Thu, 27 Aug 1998 18:13:02 +0100
Hi, Magnus, Ant, Diana, Troy, Bo, Platt and LS all
> Maggie said:
> > Computers (the physical machines themselves) would be intellectually-mediated
> > socially-mediated biologically-mediated inorgPoVs.
> If you put it that way, so are humans.
This had me awake half the night. All I could think about was the fundamental
interconnectedness of everything. And then, Troy's letter about the rock and its
reality in all levels suddenly made sense. Even though I can THINK about a time
before there were social, bio, and int levels, when the rock might have been able
to exist only within the lower level, that idea only exists in the world of
thought. So no, the rock can't exist in less than all evolutionary levels.
And then I got to thinking, "But there is something fundamentally different between
a rock and a human, and maybe it has to do with the type of interactions in which
it usually functions. The rock doesn't interact within all the levels. It's
basically inorganic, right?
Well, no, because if it's limestone, its substance was taken from the shells of
tiny living creatures, so it was "created" by the biological level. And that
affects its current properties as much as a computer's function is shaped by the
patterns that controlled its shape.
And there are other rocks whose form is less obviously mediated, but none of them
have been unaffected by weather, and weather has been completely changed by
biological and social and intellectual patterns.
So, Anthony, when you ask whether I consider the moon to be an example of an
unmediated inorganic pattern, that starts a chain of thought that says, yes the
moon is a good example, except that the moon has been touched by people and things
out of intelligence, so you would have to go further away, right, to something that
humans (intelligence) haven't affected. Out in the solar system? Well, we've
sent stuff out there, too. Voyager. Radio waves. And light rays from our earth
that have been mediated by Gaea have been going out even longer.
So you get to the point that it's impossible to think of an instance of the
inorganic universe that has not been mediated, however minutely, by intelligence,
unless it is beyond the ripple point of light speed.
And that takes you to the point of the intellectual level's greatest invention, the
ability to remember, plan, project into the future. Time is an intellectual
pattern of value. And when we realize that over time, sooner or later, those
mediated light rays will reach throughout the universe, then there is no unmediated
pattern anywhere, even if the "event" of the mediation is in the future.
So I've traveled to the point where I think that to find that unmediated pattern,
we have to go further than the moon. We have to go outside time itself.
One other thing had me spinning the other night. Thinking about Troy's rock.
There's something about a rock that seems different from something that's alive.
The way it interacts, or maybe the way other physical things interact with it.
You push it, it moves. All together. It doesn't seem to think, feel, react,
interact in any way.
Somehow, I made a jump from that lump of rock to the physical computer (that set of
intellectually-mediated socially-mediated biologically-mediated inorgPoVs from the
top of this letter). And I thought of what it really IS, in the classical sense.
A piece of plastic and glass stuff. And what do I do with it, how do I interact
with it? I push on it. I push buttons. That's all. It sits there, and I push
buttons. (And we all know that to an observer, that can look like something that
borders on insane, this sitting and pushing plastic buttons.)
But out of nothing but pushing buttons, I have been part of something bigger than
anything I ever experienced before. I just took an incredible "trip" through the
universe, all as a result of interaction with some plastic buttons.
Emotional attachments are part of this, too. Black dots on the screen, buttons
pushed in response, but I have emotional attachments with people I have never
seen. Pretty deep, too. Plastic buttons and electro-magnetic fields in a wire
makes possible the "existence" (for me) of the Lila Squad and our interactions--the
excitement, the wonder, the knowledge, the frustration (once I cried about
something for two days, and I haven't done THAT for anything else)--more potent
emotional attachments than I have with anyone except my closest family.
And the amazing thing is that I am NOT responding to people who are simply far
away. The "personalities" that we construct from this barrage of words are not the
personalities of the biological and social beings that sit somewhere else and push
buttons. Whatever these personalities are a manefestation of is something that
exists only within the LS interactions, only in this medium of pixels and
The other night I could feel how we ARE the universe, its mind, its awareness, and
this tenuous thing that Diana has nurtured spans not only the world, but the
universe. It is like Pirsig's little man pushing sand, only where he interacts at
a lower level, a biological being interacting with individual sets of inorganic
patterns, LS works at the highest level. When an intellectual pattern is formed,
it changes everything, EVERYTHING. And when a NEW SET of intellectual patterns
are socialized and passed on to other people, the potential of new undreamed-of
intellectual patterns supported by that new social structure is humbling.
Gotta go. Thanks for the trip.
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