Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why do emotions impact memory?

Emotions were an early form of communication between human beings (and other species as well). It was valuable to survival if one member of a species could express danger in a way that another could be recognize.

Emotion helps weight observation memory, making it easier to retrieve memories which carry more emotion.

Learning is more efficiently transmitted through emotion because emotion was one of the earliest forms of communication. Learning transmitted through language does not carry the same impact.

What if being in here, in this virtual reality, I were able to predict what happens out there, in the real world?

"Why would I ever want to think like you?" 
"To be able to see choices, choices which are not visible to you because of your attachments."

As attachments are built with experience, then this might be a way of  describing the lifetime of a human:

Age 1-12: Age of ego and dependence
Age 13-25: Age of self-awareness and independence
Age 26-50: Age of awareness of others and interdependence
Age 51+: Age of ever-increasing awareness of all (infinitely large) and individual impact (infinitely small) 

How can I change my rate of understanding?
How can I recognize my attachments?

A. Change the rate of interaction between self and not self; and/or
B. Change the rate of imagined interaction

How does the rate of exposure to experience depend on the rate of absorption and redirecting of attachments? Is it just a linear training function? What role do emotions play in increasing/decreasing the impact of exposure to experience? Do highly charged emotional situations contribute to faster/deeper learning? Am I able to create the experiences that open my eyes and allow me to alter attachments?

On free will

Free will exists within the limitations and incomprehension of prediction. Uncertainty only disappears at the limit (as the amount of information and the complexity of the model approaches the information content of the system). My imperfect knowledge prevents me from knowing the future with certainty. In some definitions of free will, that uncertainty is the door to free will. However, doesn't free will really mean I may choose however I want even with (and perhaps in spite of) complete certainty?

So, I can experience free will either through my uncertainty and my limited ability to predict the future, or I can experience free will by making choices independent of my certainty of the future.

If I know everything (which I believe is impossible, but this is a mind experiment, so just give me this), and I make my choices based on the toss of a coin, aren't I exhibiting free will? But wait, if I know everything, I know the outcome of the coin toss, which means I didn't leave my choice to chance. In fact, if I know  everything, there is no way for me to make a random choice.

Hmm... Herein lies the fallacy of the dichotomy of truth, the belief that things are either true or false. These kinds of arguments are an invention of the limited thinking of human reasoning. I prefer to believe that all statements have a probability of being true or false, where some statements may have a probability of being  true of 1. Under this hypothesis, the truth of a statement may be known with varying certainties, which vary across people and over time based on varying levels of knowledge.

The more we understand about a system, the less freedom the system has. However, those elements within the system, which are limited in their understanding of the system, have the experience of free will.

Entropy is the measure of free will that humans give to a system.

Free will lives in the white noise of our understanding of ourselves. As such, free will approaches zero as understanding approaches the information content of the human brain.

Free will is the inverse of understanding and meaning. Free will is indistinguishable from entropy? Free will is the creation of meaning where no meaning exists. Free will is a probability function, where the smaller the causation, the greater the free will. Free will is making choices where there are no choices, inventing options where there were no options. Perhaps our free will is most manifested in our commitment to imagining the world differently than we experience it.

The Discipline of Being Human

As I search for the meaning of life and my purpose, I have come to appreciate the value of reminders of mindfulness. So I put here a list of disciplines which I practice, when I remember, in the hopes that these will turn in to habits:

1. Live life to its most fulfilling
2. Practice the discipline of being human.
3. Embrace my responsibility to the others.
4. Demand the best from every human being.
5. Respect and honor all life, for it is life which gave birth to human beings.
6. Strive to understand everything, knowing I never will.
7. Relish my own life, because every living thing offers something unique.
8. Fight for the survival of life itself, but be prepared to sacrifice my own life for the survival of others.
9. Live a purposeful life.
10. Experience the "life" in every living thing.
11. Never grow jaded with the wonders of life.
12. Experience my senses, refine and teach them the infinite subtleties of diversity.
13. Embrace variety as the source of life itself.
14. Cherish the few moments I am given in my own life.

As a gourmand eats to satisfy his love of food, and a gourmet eats to satisfy his love of taste, I will be a gourmet of life, not a gourmand. The discipline is in the caring for more than just myself.