Faith

12 Mar

For many years now, I have been in the habit of holding some special object in my hands when I pray. The object is usually something simple and natural like an unusual stone. The object makes prayer “official”. When I am holding my prayer object, it is clear in my mind that I am communicating with God and that I should concentrate on that activity. This kind of device is common in many pursuits. Sometimes students wear a special hat when they are studying to make their study sessions official and remind them to concentrate.

For several years, my prayer object was a heart-shaped stone that I bought through eBay. About a year ago, when I was climbing into my bed, I found two small pebbles, a turquoise colored one and a cream colored one. They had apparently fallen out of my pocket when I went to take a nap. I could not remember when I acquired them or why, but I was fairly sure I had picked them up on our local beach. I recognized immediately that I was to use these when I prayed instead of the heart shaped stone. I never particularly cared for those two pebbles. However, since God had provided them for me, I felt that it was my duty to use them. I always held the turquoise one in my left hand and the cream colored one in my right hand.

About a month ago, when I was shopping at a local Dollar Tree, I came across a single smooth, flat, seaweed colored stone that had the word “Faith” engraved in it in gold. The stone was sitting there all alone on a shelf of other knickknacks that were for sale. There were no others like it in that section. As with the turquoise and cream colored stones, I recognized at once that God now wanted me to use this new object when I said my prayers.  I eventually discovered that it was a regular item for sale at the Dollar Tree. Each one was slightly unique and some of them had other words engraved in them. However, I knew that this particular stone was the one God had set aside for me.

The stone was a gift from God. I had to pay a dollar to get it out of the store, but that was immaterial. I was not being charged a dollar by God. I was paying an insignificant fee to a business for delivering to me the gift that God had provided.

Faith Stone

For the following month, I used the stone as my prayer object and held it whenever I said my prayers. Its smooth flat shape was ergonomic.  It fit my hands perfectly. It seemed to be made for me and for that purpose. When I cupped it in my hands while I prayed, it seemed to become a part of me.

Just recently, I was experiencing some minor hardships. They were hardships grouped into a pattern that I had come to recognize was a signal from God that there was something about my behavior that needed to change. I was not sure what it was. However, five evenings ago, when I was looking at my prayer stone, I made the connection.

For quite some time, I had been contemplating finding some book that could be my book of truth. I had been looking for a book that would be my guide book for how God wanted me to live. I was seeking my “bible”. I had been contemplating buying a particular King James Bible with just the right “look” that I had found online.

Teal King James Bible

I have read the Bible from cover to cover, but it never really spoke to me. Some Christians would say that this is because I do not believe, but I have reason to doubt their interpretation. I felt, for a variety of reasons, that the appearance of this particular Bible might signify the message God was willing to share with me. That notion would require some explaining that would take me too far afield. Besides, I realize now that it was incorrect.

I was also considering collecting together some writings of my own and binding them together to be my bible. I had tried this before, but it never worked very well.

Suddenly, I realized that this was all a mistake. There was no book of rules for me. My bible was a single word carved into stone: “Faith”.

This was an important realization. If a person contemplates the single word faith, everything else falls into place. God has no other words. Even “faith” is not God’s actual word. There is no human word that is equal to God’s meaning, but faith is the closest. If a person contemplates faith, that word will lead them to God. I assume there is some comparable word in other languages and traditions.

When a person contemplates faith, they do not need a rule book. They do not need guidance of any other sort. God tells a person who contemplates faith what faith means and he reminds them of that meaning whenever they lose track. God tells a person who contemplates faith what they should do and what they should believe. It is the moral code for distinguishing right from wrong. Faith instructs the follower on what God looks like and what he has prepared for them. It is the image of the future and what comes after the physical body ceases to function. Faith is the window into God’s wisdom. A person who knows faith knows God.

Faith means living without fear of losing faith. God gave me the new prayer stone to help me identify and remember his lesson. However, if I lose the physical stone, it will be because I am meant to lose it, not because I have gotten lost in my pursuit of God.

When I understood this, the problems I was having miraculously cleared up. They seemed to dematerialize retroactively. I knew this was God’s way of saying that I had learned the right lesson.

Of course, I will have other struggles in the future. Maybe they will be lessons or maybe they will just be struggles. I do not believe that God rewards “good works” or punishes “bad works” in this life. To believe such a thing would be to believe that every rich person deserves their wealth or that cancer sufferers, tortured prisoners and people burned alive in fires somehow deserve their misery. However, I am convinced that he uses our experiences to lead us to greater understanding. In any case, I am nearly certain that I have learned this one lesson.

Faith.

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Spirits as Fundamental Truths

14 Jan

For clarity on this topic, see the following:

Saurian Dualism

Saurian dualism describes two fundamental objects. These objects are both spirits, albeit of vastly different scale. The definition of a spirit, as given before, is as follows:

A spirit is a choice function that exists where a choice is called for and it is impossible, even in principle, for the choice to be made by a deterministic algorithm. The magnitude of the spirit is equal to the product of the degrees of freedom of the total entangled choice to be made.

The large-scale spirit, G(x) is a choice function that decides the state of the entire universe down to the minutest detail. The small-scale spirits, P(x), act on much smaller scale sets established by G(x). Both types of spirits are made necessary by the existence of sets of propositions that would remain unresolved if not for the spirits acting to resolve them. All such propositions are inaccessible to any deterministic algorithm.

The state of the universe, which is an uncountably infinite set of propositions, cannot be resolved by a deterministic algorithm because of the scale of the set of propositions and the dynamism of their interactions. It appears that both the scale of these propositions and the dynamism of their interactions must be the largest possible cardinal number.  It is important to realize that nothing “generates” G(x). The necessary qualities of the requisite choice function diverge to G(x). The law of the excluded middle dictates that there are no undecided propositions. Therefore, the universe must be completely decided. However, it seems inescapable that the universe, as a whole, must have three characteristics. The first characteristic is that it can have a number of possible configurations that are equal to the largest possible cardinal number. The second characteristic is that the complexity of these configurations can be equal to the largest possible cardinal number. The third characteristic is that the configuration of the universe can have no internal contradictions. It is impossible for a person to even begin to comprehend what this entails. Nevertheless, this is the problem that arises. G(x) is the mapping of all these possible states to just one. It is tempting to think that the universe could simply have the requisite single configuration and be done with it. The problem is that remaining in one configuration is an ongoing proposition that also has an uncountably large number of possible solutions.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, just is. G(x) is not a conscious agent because that quality is essential for its task. It is a conscious agent because that quality is possible, and G(x) must have every possible quality.

The propositions that the P(x) spirits act on are inaccessible to deterministic algorithms because that is the way G(x) has established them. As I observed before, this was a surrealistically clever trick of design that challenges the limits of credulity. Yet, Bell’s theorem shows that they exist.

The sets of propositions that the P(x) act on are established as a series in which it is impossible for one proposition to be resolved until the previous proposition has been resolved. The procession from the resolution of one proposition to the next is what the P(x) perceive as the passage of time.

G(x) and P(x) are both fundamental truths of existence that are equivalent to the third law of Aristotelian logic, the law of the excluded middle. Consequently, the choices that these spirits make are also fundamental truths. Since the universe is the result of choices made either by G(x) or P(x), the universe, as a whole, is a fundamental truth. As such, it could be no other way.

The biggest obstacle to grasping this construct is our notion of time. It does not seem like a fundamental truth such as is resolved by the P(x) could exist that only becomes true with the passage of time. However, this misperception is quickly resolved when one realizes that our perception of time is actually the perception of P(x) spirits resolving sets of propositions in a particular order.  There is no time independent from the ordered resolution of propositions by P(x).

In a sense, this overall construct implies that the entire universe is deterministic. Yet, relative to the P(x) that has the task of resolving certain propositions in a particular order, the universe is not deterministic at all. The P(x) are the “truth” that determines what the resolution of the propositions will be.

This overall construct resolves the question of “free will”. It is true that P(x) have free will, but their free will is the determining factor in the overall state of the universe. Another way to look at this is to ask a simple question: “What is the relationship between a fundamental truth and that which it makes true?”

This also makes it clear why humans have struggled for so long with the construct of free will. It turns out that the obstacle all along was their perception of time. When one sees actions as taking place over a period of time, it seems like free will must be something that chooses what will happen in the future. However, the perception of past, present and future are misleading. Actually, in a sense, the past present and future are all part of a single construct. It is the sequence of choices the P(x) make that is free will. Relative to the universe overall, the choices are all already made. Relative to the P(x) one choice cannot be made until the prior choice is made, and their act of choosing is free will.

I realize that my own struggle with this overall construct is with the notion of consciousness being the emanation of a spirit, as I define it, and a spirit being a fundamental truth. A fundamental truth seems like a very “big” thing. I realize that the reason why I struggle with a spirit being a fundamental truth is that this raises the character of a spirit to such a seemingly high level. Like most members of western society, I have been inundated with the notion that humans and their existence are small and unimportant. However, the notion that the human spirit is, somehow, insignificant, is really not a reasonable idea.

Science is able to formulate rules to describe nearly everything that it encounters, but it struggles with human consciousness. That struggle alone is sufficient reason to suppose that consciousness is “big”. Also, our consciousness is really the only thing we can perceive. As some writers have put it, “Consciousness does not exist in the universe; the universe exists in consciousness.” When one lets go of the meme, implanted in our brains by such prominent writers as Carl Sagan, that human consciousness is far too “little” to be a fundamental truth, everything about my theory comes into focus.

Langoliers and Transcription Factors

27 Dec

I have gotten so far away from any sort of empirical science with my ideas on Saurian Dualism that these ideas have taken on the character of what Extropia DaSilva calls “just-so stories”. Nevertheless, I feel a need to work out all the loose ends.

For clarity on this topic, see the following:

What Is Consciousness and Why Does It Matter

A Theory of God and Everything

Consciousness, A Simple Model

An Actual Theory of Consciousness

A Theory of Time

What Propositions Does Consciousness actually Decide

Saurian Dualism

Although the reason is somewhat obscure, I have become obsessed with the notion that spirits must remain completely separate from the “material” universe. However the description in my last entry suggests that they must have at least some contact with the material universe in order to delete paths that they do not follow. Also there is some question as to how spirits read the material universe in order to follow paths in it.

For these reasons, I have invented two new ideas: langoliers and transcription factors.

The term langolier comes from a Stephen King short story and a subsequent mini-series. In the Stephen King story, Langoliers follow closely behind the present and eat up the past.

Langoliers

Stephen King’s Langoliers from Mini-Series

The langoliers in my theory follow a history path right behind a spirit and make that path disappear behind it. They also make any paths disappear that are no longer blocked by the spirit. The moment a spirit comes to a fork in a path associated with quantum field collapse, the langolier is no longer blocked from access to that path and immediately destroys it well into the indefinite future.

Langoliers are not spirits, they are not conscious, and they do not have free will. They  are not material in the sense of the material universe. However, they have the property of being able to follow a physical timeline and also detect the presence of a spirit.

Transcription factors are the intermediary between the physical universe and a spirit. They transcribe the physical universe to the spirit so that the spirit can “see” what is going on without actually interacting with the physical universe. They also keep the spirit attached to and on the track of the physical universe. In this regard, they are very much like the transcription factors that read DNA and translate it into RNA.

Like langoliers, transcription factors are not spirits, they are not conscious, and they do not have free will. Nor are they physical.

Langoliers and TransciptIon Factors

Saurian Dualism

24 Dec

Since my theory of consciousness is more or less complete, I realize that, for reference purposes, this theory must have a name. I hereby officially name it “Saurian Dualism”.

For an understanding of Saurian Dualism, see the following in the order that they are listed:

What Is Consciousness and Why Does It Matter

A Theory of God and Everything

Consciousness, A Simple Model

An Actual Theory of Consciousness

A Theory of Time

What Propositions Does Consciousness actually Decide

Langoliers and Transcription Factors

Spirits as Fundamental Truths

I may eventually collect all of this together into one completely coherent entry.

What Propositions Does Consciousness actually Decide

24 Dec

Something that has been bothering me about my theories of consciousness and time is that there is a conflict between the notions that consciousness must necessarily be separate from the syntactical processing of the mechanical universe while, at the same time, it must also resolve something about that mechanical universe in order to be called into existence.

For clarity on this topic, review the following:

https://spikosauropod.com/2012/04/17/a-theory-of-god-and-everything/

https://spikosauropod.com/2014/04/25/consciousness-a-simple-model/

https://spikosauropod.com/2018/11/30/an-actual-theory-of-consciousness/

https://spikosauropod.com/2018/12/22/a-theory-of-time/

The problem goes something like this. Since the mechanical universe is syntactical and consciousness is semantic, consciousness cannot be a part of the mechanical universe. For this reason, instead of interacting with the universe, a spirit, which manifests as consciousness, merely traces out one of many paths according to the Everett interpretation of quantum field collapse. However, the whole reason why a spirit exists is that there are recurring propositions in the mechanical universe—which way the field collapses—that can only be resolved if a choice function exists to resolve them. A spirit is supposedly the choice function that resolves those propositions.

I get around the problem of a spirit interacting with the mechanical universe by having it merely trace a path in the universe and choosing a path when it comes to a split. However, if the spirit merely chooses a path, it is not deciding anything but its own course. It does not influence the universe at all. However, if the spirit does not choose anything but its own path, it is not made necessary by the need for a choice. A spirit is rendered useless if it exists only to resolve propositions that affect only itself.

For a while, I was content to assume that the Everett interpretation of quantum field collapse was only an interpretation and that, when it was convenient, I could switch back to the Copenhagen interpretation, but that kind of theoretic rationalizing is something I am trying to avoid. I am developing a theory that simply works.

What I propose as a remedy is that a spirit does not choose the path that the universe follows, but chooses which paths remain after it selects its own path. In other words, after the spirit chooses a path, the other paths that it does not choose disappear. It does not choose which path comes into existence, since all the paths exist initially. It chooses which paths go away.

Fork in Path

This not only solves the problem of what a spirit decides. It also solves a problem with thermodynamics. A principle of thermodynamics is that entropy can only increase. However, in the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, the possibility that paths may converge creates the possibility that entropy will decrease. However, if every path that a spirit does not follow is “pruned” this problem goes away. Since the pruning continues through the point where the paths might have fused, the overlap no longer exists for either path.

This is the perfect solution. It means that the path the universe follows is not influenced at all by a spirit and the spirit is not influenced at all by the universe while, at the same time, it is called into existence to resolve a proposition in the universe.

It may seem at first that the fact that a spirit’s action removes the possibility of paths converging has an eventual effect on the path that the universe can follow, but actually it does not. The universe could not have followed that path anyhow due to the second law of thermodynamics. The choice that a spirit makes merely provides the mechanism by which the convergence is prevented. However, the fact that it performs that inevitable service, once again guarantees its existence.

Note that the spirit only chooses the path that the universe follows at points of quantum collapse. It has no influence on the syntactical processing that manifests as classical physics. The universe behaves exactly as it would have done if the spirit did not exist. However, at certain points where the universe would have split anyhow, and the split would have been probabilistic according to the Copenhagen interpretation, a spirit, in a sense, causes the deck to be stacked. It has no influence on the course of paths it does not follow, since those paths cease to exist. (Note that there is no observer in those paths, since the spirit has taken a different path.) There is no classical trace of the spirit having acted at all. A good analogy would be someone who always seems to get winning hands in poker games while there is no evidence, even in theory, that they have cheated.

To accommodate any “sum over histories” effects or quantum erasure effects, it is possible that the neglected path does not disappear until every possibility of it influencing the path a spirit follows has run its course.

A Theory of Time

22 Dec

While thinking about my theory of consciousness, I realized that it leads naturally to a theory of time.

For clarity on this topic, review the following:

https://spikosauropod.com/2012/04/17/a-theory-of-god-and-everything/

https://spikosauropod.com/2014/04/25/consciousness-a-simple-model/

https://spikosauropod.com/2018/11/30/an-actual-theory-of-consciousness/

Time is largely an illusion. It is our way of interpreting the process of proceeding through a set of ordered steps. This theory explains the form that those steps actually take.

Quantum Time

Consciousness is the manifestation of a spirit. I define a spirit as follows:

A spirit is a choice function that exists where a choice is called for and it is impossible, even in principle, for the choice to be made by a deterministic algorithm. The magnitude of the spirit is equal to the product of the degrees of freedom of the total entangled choice to be made.

Quantum events, prior to collapse, are the undecided propositions that spirits act on and choose an outcome for. The decision of one proposition leads naturally to another undecided proposition. If we interpret quantum events according to the Everett interpretation, spirits decide the outcome of these propositions by moving to one choice or the other. It is a spirit’s transition from one proposition to the next that causes the spirit to experience the transition of time.

It is important to realize that, in a series of propositions where one proposition must be decided in order to give rise to the next, there is no possibility of the series of propositions being decided all at once. The resolution of one proposition is required before the next proposition exists to be resolved.

Since the perception of time is the ordered transition through the series of propositions, the “speed” with which these propositions manifest and are resolved is not a meaningful concept. A moment in time is defined as the transition from one proposition to the next.

These “moments” in time are actually time “quanta”. A quantum of time is the transition from one proposition to the next.

It seems likely that a series of propositions must be considered “entangled” in the same way that particles can be entangled. This is why a particular spirit exists to move through the entire series. However, this entanglement is a “cascading” entanglement that exists something like a domino effect.

It is possible that entangled events overlap both in “time” and space, giving rise to the spirit’s sense of the unification of the immediate past, present and future. This is in addition to the spirits sense of unity across space. Thus, there is conscious unity across space-time.

More Thoughts on Consciousness

3 Dec

After I published my last entry, I went back and edited it quite a few times. There are a lot of aspects to this theory and it is difficult to remember them all and get them in.

This theory is, from my perspective, a little past the stage plate tectonics was at when people first began to notice how the continents of North and South America seemed to fit together with the continents of Europe and Africa as if they were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I realized, as John Searle did, that the semantic nature of consciousness was at odds with the syntactical nature of the universe, and, low and behold, there was a mechanism available that provided the machinery so that something that is fundamentally different from the material universe could to seem to interact with it.

After I came up with the idea of a choice function that, in a sense, generated the universe, I realized that there were problems extrapolating it to smaller choice functions. How could a choice function that was forced into existence by the law of the excluded middle, somehow turn around and create a universe that still has “holes” that need to be filled by other smaller choice functions? Then, suddenly, I realized that Bell’s theorem provided the mechanism by which this could be accomplished.

Like Albert Einstein, I have often noted how remarkable it is that the universe seems to be designed as if it were meant to be figured out. What he said, precisely, was, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.”  The comprehensibility of the universe seems to be another characteristic, like the way that continents fit together, that hints at a deeper truth. That deeper truth is that we were meant to figure the universe out. The universe is a puzzle that was designed to be solved.

It is a tribute to the choice function I described in my last post that it was both able to make a universe that works, and one that doubles as a teaching tool. This is reminiscent of the DNA molecule that manages to contain the software of life, but is also its own hardware. When people invented magnetic tape that holds data, they were compelled to separate the hardware (the tape) from the software (the magnetized information). Nature found a way to combine the hardware and software and still get a better result.

Writing my last entry forced me to realize something that has been stirring in the back of my mind for many years. That idea is that there can be no real difference between a scientific law and a fundamental truth. Everything we see in the universe is somehow an outcropping of the fundamental truth that generates it. The law of the excluded middle is a law of thought, but so too is the statue of a gnome in your neighbor’s yard. Everything that you see is, at a deeper level, part of the fundamental truth of the universe. This realization makes it easier to accept the idea that everyone’s consciousness can be a fundamental truth.

This is an important aspect of my theory to understand. Consciousness is not a mechanism. It does not have any internal machinery. It is an axiom. It is truth. It may seem odd that a fundamental truth could come into existence 14 billion years after the universe came into existence, but that is only from the perspective of humans. If one looks at the universe top down instead of chronologically, one realizes that anything that happens in it is as much a fundamental truth as its initial state. Moreover, consciousness is not just a truth that begins at one’s birth and unfolds according to the initial state of that truth. It is a truth that manifests from the day one is born until the day one ceases to exist, even if the date one ceases to exist is at the end of time. This is not to say that the universe is deterministic. It may be true that the universe branches and that the branching is driven by actual free-will choices that, nevertheless, are fundamental truths of the universe.