Posts Tagged ‘Free Will’

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’

Free Will Destroys The Holographic Principle

February 12, 2017

Abstract: Many famous physicists promote (themselves and) the “Holographic Universe” (aka the “Holographic Principle”). I show that the Holographic Universe is incompatible with the notion of Free Will.

***

When studying Advanced Calculus, one discovers situations where the information on the boundary of a locale enables to reconstitute the information inside. From my mathematical philosophy point of view, this phenomenon is a generalization of the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. That says that the sum of infinitesimals df is equal to the value of the function f on its boundary.

The Fundamental Theorem of Calculus was discovered by the French lawyer and MP, Fermat, usually rather known for proposing a theorem in Number Theory, which took nearly 400 years to be proven! Fermat actually invented calculus, a bigger fish he landed while Leibniz and Newton’s parents were in diapers.

As Wikipedia puts it, inserting a bit of francophobic fake news for good measure:  Fermat was the first person known to have evaluated the integral of general power functions. With his method, he was able to reduce this evaluation to the sum of geometric series.[10] The resulting formula was helpful to Newton, and then Leibniz, when they independently developed the fundamental theorem of calculus.” (Independently of each other, but not of Fermat; Fermat published his discovery in 1629. Newton and Leibniz were born in 1642 and 1646…)  

Holography is a fascinating technology.  

Basic Setup To Make A Hologram. Once the Object, The Green Star, Has Fallen Inside A Black Hole, It’s Clearly Impossible To Make A Hologram of the Situation, If Free Will Reigns Inside the Green Star.

Basic Setup To Make A Hologram. Once the Object, The Green Star, Has Fallen Inside A Black Hole, It’s Clearly Impossible To Make A Hologram of the Situation, If Free Will Reigns Inside the Green Star.

The objection is similar to that made in Relativity with light: if one goes at the speed of light (supposing one could), and look at a mirror, the light to be reflected could never catch-up with the mirror. Hence, once reaching the speed of light, one could not look oneself into a mirror. Einstein claimed he got this idea when he was 16-year-old (cute, but by then others had long figured out the part off Relativity pertaining to that situation…

My further objection below is going to be a bit more subtle.

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Here Is The Holographic Principle As Described In Wikipedia:

The holographic principle is a principle of string theories and a supposed property of quantum gravity that states that the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a lower-dimensional boundary to the region—preferably a light-like boundary like a gravitational horizon. First proposed by Gerard ‘t Hooft, it was given a precise string-theory interpretation by Leonard Susskind[1] who combined his ideas with previous ones of ‘t Hooft and Charles Thorn.[1][2] As pointed out by Raphael Bousso,[3] Thorn observed in 1978 that string theory admits a lower-dimensional description in which gravity emerges from it in what would now be called a holographic way.

In a larger sense, the theory suggests that the entire universe can be seen as two-dimensional information on the cosmological horizon, the event horizon from which information may still be gathered and not lost due to the natural limitations of spacetime supporting a black hole, an observer and a given setting of these specific elements,[clarification needed] such that the three dimensions we observe are an effective description only at macroscopic scales and at low energies. Cosmological holography has not been made mathematically precise, partly because the particle horizon has a non-zero area and grows with time.[4][5]

The holographic principle was inspired by black hole thermodynamics, which conjectures that the maximal entropy in any region scales with the radius squared, and not cubed as might be expected. In the case of a black hole, the insight was that the informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole might be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon.

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The Superficiality Principle Rules:

I long suspected that physicists and mathematicians are taken by the beauty of the simplification of knowing the inside from the outside. It’s a sort of beauty, fashion model way of looking at the world. It miserably fails with Black Holes.

To figure this out, one needs to know one thing about Black Holes, and another in philosophy of mind.

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FREE WILL DEMOLITION OF THE HOLOGRAPHIC PRINCIPLE:

My reasoning is simple:

  1. Consider a Black Hole so large that a human being can fall into it without been shredded by tidal effects. A few lines of high school computation show that a Milky Way sized volume with the density of air on Earth is a Black Hole: light falling into it, cannot come back. (Newton could have made the computation and Laplace did it.)
  2. So here we have this Human (call her H), falling in the Milky Way Air Black Hole (MWAB).
  3. Once past the boundary of the Black Hole, Human H cannot be communicated with from the outside of the boundary (at least from known physics).
  4. What the Holographic proponent claim is that they can know what is inside the MWAB.
  5. Suppose that Human H decides to have scrambled eggs for breakfast instead of pancakes. The partisans of the Holographic Universe claim that they had the information already. However they stand outside of the MWAB, the giant Black Hole, and cannot communicate with its interior. Nevertheless, Susskind and company claim they knew it all along.

That is obviously grotesque. (Except if you believe Stanford physicists are omniscient, omnipotent gods, violating known laws of physics: that is basically what they claim.)

This is not as ridiculous as the multiverse (the most ridiculous theory ever). But it’s pretty ridiculous too. (Not to say that the questions Free Will lead to in physics are all ridiculous: they are not, especially regarding Quantum Theory!)

By the way, there are other objections against the Holographic Universe having to do with the COSMOLOGICAL Event Horizon (in contradistinction of those generated by Black Holes). Another time…

***

We Are Hypocrites, So We Live From Fake News:

Tellingly, the men promoting the Holographic Universe are Nobel Laureates, or the like. Such men tend to be very ambitious, full of Free Will, ready to say, or do anything, to dominate (I have met dozens in person). It is revealing that so great their Free Will is, that they are ready to contradict what they are all about, to make everybody talk about themselves, and promote their already colossal glories.

Patrice Ayme’

Three Neurons, Free Will

March 15, 2015

Modern Slaves Are Predictable, Free Worms Are Not:

Enough of these sad songs about how plutocracy, stupidity, cowardice and greed rule! Worms are smart, and willful! Yes, even worms have Free Will. Too bad for those who thought god controlled everything. Too bad for those who thought animals were machines. Too bad for those controlled by a decerebrating media: they are predictable, whereas worms are not.

That worms have free will is what a study led by Cori Bargmann shows. She is, among other titles, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor, head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior at Rockefeller University (Americans love complicated titles, they aspire to aristocracy; Wiesel a Swedish neurologist, got the Nobel, and was president of Rockefeller).

Brainy Blonde Cori Bargmann “Think Like A Worm”

Brainy Blonde Cori Bargmann “Think Like A Worm”

Researchers can genetically engineered just two, or three neurons in the worm’s head to glow bright green if those neurons respond.

Each neuron in the worm’s brain is assigned a three letter name. By zapping specific neurons with a laser beam, the neuron’s role is deduced from whatever function the worm lost.

So doing, working through the 302 neurons of Caenorhabditis elegans, Cornelia Bargmann discovered that just one neuron control worm hibernation and that worms have a sense of smell, and taste.

In 2011, Bargmann was asked what would be required to understand the worm’s nervous system fully. “You would want to understand a behavior all the way through, and then how the behavior can change. That goal is not unattainable.”

Well, in the end, I believe the behavior of neurons will be found to boil down to Quantum, or even SUB-Quantum physics. So, in the end, there will be no full understanding, just good guesses.

This is indeed what Bargmann discovered in 2015 points towards.

[See below much of the press release from Rockefeller. Also a 2011 NYT’s article on Bargmann’s lab, “In Tiny Worm, Unlocking Secrets of the Brain” may help.]

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FREE WILL WORM GNAWING OLD PHILOSOPHY:

First, let me philosophize on this recent scientific discovery, which is bound to shatter many old illusions. Philosophy means guess further, or observe, what it all means, or could mean.

Saint Bernard made a rather enlightened observation: “the animal spirit or soul is limited by time – it dies with the body.” Descartes, five centuries later, advanced the grotesque thesis that animals were machines. It was grotesque, because anybody familiar with animals can tell they have free will.

Now neurologists have put Free Will down to as little as three neurons.

Indeed, then, worms are not machines, at least not in the classical sense. Given an input, they behave in unpredictable way, differently from classical machines. That is what the neurologists found.

Do we know of machines behaving that way? Yes. Quantum machines. A Quantum machine is driven by the unpredictable certainty of Quantum Waves.

Are worms then Quantum machines? Yes and no, as Abelard would say. Not necessarily, but probably.

Worms were exposed to a stimulus, a delicious smell. The same smell, always, but it did not give rise to the same reaction. Sometimes worms wormed their way towards the source of the smell, sometimes not.

Conclusion?

The worms’ thinking prevent us to predict its behavior. (Worms are smarter than politicians, the latter being thoroughly predictable!)

Plato famously considered his cave, where people were described as watching shadows on a wall. That was supposed to depict the relationship between humans and reality. The image is still popular among philosophers, and so consequences of it trickle down to the masses.

Plato’s picture is interesting, and it sure applies to propaganda from the powerful, and the way it is received by most. But only as such. As a depiction of how the minds of free worms, let alone, free humans, works, it fails utterly.

However, as far as what science says, and thus, what philosophy ought to confirm, buttress, and fly from, Plato’s picture is now completely obsolete, deprived of reality and imagination.

If a network composed of only three neurons can have an internal mind of its own, a cave of its own, we have to review and change, the concept of mind.

So, what is a mind? A mind, even reduced to three neurons, a network of a mind, has its own mind. How could that be?

Minds are worlds, this is why and how they will. Let me explain.

Quantum Physics describes the behavior of Quantum Waves. Quantum Waves sort-of think (one thousand and one naïve philosophers screaming at this point).

What is thinking? Roughly, “looking”, or perceiving (somehow) what is out there, and then conducting a computation (of sorts) taking what is out there in consideration.

This is exactly what Quantum Waves do.

The roundworm, our hero of will, has 2,000 genes controlling its sense of smell (twice what the rats have, and rats have excellent olfaction). Roundworms do not hear, and do not see, they are all about smell.

That world of smell occupy (part of) their 302 neurons, and build up the rest.

Could we made a “classical” model of a three neuron network? Perhaps, in first order. Actually, even classical model, complete with guiding waves, have been partly made, not just on a computer, but experimentally… for Quantum Waves.

However, in the end, Quantum processes will be found to be non-local (because, well, they are). That will ultimately limit classical, guiding waves models of Quantum waves, Black Holes, or even Roundworms three neuron networks.

If a piece of a worm’s mind is a world, entangled with the rest of the galaxy at a distance, philosophy also has to stretch.

Some would say that whether minds are Quantum, or entangled at a distance, will not bring the bacon on the table: this is neither here, nor there, as it has no practical effects. They would be wrong. Indeed, Non-Local philosophical models, Non-local, Quantum models of thinking, will allow to stretch human understanding so far that it may end up meeting reality itself.

Patrice Ayme’

***

Here is much of the press release from Rockefeller University:

Analysis of worm neurons suggests how a single stimulus can trigger different responses

March 12, 2015 | Science News

Even worms have free will. If offered a delicious smell, for example, a roundworm will usually stop its wandering to investigate the source, but sometimes it won’t. Just as with humans, the same stimulus does not always provoke the same response, even from the same individual. New research at Rockefeller University, published March 12 2015, in Cell, offers a new neurological explanation for this variability, derived by studying a simple three-cell network within the roundworm brain.

Worm brain: All the neurons within this microscopic roundworm are highlighted, with the large cluster at one end representing the brain. Coelomocytes, a type of immune cell, appear as dots along the body.

“We found that the collective state of the three neurons at the exact moment an odor arrives determines the likelihood that the worm will move toward the smell. So, in essence, what the worm is thinking about at the time determines how it responds,” says study author Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor, head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior. “It goes to show that nervous systems aren’t passively waiting for signals from outside, they have their own internal patterns of activity that are as important as any external signal when it comes to generating a behavior.”

… By changing the activity of the neurons individually and in combination [researchers] could pinpoint each neuron’s role in generating variability in both brain activity and the behavior associated with it.

The human brain has 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses, or connections, among them. The brain of the microscopic roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, by comparison, has 302 neurons and 7,000 synapses. So while the worm’s brain cannot replicate the complexity of the human brain, scientists can use it to address tricky neurological questions that would be nearly impossible to broach in our own brains.

Worms spend their time wandering, looking for decomposing matter to eat. And when they smell it, they usually stop making random turns and travel straight toward the source. This change in behavior is initially triggered by a sensory neuron that perceives the smell and feeds that information to the network the researchers studied. As the worms pick up the alluring fruity smell of isoamyl alcohol, the neurons in the network transition into a low activity state that allows them to approach the odor. But sometimes the neurons remain highly active, and the worm continues to wander around – even though its sensory neuron has detected the odor.

By recording the activity of these neurons, Gordus and colleagues found that there were three persistent states among the three neurons: All were off, all were on, or only one, called AIB, was on. If all were off, then, when the odor signal arrived, they stayed off. If all were on, they often, but not always, shut off. And, in the third and most telling scenario, if AIB alone was active when the odor arrived, everything shut off. “This means that for AIB, context matters. If it’s on alone, its activity will drop when odor is added, but if it’s on with the rest of the network, it has difficulty dropping its activity with the others,” Gordus says.

AIB is the first neuron in the network to receive the signal, which it then relays to the other two network members, known as RIM and AVA; AVA sends out the final instruction to the muscles. When the researchers shut off RIM and AVA individually and together, they found AIB’s response to the odor signal improved. This suggests that input from these two neurons competes with the sensory signal as it feeds down through the network.

Scaled up to account for the more nuanced behaviors of humans, the research may suggest ways in which our brains process competing motivations. “For humans, a hungry state might lead to you walk across the street to a delicious smelling restaurant. However, a competing aversion to the cold might lead you to stay indoors,” he says.

In the worm experiments, the competition between neurons was influenced by the state of the network. There is plenty of evidence suggesting network states have a similar impact on animals with much larger and more complex brains, including us, says Bargmann…“In a mammalian nervous system, millions of neurons are active all the time. Traditionally, we think of them as acting individually, but that is changing. Our understanding has evolved toward seeing important functions in terms of collective activity states within the brain.”

 

 

FREE WILL Was Not Built Yesterday

February 4, 2015

Free Will Is No Free Lunch.

Wherein It is Shown That “Free Will” Is, At Best, a Quantum Architectural Process, Thus Something Long In The Making: If You Want Freedom, You Need To Work On Your Brain. 

In Mental Inertia, I argued that much of what humans do has to do with being dragged along with what one has become, and, or, the thing, or behavior that has already started. Many made the observation long before, but what is new is that the enormous architecture of the brain makes it amply clear why it is so. And that there are no derogation.

It remains to consider what this means for the problem of “Free Will”. And for the SOLUTION of “Free Will”.

Mental inertia is both problem and solution for “Free Will”.

The Franks Exhibited Their Colorful Variegated Wills

The Franks Exhibited Their Colorful Variegated Wills

“Free Will” causes a traditional problem for a train of thought in the West. This so-called “compatibility problem” comes from believing in an absolute, omnipotent god… Or from believing into what came to replace the omnipotent Judaic god: an absolute, omnipotent, completely deterministic Classical Mechanics.

There was a near-civil war among Catholics in France in the Seventeenth Century about the problem of “Free Will” (then called the problem of “Grace”). Blaise Pascal was on the side of the omnipotence of god (after he had a near fatal disease and became nuts). Louis XIV had to intervene, and shut down the “Jansenists“, the fundamentalists who believed in the ultra omnipotence of god.

If either omnipotent god, or omnipotent determinism, holds the universe in its grip, individuals are pre-determined. They have no freedom. There can no “Free Will”.

This is counterfactual: obviously, the Franks who founded the West, were extremely free. “Frank” means “Free”, or “Ferocious” (a distinction without a difference). And the Franks had lots of Will: a few tens of thousands of Frankish warriors came to rule over many million Gallo-Romans and Germans. The defeated all other armies in Galli and the Germanias.

How could the Franks be compatible with the old omnipotent God? Naturally, they were not: Clovis, King, Consul, and Imperator, knew this well. So Clovis re-invented God, in his own special way. All right, Constantine had done the same, two centuries earlier. Constantine, after fighting them, had allied himself to the Franks. Clovis threw away the old metaphysics of the Evangels.

As Clovis said, “if me and my Franks had been there, Jesus would never have been crucified!

It is not that Clovis did not understand the ancient passive message of submission to the child-sacrificing Abrahamic god. No. Clovis did NOT want to understand it. Where Abrahamism taught submission to the child-killing, omnipotent, freakish god, the great rabid dog in the sky, Clovis taught reason, and thus rebellion, and the dignity of common sense.

The Franks, the Free, the Ferocious, wiped clean the errors of the Greco-Roman civilization, and especially its Catholic degeneracy, and dysfunctional slavery. Frankish Will founded the civilization we have. And it was all because the Franks were so Free and Ferocious. It would have happen without.

The Franks made a caricature of old Catholicism, and threw it to the oubliettes de l’histoire.

the Franks had so much Will, that they could afford tolerance, and highly colored clothing. Tolerance was how the Franks ruled: all those unfortunates that rabid Catholicism had excluded, such as “Philosophers”, Pagans, Jews, and other traditional ideologies, were welcome back as full members of society. More than that: the Catholic TERROR was removed as a factor clamping down on the minds.

By 600 CE, everybody in the huge Imperium Francorum, was a Frank. (In another two centuries, they called themselves “Roman” again.)

Frankish Will was force. In the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, it turns out that the three attackers were viewed as terrorists (“fiché”) by the State. But the French, nowadays, have lost the Will which characterized the Franks (in the 1960s, such terrorists would have been preventively detained. This is how De Gaulle broke the OAS. Around 1,000 French are fichés.)

FREE WILL IS BACK!

Nobody serious and well educated believes in God or Classical Mechanics anymore: the former was exposed as a trick of elites, the latter has been replaced by Quantum Physics.

Thus nothing stands again to block Free Will, on a matter of principle. If I were Nietzsche, I would add something he did not think of: the old omnipotent god destroyed by its very omnipotence the very possibility of Freedom. That was the whole idea of the Roman emperors of the Late Empire, starting with Diocletian (circa 300 CE).

On the face of it, the expression “Free Will” is revealing. “Free Will”? Is there Will that is not free? Is it well known, in the West, that Will can come in a non-free variant?

Can Will be chained, or, let’s say played with, amplified? This is the very idea which makes baboon armies so dangerous, and, thus efficient: when 200 male baboons act as one, that’s 400 four centimeters long canine facing the enemy. The King of Prussia Frederik the Great’s superior military rested a lot on discipline second to none. The more an army’s soldiers have the Will of the Chief, the more efficient it is.

Is Will getting leveraged, like anything else in this singularity-of-technology age? Well, yes, of course. Just look at Jihadists; their Will is getting leveraged… Through an amplification from institutionalized hatred, much of it from electrons circulating in the Internet.

Now they show on the Internet how they burn their enemies alive.

More scientifically, yet less profoundly, Konrad Lorentz and others showed that animals with brains can be “imprinted”. Their neurobiology, exposed at particular times, such as the first time, to some input, can stay that way forever.

For example, Lorentz made baby geese behave as if he were their mother. The experience has been reproduced a lot since. Come to think of it, it is central to enable animal husbandry, so it should not be exactly news

FREE WILL: A QUANTUM ARCHITECTURE

Free Will will, of course involve all of Quantum Physics. Roger Penrose, jumping on that bandwagon, believed the Quantum would show up as originating from pretty large scale objects (“micro-tubules”). That was very far-fetched.

All what is sure, and that’s enough, is that all molecular processes (including DNA) will see the evolution of their finer features Quantum controlled.

Quantum Biology will dominate biology, within a few decades. Meanwhile, physicists had to take into account the fact that we may have no Free Will whatsoever, and thus have been condemned, in a Quantum Sisyphusian way, to repeat the Quantum Non-Locality experiments after excluding carefully all and any human being.

Per the delocalized nature of Quantum Processes, we will get there a framework for consciousness corresponding the intuition we have of it.

Then the real question becomes: how Free is a Will that emanates from Quantum Processes? Quantum Processes are delocalized, and entangled, throughout. They make an architecture. Free Will, thus, is not a point-wise effect, in the instant. It is going to be an architecture.

Free Will was not built yesterday. And it was built from a world of inputs and entanglements. We are observers, experimenters, tinkerers and explorers of our own minds. We may be free in some ways, but not of the heavens, hells, and routines we have built onto ourselves, and been imprinted with.

We can will Will, but we are not free to will a Will we did not freely willed, for a very long time, and through much hard brain work. That is why people who live under Submission, will always be slaves, even if, in their impotent hysteria, they go around and about burning people alive, here and there.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Free Will & Quantum

December 27, 2014

It is natural to suspect that those who evoke the Quantum at every turn are a bit deranged. Has a Quantum obsession replaced God? God died, but not the need to obsess? (Dominique Deux made a wry remark in that direction.)

Nietzsche himself is an example. Having “killed” (his father’s) “God“, Nietzsche obsessed about the (Indian based) “Eternal Return of the Same”, something from the Zeitgeist. Henri Poincare’ soon demonstrated some dynamical systems roughly do this (although I certainly do not believe all Solar Systems will; recent observations have confirmed my hunch: many Solar Systems are very unstable, the Sun-Jupiter harmony may be rare…)

Quasar & Host Galaxy [NASA-ESA Hubble]

Quasar & Host Galaxy [NASA-ESA Hubble]

[The picture, from 1996, is poor, as the Quasar is very far. We need another telescope, but plutocrats don’t want it, because they would have to pay more taxes, thus rendered unable to treat the Commons as dirt as much as they desire. Yet, in spite of the plutocratically imposed low resolution, one can see the mighty ultra-relativistic jets arising from the Quasar’s core.]

Obsessing about the Quantum is obsessing about the true nature of Nature. As it turns out it’s much simpler and magical than the classical picture.

Nature is the Quantum writ large. Relativity, the Standard model, the Big Bang: these are all amusements of dubious veracity. The Quantum is the Real Thing. And it’s everywhere. Most people just don’t know it yet.

Even Biological Evolution Theory, or Free Will, are going to be revealed to be within the Quantum’s empire.

There is something called “Free Will Skepticism” as massaged in Gregg Caruso Scientia Salon’s essays, and his (celebrity) TED talk. It is not so much skepticism about the existence of Free Will, but skepticism that those who loudly believe in “Free Will” have a constructive, progressive attitude in the society of the USA.

Ultimately, the problem of Free Will will have to tackle the problem of what are exactly the free agents in Quantum Physics.

Well, nobody knows for sure. What the free agents are is the central problem of Quantum Computing, and the high energy physicists’ wild goose chase for high energy processes went the other way, for two generations, so we don’t know what determines the evolution of the Quantum systems.

High energy processes are of interest only in high energy places, none of which are found where the biosphere lays. In other words, much physics, high energy physics used the Quantum, but did not try to figure it out.

Not knowing what the free agents, if any, of Quantum Physics are imply that we do not know what determines the evolution of the simplest processes.

The simplest processes are, by definition, the Quantum processes.

As long as we do not really know what controls simplest systems, talking about whether there is Free Will, or not, is shooting the breeze.

Free Will is even a problem in Quantum Non-Local analysis.

On-going experiments on non-locality. In some hard core physics labs. Those experiments aim to turn around the problem that we may have no Free Will.

The situation is this: doing a measurement at point A was found to have an influence at point B. The influence propagates orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light (as the formalism of basic Quantum Physics theory predicts).

French physicist Alain Aspect was able to show this with crafty optico-acoustic devices (he got the Wolf prize for this, and, clearly, ought to get the physics Nobel). The question remained, though, that maybe Alain Aspect himself was a pre-determined phenomenon deprived of Free Will.

To check this, Aspect’s experiment is going to be re-run with distant quasars in charge (rather than just some French guys). MIT physics department is doing this.

Free Will is the last major loophole of Bell’s inequality — a 50-year-old theorem on Spin that, as it is violated by experiments, means that the universe is based not the (topologically separated) laws of classical physics, but on Non-Locality.

Actually this is all very simple. (No need for the fancy high school math of Bell’s theorem, a particular case of Non-Locality with spins.)

Two quasars on opposite sides of heavens are so distant from each other, that they would have been out of causal contact since the (semi-mythical) Big Bang some 14 billion years ago: there are no possible means for any third party to communicate with both of them since the (semi-mythical) beginning of the universe…

Now, of course, if my own version of the universe is true, and the universe is actually 100 billion years old, the “loophole” re-opens…

But of course, as a philosopher, I know perfectly well that I have Free Will, and, as a momentarily benevolent soul, I extend the courtesy to Alain Aspect.

The universe is Non-Local, even my Free Will is Non-Local, it does not have to be like long dead gentlemen thought it should be.

Patrice Ayme’

MOODS RULE THOUGHTS

December 26, 2014

Systems Of Moods Overwhelm Systems of Thought.

MOODS MAKE UP THE GENETICS OF LOGIC:

Are we born with “instincts” such as “care”, and the like? Or do we learn? I believe we learn (much of this being fast learning, and, mostly, subconscious). How does that work? Well, it would work from General Topology informing neurogenesis.

French philosopher Foucault baptized himself historian of systems of thought, when he got a professorship at the prestigious Collège de France in 1970. (Collège de France, the ultimate think institution, is five centuries old.)

I have gone one further, by introducing Systems of Moods. Why moods? Emotion Primes Reason. However, rarely does one emotion rule alone, but for ravenous hunger, abject terror, and other animalistic crazes. Instead, when we meditate ponderously, we are usually ruled by moods.

What’s a mood? It’s a cocktail of emotions. Systems of Moods are articulated with their own logic. Pascal discovered this, when he said “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison n’a pas”.

Why and how does the “heart” have its own logic? The answer has to do with where does logic come from? Logic is basically about arrows, implications: ’if A, then B’.

Where do these “thens”, these implications, come from? When one says:’I have a bad feeling about this’, one reasons out of a mood: the forest is suddenly too quiet, or a bird made an alarm sound… And suddenly all of one’s senses are in full alert.

Sets of moods will tend to topological relations. Instead of the one to one relations of logic or category theory. Topology, the logic of places, can bring to bear relationships that are much more general than ‘if A then B’. Relations such as: ’if A is close to B while C is close to D, when closer to A than B, then…’

This topo-logic can be embodied by neurohormones, neurotransmitters, and the neighborhoods they create (neighborhood is here used in the exact mathematical, General Topological sense). This no idle theory: it’s known that dendrites, and other neuronal structures, tend to grow in some directions, depending upon these chemicals. That means that the neurological relations of linear logic are built from the emotional and neurohormonal calculus.

***

AN EXAMPLE WHERE MOODS DOMINATE, AND LOGIC IS SECONDARY:

I am going to use an example that arose from my adventures at a philosophy website. It’s rather complex, so let me give an abstract first: a philosophy professor drew a correct conclusion, yet the EXACT OPPOSITE conclusion is also valid. How is that possible? It is because, once some moods and emotions are rolled out, logic can go one way, or the other.

So much for the old hope that determinism and logic (in the conventional sense) rule all.

The example was extracted from Scientia Salon, a site run by university philosophers.

Philosophy professor Gregg Caruso considered polls on the behavior of USA citizens (that’s called “experimental philosophy”). Verdict? The relationship between believing in Free Will and believing that low lives dug their own fates, seems strong in the USA.

Gregg wrote: “juries — eager to preserve their belief in a just world — are already inclined to see the victim … as other than innocent… just one unfortunate example of the pernicious nature of belief in a just world… since, of course, if the world is just, then people must have brought these circumstances upon themselves. This blaming of victims (in defense of belief in a just world) has been established by numerous studies… the stronger the belief in a just world the greater the likelihood of blaming victims for their unfortunate fates.”

Any society rests on logic. The logic does not have to be all-embracing, it just has to be effective enough to support the social organization. Gregg’s general thesis is a good antidote to the present logic dominating the USA. Yet a USA social truth does not have to be a truth of human ethology.

And it is not, as egregious cases in non-USA based history and geography show.

The Nazis believed the less Free Will, the better: “society’s needs come before the individual’s needs” (Adolf Hitler). So did the followers of Stalin. So do, to a great extent some of the Muslim religions (so called “branches” of Islam). All believe(d) that individual Free Will had to be eradicated. Islam comes from aslama “he submitted”.

All believe(d) that the world could be made just through the application of strength, and the Will of God, the General Secretary, or the Guide.

Now, if I abstract the examples above (Stalinism, Nazism, Islamism), I can rephrase the grand conclusion of Gregg, into its complete contradiction. Below I just changed “Free Will” into “NON Free Will”:

…belief in NON free will, it was found, by studying the historical examples above, is associated with just world belief, authoritarianism, religiosity, punitiveness, and moralistic standards for judging self and other. While these considerations do not prove belief in NON free will is mistaken, they do indicate that the putative pragmatic benefits of believing in NON free will and desert-based moral responsibility are bogus.

Gregg showed that in the USA to doubt Free Will would allow society to progress. History, in many other places show that rejecting Free Will led to horrible societies.

How come Gregg’s informed logic and concrete polls can be turned on its head? What is going on?

The answer is from the theory of systems of moods. The reason that the logic can be turned on its head is that what truly matters are the mood and subjacent emotions.

Example. The Nazis posed themselves as victims of an unjust world (big, bad, rich, hypocritical, Indian exterminating America; Versailles Treaty). Germans, all over, were oppressed minorities. Only surrendering Free Will would be bring back justice and stop the punition they were submitted to.

Strong emotions, bound by strong logic, make strong medicine. Yet, the logic is secondary. It could go whichever way. This is what the apparent truth of both Free Will Skepticism, and the truth of its exact opposite, my pernicious anti-thesis (just an observation, too), demonstrate.

Foucault suggested that power laid in discourses, more than anything else. I agree. Yet, beyond that, power lays in the raw emotions, and the moods they blossom into. The exact nature of the way they get organized is an afterthought.

Here is an explicit example: Christianism and love. Christ said that to love was the commanding commandment. Fine. However, read what he exactly said:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

What’s the strongest emotion here? Jesus says it himself: loving obedience to “the Lord”. He puts it first. However, obedience is not the most prominent feature of human ethology (raw love probably is, next to the survival instinct). Thus the implied logic is the violence one has to exert to do something unnatural, obeying a so-called “Lord”.

In the end, Jesus’ primary emotion holds in just one word: “Lord”. Jesus is a plutophile: loving a “Lord” is the first law.

He, and others, can put whatever logic they want after that to embellish the ugliness, and comfort the horror. It does not really matter. The overall mood flows from there, one concept: “the Lord”. The rest is just rearranging the chairs on the sinking Titanic of Jesus’ make belief goodness.

Patrice Ayme’

Free Will, Meta Will, Evil, & the Good Lord

December 23, 2014

That “Free Will” is not free of society was made clear in Europe with the example of fascism (German, Soviet, Italian, Spanish, in historical order, not to mention Slavs and Balkans…). Various nationalistic crazes and pogrom like activities have shown the natural tendencies of entire peoples to behave like nasty robotic mass-homicidal torturing monsters.

Europe was founded and named, by the Franks. The Frankish government, in antique Roman Republican style, “renovated” by its good offices, was tolerant of all superstitions, including Catholicism, Paganism, Atheism, Judaism, and even Islamism.

However, coincident to and related with, the rise of extravagant Middle-Ages plutocracy, society became much less tolerant. The trigger was the First Crusade. In 1099 CE, Jews were mass massacred, in Alsace and further east, when herds of violent Catholics, full of enraged fervor. migrated east to take back Jerusalem.

Evil, Intel Of Angel

Evil, Intel Of Angel

The grand conclusion of this experience in hatred was revealed to the world by American Army generals in 1945, when the horror of extermination camps was revealed (the logical chain of Jew hatred went from burning all Cathars to Saint Louis, to Luther). In those Nazi camps around 22 million people were assassinated, according to the latest estimates (11 million killed for racist reasons, including 6 million Jews, plus 3.3 million Russian army prisoners, etc…).

Thus, after World War Two, social engineering in many European countries repaired the society to cure the individuals. It seems to have worked: the probability of being victim of a very serious crime, or being incarcerated, is an order of magnitude (a factor of ten) lower in Western Europe, than in the USA.

Does Knowledge Cause Crime?

That knowledge causes crime is the argument the partisans of obsolete moral systems always use. In a trivial, self-referencing way, they are right: if one defines crime as what the old moral system forbids, the change of moral systems will always cause crime. Having women starting to drive in Saudi Arabia would not doubt augment the crime rate.

However, human beings are knowledge and wisdom machines. Once they know what influences them, they take it into account.

Why? Human beings have long known that what’s in their heads is not necessarily what is out there. All hunters know that what appear is not necessarily what there is. They did not have to wait one million years for Nietzsche to tell them that. Superiorly differentiating distortions in information and the nature of reality, is what make a better predators, hence a more successful human being, or group.

Better philosophy eats better, and survives better. It’s the ultimate weapon. (Example: Athens at its apogee, when a herd of philosophers drove the state, and was able to harness the Free Will of its citizenry in a superlative armed polis.)

Saying that “Free Will does not exist” is not really what is going on. Much of what looks like “free” is actually a product of the group. Free Will arises from “Meta Will” what J-J. Rousseau called the “General Will”. The “General Will” will be hard to define: after all, it’s a mathematical notion going beyond our present computational capabilities (a typical case where Quantum Computing will help).

Any social thinking, where part of the Meta Will lays, is tainted in the USA by the background of the American police and justice systems, with its incarceration rate more than five times the world average (and much more if one takes into account all those under judicial surveillance, a category developed more in the USA than anywhere else).

Much “Free Will” being “Group Will”, if one does not like what the former leads to, one has to work on the latter. This is why what society believes in, say in a superstition, does not just impact individuals, it makes them up into what they are. (Consider the Middle-East an its imbroglio of fanatical, lethally opposed superstitions.)

The more we know, the more we can act upon the world, and thus the more freedom we have. However freedom is not what plutocrats want to see average people enjoy. Plutocrats go according to their namesake, Pluto, Satan. Demons in hell do not want to see those they are supposed to torture, enjoying freedom, or enjoying anything at all.

Yet, it’s the other way. Overall, on a civilizational scale, knowledge augments not just power, but morality.

The more we know, the more we know when we are not acting for the best, the more we can accuse ourselves of not acting well. And thus, the greater the opportunity we have to act well, and the better we will act.

We have a moral system which is evolutionary given (evolution being the Creator we had been looking for!). This natural Human Ethology interacts both with the Meta Will and individual Free Will.

However, in the USA the Plutocratic mentality is triumphant (latest GDP growth at an annual rate of 5%, not far behind plutocratic China). In this social paradigm, the Randian worship of the rugged individual is celebrated. People have to work, not by choice, as in Europe, but just to survive.

To justify itself, the Plutocratic mentality reveres Free Will. According to this system of thought and mood, all and any success is attributed to immanent justice, a just universe, which rewards character, ability and effort. Sociological studies have proven this.

The tension between Free Will and General Will, is that between Evil and Our Good Lord. It’s a debate, one side can’t think, let alone talk, without the other.

Obama has understood this, just enough to make do. We all have to travel the same road. Our General Will, right now, is called CO2. It will be a heavy cross. Look at the bright side, as Jesus, or Camus, would say.

To be able to smile, and it means something, we have to know how to snarl.

Patrice Ayme’

Free Will, Consequence of Meta Will

December 22, 2014

Systems of thought arise from individual wills to create what Jean-Jacques Rousseau introduced, and named the “General Will”. In the last 150 years or so, it has become increasingly clear that the notion of “Free Will” was in turn highly dependent upon other notions, including “General Will”.

I prefer the expression “Meta Will” (which is even more general).

A philosophical site managed by professional academic philosophers ran an essay entitled Free Will Skepticism and its Implications an Argument for Optimism (part-1). My comment below was repeatedly censored, supposedly for making “grating” anti-German, or anti-Nazi declarations. (I think the truth is even more sinister: professional philosophers fear me; I will reproduce the exchange in the comments.)

Free Will Ought To Give Way To Meta Will

Whenever an action is taken, it turns out to be dependent of some context, often cultural, or some preparation, often neurological, or some ulterior motives, often self-aggrandizing. In other words, free will is never free of contingence.

So what? This just show that the expression “Free Will” depicts the wrong semantics. After all, we are not free to stop breathing. In theory, yes. In practice, it is impossible, except if we carefully prepare a mechanism that will take over (a lot of sleeping pills, or a noose).

The problem of suffocation suggests that, if we want to be more free (for example free to stop breathing), we have to make the environment take over. Thus Free Will has to operate not just on “us”, but on the environment which controls us.

This is why philosophers’ Free Will have led them to the desert, since times immemorial. In the desert, they are more free to think.

Quantum Physics helps here. It is non-local. Actually some physicists are in the process to make really sure of that, by running entanglement experiments with haphazard impulses coming from the opposite sides of the universe.

Intriguingly, if the experiment turns out as expected, this variant of the famed Einstein-Podolski-Rosen Thought Experiment will show that local Free Will cannot exist. But, once again, so what? Free Will is obsolete, Meta Will is what one can help to free, by controlling more the contexts we think in.

The soul is most probably some sort of large scale Quantum effect. How do Quantum processes work? They extract solutions from geometry, or, more generally, form. Non-local geometry, and non-local form.

Thus, if we want to achieve soul control, we need to achieve geometrical and topological control on our environment. And this starts by being conscious that those control our outcomes.

Thus, instead of just talking about our morality, we have to start talking about the environment in which it is supposed to blossom, as the later will control the former. Thus individual responsibility shifts more to social contexts.

And therefore, the systems of thoughts which support social structures are the agents most responsible. This is where much of Free Will is hiding.

Let me give an example: Germans behaved deplorably for generations, more than people of other nations (that is more than the Italians, French, British, American, etc.). This nasty robotic aspect of German mentality allowed dictators to make the German armies behave in atrocious ways for generations (differently from the armies of the nations quoted above, which did not engage in systematic war crimes).

That unfortunate character of the German soul killed 22 million in extermination camps alone, due to the fascist, robotic nature of the dictatorships (the Second Reich, and then the Third Reich) in Germany, and the education it provided with (as Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Einstein pointed out, deplored and condemned stridently, among others).

German genetics did not change that much. Yet, present day German souls are completely different. They have become French souls, so to speak. They are sister souls for Republican France against old German fascism.

German Free Will has become gentle. This shows that Free Will depends crucially of the universe it evolves in.

Patrice Ayme’

Free Will, Modernized

October 22, 2014

Converted Canadian Muslims crush, and shoot Canadians. Hey, they read it in a magazine! Do those killers have free will? Or are they just Qur’an programmed machines? This is the sort of quandary which advances in neurology show the ancient debate on Free Will ought to be about. Here is a tiny refresher about the Qur’an:

Quran (2:216)Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

Quran (3:56)“As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

Quran (3:151)“Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”.  This speaks directly of polytheists, thus including Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (Muhammad incorrectly believed that Christians had ‘joining companions to Allah’… as his mentor was a relative, a Coptic monk!).

Quran (4:74)“Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.”

Quran (8:12)“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

Quran (8:39)“And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah”

OK, I stop here with Qur’an machine’s quotes, because this essay is not about Islam, but about Free Will. The preceding makes it clear that whoever really believes textually and literally in what’s written in the Qur’an ought to march into the Parliament in Ottawa, and destroy the disbelief there, to gather the vast reward.

And the question is: do these people have Free Will?

The modern debate about Free Will has not been about that. It has been, for centuries, about “gratuitous acts” [actes gratuits]. This has been an entirely stupid debate, the provinces of lost philosophers; any bear or lion hunter knows free will exists, not just in humans, but in the minds of ferocious beasts (thus making them hard to predict; once I found myself weaponless, 10 years old, and facing the largest lion I ever saw; I carefully paid my respects, and backed off slowly as I anybody in such circumstances ought to do, acknowledging the splendor of the king of beasts, making Him feel very good about Himself, and thus making my on-going existence something which, however minute and unworthy, represented an element of satisfaction for the Lord of Africa).

Modern brain scanning techniques have brought a twist on that: the launching of an act is preceded by unconscious brain preparations, several tenths of second prior.

That is totally unsurprising. The brain is like an immense, giant machine, with millions of programs and preparations running simultaneously. Consciousness looks, and can only look, at very few of them.

At least, we know this now.

For example the latest Nobel in Biology was attributed for the discovery of tiny hexagonal networks of neurons which act like microscopic Geostationary Positioning Systems. Such circuitry is active continuously, to provide a sense of place. It influences consciousness, and thus Free Will.

(Say: if the internal GPS indicates we are falling off, the Free Will debate will be shut-down. Instantaneously.)

The free will debate is thousands of years old. It became acute after Constantine’s terrorizing dictatorship imposed as state religion an omnipotent, omniscient god. How can be free, if god is everything?

That had the pleasant consequence that intellectuals, instead of worrying about the dictators, conducted 17 centuries of sterile debates about whether god allowed them to be free (in truth it’s Constantine and his tyrannical successors who did not allow them to be free).

When a bell rings, Pavlov discovered that the dog’s digestive system sprang to attention. The free will is the one who rings the bell. But what if it was not an individual ringing the bell, but history itself? Would we be conscious of it?

Of course the phenomenon of springing to attention is familiar to macho men seeing a beautiful woman in the distance. Conditioned reflexes are all over. But could it be that the exaggerated masculinity of those who spring to attention when seeing a woman, be itself a conditioned neural, glial, and neurohormonal system of sorts?

It is well known that people learn to fake emotions and behaviors: homosexuals living in the closet have long done this. But not just them. I claim it’s all over the place. Even in the fascination with wine. So some will reach happiness only when they can drink a bit of alcohol, etc. This conditioning is cultural: Bacchus has been celebrated, and associated to wine, for millennia. A fundamental sensation, happiness has been subjugated to a cultural notion.

Each nation has its crazes, its conditioned reflexes, its own notion of free will. Most of the minds are made from the outside, complete from ideas to emotions, to what to say in most situations encountered. And so it is, all over.

But then what happens to fee will? Is it all about conditioned reflexes from elaborated systems of mood and thoughts, many of them culturally given?

When called to exert free will, all what is happening is a cocktail of conditioned reflexes of long, and subconsciously established, systems of thoughts, emotions and moods. In other words, most people are just puppets from the genealogy of ideas, morals, moods, emotions, and conditioned reflexes.

What’s Free Will?

I started with Qur’an programmed robots. But then the Anglo-Saxon enslaving West is not a place exempt from the most absurd, obnoxious and criminal programmation.

I recently partook in an exchange on Free Will on an interesting and open minded philosophical site. The author had extolled the “philosopher” David Hume as the “first psychologist” Let’s roll a quote from that great Anglo-Saxon genius. Here is David Hume, enthusiastically buttressing the Anglo-Saxon slave masters’ system:

“I am apt to suspect the Negroes to be naturally inferior to the Whites. There scarcely ever was a civilized nation of that complexion, nor even any individual, eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences. On the other hand, the most rude and barbarous of the Whites, such as the ancient Germans, the present Tartars, have still something eminent about them, in their valour, form of government, or some other particular. Such a uniform and constant difference could not happen, in so many countries and ages, if nature had not made an original distinction between these breeds of men. Not to mention our colonies, there are Negro slaves dispersed all over Europe, of whom none ever discovered the symptoms of ingenuity; though low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In Jamaica, indeed, they talk of one Negro as a man of parts and learning; but it is likely he is admired for slender accomplishments, like a parrot who speaks a few words plainly.”

This grossly racist quote is from whom some Anglo-Saxons searching for respect call the “first psychologist”, David Hume. It brings the same question about Free Will.

Notice that Hume does not just imprint with offensive notions about “negroes”, but also offensive emotions about them. And by “offensive” I mean just that, inducing an offensive, that is, an attack.

That anti-human Hume’ notion of sub-humanity sprang from the greed of gross exploitation: having armies of slaves overseas made many a plutocrat in Western Europe extremely wealthy.

In this, it does not differ from the Qur’an’s main axis of attack. We know from the Hadith (a book gathering all what was said about the life of Muhammad by direct witnesses) that the context of the very first (2; 216) quote is that Muhammad the Prophet, then Master of Medina, was trying to convince his followers to go attack and raid some caravans.

It’s an axis of attack, but also an axis of imprinting, of making people into assault machines, enslaving, killing, “striking off their heads and striking off every fingertip of them”. As seen on TV.

So what’s Free Will if we are just machines programmed, emotionally and logically, from the outside? Even for the most inhuman tasks?

If any, Free Will has to incorporate the impact, the struggle, one is having feeding one’s brain with seriously, strenuously examined data. It is exactly what parrots do not have.

One cannot decide when to decide. One can only decide to examine with an open mind, what one’s deciding structures will be constructed with. At best.

Patrice Ayme’

Quantum Will?

October 31, 2010

 

Abstract: Philosophers, when studying any subject possibly anchored in the real world, and, in particular, consciousness and free will, cannot ignore physics. Why? Because, with Quantum theory, physics has taken a very deep, very different and, one could say, nearly metaphysical turn. And biology took it too. It’s a Quantum world.

***

***

IGNORANCE DOES NOT MAKE WISE:

Philosophers have been known to speak about free will, while ignoring the Quantum. However, to worry about free will without worrying about the Quantum is obsolete. Why? Because free will is supported by neurobiology, a type of nanotechnology.

It was known for a very long time that Quantum effects were central to nanotechnology and that biology was a form of nanotechnology. Schrodinger suggested in his book “What Is Life?” that  information should be stored in an “aperiodic crystal”. He also remarked that the Quantum ought to be central in biology. Now we have direct experimental evidence that biology is Quantum.

And not only that, but biology is going to reveal itself to be much more Quantum than anything. Why? Because biology is weird, so is the Quantum, and the weirdness of the latter boosts the former, as I will show. The weirdness of consciousness and the weirdness of Quantum physics have too many aspects in common not to be one and the same. Considering what is now known about vision and chlorophyll, one can feel fairly certain that the Quantum is the enabler of biology.

***

THE QUANTUM IS EVERYWHERE:

Most serious people knew little about Quantum Physics up to the 1990s, besides the fact it did not have to do with “classical physics”, and it was unfathomable. However, it came to light that quantum computers, should they exist, would be very powerful. Efforts to make them revealed an entire menagerie of powerful unknowns, at the basis of physics, thus shattering the arrogance of high energy physicists (the guys who discovered the theory of everything on a string or membrane somewhere). Serious people also thought that classical physics was plenty enough to explain biology. Many still do.

That was philosophically silly: biology is physics, and physics is Quantum. Biology has to do with molecules and atoms, and so does Quantum physics. Nanotechnology, is, by definition, involved with Quantum effects. That’s drastically simple an argument: I breathe, therefore there is air. I swim, therefore, there is water. I think, therefore there is physics. And physics, we have discovered, is mostly not about cannon balls (as Newtonian physics is), but about the Quantum. Inter-molecular forces are Quantum effects.

Sneering that there is such a thing as classical physics, is irrelevant. In the real world, there is no classical physics. We don’t even know where gravity comes from (Einstein’s theory is basically a tautology on steroids; it is very precise in geostationary orbit, but, overall, explains very little; it should be called the Riemann-Einstein theory, because Riemann had the basic idea in the 1860s; that’s old).

Gravity probably relates to the Quantum. Or so it is thought. Why? Because the Quantum is everywhere else. The obverse theory has even been suggested: that Quantum decoherence would come from gravity.

***

MOST CLASSICAL PHYSICS IS QUANTUM DEEP:

In a sense the story of the Quantum started in Greco-Roman civilization, when the idea of atoms was suggested.

The idea was that matter was made of indivisible particles. Atomic theory got mostly proven when Brownian motion was shown to be, in combination with heat, to be an indirect effect. The atomic world, as imagined by the Greeks, was a tiny replication of the apparent world: as two horses were separated, two atoms were separated.

But reality turned out to be much more subtle and complicated. Namely, smaller is different. In particular, it turns out that, as things get smaller, they get intrinsically overlapping. And how do we get overlaps? Well, through waves. What’s more overlapping than a wave?

Quantum Physics was discovered progressively. For centuries people had no idea that it was what they were doing. The explanatory power of waves surfaced in the seventeenth century, with the wave theory of light of the Dutch Huygens, and, involuntarily, Newton (although he tried to explain optical rings that he discovered with his particle theory of light, it was a blatant wave effect). Around 1800 CE, an English medical doctor, Young, discovered light interference. The wave theory of light was soon confirmed by Poisson (Poisson predicted that a dot of light would appear behind a lighted ball, just as sea waves gain height at a distance behind a reef). Maxwell found that electro-magnetic waves were going at the same speed as light, so ought to be the same.

The mystery thickened when it was found that said waves materialized as energy packets whose energy depended upon their frequency (Hertz, Planck, Einstein). De Broglie then postulated that any body was associated with a matter wave, whose wavelength depended upon the momentum of said body. That gave the entirety of Quantum Physics: uncertainty momentum-position, uncertainty energy-time, “Schrodinger” equation, etc. Dirac a bit later assumed the electron was a relativistic wave, id est satisfied the simplest wave equation whose square was the relativistic: E^2-p^2 c^2 = m^2 c^2, and got spinors and antimatter out of this hypothesis.

The nature of the waves is unexplained in the plenitude we are tempted to attribute to them. All we know is that they are complex valued and the norm of their square is the probability the particle will be found. Continuity considerations force waves to penetrate materials, thus we get the TUNNEL EFFECT: the ability of particles to materialize across energy barriers, which was viewed as impossible, prior.

Also, after an interaction, particles, in their wave form, are in an entangled state, and so they stay until one element of the entanglement is made to interact again. Meanwhile the system can explore all at once, all the domain that the entangled wave can reach. This is exactly he effect that biology exploits in the case of chlorophyll.
***

THE QUANTUM IS ALL OVER BIOLOGY:

Chlorophyll molecules do use macroscopic entanglement. Groups of them get together into an excited state, and wave, touching all the opportunities at once, until they find the best solution, and transmit the energy, namely electrons, far away.

Biology uses electrons all over. So it’s just a matter of time before Quantum is found all over electronic conduction, all over biology. It is now understood that room temperature Quantum effects organize the world (Something similar one uses in spintronics, giving the ability, at room temperature to enter macroscopic states that send energy without any losses, far away. Another way human engineers hope to use Quantum entanglement to do many classically impossible things).

This turns many pieces of received wisdom (which all too many of the naïve admitted without proof), on their heads. So here is what we know now: Quantum Physics can be overwhelming, a dominant effect, even in its weirdest manifestations, even at room temperature. Biology evolved to harness Quantum Physics’ full power. Biology could not do without Quantum (photosynthesis is the bedrock of the pyramid of life).

***

MINDS AS QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENTS:

Quantum entanglement is what happens during Quantum processes. This is not what physicists would usually say, so let me explain. There are basically two types of Quantum processes.

1) those happening particle to particle. (That is what high energy physics and its Feynman diagrams worry about in the simpler case where delocalization matters less.)

2) Quantum processes where the particle interact directly with the background geometry: diffraction, the two slit experiment, and the tunnel effect are examples. These effects historically came first.

In both sorts of processes, a delocalized Quantum wave is the fundament. Quantum delocalization has a lot of the characteristic traditionally assigned to consciousness. It tries to get everywhere, it acts as one, it’s in its own space, it acts on matter, but it’s not matter, etc. What’s not to like, for the spiritually inclined?

The least one can do when trying to explain something maximally complicated (in this case consciousness) is to use the maximally complex conceptual instruments one has. One does not want to do like the Greeks, after Archimedes, who tried to elaborate only what they understood best, ignoring the rest (the would-be successors of Archimedes ignored non-Euclidean geometry, the irrationals, the heliocentric theory, the zero and infinitesimal calculus, all of which had been suggested before Archimedes’ death).

Ignoring what is too complicated for comfort has long been the history of modern physics, as aspects of high energy physics were pushed, while the fundamentals of Quantum physics were ignored (they are ignored less now that the Quantum computer resists understanding, while biology exhibits so far irreproducible aspects of quantum computing insolently).

So macroscopic entanglements have to become part of the explanatory scheme for consciousness: if chlorophyll does it, so should the mind (one may view this theme as evoked in the movie “Avatar”). One may readily wonder if such excited entanglements do not occur in the simplest animals.

Quantum computers manipulate fundamental bits of Quantum information called qubits, which are entangled states. the whole difficulty of Quantum engineering is that if qubits get manipulated too much, they lose their coherence, their entangled nature. In this sense: the QUANTUM IS PRETTY META-PHYSICAL.

Some of the all too philosophically inclined will reply that Free Will is first a metaphysical problem, not something physics can answer. But, of course, and therein the difficulty of Quantum physics, Quantum processes tend to be, in practice, metaphysical, because when physics intrude, they elude.

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FASCIST METAPHYSICS VERSUS RATIONAL METAPHYSICS:

What is metaphysics? In general it comes in two types. 1) superstitious metaphysics, which rests on the hypothesis that part of the world is the domain of god, and not that of minds we can understand. This is the position explicitly stated by Allah in the Qur’an to fend off vulgar people asking too many questions about his relationship with his apparent collaborator Satan (!). We may as well believe in little green men stoking the fires in the heart of the sun, and chubby little men bearing gifts in their reindeer pulled flying chariots.

In truth that appreciation for this sort of metaphysics is an instrument of domination. It impresses on the commons that there are questions without answer, too hard to inquire. Like why is it that some have everything, and others, nothing. In all fairness… Obama will tell you that, “in all fairness”, Larry Summers made a “heck of a job”, and the fact you don’t get it proves you are beyond help.

2) rationally grounded metaphysics:

It is simply what is beyond physis, nature, physis was the word for the natural world in Greek (in contradistinction to the world of the Gods). Why do we need such a notion, how do we know it’s necessary?

Hilbert suggested a number of problems in 1900 about proving the consistency of mathematics. A generation later, Gödel showed that any non trivial logic cannot prove its own consistency. In other words (and this is my own formulation) there are sentences in mathematics which can proven only in the context of metamathematics.

Since any language can be encoded in mathematics (that was discovered 20 years before Gödel), this means that any language will contain statements which can only be proven in a metalanguage. Substitute “physis” (that is, what we know about the real world) for the language, and one gets the necessity for metaphysics. In a way, there is nothing metaphysical about metaphysics, it’s very logical, very natural.

Thus whenever we hold a discourse, however precise and restricted, it is within a metalanguage (commonly English, or any other human language, since they are all equivalent).

In other words, there is what we are sure of, or are pretty sure that we could be sure of, and that is physis. Then there is the rest, and that is meta-physis. Metaphysics is very important: this how babies learn; from the weaving of the context, a lot of it so diffuse as to be metaphysical, to the particulars of languages and significations (body, sign, and verbal languages).

So what could be metaphysical free will? Well any will, which look free from the law of the natural world. For proving its existence, we would need to know all of physics first. Which we do not. Neither the physical law, nor, a fortiori, the initial conditions are known.

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Conclusion; QUANTUM FREEDOM:

Consciousness certainly involves Quantum entanglements: if it did not, a new law would have to be pulled out of a hat, namely that consciousness is outside of physics. Quantum Mechanics has elements of intrinsic uncertainty, and those can feed some appearances of human freedom. An example is coming from computer chips, which are presently enormously gross structures relative to the atomic detailling of life. Thorium atoms can decay, and the energetic alpha particles they emit can play havoc with one of the tiny transistors in a chip, making the computer crash. There is little doubt that the finest structures in a neuron are much more sensitive. So the occasional neuron will fire because of a cosmic or quantum event.

Thus the very notion of freedom of the will comes into question. In the present state of Quantum theory, Quantum processes are somewhat predictable in the following sense. The probability waves are constrained by the background geometry. But, given the geometry, the precise occurrence of events is not predictable, and that means that the Quantum behaves as if, once taken the constraints in consideration, it were completely free, free even of examination.

Another reason for philosophy to integrate Quantum Physics is that Quantum theory is stuffed with new models that society in general, and philosophy in particular, could profitably use.

The most astounding thing is not that the universe is understandable, but that some of us find the will to understand it.

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Patrice Ayme