RE: Spirit, conciousness, free will and infinite nesting

From: Jacques Bailhache <>
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 1999 14:16:41 -0000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gilles HENRI []
> Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 1999 8:39 AM
> To: Saj Malhi
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: Spirit, conciousness, free will and infinite nesting
> > As far as I am aware the fastest neurons in the body conduct
> messages at
> >around 170 mph. How do you reconcile this with the 'infinite nesting'
> >theory? Or, more fundamentally, the very fact that the two ends of the
> >'chain of command' you have postulated are indeed communicating somehow
> (as
> >we are living testimony) surely precludes an infinite number of levels
> since
> >this would mean that:-
> >a). the transmission velocity is infinite and we therefore perceive
> things
> >instantly (not the case)
> >b). the transmission velocity is finite and we therefore don't perceive
> >things at all (not the case).
        [JB--] There could be an infinite chain of transmission with a
finite time at each level and a finite total time, for example if the time
at level n is 1/2^n seconds, the total time would be 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + ... =
1 second.

> It's a very good point. More generally you have to explain all the
> limitations of our spirit : why do we need a certain time to think of
> things, why are we limited in the numbers we can conceive and
> manipulate...It's very difficult to explain in a theory where "spirit"
> does
> not arise directly from physical processes (that can fix the relevant
> orders of magnitude).
> Gilles
        [JB--] It's important to understand the difference between spirit
and mind.
        Spirit is a metaphysically transcendental concept related al least
to consciousness which is an evidence, and probably also to free will (if it
exists), and perhaps also to creative intelligence.
        Mind is the physical activity of the brain, the mental computations
like manipulations of numbers, which are done by physical processes of our

        An important point concerns the creative intelligence, which could
be defined as the ability to perceive the regularities (see :

Metaphysical reflections <reflres.htm> - Perceptions, regularities and
The only true reality is the present perception of our mental state which
contains the memories of our past sensations and actions. Everything else in
mental construction. Perception is a transfert of information from a
perceived reality to a perceiving spirit. Then it assumes the existence of
spirit <>.
The informations that we perceive are not random, they contain regularities.
Mathematically, that means that these informations could be described by an
expression smaller than the one describing them trivially. For exemple, the
sequence "ABCABCABCABCABCABCABCABCABCABC" which contains 30 characters can
be described by the expression "ABC repeated 10 times" which contains only
21 characters. Perceived regularities permit us to suppose that raw
perception is the unfolding of a smaller germ (as
"ABCABCABCABCABCABCABCABCABC" is the unfolding of "ABC repeated 10 times")
and that there exists an outside world which gives our perceptions depending
on the actions that we give it. This outside world is not directly
accessible but only through this information exchange.
>From this information exchange, we build a mental representation of this
outside world. So, for example, the child examining his memories realizes
that each time that he raises an object and drops it, he saw it go down. He
deduces that objects spontaneously tends to go down. So he introduces in his
mental representation the concept of gravity force. In the same way, the
physicist builds this mental construct further in a more precize and
quantitative way, noticing that this object follows a trajectory of equation
z = 1/2 g tē + z0. So he builds what he calls the laws of physics, but which
are in fact only mathematical models describing more and more precize
approximations of reality, but always approximatives and limited to a
validity domain depending on the experimental conditions from which the
theory has been built.
The regularities of our perceptions appear to us with such a strength that
we forget that we perceive only perceptions, that the physical universe,
space, time, matter... are only mental constructions.
        This ability of perceiving regularities is also required for the
transfinite iteration of reflection principle (see to produce a
sequence of transfinite ordinals getting bigger and bigger without being
limited by a given ordinal. For this we need to perceive the regularities in
a sequence of ordinals x1, x2, x3... and to recognize that there is a f such
that xi = f(i), and then skip to x omega = limit of f(i). We must avoid the
trap of thinking that we are in a creative process producing x1, x2, x3...
        (see also (in

        Is this creative intelligence a feature of the spirit or of the mind
? I am not very sure about it.
        According to Hofstadter (Godel, Escher, Bach), this is an activity
of the mind, subject to godelization, therefore limited, like any finite
system (formal system, machine), but in the case of the brain the limit is
        Another possibility would be that the ability of manipulating
mathematical objects like transfinite ordinals is a feature of the mind, but
the enlightment of the recognition of the regularity may come from the
spirit, and our limitations might come from the limitations of the mind for
understanding complex mathematical objects.
Jacques Bailhache
Y2K Centre of Expertise (BRO)
DTN: 856 ext. 7662
Tel: +32-2 729.7662, Fax: +32-2 729.7985
Visit my home page :
Received on Wed Jan 27 1999 - 06:22:16 PST

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