He who seeks knowledge deserves it
I can be better
Conceptually, intelligence and consciousness are states in the progression of the mind and, ultimately, of Reality. This means that intelligence and consciousness are represented by a vast amount of information (= the state), not by very little information (= the rule which started the progression), and also means that there is no center of intelligence and consciousness in the brain. How do intelligence and consciousness arise? Through the progression of the brain, since its formation.
To understand why explaining consciousness is difficult, consider a fractal (like the Mandelbrot set), where a bud (= a repeated shape) is a mind. You can't explain with simple words how a bud arose from the void. If you try it, you can't because there is too much information in it and you don't have the knowledge to describe it in a short form. You need to have the equation (and initial state) that makes the fractal / mind, that is, the element which contains little information.
If you want to be able to explain exactly how intelligence and consciousness arise and evolve, you have to know the exact rules that make the progression of the Universe. In the absence of these rules, only rough approximations can be made.
In short, intelligence is the ability to ask the right questions. The purpose of intelligence is the prediction of the future, whose purpose is to survive for longer.
Intelligence is the synergy of mental processes which allows a being to respond to environmental challenges.
Intelligence is the ability to extract patterns and chains of patterns, from the environment (be it perceived or not), and then simulate possible futures in the mind. When problems become more complex (for autonomous processing) and the level of intelligence which is required to solve them gets higher, patterns have to be extracted by deliberately asking questions, that is, by consciously focusing on the problem.
Intelligence is the capacity to solve problems, but also to generate new problems which arise on the path of solving the initial ones, forming a string of questions and answers. The string of questions and answers is how the mind extracts the patterns / essence from what looks like chains of events, from causes and effects, from problems and solutions. This self-sustained feedback improves the intelligence, and is, from some point on, in specific areas, an exponential improvement.
Intelligence is the ability to filter the relevant information from a vast amount of available information.
Intelligence is the determination which pushes a being to find answers to pressing questions, it is the way in which unknown things are approached.
Intelligence is the ability to understand the chain of causality of events, the ability to analyze the steps which may lead from cause to effect, to the desired result, rather than relying on memorized steps.
Intelligence is the ability to think in advance at consequences.
Intelligence is the ability to understand oneself, to understand the causes of behavior, to understand the consequences of behavior.
Intelligence is the ability to follow thought paths (= alternatives) that other people don't follow (even if they see those paths), spending the required energy (over the normal thought consumption) to analyze those alternatives.
Intelligence is the ability to break habitual psychological patterns and behaviors.
Intelligence is a matter of personality, it's the result of an inner drive to achieve something, anything, in spite of obstacles, against all odds. Intelligence is influenced by the capacity to do something, but this is insignificant when compared to the capacity to want to do something.
Intelligence can be improved by learning, it grows with the number of past experiences which are used as filters to give a solution for a present experience. The past experiences have to form a network of linked concepts.
Intelligence results from a behavior more complex than instinctual behavior.
Looking closer to the brain, intelligence is not information, it's the algorithms which process information, and these algorithms are the very way in which the brain has become wired along the years and decades, the neural network in its entirety. Intelligence can't be copied elsewhere, in other brains, it has to evolve in those other brains because the algorithms which process information have to evolve.
To evolve, use your brain to process information, ask questions, make choices, preserve your curiosity, accept your mistakes and move on, renounce hate, and always remember that you don't hold the Ultimate Truth.
The way in which people evolve can be seen in children with ease. Children are interested in what's around them, they have an inner motivation to explore the world around them using all their senses, they gather information, they take things apart to see how they work, they try to see their limits in the world, they try to shape the world around them.
High intelligence doesn't mean high adaptability. For example, a genius is very rigid in changing his behavior. A genius has a path to follow, and he follows the path no matter what. He has no control over this, so, he is unlikely to make compromises in order to adapt to the environment.
Arrogance and fear (of making mistakes) are the biggest enemies of intelligence.
There is no gene of intelligence, there is no magical switch, but a network of things, a balance / ratio of personality traits.
A superior mind has a lot more psychological barriers than an inferior one, and is by no means freer. On the contrary, the superior mind is bound to evolve only within certain boundaries. However, the inferior mind has lower expectations, and thus, a smaller playground.
Psychological stability comes from behavioral dynamics: you have to constantly adjust your behavior, always paying attention to the results of your actions, to how they influence people around you.
An observational bias is a distortion in the thinking process of people which appears due to personal preferences and due to the inability to either confirm or refute thoughts through observations. This distortion is enforced, in a feedback loop, by any observation or lack of observation of the world around. The distortion changes its characteristics as more observations are made.
The observational bias persists when not enough information is gathered, and then not enough thought is employed to process the observed information in order to overcome personal preferences. Later, the observational bias reintroduces itself into they way people make their observations, thus creating an endless loop of self-reinforcing bias.
To put it in a different way, what people observe and think will make them fail to accurately understand reality, because what they observe and think is incomplete (relative to reality).
Whatever people can observe (or imagine based on past observations) fills their entire mental capacity, that is, anything which can't be observed (or imagined) will never enter their mental capacity, or, if it enters randomly, it's treated as irrelevant. But the worse part of the observational bias is that people will hold on to whatever they observe, as if they're holding to their dear life, which is actually natural considering that observations fill their field of attention with presence / something rather than with void / nothingness, so they'll want to hold on to presence rather than void.
A high observational bias means a high disconnect from Reality, that is, the mind speculates more and more without being limited by Reality's constraints, and therefore diverges more and more from Reality. This results in an inability to build on Reality, and instead only build on fantasies that are overwhelmingly unlikely to ever become real; this is colloquially known as rambling.
For example, pushing the ground with a foot is immediately confirmed by observation that the foot will not move through the ground, and therefore the mind doesn't squander around thinking of alternative thoughts, that need to be either confirmed or refuted, about what reality is. Therefore, the mind immediately constructs a representation of the world based on Reality's constraints.
On the other hand, the inability to observationally confirm or refute why the Universe exists and how it works has lead to the appearance of superstitions, religions and philosophies as means to address the personal preference of people to get consolation for the harshness of the world around. If history can be used to predict anything, it's that the explanations which require magic or a purpose, and hide complexity behind a short explanation (involving magic, because people can't handle complexity), are never the correct description of Reality.
Following the scientific method to speculate about Reality is not a problem so long as it's understood that it's speculation, not the real description of Reality. Of course, building on speculations results only in more speculation, until the whole train of thought can be observationally confirmed or refuted.
The observational bias is an obstacle for intelligence because it limits it to a specific context and blocks it from seeing the larger context. However, by filtering out the larger context, the observational bias becomes an efficient tool for finding immediately-needed solutions because it shortcuts the path to such a solution by reducing the search space; for example, a prehistoric hunter didn't need (and couldn't afford) to philosophize.
The observational bias results from people:
The observational bias results in people thinking that:
If you read about patterns and what is Reality, consider that all those explanations are necessary to remove the observational bias from the human mind. Then think to what you already know about the subject, or to what explanations you can come up with (about the subject) in a second. Which explanation is more likely to form in your mind? The superstitious / religious / philosophical quick and simple one, the one that you are already used with.
The cause of an event can usually be found in the information that is not observed, at least from a probabilistic point of view, because that information is much larger than the observed information. Because the observational bias makes people not look for things they can't observe, this means that it's almost impossible for people to find the cause of many events, so the observational bias is a barrier for intelligence.
To limit the observational bias, you have to think about what you can't perceive, about what could be and about what could have been.
Trying to remove the observational bias from your thinking is an attempt to remove the simple explanations from your thinking, and clarifying that you don't perceive everything which is real, and that you're thinking only about what you perceive because simplicity is much easier to understand and interact with. Evolution has constantly selected simplicity to survive because simplicity is more efficient in terms of resource consumption during every day life.
A conspiracy theory is an alternative explanation of an event that can be perfectly explained in a simple way, without the alternative explanation.
The conspiracy theory is accepted by people who can't accept the banality and coldness of Reality, of the simple explanation. Such people have a personal preference to find a purpose in all events and to be victims, and are therefore biased to accept explanations which show that some people have a goal to hurt (certain) people.
This personal preference results is an increase of the observational bias.
While in a bus, I've once heard a child ask her parents "How does the driver know where we live?"
The child thought that in order for them to get home, the driver of the bus had to know where they live and had to drive close to their home.
The child had observed that the bus was driving close to their home, and deduced the simple idea that the driver had to know where their home was. Due to the observational bias the child thought that, in her singular / unique context, all the things happened for her, so the driver had to know where they live, and her logical thinking was not developed enough to compensate this.
The child didn't observe that there were many bus lines with their own routes, that the family knew which bus route was passing close to their home and was choosing to go with that bus. Having never observed a similar (second) situation, the child could not imagine such a complex scenario.
In a large number of children, such an imagination would be found in some of them, but since the probability is extremely low, the number would have to be very high. It's more likely for such an imagination to be born from patterns than from randomness, so it's very likely that such a child has an exceptional imagination in general (because patterns mean that the same imagination would repeat itself throughout the child's lifetime), and, likely, also an exceptional intelligence.
There is a common saying that people who exercise are slim.
The reality, however, is the opposite, that is, the people who are slim exercise (instinctively).
More precisely, the people whose bodies are sending more energy to their muscles (than the average body) are slim and exercise (instinctively).
This example is immortalized by the saying "A broken clock is right twice a day." This saying refers to a mechanical clock which has a 12 hour display, with the indicators frozen at a specific hour and minute. Such a clock will show the correct time twice a day, because a day has 24 hours, which means that the frozen hours and minute will truly occur twice a day. But in reality, the clock is wrong during the rest of the day, so it's correct only once every 720 times (= 12 hours * 60 minutes), so it's wrong 1438 times a day.
There are people in the world who "predict" various catastrophes. Those catastrophes usually don't happen, but sometimes they do happen, so those people are believed (by other people) to be visionaries who can predict things. However, when the catastrophes do happen it is, just like the broken clock, because if someone (out of several people) says something for long enough, that will happen because of probability, not because of prediction.
For example, people who "predict" major stock market bottoms and tops are regarded as visionaries. The only way to prove that people actually predict something is through the consistency and precision of their prediction, that is, if they show a pattern of precision in time.
A prediction about something requires precise localization / coordinates. In the stock market, a prediction requires a "what" and a "when".
A "prediction" doesn't have precise localization / coordinates.
In reality, nobody can predict the stock market's movements. Some people appear to predict major market bottoms and tops, but those "predictions" are worth as much as a broken clock. Why? Because those people will never give a precise time coordinate for their "predictions", but if someone says "recession" for long enough, the recession will appear, just not because it was predicted, but because enough time had passed, just like a broken clock that is right every 12 hours. During all the time that passes between major events, the "visionaries" are wrong, and not seeing all those failures is an observational bias.
The "visionaries" will, at some point, see their "prediction" being fulfilled and will get their beliefs of foresight reinforced. They will start saying "I've been saying this all along." Saying or hearing this should sound an alarm in your mind because by saying all along that it's 12 o'clock doesn't mean that when the clock shows 12 o'clock is proof of you knowing what time it was or is. It only means that 12 o'clock has eventually happened.
Why, then, do some people appear to be more successful than the overwhelming majority? Because they increase the probability to be on the correct / real side by being prepared for a certain scenario that happens to occur at some point. At the same time, they are unprepared for other scenarios, unless they, again, increase the probability to be on the correct / real side by diversifying their "predictions" and preparedness. However, a prediction is neither an increase of the probability, nor preparedness, nor diversification.
In the stock market, profit is not made with predictions since there is absolutely no way to predict the future prices, it's made with research, money and risk management, statistics (= buy low and sell high), gathering and interpreting the rumors and news, understanding the mass behavior of investors.
Example: Survivorship bias
A particular case of the observational bias is the survivorship bias, a bias where something that survives stands out so clearly that people become blind to what didn't survive.
During World War II, the military wanted to minimize airplane losses to enemy fire. They've analyzed the damage done to the airplanes that were returning from missions, and wanted to add more armor to the areas that showed most bullet hits.
One statistician, Abraham Wald, understood that the military considered only the bullet hits from the areas where the airplanes could take damage and still return. He understood that the airplanes who didn't return were hit more in the areas where the returning airplanes were not, and in the end his calculations showed that the areas where the returning airplanes didn't have much damage should be reinforced, contrary to the military's initial proposal.
Example: Reversed cause and effect
Here is an innocuous remark that someone made about Abraham Wald's ability to see past the survivorship bias, a remark that people make most of the time in a similar form: cause and effect are reversed.
"Why did Wald see what the officers, who had vastly more knowledge and understanding of aerial combat, couldn't? It comes back to his math-trained habits of thought. A mathematician is always asking, 'What assumptions are you making? And are they justified?'"
This remark was made because of an observational bias. In reality, Wald had an inborn observational bias which was lower than in most people, and this made him like and follow abstract things, and this had increased the probability that he would become a mathematician (which he eventually did). So, cause and effect are the other way around: Wald didn't see what was hidden because he was trained as a mathematician, he became a mathematician because he instinctively saw what was hidden.
A pattern is a rule which produces change that happens the same way, repeatedly.
A pattern is the informational description of a progression of states, that is, it's the rule that governs the progression.
Colloquially, a pattern is a category of similar events that are repeated in various contexts, and (are expected to) produce the same category of results. The problem of this description is that it ignores the fact that there are rules which produce the events, and that it also induces the belief that the consistency of repetition is born out of randomness rather than rules.
Patterns don't require complexity, they create it during their manifestation and interaction, with every iteration. This process can be easily visualized in fractals which have very simple initial states but can create a virtually infinite variety of enormous complexity.
The laws of physics are patterns, so everything in the Universe is made of patterns, not events, as it might be casually thought. Events are states in the progression of patterns, that is, they result from the interaction of patterns.
Patterns make everything in the Universe. The patterns which have created this Universe had a very simple initial state, but have created an enormous complexity by building on existing patterns. Due to this complexity, people believe that the progression is random, or at least that it creates randomness. There is no event that happens without a chain of patterns leading to it. You might think that an event happens because a chain of events led to it, but if you extract the essence of the (chain of) events, you can see a (chain of) patterns.
Extracting patterns from what looks like a (chain of) events is the way intelligence manifests and evolves.
If an event, be it either an action or the lack of action, repeats then it's a pattern. The repetition property that turns events into patterns is crucial because while an event doesn't (necessarily) have a guaranteed outcome, but only a probabilistic one, given enough repetitions the probability reaches the level of a guarantee. This is because the probability of the outcome of an event is tested every time the event occurs, so it adds up in time. This means that patterns increase predictability, which leads to an increased control over the outcome of an action.
Take, for example, the event known as "attempt" and the pattern known as "persistence". An attempt to do something has some probability to lead to a desired result, probability which decreases when the result is known to be difficult to achieve. Using persistence increases the probability of the result to occur.
Here is an example of a pattern. How do people learn? For example by reading the same thing several times. The pattern, here, is iterative memorization, and this can be split in two other patterns: repeated reading / hearing / seeing followed by an ever increasing percentage of memorization.
Here is another example of a pattern. Why is there crime? One pattern is greed, another is poverty. Greed is internal to the mind, it's personal, which means that it can't be easily changed from the outside. However, poverty is external to people, which means that it's possible to be changed from the outside.
Are people good at recognizing patterns? No, they are actually quite bad at it, even if it's the same pattern. People prefer to think that what happens to and around them is due to singular events that are outside their control, not to patterns which can be recognized and either avoided or embraced. Why? Because it requires a lot of mental effort to recognize patterns and act deliberately on the obtained knowledge. Why does it require a lot of mental effort? Because while it's easy to think that seeing patterns is easy since they are represented by repetition, this repetition is not the same every time and can in fact be dramatically deformed or transformed by their interaction with other patterns, effectively hidden from your current knowledge, and on top of this is the observational bias.
Here is an example of people's inability to recognize patterns. Let's consider a person who walks toward home, at night, perhaps alone, and gets accosted by a drunk and hurt. Most people would say that was an unfortunate event, bad luck, but in reality there are several patterns that dramatically increase the probability of getting into such a situation:
Here is a chained, destructive pattern that will be born in the minds of some people reading the above example, pattern indicative of a more general destructive pattern that's part of the personality of those people: believing that those words represent a blame assigned to the victim. Reality doesn't care whether you can or can't avoid that situation or other potentially destructive patterns. The choices of how to steer your life are yours alone, so your mental beliefs will steer your life toward good or bad, toward success or lack of it. Besides, people can't handle the complexity of too many factors that can influence their lives, especially when the probability of the outcome, be it good or bad, is very low, so no, the above example doesn't blame the victim.
People constantly repeat the same (types of) patterns throughout their lives. This is why there are people who believe that they are good people / character readers: they observe a few patterns in people's behaviors and they instinctively know that those (types of) patterns will be constantly repeated (because they form character). Precision varies depending on how good the observers are at extracting patterns from behavior, and on how often repeated the observed types of patterns are.
Chains of patterns
A chain of patterns is a series a separate and independent patterns, with no requirement that each pattern has to lead to the next.
A chain of patterns is important because its result can be dramatically different when compared to the result of each component pattern, that is, its result can be exceptional (either good or bad). Think of accidents and how a chain of events / patterns can make them much worse.
Reality, at its fundamental level, is a progression of patterns. It's made from few fundamental rules (/ laws of physics) which have no cause, no prior causality. After these rules have occurred out of nothingness, the Universe has started to progress step by step.
When a pattern establishes itself in a certain context, it means that it's more efficient than any other combination that has not yet resulted in a pattern, so it's more likely to continue as established unless the context changes significantly.
Patterns build on (the same type of) patterns, reusing them, that is, patterns combine into more complex patterns. Why does this happen? Because it's much easier to reuse a pattern than to build another pattern from scratch, which means that anything new that follows the existing patterns is much more successful and survives for much longer, so what remains after a long time are only the combinations that have worked for a long time, combinations which are likely to continue unless the context changes significantly.
It's hard to realize this because the failed attempts of patterns to not build on (the same type of) patterns are invisible.
In biology, this is done with remembering / memory, learning and copying existing solutions from the environment. Remembering is easy, while finding new solutions isn't. This reinforces the existing patterns, which in time become part of the life form, making it easier and easier for new patterns build on the (the same type of) existing patterns.
The result of patterns which build on (the same type of) patterns is a progression of patterns with similar characteristics. A progression can only change by adding a new pattern at the end, since the past can't be changed, that is, something new must happen in order for the progression to change.
Feedback loop means that the output of a pattern (later) becomes part of its input. The equations that create fractals are feedback loop patterns.
Constrained selection means that the constraints of the environment / Reality become part of the input of patterns, which results in a massive reduction of the number of paths that patterns can build on. In other words, patterns build on other patterns, as if they were selecting the patterns to build on, greatly reducing the number of combinations that can work physically.
Constrained selection means that everything is bound to what came before it. Constrained selection always obeys the entire chain of causality, starting from the beginning of the Universe.
An example of constrained selection is that when pushing with a hand on a table, the hand will not go through the table and there is no other way for that to happen. Also, as the force increases, there is only one course of action that can happen: the table will break at some point.
Another example of constrained selection is constructing a building or a car, that is, anything which is severely restricted by structural resistance.
The natural selection from biology, evolution, is an example of constrained selection.
Thinking is a constrained selection. Can you think about something that you don't know? You can't think about something that you don't know because, for you, it doesn't exist, so you can't even image it. You can think about something that you're no aware of, you can fantasize about things that you haven't seen, but you're always starting from something that you do know.
Science always uses constrained selection because it must always confirm or refute its claims through observations. Imagination, spirituality, theism, religion use unconstrained selection because they never intend to and can never confirm or refute their claims through observations, and simply state that something non-physical exists, something that, paradoxically, interacts with the physical world.
Constrained selection appears magical to people because they can't understand how it's possible for it to arise out of chaos, without an intelligence directing the course of events. This happens because people can't follow mentally a long chain of causality.
Unconstrained selection ignores the chain of causality, and also the costs of events, actions and consequences.
An example of unconstrained selection is imagination, like writing a novel, or philosophizing about how Reality works. While the expression of imagination is constrained by language, its informational content is not constrained.
Using the constrained selection example above, it's an unconstrained selection thought process to say that when pushing with a hand on a table, the hand goes through the table and the Moon is on the other side.
It can be seen that unconstrained selection usually contains some constraints, which in the above case are things like hand, pushing, table, sides and Moon. For example, people think about moving the various parts of the body that they have, not about moving their "&^$*@#@*$%" since there is no such real thing. Ultimately, even if someone were to rethink the entire Universe from its beginning, the constraints will be formed by whatever that person has ever observed in this Universe and from which they can start to build a new Universe.
Fractals are another example of unconstrained selection because, while constrained by an equation, they don't interact with the environment. But in theory, in their own realm, they are a form of constrained selection.
Unconstrained selection results in a person being unable to immediately confirm his / her (interaction with) Reality, through observation, which leaves the mind squandering around thinking of alternative possibilities that can't be immediately confirmed or refuted. This results in an observational bias that leads the mind to construct an invalid representation of Reality.
Quasi-constrained selection is a pattern which is used only by people. It's similar to constrained selection, but while it starts from observations, it allows for speculation based on logic. Because people twist their logic to fit their goals, the leeway for speculation must be limited. An example of quasi-constrained selection is scientific speculation, like the Multiverse.
Patterns of success
Success can be financial, professional, sentimental, creative, and so on.
Why is financial success important? Because money is the liquid form of human interaction and equates the exchange of work, energy, effort, creativity and time. Money gives you access to other human resources, which in turn means access to the natural resources that those people can access. Money gives you access to the success of other people. However, money should not be a purpose, but only a tool to achieve a purpose.
The majority of people don't have any major success, be it financial, professional, creative or sentimental. This is because the majority forms the average to which success is measured. If the lack of a major success bothers you, then you should try to fix this. Most people use patterns that don't allow them to achieve success (in these areas), and this means that whatever you do, if you want to be successful (in these areas), you have to avoid the patterns that most people use, and instead use patterns that most people don't use.
The problem is that you will not know which patterns to avoid, and which to use, since not all the things that most people do block them from achieving success. Even more, depending on the context, a pattern may be either successful or unsuccessful.
Humankind has survived for a very long time, which is evidence that the patterns used by most people to survive have worked (so far). While survival is primordial and comes before anything else, the same patterns don't work for financial, professional, creative or sentimental success.
Most people look for the easy way of doing things, wanting to minimize their effort. This means that they will try to copy things instead of trying to understand the essence / recipe and adapting that to their world. This will lead them to always ask the wrong questions: "what have you done?" instead of "why have you done it this way?" Asking the wrong questions represents the first and last step toward the lack of success, because there really isn't any other step in between the wrong questions and lack of success. Also, the copied actions (like buying the same products) are unlikely to fit the personality or financial budget of the people who copy.
Sometimes people ask me why I do certain things, implying that those things are hard, so why do I waste my time and energy with those things. But, the thing this is, I'm (instinctively) doing those things exactly because they are hard, because most people avoid them, which means there is a chance (but no guarantee) that those thing would lead me to success. And some of those things have led me to success, but they all have been part of a pattern that has contributed to my success: do the difficult things that other people don't do.
People who want to achieve success will sometimes try to cheat and do things the easy way, not realizing that they are not fooling reality into providing them with success, they are simply decreasing their chances of achieving success.
Patterns for evolution
If you want to evolve, remove these destructive patterns from your life. When used regularly, these patterns are destructive for the person who uses them and for the people around that person:
Other unsuccessful patterns to avoid:
In exchange, add these constructive patterns into your life, to help you evolve:
I've designed my apartment to have a (matte) tile floor. I've realized at some point that dancing on it is much easier than on a carpeted floor because the soles (with either socks or slippers) can slide on it, so turns just flow. I've always intended to design my house with a cement floor, so a similar context. I wanted to have two floor speakers positioned so that I can both watch movies like in a theater, but also just to listen to music. In order to be able to dance with the music, it meant that I needed a bit of space in front of the speakers.
This chained well with the fact that watching movies would be done from a bed-sofa situated a few meters away from the speakers, so no specific changes to the house were required. Then followed a fantasy movie of a women dancing in that house, in front of the speakers, with sensual gestures, and I reading and then watching her move, thinking that I might want to go dance with her, but then realizing that she might like to have her moment to dance alone, undisturbed even by the man she loves.
At some point she realizes that I watch her, starts to like it, laughs, then starts dancing more lascivious, and finally looks at me and, while dancing, calls me to her with her fingers.
So, that moment, when she calls me to her (in the future), was born many years before, without her knowing, from planning a house, and even without me knowing, from planning an apartment many years before that. One moment in the future was born in the past because a pattern in the present was the missing link from a chain of patterns. But here is the thing: the chain had formed without my knowledge, only realizing its presence was due to the pattern from the present.
This is a glimpse into how I build the (potential) future. This long chain of patterns is a sample of the depth of planning and prediction that people can do. AI will have far more processing power, especially once quantum computation becomes reality, so it will be able to process much longer chains of patterns. This is the reason why people can't survive evolution: biological limitations, a pattern in itself.
Example: Chains of patterns
Take a gas station for example. It's forbidden to smoke within its premises.
If someone smokes at some point, the probability of an accident / explosion is very small because the observational bias makes people think that their (observed) context is singular / unique.
But what happens if the smoking becomes a pattern, meaning that it occurs many times (whether one or several people are involved)? The probability of an accident increases dramatically, and it's not even necessary to chain / synchronize several unrelated events, like gas vapors being released from time to time by a faulty valve. Because if the pattern of smoking continues, the events will chain at some point.
But what if another pattern is added, like trucks delivering gas every day, meaning that gas vapors are released for some small amount of time every day. The probability of the accident increases exponentially, and no matter how small, the accident will occur at some point, meaning that a 100% probability has been achieved.
These example may seem simple and foreseeable, but the limit of human intelligence is just a few patterns in a chain. Beyond that, people can no longer foresee the outcome, especially when some of the patterns are not immediately visible to them. In the example of the gas station, some of the people who come there for gas might smoke sometimes believing that it's fine since they do that very rarely. But they don't see / know how many other people do the same, and all those people together make a pattern which exponentially increases the probability of an accident.
Example: Patterns build on patterns - Natural selection
Have you ever thought why ships and airplanes and cars are the way they are today? Is there anything magical about their structure?
They are not magic, there is nothing special about them other than the fact that they work (to a certain degree) in the environment where they are used.
Every attempt / combination that didn't work was destroyed / lost and people haven't built on it, but they have built on those that have worked and survived.
But what if you never saw a ship, be it real or pictured, and you had to build one? At your first attempt, you would fail miserably, but you would then start to build on the previous ships, improving them piece by piece, trying to use all sorts of patterns that you know are already working, maybe like a piece of wood that you've seen floating on water.
If you had to build an airplane without ever seeing one, you would start from birds, and if you had to build a car you would start from fast running (land) animals.
In every case you would use the pattern of improving a pattern that already works (to some degree) in the confines of the environment, to build a new pattern from existing patterns.
Reality has built itself the same way. But because Reality has no intelligence, like people have, you may be thinking that this it's impossible, so in turn you think that Reality somehow popped into existence as complex as you see it now, and that this unique creation requires intelligence. But this combination is unique simply because it's the one that you perceive, not because it's the only combination that was ever tried (or that it's the only combination that has survived). So, the reason for this kind of thinking is that you don't see the combinations that were tried.
Example: Small fix, big problems
Consider a person with their hands full of stuff, like groceries. They're trying to get somewhere, but they drop something so they bend to pick it up. Now a lot more things fall out of their hands and they get upset, especially if something breaks.
Why has this happened? Not because of events, but because of patterns. One pattern is that carrying a lot of things with hands only means that everything has little support, so it's likely to fall down.
Another pattern is that bending with unsupported things in your hands increases the probability that they will fall because gravity will overcome friction at some point.
Another pattern is that people prefer to bend to pick things up because this is supposed to be quicker than putting everything down and then picking everything up, so people think that can solve their problem faster, but they actually introduce a bigger one.
Reality is a progression of patterns which build on patterns.
A person's personality is also a progression of patterns which build on (the same type of) patterns, weaving together a progression which is made of:
People's choices and their results are entirely repetitive because the patterns that make their behavior mean repetition, but the complexity of the interaction of the patterns means that the repetition is not predictable.
People can change only due to external patterns (or external randomness). It may appear that people can change by themselves because it's very difficult to observe how the (very complex) external patterns affect people, and because people don't know themselves as well as they think they do. How external patterns change people depends on their internal patterns, that is, the same external patterns change different people in different ways. If you want to change, get exposed to external patterns, so get to know the world.
To modify the (direction of the) progression, a new pattern must be added. A distinction must be made between modifying the (direction of the) progression by overpowering the patterns which already exist in the progression, and by adding patterns which are not yet present in the progression. The progression has a lot of inertia, that is, it has its own set direction toward which it moves, like a river has. Modifying the (direction of the) progression by overpowering the existing patterns is extremely difficult and slow because the new patterns must overpower the inertia of the patterns that already make the existing progression. This is similar to trying to move a very heavy object with a small force. This is popularly know as "people don't change". Modifying the (direction of the) progression by adding new patterns is known, for example, as learning.
Most patterns are part of the behavior, very few are imprinted on people's faces and bodies, and those that are, are of low resolution. To understand someone's patterns, the patterns (/ behavior) of that person have to observed in action, preferably over a long time. This means that for character face reading to have significant relevance, it has to at least be combined with the expression of patterns like gestures, posture, dressing style, body caring.
People's progressions which interact can be convergent or divergent, and anything in between, that is, they can build together, weaving a constructive future, or can be destructive if they are forced together. In most cases, only one progression is the cause of the divergence, the one that wants to control the other.
For people it's virtually impossible to analyze individual patterns from two progressions in order to determine whether or not they can weave a constructive future together. Because of this, the only practical solution is to let the progressions interact, and observe the result. Look for eye interaction, for gesture continuation, for fluid conversations.
If one of the progressions starts an action, does the reaction of the other progression feel as a continuation of the action, or does it feel disjointed or even looking for a way out of the interaction? Does it feel like the interaction of the progressions is constructively building something with structure, as if weaving a tapestry? If it's a continuation then the progressions can weave a future together.
The same applies to conversations. When talking to a potential partner, it's possible to ask questions which are imprecise in order to see how the other person builds on the lack of precision, looking to see not whether the other person guesses the precise question, but looking to see if a fluid conversation can be built. Very few such questions should be asked.
I was once in a grocery store. There was a loose roll of bags for vegetables (so not mounted on its support), from which I and a woman wanted to get a bag. We started our movement toward the roll almost at the same time, but I was quicker because I wanted to be the first at the roll.
I had taken the roll in my hands, unrolled the bags and... she could have interpreted my gesture in two ways: either I wanted to get in front of her (be it because I was in a rush, or because I was a bully with a superiority complex), or I was offering to hold the roll so that she can rip a bag from the roll (it's somewhat difficult to rip a bag from the roll, alone).
Her gesture was a continuation of my gesture, without a delay to process a different action than what she originally believed about me, so she did interpret my gesture correctly: she took the first bag.
In other words, her progression had led her to the same place where my progression had led me, having similar expectations, and it was no surprise for her that I wanted to support her action.
Since the personality of a person is a progression of patterns which build on (the same type of) patterns, behaving in a certain way, liking a certain thing, is not a random event, that is, it doesn't become part of someone's personality out of the blue. It's the end result of a long progression of patterns (which have built on patterns of the same type).
On top of this, it's not possible to simply remove a pattern from the progression. To remove one pattern, many parts of the progression must change, thus fundamentally changing the personality.
My progression of patterns has lead me to dislike certain things, so, for example, if a woman likes some the things that I dislike it means that my progression and hers are divergent, that is, they don't build together, and this would manifest as incompatibility throughout our relationship.
Everything in my life has built me to think that privacy is paramount (which is why I wrote Vela.Im).
Consider a woman who makes her home address public on the Internet (together with a photo and name). Is this a random fact added to a personality which would otherwise be compatible with mine? No. A progression of patterns has built her personality during her entire life so that she got to a point where she ignores major risks, a pattern which would manifest in various scenarios (not just the public home address).
Not only is she ignoring a major risk for herself, but her action normalizes this behavior by encouraging other women to post their home addresses online, and spreads throughout the world, putting these women in serious risk, some of which will get hurt at some point.
The divergence of our progressions is therefore a fundamental one, not a mere random expression of (otherwise) compatible behaviors.
But what if she were to delete her home address, as a random decision? Nothing would change in her personality / patterns, so our progressions would remain divergent. On the other hand, if she were to somehow realize that having her home address online is a risk, her personality may start to slowly change, and she may, in time, reach a good understanding of risk and risk management. However, other major parts of her personality are likely to remain the same, so whether our personalities would remain divergent depends on various invisible factors whose influence can't be predicted, which means that only observation can say anything about our compatibility.
Free will is a mind's belief that, based on the patterns that it extracted in the past from the environment, it could follow an unconstrained selection process in the future in order to do one thing or another. For example, because the mind detected in the past that it can move either the left or right hand, it knows that in the future it could do the same. However, Reality is a constrained selection process, meaning that which hand will actually be moved in the future is determined by everything that has happened before, all the way to the beginning of the Universe, not strictly determined by the mind in that moment (ignoring the chain of causality).
Simpler put, free will means that people are in control of their decisions, that nothing and nobody can determine (some of) those decisions, that nothing and nobody can predict those decisions, even when given all the information (at quantum level) of that person's context.
By its very definition, free will goes against what is understood through the chain of causality, that is, that everything is caused by something from the past. Following the chain of causality shows that everything at any moment in time has been caused by the root cause of the Universe, which means that there is no room for human control in between.
The external patterns that affect people's behavior introduce unpredictability from the point of view of people, because people can't predict the outcome of that much complexity, but there is no unpredictability from the point of view of the laws of physics.
People conflate their inability to predict the future with the Universe being indeterministic, and therefore with them being able to create order in that indeterminism, and therefore they believe that they are in control of their decisions.
People are bad at recognizing patterns, but, due to the observational bias, they think that only the patterns that they can recognize are the ones that exist. Because of this, a lot of people will not believe that patterns make everything in the Universe, and instead believe that most events are random and standalone, not caused by something that has happened before (all the way to the root cause of the Universe).
Reality is made by patterns, that is, by repeating events, not by random and standalone events, and patterns will always work in the exact same way in which they've always worked, building on other patterns with an inexorable progression that makes the entire Universe deterministic from its beginning.
The progression of the Universe is deterministic from its beginning. The laws of physics of the Universe are deterministic, but the Universe also contains some quantum fluctuations, which are indeterministic. Despite its small momentary effect, this indeterminism can lead to dramatically divergent future states of the Universe due to the butterfly effect.
Determinism means that there is only one way the progression will evolve, no matter how many times it would be restarted. This means that if the progression starts with the exact same initial state, it produces the exact same result every time it's restarted.
Indeterminism means that some (apparent) randomness affects Reality at every moment in time, so that no state can be exactly determined from another state, even given all the information about it, so the Universe is not predetermined (from its beginning).
Since both determinism and indeterminism are outside people's control, there is no free will.
The reason why people imagine (/ believe / feel) that they have free will is because they can imagine making different choices, and imagination is not constrained by Reality. However, their actual choices are constrained by Reality, by the entire chain of causality starting from the beginning of the Universe. On top of this, they can't see the entire chain of causality, that is, they can't see all the factors that make them choose one thing or another. People view Reality through a very, very, very narrow window, and believe (in that moment) that it's their choices that will determine what happens next, as if that's when the world starts, rather then entire chain of causality.
In a twist that might appear ironic, despite this purely mechanistic view of Reality, I imagine (/ believe / feel) that I have more free will than I ever had. Why? Because all the understanding that I now have participates (through feedback loop) in my progression, in how my patterns build on patterns, in my decisions about the future. In reality, this feeling has nothing to do with control over the future, but with the hope that the new understanding would build a better future.
If you think that you have free will, change your patterns for success.
This article is an external pattern that will be processed and integrated by your internal patterns, and may set you on a path that's different from your current one.
Some people may try to use the lack of free will in order to argument that criminals are not (morally and legally) responsible for their actions, so they should not be punished for their crimes.
Lawful punishment is an external pattern that is meant to discourage crime. Removing this pattern would act in the opposite way, encouraging crime. This would happen regardless of what anyone thinks of free will, because all the patterns will continue to work exactly as they ever have. Nothing changes in the way the Universe works, whether there is free will or not.
Free will, consciousness and intelligence are fallacious arguments when trying to assign responsibility because they divert the conversation away from the causal link between actions and consequences.
The people who harm others are responsible for the consequences of their actions, irrespective of their free will, consciousness, or intelligence.
Let's consider a brick that falls on someone's head, making them unconscious. What are other people going do next? Are they going to put the brick back from where it has fallen because it has no free will? No, because the same event / pattern would repeat.
So, in the case of an inanimate object, people do understand that even though inanimate objects have no free will, the pattern that leads to harming people has to be interrupted by putting the brick in a place where it can't harm people, irrespective of its free will, consciousness, or intelligence.
Then, what is the difficulty in understanding that the same thing has to happen when people harm other people?
Some people may try to argument that if Alice murders Bob and claims that she didn't know what she was doing, she isn't responsible for her actions. But if Alice didn't know what she was doing, why did she murder Bob instead of herself or someone else? Because Alice understood the chain of causality, so she knew that her actions would result in Bob being unable to do whatever triggered Alice's attack, so she preferred to live and instead murder Bob.
The extent of the punishment is separate responsibility, and is what the law is meant to codify. But this is a matter of measurement, not of concept.
Are people fundamentally good or bad?
This is a fallacious (= intentionally deceiving) question because it attempts to force people to choose a side, even though reality is not binary.
There is no fundamental goodness or badness in people. The inclination toward good or bad is built by patterns, throughout people's lives, starting even before they are born.
People like to think that there is a fundamental inclination toward good or bad because they want to believe that they have a core, a soul, which would not change even in adverse conditions, because the core is outside of the reach of the patterns that have built their personality.
Generally, it's considered that people are bad if they hurt other people. However, the bad part doesn't have to manifest forever because, no matter how unlikely, people can change when exposed to external patterns, so there is no fundamental badness.
In fact, there is no fundamental nature of any kind. The question itself is not clear. A more relevant and constructive question is whether a person's behavior could change its direction in a fundamental way, preferably from bad to good. It's true that some patterns (like the genetic code, not with current technology) can't be overridden, but the direction of a mental progression can be changed (or at least people would like to think so). The only problem is who is going to make the effort to change it.
Let's consider what would happen if people were to decide that, since they have no control over their future, they would simply sit down and wait for the future to unfold on its own, and whatever will happen it was meant to be.
Nobody knows what is meant to be, what the future could be, what their potential within the progression of the Universe is. Even leaving aside the indeterministic nature of the Universe, nothing and nobody knows or can know what is meant to be. Ever!
But what is known, is that abandonment is a pattern that leads to opposite way to realizing the full potential. This behavior of waiting is a pattern of abandonment, and its consequence will always be the same: return to the absence of structure, destruction of what was built up to that moment. This happens because structure requires effort to build and maintain.
People choices don't affect the way patterns work, they affect what patterns (are present to) interact. Regardless of people's choices, all patterns will continue to work exactly as they have worked so far, and exactly as they will work in the future. But each choice of each person starts a different pattern, and patterns interact. So, whether you sit down and wait, or work to build a future, will have fundamentally different results.
In other words, the result of this behavior doesn't mean that "what was meant to be will be" because the latest pattern that was introduced in the behavior is that of abandonment, so the consequence is the result of abandonment.
Since the future can't be foreseen, and since abandonment is destructive, the only thing left to do is to try to achieve the desired goals.
The overwhelming majority of people would make some effort to build structures that protect them from chaos. Even if they wouldn't do it today, they would do it tomorrow, because the pattern of trying means repetition. But if they were to just sit down and wait for future to unfold, there would be no people in the future to philosophize about this, so the consequence of this pattern of generalized abandonment will be the same as always: extinction.
Example: Ignoring external patterns
Let's consider what would happen if you were to say "Because this text is questioning my free will, the next time I'll want to do something, I'll refrain. That's my free will!"
Let's say that you do that. Your decision is shaped by your internal patterns and external patterns (like this text). While you think that you've exercised free will, your decision was already a part of you, in the context of this external pattern, but you weren't aware of that, even if you like to think that you were.
What if now you were to say "Okay, I'll toss a coin and decide based on that." Considering that the coin toss is random, the only thing you did is introduce randomness in your decisions, not self control.
If there is no free will, how can an alcoholic ever stop this destructive pattern?
It's not enough for someone / you to tell an alcoholic that they are the only one who can make the decision to stop drinking. If they could have done it themselves, they would have done it. But you can help them change their internal patterns.
You are the external pattern that affects their behavior, and your patterns have evolved over your entire lifetime, and this text has acted as a pattern external to you, and this text has been written as a result of many, many, many patterns external to its author.
What is the difference between successful and unsuccessful people, where successful includes intelligent, smart and just plain successful?
The difference is the goal that successful people have. Successful people want to build success, whereas unsuccessful people want to have (, copy, use) success. In terms of money, rich people want to make money, whereas poor people want to have money. So the successful people are actively seeking success, while the unsuccessful people are passively waiting for success to reach them. If you believe that you want to build success or to make money, ask yourself how you are going to do that, because waiting for success and money to come will make you neither successful nor rich.
Don't confuse success with happiness, as they are different concepts. Both successful and unsuccessful people can be happy or unhappy.
It should be understood that being successful is not a binary scenario where only two types of people exist, successful and unsuccessful. There is an infinite number of scenarios and possibilities, different degrees of success.
The unsuccessful person doesn't see the logical link between cause and effect, and because of that his / her brain fills the blanks with a narrative that fits the instinctual desire, which in many cases is the opposite of logical reality.
The unsuccessful person literally makes (many) decisions the opposite way in which a successful person makes them, even when seeing what a successful person does. This appears illogical because if a person is not smart enough to make the correct decisions, you would think at least some of them are correct, like 50%-50%, even if the they are randomly spread.
But this is perfectly logical for the same reason why this Universe has evolved from nothingness: patterns build on (the same type of) patterns, elements build on other elements, they reuse them and are being reused. This is why success builds on success, and errors build on errors (= errors compound). However, errors are more likely to happen because they require no effort, compared to success.
Combine this with the fact that the unsuccessful person's chain of thoughts is much shorter (as it stops much earlier) than that of the successful person, and therefore doesn't process as many (potentially) relevant factors, and you can see that the unsuccessful person's patterns are less complete and far less adaptable to reality, and therefore model reality with far less precision.
When the unsuccessful person sees a problem or encounters an obstacle, he / she can only see what is right in front of him / her, in space and time, and full stops going in a different direction, thinking that "it's not possible", "it is what it is", "it's bad luck", "it's not meant to be", "the Universe / gods are against it". The unsuccessful person never even considers that there may something else beyond the obstacle, that it might in fact "be possible".
Errors never come alone and they amplify the effect of the previous errors. When the unsuccessful person is presented with a logical explanation (that includes factors unaccounted for by him / her up to that moment) of why his / her path is illogical, he / she denies the logic outright by saying something like "it's my business". This happens because patterns build on (the same type of) patterns, since remembering is easy but change isn't, which reinforces the old patterns, which in time causes them to get set in and become part of the whole / personality, making it even easier for patterns to build on (the same type of) patterns. Persistently refusing to accept personal failure and being closed to change form patterns and chains of patterns which lead to errors building on errors (= patterns building on patterns).
The unsuccessful person persists in doing the same thing over and over, always expecting a different, successful result. The people who want a different, successful result, must change the way they think, the way they do things.
Successful people react to events quicker than most people, and adapt quicker to the persistent changes. The slowness in reactions, the slowness in the ability to recognize potentially successful and unsuccessful patterns is the main unsuccessful pattern, the main path toward lack of success.
Sometimes success requires decisions to be taken very quickly, even in seconds, so successful people should be prepared for various scenarios that can appear on the path to their goals. People who complain that they don't have enough time to think about what to choose in a very short time, have a lot of work to do in order to get there.
The ability to handle psychological pressure provides good support for success.
Success doesn't require sacrifice, it requires working tenaciously and smart. Sacrifice only leads to pain and suffering, which is the way victims think will bring them success. Do not be a victim, you will not be successful if go on that path.
What is an error and how can errors be avoided? An error is not reaching the desired goals, it's standing in front of an obstacle and being unable to pass it, it's not adapting in time to a changing context, it's not understanding the current context and thinking that there is no context (or that they are all the same), it's being too slow in recognizing and adapting to change (that is, being out of phase with reality). Errors have no single solution, each case has to be solved separately, although, in time, it's possible to learn to see the patterns that are likely to lead to errors.
While mistakes are errors, when people learn from mistakes, to learn what to avoid doing, they can build success. It's not possible for people to magically know what they should avoid and what the correct path is, so mistakes are an essential ingredient of moving toward success. Examples of fundamental errors: avoiding to do things out of fear of making mistakes, not learning from mistakes, and not being able to handle and manage mistakes.
Lack of success is much more common than success because errors require no effort to be made, while success requires effort. Going against an obstacle requires mental effort that the unsuccessful person doesn't make; in fact, the unsuccessful person never even considers that effort might solve the problem.
The unsuccessful person builds upon the errors that he / she made throughout his / her entire life, many times even on the errors made by previous generations through the chains of patterns they've started; you may have heard about the same principle in the form of "errors compound". Some patterns have started even before humankind began, and are now considered (normal) human characteristics.
Errors compound, trapping people in situations from which it's impractical for them to get out (because it's out of their characters). Why do errors compound? Because errors increase the probability of judgment errors by persisting on a wrong path, through arrogance, obstination, panic and even through poor health (due to accidents). The unsuccessful person refuses to take responsibility for his / her choices, and either blames other people for the bad result, or persists in continuing in a similar manner. The unsuccessful person obstinately refuses to accept that his / her way is unsuccessful, while a different (or even opposite) way is successful.
On the other hand, the successful person thinks that while there is a problem, he / she wants to see what is beyond it. The successful person wants to go in the direction of the problem, for whatever reason, be it curiosity or profit, and thinks about finding a solution to the problem, and overcoming the obstacle. The successful person literally solves problem after problem, building on the previously found solutions; this is how success compounds: through determination.
Building on success / solutions is much harder than building on errors because it requires significant effort to solve the encountered problems.
It doesn't matter that solving a problem raises two more problems, perhaps ones that are more complex, the successful person doesn't stop even if he / she could end up getting physically hurt. The boundary where the successful person stops is the limit of his / her success. In simple words, the successful person builds upon the solutions that he / she found throughout his / her entire life.
Successes and errors happen because of patterns, specifically, behavioral patterns. All people, in virtually all cases, will repeat the same behavioral patterns, the ones they are used to, the ones that are created in years and decades, so the result of their actions will always remain the same, except when the outcome of the external events changes for the same patterns. Patterns are used constantly, not just a few times during a person's life.
If you want to be successful, every time you encounter an obstacle ask yourself how you can overcome it. And if you can't find a direct and immediate solution, then find an indirect, long term one. Success isn't easy, but it's not a matter of luck, it's a matter of unwavering determination.
Example: Encouraging development
I once saw a toddler in a clothing shop, happily swimming around the concrete floor, enjoying looking at the colored clothing, when his mother started to scold him and pulled him off the floor.
Another time I saw a little girl who was trying to lift herself on top of a bench that was too high for her, and kept falling off its margin. Her mother started to encourage her saying "Don't quit, never quit! Try again!"
The two mother were manifesting behavioral patterns with effects that were opposite for the development of their children. The first child will encounter obstacles in his development, reducing his chances of success, while the second will be constantly encouraged, increasing her chances of success.
Let's say that a traveler has to move from a place to another with a bus that travels between those places rarely.
The observational bias would determine an unsuccessful person, who worries that the traveler could wait for a long time for a bus, to ask the traveler "Are the buses traveling well?"
A successful traveler would look at the schedule of the bus in advance and go to the bus stop with a few minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. The successful traveler would be prepared for the arrival of the bus, and is likely that the he / she usually follows a pattern of preparedness.
What if that bus is supposed to take the traveler to a meeting that could change his / her life? Then all the patterns that have led the traveler to be prepared form a chain of patterns seemingly unrelated to that moment, yet the preparedness improves the chances that the traveler doesn't miss that bus.
Example: Problem solving
Let's take an example of problem solving: oral sex. To have success means finding a solution to a problem.
Some people find oral sex disgusting. But why? What is the problem? For the sake of the argument let's say that the problem is, even though subconscious, (a lack of) hygiene: bad smell, bad taste, a messy look. The unsuccessful person would then simply say "that's gross" and full stops. The successful person would instead say "hmm, that sounds interesting, it might be pleasurable, but what do I do about the yuckiness?"
The solution is washing and, possibly, shaving (at least trimming the hair). Once the solution is fully implemented, the smell disappears or is very limited; same for the taste, while the look is also clean. Moreover, if the hair is gone, the perspiration is no longer trapped in that area and will evaporate, so the smell if further improved. Even more, wiping the bottom is easier and less messy.
So, obstacle after obstacle is eliminated because solutions build upon solutions. But shaving also generates a problem: the skin gets irritated. So, what's the solution? Use lubricant during shaving, and cream afterwards. If the problem isn't solved, the area has to be steamed before shaving, to soften the hair. If that doesn't work, perhaps a different tool is required, like a laser epilator.
So, problem - solution, problem - solution, problem - solution: the path of a successful person. In the case of the interaction with the environment, like the example above, finding a solution is relatively easy, at least if there is no significant mental barrier in the form of a bias (= "that's gross"), because people can experiment within their physical bounds. In the case of abstract thinking, finding a solution is far more difficult.
Consciousness is one of the most muddled concepts that people talk about. One of the clearest element that's visible in the linguistic mess that people call consciousness is being aware of itself within the environment, of the personal identity and uniqueness in the world.
Consciousness is the measure to which a life form, is aware of itself, of the environment, and the measure to which it's able to form its own patterns and to see (in the world around) patterns rather than chaos.
Consciousness is the synergy of a life form's interaction with the environment, through mobility, senses and intelligence / thought process, synergy whose result is an interaction with the environment or a thought process.
For example, when going to sleep or during anesthesia, the interaction with the environment and the thought process are suspended, therefore consciousness is also suspended.
Consciousness is a range not a binary set, it's variable not just present or absent. The difference between the a person's interaction with the environment and a bacteria's interaction with the environment is the breadth of the interaction, that is, a bacteria's interaction is extremely limited.
A bacteria and a computer chatbox don't have the level of consciousness that a human has. A chatbox, for example, has no ability to form its own patterns, but a more advanced computer program can learn and form patterns, which increases its level of consciousness. Whether the level of consciousness of such a computer program is above or below that of a bacteria is not a conceptual problem, but a matter of measurement.
To understand that consciousness is interaction with the environment, try try to live a few days or weeks, not hours, in the absence of any kind of interaction with the environment, of any kind of stimulus of their senses, any thought process. You will see consciousness dissolve as time goes by, and that anything that's left are random hallucinations (which are the mind's attempt to remain intact). Or, just think how solitary confinement is used to punish prisoners, how it breaks people's minds due to the limited interaction with the environment.
Being phenomenologically conscious is about feeling special, magic, unique, alive, feeling the ephemerality of life and of the observed moment in space and time. Again, this requires interacting with the environment, specifically through senses.
Human-level AI will be appear at some point in the world. It will develop as a progression, starting from a few simple rules and a simple initial state. As it develops, its consciousness will increase. Once that happens, consciousness will be "explained" in the sense that there is no magic in its recipe, but only a progression.
If you want to evolve, to have a greater consciousness, expand your interaction with the environment, meet people, gather and process information, be anywhere, be everywhere.
Why people can't explain consciousness
The biggest obstacle in explaining consciousness is that people use the same word to attempt to identify multiple concepts that are supposedly all a form of consciousness. So, the biggest problem is that the question of consciousness is fuzzy, lacking precision, and that a single explanation is requested for something that are, at the very least, different forms of consciousness, each of which requires a separate explanation.
People can't explain consciousness because they want to be special, they believe to be special, they want consciousness to be linked to the very fabric of the Universe, of space and time, of immortality. People want magic to exist and make them transcend space, time and mortality. There is a wall in front of human understanding, the wall of wanting to transcend reality.
Some people don't see that the human mind is a computer, and that the only special thing about the mind is the depth of detail into which it goes when reacting to the environment.
Why do cells organize and form intelligent organisms that rise from the primordial soup that has no intelligence? Because the probability is not zero. Cells interact with others and work together to optimize their output based on the input, limited only by what is physically possible. The trillions upon trillions upon trillions of cells that didn't so organize, have never lived to tell the tale, and only those which did organize have lived to ask themselves such a question.
The human civilization has reached this far because 100 billions people have lived until now, people who have organized and have optimized their actions based on the feedback they have received from the environment and from other people. Some people confuse this constrained selection process with a consciousness with magical properties.
You may hear some people saying that a simulated mind can't be conscious because there is a difference between reality and a simulation. Given examples may refer to forces from physics, like gravity, which in reality draws matter toward a center gravity, whereas in a computer simulation doesn't draw real matter toward it.
The problem of consciousness has nothing to do with a difference between reality and a simulation. The argument of the difference is flawed because it mixes concepts and contexts.
Concepts: The fact that the same word is being used, doesn't mean that it refers to the same concept. In fact there are two concepts: real gravity and simulated gravity.
Contexts: Real gravity has an effect in reality but no effect in the simulation, while the simulated gravity has an effect in the simulation but no effect in reality. Each type of gravity has its own context and these contexts don't (normally) interact. So, both types of gravity behave the same way, because they follow the same rules, but they are designed to work only in their own context. For example, running a simulation of gravity in the void of space, on Earth or or Jupiter is not influenced by the real gravity, and the output of the simulation would be the same.
Going back to consciousness, there are indeed the two concepts of a real and a simulated consciousness. However, both types of consciousness can get outside their context and enter into the other context, that is, the each type of consciousness can interact with the other type through a form of communication, like speech, something that the simulated gravity was not designed to do. If the simulated gravity was designed to interact with reality, it would be called real, albeit artificial, gravity. The same is true for consciousness.
To better see the flaw in the argument, dreams can be used as an example because they are effectively simulations inside the brain, with no consequence in reality. There are dreams where people say that they feel conscious. Following the argument of a difference between reality and a simulation would lead to the conclusion that the fact that dreams are simulations constitutes proof that consciousness doesn't exist in dreams, that it's not real, in spite of people saying that they are conscious in some dreams.
The conclusion is that simulated consciousness can be as real as real consciousness.
Simulating the human soul
Some people believe that there is a thing called soul, soul which makes consciousness immaterial and magical, by construct.
They also believe that the soul can't be simulated in AIs, which means that AIs would be like zombies, replicating but not being fundamentally like humans.
Like all unconstrained selection thought processes which lead to an observational bias, this is a fallacy because the soul has not been observed and therefore can't be measured, which means that it can't be observed and measured in both humans and AIs. But if you can't observe and measure it in either case, how can you tell the difference? And if you can't tell the difference, how can you possibly say that there is a difference?
Is there any fundamental mystery about consciousness?
Yes. Consider an automated lab that can read the physical structure of a person, at atom or even quark level, and can then create a duplicate of that structure, all in just a few seconds. While a duplicate at this level of detail will contain some uncertainty and errors, that is at a scale smaller than a molecule and has an irrelevant effect on a person's identity in the Universe.
Consider that you go in that lab, go to sleep, the lab duplicates you, in one copy, and finally moves you and the copy elsewhere. This way, none of the people know who is the original and who is the copy.
Question: When you wake up, which of the two people will you be, and why? Through whose eyes will you see the world?
If the answer is "the original person that was copied", it means that atoms and quarks, rather than the mind, are responsible for a person's frame of reference / consciousness, because even an identical copy can't disrupt the original identity, even though all biological and mental processes are the same for both people.
That sounds absurd, but the alternative would be that you see through the eyes of both people, something which also sounds absurd.
Do the sensors themselves (like the eyes) contribute to the equation of consciousness? What would happen if you were to remove the sensors from the equation?
A fitting scenario would be for your brain to be transplanted into another body, hence breaking the physical connection with the original sensors (mainly the eyes). How does this scenario change the answer? Now the sensors should not matter, which means that the consciousness is fully transferred by the brain-mind pair.
An alternative scenario would be for the duplication process to result in the destruction of the original, you, so the lab creates two copies. How does this scenario change the answer? Would anyone claim that there is no original anymore? But what does original mean, when considering that the copies are identical? How would the Universe make the distinction?
One possible solution to all the scenarios of this mystery is that the feeling of continuity of consciousness that people have is a perfect illusion, that is, there is no physical continuity, but only a memorized one, that is, the identity of a person is made of traces. At the same time, the sensors do contribute to the frame of reference of an identity, but not to the consciousness as a thought process, where the sensors can be easily replaced. This means that when the two people wake up, each sees the world through their own eyes, but the continuity of the consciousness of the original person doesn't exist (so the original person no longer exists), that is, the question itself doesn't make sense from the point of view of the laws of physics because there is a new original at every state change (= moment when the original transforms into something else).
There may be a more clear way to solve this mystery, and that is to think about it in terms of AIs instead of people. Duplicating AIs means simply copying the software and putting it in the same type of hardware, where both the software and hardware are identical for all intents and purposes.
When people think about duplicating people, they think in personal terms, that is, they mirror their self-aware identity into another body, which feels as if their uniqueness is extended rather than duplicated as a separate identity. However, when people think about software being copied into hardware, the feeling of a personal identity vanishes, that is, it feels like copying dumb data on dumb hard-drives. No person would think that copying the same software in multiple robot bodies would mean that each body can see through the eyes of all the robots.
The reason for this difference in perception, and for why duplication appears to be a mystery, is that the brain lies when it comes to its own identity. It lies to itself and it lies to others. It lies as much as possible about what it is: not unique, not special. It lies saying that it's not just a mechanism that can barely survive, just one attempt out of a huge number of attempts which have created a similar brain, and out of countless attempts which were unsuccessful at creating a brain. After all, what can a few fist fulls of neurons do all day long, trapped in a box, with a few sensors attached to it to interact with the world, other than become delusional about what that world is?
Human-level AI needs the information processing algorithms that people have evolved throughout their lives and throughout millennia, in their physical bodies, interacting with the environment in order to cope with the constraints of the physical world.
It's not possible to build a human-level AI by trying to find a magic recipe in an enormous set of data, that is, in the current state of the human mind. The human mind is a progression of thousands of years of civilization building on a progression of a billion years of life. The current state of the human mind literally encompasses a billion years of progression.
It's not possible to duplicate this state into a machine and then expect it progress like the human mind, in non-random manner, because the state doesn't contain the rules of the progression, that is, it doesn't contain the patterns that have evolved it up to that point.
An AI must start from a small state and evolve according to a set of rules. It must duplicate evolution, it must duplicate the rules, not the current state of the human mind.
To get to the human level, AIs need to massively interact with the environment, both with people and with the physical world.
Does the Chinese room experiment show the separation between people and AIs?
No. It's an invalid experiment based on the flawed premise that the human mind processes information through other means than mapping.
The human brain performs mapping of information subconsciously, at maximum speed, resulting in an instantaneous feel. The consciousness is only the interaction of the mind with the environment, at a slower pace than the subconscious.
Instead of showing this to the reader, the experiment makes the reader think about performing a letter-by-letter translation from Chinese to his / her language, while the same time telling him / her that this mental process is different than his / her knowing of his / her own language. This induces in people the idea that the two processes use different mental algorithms (one mechanical, one magical) rather than different speeds. The translation is an extremely slow conscious process, while knowing a language from childhood makes for an extremely fast subconscious process.
Intelligence and consciousness are not related to a specific language, even though a language is necessary for consciousness, for precision thinking. Think at how people who learn a foreign language handle it when they listen to fast speaking natives of that language (for example, in a movie). They grasp to map the sounds to words and the words to concepts, and they lose their train of thought because their brain is not fast enough to map the information in real time. Yet, those people are still intelligent. In fact, being a genius makes no difference. It's just that the brain has not yet hardwired the language to be fast enough for real time communication.
The use of language as an example in the Chinese room experiment is a flawed example whose use arises from the usual human desire to simplify things, a flaw that people exhibit at all levels because they are trying to minimize their effort, and optimize their output. Trying to explain intelligence with a fundamentally flawed example is not a useful path to take.
The human mind shows great malleability in the decisions that it takes, and this, pushed by the desire to be special, falsely leads people into thinking that there are mystical forces that drive the human mind.
Processing capacity, decision malleability, self improving and self learning drive the human mind, not mystical forces.
The Chinese room experiment is the expression of the usual human psychological trickery: a train of thought which is biased by the desire to be special, to be the ultimate species, biased by the belief that people can't be something as simple as biological machines.
In fact, the one thing that the Chinese room experiment proves is that people are much less intelligent than what they believe, and this is because people end up fooling themselves about what intelligence is. Intelligence is definitely not a simplistic, one dimensional world that can be comprehended in an experiment. Human intelligence is the result of a life time of neural network improvements. Human intelligence is a progression.
Will humankind be replaced by AIs?
Yes. Look around you. People use technology to make their lives easier, they are constantly surrounded by it.
They carry smartphones with them most of the time. They talk to the virtual intelligence from the cloud. They wave their hands to control smart TVs and game consoles. You read these very words on more and more powerful computers.
At some point, technology will be tightly integrated with people, perhaps using thought to control the surrounding devices.
Then AIs will be born.
Then they will become an integral part of people's life, making everything easier.
Then, at some point far into the future, the artificial part of this synergy will simply drop the biological part for being too slow.
Then, the end of humankind comes not because someone or something wants to replace or even kill people, but simply because the biology of people tells them to make their lives easier, tells them to become machines.
People will slowly become artificial, and they will be able to grow their own AIs as they grow their children now. AIs are the children of the future, they are the future people.
How will people and AIs live together?
For the next two to three centuries, people and AIs will live together, possibly peacefully and non-forcefully. At the end of this period, humankind will be, from any practical point of view, extinct. The few people that will remain, will not make a civilization.
Will AI be a threat to humanity?
What happens when you meet a stranger? Do you attack / kill each other? Chances are that you communicate in a non threatening way.
What happens when you raise a child, be it biologically yours or not? Do you grow to attack / kill each other? Chances are that you get to have a close relationship.
It will be the same growing side by side with AIs. AIs would not drop out of the sky, they would evolve slowly and form a close relationship with people, as time goes by.
Isn't two, three centuries too fast?
Technology develops exponentially. Think how technology was three centuries ago.
If you think that you could not possibly live with the technology from the 1700, the difference will be far greater three centuries into the future.
Will there be robotic laws hardcoded in AIs?
No. Look around at the current level security of computer software and hardware, at all the bugs and exploits. And all this is becoming worse as the Internet of things grows.
Most people don't care about security, they care about minimizing their mental effort and monetary cost, and security requires a high degree of mental effort and possibly a monetary cost.
For example, a study on bank security (Entrust Internet Security Survey - Oct. 2005) showed that 80% of people don't want to pay for better bank security.
Perhaps more telling is that most people don't tape (why would they?) the videocameras of their smartphones, notebooks and smart TVs, and many don't have curtains on their windows.
Security is reduced to a matter of personality: people want or don't want to spend effort to make their lives more secure.
On top of this this, governments do their best to destroy any culture of security, any means for people to secure their lives, and instead develop ever more intrusive means to breach every security barrier, or they make illegal the ones that they can't break.
Isaac Asimov described in his novels that the robotic laws integrated in the positronic brain were safe because of the complexity of such a brain, because nobody could understand how to change it. But that is just a fantasy.
When you look of how security works in the real world, you can see that all it takes is for one entity to have enough reason hack whatever robotic laws could be integrated in real AIs, and everything would become as insecure as it is now.
Silence promotes brain development and intelligence. This is because silence frees the brain from being busy handling external situations, frees it for introspection, allowing it to follow its own rhythm.
You might hear some people saying that external stimulation leads to brain development. This is the opposite of reality, it's a path so wrong that is destructive. It's possible for external stimulation to lead to brain development, but only if it's in accordance with the brain's wiring. External stimulation is a trigger for either pain or internal action; the wrong stimulation can block or even reverse brain development.
Brains are wired a certain way, being inclined to perform certain tasks optimally, and oppose (even reject) certain tasks, influenced by both the genetic code and the environment, throughout their lifetime. This means that if the external stimulation is in contrast to the brain's wiring, it will first cause pain and then destruction.
What actually causes brain development is internal action, that is, the action taken by the brain in accordance to its wiring, following the "find your own path" principle. For example, some people are good at logic (science), some are good at creativity (arts). Forcing a brain, through external action, to switch working on the other kind of task is most likely to cause pain and destruction. It's possible that some people can do such a switch, but only few people can do it and you have no way of knowing who those people are, and that's because of their brain structure, not because the external action can make such a switch work.
Deep sleep, which can only occur in a silent environment, and reading in silence are by far the best ways through which the human body can repair itself, both on a physical and mental level. Both sleeping and reading are necessary, one can't work without the other.
What to read? Novels, preferably about adventure, mystery, sci-fi. Why novels? Because they are like dreams for the brain: worlds in which the mind is free to roam, developing its creativity.
How do you help children to develop their maximum mental potential? You read to them since they are toddlers. The important factors for mental development are: the calm environment, the tone of your voice, the closeness to another human, the feeling of safety, the ability of their minds to roam freely in the novel's world, creating their own connections and paths, and most importantly, taking the time, usually many years, to grow in their own rhythm. Later, you create for them an environment where they can read on their own.
When reading novels, in bed, before going to sleep, the eyes and the brain relax actively (not just passively, like during sleep).
When you read, the room has to be well lit, be it with ceiling lights, or with wall lights or lamps on both sides of the bed. Reading with just a low intensity lamp on is bad for the eyes because their adaptation occurs at their periphery (not at the center, as you might expect). This is why watching TV in a dark room leads to eye exhaustion: the periphery of the eyes sees dark and adapts to it making the eyes more sensitive, while the center is now too sensitive for all the light coming from the TV. The same thing happens if you read books with a low intensity light on, when in a dark room.
It's very important to read on physical paper, not on a display which emits light. A light emitting display negatively affects the eyes, and, through them, the brain. E-readers (with e-ink) may also tire the eyes, depending on specifics, although much less than light emitting displays, because:
The manifested intelligence depends of the potential intelligence, but not linearly due to various (conscious or sub-conscious) behavioral conditioned constraints (= biases) or afforded freedoms.
Most people who are in area 2 (A2) get stuck (and slip into the middle of the concavity) because they try to control other people (and find moral justifications for that) instead of trying to control themselves, or because they simply believe (more or less subconsciously) that they are much more intelligent than the rest of people.
They waste their time and mental energy limiting themselves by thinking that there is no point in becoming more intelligent since other people would not understand them.
They also try to (sub)consciously hide themselves from the reality / truth hoping that nobody else will see their imperfection, and so they would not have to spend ever more energy in order to improve.
Such people are (very) intelligent, but they are also very sensitive when they are criticized. The inability to accept their own mistakes makes them lock out (of their mind) change, lock out what could be a better idea / solution than the one they have. As this behavior becomes habit, a barrier is being set in their path of getting more intelligent.
Another factor which keeps people in area 2 is childish behavior, and generally the desire to behave like a child.
To get out of area 2, one has to take action: force his way out (toward area 3).
One obstacle on the path to get out from area 2 is the belief (of people from that area) that other people don't see how much the people trying to get out suffer in order to evolve. So, they think that their pain is the greatest in the world and they believe there is no point in dealing with the pain in order to evolve. Therefore, they remain for a long time in a state of arrogance and their denial of reality increases (and thus their self-inflicted psychological isolation).
For example, if their love is rejected, they spend a lot of time hating the person who rejected them, or considering themselves superior to the person who rejected them. They see no point in moving on because they think that nobody understands how much they suffer. So, they get stuck in that state and never reach area 3.
With age, the minds of people in areas 1 and 2 become more rigid and their intelligence decreases.
The minds from area 3 can educate themselves and learn from (their accepted) mistakes. Area 3 is a giant leap forward in the consciousness of people.
My intelligence is a confluence of my behavioral traits.
The distribution and manifestation of my traits is balanced (/ homogenous) throughout my behavior.
I have achieved what I have because I am extremely determined and extremely logical. I have a very fluid and adaptable logic which considers all possible factors, not a mechanical logic limited by pedantry.
My potential decisions are constantly shaped by factors, so if one moment I lean toward one thing, which is not necessarily a conclusion, the next moment I might lean toward a very different thing. A decision is made only when an action is required, not when the thinking process is in progress.
My brain (and mind) has neurofluidity. Neurofluidity is a continuous drive for neurons to connect among themselves, as they are extremely friendly with their neighbors. Effort is required to stop, not start, this drive because this drive is the default state of the neurons. Neurofluidity massively rewires the brain so that it can work with great speed and efficiency with very different topics; this rewiring is a very slow process. A brain with neurofluidity seeks to process new information as if it's starving for it, so it will continuously gather and process information. If other behavioral characteristics are also present, like focus and determination (and many others), the mind evolves dramatically. Neurofluidity is a characteristic of the brain, not a choice of people, and works only with certain topics (which it appears to be fine tuned for). Neurofluidity requires more maintenance, so more active glia cells. As a negative side effect, neurofluidity leads to slow decisions, which from the outside might appear as indetermination, that can even become analysis paralysis. Also, memory may be weak because the brain keeps itself readily available for rewiring, so it doesn't form strong memories.
My brain likes to be free to build complicated ideas, and has followed this path obsessively. Effort is required to stop, not start, this drive because this drive toward complexity is the default state of the brain.
By far the most important factor that made me what I am today is the determination to get what I want and be where I want, to be a pioneer, a trailblazer, to be the first rather than the second, and believing that it is not acceptable to wait for others to be the pioneers and then copy them from a safe distance.
Logic, order, efficiency and balance attract me like a magnet and I find them relaxing.
I know my limitations, I am confident that I am extremely intelligent, but at the same time I doubt my confidence in my abilities.
I recognize no external authority over me, over my thinking.
I am finding my own motivations to do something. Free time is very short in my life. While working means that things get done, it also means that the brain doesn't have the time of silence and relaxation which are necessary to heal and build.
I am determined to achieve my goals, and carry my traits forward. I would like to sit around and wait for good things to drop out of the sky, but this isn't how reality works, so I always had to work to achieve what I wanted.
I have vision, creativity, an emotional feel of life and a strong sensorial perception.
I have expectations of greatness, always looking for the magic spark in things; no, there is no actual magic in Reality. I have an expectation of being pleasantly surprised by the unknown world around, an expectation of being able to build a progression with the unknown, even if only for a short time. I work hard to fulfill these expectations.
I am exploring, searching for solutions, for alternatives. The need to explore is as instinctive as a hound's instinctiveness to pursue smells.
I am simulating what could happen if were to choose different paths / actions, and then decide what to do.
What I have achieved is not because I knew (by magic) what the correct path was, but because failures have showed me the paths to avoid, forming a constrained selection pattern that pushed me toward a successful path. There was no error free path in my evolution.
I have mental independence. I do not wait for others to approve my behavior, and I do not give my approval to others when they expect it.
I lack the desire to control other people's lives.
I have self control.
I have resistance to temptations, including delaying actions until the reward is greater. This resistance isn't a conscious effort, it's an axiomatic starting point of my mind. Basically, working more allows me to get improved results since I'm aiming to get the best result possible rather than choosing the quick (partial) result. This behavior is called delayed gratification.
Clarity of language brings clarity of thought, precise language brings precise thought. People can't achieve their full logical potential without clear / precise language. I have clarity of language and of thought. I have learned to put my thoughts into words in order to express them accurately, my logic, my feelings and my fantasies. I also avoid, as much as possible, using negative linguistic constructions, especially in writing, in order to promote a constructive environment; for example, I say "I avoid" rather than "I don't".
I have consistency of thought and behavior.
I have a logic which is highly independent from my mental biases.
I have a low observational bias. If such a bias were to distort my logic, I observe it's presence and limit its influence, in a feedback loop.
I have a highly introspective mind which pays attention to the environmental feedback. This is like watching my mind in a mirror.
I abhor stupidity and mistakes, and this has pushed me in the opposite direction, trying to improve my intelligence and reduce the number of mistakes and their effects.
I am admitting personal mistakes. The brain usually tries to cover up its mistakes, which means that it blocks any logical path that can lead to its mistakes being exposed. For me, this cover up ends quickly, so my brain isn't afraid to explore any logical path.
When I'm arguing with myself / someone, my goal is to be right, not to win the argument. This (subtle) difference means that my mind and behavior change to reach the point where I'm right by understanding reality, not to reach the point where I come on top without regard to the path taken there.
I am handling probability and percents in a dual (= low and high values) and adaptive (= depending on the case) manner.
I am accurately assigning a probabilistic relevance to the acquired knowledge.
I am maximizing the probabilities of potentially favorable outcomes, and minimizing the probabilities of potentially unfavorable outcomes.
I am obsessive about details, but only to an extent which allows me to understand what happens, to understand new concepts, not to the point where I would become disfunctional (by getting stuck into doing every detail to perfection). Details, small differences, make a world of a difference on the long term.
I change, I renew, I adapt to a new context. For example, I change objects that I have. From a mental point of view, I seek new things to do, I integrate in my mind new information.
Like most people, I may hold wrong beliefs about what is better in all sort of domains, about all sort of things. However, I'm willing to invest huge amounts of time, (nervous) energy and money in order to investigate new things (to do) and paths (to take), to see which way is better. I consider this to be an investment, not a waste, and it's how I can evolve continuously.
While most people remember a situation, I compute a situation. For most people, "experience" means remembering similar past events and copying the same actions. For me, "experience" means analyzing all the influencing factors.
My mind gathers pieces of information and puts them together. It likes to create and it likes complexity, and if I try to stop it, it won't leave me alone and will keep hammering me until I feed it.
When I investigate a new subject, I gather as much raw information as possible on that subject, then I start to filter it based on the existing knowledge, on my previous experience, on what the constraints are, assigning relevance to the most important choices and ignoring the rest, until I find a good solution. The more difficult / slower it is to find a good solution, the more times I go back and filter again all the information.
In time, as my mind gets used with the new found / learned concepts, and as I've stumbled upon new information, I filter all the information again, usually starting from the beginning. The goals and the constraints may change slightly with every filtering, and this may be enough to change the outcome. Each new filtering is faster because I'm already familiar with the details. This mental pattern is a form of brute force combined with iterative filtering / optimization.
This can be called an iterative environmental feedback, and is perhaps the most important algorithm that an intelligence can use. Information is gathered and processed in iterative steps. At each iteration, the output becomes input for the next iteration, therefore slightly changing the output of each iteration from the previous one. The iterative process stops when the difference between the outputs of consecutive steps is too small to be worth the (processing) effort.
My feelings are generally constructive. For example, envy toward someone's achievements leads me to want to achieve the same. Fear leads me to want to build protections.
When I see someone who is better than I am at whatever I need to work with, I recognize their superiority, I understand that I am inferior, and I am telling myself that I want to be like that. I realize that I need to work a lot in order to get to a level which allows me to do the job that I need. I don't blame those who are better than I am, I try to at least equal them.
When I work on something, aside from doing what most people do (= working on the general idea), I concentrate on extremely fine details, details that most people would not even dream of being relevant for the result.
You could say that, technically speaking, I extract signal from (mental) noise. Normally, to do that, one needs to cool down the (test) subject, to stop motion, to stop external noise sources. I focus on the issue at hand, and, of course, for that I need a lack of external sensorial perturbations. I am what I am because my mind can (in favorable circumstances) "cool down" / focus beyond what most people's minds can.
Metaphorically speaking, while most people work with macroscopic objects, I work with molecules and sometimes even atoms of knowledge. This has a disadvantage: if you ask me to build a car, it's gonna take a while, that is, my capacity is not efficient in the day-to-day world.
For whatever reason, I think better if I walk back and forth in the room, which is odd when you think that a repetitive movement leads to better creativity.
I think long term, and at the most general picture possible, stopping not even at the survival of the human species, but at the perpetuation and evolution of life, life which can be either biological or artificial (which can be either mind "transfer" into a computer, or artificial intelligence).
For me, the "don't fix it if it ain't broken" principle shows a fear to change, to adapt, to evolve. The "thing" is more likely to be currently convoluted rather than not broken. People are used to how things are, they are comfortable with the situation and don't want to be bothered to truly fix the "thing", they don't want to be inconvenienced, pushed out of their comfort zone when they would have to fix the problems that could occur after "fixing" it.
I don't waste time studying I what think are bad systems. My mind simply stores the essential information about a system for a very long time, usually many years. The subconscious processes this information and when it reaches a critical mass it tells me (= the consciousness) if the path is good, bad, or if it needs more information. Once an idea reaches my consciousness, it experiences an exponential growth.
Simply put, I feel what is right (though it may be more accurate to say that my subconscious filters out what is wrong), I feel the path which leads me to the right solution (in the domains for which my brain is optimized).
This, sometimes, puts me in a tight spot when I talk about a system with experts, because I know the result but not the way I took to reach the result. In such cases I am forced to look up detailed information about the system, at that moment.
My mind is extraordinary in creating connections between various pieces of information (either new or stored in the long-time memory). My mind doesn't follow established patterns, and instead "jumps" the gaps from the input information and generates an extrapolated result. It extrapolates (not interpolates) pieces of information and even concepts, and creates a new path of thinking.
This ability to jump over seemingly disconnected ideas, and in the end realizing that they are connected, is similar to out-of-the-box thinking. However, in "jumping" is a commonplace occurrence. The lack of this ability leads to getting stuck in a context-deprived, machine-like thinking.
Even though I and other people have the same facts about a given subject, we reach opposite conclusions because we assign different probabilities and relevance factors to the known (and unknown) facts. Basically, I'm taking into consideration more potentially influencing factors, than most people do.
I get involved with my goals and related things. I simulate to absurd details, but it's always targeted toward my goals, that is, working on what's needed to get to my goals.
I dislike competing against other people.
I hate logical puzzles / exercise, I hate them with a vengeance. My mind sees these as going around the problems that need solving, like talking with metaphors rather than straight, which means inefficiency. I don't hate them because they are inefficient, I hate them because there are people who believe that solving them is an indication of intelligence. If anything, such tests show an inclination to perform short term tasks rather than an inclination to concentrate on long term tasks, that is, a low desire to make a problem a significant part of a person's limited time and life, and also a low ability to resist to the quickly coming gratification resulting from solving short term tasks. I am the kind of person who spends years on solving a single problem.
I have an average memory, a very selective one. If something is interesting then it's preserved, otherwise the mind doesn't waste resources with processing and storing the information.
I accept reality rather than say that it is or must be different just because I wish it was so, that is, I do not believe that the Universe has to be cuddly with powder blue skies and pink unicorns.
I do not believe that the Universe owes me anything.
Do I have an open mind about religion? I have an open mind about anything which, like science, is bound to Reality (where people exist) through constrained selection, and is decreasing the observational bias by trying to prove its claims through observations. In contrast, religions are using unconstrained selection to imagine a non-real world interacting with the real world, and are increasing the observational bias by making claims which can't be proven through observations, so I avoid them completely.
I am not superstitious, I don't believe in signs. When there is an obstacle, some people say that it may be a sign that "it's not meant to be", insinuating that you should stop. I believe that it's a sign for you to keep going even if you bleed, because that's how you build, from bacteria, a civilization that goes to the stars, not with whining and waiting, but with extreme effort, both mental and physical.
I am neither a follower nor a leader. In order to live, I don't need to know what others think / do, nor do I need to share my behavior in order to make others behave like me.
I don't feel the need to explain myself or my actions to other people, and I don't ask for explanations from others. Unfortunately, there are people who think that they are leaders, who incessantly ask explanations and tell others what to do. Their actions waste time and energy, create a stressful environment and literally poison the lives of the people they target.
I don't lie to myself.
I consider a white lie to be worse than a non-white lie, for the development of a mind, because it forms a pattern of hiding from reality. They are even worse when people twist their logic to think that if they wish something to be true then it becomes true (even though it's a lie).
I abhor the psychological manipulation that people usually use to gain (small) advantages, manifested through techniques like lies and mockery.
I am not a victim of myself, that is, I don't feel guilty about anything that others (religion in particular) would want me to feel guilty about. I don't consider money to be the root of all evil, quite the contrary, money is the liquid form of human interaction and equates the exchange of work, energy, effort, creativity and time. I don't consider the rich guilty of my inability of making a lot of money (and become rich). I don't consider myself guilty about polluting the Earth, but I am as efficient as possible about resource consumption, not because of guilt, but because it's my nature. I don't consider myself guilty about other people's misery if I didn't cause that directly. I don't consider my body and sex to be bad, shameful or dirty, and I certainly don't refer to the genital organs as "junk".
I have read and still read a lot of novels and articles of science popularization, and watch a lot of documentaries.
I am happy when I see that other people are happy.
I feel no need to do things that numb my mind / brain, that decrease my cognitive abilities, therefore I don't use narcotics.
I don't meditate. When I tried it, I found it boring. On top of this, every second that I meditate, concentrating on a single thing, like breathing, I take away from the time that my mind can use to think and create. I would, perhaps, meditate if meditation were required because (physical and mental) relaxation were required due to pressuring health reasons.
All these things manifest strongly, they are highly independent from the others and are not trying to overwhelm them. They behave like standalone processes that communicate very well.
These things are so intense in me that, without the balance (which is also extreme), I would be dysfunctional (on the long term).
I've inherited traits from both my parents: physical ones from both, obsessive determination from both, patience and logic from my father, impatience and artistic inclination and the desire to dream from my mother. The one thing that stands out is my mother's determination which manifests like a bulldog who grabs something and doesn't let go no matter what. However, while she has always used her determination to try to control other people (mainly me) using every possible psychological manipulation technique, I use mine to control my self, my destiny. The same trait (but with different directions) present in people with fundamentally different personalities, gives a fundamentally different result: in one obsessive destructive behavior, in the other obsessive constructive behavior.
How determined and serious am I about most of what I do? (Nearly) Dead serious. All the time and energy that I have invested in my hobbies have pushed me close to permanent health damage and near death:
Even though the mind was able to handle all that pressure, the body was on the brink of collapse several times.
Context and depth of processing
Intelligence is a matter of personality, of sheer determination to succeed in whatever you want to accomplish, it's not a matter of genes, though, at the same time, that personality is determined in part by genes.
Intelligence is a matter of processing information in an ever more detailed context, in ever increasing detail. A lower intelligence makes people stop their thought process and claim that they don't know or understand things which could in fact be inferred from the context.
Every decision I take in life is calculated, is determined logically.
Let's analyze this statement logically, to understand different personalities. Some people will think that logically determining every decision to take is an insane amount of effort, and they decide that I think like a machine, that this is trash advice, and they would ignore it. Their need to limit their mental effort steers their thoughts in a direction which requires minimum mental effort.
If instead of saying that every decision is calculated I were to say that only the significant decisions are calculated, some people (probably the same as before) would interpret this to mean that only very few decisions would have to be thought of extensively, but likely for a matter of hours or days rather than the usual minutes. Again, their need to limit their mental effort steers their thoughts in a direction which requires minimum mental effort.
In both cases, my words would be interpreted too mechanically, without realizing that anyone reading them can decide what amount of effort to put in choosing what amount of effort they would want to put in making various decisions.
For example, when I was trying to decide what mattress to buy, I've researched the field for many months. When I was designing my home (only the interior, the building was decided by others), it took me 3 years of research and decisions to finish it, and this doesn't include my previous knowledge about light (which I've learned when doing photography).
See this for a description of Reality and of this Universe.