Think differently part 2. :0


Think Different 2

or part 1 if you missed it [Think Differently 1](

Think for yourself, question authority -Timothy Leary

The term psychedelic is derived from the Greek words ψυχή ( psyche , “soul, mind”) and δηλείν ( delein , “to manifest”

Now that I am a little older and wiser I would like to use my soul to manifest what I have seen.
According to Leary’s hypothesis (aptly written in prison) there are 8 “circuits” in the brain that can be opened with various methods. He based this on the chakra system of the Hindus

If you really want to think differently open up your different circuits mates!


There’s some pretty out-there stuff in that article but it makes for an interesting read.


Do you know Sir Roger Penrose? He is deep into the field of scientific consciousness research.

I do now :0

Certainly because I am more in the Dennett/Harris camps I am bias…

But I have always found Penrose’s reliance of the limitations of what he can imagine or what we understand to have any relation to the actual organization of the universe to be a bit baffling.

His entire argument seems to be hinged on the fact that we could not simulate consciousness on a computer… I do not believe that is a forgone conclusion, current understandings of consciousness certainly do not dissallow that ability and as such it feels illegitimate to define the nature of existence based in any way that is limited by our intuitions, cognitive limitations and present (lack) or knowledge.


Have you ever looked at your hane?

I mean really looked at your hane? :wink:

But seriously - if one is to take this inspiration and actually apply it to learning the game of go and becoming a better player - how does one do that?

For me, the lens that helps me bring things into focus and allows me to take the very free-form lessons of psychedelics and apply that to the much more rule-bound world of go is the idea of Finite and Infinite Games:

If you haven’t read the short book by James Carse, I highly recommend it.

I freely stipulate that any individual game of go is - in essence - a Finite Game. The rules are stable, there is one winner and one loser, etc.

However, because the game of go is so complex, and contains so many non-overlapping fitness peaks - over time the game evolves so that the common understanding of what is the best possible strategy evolves with it.

This happened with Seigen/Minori and shin fuseki - it happened again when Korean pros started overtaking Japanese pros in world championships - and it’s happening right now as all these new innovations from AI players are being adapted by human players.

So while any individual game of go is a Finite Game - the overall evolution of the world of go is an Infinite Game. It’s like jazz - every new person who comes and innovates some new way to play jazz changes the entire world of jazz - and allows others to play in new ways - and then eventually develop new innovations on top of those innovations.

With this lens in mind - the purpose of shedding old scripts and old ways of thinking comes into focus.

My 2 cents

your mileage may vary
void where prohibited
some cars not for use with some sets



As a mathematician with a special interest in infinity, this book has always bothered me for misusing the word infinity.

The game of go is finite, the number of games of go is finite, the number of strategies for the game is finite. Heck, the universe itself is finite as far as we know, since there’s only so far we could see and so small we could measure (even theoretically, due to Planck’s constant).

Infinite is something larger than anything worldly. Whether it be jazz, Go or atoms, there will only ever be a finite amount of that. Kind of by definition of what infinity is: it’s limitless, whereas all those other things have limits (except perhaps jazz, due to it not being well-defined).

My personal view is that infinity is a figurative term to express the idea of limitless things, while it is not a Platonic concept. As such, it makes no sense to try and find infinity in daily things. A better concept to work with would be some finite but “mind-bogglingly big” amount, which serves just the same purpose, without interpreting infinity in a wrong way.

My thoughts on consciousness research is that you could propose all you want, but as long as it can’t be subjected to empirical testing, it has no scientific value. For me, something without scientific value can be useful as a tool to construct a worldview that does lead to new insight in the world, but does in itself not give insight in how the world works.

For those concepts I feel Occam’s razor should be the deciding factor of what paradigm is considered “true”. In this view, the eight-circuit model seems unlikely farfetched to me, and more like a pamphlet for drug legalisation (nothing wrong with that, though).


I’m only vouching for it because I went to test a hypothesis on the telepathy thing and it worked and freaked me out. lol

OK you cannot just leave us hanging like that…

Story please!


I’m really glad you took the conversation in this direction!

I’ve given it a lot of thought, and for me - it came down to a very functional question of - what is consciousness / intelligence actually DOING in the universe? Not - why is it here - but now that it’s here, what difference is it making?

I’m going to frame my answer by mentioning that the universe itself tends to create complexities upon complexities. Whenever one matter/energy exchange network lasts for any length of time - other patterns will create further complexities upon it - seemingly ad infinitum.

Now, as you pointed out, each of those evolving layers has a state-space - in other words whether it’s all the different ways that you can shape a galaxy, or all the different DNA that can go into building an ant - all of those possibilities will still exist in a finite state space. So yes, for any given layer I agree.

Now along comes conscious intelligence and it does a couple of things - one it lifts this crafty / handsy monkey out of the embedded fitness landscape it was trapped in, and slowly creates a world where all our most lethal dangers are now self-created.

Two - the presence of our intelligence arguably has created new layers where complexity can thrive and take root. We have, at some fundamental level, created more complexity in the universe because we have taken things that wouldn’t otherwise have been thrown together by natural forces or evolution, and we combine them to create completely new combinations. So - the question becomes - when one considers the concept of infinite variety in infinite combinations - is that a state space we can some how say is finite?

So yes - as with jazz - I think this is what Carse was talking about. Something so ill-defined (the limits of the human imagination) that arguing whether it would be a finite or infinite state space becomes a speculative discussion.

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The presence and action of intelligence is merely part of the original state-space you acknowledged though…

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Well, there was a time before intelligent life evolved on this Earth. How was the universe different then? This is what I was trying to ask.

It is certainly an interesting and worthwhile question. However, I was poking at the premise of asking it in this context:

here you appear to be implying that the addition of intelligence into the mix has somehow taken the finite space you acknowldeged and made it infinite. I wanted to point out that it is still the same finite state space that it was before - it just went down the state transitions to having intelligence present, and is in the “intelligence present” state, which was part of the possibilities that were finite at the beginning.

What I’m trying to say is that “adding extra layers” does not in fact change something from finite to infinite. All those layers are there in the finite statespace to begin with.

(If you accept that the statespace is finite to start with, which is a different topic :slight_smile: )


I do like the comparison between our mind and computers. On a practical level, it will be impossible for us to find out whether computers have the capability to gain consciousness, pretty much as it’s impossible for us to find out whether other human beings are conscious. For all I could figure, I’m the only one conscious in this universe, all the other humans could be figments of my imagination, and I could part of a simulation, etc, those kind of paradoxes. Again, here it makes sense to apply Occam’s razor, in that it is more likely (to me at least) that the universe is as I perceive it, and that things that are similar are actually similar (and thus that other humans also experience consciousness).

Now here it becomes tricky, because for a computer, we know (contrary to our own body) exactly how it works, up to every bit of information we can trace and study. Then, if we have a computer program that gains general intelligence (I’m sure we’ll reach that point within a few decades), behaves like humans, thinks “like humans” (i.e. makes the same thought processes, reaches similar conclusions, etc), then how can we be certain it didn’t attain consciousness?

We can’t. And that’s a problem, since with computers, I’m very convinced that consciousness, if it has it, is part of its circuitry, and completely incapable of things like telepathy, transcendence into higher spheres, etc. But to me, what is the difference between a computer acting human-like and a human acting human-like? How can I distinguish between the consciousness of a seemingly “conscious” computer and an actually conscious human? I can’t.

Therefore I think the safest assumption is that the conscience we experience is part of an illusion resulting from the way our nervous system works. I don’t know why, or how, but I’m convinced it is part of the natural world as we know it, until we can gain evidence it is not.

This does make it part of the same finite state space as the rest of the universe.


The thing is - we don’t know exactly how computers work anymore.

Especially with neural net learning we absolutely do not know how it works.

To be clear - we know how neural nets work, in the same way that we know how synapses work.

But we don’t know how they deliver the function of being a grand master of Go.

And as we start giving them a temporal component to the neural network (basically, memory) it will become even more human-brain like and even more unknown how it delivers the results it does in a given problem … and even more likely to behave as if it is conscious, in the same way other humans do.

So I think you might need to start heading your mental picture of what computer consciousness will be like to the same place you visualise what human consicousness is like. :slight_smile:

They are much more similar, nowadays, than perhaps you realise.

(I don’t mean to judge how much you really do realise, in saying this - I’m just going by the words you wrote above).

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I guess what I was trying to say is that the universe continues adding layers of complexity - and that the action of aware beings then begins to create additional layers more quickly than the actions of universal forces, chemistry, biological evolution etc.

So I guess my question is - even if each one of those layers of complexity eventually inhabits a finite state space - does the fact that additional layers of complexity keep coming mean that the entire process is potentially an infinite state space? If it can continuously add new layers where more complexity can form?

I find these ideas explored in books like the Iain Banks CULTURE series, and it’s interesting to think about - but again - like the question of “are the limits of the human imagination a finite state space” - once you start discussing them, you’re discussing poetry or philosophy - you’re no longer discussing math.

That’s a maths question! Maybe Vsotvep will know.

Originally, I would have answered “certainly not”, and this was the basis for my comment.

However, now that I know about chaos theory and am thinking about it, and how infinite (is that right) variation can spring from a very small set of parameters, then surely it can spring from complex ones.

The answer might hinge on whether chaos theory tells us that there is infinite variation in those systems - I’m not totally sure.

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I disagree, we don’t understand how the programs work, in that we don’t understand what it is thinking, but we do understand how the computer works, how it is thinking.

In a sense, if we build the same computer twice, it will do the same things twice, as long as we don’t let it interact with the “outside” universe (e.g. by introducing true randomness through feeding it measurements of background radiation, or by letting its pseudo-randomness be influenced by variations in computing speed).

No, through a finite process, using finite resources in a finite amount of time (/ steps of computation), it is impossible to reach infinity. Note that I don’t see the imagination of a concept as the same thing as the concept itself. Although the imagination might come into existence (or perhaps always has been existing), the concept itself does not. I could imagine an infinite thing (keep on counting 1,2,3,…, ad infinitum), but that does not mean that my infinite thing actually exists.

There is in fact one limit to human imagination, and that is that we cannot have infinite thoughts. Although I can imagine finitely deep thoughts (I’m thinking about that I’m thinking about that I’m thinking about …) being possible up to an arbitrary finite depth, I’m not sure if infinitely deep thought is a thing, except as a meta concept (a thought about the depth of finitely deep thoughts approaching infinity).

Only in the same way that we understand how the brain is thinking.

We understand how the body works like we understand how the computer works. But we don’t understand how the mind works like we don’t understand how the neural network program works to produce the result. We understand how it was trained to that, but not how it achieves it.

Note that if we built the same person twice, it also might do the same things twice, only it’s harder to control both the build and the training of a person. That is actually the only difference, not our understanding of how it works.

The way these two things work - training to produce desirable outcomes - is remarkably similar.

I’m not sure if we do understand how the body works as well as we understand the inner workings of computers. For one, I believe we do not really understand how or where information is stored in our brain.

It also does not work exactly as a neural network: the brain can create new cells and connections that were previously not existing (from the perspective of a neural network, this would be creating new layers, inter-layer connections, etc.), but I don’t believe we exactly understand under which circumstances this happens.

Finally the brain does have a lot of outside influence, both in the form of inputs from the environment, and in the form of quantum effects that make “brain computation” non-deterministic.

Perhaps we could ask a neurologist for some input, such as @Musash1 ?