Physics, Time and Qualia

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Physics, Time and Qualia

Lee Smolin & Clelia Verde

Interesting paper from two physicists

Quote:We  suggest  that  four  of  the  deepest  problems  in  science  are  closely  related  and  may
share a common resolution. These are 1) the foundational problems in quantum theory,
2)  the  problem  of  quantum  gravity,  3)  the  role  of  qualia  and  conscious  awareness  in
nature, 4) the nature of time.  We begin by proposing an answer to the question of what
a  quantum  event  is:  an  event  is  a  process  in  which  an  aspect  of  the  world  which  has
been  indefinite  becomes  definite.  We  build  from  this  an  architecture  of  the  world  in
which qualia are real and consequential and time is active, fundamental and
irreversible.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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If I decipher the text correctly, aren't they saying that we create our own reality?
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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(2021-10-08, 08:17 PM)Kamarling Wrote: If I decipher the text correctly, aren't they saying that we create our own reality?

Sort of...I think...but we can only create this reality so long as we don't violate the established precedence in most cases.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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I was thinking along the lines of qualia being subjective - the part of consciousness that expresses the way we feel, determines our desires and shapes our beliefs. If qualia are consequential in world building, then so are our desires, beliefs and feelings.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
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(2021-10-08, 06:47 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Physics, Time and Qualia

Lee Smolin & Clelia Verde

Interesting paper from two physicists

I agree that consciousness exists at the boundary of the computable and the non-computable and is therefore an exploration of novelty and freedom. I wish they had emphasized the importance of the boundary as the location of ambiguity and freedom and novelty. And this leads to my idea that one measure of consciousness is a “surface area to volume ratio”.
(This post was last modified: 2021-10-09, 01:30 PM by Hurmanetar.)
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Some selected quotes:
Quote:3) the role of qualia and conscious awareness in nature,

Quote:There will be a mixed functionalist and reductive explanation for why humans and other animals experience qualia (or just experience).

Quote:It seems possible, if not likely, that consciousness or awareness had and has a lot to do with the thriving of our species.

The second of these acknowledges that other creatures besides human beings may experience [qualia]. This has not always been so. There was a time when humans were considered conscious and had feelings, but this did not apply to other creatures.

The third though, about the thriving of our species, well maybe we should not get too excited by that. The insect kingdom far outnumbers us, and not just because they are tiny.
Quote:There are approximately 1.4 billion insects for every person on Earth. The total weight of all the insects is about 70 times more than all the people.
source

That wasn't my main point, I was just thinking that anthropocentric arguments will not explain the universe. If our species thrives, then it is because we live on a life-supporting planet. There are so many factors about life on Earth, particularly the effect of the Moon, as well as the usual ones about the distance from the sun and so on.

The effect of the moon is not trivial.
Quote:But without the Moon to stabilise it, this wobble would become erratic and extreme.

Sometimes, the Earth’s axis would point straight up and down at right angles to the Earth’s orbit of the Sun. In this scenario, seasons would be a thing of the past, and night and day would be equally long all year round. At other times, the Earth would tilt all the way over and lie on its side in relation to its orbit around the Sun. This would mean the poles would be burning hot and the equator freezing cold.
source

Where am I going with this? Well, it has taken time but we are somewhat willing to concede (some of the time) that other creatures apart from ourselves may experience consciousness and qualia. But if we are considering the role of consciousness in enabling life to thrive, then maybe it's time to ascribe consciousness and qualia to the mountains, the oceans, the moon, the stars. Rupert Sheldrake has asked, but no-one can answer, whether the Sun is conscious, and if so, what would it think about. Perhaps the answer to our search regarding extra-terrestrial intelligence and the possibility of communication across galactic distances is to be found in the stars, which may be communicating with one another.
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I was very surprised to find Lee Smolin - a serious theoretical physicist - writing a paper like that. The paper seemed to be decidedly vague, and didn't start from the best evidence against materialism - NDE's reincarnation, etc.

I think if you start from that perspective, then you have to see consciousness as something that can separate from matter.

To me, scientists interested in exploring ideas like this should hoover up all the evidence that exists but is willfully ignored.
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(2021-10-08, 06:47 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Physics, Time and Qualia

Lee Smolin & Clelia Verde

Interesting paper from two physicists
Just a quick read-thru.  Maybe a very important paper.

Quote: 
A  structural  realist,  who  is  a  realist  about  qualia,  would  attempt  to  bridge  the  gaps between  sensation  and  motion  opened  by  Galileo's  error  by  looking  for  structural parallels  between  the  organization  of  qualia  and  the  organization  of  their  physical  and neurological counterparts.
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The quantum mechanics of the present

Smolin, Verde


Quote:We propose a reformulation of quantum mechanics in which the distinction between definite and indefinite becomes the fundamental primitive.

Inspired by suggestions of Heisenberg, Schrodinger and Dyson that the past can't be described in terms of wavefunctions and operators, so that the uncertainty principle does not apply to past events, we propose that the distinction between past, present and future is derivative of the fundamental distinction between indefinite and definite. The same is the case for the quantum world versus classical world distinction of the Copenhagen interpretation.

We then outline a novel form of presentism based on a phenomonology of events, where an event is defined as an instance of transition between indefinite and definite. Neither the past nor the future fully exist, but for different reasons. We finally suggest reformulating physics in terms of a new class of time coordinates in which the present time of a future event measures a countdown to the present moment in which that event will happen.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2022-02-11, 01:42 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: The quantum mechanics of the present

Smolin, Verde

I really don't know why Smolin gets any traction, this link is a criticism of a different Smolin paper, but it's on a similar topic...

Lubos may be a prickly sod online, and super super conservative in the extreme, (hence why he banned me), but the hundreds and hundreds of really excellent explanations he's patiently written in blog posts on Quantum Mechanics, with additional clarifications within the following discus comments, have taught me more about how to think correctly about QM (and science) than anyone else...

Sometimes, I would struggle for hours with a very dense paragraph of his on the subject of QM, just before going to sleep (the best time I've found, as I it seems something happens during sleep, that allows questions to be resolved).

Anyway...

https://motls.blogspot.com/2019/06/smoli...ld-be.html
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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