Friday, December 29, 2023

Consciousness Requires the Awareness of Time

I've always found Buddhism to be unsatisfactory at providing a purpose for life. Though the practice is a valuable exercise, which enables a clearer connection with reality (and the glimpse into the biases of perception), the concept of "detachment" precludes the understanding I have of reality across time.
Both memory and imagination stretch my awareness along a new dimension, time, which requires attachment. Without this attachment, time cannot be experienced. 
I also suspect that the awareness and experience of time is necessary for consciousness. Is it sufficient? I'm not sure, but my intuition says no.

Is this similar to the "recipe is not the cake" perception (or the "HTML is not the web page")? Is this the perception artificial intelligence will need to develop to become more human? I am so immersed in the experiencing of time that I am not even aware of the impact it has on my perception of reality.

This is where I will disagree with Philip Goff and his version of panpsychism. Most of the structures in the universe are incapable of consciousness, since they do not have the requisite ability to remember reality from one moment to another. Rather, most structures experience only "now", a reality without time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

DNA Dream

These days, I rarely have long, complicated dreams like I used to have in my younger days. I miss them :-( But last night was an exception. Here is the outline of a wonderful dream I had, the seeds for a good science fiction book!

I. Scientist observes squirrel doing unexplained scraping at the skin of
a shelled walnut.

A. Tests squirrels and finds they have a fixed-action pattern in
response to a particular pattern on the walnut skin.

B. Shows it to brain doctor, who identifies it as a brain disease.

C. Scientist experiments with models of brains and brain disease and the
squirrel removes all the disease without harming the brain.

D. Tests on animals, open brain surgery by squirrel, and the animals are

E. Passes requirements for human tests, which also show amazing cure

II. Scientist comes to believe that the squirrels DNA has been tampered
with, giving the squirrel this amazing ability.

A. Finds another anomalous behavior, this time ants picking skin cancer
off a corpse.

B. Does similar test for ants with patterns, then actual flesh with cancer.

C. Ants cure skin cancer.

III. As other scientists begin studying other anomalous animal
behaviors, the original scientist begins to suspect the DNA of these
animals has been edited by aliens.

A. Scientist compares the DNA of curative animals with non-curative
animals and finds a marker, both start and end, to the DNA. Suspects the
DNA between the markers is the added DNA.

B. All over the world, scientists are finding these begin/end markers in
other animals, and are trying to find if these animals have curative
behaviors, too.

C. Someone identifies the DNA of one marked animal to be a coded
message, giving the secrets of quantum travel across the universe.

D. Scientist checks human DNA for markers, and finds them, especially in
very smart people and finds markers predominantly in the Asperger's

E. Scientist tests the DNA of spouses of smart people, and finds the
markers highly correlated with partners with the markers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Sweet versus bittersweet, the taste of learning...

I enjoy movies and books. These provide me with different experiences, and different perspectives, which help me correct the way I might see the world, my own observational biases. Seeing or reading from another person's point of view helps me experience the world in a way I might not.

And, there are lots of movies and books out there! One of the ways I decide if a movie or book was worth seeing is how much I felt I learned. If I was entertained, but don't feel changed, I call it "sweet", but don't recommend it to others. If the movie challenged my current thinking, in a way that actually changed the way I think, I call it "bettersweet".

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Is Consciousness A Brain within a Brain

The possibility that the human brain has a brain inside that observes the other brain, leading to an internalized self-perception, which then became the building block for social interaction and perception of other "selves".

What would an aritificial intelligence program look like that had one segment that did nothing but notice what the other segment was doing, one segment building a conception of reality only through the observation of the other segment?

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Parenting Tips

As a parent, I wanted my children to grow into successful adults. I didn't measure success in terms of how others viewed my children, but in terms of how they viewed themselves. To this end, here are a few ideas I used in raising my children:

1. Starting at age 5, and continuing through adolescence, if my child wanted to do something which required my approval, instead of giving a "yes/no" answer to the request, I would ask the child, "What do YOU think?" I'd prompt the child to think about what the "right" answer might be. As a youngster, the child often chose a simple "yes" answer. But I'd challenge them with "why?", and encourage them to understand the decision-making process. By the time my children were teenagers, I was reaping the benefit of their long training. They knew whether a decision was "right" or "wrong". And I still had to wait for them to reach brain maturity (18-20 in girls, 22-25 in boys) before they began actually choosing the "right" decision.

 2. There were lots of distractions for my children. Of course, there were books, TV, movies, all of which I had grown up with. But there were new ones, too: video games, computers, Internet surfing, mobile phones. Now, most children seem to have knowledge (and often ownership) of a smart phone. Instead of arguing with my children about where, when, and how much time they could spend on each of these platforms, I set a time limit for all "screen time" (none of my children seemed to read books more than I thought was healthy). Now, the child had to decide where they would spend their "hour of screen time". And the argument was reduced to "I want more screen time", which, based on the argument, was granted (though rarely).

3. Traveling on vacation with my children was always a challenge. First, they struggled to keep quiet and not argue with one another during the time we were actually traveling. Second, when we got where we were going, there was often a lot of asking for money to buy things. I solved both these challenges with an incentive program: every 15 minutes that all the children were quiet would earn a quarter for each child, and every child got an allowance during the trip of $3.00/day. The "quarter for a quarter hour" worked marginally, but enough to keep us all sane. The daily allowance was great, since every question of "Can I buy this?" had the answer "How much money do you have?" Both these programs required us to prepare for the trip with a visit to the bank: rolls of quarters and bundles of ones!

There are more, no doubt, but this is all for now!