This post discusses the widespread notion that the mind is some kind of computer; that the computer is able to represent knowledge, and this knowledge can be about the world. As we shall see, this notion is quite silly, although people—who are either not physicists, mathematicians, or computer engineers, or just happen to have an academic title without an understanding of these subjects—tend to profess it over and over. This post explores the multiple and successive levels at which this notion is flawed, and why fixing it has proven so hard so far. The post ends by commenting on whether it can ever be fixed.
In the previous post, I described how modern science employs two contradictory ideas—possibility and choice—although in practice only one of them can be used, resulting in incompleteness. An example of that incompleteness is that quantum theory describes the world as a possibility which needs to be completed by a choice, although that choice cannot be reduced to that possibility. The predictions of the theory therefore are probabilistic, and we cannot predict the next event or observation. This post explores how a new way of thinking can reconcile the contradiction between possibility and choice—when both possibility and choice are treated as information. Possibility is now missing or incomplete information, and choice is a partial or complete overcoming of that uncertainty.
When John von Neumann introduced the idea of the “conscious collapse” into quantum theory, he committed a heresy—or at least something that would have been considered a heresy up until that point—by introducing a causal agent called “consciousness” within science. Science until that point had worked explicitly to keep mind and consciousness out of the study of the material world, and were it not for the considerable reputation that John von Neumann already had, this idea would have been deemed a lunacy right away. After John von Neumann, the word “consciousness” is no longer regarded as crazy, and it has, in fact, in recent times, become the newest frontier for materialism to conquer. Like everything else in nature which has an underlying “mechanism”, we suppose that consciousness too must have a mechanism, to which consciousness can be reduced. This post explores this belief and shows that while choices do have a mechanism, reduction is still impossible.