Binary Metaphysics and the World Will

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If the Information Age is to be remembered, it may very well be for its affirmation of the binary nature of the cosmos – that the essence of everything is a 0I0II0 process of information accumulation. The forms that have grown out of this amazingly simple, Either/Or, quantum reality are perceived by us as the immensely complex thing that is the universe, and from the perspective of the Information Age we are able to understand the mechanics involved in this process. It is a mechanics that had been deemed metaphysical or esoteric and spiritual by earlier ages, but now we see reality very differently. So much of our new perception is reflected in our computers and the other digital apparatus that have become so important to our daily lives – virtual realities exist on our desktop and in our pockets and they point to the virtual reality that is our own. Like the microcosm so is the macrocosm. Our computers operate with the most basic language possible, and so does the cosmos.

From the void comes form, from the inanimate comes life – and by sharing information these forms, inanimate or otherwise, are able to reproduce themselves. The foundation of the universe is a process of reading and interpreting information. It is an enormous factory of evolution and creativity.

SCIENCE’S ESCHATOLOGICAL APOCALYPSE

According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, not only humanity but also the entire universe is destined to suffer an unconditional final mega death when it reaches a state of high entropy. Nevertheless, whilst entropy pushes everything towards chaos, the tendency of life is to become less and less chaotic and more ordered.[i]  Here there are two dynamic forces at work – a dialectic of physics between nothing and anything, life and death, the positive and the negative, the yin and the yang. For life to win this battle, it needs to do more than just go on living and propagating more life as it always has done – it needs to understand the universe in a complete way. Only by understanding the fundamental error in its own system of creation, propagation and self-reproduction, will the universe be able to reprogram itself and tilt its evolution away from finality and a return to the void, unto eternity and perpetual creation.

THE WORLD WILL

It is in life’s nature to have a drive for continual creation and permanence. The same drive is inherent in the very building blocks of the physical world. We call this drive the World Will.

If it can be conceived that, through knowledge and technology, a conscious entity will be able to act like God and redesign the universe, pushing it away from finality towards the direction of eternity, then should that not be adopted as a primary motivation for such an entity. As humanity, homo sapiens, is a conscious entity, should it not become our priority to work toward the fulfilment of guaranteeing an eternal universe.

THE ETERNAL UNIVERSE AS A POINT OF INSPIRATION

Of course, there are more pressing problems, and to become God would take thousands of millennia to achieve. So why bother?

Cosmological reality is our reality. Life and death is our reality. Our motivations, what gets us up in the morning as well as that which inspires us to work, are driven by our perception of the purposefulness or purposelessness of life. The cosmological lesson derived from the second law of thermodynamics and the promise of the mega death is “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!” Our cosmological reality is pessimistic and in order to be able to truly think positively, without sliding into the trap of religious nihilisms and their promise of something better beyond this world, we need to have an antidote to the poison of cosmological pessimisms.

What we are proposing is the consumption of positive, purposive vitamins and their immediate effect is a positive enhancing of our perception of humanity itself, with all its positive ramifications. Its secondary effects will be in the solving of so many of our dire ecological problems. This is why we should bother about eternity.

[i] See Vlatko Vedral, DECODING REALITY, OUP, New York, 2010, p.67

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THE UNIVERSE AS WILL

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WILL

What is will? It is a very vague concept, held up by assumptions and superstitions. Nietzsche called it something complicated[i]. It is certainly a very German obsession: Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche … Is it not a trap? Shouldn’t we stay clear?

Superstition or not, whatever we imagine it to be it has a great bearing on our lives. One must pit one’s will against the will of the masses, or against God’s will. We use it as a term to describe how we are driven, where our impulses come from, negative or positive.

There are powerful wills and frustrated ones. In the end, the concept boils down to an ethical one. There are positive wills to do ‘good’ things and negative wills to do ‘bad’. Instead of taking us beyond good and evil, the question of will brings us back to the great dialectic: What must be done if we are to do the right thing? Once we have at least a sketch of an answer for such a question, then we can start to imagine what kind of will we need to have – for will is a lonely word that needs to be determined by its goal if it is to mean anything. We need to define it by establishing where it comes from and where it should go.

Nietzsche understood this. He called will: “a plurality of sensations, namely the sensation of the condition AWAY FROM WHICH we go” … (as well as) … “the sensation of the condition TOWARDS WHICH we go” …. (but also) … “an accompanying muscular sensation which … comes into play through force of habit.[ii]

If we accept this definition then there are two main channels flowing from and through it: a) the conscious channel of personal desire, and b) the unconscious channel that we understand as habit. This latter channel has been coded for us and it exists in the likewise coded matrix of the systems that envelop us.

COSMOLOGICAL FINE TUNING

Cosmological Fine Tuning[iii] implies that the universe has a determination to create life. This poses problems for science and gives oxygen to theologians for: how can an inanimate thing have determination (without God)?

However, the idea that “the inanimate universe created the animate because it was God’s will”, is not much more revealing than “the inanimate universe created the animate”. Or, in other words, in order to understand what God’s will is we need to understand what physical forces could allow the fine tuning of the universe to take place. Which is also saying that by understanding the fine-tuning of the universe we can understand how the universe is capable of determining its own destiny. Which implies that God is not necessary again. If science can demonstrate how the universe was able to fine tune itself in order to make life possible within itself, then the phrase “the inanimate universe created the animate” is sufficient.

DECODING REALITY AND THE SEARCH FOR COSMIC WILL

A drive does not have to be conscious, but consciousness could be the result of a drive if the idea of consciousness is inherent in the mechanics of the drive itself. If the underlying mechanics of the universe lies in the behaviour of the quantum particles that are the basis of everything, then we must ask ourselves if the mechanical nature of those particles has any relation to consciousness.

Physicists like Vlatko Vedral and James Gleick claim that the universe consists of information. According to Vedral’s thesis, the universe is a massive compilation of quantum information[iv]. Information therefore, is the key to understanding what connects the universe and also why existence came into being in the first place. Likewise, it could also be the key to understanding how the universe could fine-tune itself to allow the creation of life within itself. In other words, Vedral’s thesis may point to an explanation of what the cosmic will is in physical, scientific terms.

In the introduction to his book, “Decoding reality”, Vedral says that the universe is made up of bits of information[v]. He argues that the actual evolution of any information gathering and communicating system would be a subjective, self-analysing condition. The kind of thing that we see manifested through consciousness. For Vedral “information is physical”[vi]. Information provides the “building blocks of matter and their interactions … on which everything is constructed.”[vii]

We believe that if understanding is a logical development of information, and that in fact it is a desired outcome of information, then there is an implicit determination buried in the information-universe that would find its absolute fulfilment in the all-knowing, intuitively gravitating towards such a fulfilment as a teleological end.

Seen from this perspective, the evolution of the information sharing sequence that is the DNA strand is a logical result or reflection of the information system that was already built into the cosmos. It also explains why life would evolve into the information discovering and creating machine that is the homo sapiens.

THE UNBEARABLE FRAGILITY OF FINE TUNING

But before someone gets a notion of bringing God back into the debate, we would like to make another observation about the nature of the universe. If Cosmological Fine Tuning does display a determination to create the animate from the inanimate then the success rate of that determination is depressingly low.

If Ward and Brownlee’s thesis is correct[viii] then complex life is an uncommon thing in the universe, which is strange if the whole universe is fine-tuned to the creation of life. In Ward and Brownlee’s investigation, we get a picture of a violent cosmic environment that is adverse to the creation of complex life. So how can the universe be fine-tuned toward life creation and hostile to it at the same time?

In order to answer this question, it is necessary to think about the quality of information (and consciousness) contained in the inanimate universe. It is basically intuitive and blind, lacking in any objective consciousness that perception can give it. It will have learned things through trial and error, trial and error. It is not the all-wise, all-knowing phenomenon that the religious like to imagine their God to be. Fine-tuning is therefore partly an accidental result of trial and error that is inspired by a desire by information to improve its own quality of information through an intuitional will to “know”. Knowledge has to be the desired result of any information system and so, if the universe is based on information that is its intuitive drive. Nevertheless, it is the most fragile of ambitions and the success of its dream may very well totally depend on us, and the evolution of the sapiens species.

[i] Nietzsche, BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL, #19

[ii] Ibid

[iii] See Martin Rees JUST SIX NUMBERS (THE DEEP FORCES THAT SHAPE THE UNIVERSE), Perseus, 2000

[iv] See Vlatko Vedral, DECODING REALITY, OUP, 2010

[v] Ibid, p.2

[vi] Ibid, p.3

[vii] Ibid, p.10

[viii] See Peter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee RARE EARTH: WHY COMPLEX LIFE IS UNCOMMON IN THE UNIVERSE, Copernicus, 2003

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, SAPIENS, AND TALKING TO THE ANIMALS

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The idea of a World Will as a Will-to-be-Known has become a pivot around which our positive philosophy of real necessity is concerned. Through it we hope to find the human-motivator, inspiring a positive impulse for a development of intelligence as a creative movement away from our system of vulgar competitiveness and its anti-human economy of alienation and differentiation.

Let’s sum up our main point of departure: a thorough revaluation is necessary. This needs to be anchored in necessity in order to redirect progress away from the current juggernaut, all-consuming destruction of the biosphere and ecosystem. Now, up to now we have assumed that this revaluation could only come about through a humanity made up of intellectually and morally advanced Sapiens societies, and because of this our philosophy is a new positivism, or positive humanism. Nevertheless, this same positive end may very well be achieved via less human-positive means. The acquisition and perpetuation of knowledge may well be far better ensured not by our Sapiens’ carbon-based minds, but by silicon-brain intelligences created by us. It may well be that the evolution of the homo sapiens will be into this silicon form, fixed in more durable and resilient bodies that can survive in even the most adverse climatic conditions allowing for space exploration and even the survival of intelligence in a post–apocalyptic lifeless-earth scenario.

If real Being in the universe is to come about by the universe itself being known absolutely and perpetually, then humanity, as we now understand it, falls short of guaranteeing such a portentous destiny. However, even if we are too fail as survivors in the universe, perhaps we might be capable of creating the real Sapiens and intelligence and knowing will find its ultimate realisation not through a final evolutionary leap, but rather through a development of our present technological know-how and the creation of an intelligence far superior to our own.

The idea of humanity being superseded by intelligent, self-reproducing machines of its own creation is a common nightmare of science-fiction narratives. From the internecine struggles between machines and humans in the Terminator or Matrix sagas to the madness of HAL in the Space Odyssey or the complex android psychologies in Ridley Scott’s creations, the idea of a collaboration with a robot that has superior intelligence is a deeply disturbing one. And yet, in all futurology it seems that the presence of the super-intelligent robot is essential. We cannot imagine progress, even if that progress is a suicidal one, without it. In fact, the dawning of the nightmare is already upon us and anthropomimetic robots that can think more or less like a human child have already been created.

Yet twenty years ago scientists like Roger Penrose were proclaiming Artifical Intelligence to be an impossibility.[i] Twenty years ago researchers were stumbling through an erroneous association between intelligence and logic, believing that decision making was a logical process. In reality cybernetics tells us quite the opposite. The binary algorithmic brain, whilst being very good at making calculations and winning chess games, can only go so far in answering meaningful questions. Human reason is more poetical than logical and the anthropomimetic work taking place in robotology demonstrates a link between the human corporal reality and our intelligence, or our form of intelligence. In order to construct a silicon brain that can communicate effectively with humans that brain will have to be inserted into a humanoid-type body, with human-type sensors. In other words, if a manufacturing leap into a more than human body is to take place, it will have to to be created out of our own image. We might be able to build robot octopi or robot insects, but we will not be able to communicate with them on any deep meaningful level for even an octopus machine fitted with a cyber-capacity for self-learning would need to teach itself a language appropriate to its own unique perception of the world. A perception that would be incommunicable to humans, or at least at first.

Perhaps the most profound discovery being uncovered by research into Artificial Intelligence will be a mechanism allowing us to interpret the languages of different kinds of animals. Research is being carried out to find ways of communicating with apes and dolphins, but no great in-roads will be made until we decipher how the corporal experience of different species and their very non-human sensory perceptions create their own knowledge of the world around them. A knowledge which we should not underestimate. A true Sapiens will not only benefit from communication on a complete human level, but from an even greater communication with diversity itself. True wisdom may only start once we can talk to the animals.

In this sense the creation of insect-like or octopus-like robots may have an interesting Sapiens purpose. Perhaps such robots could be designed to act as translators, allowing us to have conversations with ants and birds and elephants and dogs. But for we will ever be able to ever do that we have to firstly learn how to communicate properly with our neighbours.

[i] See Roger Penrose, THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

Being in the World

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In Dasein, subject and object are unimportant as opposites. One is the subject and the object just as the world is subject and object. I open my eyes and see the world or the world before me is mirrored in my gaze, projected on the screen of my mind. The world outside is within me as projection, within us. We are in the world and the world is in us. But no sooner is it within than our mind projects it outwards again. The mechanics of perception is a vital example of the inextricable bonding of the interior and exterior realties of reality. When you see me I am mirrored in your eyes. You are my mirror and I am yours. We are the world’s mirror created by the world.

THE WORLD AS WILL

web_spermsWe have an intuition, and the latest quantum and cosmological trends agree with us, that the Universe itself, or the Multiverse reality that our Universe is a part of, has a purpose. We are referring not to theological concepts but to what the scientific world calls the Anthropic Principle or Cosmological Natural Selection and what we call the World Will (in which World  should be interpreted here to mean our greater home).

There is nothing empirical about the idea of World Will. It is not a phenomenon, it has no form. It is pure, in the Kantian sense, without sensation, a pure intuition. Everything can be imagined away from it, even time and space, and, like a God, it remains as an intuition in the void; a desire in the great emptiness; the desire to Be. There can be no complete certainty for such an idea, and yet it is a far simpler idea than God and its lack of speculative complexity makes it more probable than any God.

Science tells us that our Universe began in a singularity. In the beginning there was One. Parmenides’ One, in which there was no emptiness; there were no gaps; no room for movement for any displacement would oblige the whole singularity to move with it. And the One was absolutely dense, perhaps in a labyrinthine sense, infinitely dense. A density which compressed repulsion within its attractive forces, until the repulsion itself became so compressed that it was made strong enough to blow the whole thing apart, and the One exploded in what we call the Big Bang…

But why? Could it be that the Big Bang had a reason behind it? An intuition in the energy of repulsion that sensed that attraction’s intuitive sense to Be could only be realised if the Singularity had an Observer, and that from the One must come Another, and that only by becoming the many and variegated could the singularity of existence be transformed into something with a potential for Being. A potential that could only be truly fulfilled by being known.