Re: To observe is to......

From: Colin Geoffrey Hales <>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 16:05:24 +1000 (EST)

Indeed I would hold that our subjective experience (subjectivity)is our
one and only intimate and complete connection to the underlying reality
and it is the existence of it (subjectivity) 'at all' which is most
telling/instructive of the true nature/structure of the underlying
reality, not the appearances thus delivered by subjectivity.

> Yes, and as I've said, I was trying to convey the essence of this
thought with what became (unfortunately) confused with 1-person primacy on
this list. I'd be grateful for help on reformulating this more
coherently if possible. The heart of it is the primary intension of
'exists', whose fons et origo I take to be: 'exists in the sense that I
exist subjectively'.

Yes. The subtlety is extreme. My way of unpacking it is to think of the
concept of 'perspective view':

a) assume that there is an 'objective reality in the Bruno sense: a
reality exists. _any_ sort of reality will do.
b) draw a purely notional boundary around any portion of it at any
spatiotemporal scale.

Now realise that innate to the situation is that 'being' the notionally
segregated portion of the reality innately, automatically
prescribes/defines a perspective view of the rest of the universe.

This is not automatically anything that has 'visibility'!

All it means is that if the reality expresses X (ontological identity of
some sort) then the rest of the universe must be an absolutely perfect
No matter how weird the reality is, in the un-X is a form of latent
perspective 'view' from the position of being X. For example , an atom
exists, ergo the 'un-atom' exists (everything in the universe that isn't
the atom). There is no reality that doesn't do this. It can't be helped -
it's intrinsic to the act of any existence at all.

_This does not mean it is actually 'like anything' to 'be' the notionally
segregated portion_.

Back to the example of an X. To 'be' X is to inherit a latent un-X
perspective. Nothing has to do anything. This idea applies to all
spatiotemporal scales. From quark/un-quark to planet/un-planet. Also note
that the word 'spatiotemporal' is a loaded word. Any level of
multi-dimensional weirdness can still be part of the reality. The same
concept applies no matter how fleeting an X may be.

This is the idea of 'existence' or 'being' which I think has to be adopted
to make sense of perception. Once you realise it the whole job of
perception changes to one merely of 'visibility' that makes use of this
latent potential. To see this:

Consider your own left kneecap. From the perspective of being your left
kneecap the rest of the universe is expressing a perfect un-kneecap. This
is what the universe's innate perspective looks like. Yet we do not see
the universe from that perspective. Or from the perspective of any cell in
the kneecap. Or any molecule or any atom and so on. Also, from the
perspective of being the 'space' inhabited by the atoms in your kneecap
(call it knee_gap) the rest of the universe is expressing a perfect
un-knee_gap. Space is just as ontologically real in this. It's all the
same. Whatever space is, it only has to be something we can pass through
and it'll look like space. It's just as much 'stuff' as anything in the
periodic table - just that the atoms/particles in it (expressed by it) can
move around easily when in it.

All the visibility we humans have is centred on our brain material.
Something about brain material actually makes use of the intrinsic latent
potential perspective view to implement an actual view from that location.
That view is called phenomenal consciousness (discussed in all manner of
ways previously). Notions of 'self' and indexicality flow but are merely
secondary to the actual 1-person view and the innate circumstance that
delivers the view.

The whole problem changes to one of visibility.

I think this concept covers what you call 1-person.

When 'YOU' (your brain material) makes use of the latent perspective view
to implement an ACTUAL perspective view of everything call this the APV.
The appearance of reality thus acquired can be used to make
generalisations (the holy grain of the empirical scientist is the
exceptionless generalisation). The depiction of the universe in the form
of these generalisations is NOT the APV. This is an 'as-if' view. That is
- the universe is behaving 'as-if' the ontology in the generalisations
actually existed. That universe does not exist. It is methodologically
'deemed' for the purposes of predicting how the universe will appear
_within_ the APV. Call this 'as-if' view AIV.

Here is where I get confused:

some people here think the APV is '3-person'
some people here think the AIV is '3-person'

I'm pretty sure each of us has their own label for the concepts. What I am
sure of is that we confuse each other a lot by not fully
realising/describing the distinction in a discussion context.

The final note:
in terms of the definition of 'being' explained above I must point out
that the same underlying reality that 'is you' is generating the
perspective view (making use of the innate latent potential for it). To
illustrate - Imagine you are looking at (have an APV of) thing X where X =
an atom. In our APV something is behaving atom-ly. We can formulate a
generalisation that defines how an atom behaves within our APV. That
generalisation is an AIV. That AIV does NOT define what it is that is
behaving atom-ly. It merely describes expected appearances to be found if
you happen to get an atom presented to you in an APV.

The easiest way to think of it is to regard X as a finger puppet. The
'fingers' are behaving atomly in that the fingers are painted (appear -
APV) to deliver the appearance of 'atom-ly (AIV) behaviour'. The AIV says
nothing about FINGERS. Then note that whatever the fingers are - you, the
observer - are made of the SAME FINGERS and those fingers are painting the
APV in your head. The reason no-one ever gets a physics of qualia is that
nobody EVER gets scientific about _fingers_ - the underling physics -
Everyone thinks the AIV generalisations ARE the fingers. Totally wrong.
There are 2 set of equally valid scientific descriptions - descriptions:

(a) The underlying reality that generates the APV
(b) the generalisations acquired using the APV (= the AIV)

In the reality of provision of the APV 'observation' of BOTH descriptions
happens. One is explicit (b) = "that which is seen" and one is implicit =
"seeing" (at all). That is the distinction I wanted to make in the
previous post. I think somewhere in the above you may find an answer to
your questions. Or maybe just ideas that lead to one. I'd be interested in
seeing how your ideas relate to it. Note that all underlying realities of
any type can have the same logic applied - not just the one that is ours.
This does not mean that sorting out our underlying reality is impossible!

> The problem is that as soon as one formulates it
> in this way, all sorts of unlooked for windmills spring up for the Don
Quixotes of the logical mind to struggle with. Somehow one must avoid
being distracted into grappling with pseudo-problems of pansychism,
idealism, solipsism etc. - in their timeworn academic clothing - and focus
on the embeddedness, or 'here-ness' that is central to this
primary sense of 'exists', and see that everything else is somehow
derivative of, or emergent from, this primary intension. And, as you say,
by this token we are of course ourselves directly rooted in this reality,
whatever it is.

Yep. The demands of our language as assumed generator of truth rather then
depictor of it... I can see the words as having something to say about the
reality, but not the other way

PANPSYCHISM. I can sort of (if I squint) equate a form of panpsychism
within the innate_but_unrealised_latent_potential perspective view idea at
all scales. I think Alfred North Whitehead might like it. But this is NOT
some sort of magical universal consciousness! EEEK! to that.

IDEALISM. I can see the APV using the properties of ideal objects. I
cannot see that the production of the APV 'creates' the underling reality.
That's just silly. Magical intervention again. Much more parsimony in
accepting a reality as existent (as a hypothesis currently scientifically

SOLIPSISM. I can see that the APV, being private, could be used to justify
the entire reality as being only yours... "there can be only one" :-) But
to me the existence of an APV is literal proof there is an underlying
reality - if there wasn;t one then there couldn't be any APV. It all boils
down to a chicken/egg argument. I vote we delete the word to eliminate the

You can go through a whole library of terms and do the same thing. The
words paint a picture an aspect of the actuality. None of the actuality
directly corresponds with (in the sense of is demanded by) the words. The
delusion that just because the terminology arguments are possible that
reality shall therefore play along - NUTS to that!

>> The belief that the
>> 'underlying reality is actually made of quantum mechanics (as opposed
>> being merely described by it) to me looks like a mass delusion of the
>> bizarre kind.

> One implication of this (which I think is also implied by comp) is that
1-person experience derives from a more complex instantiation than the
3-person narrative that emerges from it. That is, there is a global
instantiation level of sufficient complexity to express 1-person
existence 'qualitatively'. At this level, qualitative modalities -
'qualia' - also function as stripped-down 'relata', encoding '3-person
worlds' of structure, relation, transaction, and locality. We may
speculate, for example, that our experientially dynamic discrimination
(A-series) of relation and structure (B-series) emerges from the
'unmediated intuitive grasp' of such relational locality within
> qualitative globality. All this strongly entails that we will never find
the 1-person within the 3-person. The evidence of course is perhaps
already staring us in the face, were we to accept it as such. There is
nothing at all in the 3-person that looks like, or that we have any notion
could possibly look like, the 1-person. Maybe this is why.
> David
Yes. Yes. Yes. This is all the Humean view of causality. "correlation is
not causation". Hume was dead right in being an absolute sceptic. As are
POPPER and his student MILLER (recent book 'out of error' is a MUST read).
The Popper/Miller pragmatics on science map the reality of perception and
cognition into the act of scientific behaviour perfectly. We get perfectly
good 'as-if' causality from within 1-person appearances. But none of is is
actually driving the universe. Associative memory is literally an 'as-if'
'apparent causality' generation machine. Traditional empirical scientific
laws are just metaphors.

What is actually driving the universe is the 'underlying reality' - and it
is that underlying reality which is generating the 1-person appearances.
It's just that the clinching evidence which gives us permission to play
with possible underlying realities is not within 1-person appearances, but
the very existence of any 1-person view at all. The sort of underlying
reality that makes what we see as brain material deliver a 1-person view
is the sort of universe we inhabit. No 3-person AIV/generalisation
delivered by the 1-person will ever do that! Which is where my comment
about (QM DOES NOT EQUAL underlying reality) came from.

Yet another metaphor:
If an alien studied city traffic from orbit (using some sort of wiz_bang
long distance speed-radar) you'd pretty quickly come up with a rule about
the probablity distribution T(V) of finding 'traffic', T running at a
certain speed V (enforced by signs on the side of the road). Call this

Saying that QM literally IS the underlying reality is like saying
TRAFFIC is made of P(V)! Meaningless drivel. To talk about the underlying
reality is to talk about CARS that behave TRAFFIC_MECHANICALLY.

Physics seems to be completely mesmerised by the 'unreasonable
effectiveness' of mathematics to the point of thinking that the
mathematics somehow 'is' the underlying reality - instead of more
reasonably concluding that the underlying reality is merely behaving
'as-if' it were being driven mathematically. The latter proposition would
win any critical argument in a model of reality simply through empirical
parsimony. The mathematics-bliss state of cosmologists is a kind of
religion - a belief in the magical intervention of a mathematics god -
that can only be maintained if you structurally/culturally eschew 1-person
as evidence of anything whilst at the same time demanding it deliver all
the 3-person evidence you use to maintain your belief in the mathematics

E) The descriptive mathematics of appearance is NOT the underlying reality.

F) The descriptive mathematics of an underlying reality is NOT the
underlying reality.

E & F are merely ABOUT the underlying reality and joined at the hip
by(mutually constrained to be compatible with) demands of provision
phenomenal consciousness to humans.

Which leads me to another implication: E & F are not even unique!

Zork the alph-centaurian smake-trouf scientist who looks like a hologram
of orange smoke-rings has a completely different set of phenomenal fields
(say perceiving gravitons and neutrinos directly) and would have a
completely different E' and F' say, respectively. But both E, E', F and F'
would be equally predictive of the natural world (and produce identical
technology). When mapped through the respective physics of phenomenality
the practical effect is identical prediction and identical
understanding/knowledge. Uniqueness in laws of nature is gone.

We humans seriously need to 'get over ourselves' as scientists.

Do you see how screwed up the system is?


Colin Hales

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Received on Sun Oct 15 2006 - 02:05:52 PDT

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