Friday, August 21, 2015

Considering Free Will: Metaphysical Interlude

  We comprehend the will objectively as a set of decision-making parameters in an entity which seeks some optimization of its action in a given environment.  We understand that the freedom of such a will is understood to be the degree which it is allowed to act according to its optimal potential, whether individually alone or in settings of groups of its own kind. We understand that environments of any kind sustain a degree of turbulence which offers resistance to the ideal form of the entity's optimal functioning, and we allow this to be called a "natural" pressure, even though it may have decidedly artificial aspects within the ecologies of some higher life forms.  This all is truest in the cases of sentient and intelligent life.  

  That higher cognition may seek to examine and optimize its own functioning as an epitomal form of its regular optimization protocols for the general processes of the life in which it functions is understood to be a case where a process recursively adjusts, which is to say "self-governs", in the sense which is mathematically expressible, and has been studied in many forms in sciences of mathematics and cybernetics.

  All these formal patterns of function in which we see conscious will exercising its prerogatives are distinguished from the subjective features of these phenomena, and we've looked particularly at the human mind because it is the ultimate concrete example which is ready to hand, practical for our consideration, and it has a set of conditions with which we are directly familiar.  In this other axis of our examination, the more "phenomenological" one (as opposed to the mathematical model of interacting entities), we've seen that there is a very "non-trivial" distinction between aspects of what we call the phenomenon of free will.

  First, there is the question of the resolution of the consciousness in its scope, scale, precision, perseverance, and other attributes of processing information.  It must overcome cognitive dissonance as a normal part of its procedure. It needs to determine not only how much of this to conduct in conditions where time and circumstance may be a factor, but it may even need to determine if it really needs to determine such things.  It can develop a metacognitive grasp of itself as a process, and this may have varying forms of manifestation, from seeking the answer to a practical question, seeking understanding of more fundamental or otherwise more underlying features of the issues involved in such questions, and in varied iterations of form which can go up to and beyond the questions of the metaphysical logic which underpins the articulation of any psychocybernetic theory.

  All of this looks dualistic in nature, in that it may be theoretically modeled into a mathematically described form, or else it may be understood as the experience of the events as decided by the being "in real time". It would seem that there is a paradox here which is maybe more than just a little analogous to the famous "uncertainty principle" of quantum mechanics as well as to the theoretical work in metalogic which is articulated in proof theory, especially the "incompleteness theorem". Here the principle to be stated is that the conscious mind which is engaged in a process of decision-making does not simultaneously produce an objective description of its own process. The object of any theoretical work in the mind is always a step removed from the agency and process of its actions in that mind while so doing.  There is always a "third mind" which is the object of such analysis, modeling, speculation, theory, etc.  It is produced in the mind of the thinker as an analog for any processes it studies whether as examined in its own private mental experience or else as garnered from the objective data concerning that of "other minds".

  The "territory" will never identify smoothly with the "map". The mind cannot actually study itself, but only a mentally constructed simulacrum of itself.  But what it can do is examine itself at a resolution which is different than it was at a time prior to the decision to do this.  It can also examine the question of what criteria must or may exist for deciding with increased resolution whether or not resolution should or can be increased, and in what ways, etc.

  We know that this process occurs within a feedback loop that is easier to picture and understand when it has to do with concrete physical circumstances in which the mind must decide to direct the actions of its corresponding body. We can even see how within the frameworks of various paradigms that the mind is also in a similar way navigating the time and space of its collections of ideas and experiences within itself so as to direct their coherent interrelationships toward a more optimal state. All of that can be expressed as functions of some distinct and easily observable state of affairs "in the objective world" which can be mathematically described as the sequencing and arrangement of physical entities and forces in time and space.

  But what cannot be captured in this way is the peculiar feature which is boasted by subjectivity as an essential aspect of the content of consciousness, a feature which does not reduce to any description of such states of affairs "in the objective world". These are called in philosophy of mind "qualia". The "blueness of blue" for example, will never "look like" the frequency of light correlated with it, nor is it accurate to say that the frequency of light appears blue to us.  When our eyes are contacted by light which is at a certain frequency, it happens also to be the case, according to our best evidence, that we simultaneously see the color we call "blue".  What matters here is that there is a quality which blue has, its "blueness" which does not at all call to our mind some number corresponding to the frequency of light waves!

  It wouldn't matter to us at all, for the sake of our experience and its content, what actually happened "in the objective world" in order for this color blue to "appear blue as it does".  Those are independently understood features, and one does not reduce to the other.  This feature is parallel to the way that a mind cannot raise the resolution of its cognitive processes "in real time" so as to include  the fact that is has raised the resolution of its cognitive processes, so as to do so in such a way that the resolution of its cognitive process "in theory" is adequate to describe the change in its cognitive process "in fact".  It can presume its theory is adequate to describe that change, but it cannot test that change as part of a demonstration of that theory if that change is itself the process of applying that theory to the fact of its own process of being applied. If it attempts to do so, it will have to construct an intermediate step so as to acquire "objectivizing distance" from itself sufficient for that effort at enhancing the resolution of its own understanding of itself.  That process will not be the same as the mechanics of the application of the theory of its self-understanding of the event, this event which now includes that process, because that process was in this aspect part of the observer and not the observed, and also because that process is not fixed. The paradox of observer/observed is already recognized, what is special here is that this particular part of the process which applies a theory of itself to itself must be adaptable to novel information. And truly novel information cannot be predicted by any theory, nor can adjustments to it be made perfectly precisely beforehand (though such precision is statistically approachable over an objectivized distance of space and time from the phenomenal event which is the point of origin of a theoretical study). This part of the being which is the "pure observer" cannot observe itself directly.

Therefore this "third mind" principle which I say underlies all proper analysis of a mind's cognitive self-governance reflects three forms of the impossiblity of total self-observance of a mind: empirical (data is not the observer), logical (the nature of the process seeks novelty to explain), and ontological (the being is in essence not what it observes).

  Those are my precepts for grounding some of what I say which will follow, which would otherwise sound rather dogmatic without that basis.

  The processes of choice which are freely optimized will not be understood in their ideal states, even abstractly, in a way that is as precise on the scale of consciousness in which they are manifested as they can be on a scale which is "dimensionally higher" than it.  These ideal states yet do exist as true potentials, or else theories of events as occurring within norms which are constrained by extremes which parameterize them would be impossible to conceive.  But we are conceiving those potentials. So these extreme parameters exist.  But the only way they could be conceived in absolute form as concrete models of a comprehensively descriptive theory about them would be if they were understood in a mind which was qualitatively higher in scale in its capacity to evaluate other minds so that the qualia within a mind were not "subjectively private" in a way which made them unobservable to this other, higher-dimensional mind.  In this way it can be stated rather analytically that true empathic experience is enabled only by a higher-dimensional manifold which connects n-dimensional minds through an (n+q)-dimensional space, and this is evidence in and of itself of the concrete and actual existence of higher-dimensional minds.

  This also demonstrates how it is to be understood that such minds are prior in existence to lower-dimensional minds, that minds do not emerge from bodies or "objectively constructed entities" (which are constructed in minds anyway), and that the foundation of reality is a mind of a dimension of a transfinite degree raised to its own power. But on our level of existence it is clear that these "higher realities" are obscured for certain reasons which will become a more detailed part of this discussion later on.  The point is that these higher dimensions of mind are the foundation of our dimensions of mind, and are not a fantasy constructed by fat-in-a-skull substances that are "nothing more" than a bunch of atoms bonded together in a particular way. To avoid apparent ad hominem, I will not go so far as to criticize the 'alternative views' on this.  There is no space for that here in any event, and I've indicated my main objections to them in my videos on Gnostic metaphysics on my youtube channel "The Gnostic Truth".

  The nature of qualia are that they are individuated foci of the conscious experience modalities of higher dimensional minds which, if those minds were to be "compressed" into our lower-dimensional form, would seem like one mind distributed over many individuals, in different ways, at different times, with different peculiarities of vantage manifesting partly as different "bodily forms" and so on. I do not say that these forms are "merely intersections of" those higher-dimensional minds into a lower dimensional "space". In fact I say something contrary to that.  I say that this dimension of mental space is these individual minds, as issued in substance from pre-existing and higher-dimensional minds which are closer to approaching complete entelechy, closer to "being ultimate in form and content, simultaneously".  As existence in its totality just is all these minds, and as the most mature and advanced of all such minds is the substantive origin of all other minds, so this is all "the mind of God" in a very literal way.  The ultimate aspect of this, the ultimate individual, the individual non plus ultra, is really also approaching a further entelechy which is made possible only by increasing the fecundity of Its manifestation though self-reproduction. So "God", in this way, is ultimate, but in certain aspects relative to Godself is actually both "least" and the "penultimate greatest", and all in between, while also the grandest actuality which is the final cause toward which all Godself approaches toward totality while simultaneously "fecundizing" outward, so as to increase the total number of individuals within God.  This is the only way that The Being which IS Reality can increase Its own resolution of Being, create meaningful changes, "grow", etc.

  Some parts of my own work in this area of philosophy were inspired by the works of Plato and Aristotle, but it has come to my attention afterward, concerning my understanding of God's Nature, that there is some affinity of my approach to that of Hartshorne's, but I'm not acquainted with process philosophy. I'm familiar with the major thinkers in classical Greek philosophy, that of the modern European thinkers but only some of them since Descartes til now, and some smattering of other thinkers in the postmodern era.  Any uncanny resemblances in my thoughts with those I've read is due to the fact that I may have found some of their thoughts agreeable on the bases by which they demonstrated them or else on my own bases of demonstration, and so have kept them in some form although they've been assimilated and repurposed accordingly, and in no way merely lifted "in stereotype" from those whom I've respectfully read. I leave the tedious recounting of the lineage of each of such seminal ideas aside, as it is the privilege and luxury of those who are paid well for doing that, and who must always be on guard against false accusations of being plagiarizers because, among their kind, that is what most of them really are. By this I mean "academicians" who have some familiarity with the writings of real philosophers, but are not themselves philosophers in their own right.

  So how does a mind with a will, on the level of a human being, freely "entelchize"?  Surely it would be something good, easy and natural to do, and not fraught with peril and suffering, not if we understood the nature of God/Mind/Reality to be Good in nature.  I do so understand God, but I will not here account for the origin of evil, as I've done that in outline elsewhere, especially in the videos on my youtube channel which I mentioned, and the links to which can be found on this page near the top.  Here I will just talk about the specific nature of how the REAL FREEDOM of WILL has been attacked by evil forces, and how this is resisted by the Good Nature of beings who are True Progeny of God.  For only in this way can "Free Will" as a moral idea be understood properly.  Otherwise, we would devolve into talking about the moral process of mental beings as though they were merely colorful stories about what reduces to things bouncing off of and sticking onto things, which sort of discussion is the province of moral dunces, also called "demons".

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