First, we recognize that we are committed, somehow, to the notion of the P-world: the domain of first person singular, the now, extended into the specious present.

Then we recognize that it is hard to find the borders of the P-world in space-time.  We can track the limits of the senses, but memory, feeling and emotion ensure that we have a hard time finding borders.

Then we realize that the specious present extends into the future through the (Bayesian) notion of prediction.  Most things in the P-world are utterly predictable if we adopt a sufficiently modest temporal window.

Agents, or other sources of action, in the P-world introduce limits to predictability.  They thus represent a border.

You are the border of me.

Addendum: If we engage in strictly synchronized behavior, then we become much more predictable for each other, and the border recedes.

PPS: The hell of solitary confinement in prison is the openness, not the fictitious boundaries.

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  ~ Anais Nin

What are we that we should see such?


I was watching me some contact juggling, and I got to thinking about how they “represent” space.  I use the term “represent” in a rap fashion rather than a cog sci fashion, as they show off their conception of space, and it is Euclidian.  The beauty of the art form lies in the absence of body-based constraint: no top-heaviness or balance issues. Space is the metric space it seems to be in the performance.

Now look at time and the body.  What I object to most strenuously is the notion that anything could be timed independently of the body.  The oscillator modellers all seem to think that the time of behavior is a Euclidian time – a raw metric space, unformed by the proclivities, inertial drag, and symmetry properties of the body.  They treat movement as if it were contact juggling.

So much blood and ink has been spilt trying to bridge the gap between something called mind and something called world. The gap I seek to bridge is instead between something called experience and something called language. This we can do. And with that the game is won.

This is understood in economics.  It validates the discipline.

But that entails the need to agree on what constitutes a measurement.  Without measurement, no price.  Measurement, in turn, always depends implicitly upon a model of the agent.  Cognitivist models come in many flavors.  But each of these has economic consequences; various models of rationality; various accounts of the Perception-Cognition-Action arc.  The assumptions of each of these accounts are used to validate a host of measurements.

P-worlds neither exist nor don’t exist.  Why bother articulating this point of view?  It is not because it might be more right than some other; it is that it might be useful.  It might be a god way to think about difficult issues.

Sometimes, when we dream, but are close to waking, a bodily process, like a full bladder, or indigestion, makes itself obvious in the dream.  When recounted, it has a narrative form.  Here, we see the construction, from the raw, non-linguistic material of the P-world, a story, an autobiography.  We might attend more closely to that border in individuals, and take note of how they each individually understand their own bodies to work.  What does the spleen mean to X, the heart to Y?  This is akin to trying to map from the observer’s story about glucose and metabolisms, to the cell’s story about a direction.

Here, and elsewhere, I have tried to reify the concept of a first person point of view, introducing the P-world, or phenomenal world, which is all that properly belongs to the first person, and the R-world, which is noumenal, eternal, unknowable.  I did so, not to argue that these were terrifically real or accurate descriptions of things.  They weren’t, and aren’t.  Instead, they collectively constitute an interesting and useful stance to take with respect to a great many issues that can not have simple answers. Many grand themes in metaphysics, religion, and even mundane matters such as memetics and mental health, may fruitfully be discussed as if these were real things.  They are, however, concepts.  They are thus no more real than teapots or apples.  Useful.  Indeed we need to assume their reality for some levels of discourse.  But not possessed of any intrinsic essence; not ultimately real.  They are reifications of that which cannot be reified. There can be no such things.

With that, my entire philosophical inquiry changes direction slightly.  I don’t believe I ever strove for accuracy, or verisimilitude.  But I might have tried to be right.  Now, I see it is rather an exercise in dialectics.  This is not the (or ‘a’) right way to think.  This may be a useful way to think, just as doing biceps curls is a useful kind of exercise.

We can use linear time warping, via high speed cameras or time lapse, to perceive events at timescales that are at some remove from that established by our metabolism.  Watching drops into water, or watching plants fight and unfold, we recognize that events as salient as any we could see are going on all around us all the time.

But what if we explore non-linear time-warping.  We could look at the world through non-linear functions.  Start with periodic ones, and you are looking at loops. That’s cool and interesting. But once we break into non-periodic functions, the whole world becomes strange and different.  What do we see?  We will see more clearly that the simple things and events that we recognize are as much a function of the perceiver (the function) as they are of the world.  That should help us to develop a better sense of perspective for how we usually see things.

In this article, the consequences of transparency in public life are considered. It appears that money revels the collective nature of the system. Lawfulness appears in behavior, but that lawfulness requires us to posit a limited sort of an individual. Essentially selfish, but with a limited notion of self. Revealing our collective side, once again. Brains drive those smaller units, as they generate P-worlds. Consensus will be of our common nature, and not of that which is first person.

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