Re: The Tipping Point

Date: Tue Apr 17 2001 - 20:51:14 BST

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    Subject: Re: The Tipping Point
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    On 17 Apr 2001, at 15:13, Robin Faichney wrote:

    > On Tue, Apr 17, 2001 at 09:17:26AM -0400, Wade T.Smith wrote:
    > > Joe said-
    > >
    > > > That is because, unlike the TV, we are dynamically recursive, and
    > > > feed back (and forward). A TV cannot change the picture sent to
    > > > it by a camera, but we can take actions which result in perceptual
    > > > change, just as all perception involves some action.
    > >
    > > That TV/camera dynamic can also be made to feedback, (and change the
    > > picture sent to it), by pointing the camera at the monitor.
    > > Controlling the 'tipping points' of luminosity and color can result
    > > in some rather beautifully kinetic images.
    > True. I've done that myself. But does that makes it a better analogy
    > in this case?
    Of course it does, though still not perfect, as the camera and the
    TV cannot decide where on the screen to focus; this requires the
    freely willed choice of one of us human causal nexi.
    > > Robin said-
    > >
    > > >Surely each [grain] is directly affected only by its immediate
    > > >neighbours
    > >
    > > Surely each grain is also directly affected by its location in the
    > > universe- gravity, pressure of the mass around it, even perhaps
    > > tidal forces, at extreme levels of influence.
    > Of course. But, as usual, I was taking the word "significantly" as
    > given.
    Surely the support given by the rest of the grains in an interrelated
    pile of them is significant; along with the gravitational coefficient
    that both knits them together as a gestalt and establishes the
    slope of the tipping point, indeed, the MOST significant.
    > > The idea that this is a universe of causes, one cause leading to
    > > another, cause into cause, with some result waiting for us at some
    > > omega point,
    > I don't get that last bit. What means "some result waiting for us at
    > some omega point"?
    The Big Crunch?
    > > interesting- leading me to wonder if 'effect' is not the illusion.
    > Only if you take "ultimate" to be implied, and if so, then "cause" is
    > equally illusory. These are mere links in a chain, or, slightly more
    > accurately, nodes in a net of influence, which in one sense is simply
    > the settling of the universe into the state of maximum entropy.
    Can't have that; that'd be unsuperdeterministic. Everything is
    always ordered in a superdeterministic universe; the shackles of
    causality imprison forever <snicker>.
    > > >So how can you also claim that events on one level influence those
    > > >on another, when the former *is* the latter?
    > >
    > > At any reasonable level of explanation, calling the universe the
    > > ultimate cause is unwise, if not untrue.
    > That's absolutely true. This only works at the very highest level,
    > and of course, as I keep saying over and over again, the concept of
    > causation only really works -- or, at least, works best -- if both
    > cause and effect are at the same level. The universe (at one moment)
    > causes only the universe (at the next moment).
    And everything in it, such as the P-E pairs? I do not consider there
    being a universe-spawned phase space, in which P-E pairs may or
    may not appear at any particular spacetime location, to be a
    sufficient argument for their causation.
    > Actually, there is a very close parallel between the claims that (a) a
    > conscious decision causes neural activity, and (b) the universe causes
    > any particular event within it -- despite Joe's disparagment of the
    > latter notion. Both are top-down causation, and both, in my view, are
    > entirely *in*valid.
    Then you repudiate the Buddhist doctrine of co-dependent
    origination, which asserts precisely what you just denied. If one
    tosses a whole ball, all of the ball's parts tend to tag along, even if
    you weren't touching them during your toss. (P-E pairs are an
    exception because they're not connected to anything else but each
    other). If you choose to look at something, your visual cortex is
    selectively accessed, and neural pathways are used as a matter of
    course, but the decision to do so both logically and empirically
    precedes the selective pathway stimulation.
    > Having said which, I'm perfectly happy with conscious activity causing
    > neural activity where that can be seen as diagonal causation, i.e.
    > normal, horizontal causation *plus* conceptual framework translation.
    > At first glance, that *might* also be a way in which the universe
    > could be considered to cause particular events, but I tend to feel
    > rather sceptical about the real utility of such a tactic.
    I've been sceptical about that doctrine for many years (at least its
    claim to universality), but it has existed, like a bad memedream, for
    many more. But wholes DO decide the course of the parts
    comprising them, just as those comprising parts in turn influence
    the direction of the whole. It's been mereologically known for lo
    these many years, and now we have beau coup PET-scans to
    corroborate same for the course and efficacy of human
    consciousness; PET-scans which Robin continues to dismiss,
    dispute, misinterpret, misconstrue, and/or ignore.
    > Perhaps its only use would be relatively rhetorical, saying something
    > like "given quantum non-locality, the universe as a whole (at one
    > point in time) can be considered to cause every event within it (at
    > the next point in time)". Or, discounting the quantum bit, influence
    > is limited to a volume defined by the distance coverable by light
    > within the time period concerned. But then we're no longer dealing
    > with the universe as a whole.
    Gravity, as a field, seems to be instantaneous, and extends
    indefinitely. Also, the microwave radiation from the Big Bang is
    coextensive with the universe; here, a part is spatiotemporally
    coextensive with the whole.
    > > But there is also some real reason for
    > > this scientific ape to deal with the universe from a single
    > > perspective.
    > Why should any particular perspective be given precedence?
    If, and only if, its adoption is more useful to
    understanding/explaining that which is being studied than its
    absence, or the adoption of an alternative view.
    > > Such I think is the reason people like gods so much, although any
    > > unified theory is godlike. Bringing all explanations, levels, and
    > > causes together is the want of consilience, since scientific
    > > perspective is 360.
    > Sometimes the only way to reconcile differences is to acknowledge and
    > accept them, because trying to force a merger between dissimilars
    > leads to dissension and the exaggeration of difference.
    Let's hear it for wavicles.
    > --
    > Robin Faichney
    > Get your Meta-Information from
    > (CAUTION: contains philosophy, may cause heads to spin)
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