence is highly profitable, but it’s also costly. To become intelligent, one has to create lots of neurons and synapses. And the environment does it: studies on rats have proven this. Long ago.

All these neurons and synapses require a lot of energy to build. That’s exhausting: one has to go hunt and gather a lot. Also, once built, all this awareness brings pain: many a religion and philosophy have moaned about extinction (“nirvana”) of consciousness as the solution to the problem of pain (how that differs from Hitler’s solution beats me).

From there springs the opium of the people effect: opium creates an absence of mind by putting many neurons to sleep, but it’s the same result, even more efficiently, by making sure none of these neurons is ever born.

Finally, last, but not least, as the religion simplifies the system of thought, it creates a simple system of thought, and a simple brain. A simple type of a specific brain. Those are easy to match to each other. All those who believe some guy is the son of dog, chose to be crucified for man, and taught us love, are, clearly, made for each other. They have an insanity to share.

There is nothing more reassuring than the herd. And a crazy herd, charging all along, is the ultimate symbol of force, thus, safety.

 

MUSLIMS CREATED THE WORLD, ROMANS ATTACKED LATER, AND OTHER INSANITIES:

My spouse had a friend for a few years, and even travelled overseas with her. She was, superficially well educated. As all would-be shock philosopher, I tend to stay apart. Yet, in the end, we met. It was rather brief.

She was from Morocco. I know Morocco, first time I was there I was two years old. I mentioned in passing that this beautiful country was graced with Roman monuments. She mumbled something to the effect that Europeans could never resist invading Muslim countries. I pointed out that the Romans were in Morocco nine centuries before the Muslims ever invaded the place. Her face went white. She told us Morocco had always been Muslim.  We were basically insulting her country.

I said: not so. I told the truth. Her world, her simple world full of simplifying lies that bind, was shattered.  I was not just demolishing her world view, but her social fabric, made of victimized conservative Muslims invaded by greedy Romans.

She did not contact us ever again.

I am never the one to interrupt relationships, because I view even the worst relationships as interesting experiments in my philosophical laboratory… That has led me to harrowing situations, because insuring the integrity of their mental systems brings up the greatest ferocity in human beings.

Such is the human condition.

PASSIONS CREATE THOUGHTS, THOUGHTS KILL EACH OTHER, & GIVE BIRTH TO MAN:

That ferocity in things mental may look baffling. But it is of the essence. Homo is the intellectual animal. Human ideas compete, and they compete to death. Inferior ideas get killed. Superior ideas thrive, munching the bones of past guesses.

Lovers of the free market gloat that it can produce superior product. Bu there is no product higher than an idea. And the ideas do not just constitute a market. They constitute a jungle, where pain, greed, anger, rage, ecstasy and lust are just ways to achieve a healthy jungle.

 

FOLLY EXPANDS, OCCUPY ALL SPACE, REASON FOLLOWS:

Although I focused mainly on the Abrahamic religion above, the situation is general. Stupidity binds.

An example is indeed presently provided by socialism, the old fashioned way, complete with a plethora of useless civil servants and assisted ones (as Chris fulminates).

An other excellent mania of the crowds is found in physics, where completely insane theories have progressed in recent years ( for example the Multiverse madness).

By this, I mean more than physics became more insane than any of the preceding. Yet, precisely because it presents the neurological advantages of insanity, the insanity in physics has been progressing. A delicate moment.

That’s progress, how progress works.

When physicists have gone completely insane, hopefully someone will point out reason, and be believed (it took more than a millennium, between Ptolemy and Buridan, though!)

Folly expands, occupies all space, reason follows, and sweeps behind. That’s how intelligence progresses: even the mania of crowds can be put to work.

Whether it’s painful or not, is irrelevant. The fundamental constructive naturally occurring software, the fundamental principle, of man is not pain, but intelligence.

Patrice Aymé

Aphorisms March 2014: Putin, Plutos, Malta, Math, Brain

March 29, 2014

Whip Stops Baffled Bear Momentarily:

Wonderful! Dictator Putin suggests he won’t invade anything today, if a number of changes are made to Ukraine’s constitution, friends, hopes.

Specifically, Putin let it be known that he wants demonstrations in Ukraine, which, says Putin, have been disrupting him for six months, to come to a stop. Demonstrations are a bad example to Russians: too many demonstrations make the kleptocrats flee. There was actually 50,000 people demonstrating against Putin, in Moscow, because he had annexed Crimea.

Speaking of stopping, Putin will stop, if, and only if, he is persuaded that horrendous consequences are coming his way, otherwise. It’s not going to be easy, considering that some German minister said this week that Europe could not do without Russian gas, for the foreseeable future.

And considering that Londongrad is a mighty ally of Putin… In a West ruled by plutocrats. So this is not just about Putin going crazy, it’s about him realizing he is confronting weak and divided democracies, rotten from inside.

Thus, as in the 1930s, plutocrats are playing both sides, hoping for the best. Just as in 1930s, the dictator (Hitler then, Putin now) feels in command of enough plutocratic power in the West to get what he wants, without a world war. Hitler was astounded, on September 1, 1939, when the French Republic and Britain gave him an ultimatum. He had come to believe what his Anglo-American plutocratic friends had told him, that it would never happen, because they, the plutocrats, controlled everything.

***

I Bank Therefore I Tank:

How come Putin has momentarily come to his senses? Sanctions. By closing Rossiya, a bank close to Putin, at a distance, the USA left 495,000 Russian clients without a bank. And that was just a warning shot. Visa, MasterCard and company control the essentiality of Russian banking. Also banks need some international cooperation, and that was going down too.

It goes without saying that the USA, under corrupt president Roosevelt not only did nothing of the sort, but the exact opposite. As France and Britain were in total world war against Nazism, and 45 French division tried to crash through the Siegfried Line, the USA was busy aiding and abetting Hitler’s fascist dictatorship. In a crucial way (lead tetraethyl story).

Not only were Hitler and his followers encouraged, but the German generals who wanted to arrest the Nazis, got very confused: was the USA allied to the Guide, or not?

This time, the early, swift opposition of the president of the USA to tank-born fascism, is not just the most important thing Obama did, but the most important thing any government of the USA did, in generations.

***

Heavens For Sale:

Malta has put for sale 1,800 passports and nationality. First condition: pay 650,000 Euros for the head of the family, at least 250,000 Euros of investment on top of that, plus more per family member. The stratagem is expected to bring in more than one billion Euros. Reassuringly, Malta announced that it did not expect the new Maltese citizens to spend the year there (they will be free to roam the European Union).

Malta is notorious for refusing Maltese nationality, even for those who have resided there more than twenty years, and the EC is not happy about that.

***

Your Pain Is Our Ecstasy:

The main problem of the socio-economy is plutocracy, though. Plutocracy wants the starvation of the People’s economic activity. That allows to increase the gap between the haves and have-nots, which is the plutocracy’s raison d’être, and ultimate value.

Hence the obsession fabricated by the Main Stream Media against deficits, without saying they are directly related to the plutocracy not been taxed enough. Or the insistence that the People has no skill (thus, presumably ought to be starved in all ways, including access to public education).

Referring to: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/29/the-skills-zombie/

***

Food Madness:

2.4% population growth in the 1960s. That was the excuse for the creation of massive food exportation machinery then. In the 1980s, that over-production was massively exported to poor countries and frozen European chicken destroyed local food production in poor countries.

Population growth is only 1.3% now. That’s still about 100 million added, a year.

That does not mean that shocks to the world food system are not coming. They are, thanks to the global warming and weirding.

***

Mathematics = Physics

Many modern thinkers have wondered at the remarkable efficiency of mathematics in physics. Galileo said physics was written in mathematics, Plato viewed knowing math as a prerequisite to advanced thinking.

The latter point of view is the correct one. Better: thinking, advanced or not, is, intrinsically, mathematical. Neurology is math.

Mathematics is just a more abstract physics. So if physics is hard, so can mathematics be too. The best avenue to explore what these abstract thoughts mean, is the history of Euclidean geometry. One physical simplistic simplification that Euclid made was flatness. When mathematicians realized that flatness did not have to be, Riemann soon got the idea that geodesic distanciation was equivalent to force (vulgar physicists believe Einstein got the idea).

Euclid also made many other simplifying assumptions about the nature of continuity and … And Quantum Physics violate them, starting with the notion of points.

Patrice Aymé


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in truth, only atoms and the void

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Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

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because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

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an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Rise, Republic, Plutocracy, Degeneracy, Fall And Transmutation Of Rome

Power Exponentiation By A Few Destroyed Greco-Roman Civilization. Are We Next?

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

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Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

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because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

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Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century