Brain Configurations Part II

I am fascinated by the idea that dissimilar brain configurations are capable of forming new brain configurations that are a fusion. So at the beginning of this sentence, there is one brain and at the end of this sentence there is another brain, and in between there is a fusion of the two. I call the property by which this happens “love.” “Love” can also refer to the tendency of a brain configuration or fusion of brain configurations to combine with brain configurations or fusions of brain configurations of unlike pattern.

Okay let me try to represent this visually: Imagine a table, the love table. At the head of the column is a brain configuration with which all the brain configurations below can combine, where each column below the header is ranked by how much it loves the header.

In the future, some version of this table might be constructed to catalog all the different possible configurations of brains. The table will be essentially lists prepared by setting in motion simulations and then observing the actions of brain configurations one upon another, showing the varying degrees of love exhibited by analogous configurations for different configurations. (Maybe this is the purpose of our universe and the reason for the infinite branching stipulated by the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. 😉

Crucially, the table will not literally be the central graphic tool by which future, posthuman scientists will learn the vectors to the heavens, and its information must be consumed in some other way. Instead, possibly, they will use artificial general intelligence and improved capacities in their own brains to visualize the best moves available for the brain configurations.

In the same way that particles are given the names “strange” and “charm,” you must remember that by love I don’t mean the variety of different emotional and mental states.  I use love to mean the property by which dissimilar brain configurations are capable of forming fused brain configurations. And I also use it to mean the property of a brain configuration that can be assigned a value describing the tendency of that brain configuration to combine with different brain configurations.

I relate love to the phenomenon whereby certain brain configurations or fused brain configurations have the tendency to combine/fuse. (Brains and fused brains are really the same thing, since at any moment, you are a fusion of a future self and past self). Future decision-makers will use this concept of love to make decisions about what kinds of brain configurations there should be more of in a society (or other multi-mind complex). Maybe configuration 615, from the index of all possible brain configurations, is discovered to have love for 202017, to propagate the awesome brain configuration we call 615, the most effective means might be through directing the brains in the society towards 202017. In this futuristic context, love seems to be synonymous with the phrase “what leads to what” but, actually, the connections that it describes are probably timeless.

To summarize the concept of love, I say, “All configuration fusions drive the {past-self+future-self system} to a state of emptiness in which the love held by the fusions vanish.”

“Emptiness” here, is a term highly synonymous with the term equilibrium in physical chemistry and thermodynamics. The different brain configurations are the different species of elements. Some brain configurations can be combined with others and others cannot. There can be a change in your level of attention but you cannot suddenly become a bat, for example. When you allow enough time on a particular system of brain configurations, this is equilibrium, because they are no longer preferentially tending to provide one result over the other.

Equation for Flow of Consciousness

I’m going to define love. I do not mean the love you are familiar with – the love synonymous with a variety of different emotional and mental states, but rather I’m going to repurpose the term “love” for a different concept that I’ve been trying to define mathematically.

Love L is the negative partial derivative of mindstream M with respect to extent of transformation E at constant verbal report and arousal. That is,

 L = – (∂M/∂E) V,A.

It follows that love is positive for the spontaneous transformations from one subjective experience to the next if time in the positive direction correlates with higher assigned values for the mindstream.

Now let me explain what the equation means:

The partial derivative exists when a function has several variables and yet we just look at the derivative with respect to one of those variables. In this case, there are many variables going into producing the value of a mindstream at any given point, but we are just looking at the derivative with respect to E. The derivative means the sensitivity to change of the mindstream with respect to E. You can visualize a tangent line to a mindstream function: If the tangent line is closer to flat, there is little sensitivity to change, if it is very sloped, then there is high sensitivity to change.

Now, what the hell is a mindstream? A mindstream is simply defined by the values for the brain. Imagine that you can describe all characteristics of a brain that distinguish it from any other brain, and then assign a value to that unique configuration. Each configuration of a brain correlates to a configuration of mind/consciousness, and if we had a complete understanding of the brain, we might be able to plot all the different possible states in a single dimension. This is state 1, this is state 2, this is state 5946294, etc. There exist very similar brains/minds, like you at the beginning of this sentence and you at the end of this sentence. So this might be a transition from state 24 to state 25, say. While very different brains, like comparing a snapshot of your brain and a snapshot of my mom’s brain would be very far apart in their respective assigned values.

So what is E? E is the extent of transformation from one brain state to the next. Consider the transformation

A↔B *

Suppose an infinitesimal amount dE of the configuration A changes into B. The change of the amount of A can be represented by the equation dnA = -dE,  and the change of B in dnB = dE. The extent of transformation is then defined as

dE = dni/vi

where ni denotes the value of the i-th configuration** and vi is the number that balances the i-th configuration to all the other configurations (in case the difference between 4 and 5 is different than 5 and 6 for some reason.) In other words, E is the amount of configuration that is being changed when a brain/mind state becomes another brain/mind state. Considering finite changes instead of infinitesimal changes, one can write the equation for the extent of a transformation as

ΔE = Δni/vi

The extent of a transformation is defined as zero at the beginning of the frozen snapshot. Thus the change of E is the extent of transformation itself.

E = Δni/vi = (ntransformed – ninitial)/vi



*(remember that according to the laws of physics, both brains/minds equally exist; there is no flow of time from now A to now B that can’t also be reversed.)

** the i-th configuration is just some configuration between brain A and B.

The constant verbal report and arousal simply mean that the mindstream/brain would constantly be able to narrate “Here I am, there’s something going on.” And if you poke the sensory inputs connected to the brain, she would say “ouch.” These are simply some of the most reliable indicators of consciousness today. But these may be replaced with other constants that are more fundamental to explaining consciousness in the future. The reason we need consciousness to be constant in this sense is because if it wasn’t, then the mindstream function would be different in off states and on states.

So the love I defined refers to the tendency of a mindstream/brain configuration to be joined with another different configuration by transformation.

Sunyata, Materialism, and Mathematics

The Perfection of Wisdom Texts from Mahayana Buddhism say that, “Phenomena are neither existent, nor non-existent, but are marked by sunyata, emptiness, an absence of any essential unchanging nature.” This means that there is always a difference in the state of affairs at different points in time, and this fact is sufficiently destabilizing that it should dethrone binary thinking: existence vs. non-existence. Let’s explore what this implies for materialism if true:

Materialism holds that the only things that exist are matter and energy, that all things are composed of material, that all actions require energy, and that all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. But if there is always a difference in the state of affairs at different points in time, this means that we should not think of matter and energy as existing. If we say that they exist, then we will falsely imagine there are things preserved through time. But remember, if we apply the Mahayana lens, this is wrong because no matter how closely you zoom in between time intervals, there will always be more differences to find. You can infinitely zoom in and you will never find the “thing,” just more change.
We should also not say that matter and energy don’t exist, because then we will falsely imagine that there is nothingness, or have to successfully fight materialism with another view. Rather, to synchronize these views we must say, “there exist matter and energy, both fully and entirely inseparable from the substance of change.” (Emphasizing the last part, and saying the first part timidly.)

Now let’s see how to fit it into mathematics:

In mathematics, existence is asserted by a quantifier, the existential quantifier, one of two quantifiers (the other being the universal quantifier). And the properties of the existential quantifier are established by axioms.                                                                Maybe it is possible to discover/create axioms that produce an existential quantifier which allows for more than just asserting existence over non-existence, and instead points to the changing nature. Or more ambitiously, maybe we can create an entirely different quantifier besides the existential and universal quantifiers: the sunyata quantifier.                                                                                                                                              If it turns out that mathematics blocks these moves, then this might be a blow to the idea that sunyata/emptiness/all-pervading-change is truly in it’s own category, separate from existence and non-existence.