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I'm not cut out for this poop


"When Michel received the letter he was in despair over a theoretical crisis. According to Margenau's theory, human consciousness could be compared to a field of probabilities in a Fock space, defined as a direct sum of Hilbert spaces. Such a space could be created by elementary electrical activity at a microscopic, synaptic level. Normal behavior could therefore be seen as the elastic warping of the field and free will as a rupture within it; but in what topology? There was nothing in the natural topography of Hilbert spaces that might give rise to free will. Michel was not entirely convinced that the problem could even be posed except in the most metaphorical sense. Of one thing he was certain: that a new conceptual framework was needed. Every night, before switching off his PC, he sent a request over the Internet for the daily experimental results. The following morning, he would digest them. As he did so, he remarked that around the world, the research centers were groping their way along in a senseless empricism. Nothing in their results brought them closer to a conclusion, nor did they provide support for any particular hypothesis. Individual consciousness seemed to emerge among animals for no apparent reason, and clearly predated the capacity for language. Darwininans, with their unconscious teleology, as usual put forward hypotheses about the possible selective advantages of the emergence of consciousness, but as usual, these didn't explain anything; they were just-so stories, no more. Then again, the anthropogenic model was hardly more convincg: life had thrown up something which could contemplate it, a mind capable of understanding it, but so what? That in itself did not make understanding human consciousness any easier. Self-consciousness, which is absent in nematodes, was clearly observable in inferior lizards like Lacerta agilis, impling the presence of both a central nervous system and something more. What that something was remained completely mysterious. Consciouness did not seem to depend on any single factor, whether anatomical, biochemical or cellular. It was all rather discouraging.


What would Heisenberg have done? What would Niels Bohr have done? Step back from the problem, take time to think, take a walk in the country, listen to music. The new was never simply a reworking of the old; information was added like handfuls of sand, predefined in their nature by the conceptual framework of the experiments. Now, more than ever, a new paradigm was essential."


Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles


it's a novel folks.
really is it.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
azmatiq
Aug. 7th, 2001 02:06 pm (UTC)
Wow, that looks kinda cool actually. That might be my lame AI geek lustings that say that... the whole trying to explain consiousness so that we could then start coding it thing... but yeah.

btw... thats geek. Maybe not HTML and JavaScript geek... but its geek. :)
frobisher
Aug. 9th, 2001 02:44 pm (UTC)
Bohr was a cool dude.

*nods*
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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