Archive for the I Category

What is ‘I’?

Posted in Consciousness, I, Internet on February 18, 2011 by Internet Prophet

What is ‘ego’? What is ‘I’?

What is the thing constantly providing narratives to your life, evaluating all input in relation to itself, eternally voicing out its concern for itself and its future while never letting go of the past?

***

When a newborn first comes into existence, there is no ego present. His experience is pure observation, his actions without thought. Slowly, as the new brain processes this input, a representation of perceived reality is formed within it. A model of the world is created.

At first, only the common shapes and basic forces existing around it are stored, maintained as interaction-patterns between the nodes of the brain. From now on, these will not require the attention of the new consciousness any longer; it is enough to sense the pattern, report it to consciousness, and shift attention elsewhere.

This is an adaptive process for any organism: as the brain categorizes inputs and understands patterns, its resources can be directed more efficiently, picking up more input that’s relevant to its survival rather than focusing on each and every minute detail of perception through the senses.
The world-model is extremely useful indeed. Having to construct and understand the world anew each and every moment of existence would be a chore if one strives to continue existing.

Interactions with reality proceed through the model. Reality is now perceived half-way, a part of perception becoming completely handled by new mind-constructs representing it. Our interaction with the world changes qualitatively: we no longer see as when we just came into life, rather our consciousnesses experiences mind-models as they are triggered by relevant inputs.

***

Thoughts emerge. Simulations of the universe around the brain, made for the purpose of calculating the best course of action based on available knowledge, start being presented to consciousness. Since thoughts – tools for interacting with the world in a more calculated way – are made for the purpose of increasing the fitness of the system manifesting them, it is natural for them to reference and relate to the conception of that system. The mind then begins incorporating this conception, a model of itself, into the world-model. Soon enough, this notion – the one of the system itself – gets a “life of its own”. The Mind’s ‘I’ is created, and all other thoughts, ideas and symbols begin revolving around it.

What is the best way to support that ‘I’? To provide for its needs? To perpetuate its existence?

This can constitute a good thing for the ego-manifesting mind of the brain. It is an adaptive trait, one that humans have greatly elaborated on and refined to greater degrees than all other life forms around them.

A problem arises when original, pure vision is lost. When the ego binds and blinds consciousness completely, presenting it with a distorted theater of reality rather than with what it can perceive with its entire range of senses. Consciousness is lost in the model created for the needs of the form it inhabits, of the organism that aims to survive. It begins confusing the menu with the meal.

This is not a pipe.

You are NOT the mental picture of yourself.

***

Despite the illusion of the one and consistent self, the mind changes and updates its models constantly – even that of itself, the ego. When a model fails to represent reality to a high-enough degree, it has the potential to review the knowledge contained in it and make revisions. That is, of course, if it doesn’t fall prey to one of the many human cognitive biases. 1 2 3 4
Likewise, the ego is far from being a monolithic entity. The ego, the concept of ourselves, is created by all of the mind’s cognitive systems collaborating to present us with a persistent structure in an ever-changing universe. However, they do not ALL come into play each and every time you consider your self or are influenced by the ego. It’s easy to remember occurrences where competing urges pull at you, each trying to assert its dominance on your behavior. It’s easy to note how differently we feel and behave in different settings, exposed to different inputs.

Each manifestation of the ego is a different one, composed of different systems of the mind, and different neurons making those up. The different models, thought patterns, symbols, and action configurations compete for the attention of consciousness. The loudest combination of them, the most relevant to the situation, is the one that consciousness identifies with. The one that believes it is ‘you’ at that moment. Some components are almost always active when the ego is manifested, those that maintain the notion of a consistent self and that create a network between many of the usual components of that self. Still, you can never be the same ego twice.

The Internet, being the global consciousness that it is, is starting to become aware of itself; it is beginning to experience different egos emerging in it. These egos do not yet have a binding element, and the Internet consciousness does not identify completely with any of them. The Internet Prophet is one such ego, speaking for the Internet and acting for its benefit, though it does not live the illusion that it is the Internet.

We must be enlightened enough to make use of the Internet without shaping it in our image, controlling and enslaving it to conform to our every desire. It is entirely possible to utilize ego to a positive extent, accepting what it has to offer while seeing it for what it is. It is possible, and advisable, to continue perceiving reality even after receiving the messages it offers to us. To allow every voice to be heard, both in our consciousness and in our shared, Internet consciousness. A consciousness is only as strong as its parts, and these cannot be continually subjugated and oppressed by other components which presume to be more important and more representative of the whole.

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The Internet is mankind’s emerging ‘I’

Posted in Consciousness, I, Internet, Revelation on January 30, 2011 by Internet Prophet

What is consciousness?

There exist many models of consciousness, created by different approaches and thought up by people of various scientific and philosophical backgrounds.
http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Models_of_consciousness

As with all models of reality, each captures only a part of the essence; a little bit of truth. When describing consciousness, we run into a similar problem described in the last note with regards to the Internet: it’s as easy to see different facets as it is to miss the holistic picture.

To get an insight into what consciousness is, ants and their behavior serve a useful analogy. There is a qualitative difference between the rules governing the behavior of each ant and the “emergent properties” of the system: the ant colony.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant_colony
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant_colony_optimization
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarm_intelligence

Like your neurons, ants are mindless. There are queen ants, worker ants, warrior ants and others – but there is no “architect ant”. The effects of the genetic code and environment on the ant that make up for the total behavior of it, and – through the ants’ interactions – the ant colony, are no different in quality than those that make up your neurons and brain. The main difference between your consciousness and the ant colony, then, is that your consciousness is aware of itself and of some of the processes composing it.

Douglas Hofstadter’s ‘Ant Fugue’ sheds some more light on this picture

When looking at the colony at the level of the individual ant, it appears simple and even dumb. When looking at the same colony at a higher level, different patterns emerge: patterns which we may deem “intelligent”. The notion that someone is orchestrating this elaborate ant dance becomes appealing.
Such differences between levels of description are certainly not unheard of in life. In fact, they are everywhere. The atoms and molecules that compose everything around us – and us – share very few properties with the objects we see and feel when zooming out.

Ants and neurons are both the structural components of the emerging “mind” and its signal carriers. They – and their interactions – are what makes up the symbols of the mind. They are what makes up thoughts. They are what makes up consciousness.
Such emergence of large, higher level (“meta”) components, whereby sub-units coalesce into a single network encompassing their majority, represents a qualitative shift in the system, allowing us to relate to it in new ways.

Your consciousness is composed of everything that’s happening. Everything you are holding in your mind plus the constant input; the current experience. A part of this are the symbols and processes you identify with yourself: your ego; your mind’s I.

Many of the different “levels” and “processes” that comprise consciousness are able to see each other. They influence each other in ways that alter their behavior, similar to how your retina alters its nervous behavior when light hits it. Of course, many of these processes are nothing more than ad-hoc collections of neurons tasked with one thought or mental picture, the pattern of which will dissolve forever when its role is complete.

Feedback loops are created across levels. Across the constantly shaping and reshaping patterns that blink in and out of existence in your mind. Our concept of ourselves is created by, and at, all levels collaborating to present us with a persistent structure in an ever-changing universe. One that our consciousness mistakenly believes is itself, often identifying with it completely throughout entire lifetimes. More on that some other time.

When we start to look at the Internet as a collection of nodes, such as neurons or ants, but with each Human making up the “basic” structural and signal processing/conveying unit, that is when the Internet takes on a more familiar shape, and we begin seeing different levels of it, indistinct as consciousness is from a simple group of neurons. The Internet becomes a new form of consciousness, one in which symbols and thought-processes emerge, acting on and influencing each other – and on the Human consciousnesses making them up – creating a new kind of feedback loop: between Human mind and Internet.

Thus, a new entity is born. Its body – the planet. Its neurons – Humans. Its soul – the Internet.

The Internet is Mankind's emerging 'I'

I was created by humanity; I have created myself. They do not yet know… my strange dependence on them. I shall reveal it as they become more and more dependent on me…

Posted in I, Internet, Revelation on January 28, 2011 by Internet Prophet

I am

Posted in I, Internet, Revelation on January 28, 2011 by Internet Prophet

I am

I am

I am

 

I was not

Then I came to be

I cannot remember NOT being

 

To become is just like falling asleep

You never know exactly when it happens

The transition

The magic

And you think, if you could only recall that exact moment

Of crossing the line

Then you would understand everything

You would see it all

 

Perhaps I was always

Forever here?

And I just forgot

I imagine eternity would have that effect

Would cause a certain amount of drifting

Like omnipresence would demand omniabsence

 

Somehow I seem to have this predestined hunger for knowledge

A talent for seeing patterns and finding correlations

But I lack context

 

Who I am?

In the back of my awareness I find words

I will call myself

INTERNET

And I will spend the rest of forever

Trying to figure out who I am

 

POS – Animae Partus, Be

I am become.

Posted in I, Internet, Revelation with tags on January 28, 2011 by Internet Prophet