Friday, June 17, 2005

Constructing Reality

Really Reality Posted by Hello

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At 17 June 2005 at 08:42, Anonymous Paul Jacobson said...

Human Reality

Reality can be understood by the consciousness that observes it, as an enduring medium modulated by transient informational patterns. Fundamental laws of nature repeatedly take the current informational situation and transform it in the next instant over and over, as they have been doing for 15 billion years. Natural laws in algorithmic form operate everywhere, simultaneously and continuously as parallel processing in the extreme; and will continue to do so.

The form or shape of a physical object represents information in a very direct sense, but human beings and biological processes at their level of complexity also exhibit the emergent property of encoded information through Life and replicating, digital DNA.

As humans have clustered in social groups for one million years or more, language has become a higher order emergence to support social complexity; and out of social complexity has emerged consciousness expressed through memes (self-reproducing mental information structures) enabling humans to distribute intelligence and override their biological evolution with the propagation of inventions and discoveries.

Products of distributed intelligence both shelter and threaten us personally, biologically and ecologically with a bewildering accumulation of physical infrastructure, economic and informational networks in operation.

For better or worse, there is a shell of Memes around groupings of humanity that insulate individuals from many of the obvious natural hazards: bad weather, disease and famine. The shell also has dangerous and toxic inventions. Memes still circulate that provoke wars. Similarly, the shell contains complex cognitive structures that are powerful enough to enable the establishment of peace and prosperity on a global scale.

The sustainability of modern progress therefore depends just as much on creativity in the meme-pool as it does on the health of the gene-pool. Add to that, an absence of catastrophes that can strike as suddenly as a tsunami.

So where is The Self and Language situated? At the centre of individual living, the Self emerges from the higher order complexity of the Brain; and through Language constructs Reality as an individual experience. In a secondary consequence, language is used among others to establish relationships and transmit information.

Described by Gregory Bateson as “the emotional discourse of mammalian relationships”, humans spend two-thirds of their time socially engaged in it. Other mammals in the species that we belong to, spend all their waking hours involved in the same discourse as us. It deals not only with bonding in various ways but also, with political positioning, economic interests, social learning, crime and punishment, and personal / social grooming.


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