In the post “It’s about Time” on this blog, following E. Kant “Critique of Pure Reason” a conjecture was put forward that time-space, may in fact not exist as a part of external objective reality but rather is simply a way, a method of perceiving reality of sensed events. Consequently a question arises. If time and space does not objectively exist but instead they are merely tools utilized to describe sense-perceived phenomena, can we use some other perception tools to replace our built-in time-space aesthetics?
The concept of “objective reality” has been previously discussed at https://questfornoumenon.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/a-note-on-objective-reality/
While concept of sense perception in practical terms was previously discussed at: https://questfornoumenon.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/a-note-on-search-for-objective-reality-2/
It’s no trivial task. First, the removal of our time-space aesthetics has to have profound influence on our fundamental understanding of reality, as we “know” it. We would have to abandon fundamental precepts of what we call understanding such as time ordering of events (rejecting arrow of time) and consequently, such admission would ultimately force us to abandon our dear concept of causality or reason and following from that denunciation of entire deterministic worldview.
Another question arises, namely how, through our senses, did we acquire worldview that is ordered by time and space in the first place and what was the road from some undetermined sensations detected by our body/brain to understanding and ultimately accepting specific worldview and applying it in everyday decision-making process.
In order to begin addressing these important questions it is worth to dwell on the issue of sensing mechanism of objective reality before we could commence discussion about nature of perception of an object or phenomenon as a part of our mind conceived worldview, constructed with narratives we are so familiar with.
Our body sensors can be divided into three groups: optical (radiation sensors), tensional (pressure/sound sensors) and electro-chemical (electrical charge flow sensors), an arbitrary classification.
At this point, one fundamental assumption we have to make. Namely, that we are somehow exposed to “outside” (of our mind) world of objective reality if it exists and that all of these three groups of sensors generate “electrochemical” stimuli-pulses somehow related to external stimuli supposedly coming from external, objective reality, and conveyed toward abstract brain sensory detection centers or organs, called senses. Moreover, we have to postulate that, in some form, some of these sets of stimuli-pulses are perceived by these organs as what we would call stimuli-events. These seemingly obvious stipulations however, are shockingly beyond our ability to prove them in any objective manner.
Sensing of objective reality: A hypothesis.
The process of sensing is postulated to be a process of filtering incoming chaos of stimuli-pulses (from different sensory sources) and hierarchical categorizing of selected stimuli-pulses into so-called stimuli-events by some generally little understood methods and using little understood criteria. This filtering process may likely to be massively parallel and driven by characteristics of stimuli-impulses such as intensities, associations, correlations, encodings and perhaps sequencing or ranking, and results in inception rather than detection of what we would call stimuli-event. The stimuli-events could be formulated with built-in, what we would call, primal ideas of existence and identity since no stimuli-events could be defined without them. The rejected or ignored stimuli-impulses or groups within chaotic ocean of incoming noise may be rendered as non-existing and obtain no identity attribute while they may still be manifestations of objective reality.
Structuring and/or at least partial sequencing of stimuli-events in sensing process would likely require attainment of their identity, via some unknown computational process, perhaps similar to labeling, merging and/or ordering. This assertion leads to interesting conclusion that primal concepts such as existence and identity, as we understand it, may not relate to objective reality at all but rather represent necessary features of efficient computation utilized in sensing process. What’s interesting is that such a conclusion about our severe sense –deficiency in perceiving objective reality is not as controversial as one would have thought but rather stemming from well-developed ideas by British philosopher George Berkeley some three centuries ago.
Formulated in such a way stimuli-events could be subject to process of perception, which likely constitute some sort of poorly understood hierarchical harmonizing procedure between mind conceptualized phenomenon and structural sequences of stimuli-events. Such perception process, in contrast to sensing process, would require complete serialization of the input sense perception of phenomenon, conducted through concepts of a-priori aesthetics. In other words sense perception processes, may set up and reinforce order of events interpreted as a phenomenon, a sequence of objects and their relations in space and time.
The process may follow, in similar but reverse manner, our sensory-motor or auditory systems serializing outputs of our conscientious actions. In other words, serialization may be imposed in perception process by our a-priori aesthetics and not necessarily represents innate feature of objective reality. This is another profound observation.
Illusion of determinism.
If the above true, then we may draw interesting conclusion about objective reality, namely that it may as well be un-ordered, indistinguishable, non-deterministic and devoid of causality. Such non-deterministic or rather quasi-probabilistic reality may not be stochastic in nature either, meaning that an instance of objective reality may not necessary be a “result” of definitive generative procedures but perhaps involve undetermined processes defying our probabilistic modeling capabilities.
Following the above line of thought, one may argue that theory of probability might have, in contrast to other mathematical theories, some applicability to accessing or describing some limited aspects of objective reality. This simple and benign statement however has very controversial undertone, suggesting that perhaps, this theory is more than fabrication of out mind but rather it is purely empirical method that embraces some much more fundamental concepts of objective reality, in a form devoid of basic tenets of our built-in a-priori aesthetics.
The probability deals with instances of events, and not with time or space or permanent objects or temporary phenomena. It is designed to deal with processes that are purely random or stochastic in nature rather than functionally dependent or deterministic. However, if serialization processes were innate to our sense perception, then it would render us incapable of distinguishing between probabilistic and deterministic characteristics of stimuli stemming from objective reality. In other words we all fundamentally suffer from so-called acute sense-perception deficiency i.e. inability to perceive objective reality as thing in itself.
Case for probabilistic reality.
But how can we account for apparent deterministic nature of our perception of reality if objective reality was in fact probabilistic. In other words why would we perceive certain order when there was no order stemming from objective reality? That’s difficult question for many reasons.
First, as I mentioned in https://questfornoumenon.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/a-note-on-objective-reality/ we might not be able to physically sense some stimuli associated with objective reality, like for example is the case most of E/M radiation. Additionally, we may suffer from extreme poverty of stimuli we’re able to sense at all. We could be dealing with issue of availability of grossly insufficient data to adequately perceive objective reality.
Second, our mind is mostly unable to at least conscientiously and deliberately process multitude of thought threads in true parallel manner. Instead our mind opts for serialization or sequencing of event-stimuli in order to conscientiously acknowledge them in a form of perception of occurring phenomenon, conceptualize them in context of other phenomena or memory of phenomena, and apply methods of a-priori aesthetics and logic to examine consistency within our worldview. If necessary, the process may enable rendering of our “moral” judgments, and may apply them to decision-making process that ultimately leads to action. More on concepts of our knowledge and individual worldview can be found in my previous post at:
Our ability to perform certain actions through trained or innate automatization of the action/reaction processes, devoid of prior conscientious, deliberate thought or moral judgment, could still be based on serialization or sequencing input event-stimuli, perceived automatically by direct matching of event contextual memory, seemingly assuming that all conditions are identical or comparable to those memorized, so no new decision-making process initiation is necessary. Such actions only resemble parallelism of our mind but in fact they are removed from processes of acquiring perceptions and conceptualization i.e. general learning possible only through conscious thought process.
Third, our a-priori aesthetics preclude conceptualization of any “material” objects or phenomena devoid of primal sense of existence. Otherwise, it would imply lack of any awareness of an event being perceived or identity being established since it would entail lack of labeling or any kind of characterization of an object or phenomenon. In contrast, self originated entities of our mind such as noumena are brought into existence by inception with no corresponding sense perceptions and hence do not acquire primal sense of existence but other kind of existence, an abstract singular existence and identity, a clone, a product of our own conscientiousness and our own identity. In other words noumenon exists only in singular abstract sense because it is created by existing entity i.e. our conscientious mind. Such assertion is consistent with R. Descartes motto, “I think therefore I am” as quintessence of existence. In similar manner our own mind does not exist in primal sense but only in abstract noumenon-like sense of duality of self-consciousness, a creator and createe in unity of one as described in Hegel’s Master and Servant in his Phenomenology of Mind;
In probabilistic processes however, we would likely be dealing with unorganized events and not well-defined objects or phenomena therefore, primal concepts of existence and/or identity may not apply to objective reality at all. Hence, objective reality may likely exist in abstract sense only, as a noumenon entity of our mind while some kind of representation or hologram of it may exist in primal sense. In other words objective reality in itself may only exist in our mind since we are likely unable to access it directly.
Fourth, our a-priori aesthetic imposes on us rigid time sequencing in our deliberate thought process which result with direct assigning of events to perceived objects making them into time-extended phenomena. Our perceptions are always organized into sequences by event order and/or by identity and/or other sense characteristics of perceived objects or phenomena. Such modality of organizing events is likely to be required for conceptualizing of causality that is critical for our capacity for worldview analysis, moral judgment, understanding and development of knowledge narratives as well as means to express them through our internal language of thought (I-Language, not to be confused with social communication language). The role of I-Language in formulation and acquisition of our a-priori as well as a-posteriori knowledge cannot be overstated since, in its parallel or serialized mode I-Language is fundamental to the conscientious or sub-conscientious thought process and consequently to general learning process, an alternative (to raw sense -perception) mode of conceptualization through decoding of concept representation acquired internally (memory context search) or externally via remote communications methods.
This leads us to inevitable conclusion that in order to grasp concept of probabilistic objective reality, if it exists, we would need to reconceptualize our mind significantly away from our a-priori aesthetics and logic, almost insurmountable task but perhaps not entirely impossible.
Assuming that a set of event-stimuli is highly “correlated” with entities of objective reality and perceived time sequence of objects how can we still perceive probabilistic process as deterministic, causal process? Why and how can we sometimes interpret one event following another event as one event causing another event if no causality exists in probabilistic objective reality? Can causality be expressed in terms of simple probabilistic terms? Can we use measure of entropy as a way of categorizing possible probabilistic realities devoid of “true” causality?
Events considered here, are defined in sigma-field of probability space, finite and closed, analogous to continuous set of events in probabilistic objective reality.
Set: G is independent, un-ordered set of all events (or event groups) where Z is empty subset, occurring in probabilistic objective reality. Probability of event belonging to set A, a subset of set G; P(A) is defined as measure(A)/measure (G); Probability of event belonging to set B, a subset of set G; P(B) = measure(B)/measure (G); From that; P(G) = 1; P(Z) = 0 ; where measure (G) > 0 or G is not empty. If probability is assumed to be scalar; a measure means “Lebesgue measure” for continuous borel set. P(A) is undefined if set G empty. P(A) = 0; perversely that means almost total certainty, event does not happen, or no event happens; Also if P(G) = 1 event happens for sure, almost total certainty again.
Concept of conditional probability in current context.
For event sets A and B defined above we may define conditional probability as P(A|B) = P([A,B])/P(B) where P(B) > 0; P([A,B]) is probability of events that are manifested in common ways within set A and B and/or belong to both sets.
The conditional probability here means probability of event belonging to set A occurring if specific event belonging to set B occurs. Event A may occur under condition of occurring B but A can still potentially occur without occurring B if P(A) > 0; It leads to interesting conclusion that events A and B may be dependent or independent if P(A|B) = P(A).
We are assuming here that events of A and B are random and independently generated even if they may manifest in the same or similar way or we perceive them in such a way due to presumed poverty of stimuli we are subjected to. We further assume that there is no underlying relation between events A and B. Neither A nor B have to be created by single finite generative process.
The “causality effect” in probabilistic reality.
The “causality effect” (but not real causality) could be mimicked in some specific cases, when conditional probability for some sets of events tends to unity which would be equivalent to almost certainty if event occurring. So in this case we would talk about almost 100% certainty of event A occurring if event B occurs. This situation would mimic causality effect of event A being caused by event B while it is not the case since A and B are assumed to be random and independent even if they may exhibit similar or identical characteristics. Let’s ask following question; under what circumstances, conditional probability would tend to unity implying “near causality effect”?
If P([A,B]) ≃ P(B) for B Í [A,B] ; we would have always P(A|B) ≃ 1; a condition mimicking causality condition as sense-perceived and conceptualized by our mind. The condition for mimicking effect of causality can be expressed in different form, |P([A,B]) – P(B)| < σ; The small value of parameter σ > 0 would induce perception of “apparent” determinism of probabilistic reality while higher value of σ would indicate reality with effects of partial determinism i.e. causal relations would appear randomly with only limited repetition.
In fully deterministic case where events A and B are always dependent, A is caused by B, the above conditions remain in force and always P(A|B) = 1; there is certainty that event A occurs when event B or a class of events B occur. The event A cannot occur any other ways.
In purely random case P(A|B) = 0; always for P([A,B]) = 0; this is due to the fact that events A and B are unrelated in pure random reality and they have nothing in common, rendering [A,B] an empty set regardless of P(B). In this situation there is almost certainty that event A never occurs when event B occurs but event A may still occur as unrelated event if P(A) > 0;
In probabilistic type of reality such as we postulate for objective reality however, the apparent misinterpreted determinism and causality relations may still be perceived randomly since all events in probabilistic reality may be somewhat correlated.
The types of probabilistic realities.
The entropy constitute well-known and accepted measure of overall uncertainty of the system. Here we will apply it to system of objective reality. Entropy is general measure of uncertainty of the outcomes of the processes occurring within the system without need for determination of outcomes themselves.
Using criterion of Conditional Informational Entropy, defined here as H(A|B) = P(A|B)* LOG (1/P(A|B)); we may easily classify all possible objective realities into three categories:
- H(A|B) ≃ 0; quasi-deterministic; P(A|B) ≃ 1; Minimum Entropy Reality (MiE);
- H(A|B) ≃ 0; quasi-random; P(A|B) ≃ 0; Minimum Entropy Reality (MiE);
- H(A|B) > 0 and H(A|B) < 1; quasi-probabilistic; a class of Near Maximum Entropy Realities (NMaE).
The “accepted” reality we think we live in, would fall into narrow MiE class of realities where all processes that occur are fully deterministic or fully random. This is the only class of realities we are able to comprehend via methods of our transcendental mind. The class of probabilistic realities (NMaE) however, constitutes huge domain extension that encompasses in its extreme limits, deterministic and random (MiE) realities, which are subsets of NMaE.
The objective reality, if it exists, may likely be NMaE type of reality ruled by what we would call “uncertainty determinism”.
On physical processes in objective reality.
There may be class of processes occurring within objective reality that may produce events, which are legitimately perceived as deterministic physical processes. Those could be interpreted in consistent way via our methods of a-priori imposed aesthetics. There may be another class of processes that produce events, which are legitimately perceived as random, and interpreted in consistent way via our methods of a-priori imposed aesthetics.
But there may be yet another class of processes occurring within objective reality misperceived, misconstrued, misinterpreted as physical processes, by our methods of a-priori imposed aesthetics and binary logic due to lack of appropriate concepts developed by our mind to allow for correct perception or interpretation of such processes and associated events. The problem is that we would not be able to tell one class of processes from another and our, however successful, mathematical theories purportedly describing outside reality would have been of no help due to our own limitations and deficiencies of sense-perception processes imposed by inescapable a-priori knowledge as a fundamental biological faculty of our brain.
Additionally, there may be outside realities supporting processes that escape our senses, completely and I am not talking about so-called “supernatural” world. Such realities will always remain for humans as purely speculative and highly interpretative since we, as species were not built to sense them directly as our biological necessity. This issue is fairly comprehensively discussed in: https://questfornoumenon.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/a-note-on-science-theory-vs-reality/
The question of limited horizons.
If objective reality, our universe, is of probabilistic NMaE type, then concept of determinism, time and space order, causality, mathematical model, familiar concepts of existence, identity, unity, complementarity, materialism etc. have to be questioned as useful tools for access to processes occurring within objective reality if it is at all possible, since only thing we are able to directly detect are our self-generated stimuli-events completely confined within our biological organism.
But how objective reality of NmaE class would manifest itself if at all? Where would we look for theoretical and experimental clues?
It is difficult to say however, we may think about some hints, such as breakdown of rule of symmetry and structuralism embedded in our a-priori aesthetics and logic, breakdown of concepts of existence or identity as commonly understood, introduction of undetermined concepts used as master keys to modeling of physical processes and their experimental verification, breaking down of fundamental laws and universal constants depending on arbitrary scale of the process ,breaking down principle of causality etc., Obviously these inconsistencies or puzzles do not prove anything else but that our current perception of reality of universe is grossly inadequate.
In this context these curiosities or holes in our comprehension clearly indicate that our knowledge seem to be limited to making up plausible stories or easy narratives based solely on arbitrary interpretation of acutely deficient stimuli-events under slew of generally unfounded assumptions about reality.
If we really live in one of NMaE type of reality, knowledge of this fact, would obviously have had no immediate consequences to our lives since it would be of course the same world we already live in, whatever it is. However, we may need to change our attitude toward our knowledge itself as well as intellectual or scientific endeavors and substantially lower our expectations regarding any findings beyond our immediate environment. We may reconsider limitation to our strive toward engineering of immediate environment and focus on its social benefits instead. We may also consider any kind of expansion or unification our scientific theories, universal laws, accepted rules, principles or approaches beyond this limit as purely speculative mind games rather than possible paths toward any deep understanding of the reality of our universe.
We may also need to abandon all supernatural concepts of beings, like a god, as real entities, since in objective reality there would be no true cause or effect, there is no first cause or sufficient cause for any action or movement since there are no reasons, causes or consequences beyond our sense perception driven mind.
It seems, consistently with existentialists’ assertions, that we are prisoners of our biological limitations, possessing range of capabilities solely applicable for our biological purpose such as proliferation of transient structural capabilities called molecular life via methods of what we represent as genetics or similar. Even today, after centuries of scientific revolutions we still have to acknowledge our complete ignorance about objective reality, a thing in itself as E. Kant and A. Schopenhauer realized over two centuries ago, before we even attempt to move forward trying to reach our biological limits of understanding of our ambient scale environment. Beyond that there is only humanly indeterminable.
Would we really need to completely rebuild our worldview as a result of acknowledging our ignorance about objective reality? Of course not. We still would and even should be trying to understand the world better through our beautiful or ugly narratives because they still would be relevant to every day of our life. Through those narratives, developed over millennia, we could improve our life and our children lives or destroy them. We still would have to learn enormously before we ever are able to reach our biological limit of understanding. But one way or another, we must resign to the fact that many questions will remain permanently unanswered and hence sense of wonder will stay with humanity as long as it survives.
It sounds like extreme skepticism and hopelessness, rejection of myth of perfectibility of man. It seems to stand opposed to soothing belief in unlimited capabilities of humanity but in fact it acknowledges our natural limits of inquiry about objective reality beyond which nothing relevant or consequential to our precious little, cosmically insignificant lives i.e. fluctuations of fabric of reality, occurs. In other words by acknowledging our limitations we acknowledge our very humanity and it is a human thing to do.