Re: 2C Mary

From: Mirai Shounen <>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2003 23:18:40 +0900

I think your idea makes sense.
Just like the distance between two particles is not 'nothing' but a real
property of the universe at that time (therefore there are 3 things in
mary's brain), also the specific configuration of neurotransmitters and
electrical impulses in the brain is something not less real than the
individual constituent parts of the brain itself. So it could very well be
that we are this something (this configuration). Maybe there is something it
feels like for the distance between two particles to increase.

Another possibility is that subjective sensations and qualia are the only
things that exist, the very structure of the universe, and the existence of
the physical, and even the way it seems to all make sense, these maybe only
details of the experiences that we happen to have.
I imagine an infinite dimensional space in which every possible quale has
one dimension, with intensity ranging from 0 to infinity. Within such a
framework, every stream of consciousness could be defined as a
multidimensional curve. At Point A you have pain in your neck of intensity
X, see a red blob with intensity Y and so forth. Then your point at that
time would be (x,y) in a 2dimensional space (for simplicity). This solves
copy paradoxes and teleportation arguments, if it's not clear how it does so
feel free to mail me.

I have an additional thought about qualia that I haven't found in the
For us to talk about qualia the brain needs to represent them. If the brain
represents them, then they are not qualia anymore. When we say the redness
of red, the brain is representing this, so in the end it IS all a matter of
data structures and representation. This in my opinion invalidates all
dualistic theories, since it eliminates the need for any kind of soul and
for a connection between soul and hardware. Any thoughts on this?


----- Original Message -----
??? : "Colin Hales" <>
?? : "'everything'" <>
Cc: <>
???? : 2003?6?3? 22:35
?? : 2C Mary

> Dear Folks,
> Once again I find myself fossicking at the boundaries and need to ask
> one of those questions. My first experience with an asker of such a
> question was in the last couple of years at high school. I'll tell
> you about it because, well, the list could use a little activity and I
> hope the 'fabric' list doesn't mind the rather voluminous joining
> post. The story:
> Person X raises his hand in class and the question is asked. The most
> insanely stupid question. At least that's what it appeared to be to
> most of the class. Snicker. Guffaw. Snicker. Rhubarb. Rhubarb. A
> mexican wave of derision filters through the pubescent ranks. That
> wave didn't get past me. I looked at person X across the room. Yes, on
> the face of it that question was the pathetic pleading of the
> apparently brain dead. Yet I knew it could not be. For person X was
> one of those kids that got scarily high marks. I knew that the
> question had answered something far deeper for person X than the
> shallow meanderings of the distinterested that formed the rest of the
> class sitting in judgement. And none of them would ever realise that.
> That's the stupid question story. Now for the apparently stupid
> question, which I'll pose in 2 parts. The first part is a little
> background. For those of you who subscribe to the PSYCHE lists, you
> will have seen my recent question "Exploded Brain Mary" on PSYCHE-D.
> This question is in pursuit of understanding of a topic not apparent
> in the question and I'm afraid I can't go into detail. It's about
> resolving the bottom layer of a speculative model for qualia.
> Now this model is around 11 layers deep. It's a very detailed model
> and I'm going to do my best to bring it into the public eye for
> scrutiny in due course. Somehow. Suggestions anyone? There is no way I
> can possibly bring you all up to speed on the whole thing but I can
> say that I have hit a final wall of mystery which appears to suggest
> something that may be true about consciousness that may be the
> 'fundamental' bedrock. Something that is breathtakingly simple yet so
> odd I am here to ask you folks to see what I see. To see where it
> leads. I really don't know if it's well trodden ground or not.
> The second part is 2C Mary. This is a small thought experiment
> designed to illustrate as simply as I can the possibility for a
> mechanism for access to apparently physics-violating phenomena. Those
> interested in philosophy of mind will recognise that poor
> neuroscientist Mary has been the subject of many a thought experiment
> and she has acquiesced to appalling things in the name of science.
> This one is no different!
> Let's get rid of Mary's brain completely. A radical brainectomy. We
> are going to replace it with two particles. Each particle is
> travelling at the speed of light, C, but in perfectly opposing
> directions. The distance between them is growing at a speed of 2C. Now
> nothing is actually moving at 2C and all is well for physics.
> The real question is the ontological status of the 'nothing' in that
> last sentence. I am starting to believe that the true nature of the
> 'fundamental' beneath qualia is not only about the 'stuff', but is
> actually about all of it. That is, the 'stuff' and the 'not stuff'. If
> you think of Mary, she actually has 3 things in her brain. She has 2
> particles doing something and one extra thing defined by their
> behaviour. The behaviour of a mathematical line between the two
> centres of mass of the particles. What argument removes that third
> 'thing' from Mary as an (cognitive) entity occupying our universe? I
> find I can no longer dismiss this third thing.
> Now the relationship - the causal chain - between what I have
> described and the qualia model is not easy to deduce. You'll have to
> accept for the moment that there is one. The reason I need to explore
> this is that I have identified what I think is a form of apparent
> non-locality accessible by simply 'being' part of the universe, and
> it's like the same form of access to physics violation that 2C Mary
> gets.
> Why do I need this? Without going into detail, it possibly supplies
> the answer to 'Exploded Brain Mary' that seems intuitively right yet
> so bizarre, to me, anyway. It's the basis for solving the so-called
> 'unity of consciousness' issue, which, if this goes anywhere at all
> will simply evaporate as a non-problem and no actual unity at all.
> The nature of the thought process that has been plaguing me for the
> last few weeks has slowly found its way to a question of the form I
> have just outlined. I suppose what I am asking is -
> Has anyone else been down this road? Is it a road at all?
> So many times I find I am walking in footsteps and only lack the
> descriptor to find prior art.
> In closure, I'd like to support the general way of thinking about
> this. A cloud is as much defined by what it is as what it is not. All
> 'reality' as we describe it, has two halves. We have been so
> preoccupied with what 'is', we (presumptuous here, sorry. Set me
> straight, please) have completely missed it's opposite. Turn
> everything inside out. Imagine that the only 'reality' is the
> processes involved by the universe in actively constructing what we
> _don't_ consider matter. Keep in mind that if we 'be' any portion of
> the universe we have to be all of it - Everything contributed by what
> is and every 'thing' incidentally created by being that very stuff,
> the 'things' that are 'not' that stuff. These are ontologically
> equivalent, I think. We don't even have the language for this. P+ for
> 'phenomena stuff' and P- for not-stuff? The qualia model calls it
> 'inverse phenomenology'.
> Posing the question at all has been useful. I don't know if anyone
> else out there can do anything but start considering what it may mean
> (other than perhaps colin should be on medication!). This is all I can
> ask - have a think. If anyone wants to put the idea to death in some
> cogent fashion I'd appreciate it! It'll save me a lot of time.
> Resolution is my goal. Either way is OK with me.
> The nice thing about this, after roughly 10 layers of classical,
> already-described-physics is that this is the only thing left. It
> makes qualia beautiful. An 'elemental quale' appear to be a
> destructive and energetic collision between P+ and P-, as I described.
> Beautiful but rather mundane, if the model holds up OK. All the
> model's layers point an arrow at this one thing I have described. I am
> at the end and I find... Nothing or rather, "NOT thing". It is why I
> am here, asking my stupid question.
> So. Anyone care to comment on the ontological status of 'not thing'?
> Regardless, it's been fun writing this.
> cheers,
> Colin Hales
Received on Tue Jun 03 2003 - 10:20:41 PDT

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