The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #1231782
Posted By: Amos
22-Jul-04 - 08:09 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
14. It needs to be said that the alpha and omega points described here are different than any other part of the information process. It is not that the information enters the brain where the circuits are so subtly complex that they bring about understanding. The most complex correlation of neurons in the universe contains no information until the omega point of appreciation by a source of understanding occurs. This is so simple it is possibly mind-bending, but it is as close to absolute as a proposition ca get in this universe: the understanding that precedes the creation of information and which appreciates   information at its receipt is qualitatively different from any process involved in relaying that information.
IF you can imagine the series of transformations which make up information processes as a straight line, it might help. Like a straight line, the process is made up at least theoretically of a series of points which can be made to seem discrete, although perhaps they are not. Within any such point you can scale down your inspection and examine finer and finer subroutines: the mechanism of modulation and demodulation, the physics of bandwidth in twisted-pair configuration or optical fiber, the intricate storing of voltage pulses as binary data in registers, and so on. Each of these in turn has its own subset of intricate processes. Nowhere in any of this, however, has information occurred until the qualitative difference is entered in of an understanding appreciating the meaning of the information.
Please also notice that a source of understanding, as a phenomenon which shows up in the physical universe, is different than any other class or kind of phenomenon in that universe because it adds the non-material ingredient of understanding. Understanding is not exercised by material systems. Computers do not understand; dogs understand more than the most complex mainframe. This is not to say that just registering an analog display of information in front of an eyeball produces understanding. Misunderstood displays or comatose internal states can prevent understanding, as when you see your first Arabic car advertisement or when a teenage street punk is invited to the opera.
Neither you nor the street punk is short of potential understanding, but the necessary via of symbols and the dependency on them have combined to prevent it from occurring. It is easy and lethally wrong to conclude from this that the registration of symbols linked in enough ways will produce understanding. This is a fallacy of confusion between necessary and sufficient conditions. IF you believe understanding must only occur when symbol-linking occurs, there is no way to account for instances where it has occurred spontaneously, as in imagined or dreamed circumstances or when inventing new algorithms or designs.
We are, after all, talking about a source of understanding, meaning an emanation point, not just understanding as an unaware reflex following the right inputs. The whole point is that the latter is nonexistent. Awareness is not just another reflex. It is qualitatively different ñ a different ìwhatî ñ not just a different number of switches at work. There is a leap to a different ñ entirely ñ class of event. The more you compare the nature of switches and relays with the natures of insight and understanding the more obvious the qualitative difference between them becomes.