Troubles in the Universe of the Mind

Troubles in the Universe of the Mind
Do We Mind
Differences of Mind

Humans are full of conflict, so let’s start[1] by considering earths place in the universe [2] with respect to human’s place in the physical universe. Earth is a spec of cosmic dust in the Universe, but life and our species fight continually for the resources it provides and fight over how is it we came to our current state of understanding of ourselves and of the physical universe in which we live and what we now want or believe or not.

Life derives from chemical self assembly, and polymerization of atoms and molecules in a thermodynamically open system,[3] one which has energy inflows and outflows. All the rest is molecular evolution which has been in progress for billions of years,[4] while aggregating to increasing complexity[5]. For a life form to know about the universe also involves energy flows which constitute signals which can convey information.[6] or noise.

Life forms have three states: alive, stasis, dead. A life form is alive as long as it can process resources or be revived from stasis and resume processing resources. Continuation of a life form requires reproduction for which there are many evolved mechanisms. Continuation of a life form requires finding the needed resources and defense against hostile environments or predatory life forms. In addition to predation, life forms can exist in symbiotic or parasitic relationships or associations. Life forms can also practice farming or colonialization of other life forms. Assessment of the current state of evolution provides a scorecard for biological success because species of life forms evolve or go extinct.[7].

Among atoms that polymerize are Carbon, Silicon, Sulphur, Phosphorous. Proteins are polymerized amino acids. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a polymeric molecule. All elements on earth heavier than Iron originate from outside the solar system since our sun is not large enough to synthesize heavier elements. Life on earth is primarily based on elements from Hydrogen to Iron. Physics has now provided a consistent cosmological understanding of the origin of the elements.[8]

Understanding causality is one of the motivating factors for Physics. For life forms, understanding or reacting to causality is prediction for the future upon which survival depends and underlies a driving force for the evolution of a nervous system.[9] Physical Neural Networks [10] are the basis for understanding the physics and chemistry of the human brain which has many segments. The brain from which mind originates.[11] includes its autonomic and somatic nervous networks combined with various sensors and actuators. Sensors are energy receivers.

Recursion in Neural Networks is now known to provide what is called Deep Learning as developed in computer software representations.[12] Mind is the property of the brain by which it knows about itself and is a source of endless mystery and philosophical speculation for many. The human brain and mind have been subjects of historical study and speculations in Philosophy[13] Many of these studies and the subject of Psychology are analogous to studies of black boxes[14]. . The human brain is born with many capabilities[15], most of which have to be learned to develop.

Mind originates from Matter as does life

There is one Physical Universe in which individuals live and for each human being there is a Universe of the Mind (UM) which will also mean Unit Mind. So there are as many UM as there are human beings. The physical universe has energy flows which are received by the senses as information by which the Unit Mind creates its understanding of the physical universe. The Universe of the Mind can mirror physical reality or be primarily grounded in fantasy.

UM have the property that in addition to discovering through signals conveying information[16] to the senses the world for themselves beyond what is hardwired at birth[17], through example and communication with language[18] UM can learn on a generational basis. Richard Dawkins has written about the term Meme evolution paralleling genes. These community clusters of thought, these isms, often define themselves by orthodoxy or heresy and all the actions that arise from dominance or enforcement. In addition to fighting over resources, humans fight and unfortunately kill over ideas and memes. In parallel with biological evolution there has been an evolution of human thought[19] which have been symbolically recorded through many forms of media.

Humans have developed many representation[20] and communication forms and languages based on symbolic representations in visual, auditory, and tactile form by which to communicate information. Mathematics and Symbolic Languages provide an internal and external basis for Humans both for Intrapersonal communication with themselves and interpersonal with others. Some subset of the population can experience visual or auditory hallucinations and then there are delusions.[21] as part of their intrapersonal communication.

A collection of UM can synchronize, be coherent, or coalesce in collective agreement as to what they understand, know, believe or in which they have faith or have science. The mind has significant abilities for logic and uses it to reason and also can relish irrationality. Groups adopt axioms (self-evident truths) and develop theorems to justify beliefs in all aspects of society and create stories based on reasoning. Axiomatic systems become entrenched based on believing them is a matter of faith. Ironically the pursuit of Utopia or protection of Faith often devolves into institutional violence.[22] These systems of thought and organization are often encapsulated as “ISMS”. [23] [24]

Education socially or by institutions plays an instrumental role in shaping the Unit Mind. Manipulation of education and information is often the root of Troubles in the Universe of the Mind. Manipulation of information is an ongoing problem throughout a Unit Mind’s life. Recent information technology has magnified the problem with an increasing quantity of dis-information. How does one determine what is real, what is true, what to believe. Current technology can manipulate information streams, whether visual or auditory, and make it seem real or plausible.

Individuals experience the world depending on their senses but can learn to compensate based on their deviation from the measured norm. Consider individuals with visual or hearing deficits which can range from variations in sensitivity, to distortions, to absence. The reliability of each UM’s representation of the locale of the physical universe in which they live can determine their ability to stay alive or reproduce. For life forms, causality is the basis for prediction about the future outcome of actions. The understanding and appreciation of causality is therefore a key component in the evolution of the human nervous system and mind because it can understand aspects of the physical universe that can provide resources, reproduction or result in death. The human mind abhors that actions occur randomly or for no reason. The history of human thought is replete with examples of seeking causality.[25] and prophets who have received the word. Paranoia arises from the mind needing to determine causality for why events will occur or are occurring. Conspiracy theories are a related syndrome, but are also employed for manipulative purposes.

The diagram gives one representation of a vocabulary basis set by which the brain and mind are continually processing sensor input from the vast array of body sensors for visual, audio, mechanical, thermal, chemical signals by which the brain and mind constructs a representation of the local and the universe. The representations are stored in the brain’s neural network in holographic fashion which can range from fragments to completeness. The network also stores a time sequential history of what the UM has experienced or learned.

In addition to basic signals, individuals in recent society are receiving an ever increasing volume of stories of preprocessed information in audio and visual form delivering messages which must be correlated and integrated with previously obtained knowledge. The Unit Mind is continually confronted with determining what is True and what is False, what to Believe and what to Reject and how to Act or React based on the assessment. The outcome of conflict between life forms is often based on deception which causes them to act against their own interests. Dis- or Mis-Information streams have now become a major source of deception and predation.

So here we are with individuals and populations awash in information streams from multiple competing sources trying to determine what to believe and on what to act and react. Myriad groups compete to become the conveyors of Truth or bound what is known for political advantage or power. Unfortunately, Troubles in the Universe of the Mind are unlikely to diminish to the detriment of humankind..

Notes and References

  1. Background
    I have been interested in the question of Mind from Matter for many decades. What were the physical and chemical processes that allowed matter to organize itself to know about itself. The brain is certainly a manifold structure which has developed through evolution to its current organization and capabilities. This essay is neither research or history. It is my recounting of my current understanding of a subject which has fascinated me for decades. How does inorganic matter self-organize to know about itself. Often this subject is entitled “Mind from Matter”. In fact in the 1980’s I had a very good monograph which summarized the physics and chemistry of understanding to that date and introduced many of the concepts I herein recount. Unfortunately, I loaned my copy to my father-in-law who lost it while on vacation and I have never been able to find another copy. It is not Max Delbruck’s book of the same name
    All human traits or parameters that are measurable exhibit a normal distribution and that includes intelligence for which many metrics have been developed. So when refereeing to Mind or the Brain’s capabilities, one has to recognize that all the relevant parameters will show a normal distribution.

  2. The mass of the observable Universe is estimated to be ~10^53 Kg while the earth is ~10^25 Kg, a very small percentage. A geometric example is the earth in Laniakea described in a NatureVideo is our home supercluster

  3. Biological Thermodynaics
    Thermodynamics of Biological Processes

  4. Useful

    Richard Dawkins The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution

    Nick Lane The Vital Question: Why is life the way it is?

    David Quammen The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life


    Probing complexity: thermodynamics and computational mechanics approaches to origins studies

  5. Physical foundations of biological complexity

  6. Information

  7. Extinction Over Time

  8. NASA The Origin of Elements ; Origin of the Elements; The origin of the elements: a century of progress; The Synthesis of the Elements

  9. Simple examples can be simple life forms reacting to gradients.

  10. Neural Networks; The differences between Artificial and Biological Neural Networks

  11. The references cite a couple of papers from when Neural Networks was an active area of research at Xerox PARC in the 1980’s within the domain of parallel computing.
    Do Our Questions Create the World? John Horgan Scientific American
    Information, Physics, Quantum: The Search for Links John A Wheeler 1989

  12. The Uniqueness of Human Recursive Thinking

  13. Philosphy Google Dictionary

  14. Black Box Studies

  15. The Development and Shaping of the Brain
    How developed is the brain by birth?

  16. What is information? (Foundations of information theory: Part 1)
    Information entropy (Foundations of information theory: Part 2)

    The mathematical field of information theory attempts to mathematically describe the concept of “information”. In this series of posts, I will attempt to describe my understanding of how, both philosophically and mathematically, information theory defines the polymorphic, and often amorphous, concept of information. In the first post, we discussed the concept of self-information. In this second post, we will build on this foundation to discuss the concept of information entropy.

    Entropy is a Thermodynamic property

    Thermal Physics  By MIT Professor Philip McCord Morse · 1964 Download Here

    The Mass-Energy-Information Equivalence Principle

    Entropy and Information Theory Robert M gray- Stanford Electrical Engineering

    C. E. Shannon. A mathematical theory of communication. Bell Syst. Tech. J., 27:379{423,623{656, 1948.

    Physics of Information Interviews

    ‘The concept of information in physics’: an interdisciplinary topical lecture

    Physical Nature of Information G. Falkovich July 16, 2022

  17. Born Ready: Babies Are Prewired to Perceive the World
    Brain Development and the Role of Experience in the Early Years

  18. The Evolution Of Language Symbolic Language
    Smithsonian Language & Symbols
    On The Evolutionary Origin of Symbolic Communicatio
    Language Evolution

  19. See for example
    Karen Armstrong A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
    A History of God Documentary
    Daniel J. Boorstin The Discovers; The Creators; The Seekers

  20. Consider synesthesia or grapheme-color synesthesia

  21. Comparing Hallucination and Delusion

    Hallucinations are false or distorted sensory experiences that appear to be veridical perceptions. These sensory impressions are generated by the mind rather than by any external stimuli, and may be seen, heard, felt, and even smelled or tasted.

    delusion is a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture (e.g., it is not an article of religious faith)”.

    Gaslighting; Propaganda; Fraud; Scams, Flim-Flam or Confidence Tricks are mechanisms by which individuals seek to control the behaviors of others.

    Why religious belief isn’t a delusion – in psychological terms, at least

  22. Karl Popper Violence and Utopia; Why Utopias Are Irrational and Violent

  23. Relevant critical works include
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889—1951) and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Gödel’s incompleteness theorems; Gödel and the limits of logic; Classical Logic

  24. Argument and Argumentation; Google Dictionary

    Visualizing Argument and Argumentation

    “Argument is a central concept for philosophy. Philosophers rely heavily on arguments to justify claims, and these practices have been motivating reflections on what arguments and argumentation are for millennia. Moreover, argumentative practices are also pervasive elsewhere; they permeate scientific inquiry, legal procedures, education, and political institutions. The study of argumentation is an inter-disciplinary field of inquiry, involving philosophers, language theorists, legal scholars, cognitive scientists, computer scientists, and political scientists, among many others. This entry provides an overview of the literature on argumentation drawing primarily on philosophical sources, but also engaging extensively with relevant sources from other disciplines.”

  25. The Psychology of Causality

2 Replies to “Troubles in the Universe of the Mind

  1. Hi Rober;. I’m really excited to find you! I recently discovered you as someone with similar epistemological views through a link Chris Bateman gave me. In ‘About Robert Bachrach’ I see that we were both MTS at Bell Labs in 1972-3. I also have links through close friends to Stanford and Xerox Parc.
    I’ll have comments on this piece anon. I really like your use of references. Very few web posters do this.

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