Friday, April 19, 2013

The Mobius strip untwisted, enter the ideoverse

  Sethren, through the long hours of the night I wrestled, and could see no way forward, and was in despair.  Then this morning, creeping into the town library for a little warmth, I read a review by Peter Godfrey-Smith of a book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False, by Thomas Nagel.  What kind of wuss puts Almost into a title of that grandiloquence?  Make up your mind, mate.  But then I read that Thomas Nagel thinks there is still a mind-body problem.  Whereupon I bethought me, fuck that for a lark.  If such atavistic error can still be found in a book with a fifteen word title that the London Review of Books (who refused to publish my ground-breaking 17,000 word closely reasoned disquisition on the evolution of culture on the grounds that it was slightly overburdened with wordage [was a special supplement so out of the question?] saw fit to send out for review to so eminent a distinguished professor of philosophy at the City university of New York as Peter Godfrey Smith (who agreed with me, that the mind-body problem is bollocks) then it is not time to accept defeat.  It is time that loins were girded.  How does one gird, sether?  Frankly, no idea.  Let us get on.
  So, the problem.
  We set out to demonstrate that human culture, what one might call Evoculture to distinguish it from The Ring Cycle and pointillism and all that stuff, is an obligate symbiont with the human organism, and evolves in the human neural substrate.  Brain to you and me.
  If the metaverse, which extends into every ideoverse, is populated by demons, and a demon is a locus of irreducible difference.  As between needle and pin, or cat and dog
  And if a concept is the superimposition (as in red triangle) or sequential coupling (as in if… then…) of two or more demons
  And if we take the demon needle (the locus of irreducible difference with pin, awl and so on), as we did a few weeks ago,  and anatomise it into other demons, its geometry, topology, constituent substance and so on
  Then the alarming conclusion is unavoidable.  A demon is a concept.
  Yet I had asserted that culture can only evolve at the level of the demon, just as life can only evolve at the level of genetic and epigenetic material.  But if every demon is a concept, then I appear to be saying that culture can develop at the level of the concept.  And yet I have also demonstrated, I hope at least to your satisfaction, sether Albert, that a red triangle cannot mutate into a blue tetrahedron except at the level of smallest irreducible differences; at the demon level.  Here we have, if it is the right phrase, a reductio ad absurdum.   It must be resolved.
  Try this for size.
  We are looking at an ideoverse.  It is continuous with the universe, we know, but let us focus in on that bit contained within the envelope of the human organism.  And, taking that as a given, let us zoom in further, just for simplicity, into that bit in the skull, the brain, the cortex, the, for our purposes, infinite space for the accommodation of loci of irreducible difference that is made up of trillions of potential connections among neurons and astrocytes.
  Let us take nipple.  I know, sether Femina-Botox, that you think I have a fixation here, and I acknowledge it, which human being does not?  But that’s not the reason I choose it.  I choose it because, developmentally, it is one of the earliest demons.  It is the target of the neonate’s desires.  But, bingo, as soon as I say target, something takes over in the ideoverse that in a moment we will look at.  Well, yes, after a manner of speaking, sether, though I feel the deployment of the word tits is not wholly apt, and the rest of the way you put it even less so.  But yes.  The circle within a circle, and so on.  Ramifications, ramifications.
  But we are at a time when, in the neonate’s ideoverse, the resident demons are few, huge, and hopefully by and large pleasant.  The demon nipple is one such.  At this point it is a demon of a kind that all animals could entertain (except no other animal has nipples).  It is a demon unlabelled by language, unconnected to any concept.  It is just the locus where the energy of blurry sight, pheromonal stimuli, tactility of lips, palate, tongue, coalesce.  The baby has no more idea what a nipple is than a dog does. (Shut up, sether.)
  Except, of course, sether Albert, what you say, totally unsuitable to the polite company of this layby on the Huddersfield ringroad though it is, is supremely apposite.
  I am suggesting that there is a root demon nipple which, as long as we were breast fed, has formed in every neonate’s ideoverse for quite some way back along the hominid line.  And now we jump in time to ourselves, here, now, and a whole cascade of diverse nipple stuff starts going on in our respective ideoverses.  We need not rehearse it here, certainly not in sether Albert’s case.  And unless we call it into the workspace it will not be language-ised — not the kind of inelegance I usually tolerate, but it serves to put that process rather the world side of the black box, which is where it ought to be.  Though language is a great stabilising process.  The cascades of stuff that flick and flitter through the ideoverse, a bit like dreams, when nipple happens, are transient, short-lived, one taking the place of another, or side by side, drifting, dissolving, superimposing, swapping material, until the workspace fixes one, at which point there is, language being available, a process of language-isation; target; the word, the image for me an archery target, red black white blue concentric circles, painted canvas on straw (I am not a young man) the smell of straw, playing among straw bales as a child, one can get into James Joyce territory very quickly, and this is all literary, it has nothing to do with the cascades in the ideoverse set off by the word nipple.
  Try this for size.  A root demon is a locus (we have no idea of the architecture, it may be in itself quite distributed) in the neural substrate.  It responds to stimuli, both from the ideoverse of which it is a part, and from the metaverse, which mediates everything that has our attention.  Once stimulated, the root demon emits simulacra of itself, not like down a wire, but broadcast across the ideoverse.  Again the architecture of this broadcast is unknown, we can guess it will be an unimaginable complexity of parallel pathways, branching pathways, inhibitory cascades, selective destruction, and no doubt much more.  Perhaps the rarefied reaches of information theory could have a bash at describing the kind of thing it might be, I can only smear a smudge of an image.  But that’s what happens.  Some journeys are much shorter than others, nipple to target for instance.  Why this is so can only be explained by the architecture, which is plastic, dynamic, and so far unintelligible to us, even though it is going on continually just the other side of the language barrier.
  Now we are looking at an evolutionary situation.  Demons depend on selection for survival and reiteration.  Nipple ripples across the ideoverse.  It stimulates other demons.  If it stimulates nuclear submarine it, unless it is in the ideoverse of a reincarnation of a metaphysical poet, is not likely to forge an alliance which is going to go places — a bit of a dead end.  Taboo sexuality could work on it, but we are talking about what is spontaneous.  So we could suggest a whole lot of potential demon allies for nipple, the utilitarian, the erotic, the scientific (in the sense of biology, not concept), the graphic; milk, antibodies, Bronzino’s Venus and Cupid, gland,  graffiti.  But here is the problem with language, these are not language (well, antibodies probably are) they are manifestations in the ideoverse, like to the stuff of dreams, as I say, flickering and transient.
  The behaviour of our root demon, for selection, survival, reiteration, is to stimulate enough useful demons to work with it in an alliance, while repressing all the other demons that are signalling back, me, me, but, and this would have to be already evolved in the architecture, must be repressed so they don’t clutter up or negate an alliance in which they are useless or destructive.
  The formation of an alliance causes a flicker.  It will often last only microseconds.  If it is below the threshold of the workspace, its achievement will be minimal, a slight modification of the architecture perhaps.  If the workspace registers it, but takes no action, its duration will be slightly longer, and the architecture modified a little more.  And if the workspace selects it, and we’re talking very black box here, then work will be done with it and on it.
  Few demons can work on their own.  Red, maybe.  But the effective role of a demons, as far as survival and reiteration through the metaverse is concerned, is in an alliance.
  And alliance may be an act, suck.  It may be a natural concept, doggy.  (No, dear, it’s a cat).  Or it may be a scientific concept, a red triangle.
  A demon is only a concept when the workspace calls for a concept.  Then, if the evolved architecture is such that it can cascade like buggery, its chances of selection are strong (if I am looking at the mechanics of pre- and post-natal nutrient transfer, for instance).  If I am merely, one of those games that come in a box, trying to compile as long a list of body parts as I can in one minute, nipple’s just a demon.
  The reductio ad absurdum is no more.
  Just try it for size.

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