For ages I’ve been compulsively driven to understand, as widely and deeply as possible. What is the nature of reality? Mind? Many go from psychedelics to meditation to the philosophy of science to computational theory to A.I. studies.
I think the cutting edge research on what is the nature of reality is being done by the likes of Stephen Wolfram and Penrose and David Chapman.
Basic ideas such as computational irreduceabity and equivalence, and embodied evolution of abstraction are essential.
Why is this important? For some people, it’s a compulsion. Who can untangle the evolutionary drives why knowing the biggest possible coherent big picture is a compulsion for some.
One of my biggest life lessons came to me repeatedly from the stupidest guy in our high school clique. He’d be laughingly stupid most often, and was humble about it, and laugh along. But sometimes he’d be fucking brilliant and funny. So reaching over my head isn’t arrogant.
There was a time in my life where I could not cognize the hard problem. At the time I read Heinlein’s book about Mike, the computer that became self aware, and it seemed possible enough that information itself could create emergent subjective qualia.
Many brilliant minds, including Daniel Dennet hold this view. For some reason or another they are not able to cognize what the problem actually is. There must be DEVELOPMENTAL steps required to be able to cognize the problem. Grappling with meditation might be part of that.
My thin understanding of Chapman’s view of conceptual abstraction is that it arises out of problem solving, and abstracting out layers of what you look at. Therefore looking and puzzling long and hard over what is aware may be a required first step.
In other words, the question is not self evident. You have to physically GROW the ability to even have the question.
Another example of needing to abstract out an object of attention through problem solving grappling with it is seeing your visual field as an object of attention. Many can’t do that. That takes practice.
Many think that the Turing Test is functionally equivalent to questioning if something is aware. Those who think so have not yet developed the capacity to cognize what the hard problem actually is. They have not abstracted out, through problem solving, what awareness is.
P.S. This is the 1000th post on this blog.