Thursday, September 25, 2014

hmm... also on the topic of goal-states... i guess if the representation of the outcome is a strong driver, it makes sense that you would get "pavlovian" behaviors that are uncoupled from instrumental contingencies. the dominant representation isn't "i'm here, what should i do?" (which you could imagine would favor instrumental behavior), but it's "here's what i want". this could favor actions that are associated with that outcome (like salivating for food).

maybe you could also view lots of the little internal actions that we do during goal-states as pavlovian. orienting/preparatory actions that are consistent with consuming (or avoiding) the outcome. i wonder if we're doing lots of these online during listening to music.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"being high", goal pursuit, dopamine, internal conflict

there's something about being "high" that's really hard to let go of. let's say you're feeling euphoric from mdma or meth or opiates. when the first waves of "not-high" state start to hit you, it can be pretty awful. deep sadness in the pit of your stomach, isolation, hopelessness. it would be understandable to want to take more drugs at this point to avoid those feelings.

parts of our deep suffering are often probably coming from very old things, fragile childlike stuff. this is kind of a discordance, often pretty unconscious but still there. for example if some childlike part was hurt before it knew how to deal with it, it still has this wretched image of itself, which is constantly grating against our adult self-image. dunno, that's pretty freudian and rough, but something like that. and so, if drugs let us kind of muzzle the discordance to just believe completely in some positive perspective, then when the drugs wear off and the muzzle disappears, those things ache particularly. partly because you've kind of betrayed yourself in a way.

(incidentally, this might explain why mdma with psychotherapy could be positive without a hangover.)

i think on a smaller scale this is what's happening without drugs, with every little perspective we take. we don't like to let go of our current movement/direction/goal. and the more that connects to any really long-term deep things we haven't been connected to, the harder it is probably. it hurts when you believe in something and that rug is swept out.

i wonder if dopamine contributes to energizing these goal-states - maybe partly related to the idea that dopamine can stabilize representations. some drugs really blast the dopamine. and you can feel great, fully believing in what you're doing or whatever perspective you have at that point. you feel like you're making progress toward this overall goal that you believe in.

this seems like randy o'reilly's "tantrums" that come from frustrated goal-pursuit. it's the worst feeling. it might even be the same thing as hopelessness, because if you have some idea and motivation for how to turn things around and start feeling better, then your goals really haven't been completely frustrated; you still have a goal-state at that higher level that you feel like you can make progress toward.

with or without drugs, this also brings up something similar to the last post i made here about what's special about human suffering. one thing humans can do is entertain perspectives that frustrate the goals of our other perspectives. like when you're an adult, it's hard to get too excited about christmas, because you've had better things than presents, and you know santa claus isn't real.... thus your mental hipster is constantly short-circuiting lots of potentially engrossing goal states. (this reminds me of "zen mind beginner's mind".)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

you could think of two dynamical systems with metastable attractor configurations. they've each been selected because they can perpetuate some aspects of their organization through time despite the impinging of outside things that don't match this organization. this means they tend to have mechanisms that respond to offsets with some counter-reaction (wilber called this "exclusivity structures"). for example, a bacterium might secrete a hard shell when the environment goes dry.

possibly the same type of thing happens in social interactions, where someone denying some facet of your beliefs triggers a reaction that strengthens the basin of attraction you're in - a feedback loop that makes it harder to reach synthesis. subjectively, i think this is the opposite of feeling safe, which promotes synthesis. from any individual system's point of view, it can only be selfish, thermodynamically speaking.

i wondered if this is related to what's special (if anything) about human suffering. in buddhist terms, why humans might create karma in ways that other animals don't. we get stuck by criticizing ourselves; thinking that the problem is something we're doing. for example, i've noticed when i'm going to sleep that there are little bits of mental action that i subconsciously think are keeping me from getting to sleep, and i try to turn them off or avoid them. but that actually keeps me awake.

this kind of thing sounds like two functional systems within the individual are falling into this same feedback loop problem, and thereby hardening their own exclusivity structures. i wonder if this property of splitting into two functional systems (very roughly speaking) at this level is something only humans have, since it might be a little bit related to perspective-taking. it could create a qualitatively new way of getting stuck: creating conflict within one individual that hardens both parts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

i think it would be reasonable to say that any form is a perspective. (by a form, i mean anything in the universe -- cheese, zen, you, your wire whisk, the laws of physics, the tendency for white men to be republican, etc.) so that's basically the same as saying that "subjective" and "objective" are just different ways of looking at the same thing. given any particular thing, a form is what it looks like when you're looking at it, and a perspective is what it looks like when you *are* it.

and i think that any perspective could be seen as a world-view. any particular vantage point that looks out at the world i think inherently carries its own overall "purpose" or "meaning", which is defined by the organization of that system.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

sparsity/regularization, holographic representation, bigger/smaller loops (e.g. thalamocortical or neuromodulator systems), and "scalar fields"

if you force the dynamics to breathe through cycles of compression and expansion (in terms of information capacity of the channel), is that a possible way to get an efficient coding? and maybe this is separate, but could this be related to holographic? like with plasticity in overlapping representations, everything is morphed into a dual form where every part of the original has a partial representation in every part of the dual...