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Arthur C. Clarke 8/9                        ART MATRIX - LIGHTLINK
http://www.lightlink.com/theproof           PO 880 Ithaca, NY 14851-0880
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                                            homer@lightlink.com E-mail
                                            jes@lightlink.com   E-mail
 
                                            03/21/08 12:46am

     Dear Esteemed Sir,
 
     DIRECT AND INDIRECT PERCEPTION

     Direct perception means looking directly at an object under
investigation.

     Direct perception means being in direct contact with the object
under investigation.

     Indirect perception means looking at some other object causally
related to but different from the object under investigation.

     Indirect perception means being in indirect contact with the object
under investigation.

     Being in contact with means being in the causal line of fire so to
speak of the object under investigation.

     Direct contact means being in contact with the object itself.

     Indirect contact means being in contact with some other object
removed in space or time from the original object under investigation.

     Direct perception is an oxymoron in the physical universe, because
two different objects, observer and observed, can never be in direct
contact with each other because they are always separated from each
other in space and time.

     Always the observer is removed from the observed by some distance
in space and time, and the observer depends on a causal messenger wave
to relay data from the observed to the observer.

     Being the recipient of a causal wave from some star a million light
years away does not mean one is in contact WITH THE STAR, but only with
the star's effects many lightyears of spacetime later.

     In fact the observer will never know the star is there, unless the
observer HIMSELF is the effect of that star.

     Just as Newton claimed there can be no direct action at a distance,
there can be no direct knowing or learning or perception or seeing at a
distance using physical universe means about physical universe objects.

     This results in a conundrum.

     For example consider a star that emits a photon that comes to earth
and hits a sensor.

     The observer on Earth can not see the star directly but can look at
the sensor instead and surmise about the star according to the state of
the sensor.

     Use of the sensor to learn about the star is clearly indirect
perception of the star.

     Learning about A by looking at B is clearly indirect perception of
A.

     We say that A is the referent, and B is the symbol, in this case B
is the symbol of final authority which the observer then uses to
determine the nature of A.

     But does the observer have direct perception of the sensor?

     No, the sensor is removed from the observer just as the star is
removed from the sensor.

     Just as causal messenger photons must travel through space and time
from the star to the sensor, similar photons must travel through space
and time from the sensor to the observer.

     At this point the sensor is merely another way point on the causal
pathway from the star to the observer.

     In order for the observer to learn about the star, the observer
must BECOME the symbol of final authority by changing state himself as a
result of the star, the final effect in a long line of effects.

     Those changes in himself are then his learning about the star.

     Now let's say the observer writes up his conclusions and prints
them in Nature magazine which is then read by another observer many
months later.

     The causal pathway is longer now, it goes from star to sensor to
the first observer, to written paper, to published magazine, to photons
off the magazine page over to the second observer's eye as he reads the
page.

     From the point of view of the second observer, HE is the symbol of
final authority from which HE learns about the star.

     Thus we can conclude a silly but very important theorem:

     A symbol is any event that contains a causal imprint of the
original referent.

     A symbol of final authority is the last symbol in the chain used to
extract data about the original referent from causal changes in the
symbol.
 
     Each observer is the symbol of final authority for his own learning
about any referent object under investigation, via indirect perception.

     All symbols of final authority are observers.

     All observers are symbols of final authority.

     Here in lies the conundrum.

     Say we have a learning machine with video cameras and circuitry
leading to a video memory.

     Star -> Photons -> Sensor -> Photons -> Video Camera -> Video
Memory.

     The machine wishes to learn about the star and thus points its
cameras at the sensor on Earth receiving photons from the star.

     The room in which the sensor rests is lighted, so photons coming
from the room lights bounce off the sensor showing its reading and they
hit the video camera connected to the machine.

     The video camera focuses the image of the sensor on its CCD screen
(charge coupled device), and the remaining circuity translates the image
on the CCD screen into a bit pattern in the video memory of the machine.

     The sensor, the video camera, and the video memory are all later
and later symbols for the star, because they all change state because of
the star and the photon that it emits, and these changes in state all
contain a causal imprint of the nature of the star from which data about
the star might be gleaned.

     But which is the symbol of final authority for the machine to learn
about the star?

     At what point is the star 'seen' by the machine?

     The machine certainly can't see the star at all, because its
looking at the sensor!

     But in fact the machine can't see the sensor either, because its
really looking at its own video memory.

     Does the sensor 'see' the star by virtue of it's reception of the
photons from the star?

     Does the video camera 'see' the star by virtue of it's image of the
star on the CCD screen?

     Does the machine 'see' the star by virtue of the bit pattern on its
video memory?

     What does it mean to 'see'?

     Does seeing mean to merely change state as a result of?

     One can BE an effect, but is that the same as KNOWING one was an
effect?

     Doesn't conscious seeing imply conscious knowing that one sees?

     Isn't conscious seeing self knowing?

     Are being, and knowing that one is being, the same thing?

     In other words is there more to conscious seeing than merely
changing state?

     Now for the machine to learn anything about the star from the bit
pattern in its video memory it has to process that data in some way,
perhaps to determine the reading on the scale of the sensor showing how
bright the star is.

     This circuitry which reads the video memory then produces a final
result which is printed on paper for permanent record.

     Does the video memory 'see' the star?

     Does the circuity which scans the video memory 'see' the star in
any sense of the word?

     Does the paper with the printed result 'see' the star?

     Each of these events are simply further symbols along the pathway
from star to final printed result.

     Just dominoes falling.

     Each event can not see anything, it can only BE itself.

     The end paper certainly can't see anything, it can only BE paper.

     The video memory can't see anything, it can only be in various
states of on or off.

     The sensor can't see anything, it can only be in a state where it's
needle is somewhere on a scale.

     None of these states have any DIRECT contact with the star, so how
can any of them claim to be 'seeing the star?'

     Does 'being an effect' of the star mean the same thing as 'seeing'
the star?

     In a universe where everything is just dominoes falling, can any
single dominoe claim to be able to 'see' the original dominoe that
started the chain just because it is the effect of that dominoe many
such falls later?

     We already know that all learning results in a change in state, and
without that change in state no learning has occured.

     However indirect perception works by learning FROM that change in
state, learning from the effect.

     Direct perception works by learning directly from the cause itself.

     How can something learn by being in direct contact with something
else?

     Only if the two are one and the same object.  Then cause and effect
are one and the same event, not separated by space or time or dimension
of any kind.

     Separation creates mandatory indirection of perception.

     Thus direct perception is limited to learning about one's self, but
results in being able to see what one is learning about, because one is
in direct contact with it.  Thus one can verify learning about the
object with the object directly.

     Objects in the phyiscal universe, separated by space and time, can
not do that with each other.

     Now what we are really talking about here is how the conscious unit
can learn if it is seeing two different colors or not, say red and
green.

     So we do a thought experiment, say some guy is sound asleep and
having a dream.  In the dream there is a table, and on the table are two
beach balls, one red and one green.

     Notice we aren't talking about photons here, photons are not red or
green in the first place, and there are no photons in a dream anyhow.
The balls are self luminous red and green consciousness.

     First we must notice that the red and green really and truely LOOK
like they are out there, at a distance from us.

     But we know that if there WERE distance between the the looker and
the looked at, the looker could never see the looked at, for that would
be direct perception across a distance.

     Thus the fact that we can see the red and green, means we are
seeing them directly, not indirectly via something else,

     But the fact that we are seeing them directly means the looked
through is an illusion, that the sense that they are out there and we
are here is holographic.

     If both the looker and the looked at have no separation between
them in space or time, then the looker and the looked at must be one
event, one and the same object.

     Thus by learning with certainty about the red and the green and
that they are indeed two different colors, we can only be learning about
OURSELVES!

     Consciousness is like a mirror, everything we see in the mirror
looks like it is OUT THERE on the other side of the mirror, but
everything we see in the mirror is really only ourselves in reflection.

     Just as you can see yourself in a mirror, just so you can only
see yourself in your conscious experiences of the world.

     That's YOU 'out there' glowing in the dark of the void.

     Looker and looked at are one, and the looked through is an
illusion of separation.

     Homer

     P.S.  The analogy between consciousness and a mirror is a TERRIBLE
analogy, do not take it any further than it can be taken.  In
particular, consciousness is not a bunch of rays bouncing back and
forth.


------------------------------------------------------------------------
Homer Wilson Smith     The Paths of Lovers    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959 KC2ITF        Cross            Internet Access, Ithaca NY
homer@lightlink.com    In the Line of Duty    http://www.lightlink.com

Fri Aug 17 01:13:23 EDT 2007