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The Basic Theory of Mind and Matter

The Basic Theory of Mind and Matter

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This paper introduces the Basic Theory of Mind and Matter, a proposal on how to conceptualize consciousness and experience and the manner in which they correlate with the brain. See more at http://www.mm-theory.com.
This paper introduces the Basic Theory of Mind and Matter, a proposal on how to conceptualize consciousness and experience and the manner in which they correlate with the brain. See more at http://www.mm-theory.com.

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MM-Theory - The Basic Theory of Mind and Matter

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The Paradox Consciousness and Mind Reexamining Dualism A Few Objections White Box Parallelism The Correspondence Rule An Infinite Pool of Experiences Experience and Meaning Black Box Parallelism Along Dualism Formalizing the Correlation Meaning and Flow Experience and Reality Sense and Understanding

Final Thoughts on Meaning

Conclusion

The Basic Theory of Mind and Matter
ABSTRACT: The paper begins by defining the problem: dual parallelism and neurological determinism present a paradox. Alternate configurations of neurological circuits and the implications these have on subjective experience in light of dual parallelism are considered. A hypothetical pool constituting the set of all experiences, conceivable or not, is then described, followed by a means by which neurological circuits draw experiences from this pool. A formula is stated describing the correlation between mind and brain, and a definition is given for “experience”. Implications this has on our perception of reality are then discussed, and the definition of experience is refined according to these implications. Finally, it is shown that all experiences are meaningful. The definition of experience is restated a third and final time, taking this aspect into account.

The Paradox
We begin this paper assuming the reader has read the paper Preliminary Concepts, or has sufficient understand of the concepts therein. In the same breath, it is assumed the reader understands the concepts of dualism, neurological determinism, and determinism in general. I don't expect the reader to unreservedly subscribe to these concepts, but at least understand, not only what they purport, but that there is some good reasoning behind them. I assume this because this is our starting point. That is, we begin by accepting the picture of the brain that the neurosciences have painted: a rather physicalistic and deterministic one, at least at the level of neurons. This picture seems almost to dispense with the concept of mind and free-will as superfluous and therefore unnecessary for explaining how the brain, and thereby how human behavior, works. At the same time, however, we also begin with a dualistic perspective - the perspective that there are two distinct entities, the mind and the brain, that seem to have a peculiar synchrony between them. We do this because it is in this context, along with the context of the physicalistic and deterministic picture of the brain the neurosciences have painted, that the infamous paradox of mind and brain arises. We treat the problem of mind and matter as though we were laymen, always having taken dualism for granted, and having just been educated in the neurosciences. The famous philosopher John Searle says that the average man in the street is a dualist, meaning that dualism is the most intuitive way of understanding the relation between mind and brain. I believe this wholeheartedly. I believe this because I remember being a dualist long before I even heard the name René Descartes, the father of the modern form of dualism. Humans in general don't need to be exposed to philosophers or their views on the mind and its relation to the body in order to take dualism to heart. It is the most intuitive theory of mind simply because it describes how our minds and bodies feel with respect to each other, much like how, without being educated, geocentrism is the most intuitive theory of the universe even without consulting Ptolemy and other ancient thinkers on the subject. It is intuitive because that's how things look. But if we are slipping into the mindset of the layman who has just been educated in the neurosciences, then we are confronted with the paradox at hand. The neurosciences tell us that our notions of mind and free-will are superfluous, that all we need in order to understand how we process information and control our behavior can be found in the mechanically and chemically driven actions of the brain. This, then, ought to raise perplexing questions for the dualist layman. He asks: How can dualism, which seems to be privately verified and intellectually indispensable, be wrong? Some readers may be philosophers of mind themselves. Some may be dualist, some monists; some materialists, some idealists. Whatever your persuasion, it's not unlikely that you won't see the point of starting from a dualist and a layman perspective. Such a perspective, you may say, has been, or at least ought to have been, abandoned a long time ago, for philosophers have come up with much better solutions to the problem of mind and body than this. In fact, I am one of them - that is to say, I have my own solution to the problem, and it is not dualist. I dare not say it will be the final word on the subject, but I would like to hold it up to be counted with some of the more reasonable non-dualist solutions. So why am I starting from a dualist layman's perspective? Simply because that is where anyone ought to start when the objective is to present something new, an alternative to the more familiar, mainstream, and entrenched accounts. Anyone with an objective like this ought to start as if speaking to laypeople, showing an appreciation for how such people understand the problem to be addressed - especially if there may be laypeople reading. So I'd like to reassure the reader that we are not defending dualism. It seems to me that if the goal is to find a unique path out of dualism, one that has not hitherto been blazed, then the best place to start is from within it.

Dualism, Determinism, Neurological Determinism, and Physicalism

John Searle

Monism

Materialism

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Idealism

Yielding To What?

The dualist layman who has just been educated in the neurosciences would define the paradox as a clash of two assumptions: that the brain is physically deterministic and there is a non-physical and non-deterministic mind to accompany it. Let me clarify exactly why this is so. The two assumptions above entail that there are two primary mechanisms in control of our behavior, which, for the most part, should be mutually exclusive. On the one hand, you have a neurologically deterministic system - the brain - governed solely by the laws of nature. On the other hand, you have your mind, governed by reason, emotion, and the power of your will. Take the former mechanism into consideration; deterministic as the brain is, it should be possible, given a particular physical brain-state, to predict with certainty any future brain-state such that the brain, and therefore your behavior, are on a predestined path. This, of course, excludes the influence of extraneous variables and assumes a super-human ability to compute such states either at present or in the future, but the idea still holds in principle. Now take the latter mechanism into consideration; dualism assumes the mind to be as real as the brain, albeit in a completely different form. Therefore, while the owner of the brain in question continues down his/her predestined path, he/she still observes, thinks, desires, evaluates, feels, etc.. It is conceivable, therefore, that he/she, at any point along this path, might desire to alter it. This is true regardless of whether he/she knows where the path leads or that it is predestined. Having such a desire, he/she can freely choose to satisfy it, thereby breaking with the predestined path. Now, personally, I have never experienced resistance to my choices or exercising my freedom due to neurons refusing to yield ("I'd like to, but the chemicals in my brain won't let me!!!" ). Nevertheless, the thought that I can so easily make a choice like this entails that my neurons, forced to break with their predestined path, have violated a whole slew of natural laws. But just as I have never experienced neuro-chemical resistance to my choices, I have never experienced violations of the laws of nature. This, therefore, is the paradox; two governing mechanisms of behavior that mutually exclude one another from playing a role. The principle below summarizes this paradox.

Principle: The Paradox of Mind and Matter 1) Human behavior is fully governed by a deterministic brain. 2) Human behavior is fully governed by a mind with free-will. 3) Juxtaposed together, 1 and 2 result in a paradox.
I suppose some might subscribe to the idea of psychological determinism (a form of dualism that excludes free-will from the mind but still maintains that there is a mind - might also work in idealism). The paradox still remains, albeit in a slightly different form. Psychological determinism maintains that the mind is indeed a governing mechanism but it runs according to its own set of laws that are psychological in nature - namely, desires, reasons, stress, fear, lust, environmental stimuli, etc. These governing factors make for another predestined path, a psychological one this time, that might, theoretically, diverge from the physical one of the brain. It has yet to be shown that there are conditions under which it will diverge, but even if there aren't, it still seems difficult, if not impossible, to fathom how two mechanisms, so drastically different in essence, maintain their synchrony. As a matter of fact, it seems as though nothing from one affects the other - all that is required to explain the processes in the brain is provided by the physical sciences, just as all that is required to explain the processes in the mind are the aforementioned psychological factors suggested by psychological determinism. In other words, each one is self-sufficient in governing its own behavior. The only thing one can do to the other, even in the effort to maintain synchrony, is have an empty effect at best, and perturb its self-governance at worse. Amazing coincidence ends up being the only description we can give the parallel nature of mind and brain. In this case, the paradox can be stated as follows: two self-governing mechanisms of behavior that parallel each other in virtual perfect synchrony without having any influence on each other. The objective of this paper is to resolve this paradox. The theory presented at the end of this paper will serve as the core thesis of this website. Of course, if the reader doesn't concur with premise 1 or 2 of the above principle (and there are some who won't), there is no paradox, and therefore no need for a resolution. I believe I've argued some good points in Preliminary Concepts that support my reasons for accepting the first of these premises, and our common everyday experiences with our own minds makes it hard to dismiss the second. This is why I contend that a solution is still needed. This paper is for all other readers who see that there is a philosophical problem and are interested in entertaining my proposal. Rest assured, my goal is not to denounce either premise. Instead, my approach will be to focus on premise 2 and rethink the concept of mind in such a way that it is compatible with premise 1. This does mean the concept of mind will appear to be more deterministic in the end, but this is not essential to the theory. I do intend on leaving room for free-will, but to understand how it fits in, we must wait for a later paper - namely, Determinism and Free-Will.

Psychological Determinism

Reexamining Dualism
The most extreme form of dualism is parallelism, the view that not only are there two entities involved in our being (mind and matter), but they work completely independently of each other. That is, the body has no effect on the mind and the mind has no effect on the body, but somehow or other, they still function in synchrony. Although we will not subscribe to such a view per se, we will acknowledge that any form of dualism can be crudely described as "parallel" - that is to say, the mind seems to relate to behavior in the same way as the activity of the brain does, and whether this relation is causal or acausal, they consequently seem to work in parallel. So what do we mean by "parallel"? There are two definitions we will assign to "parallel" in the context of dualism: white box parallelism and black box parallelism. The terms "white box" and "black box" are software engineering terms that refer to modes of testing design implementations. That is, white box testing means the testing of internal processes of some program to make sure it is working properly. Monitoring the performance of a car engine in the laboratory is an example (non-software related, but still). Black box testing means the testing of external performance without regard for what's going on inside. Monitoring the performance of the car

White vs. Black Box Testing

MOD

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itself in the real world is an example. You can see how the color of the box conveys meaning - the black box is black because you can't see inside of it, whereas the white box is white because you can (well, maybe they should have called it a clear box ). What does this have to do with dualism? The white box definition will refer to the mind paralleling the MODs of the brain - that is, what's going on inside. The black box definition will refer to the mind paralleling overall behavior - what's going on outside. So to begin with, let's examine dualism in the light of white box parallelism.

Definition: White vs. Black Box Parallelism 1) White Box Parallelism: The manner in which the mind parallels the internal workings of MODs. 2) Black Box Parallelism: The manner in which the mind parallels overall behavior.

White Box Parallelism
The entire brain is a complex system of interconnected MODs. A signal traveling from one neuron to another finds itself veering this way and that through a series of pathways, forks, and loops - like a rat in a maze. In fact, to neuroscientists trying to map the brain, there is no better word than "maze" to describe it. Therefore, I find that the simplest way to describe the parallel nature of mind and brain is by using a maze as an analogy. Imagine that the neural pathways of the brain are the pathways in the maze. Now suppose you flooded that maze with water. A very basic law of fluids is that any fluid, like water, will take the shape of its container. Therefore, as you pour water into the maze, it will flow down each and every corridor exactly as the walls have shaped them. In our analogy, the water represents the mind, not only in that it has a fluid nature, but that the shape it takes is perfectly correlated with the shapes of the maze pathways. In fact, the pathways give it its shape. Of course, the same could be said of the electric signals that travel down the axons of neurons, and maybe the water is a better analogy for these. This may be, but the signals are commonly thought to be the data that, in some way or another, give life to mind, and represents, in physical form, the processes going on in the mind. Therefore, the analogy works for both equally well. Of course, if I were to talk about the maze pathways (or neurons) giving shape to electric signals, it would be a little more clear what "shape" means in this case - namely, the direction, or down what paths, it travels. It may not be as clear what the "shape" of the mind means. So let me elaborate. What does it mean to talk about the shape of the water? It means that if you were to take any particular section of the maze, such as a corner, a dead end, a four way intersection, etc., the water would be the exact same shape as the space between the walls of that section. These sections correspond to individual MODs in our analogy. As discussed in the paper Preliminary Concepts, most distinct MODs in the brain have been found to be associated with a particular mental function or experience. For example, the olfactory bulb is associated with smell, Wernicke's area is associated with language comprehension, the primary somatosensory cortex is associated with tactile sensation, and so on. Each one of these mental experiences is characterized by its own unique qualitative feel. This qualitative feel is what I mean by the shape of the mind. This is what the shape of the water in each individual section of the maze represents. So it would appear that each MOD corresponds to a particular shape of mental experience. What I propose is that it is the precise configuration of these MODs that is, the arrangement and interconnections of the neurons within them, as well as how the signals passing through them are processed - that determines the shape of the mind. In other words, the internal structure of the MOD determines how the mental experience feels. Be careful not to rephrase this statement by saying "The configuration of a MOD causes the shape of the mind". We haven't said anything about causation yet. So whereas the shape of the maze might force the water to take its shape, the shapes of the mind and MODs are simply correlative. The principle below formalizes the maze analogy.

Do MODs Determine How Mental Experiences Feel?

Principle: The Maze Analogy The relation between mind and brain is analogous to water in a maze in that the shape of the former conforms to the shape of the latter. In other words, the exact configuration of the neurons in a MOD determines the qualitative feel of the experience associated with its activation.

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Even though this relation is correlative, we can still make further use of the maze analogy. What would happen if you were to restructure a few sections of the maze? Say you changed a corner into a dead end. What would happen to the shape of the water? It would change accordingly, of course. Why wouldn't the same happen to the mind if you changed the configuration of a MOD? Let's work with an example. You take care of your health, right? Suppose you were enjoying one of your regular cardio exercises. You ride the bike at your local gym, breaking a huge sweat as you always do. On some level, it feels good knowing that all this exercise is doing you a whole lota' good, but on a physical level, it's enduring and excruciating, and a voice somewhere inside pleads for you stop, just for today. But that's par for the course, and you don't mind pushing yourself for half an hour, so you ignore the voice and drudge on. Now suppose that one night, I, the brilliant neurosurgeon that I am, operated on your brain while you were sleeping. I'm so stealthy that you had no idea I did it, and I stitched up your head so well, not even lice would notice a scar. What I did in that cranium of yours was rearranged the neurons in the MODs associated with the sensation of discomfort you feel when you exert yourself. I rearranged them such that when signals carrying information about high exertion (from your heart, lungs, legs, etc.) enter them, they process these signals in precisely the same way that pleasure centers in the brain process signals. In other words, I converted it from a discomfort MOD to a pleasure MOD (same neurons, different arrangement). So what happens next time you go to the gym? You ride the bike and your heart starts pounding, your breathing gets deep and heavy, your blood starts pumping, the sweat starts trickling down, but what does it feel like? Does it feel exhausting because you're exerting yourself, or does it feel good because the MODs in your brain for exertion discomfort are rewired to work as pleasure centers? According to the maze analogy, the shape of the mind must match the shape of the brain, which means that it should feel good. So you push harder, and lo and behold it feels better. You push harder still, and it feels even better. Thus starts a cycle of reinforcement that leads to collapsing on the floor due to an over exerted heart (somehow you didn't think to question why it felt so good, but at least you went with a smile ). Why am I going on with this scenario? I'm not sure if it's obvious at this point, but this scenario points out how much we've already refined the concept of dualism. As discussed above, a dual parallelist, depending on how much and what kind of a determinist he/she is, would have to contend with the puzzle of the paths of mind and brain diverging from each other. Assuming this is possible, without the maze analogy, he/she might expect that my surgical rewiring of the brain would result in such a divergence. When you start riding that bike, your brain would start firing in patterns contrary to the sensations you experience. You would feel exerted while your brain acted as if you felt great. Then he/she would ponder over the question "What would your behavior follow, your mind or your brain?" If it followed the brain, you might have to watch in agony and stupefaction as your body phenomenally peddled faster and faster, pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion. You might wonder if you were possessed. But the maze analogy I'm proposing suggests that the mind will follow the path of the brain, and therefore no schism would arise. The mind would feel just as the brain acts. This, of course, renders the picture of the mind more deterministic. Although, as I said above, we will reintroduce free-will into the picture in a later paper, removing it is half the battle. No longer do we have to worry about whether we could choose to deviate from the predestined path of the brain, but on the other hand, there is the other half of the battle to be won. As much of an illusion as free-will may be, we inherit the burden of accounting for the unshakable feeling that we, not the mechanical forces of the brain, are indeed in control of our behavior, and further, how it is that the paths of brain and mind maintain synchrony. Ultimately, we don't want to call our self-control an illusion, and we don't intend on going the materialist route (which says the mind just is the brain), and so the task at hand must be approached in a novel way. The idea inherent in the maze analogy may not be incredibly novel, but over and above avoiding any paradoxes concerning the divergence between brain and mind, it carries implications that go far beyond what's expressed by the cycling scenario. Let's see whether these implications can help us further. The cycling scenario describes reversing the sensations of pleasure and exhaustion, two sensations we are familiar with. We would be familiar with them regardless of whether they were reversed or not. Now, I could go on and on describing other scenarios. For example, surgically switching your visual nerves with your auditory nerves such that your eyes connected to your primary auditory cortex and your ears connected to your primary visual cortex (seeing sound and hearing light). I might describe connecting the cognitive centers in the frontal lobe to your primary sensory areas so that every time you thought certain thoughts, you'd hallucinate. In any one of these scenarios, however, we'd still be talking about experiences we've all had - not that we've all hallucinated, saw sound, or heard light, but that we've all had visual and auditory experiences. I'd simply be describing different arrangements of such experiences. As intriguing as this may be to some, what truly fascinates me is contemplating what we'd experience if we rewired the brain into configurations that result in behavior that cannot be explained by any experiences we are familiar with. To be sure, it is theoretically possible (very theoretically) to rewire the brain to result in any pattern of behavior at all. If we think of the brain as simply a bundle of interconnected neurons which, due to how signals are processed therein and then outputted, determine the behavioral patterns of its owner, then the range of what kinds of behavioral patterns are possible is limited only by the range of possible configurations of these neural interconnections. Computer engineers have no problem implementing this principle in the field of robotics - why should it be any different for biological organisms? Of course, the brain is more than "just a bundle of neurons", but I'm sure the reader can imagine some awful and funky behaviors resulting from a bit of brain surgery. Therefore, the question posed at this point is "What kind of experiences would be associated with MODs configured in such a way that there is nothing from the entire plethora of human experiences to explain the behavior that results from it?" What I propose is that the maze analogy can still answer this question. What we'd be talking about in terms of the maze is reforming the walls into a section that has never existed before. For the sake of this argument, suppose the maze never had dead ends, and then suddenly you added one. The water would, of course, take the shape of the dead end, but it would be a shape that had never been seen before and doesn't exist anywhere else in the maze. The same reasoning applies to the mind. What this means, however, is that if you rewired any MOD into a configuration that had never existed in your brain or anyone else's, it would come along with a mental experience never before felt by you or anyone else in history. A question then follows that's screaming to be asked: What would this experience feel like? But I'm afraid I cannot answer that question, except by saying that since the MOD is unlike any other MOD that ever existed in any human brain, so is the experience unlike any other experience anyone has ever had. Anyway you try to describe it,

Actually, It Could Be Color.

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you'd have only those experiences familiar to you to compare it with, none of which suffice completely. You'd only be able to describe it as what it's not: it's not a perception of sound, it's not a perception of color, it's not like touch, it's not like anger or love, it's not an idea, it's not a memory, it's not fear, it's not the taste of something delicious, it's not pain or pleasure, it's not a fantasy, it's not a feeling of selfhood... It would be something utterly ineffable, even incomprehensible, and yet being experienced by the beholder. Consider how many neurons the human brain has: from 50 to 100 billion. Each one can be interconnected with any other one, and have as many interconnections as it wants. The number of possible configurations is uncountable by humans. In other words, the range of possible MODs, and thus the range of possible experiences, you can have reach far beyond anything you can imagine. The human set of experiences is but an infinitesimal fraction of this range. And for all the power we can muster in our imaginations, we are still incapable of describing what any one non-human experience feels like. Nevertheless, we can still philosophize about how these experiences correlate with their corresponding neuro-matter. We have already done so with the maze analogy, and we can do more. In the following paragraphs, we will begin to outline a general paradigm by which as much as possible can be said about mental experiences, human or not. That is, we will outline the defining characteristics that all experiences share. We will eventually come to a point where we can express a formal definition of "experience", and use that in a formal statement describing the correlation between mind and brain.

An Infinite Pool of Experiences
Before we begin speculating about all sorts of non-human experiences, we should more formally describe the human ones. Generally, I divide our experiences into three categories, as figure 1 shows:

Figure 1: The 3 categories of human experience: cognition, emotion, and sensation. Everything we experience is, in one form or another, one of these three things. Each of these categories contains subcategories. Cognition contains memories, abstract ideas, fantasies, beliefs, future predictions, ponderings, plans, etc. Emotion contains love, fear, happiness, hate, desire, loneliness, and so on. Sensation contains the five senses of course, and each of these, especially vision and hearing, is richly profuse in subcategories of their own (not that the other categories aren't). Vision, for example, contains color perception, form perception, depth perception, location perception, and in higher brain regions it has motion perception, facial recognition (so you know your aunt from your uncle), facial attraction (pretty girls and handsome guys), and on and on. After this point, the experiences merge into the other two categories, and this shows that experiences can fall between categories too. What is reading comprehension but an experience midway between vision and cognition? What is the rhythm of music but an experience midway between hearing and emotion? If we want to talk about non-human experiences, then, for starters, we ought to look to the animal kingdom. There, at least, we can talk about neurological configurations that do exist, and therefore ground our claims that non-human experiences also exist. For example, there are fish known as electric fish, such as catfish or certain kinds of sharks, who have sensory organs that are stimulated by electric currents. They sense electricity, and sometimes communicate by this means. As humans, we sense things by chemical reactions, physical contact, light, and sound waves, but not electric currents. The sensory organs they use are just like any other sensory organ in that they transmit information from the environment to the brain, and are experienced in some unique qualitative form. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume they have sensory experiences that are completely foreign and unimaginable to human beings. Other animals with non-human sensory organs include the bat and the alligator. Bats emit sonic pulses in dark caves that reflect off the walls and return to them. The bat's sonic sensory organs are stimulated by these echoes and send information to the brain, which then computes a map of the cave (thus, the bat "sees" its surroundings). Don't confuse this with hearing, since listening to one's echo is not enough to get a clear mental picture of the exact locations and arrangements of the walls in a pitch black cave. The alligator has sensory organs sporadically distributed around its jaw. These organs pick up sudden differences in water pressure such as vibrations and fish swimming close by. Again, both the bat's and the alligator's sensory experiences must be something wholly different from anything humans have experienced. All this goes to show that there is very good reason to believe that more than just the human experiences we are familiar with exist out there.

Electric Fish

So we have the human experiences plus some sensory experiences of other species. What else is there? I'm sure we could go through the entire animal kingdom and list off all sorts of unique and strange sensory organs that connect to specialized sensory MODs. On top of that, we could dissect the brains of various animals and discover unique MODs in higher functional regions, similar to the regions in the human brain associated with thought and emotion. I'm sure we'd find certain species whose MODs in higher brain regions are of such a completely different character that the corresponding experiences don't fall under any of the 3 categories of human experience

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mentioned above. And after we've exhausted the entire set of MODs found in the animal kingdom, we might start speculating on MODs that evolution has yet to produce, has already produced but went extinct, or never has and never will produce but is nevertheless possible hypothetically. As we said above, when talking about the range of possible behaviors, the range of possible experiences is limited only by the range of possible MOD configurations. Therefore, I'm going to propose we use, as a hypothetical model, an infinite pool of experiences that MODs draw from. The meaning of "infinite" in this case refers to a characteristic I call "qualitative diversity", which means that the qualitative feel that defines each experience in this pool is more diverse and numerous than you can possibly imagine. It is infinite. Anything you can imagine, it's there. Anything you can't imagine, it's there too. Just to get a feel for this, imagine how much diversity there is in the human mind. Take color to start. We are capable of seeing a wide range of colors. We see red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and all shades and hues between these. But color isn't the only thing we experience. Sticking with vision, we also see different shapes and forms, different angles and lengths of lines. We see straight surfaces and curved surfaces. We see smooth surfaces and rough surfaces. We see different textures and patterns. On top of this, we also experience depth. We also experience motion. In these examples, we haven't even stepped beyond vision. There are five other senses, each with their own diversity of qualities. Sounds, for example, come in various pitches and volumes. Some sound soothing while others sound coarse. Some sound like human voices, the subtle tones of which can make us feel comforted or irritated. Other sounds take the form of music and fill us with emotional fervor. Sounds are perceived to come from different points in space, and can even be perceived to move. Another sense rich in qualitative diversity is touch. Touch gives us pains and pleasures. It gives us the qualities of soft and hard, cold and hot. Like sound and sight, it can even take on locations in and motion through space (confined to our skin, of course). We can even go beyond sensations. Our thoughts and emotions have their own unique qualities. Emotions can be painful or pleasant. Even among pleasant ones, there's excitement, love, relief, and among painful ones, there's anger, fear, depression, and so on. Among our thoughts, there are beliefs, fantasies, memories, plans, questions, speculations, and so on. There is quite an abundance of qualitative diversity in the human mind indeed. But this is only a infinitesimal fraction of the diversity that exists in the pool of experiences. Of course, this pool doesn't exist, but it is useful as an idea. It helps us understand the range of possible experiences that can be had by actual or potential MODs. Whatever the configuration of a MOD, however simple or complex, big or small, there is something from the pool that it draws from which suffices as a perfect match for its unique configuration.

Definition: Qualitative Diversity The property of a set whose members are unique in quality and whose range is wide in terms of qualitative contrast. That is, the more qualitatively different each member is from one another (and the more numerous), the greater the qualitative diversity. Principle: The Infinite Pool of Experiences We may imagine that MODs of any configuration draw their corresponding experiences from an infinite pool of experiences. The infinite property of this pool is defined as the set of experiences within it being infinite in number and qualitative diversity.
The above principle formalizes the idea of the experience pool, and tells us that for any MOD, there is an experience from the pool to match. In addition, the maze analogy tells us the means by which this association is determined (the shape of the MOD determines the "shape" of the experience). This is still not enough, however, to predict what experience will be selected from the pool. We've gone so far as to define what "shape" means with the maze analogy - namely, the particular qualitative feel of the experience - and used, as an analogy, the tendency of water to conform to the shape of the maze. Nevertheless, if I described the particular neural configuration of an arbitrary MOD without telling you what part of the brain it came from (so you wouldn't know what experience it was associated with), then unless you've rigorously memorized all the configurations taken by each and every MOD in the human brain, there would be no way for you to predict what the corresponding experience was (note that the problem isn't that the experience is inconceivable). This is where the black box definition of parallelism will help.

Maze Analogy

Black Box Parallelism

Black Box Parallelism
Again, the black box definition of parallelism is the manner in which mind parallels overall behavior without regard for the internal workings of any MODs involved. So now we must examine dualism in light of how the brain and mind affect our behavior. From this, we will derive a guide by which we can make predictions about the quality of experiences driving the behavior. This won't help make them anymore conceivable, but it will explain what it is about the particular neural configurations that determine their shape. In other words, it will explain the method by which MODs make their selection from the pool of experiences. For black box parallelism, we need to be a little more deterministic in our thinking. We need to take into account the fact that signals being processed through MODs determine the overall behavior of the organism. Therefore, we are forced to revisit the paradox of mind and brain, the notion that mind and brain constitute two mutually exclusive mechanisms governing our behavior. But when it comes to behavior, we usually have an intuitive idea of what's going on in the mind of the one displaying the behavior without any understanding of the neurons and neurotransmitters determining the behavior. For example, we assume someone is preparing dinner because he/she is hungry, or we assume someone is buying a classical music CD because they like classical music. We very rarely explain it in terms of neurons and neurotransmitters. Whatever it is that's going on in the mind of the one exhibiting behavior, we infer something that makes sense out of the behavior. We infer something that gives meaning to the behavior, something that if you were to

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experience it, you would likely carry out the same behavior. These inferred experiences constitute a reason for the behavior, or something that entails a goal the behavior is meant to meet. To take an example, let's say Jamie hit her left knee on the corner of a chair and it hurt real bad. She hops on her right foot, grabbing her injured knee with her hands, and shouts "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" To anyone watching, this is a very conspicuous and particular behavior. We can explain this behavior in terms of the signal that traveled up Jamie's leg and spinal cord and into her brain, the neuro-chemical processing of information in the pain centers therein, and the signals deployed from her brain to her muscles and voice box causing the behavior she displays. But we can also explain it in term the subjective experience of pain. The reason why "pain" works as an explanation is because pain is just the right experience to serve as a reason for why someone might engage in the kind of behavior Jamie engages in. We can go so far as to say the feeling of pain in the left knee is part and parcel of the experience, for pain in any other location would not explain Jamie's behavior - that is, it fails as a reason for her behavior. Note the difference between this and the cause of the behavior. The cause can be explained by references to neurons and neurotransmitters, which rarely satisfies our need to know why so-and-so behaves in such-and-such manner. Now because black box parallelism involves determinism, the question before us is "How do we reconcile the parallelism between the cause of our behavior (neurons and neurotransmitters) and the reasons for our behavior (the inferred experiences)?"

Definition: Cause vs. Reason 1) Cause: any event that forces the event immediately proceeding it to actualize. 2) Reason: the intention or justification behind an event.
The clever reader will notice that, from our discussion about white box parallelism and the pool of experiences, the paradox of mind and matter is not so irreconcilable anymore. As a matter of fact, not only will the answer to the above question come easily now, but by rephrasing it as a statement, we derive the method by which MODs select experiences from the pool. How so? Let me explain. The paradox of mind and matter is less paradoxical because we have shown, through the maze analogy, that experiences will always follow the course of their corresponding neural networks, and, through the concept of the experience pool, that there is always an experience to be had by any configuration these neural networks might take. In other words, the divergence between the paths of mind and brain never occurs, and the path of mind always has room to follow that of the brain - it is not confined to the human experiences. Returning to black box parallelism, if we speak of mind in terms of "reasons for behavior", our solution to the mind/brain paradox would state that there is always a reason that conforms to the overall behavior that results from the brain's activity. Stating this another way, MODs choose their experiences from the pool such that it makes sense out of, or establishes a reason for, the resulting behavior. Note that this statement is the rephrasing of the question asked above. We asked "How do we reconcile the parallelism between the cause of our behavior (neurons and neurotransmitters) and the reasons for our behavior (the inferred experiences)?" and we answered "The cause of our behavior (neurons and neurotransmitters) parallels the reasons for our behavior (the inferred experiences)," and simply added that these reasons come from the experience pool. We are justified in rephrasing it as a statement and leaving it as such because we have already shown how mind and brain can be reconciled in the context of white box parallelism - namely, the choosing of experiences from the pool - and here we have merely demonstrated how this choice figures into black box parallelism - namely, by serving as the reason for behavior. As I said, this can be used to predict the experience, but it obviously doesn't shed much light on what the experience actually feels like. It is only enough to say that whatever the experience feels like, it makes sense out of the behavior. For example, if the presence of a particular MOD in one's brain results in some kind of approach behavior towards a target object, we can rule out pain or aversion as the subject's mode of experiencing that object, and if we are so lucky as to have a familiar experience on our hands, perhaps pleasure or desire would be the most plausible prediction. The more we want to narrow our predictions down, the more detail we need in the behavior, and the wider range of circumstances under which it might vary. Also note that the experience does not depend on the behavior - rather, it is the behavior that depends on the experience. This also means that you might have more than one experience that suits a given behavior, which of course reduces its' predictive power, but in the case of human beings it is still very powerful. For example, when someone says "I am feeling fine today", this behavior can be motivated by the fact that the person is feeling fine, or that the person is not feeling fine but wishes to conceal this fact. Although the behavior is less than perfect in predicting exactly which one of these is the true state of mind of the person, we may still appeal to white box parallelism to get at the exact state. Since expressing the truth involves completely different thought patterns than crafting a lie, there should be completely different neural patterns as well. If you could correlate these neural patterns with known experiences - that is, the true motive behind the behavior - you might be able to attribute some predictive power to the neural patterns. It is also important to note that there are many hidden variables that influence behavior other than neural activity or mental experiences. From the moment a signal leaves the brain to the point when the actual behavior occurs, many things could happen. For example, if I want to scratch my head, signals will be sent from my brain, down my spinal cord, along my arm, trigger my muscles into contraction, bring my hand to my head, and coordinate the action of scratching. Anywhere between my brain and my hand on my head can exist interfering elements that might affect how the end behavior is manifested. What if I had severed the nerves in my arm due to an accident? My arm would remain limp no matter how much I willed it to scratch my head. There are even parts of the brain not involved in conscious experience that may have effects on our behavior. The medulla and pons in the hindbrain, for example, control various autonomic bodily functions such as the heartbeat, breathing, and digestive system. There may even be MODs involved in unconscious mental functions. Therefore, the predictive power of behavior is only as good as the brain's ability to effectively actualize the behavior as intended. We just so happen to be fortunate enough, due to evolution I presume, that these hidden variables work in cooperation with our wishes. I would also like to point out that when we talk about the behavior that results from one or another MOD in the brain, we do not mean to imply that this MOD alone is fully responsible for the behavior. Consider, for example, our response to the request "Please pass the salt." Typically, we would oblige and pass the salt. We could say, therefore, that the experience of language comprehension, which corresponds to Wernicke's area, serves as one of the reasons for carrying out the act of passing the salt - that is, without understanding

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the request, we'd have no reason to do so. Yet, it is obvious that so many other MODs are involved in the action - the motor cortex allows for the coordination and execution of the action, the visual system allows for identifying the salt and where it is, the auditory system allows for identifying the speaker's voice, and so on. All of these play a role, and all are reasons for the resulting behavior. The idea of the mind acting as the reason for behavior brings with it a whole slew of implications. For instance, men and women often ponder over the inexplicable behavior of the opposite sex, searching relentlessly for some rational behind the things they do, say, and feel. But have we ever considered that perhaps the reason no rational presents itself easily is because each sex experiences things slightly differently than the other - different in a way that is difficult, if not impossible, for the other to imagine. To be sure, the brains of men and women are different, and thus, in light of my theory, they should be selecting experiences from the pool somewhat differently from each other. To each, their behavior makes perfect sense, feeling the way they do - but to the other, not only might the behavior defy any reasonable sense, but whatever sense there is is incomprehensible. The same reasoning can be applied to individual differences among society in general. We all have different tastes, different preferences, and different ways of approaching situations. Others can be baffled by some of our unique styles and likings. Could it be that we are each experiencing the world in our own unique ways that are, to a greater or lesser extent, inconceivable to others? Do you experience sound the same way I do? What about touch? Is what you call "touch" even the same thing as what I experience? We'd never know since we never have the chance to compare our experiences to others. The only indication we have (and it is a good indication) is the fact that no one's brain is networked in exactly the same way, or maintains the exact same chemical balance. So we must be experiencing the world in slightly different ways. I think it might be a bit much to suppose that where I see red, you see blue, but not too much to suppose that you see a slightly different shade of red, or a slightly different hue, or perhaps even something that only approximates what I call "color" however close an approximation it would be. Other examples of this idea include experiences among the animal kingdom, drug induced altered states, and altered states induced by other means (such as dreaming). Below are a few links to these topics. If you choose to read through them, think about what the above ideas would say about them. What might be going on in the brains of the subjects involved and how might that correspond to the particular quality of experience? What would the behavior predict about the experience? Would the experience explain the behavior just as effectively as the neuro-chemical activity of the corresponding MODs?

Bee Behavior Ant Behavior Emperor Penguin Nerve Nets Schizophrenia Aphasia LSD Cocaine Dreams

Formalizing the Correlation
What we want to do now is to take all the above and encapsulate it into a simple definition for "experience" and a principle by which we will, from this point on, understand the correlation between mind and brain. The definition of experience undoubtedly has a lot to do with qualitative feels, for that seems to have figured into our discussion quite a bit. Therefore, before officially laying out the definition, let me first define "qualitivity":

Definition: Qualitivity What it is to be qualitative.
Based on this, I would like to define "experience" as follows...

Heeding To Materialism

Definition: Experience (first contribution) An experience is any instance of qualitivity.
...and to formulate the correlation between mind and brain as:

Principle: The Correlation Between Mind and Brain For any behavior that the brain causes, there is a coexisting experience that provides the reason for that behavior.

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Qualitative Diversity

As mentioned above, it shouldn't always be assumed that behavior will reflect accurately and reliably the mental content of the one carrying out the behavior. Therefore, this principle should read "...there is a coexisting experience that provides the reason for the behavior as intended." but we'll let this remain implicit. As for the definition of experience, which is what provides the correlative formula above its real significance, it could certainly use some elaboration. Therefore, it would do us well to analyze its meaning. This, of course, entails analyzing the meaning of "qualitivity". In defining it as "what it is to be qualitative", I mean to convey that qualitivity is the very essence of quality - the "stuff", so to speak, that all qualities share in common and are constituted by. This "stuff", I am saying, is precisely the "stuff" that experience is (even if they aren't literally stuff - that is, a substance - they are, I am saying, the same). Particular experiences, such as the feel of coldness, the iridescence of a rainbow, the pain of hurtful emotions, the pleasure of eating chocolate, and so on are instances of qualitivity. Experiences don't only imbue our subjective world with the full richness of qualitative diversity we encounter everyday, but they are the qualities making up this diversity. This drives home the common notion that because experiences are subjective, they are no more than what they feel like. That is, the feel of an experience is the experience. And if the experience pool described above is filled with instances of these things, infinite in number and diversity, then the brain must be capable of drawing out an enormous range of qualities with which to color the world, its limitations only being set by the fixed neural configurations of the MODs that it consists of. Needless to say, our definition of experience encompasses more than just the human experiences - conceivability is not a necessary aspect. This idea is somewhat similar to C. I. Lewis's notion of "qualia". Lewis touched on the peculiar fact that the word "qualitative" seems sufficient and exhaustive in describing what experiences feel like - that is, they feel, well, qualitative - and so he wanted to paint an image of mind such that he only needed what we are calling "qualitivity" to describe its essence, and he did so, like a physicist breaking down matter into particles, by breaking down mind into elementary components he called "qualia" - the basic units of quality. The definition of experience given here is not much different from Lewis's qualia, except with an emphasis on the great majority of them being far beyond anything we humans can imagine, but we will see later in this paper that, given the correlative formula above, a great deal more can be said for our definition, and it will take on, with additional contributions, extended meaning. Even as our definition stands right now, however, there is one important difference, and that is we are not restricting our definition to "fundamental units" of mind; the whole mind itself could be considered one overall experience. It is important, therefore, to make something clear. Suppose we were at the park, and there was a wide variety of things to see. We can see the trees, a swing set, some children playing, a pond, a park bench, and a myriad of other things. In order to describe our visual experience as a whole, we need to refer to the multitude of things we see. Therefore, it would seem that, on the whole, our visual experience is not a simple and featureless quale like, say, the color red - unless we described it as "seeing a park". That is, if we considered the fact that it is a park that we see as the essential qualitative description of our experience, then the simple wording of "a park" can be understood as its quintessential quality. Of course, if you wanted to describe every detail of the park you see, right down to the last blade of grass, this wording wouldn't suffice. Furthermore, just because we can describe it as "seeing a park", we don't mean to say that the details therein are non-existent, and neither do we mean that seeing another park would feel exactly the same. What we do mean to say, however, is that the overall experience of "seeing a park" is actually an experience that rises over and above the sum of the more detailed experiences. That is, even after considering the experiences of "seeing a tree", "seeing the grass", "seeing children", and so on have been considered cumulatively, the experience of "seeing a park" is still something beyond this accumulation of details. I will sometimes refer to this aspect of experience - that of whole experiences being single qualia despite the fact that they seem decomposable into more elementary qualia - as its uniformity and homogeneity. We will touch upon why this is so in the paper The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter. It can now be seen how the task of accounting for the feeling of free-will can be accomplished. Describing this feeling as the "freedom of the will" is one account, but if it proves problematic (as is the case here), another avails itself from the preceding discussion namely, that it can be described as "reasons for behavior". That is to say, when we feel as though we are in control of our behavior, it feels as though we have our reasons for doing so - or in other words, that we do so because of our reasons. We can even go so far as to say that the mystery of how the brain and mind maintain synchrony is not so mysterious anymore. I hesitate to say it is solved - that will have to await a causal account as opposed to the correlative one we are dealing with here - but I do say that even with this correlative account - that mind functions as the reasons for behavior - the synchrony is rendered in such a light that it ought to be expected rather than pondered over. These two elements - the causes and the reasons for our behavior - seem not to oppose each other at all - rather, they seem complimentary. It is as though we have reintroduced purpose into the blind mechanical workings of nature (mind you, the scope is still limited to neurological systems, but we will expand this scope a great deal in the Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter). Therefore, although the question of how they maintain synchrony in a causal sense remains unanswered, they do seem to fit together, as though "balancing" each other out, quite nicely. For the remainder of this website, we shall be using diagrams like the somewhat psychedelic ones in figure 2 to represent experiences. This is a very abstract way of representing them, and it is not intended to suggest that experiences really are these strange and colorful shapes. The colorful richness and diversity of forms these figures come in represent the qualitative diversity of experiences. The strangeness of these figures, comparable to very little in real life, represents the inconceivability of most experiences.

C. I. Lewis

Qualitative Diversity

Figure 2: Examples of diagrams of experiences. This goes a long way, but we are not done with the definition of experience yet. It will inherit two more contributions in the rest of this paper. So far, our investigation into dualism has yielded a picture of mind that seems somewhat out of touch with reality and meaning. That is to say, because experience, as defined here, is what we use to perceive reality, our awareness of what is real seems just as

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arbitrary as the configuration of neurons in our brains. So what's the connection between experience and our awareness of reality? Also, the meaningfulness of our thoughts seems arbitrary as well. How meaningful can our experiences be if they must conform to the activity of the brain? We cannot draw any conclusions on the problem of mind and matter until these questions are addressed, and that is what we will do in the rest of this paper.

Experience and Reality
By now, you're probably wondering what our theory so far leaves behind for reality. You might wonder if the next step is to resurrect a sort of Kantian metaphysics. Kant postulated that all qualitative features and forms of the world belonged to the mind, and what was left had no way of being sensed or intelligibly described. For example, when I look at my water bottle beside me, I see that it is clear, small, cylindrical, half full of water, etc. And when I touch it, it feels cool, solid, pliable, like plastic, and so forth. I could say a lot about its sounds, taste and smell too (I'm not sure what that would be ). But all these features, Kant would say, are only perceptual. If you strip them all away, what would be left of the bottle? Nothing perceptible, and that means nothing conceivable, for Kant took even conception to be a sort of perception - that is, a perception of thoughts. Nevertheless, he maintained that there had to be something there, so he called it the "thing-in-itself". The thing-in-itself is defined as the thing (object, item, entity...) that actually exists beyond the perception of it, the thing as it really is. Even though it is really there, we have no way of imagining what it might be like. To imagine something it might be like is to attribute features to it, and features are perceptible. Since we have stripped all perceptible features, we are left with nothing to imagine. So far, it seems that we are lead by our customized definition of experience and the relation it bears to the brain down the same Kantian path - at least, it is this path that is laid before us now. Are we compelled to follow it? Well, the principle of Experiential Monopoly tells us that for every property we can refer to in the world, abstract or concrete, there is a MOD corresponding to the perception of it. So then what experiences from our world are left for us to call "real"? Our experiences seem like some random subjective product of fancy that exists in the form it does only because of how some equally random, but objective, product of neurology is configured. But at the same time, because this random product of fancy depends on the random product of neurology for its existence, the random neurological product (the brain) must exist. And if it exists, so must a vessel to carry it - no one vessel seems more fitting than the body (although I wouldn't hesitate to entertain alternatives). One must keep in mind, however, that we know the body to exist only through empirical verification (sensation). This is why I prefer the term "vessel" to "body". And if this vessel exists, it must exist in an outer world. Now there is no reason this outer world must conform in structure to how we perceive it, not if our perceptions are experiences whose qualities reflect the "shape" of their corresponding MODs far more than the outer world. It can be as wild and foreign as your imagination would allow, and then some. All that being said, I do maintain, like Kant, that it exists beyond our minds in a form that cannot be imagined. Now this goes for the brain too. The brain is a material object in the world, but at this point in our discussion, it should be obvious that the notion of "material" is more subjective in meaning than we typically assume - that is, the concept of material refers more to our sensual experiences with reality than to the actual objects out there beyond our minds. The actual objects in the world, like the brain, take a form that is inconceivable. But make no mistake about it, they are there. But we can't take a Kantian position without inheriting all the problems it has been charged with - indeed, there are some daunting ones. Some of these will be dealt with directly in other papers, whereas others can be dismissed now by rejecting certain of Kant's points. For one thing, I, like Berkeley, see a real problem with attempts to define reality in terms other than perception and experience. Kant's divide between the world as it is and as it appears bears the unfortunate consequence of irrevocably severing us from reality, vacuous appearances left behind as a meager substitute. Kant called the latter "phenomena" and the former "noumena". I would like to argue, in this section, that we define reality based on phenomena, on appearances, that "realness" is found in our experiences, not outside. This is not to say that we won't recognize the phenomenal/noumenal divide, but that we won't recognize the phenomenal as "unreal". To do this, we will need to distinguish between the subjective realities that each of our personal experiences make up, and in which each of us is at the center, and the ultimate Reality that we all share in common (more or less equivalent to Kant's phenomenal/noumenal distinction, except with an emphasis on the "reality" term in "subjective reality"). Note the use of the capital "R" in "Reality". I will use this to denote the absolute form of Reality beyond perception. I will refer to perceptual reality as "subjective reality".

Kant's ThingIn-Itself [PDF]

Experiential Monopoly

Definition: Subjective Reality vs. Reality 1) Subjective Reality: reality as constituted by our perceptions of it. 2) Reality: reality as it ultimately exists independently of our perceptions of it.

Consciousness and Mind
Now since we are on the subject of mind, we cannot escape discussing the concept of "consciousness". Although I generally equate the two terms "consciousness" and "mind", the former brings slightly different connotations with it. I find consciousness rings more like the idea of "awareness" - and awareness of what? Reality! - while mind rings more like the idea of "thoughts" or, more generally, experiences. Therefore, consciousness has conventionally been thought of as a "window through which we see reality", and the concept of mind has drawn its original semantics from this. It is as though the mind is the storehouse for all the information that passes through our window-like consciousness. Now, here we are, looking at mind from a different angle. We are contemplating a model more like a "system of experiences". So here we have a wonderful juxtaposition: the mind as a "window to reality" verses a "system of experiences". These are the models this section of the paper attempts to equate. It can easily be shown how this equation is made, thereby offering an alternative model, one in which it is the notion of consciousness that borrows its semantics from mind. The equation is simple: consciousness cannot be anything but perception, whether it is of Reality or not. Perception is, by definition, the substance of experience, and therefore the substance of mind. Note that I'm applying the term "perception" not only to sensory perception, but to cognitive and emotional perception as well (more on this below). So demonstrating this equality, we are equally

Experience

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justified in carrying over the "system of experience" frame from mind to consciousness as we would be in carrying over the "window to reality" frame from consciousness to mind. But, of course, the catch is that we are equally justified, not more so. And why not? It makes perfect sense that we experience our minds as perceptions of Reality proper, since that is how our experiences present themselves to us. When we look at a cloud in the sky, our most basic intuition is that it is a cloud in the sky, not just a perception that may or may not reflect Reality. It is incarnate in the way we experience it. Notice how, of the three main categories of experience mentioned above, every experience has its own unique way of feeling real. It's not difficult to notice this for sensations. They are experiences, but at the same time, they always present themselves as the physical objects we see (or hear, or touch...). Cognition, although understood to be thoughts swimming around in our heads, are also awareness of facts, knowledge of truth, memories of true events that did happen, understandings, theories that are perfectly logical and so must be correct. It can be a little more difficult to see this attribute in emotions, but they too have a way of feeling real. When one is in love, that is an emotion, but it is also a perception of how wonderful and perfect the loved one is. When one wants revenge, it is true that he/she feels hate, anger, resentment, and so on, but one also projects these feelings onto the one upon whom revenge is sought, making this person perceived as deserving punishment. And if these spiteful emotions are projected on the situation instead of the person, it is perceived as a need for justice. That need is there, in the world. Think about our mood swings from day to day. When we are depressed, we can easily acknowledge that we are depressed, thereby acknowledging it as an emotion, but we also get the impression that "life sucks" that's right, it's life itself that sucks. It's something about the world that's wrong. The next day our mood could change, and we feel that "life's great!!!" We might go so far as to invalidate any feelings we had the previous day. We might say "I was just being a suck yesterday. I was in a bad mood and lost sight of how great life is!" We thereby see that this positive swing in mood not only makes us feel different, and perceive the world as different, but also perceive that the world was always like this and our mood the other day had no semblance to how the world really is - it was just a mood. The general rule, in all these scenarios, is that once the experience is projected onto the real world, it feels as if we could change our perceptions, or even die and take our consciousness with us, and the world would continue on in the state depicted by our perceptions.

Definition: Projection The tendency of experiences to feel like entities in, or properties of, reality, either physically or not, whose existence is independent of our awareness of it.
I propose that projection is something that all experiences are capable of. I base this proposal on inductive reasoning - that is, on the fact that the experiences from the 3 human categories, which are all the experiences we have, all feel real, each in their own way, as demonstrated above. And I base the rest of this section on the fact that it is always more intuitive to take the projected form of our experiences for granted, than it is their mental form. Therefore, no matter what system of experiences a given mind contains, it perceives its experiences as a real world. Not only does projection make experiences feel real, but it defines the very notion of "realness". If it weren't for projection, it would be absurd to assume we could ever wonder, "What if our experiences were actually real?" or "Is there a real world beyond our perceptions?" The concept of reality itself would be undefined. We would have no access to it, a wall of experiences blocking us. For us to glean any indication of an actual real world out there, we necessarily have to rely on some experience, something of which we can be conscious and use to draw conclusions about the actuality of reality. But if all we have are our experiences, then that thing, that clue that there is a real world out there, must be in our experiences, not outside them. It could be said, therefore, that experiences carry the very essence of realness within them - not merely that they convey realness to us, but that they contain it. Metaphorically, you could think of it as a seed that resides within experiences, and projection is the sprouting of a tree. In this way, consciousness is less like a passive perceiver of reality, and more like an active creator of it. It does so by defining its experiences as reality and visa-versa. We could very well say, therefore, that whatever it is we perceive, the perception and the perceived are the same entity - that a perception of an object is a real object in the world. Thus, although consciousness is primarily a "system of experiences", these experiences become a reality for the consciousness in question to behold. We may therefore hold onto a window-to-reality model, but only insofar as this model draws its semantics from the system-of-experiences model - that is, so long as we understand that the reality we are aware of is created by our experiences beforehand, we are free to treat this reality as though we were staring at it through a featureless window. The key, however, is not to discriminate between the window and the contents seen beyond it, for in this model, the two are one and the same (more like a mural than a window).

Definition: The Window-to-Reality vs. System-of-Experiences Models of Consciousness 1) The Window-to-Reality Model: the model that purports consciousness to be something that exists in reality, and whose function it is to be aware of reality. 2) The System-of-Experiences Model: the model that purports consciousness to be a combination of experiences systematically working together to create a reality.

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Definition: The Essence of Realness The element carried by all experiences that gives rise to projection.
Of course, to describe the way all experiences project themselves, we will need more than a word like "realness". For example, as we said above, certain thoughts project themselves as logical facts or truths. But are these "real"? Some might say yes, but others might not. Some might say that truths and facts or not real in the sense that physical objects are real. Take away all intelligent beings from the universe and all that will be left are physical objects and the energy that moves them through space and time. Truths and facts, these people say, are just in our minds. Well, we can grant them this, for what we mean when we say truths and facts are "real" has more to do with their seeming independence from perception. That is to say, for example, that 2 + 2 = 4 seems true independently of whether you or I or anyone else thinks so. It seems true regardless of whether any intelligent being existed in the universe to know it. Its being true in this independent way is what we mean by "real". In other words, the essence of realness may be somewhat of a misnomer in certain cases, but so long as the reader understands the broader meaning that's implied here - namely, seeming independence from perception - we can get away using "realness" in our terminology. I also feel that it is important to formally define what I mean by "perception". I mean more than just visual, or sensory, perception, as it is often meant. Perception is any way of experiencing reality. In the human case, that covers all 3 categories: cognitive, emotional, and sensory. This is not an uncommon usage. We often hear people talking about how they perceive the world on a very abstract cognitive level, as in saying "I perceive the world to be a very friendly place" even though "friendliness" is not something we can see with our eyes or hear with our ears or sense with any other sensory organ. This means that different religious beliefs constitute different perceptions of reality, in this case called Truth, and furthermore, according to our definition of the essence of realness above, different realities all together. More generally, perception is the form experiences take once projected.

Projection

Definition: Perception The form experiences take, namely realness, upon being projected.
Having said that experiences contain the essence of realness as a defining characteristic, this brings us to a point where we should revisit the definition of "experience". Not only is an experience "any instance of qualitivity", but it defines reality for the owner of the mind in question. Therefore, the definition is now two-fold.

Definition: Experience (second contribution) An experience is... i) any instance of qualitivity... ii) that exudes the essence of realness, resulting in projection.
Now, so far I've been speaking about projection as if it is a process in which experiences go through stages, metamorphosizing and becoming something different so to speak. Readers might, at this point, assume that first the brain shapes an experience, the experience, containing the essence of realness, gets projected, and thereby becomes a perception of reality, which is equivalent to reality itself. This idea is partially correct. It is correct in that experiences do take on these phases or "modes". But it is incorrect when thought to occur as a process - that is, as one phase temporally merging into another. All these phases (experience, being projected, perception, and reality) are different ways of thinking of the same phenomenon. They are all these things at once. Projection is not a word for a process, it is a word for the relation between two ways to understand experience, one being something mental, the other something real. That is to say, we seem to fall short in our attempts to understand this "stuff" we're calling experience as one unified thing - the perception and the perceived at once - and so we must settle for two complimentary understandings: the experience as something in the head, and experience as something in the world. The single unified "stuff" is something rather elusive, but we can at least understand that these two ways of conceptualizing it - the perception and the perceived - are two concepts for the same thing. We use the word "projection" to denote the relation - the identity - between them: the perceived is the projection of the perception. Lastly, I'd also like to point out that a link can be drawn between the first contribution to our definition of "experience" and the second. First, if we allow ourselves to imagine the range of qualities experience can take on as infinite, like the pool of experiences, then it would be fair to say that experiences can take on any quality whatsoever. If they can take on any quality whatsoever, it can also be said that they can be anything whatsoever. Even a thing, like a physical object, can be put in terms of experience - namely ideas, as George Berkeley made clear. If an object is an idea, and ideas are experiences, and experiences are instances of qualitivity, then an object is a specific type of quality. If we are allowed this, then we can rightfully say that experiences can actually be things like chairs, shoes, snowflakes, candy, and all manner of physical things. They can also be truths, facts, abstract things like time or space, or moral values. They can be the essence of good and of bad. They can be anything. They are the basis upon which the things in our subjective realities really exist.

George Berkeley

Subjective Realities

A Few Objections
At this point, the reader may have a few objections. What about fantasies, or the imagination, or anything we visualize in our minds, you may ask? They are clearly in our heads. Only the insane would imagine fairies or flying elephants and believe in these inventions. This is true. But, we ought to be careful in using the phrase "believe in these inventions" - this phrase conveys only the belief in the things imagined as having an existence out in the physical world. It doesn't convey the belief in the existence of the imagination itself. Surely, we can all agree that we have imaginations. They may only exist in our heads, but insofar as this goes, they still exist.

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Let's put this a different way. When we say that every experience has its own unique way of feeling real, we really mean that it is unique. Sensations feel like objects in the world, beliefs feel like facts about the world, emotions feel like the "value" of things in the world (for lack of a better word). So when we bring fantasies into question, saying of them that they are not real, we usually mean they do not take on any of the modes of realness that these other experiences (sensations, beliefs, and emotions) take on. So it's true that fantasies are not objects, facts, or values belonging to things in the world, but they do give us something else that's real the mind. That is, in virtue of being able to fantasize, we end up knowing that we have a mind. What other kind of domain could fantasies occur in? To recognize fairies, flying elephants, and pink polka dotted pandas as figments of the imagination is to recognize items that we call "mental". In other words, it is through the imagination that we are able to recognize the mind as something that we have - as something real. Note that we are in the process of redefining "mind" (or "experience" in any case). So far, we have made two contributions to the definition, the last of which was that all experiences contain the essence of realness. Therefore, the "mind" that we see as real when we fantasize, visualize or use our imagination in any other way is not the same kind of mind as that being redefined here. We do not perceive any sort of "essence of realness" in the kind of mind we see when we introspect, just as we don't in any other type of entity we experience. We perceive them as real, but this is not to say that we perceive any kind of essence standing in for this realness such that it might be conceived as separable from the entity itself. In other words, although we experience the imagination as the realm of the "unreal", it is not because of our failure to discern the essence of realness therein; rather, it is in virtue of how this essence projects that is, what it becomes. It becomes the imagination. It becomes the mind in the traditional sense, which we have always taken to be the realm of the unreal in virtue of its contrast with the external world of objects and the abstract worlds of truths and values. So it is not a contradiction to say that we perceive our fantasies, visualizations, and imagination as "mental experiences" while at the same time saying that mental experiences are perceived as real non-mental entities. The "mental experiences" of fantasies are one thing; "experience", as defined in this paper, is quite another. This line of argument might be used to address another objection. Earlier, we qualified the meaning of "realness" as a sort of virtual independence from experience. But this might be taken to contradict the first property of all experiences - namely, their being an instance of qualitivity. If the qualitative feel that defines an experience as being the thing it is can be described as "independent from experience", then it is seems we are saying an experience is something it is not - that is, if it feels independent of experience, it must be independent of experience, and thus not experience. Well, one way we can address this is in the same way we addressed the previous objection - namely, by pointing out the difference between the conventional notion of "experience" (or "perception", or "mind", etc.) and the one we are contriving now. The feeling of independence these experiences exude is from experiences in the conventional sense - that is, things in our heads that only reflect reality as it actually is - and not experiences as we are defining them here - mental phenomena that are one with the things they purportedly reflect. An even better defense of this point can be made, but not before getting to The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter where we will show that this apparent independence from experience is really absolute independence - that is, from anything and everything. Another objection the reader may have is "How can our minds create reality if there already is an absolute Reality beyond perception?" There is a short and long answer to this question. The long version will have to wait for another paper: Perception and Reality. Here is the short version: Rather than thinking of subjective realities as complete and whole realities unto themselves, think of them as sets of real things, and that these things acquire their "realness" from one's perception of them. Then think of Reality as the set of all things real, including the things in each and every subjective reality. Now understand that no one can refer to anything he/she perceives to be real unless it already belongs to his/her subjective reality. Therefore, Reality contains real things that one cannot necessarily refer to as they might not be perceived as belonging to his/her subjective reality. In the Advance Theory of Mind and Matter, we will show how all things acquire their "realness" by being perceived - that is, Reality consists of nothing other than interconnected perceptions and experiences of real things. In short, the mind creates reality by creating only some of the things in Reality, but because the owner of the mind in question cannot refer beyond what he/she perceives, he/she is limited to thinking of his/her subjective reality as the entirety of reality. This applies even to us who are attempting to refer to Reality. Really, we are referring to an artifact of our own minds. "Reality" is an idea, one that stands in for that which we cannot refer to because it is beyond us. But even in saying this, we seem to revert back to the same attempt, the attempt to refer to "that which we cannot refer to". Well, we could account for this in exactly the same way - that is, by recognizing that we are only toying with an idea and not that which the idea refers to. But again, we have repeated the same mistake, and the reader can see that this goes on and on ad infinitum. This is what I call the "problem of the infinite regress" and we will deal with it more thoroughly, as we rightfully should, in Perception and Reality. It is also important to note that our minds' ability to create its own reality does not make it omnipotent. We certainly have a lot of control over our thoughts and behavior, and some control over our emotions, but we have very little control over our senses. Of course, we could choose to close our eyes if we didn't want to see something, or turn up the heat if we felt too cold, but these forms of control require exercising our will on the outside world. If we wanted to enforce direct control over our senses, which would amount to creating hallucinations, we would have a very difficult time indeed. What this means is that Reality is feeding us all the information our senses are picking up. The fact that we can exercise our will on the outside world means that we are not passive in our interactions with Reality. All in all, this means that everything we do unto the world, and the world unto us, is not only done within the boundaries of our subjective realities, but also Reality. When I push a rock and it rolls over, it is true that this is happening in my subjective reality, but there is also the rock in its true, and unimaginable, form (Kant's thing-in-itself) which is being pushed and rolls over (although, "pushed" and "rolls over" are terms which might only have meaning in a subjective world, but they would still have equivalents in Reality). Now, trying to make sense out of this and the model of Reality presented above - namely, that Reality is the conglomeration of all perceptions and experiences - might prove difficult since rocks rolling over in Reality are not mental processes. It is not my agenda to elucidate on this right here, as I said it will have to wait for other papers. But where I would like to take this discussion is into its implications on the theory of evolution.

Subjective Reality vs. Reality

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The relevance to evolution theory may not be so obvious, so let me elaborate. The point of the above paragraph was to show that our subjective realities are not sanctuaries where Reality cannot affect us nor we affect Reality. Therefore, as a species in an environment, we still need to utilize survival tactics in the face of life threatening menaces. What our theory so far adds to this idea is that, in Reality, these menaces don't necessarily take the forms we perceive them to take. This point is significant since evolution theory claims that consciousness evolved as a tool we use to survive, and the reason it works so well is because it allows us to be aware of the conditions of our environment and make rational and calculated decisions on how to survive under those conditions. But our theory of mind as a system-of-experiences puts a different twist on this. It states that, in relation to Reality, these conditions and menaces are only subjective experiences. Therefore, we are not really aware of the actual conditions and menaces in Reality. So then here's the question: How does consciousness, as a system-of-experiences, help us to survive? Well, first of all, the way an organism experiences the world is rarely informative of the best survival strategy to use. For example, when a dog searches for food, it's because he/she is hungry. When he/she finds something, he/she eats it because it tastes good. He/she knows absolutely nothing of the fact that food is required for survival. The experiences of hunger and good taste help the dog to survive because it drives behavior that so happens to ensure its survival. This process can be generalized - that is, the experiences of any organism will be advantageous in a survival ensuring way if they invoke behavior conducive to survival. The reason this behavior is so conducive need not be obvious, and in fact may be contrary to conventional assumptions. This idea is easy to apply to the example of the hungry dog above, but the reason for this is because dogs, like most animals, don't do much thinking (no offense to animal lovers ). They don't have an elaborate cognitive faculty, which is essential for acquiring knowledge of the world. But humans do. Our cognitive awareness of the world is what some might consider true consciousness, since without it, we really aren't aware of anything. They might say that cognitive awareness is a unique survival tool that works for humans precisely because it constitutes true awareness of the conditions and menaces of our environment. But our theory of mind as a system-of-experiences attributes the same definition of "experience" to cognitions, and therefore our cognitive perception of the world is not necessarily an accurate depiction of Reality. This means that if it helps us to survive, it must be in the way it makes us behave. Exactly how this behavior accomplishes this is not necessarily something we can grasp.

The Correspondence Rule
So essentially, we, like Kant, are making a distinction between the things we perceive subjectively and the things in Reality that give us these perceptions. Unlike Kant, however, and more like Berkeley, we are attributing full reality to our perceptions and experiences. Reality, we are saying, is not only that which lies beyond our perceptions, but that which lies within them as well. We are also establishing that a connection exists between these two kinds of things - namely, that the things in Reality give rise to sensory experiences and that our behavior gives rise to effects upon the things in Reality. And since we are making this distinction, it follows that the things in Reality will always be unknowns - that is, something other than what we perceive - but that since they are responsible for our perceptions, a correspondence between them will always be maintained. More than one person can have the same sensory experience. For instance, when I watch television with my wife, we are both having very similar sensory experiences. I would hesitate, however, to say that our experiences are exactly the same. Even if she is positioned just a little more to the left on the couch than I am, she is seeing the TV from a different angle. And even if her brain, in the end, interprets the holistic visual experience as exactly the same event as my brain does, at the purely sensory level, the visual image is slightly different than mine due to this difference in angle. So what's my point? Simply that even though we may be having different experiences (at least on the sensory level), they are both triggered by one and the same entity or event in Reality - namely, the animated images on the television set in whatever form they take in Reality. There is a larger point I'm leading up to, of course. So far, what this shows is that for a given entity/event in Reality, it can give rise to an indefinite number of different experiences (usually sensory). These experiences can be much more varied than the example of my wife and I watching television at slightly different angles. For example, a deaf person may see a huge explosion while someone else who is blind may hear it. In this case, we have two drastically different experiences (vision and hearing) corresponding to the same event in Reality. I call this principle the "Correspondence Rule".

Circumventing Sensation

Principle: The Correspondence Rule Experiences in a subjective reality correspond to entities or events in Reality that give rise to them directly or indirectly, and these entities or events in Reality can give rise to any number of other experiences in any number of other subjective realities simultaneously.
This principle can be pushed to further extremes than just a difference between vision and hearing. Above, I briefly described a hypothetical scenario where one's optic nerves might be swapped with one's auditory nerves, such that when light enters the eye, signals get sent to the auditory cortex resulting in sound being heard. And if sound waves entered the ear, signals would be sent to the visual cortex where seeing would occur. I know this is most likely impossible in practice, but try to imagine what this might be like if it happened

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to you. If you were sitting in front of a Christmas tree and I plugged in the lights, you would suddenly hear a tapestry of sounds. Then if I turned on some Christmas carols, you might suddenly see a spectacular dance of lights, colors, shapes, and other images. Now imagine how these experiences compare to those of someone whose visual and auditory nerves are configured in the usual way, such as mine. When I plug the lights in, I see... lights! When I turn on the music, I hear... music! Just imagine how such dramatically different experiences correspond to the same things in Reality. In this scenario, we have conjured up such alien experiences that, although three other senses were left intact, your world would quite justifiably be considered a very different reality. Thus, the correspondence rule not only applies to different experiences corresponding to the same entity/event in Reality, but to different subjective realities all together. In fact, if you could imagine a mind consisting of experiences completely unlike anything from the human set (sensations, emotions, and cognitions), perhaps something an organism from an alien planet might have, the Correspondence Rule would say that it is possible that the world created by this mind comes from the same Reality as the human world we are all familiar with, even though the subjective realities cannot be equated even as different versions of the same reality.

Experience and Meaning
In this final section, we investigate the concept of meaning. What do I mean by "meaning", and how does this relate to experiences? I don't mean anything other than the ordinary concept of "meaning". For example, what does the symbol of the cross mean to you? That symbol carries a meaning, and you can expound on it if asked to. It's basic semiotics. Our cognitive experiences are fraught with meaning. These are the experiences we use to express the meaning of symbols, such as when you answered my question about the meaning of the cross. Does meaning reside in other experiences? That's the question this section strives to answer. We will find our answer by delving into an analysis of dualism again, but this time we will look at a different aspect of it. So far, we have been looking across the gap of dualism - that is, comparing and contrasting mind and brain. Now, we will look along the gap - that is, how one experience leads to another, how one brain process leads to another, and how these processes relate to each other. In the end, we will be able to derive a more customized definition of "meaning" and, based on this definition, add a third component to our definition of "experience" (yes, there's a third ).

Along Dualism
We know that, according to black box parallelism, the mind functions as the reasons for behavior. We also know that mind parallels neurological activity as well as the effects this has on behavior. Something similar can be seen with white box parallelism. We already know, according to white box parallelism, that MODs shape the corresponding experiences, but these MODs, like in the case of black box parallelism, also have effects on behavior. But in the context of white box parallelism, this behavior is more often that of neighboring MODs - that is, the activity of one MOD, if connected to a second MOD, will have effects on it, and more specifically activating it. Now, the difference between the affected MOD of the white box context and the overall behavior of the black box context is that the second MOD in the white box case still parallels an experience whereas the behavior is only a result of an experience. In fact, if we think about it carefully, the experience associated with the first MOD seems to have its direct effect on the experience of the second MOD more than on the behavior of the second MOD. The second MOD is still physically affected by the first MOD, just as behavior is physically affected by the brain, but the experience in the white box context seems to prefer to continue the parallelism between mind and brain rather than have any causal influence over the subsequent activity of neurons.

White vs. Black Box Parallelism

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Epiphenomenalism

Epiphenomenalism would explain this as each MOD producing its own experience, and that experience having no effect on anything else physically or mentally. Note, however, that this necessarily brings causation into the equation. Each MOD must produce its experience. Although we will get into causation later, for now we are still dealing with parallelism. When we do deal with causation, in The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter, we will construct a much more lucid explanation for the causal relationship between mind and matter. This is a shortcoming of epiphenomenalism - that is, even though it depends on a causal relation, it doesn't offer a causal explanation for how the brain produces the mind. The causal explanation offered in the Advanced Theory depends on the model of dualism we are building here. This model describes the stream of consciousness paralleling the brain as continuous, not as islands of experience popping up independently from each other due to neurological activity. In other words, concerning the first and second MODs depicted in the previous paragraph, their corresponding experiences are connected. The first experience gives rise to, or in better words, becomes, the next experience. Perhaps an example would suffice. A detective glosses over a crime scene. His sense of vision picks up all the objects and conditions of the scene. These visual perceptions quickly become cognitive experiences. A half finished cigarette indicates that a certain victim didn't get to finish their smoke. This is an example of a visual experience becoming a theory. Of course, there are many intermediate experiences between these two. The raw experience of the cigarette is, at the very start, just an arrangement of light blotches on layer V1 of the occipital lobe. In a matter of milliseconds, the brain synthesizes this information, and these light blotch perceptions become perceptions of lines, curves, shapes, and forms. Further processing converts these experiences into perceptions of objects. Then the brain recognizes these objects as "cigarette", "ash tray", "table", and so on. Eventually, these experiences become abstract thoughts that gel into a theory of what happened. If we follow this thread even further, we might see how the detective's thoughts become emotion. For example, if the theory ties up a lot of loose strings, he might have a "Eureka!" moment. The theory might be so good, it excites him! All the while, these morphing experiences parallel the detective's brain activity. To be precisely accurate, note the use of the phrase "brain activity", not "brain matter". A brain that isn't processing any signals will not have any experiences. This is not only important to note, but makes the concept of parallelism easier to think of - that is, as we imagine the experiences morphing and becoming other experiences, we can visualize the signals traveling down the axons of neurons or jumping across synaptic gaps in chemical form. This physical process is fluent and continuous, just like the experiences. It allows us to see that the parallelism holds at any point in the process (hence, the use of the term "continuous"). The word "continuous" intimates a close relationship between consecutive experiences. The simplest way to describe this relationship is that the prior experience feels similar to the ensuing experience. So, for instance, the perception of the shape of the cigarette is similar to the recognition of it as being a cigarette in that they are both properties of the same object. The least we can say is that the prior experience relates somehow to the ensuing one. Overall, I find the most descriptive term for this relationship to be "flow". The prior experience flows into the ensuing one. Another term I'll often use is "morphing". I'll also use the term "momentum", but this more fittingly describes the direction and force with which the experience is flowing (the concept of the direction of flow will be elucidated later in this paper).

Layer V1

Definition: Flow Flow is the tendency of experiences to morph from one "shape" to another in a continuous manner.
Because flow parallels the flow of brain processes, and because brain processes are always fluent (lest there is no activity at all), it is fair to make a general principle out it - that is, all experiences flow from one shape to another.

Principle: The Flow of Experiences All experiences flow.
Pretty simple, eh? Even experiences that may seem to stand still - like watching a pile of bricks - are actually flowing. The bricks may not be morphing in shape, size, color, or anything else, but what is morphing is how the visual experience of seeing the bricks affects the rest of your mind - it allows you to think about them, to analyze them, to imagine what you could make out of them, etc. In other words, the visual experience flows into cognitions (and perhaps, in other examples, emotions). The best way to understand this kind of morphing is to think about what's happening neurologically. Whenever one beholds a visual experience, signals are processed by area V1 in the occipital cortex (links provided above ), and then sent along the dorsal and ventral streams. This constitutes an electric flow, which parallels the flow of your experiences - from vision to thought and other forms. The reason why the visual experience seems to remain so

The Dorsal and Ventral Streams

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still is because this flow is ongoing - that is, even though a given segment of the electric current flows from the visual cortex to other parts of the brain, more of the same current, which is always continuous, follows close behind and replaces it. This is analogous to a bump in a stream created by a rock just beneath the surface - that is, when a stream flows over a rock, you can usually tell where the rock is by noticing a bulge in the water. Even though the water never stays within the bulge for long, the bulge itself is ever-present and seems to be fixed in place. For the same reason, some experiences - usually sensations - may seem to remain static, but in fact are always flowing. It can be shown now why we chose the expression "system-of-experiences" to describe mind rather than "collection-of-experiences". The term "collection" implies only a coexisting set of elements, whereas "system" conveys more - that the elements in the set are working together and hence influencing each other. This means that the shape of each experience is in large part determined by the flow of prior experiences. Does this conflict with the notion of MOD configurations determining shape? No, it doesn't. If you think about it carefully, the flow of experiences parallels the physical effects neighboring MODs have on each other. So it is still the activity of the MODs that determine the shape of the experiences, with one caveat. At his point, we must refine this concept just a little. That is, rather than saying it is the configuration of the MOD that determines the shape of the experience, we ought to say that the configuration determines the range of shapes the experience can take. Think about it this way: take an arbitrary MOD. It has a definite configuration. But there is still a vast array of combinations of signals that can pass through it. From the paper Preliminary Concepts, we know that MODs are very much like computer circuits. We also noted that computer circuits generally take in a set of bits as input and produce a set of bits as output. The greater the number of input bits, the wider the range of possible inputs, and also outputs, that can be fed to the circuit. The same principle is, more or less, applicable to MODs. And as we've noted above, experiences correlate with neural activity, not neural matter. It follows from this that the exact shape of the experience associated with our arbitrary MOD depends, not only on its configuration, but the combination of input signals entering it (and throughput signals passing through it). In other words, the MOD's configuration determines only the range of possible experiences. Now, what do these technicalities have to do with flow? Well, if you want to determine the exact shape of an experience, you must determine the exact combination of signals entering the MOD, and this is determined by what combination of signals are the outputs of the adjacent MOD (the one deploying the signals). Returning to the maze analogy, you might find it useful to think of neural configurations as the shapes of the walls, but since there is a fair bit of space between the walls, the flow of water has room to move around. The exact shape the water takes is largely determined by what manner it flows down the maze pathways - swaying heavily from left to right, sticking to one side only, spreading uniformly over the whole volume, etc - and the exact shape it takes within a particular maze section is largely determined by the manner it flowed into this section from the adjacent one. Putting this in terms of experience, we would say that the exact "shape" of an experience corresponding to a particular MOD is largely determined by the "shape" of the experience fed to it by the adjacent MOD. As we can see, putting together any old set of experiences from the pool can't make a mind. Mind is more than just a collection of experiences. It is a system. The interacting experiences must be able to flow from one to another. If the shape of an experience were determined solely by the configuration of MODs, it would be just a collection. You could take any set of experiences from the pool by taking the right MODs and connecting them together. But since it requires more than the MOD configurations, putting together a random set of MODs only sets the stage for the range of possible experiences. Think of it like a puzzle. Each piece represents an experience, and so to put together a whole mind, you need to find pieces that fit together. Otherwise, the mind will be impossible to sustain.

Maze Analogy

Meaning and Flow
The best way to show how flow relates to meaning is to examine the flow of cognitions. The best example to use is a syllogism. So take a look at this one:
Syllogism

All diamonds are carbon. This is a diamond. Therefore, this is carbon.
Each of the premises "All diamonds are carbon" and "This is a diamond" are thoughts with their own meaning. When I express these thoughts to you, you're likely to put them together and derive the conclusion "Therefore, this is carbon." This is a perfect example of cognitive flow in action. The two premises, when co-present, will flow into the concluding thought. Note that neither one can do this alone (see sidenote ). But instead of talking about "flow", wouldn't it be more natural to talk about meaning? In other words, if the two premises are true, that means the conclusion is true. The two premises entail the conclusion by their very meaning. So in the case of syllogisms, flow is possible because of meaning. It is easy to see that meaning is involved in the flow of any logical thinking, not just syllogisms. We derive the conclusions and insights of our thoughts because they contain meaning. What about emotions? Well, it's easy to see how cognitive analysis can lead to value laden appraisals of situations. For example, suppose you had written a test and you're about to see your mark. Suppose a passing mark is 60%, and you saw that you scored a 65%. Something like the following might be going on in your mind:

Experiences Influencing Experiences

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I need 60% or higher to pass. I scored 65%. Therefore, I passed.
The actual thought process might not be as formal as this, but the inherent meaning in the above syllogism would be the same, whatever the thought process. It is the conclusion that would invoke emotions. A sigh of relief might sweep over you. A grin might appear on your face. But how does the thought "I passed" flow into emotion? Well, in this situation, the meaning of that thought is that something good happened. If we were to expand the above syllogism, it might be expressed as follows:

I need 60% or higher to pass. I scored 65%. Therefore, I passed. Passing is a good thing. Therefore, a good thing happened.
As before, however, you need not explicitly think these thoughts. These extra two thoughts, or more precisely, the meaning of these two thoughts, are already wrapped up within the thought "I passed". Therefore, the thought "I passed" not only has the technical meaning of where you rank on the bell curve, but it has the meaning of the goodness or badness of this situation. Note that this is dependent on the fact that you want to see a passing score, which means that the meaning of goodness in this situation is derived from a lot more than just seeing a mark on a test score sheet. Other co-present mental states have their influences as the above sidenote explains. Returning to the point, although the concept of "goodness" or "badness" is still just a cognition, it is our understanding of what "goodness" or "badness" mean that loads it with value, and it is value that drives it to flow into an emotion. The way I usually put this is to say that the thought "entails" the emotion. Once it becomes an emotion, what happens to this meaning? Nothing! The emotion, so long as it is there, continues to mean that the situation is good (or bad if you failed). This gives it the potential to entail other cognitions: "Since the situation is so good, that means I should treat myself to some ice cream! Since I'm treating myself to ice cream, that means I should get some money out from a bank machine. It also means I should invite a few friends along since eating ice cream alone is kind of boring..." Note that the meaning of the emotion is a statement about the value of the situation. This describes precisely the projected form of the emotion. This link between an experience's meaning and its projected form can be seen in all experiences. In other words, meaning seems to come across as statements about reality, and this seems to result in projection.
Projection

Defining Direction

Also note that the direction in which meaning flows is not rigorously predetermined. In order to celebrate your good grades, you decided to go for ice cream, but you may not have decided on that particular course at all - you may have decided to go for pizza; or you may not have decided to celebrate at all. The fact of the matter is, there are so many confounding variables influencing the decisions we make and the course our minds take that very rarely will experiences morph in exactly the same way every single time. This complication is matched by the complexity of neural and chemical activity in our brains, very few neural events ever resulting in exactly the same subsequent neural events every single time. Obviously, this can't be the case for all neural events, or all experiences, for the examples of logical thinking above seem to defy this notion. But it is more often the case that the direction of flow is unpredictable than otherwise. This doesn't necessarily invoke free-will - complexity is often enough to wipe out any prospect of accurate prediction - but we will show, in Determinism and Free-Will, how it may play a role in driving our experiences in one direction of flow or another (see sidenote ). One important implication that we can draw from this is that the great majority of factors determining the direction of flow are unconscious. What it means for an experience to be "unconscious" will have to await The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter, but we can nonetheless list a couple examples here. Concerning your celebration of good marks, one of the reasons you might feel inclined to get ice cream is the simple fact that you're hungry. Suppose, however, you had just eaten a big meal. In that case, you might be more inclined to have a nap, and to reward yourself for a job well done, you might decide to go home and sleep for a couple hours. These semi-subliminal feelings - hunger and lethargy - may not necessarily figure into your conscious thought processes when you decide on how to celebrate your good marks, but they are nonetheless felt, or experienced, on some less-than-conscious level. Another possibility is that at the local ice cream shop, there's a really cute girl/guy that works there, and he/she has sort of made your visits there somewhat pleasurable. This has conditioned you. You have acquired a mysterious attraction to the ice cream shop, an attraction that isn't well explained simply by your love of ice cream. Most conditioning effects work this way - that is, unconsciously - but the strange attraction that results form it is usually felt on a semi-conscious level, and it can exert a powerful influence over many of your decisions. We'll leave the rest of this topic - that of unconscious experiences - to the Advanced Theory, but we will say one more thing: a great deal of these unconscious experiences do not correspond to the firing of neurons or the excretion of neurotransmitters - rather, they correspond right down to the molecular and particle structures holding our neurons together. The experiences that correspond to these molecular and particle structures are beyond our conscious knowledge. To understand how this works, the reader must await the Advanced Theory. Now, what about other forms of cognition besides logical thinking? What about fantasies or casual mind wondering? What about memories? What I mean by fantasies and casual mind wondering is when your mind follows a leisurely train of thought instead of a more task-focused train where higher stakes may be at hand and consistent rationality is more important. Remember that even recreational thought has meaning. Otherwise you'd be reminiscing over thoughts you don't even comprehend (which, to me, seems absurd). Even children, in the midst of their imaginary worlds, are comprehending something. And since these thoughts have meaning, they entail more thoughts. This train need not be perfectly rational. Particularly in the case of fantasy, we can have what I call "what-if" thoughts. You can contemplate "What if such-and-such were true? If it were true, it would mean this-and-that. And this would mean something else..." As you can see, fantasy is possible and full of meaning because it has the potential to put aside what is known to be true in order to contemplate what might be true in alternate situations. Take the following syllogism, for example:

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All grass is green. All men are grass. Therefore, all men are green.
Even though the second premise is clearly a piece of fantasy, it still contains meaning, and we comprehend its meaning. This turns out to be sufficient for the two premises to entail the conclusion through their meaning. Note that this syllogism as a whole is still an example of logical thinking, but the second premise is a good example of fantasy. The fantasy might begin with a "what-if" thought - that is, something like "What would be the case if..." In the case of all men being grass, the "what-if" thought would be "What would be the case if all men were grass?" Note the way this question is posed - it is posed as a condition. That is, it asks what would be the case under the condition that all men were grass. To contemplate a conditional scenario need not violate any rules of logic - it doesn't propose that all men are grass - yet we see that it leads us into the world of fantasy in which all men turn out to be green. And once in this world, we can resume our rational mode of thinking wherein we employ the rules of logic to yield the result of all men being green. We see then that the flow of logical thought carries on within fantasy. However, it's hard to fathom how logic can lead one to entertain what-if thoughts in the first place, to turn from reality to fantasy. How would something fantastical ever have any practical use in reality? To understand this, let's recall the form in which fantasy projects itself, the form we pointed out above - namely, the mind itself. That is, we said above that whereas logical thinking might project as truth or fact, emotion as value or the "goodness" and "badness" of situations, sensations as tangible objects in the world, fantasy projects as the mind in the intuitive sense that we typically understand "mind". We typically regard our minds as "things" that we possess, just like our hands or our feet, and like our hands and feet, we make use of it like a tool. For example, when we're bored, we often escape into our imagination as a means of entertaining ourselves. We are not on a train of thought by which we're trying to figure out something urgent, or trying to work out a problem that demands our immediate attention - no, we're just playing with our imagination, like a toy, to pass the time. Therefore, it is not logical thinking that leads us to indulge in fantasy, but desire. Desire also leads us to act. For example, if I had an itch, the experience might be expressed as:

If I have an itch, I should scratch it. I have an itch. Therefore, I should scratch it.
The key word here is "should". "Should" carries certain value laden connotations, much like "good" and "bad" do for emotions. Like our appreciation for "good" and "bad", our appreciation for "should" can lead to emotional stirrings. It can also lead to behavior - as in "such-and-such entails that I should act this way or that" - in which case it is our understanding of the meaning of "should" that leads us to engage in the aforementioned act. Of course, we don't always act in accordance with what we know we should do, such as when the word "should" denotes a moral obligation that we are loathed to carry through with, but in this case we're talking about urges scratching an itch in particular. The "should" that accompanies this experience usually doesn't encounter any resistance from other urges - other "shoulds" - and so it usually leads right into behavior (as if continuing on with the process of flow). As it concerns fantasy, we often encounter the same feeling of "should" - as in "I should day dream to get rid of this itching boredom" - and the act of carrying through with it is like an act of behavior - we apply our will to it and control it like a tool at our disposal. This, for us, usually justifies delving into fantasy. And what about memories? The way meaning gives way to flow in the case of memories is a little harder to demonstrate. It's not so hard to see how the triggering of a memory would lead, by way of its meaning, to other thoughts and experiences, but how our stream of thought leads to memories being triggered is the hard part. The key reason for this, it seems to me, is that memories are much like sensations or emotions brought directly about by mood altering drugs in that they appear spontaneously, instigating the process of flow but not arising from it. We can see this in those occasional moments when something we were trying to recall eludes us until some time later when it suddenly springs to mind without our expecting it. However, unlike sensations or emotions induced by drugs, memories are often triggered by experiences that are already in the process of flow in our minds. The sight of a photograph, for instance, might

trigger memories of the past. Things discussed in a conversation might trigger memories of related things. It's hard to see how these things necessarily "entail" our memories. How does the visual experience of seeing a photograph, for example, necessarily mean that such-and-such event did indeed happened in the past (which would be the proper translation into words of memories of that past event)? The answer to this is that there are indeed extraneous experiences responsible for triggering our memories, experiences extraneous to the thoughts or sensory experiences that seem to trigger those memories by themselves. This involves understanding the process of unconscious experiences mentioned above, for these extraneous experience are unconscious, and so a full appreciation for how the meaning of our conscious experiences, such as thought or sensation, can flow into memory must await the Advanced Theory. To give a brief account, however, let's just say that the neurological counterpart of memory - that is, the MODs in our brains that memories correspond to - are not so much neural circuits in the active process of firing, but neural connections and pathways that have been fortified - that is, put in place and secured - by prior experiences. For example, highly intense experiences, like a car crash, tend to stand out in our minds as powerful and long lasting memories. This is because the flurry of activity in our brains resulting from something like a car crash leaves behind new and very fortified neural configurations and pathways that remain in place for a very long time. But these configurations and pathways do not need to

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maintain constant firing in order for the corresponding memories to be preserved. So what do the extraneous unconscious experiences mentioned above correspond to? They correspond to the molecular and particle activity, which are always undergoing activity, that hold these newly fortified neural circuits firmly in place. Because these extraneous experiences are ever-present, they are always ready, in conjunction with our conscious thoughts, sensations, and any other experiences involved, to trigger our memories. It is the meaning in these extraneous experiences that we need in order to explain how flow leads to these memories, but because they are unconscious, we unfortunately confront difficulty in doing so. And sensation? It might seem like something so trivial as the sound of traffic outside or the glossy shine I see on my wine glass carries no meaning at all. But don't think too deeply about these ones. The meaning within these experiences is actually the simplest thing you could conjecture. It's actually the very thing you're experiencing. The sound of traffic could mean that there's traffic outside, or that it's noisy. The shine on my wine glass simply means that my wine glass is shiny. If we want to get a bit more abstract, we might say it means that I must have the lights turned on. In essence, the meaning in sensations can be translated into statements about the reality of the things being sensed. And once translated, it can be seen how they might have implications for other things such as the shine on my wine glass implying I have the lights turned on, and is therefore capable of entailing this fact. And then there's pleasure and pain. Pleasure and pain can exist in sensations or emotions. The meaning of pleasure is that something is good and should be preserved, while the meaning in pain is that something is bad and should be halted (or prevented). It so happens that I am, for the most part, utilitarian in my moral beliefs. This means that I believe the concept of morality derives its meaning from our experiences with pleasures and pains, and their meanings, as translated above, shows why.
Utilitarianism

Projection

But I digress. For now, we are in a position to formally define meaning and a few other terms and principles. The meaning of an experience is basically the most precise translation one can give on what it feels like, and since all experiences project themselves, this translation always comes across as a statement about reality. In other words, experiences are messages conveying information about reality. Further meaning can be entailed by these messages, and thus meaning always gives rise to flow, each experience following in some way from the last.

Definition: Meaning Meaning is the property of experiences that defines its essential quality and instigates its flow. Definition: Entailment Entailment is the process of flow. It is the process whereby the meaning of one experience gives rise to the meaning of the subsequent experience. Definition: Momentum Momentum is the force and direction with which experiences flow. Principle: The Meaning of Experiences All experiences have meaning. This meaning instigates flow, resulting in the continuous entailment of further experiences.
So meaning makes flow possible. But the relation between meaning and flow is even closer than that. Meaning and flow are actually equivalent. The meaning of an experience, so long as it has momentum, will always entail further meaning. For example, seeing that you scored 65% entails that you passed, which in turn entails that the situation is good, which in turn entails that you should treat yourself to ice cream, and so forth and so on. The general rule of thumb, in understanding the nature of flow and meaning, is to ask, "If the experience means something, what does it mean?" The answer to this question will express the ensuing experience. Take the thought "I passed" for example. What does it mean? It means that the situation is a good one. Furthermore, the momentum of experiences ensures that they will entail other experiences, not just that they can. In light of parallelism, the momentum of experience parallels the physical momentum of signals traveling through MODs. Once those signals start propagating, they won't stop unless acted upon by an external force (Newton's first law). Likewise, the momentum of experience keeps the flow of experiences on a constant path of metamorphosis.

Principle: The Meaning Question To understand how the meaning of an experience entails the ensuing experience, ask the question "What does the experience mean?" The answer will be the ensuing experience.
This principle provides the key to understanding how meaning instigates flow. Let's see why. Suppose we had an experience A that entailed experience B. In the question "What does the experience mean?", the experience referred to is experience A. In the statement "The answer will be the ensuing experience", the experience referred to is experience B. What this means is that experience B is

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Projection

"imbedded" in experience A - that is, experience B, playing the role of the meaning of experience A, must be there in experience A in some form. This is not to say that experience B is experience A, but that experience A is "impregnated" with experience B - that is, we can think of experience A as carrying experience B in a sort of congenital form, and that experience B comes to fruition as a function of projection - that is to say, if A is real, B must be the case (and thus becomes real too). What this shows is that the very identity of experience B is drawn from that of A, and this is what makes flow continuous. More importantly, this is what makes flow necessary. We will elaborate on this point further in another paper. For now, let us conclude that B drawing its identity from A explains how the meaning in each is equivalent to the flow of one to the other.

Sense and Understanding (or Normalization and Naturalization)
I should point out that a couple competing terms I could have used to describe meaning are "sense" and "understanding". The term "sense" insinuates the meaning within experiences, usually cognitions, as being intelligible or "graspable". "That idea makes sense," we might say, which means that we deem the meaning of the idea to be clear and sound. A similar connotation accompanies the term "understanding". I chose "meaning" because it seemed to convey this notion, plus the ability to entail subsequent meaning. But "sense" and "understanding" also convey important notions. Namely, the notion of clarity in the experience. This, to me, is important since it shows one of the most important roles meaning plays in experiences - that is, to define the essential feel or sense of the experience. It is the meaning in a symbol which, when described, conveys the exact feel or sense of the concepts invoked by the symbol. Therefore, meaning, just like the essence of realness, is so intrinsically a part of experience that it defines it at its very core. Also like the essence of realness, it might be difficult to think of the experience and its meaning as one and the same, but this would indeed be the case. This identity will be more thoroughly examined in later papers. Returning to the use of the word "sense", one might also say that the sense of an experience "makes sense" out of it. That is to say, the sense of an experience has a tendency to make the experience feel "normal" or "natural". It gives us the feeling that "the world is normal when it makes sense" or "it's natural for the situation to be the way it is". Of course, this doesn't mean we never feel that anything is unnatural or not normal, but these feelings are a special case, as we'll discuss below. If such feelings are not there, the feeling of naturalness or normalcy usually fills in as, you could say, the default impression. This is why we have a tendency to appraise our point of view as the right one, and anyone who disagrees as mistaken. When the older generation listens to the music of the younger generation, they more often than not dismiss it as distasteful noise pollution. They say "This music is just garbage!" This is a perfect example of their impression of the music feeling like the "right" impression. The natural impression, they might think, is that this music sucks! My point of view makes sense, and the younger generation's taste is not normal. A similar example would be one's taste for certain foods. If I love formaldehyde flavored ice cream, and you despise it, you might ask me "Why do you like such revolting stuff?" thinking I was the weird one for liking it. I, on the other hand, think of my tastes as normal, and so I'd respond with "Because it tastes good." My liking for it can be understood just by the good taste itself, I would think, and there's no rational basis for you not to like it. This sense of our experiences being natural and normal might be a consequence of projection. That is, we see it as normal and natural because it is real. For example, not only does the younger generations music sound awful, it is awful. Not only does my taste in food seem disgusting (from your perspective), it is disgusting. So because the impression of music and food are perceived as properties of the music and food themselves, it seems that everyone who's heard or tasted it should be taking in the same experiences. But the essence of realness in these perspectives is not quite enough to make them seem normal and natural. I can still conceive of the music sucking and the food tasting horrible, and feeling these experiences as real, but why not be surprised? Why not say, "Hey, this music sucks! That's strange. I would think this kind of music would sound good. Why doesn't it?" This is not to say that the essence of realness plays no role in the normalization and naturalization of experience. It actually does, and for the reasons just mentioned - that is, because it makes your impression seem real and therefore exposed to public perception. But seeming real, although required, is not sufficient for making them seem natural and normal. Meaning, however, does the trick very well. Meaning provides the basis for why the experiences feel the way they do. Because you've got this handle on why the music sucks or the food tastes gross, you see every bit of reason and justification in your vantage point. There is no mystery to it, no room for doubt. This is exactly the reason why the terms "sense" and "understand" are viable substitutes for "meaning" in some contexts. Of course, we are not living in the dark ages. Most people are enlightened enough to realize their tastes and preferences are personal and perceptual. However, having this insight doesn't eliminate the feel of normalization and naturalization. It only coexists with it and overpowers it. We can easily accept the younger generation's music or someone else's love for eccentric foods, deeming them to be their experiences and ours to be our experiences. Everyone dances to the beat of his/her own drum, we often say. But the raw impression of our experiences when we listen to said music or taste said food will still give off this impression of naturalness and normalcy. This brings forward the concept of second-order thoughts. The idea of second-order thoughts is a philosophy that states that you can have thoughts about thoughts. For example, I could be thinking about how awful so-and-so's formaldehyde ice cream tastes, and this would constitute a first-order thought. The next moment, I could be thinking about the fact that, a second ago, I was thinking about how awful so-and-so's formaldehyde ice cream tastes and that this thought is just my own personal opinion. This would be a second-order thought. With respect to our understanding that everyone's personal tastes, including our own, are really just points of view, this comes into play as a second-order thought. That is, it is about our raw impressions of music, or food, or whatever else, which are first-order thoughts (or first-order experiences in any case). The main point is that, even though we realize our personal tastes are, well, personal, this does not replace the feeling of normalcy and naturalness of these tastes. It just shows how we are capable of evaluating these feelings by bringing in second-order thoughts.

Essence of Realness

Projection

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So then what about situations that are confusing or unexpected? These experiences can be understood by appealing, once again, to second-order thoughts (well, second-order emotions in this case ). Confusion can be said to arise from two mutually exclusive thoughts - that is, two ideas that, in their own right, are consistent and accepted, but together contradict each other. So you get confused. Which one's the right one? How must they be modified to work with each other? The thing is, because each thought, on its own, is internally consistent, they maintain their own meaning and feel natural or normal to the beholder. However, their coexistence yields the emotion of confusion, but take note that confusion is more than just the sum of these two thoughts. Confusion is a third experience that is derived from these two, and furthermore is about them. The meaning in confusion, if translated, is "These two ideas (or truths) contradict each other, yet they both seem to be valid. This cannot be. This means that a reconciliation is needed." So you see that the meaning in confusion is about a predecessor experience, not itself. This makes it a second-order emotion. It is about something on the first-order level. Therefore, it is fully capable of maintaining its own meaning without conflict. That is, if these two first-order ideas conflict, that does mean there is a contradiction that needs to be reconciled, but this contradiction resides between two first-order experiences, not within any one experience on its own. That is a truth that the feeling of confusion is perfectly valid is conveying, and it makes us feel as though it is perfectly natural and normal for one to be confused in such a situation. The same solution can be applied to other experiences that seem to defy the sense of normalcy and naturalness. Any experience of surprise or shock that comes from situations that are unexpected are only making sense out of the situation. It's natural for such a situation to be surprising. It's normal to be shocked in this circumstance. Situations that are uncomfortable or downright painful can also be understood this way. It's completely normal and natural to dislike these situations.

Final Thoughts on Meaning
Finally, I would like to respond to a potential objection that some readers might have. You might have noticed that in order to unravel the meaning within an experience, we need to express it as a statement. Aren't statements expressions of thought? If we were to express an emotion or a sensation in the form of a statement, wouldn't these only be a description of how the emotion or sensation feels? It almost seems as though before we can express the meaning of any experience, we have to come up with a cognition describing the experience, and then express that cognition as a statement. Therefore, are we only showing that meaning resides in cognitions and nothing else? Well, it's obvious that we have to form cognitions if we are to describe and express anything. Words, after all, are reflections of ideas. So the fact that we have to go through cognitions to describe other experiences in words doesn't prove or disprove anything about the existence of meaning in other experiences. It does prove that cognitions have meaning, but that's it. But think about this: consider the mind of an animal that doesn't have cognitions but can still feel emotions and sensations, or just sensations at the very least. When he/she sees the blueness of the sky, does he/she not get the impression that the sky is blue? When he/she rolls around in the snow, does he/she not feel that the snow is cold? When he/she runs through the rain, does he/she not notice that the rain is wet? As shown above, these impressions of the properties of things in the world are the meaning within the experiences of them. Of course, you could go so far as to argue that, always having been human, we can't make claims about what it's like to be another animal. So how do we know what the sky looks like, or snow and rain feel like, to them? But then reflect on what the sky, snow, and rain would feel like to you if you didn't have cognitions (after, say, a lobotomy ). I'm sure you would feel the same as the animal. So I maintain that meaning exists in all experiences, not just cognitions. Nevertheless, the meaning in cognition is unique in a sense. When we express our thoughts in either oral or written form, it is common to refer to such forms as "information". For example, when thoughts are expressed on paper, we say that there is information imbedded in the paper. When we tell someone something, we say we are conveying information about that something. In this context, we would be justified in equating the word "information" with "meaning" - that is, to understand the information being conveyed by spoken or written words is to understand its meaning. So if we substitute the word "information" for "meaning" and think about non-cognitive experiences such as sound, color perception, cold and hot sensations, and so on, we can say that these experiences convey information. That is, we can say that a sound informs us (i.e. gives us information) that the speakers (say) are loud, or that color informs us that the apple (say) is red, or that hotness informs us that the soup (say) is hot. Even emotions can be considered to convey information about the goodness or badness of the situation, as mentioned above. Thought of in this way, we see how information - and therefore meaning - resides even in non-cognitive experiences, as the previous paragraph argued. Information theorists might even go so far as to say that information resides in physical, inorganic, unconscious signals like the electric impulses running through computer circuits or radio waves traveling through the air. This definition of "information" stretches beyond the scope of meaning, but it does show that the use of the term "information" carries very generalized connotations that incline one to attribute meaning to things beyond strict cognitive experiences (and when we get to The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter, we will see how equating the words "meaning" with "information" is not so outlandish even when it comes to inorganic electric signals or radio waves). Anyway, we are now in a position to refine the definition of experience one last time. All experience contains meaning, and it is this meaning that defines the essential quality that characterizes the experience.

Definition: Experience (third contribution) An experience is... i) any instance of qualitivity... ii) that exudes the essence of realness, resulting in projection... iii) and conveys a meaning that describes its essential quality, resulting in flow.

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Qualitivity

The Essence of Realness

Just as we showed how the first contribution to our definition of "experience" - namely, its being qualitivity - relates to the second namely, the essence of realness - it can likewise be shown how the first contribution relates to the third. If we said that an experience's ability to take on any quality whatsoever gives it the ability to be anything whatsoever - thereby linking qualitivity with the essence of realness - we can say something similar about the link between qualitivity and meaning. If an experience can take on any quality whatsoever, it can describe anything whatsoever, for no quality exists without describing something of reality to the beholder. This link hinges on the construal we contrived of meaning as information. This information is always a description about reality, and there is no limit on what descriptions can be so given. We have also shown the link between the essence of realness and meaning - namely, that the meaning of an experience always comes across as a statement about reality. In delineating the links between each of the three contributions to our definition of "experience", we have shown that each one can be put in terms of the others. We have therefore shown in what way each one is really a different description of the same thing - that is to say, there are not really three distinct aspects of experience, but only one, and we're relying on these three descriptions to do our definition justice. Experience, in other words, is insufficiently defined with only one, or even two, of these three aspects. Only with all three do we have a complete and thorough definition.

Conclusion
I promised my patient readers a solution to the Paradox of Mind and Matter and here I will deliver. We have just converted the definition of experience into a trio. Much earlier in this paper, we stated formally the correlation of mind and brain. Now, we will restate this correlation as the main theory this paper centers around. In doing so, we will include the definition of experience with it.
Paradox of Mind and Matter

The Basic Theory of Mind and Matter The theory of mind and matter is two-fold: 1) An experience is... i) any instance of qualitivity... ii) that exudes the essence of realness, resulting in projection... iii) and conveys a meaning that describes its essential quality, resulting in flow. 2) Experience, as defined in 1), correlates with neurological activity by providing the reasons for the resulting behavior, complimenting the causal nature of the physical process.
I made the box above in red, even though it is technically a principle (thus the light bulb ), because it is the main principle of this paper. There are other ways I state this correlation; instead of "providing the reasons for", we could have said "making sense out of" or "giving meaning to" or "providing the purpose of", and probably more. All these expressions convey, more or less, the same idea. Also note that the second part is not that insightful without the particular definition we gave to experience in the first part (which is why I deem it appropriate to include it as part of the theory). To summarize, this paper set out to resolve the paradox of mind and matter, and it succeeded as follows. The paradox can be described as the existence of two mutually exclusive mechanisms governing behavior, namely the brain and the mind. We started out by recognizing that the mind to the brain is like water to a maze, thereby conforming to its physical configuration. To show how the mind could conform regardless of the structure this configuration takes, we hypothesized a pool of experiences characterized by infinite qualitative diversity from which MODs selected. Because this pool is infinite in qualitative diversity, no matter what the configuration of the MOD, there is an experience to be had by it. Free-will gets replaced by reasons for behaving, accounting for the feeling of control (as opposed to being controlled by our neurology). It follows from these ideas that the two mechanisms of behavior are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, they are complimentary. Although this resolved the problem of mutual exclusion, it spawns a myriad of questions, two of which were most relevant: what can be said about our perception of reality and the meaning of our experiences? If experience always parallels neurological activity, how is it that it still feels like perceptions of reality? Also, how do we account for the fact that our thoughts and experiences seem to convey something meaningful? After all, if they are slaves to neurological determinism, it would seem they should be just as haphazard and accidental as the arbitrary material processes of the brain. Our perception of reality was shown to result from projection, the essence of realness, which resides in every experience, expressing itself as a perception of a reality. It was argued that this is a characteristic of all experiences, and therefore no matter what the physical configuration of the MODs, the resultant experience will feel like a perception of reality. Finally, all experiences were shown to contain meaning. Meaning acts as the core definition of an experience, and, by entailing further meaning, gives experiences momentum resulting in flow. Meaning is also another word for "sense" and "understanding", and so whatever the perception of reality the experience results in, it will make sense to the beholder, seeming normal and natural. The argument for meaning is similar to that of realness - namely, that it is a characteristic of all experience, and therefore will always be meaningful and make sense no matter what the configuration of the corresponding MOD. What we get in the end is a theory that says that physical causes and mental reasons are not mutually exclusive forces in the universe, but complimentary ones. However the laws of physics determine the brain's predestined path, there will always be some experience

Paradox of Mind and Matter

Qualitative Diversity, Projection, Essence of Realness, Perception, Meaning, Entailment, Momentum, and Flow

Cause vs. Reason

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Entailment

to accompany it, and this experience will always feel like an awareness of reality that makes sense (i.e. is meaningful) because it entailed from what came before - thus giving the impression that it traveled along its own path to become what it is now. This impression isn't false, of course, for entailment does blaze a mental path of sorts, but now we see how this path compliments, rather than excludes, the physical one of the brain. If classical dualism (the one handed down to us by Descartes) is a theory of two universal "substances", then this brand of dualism is a theory of two universal "causes" - one being cause proper, which takes on physical connotations, the other being reasons, or justifications, for the physical processes connoted. At least where sentient beings or neurological phenomena are concerned, these two seem to work together, rather than antagonize each other, to bring about behavior. Although the reason side of this process doesn't seem to "force" the behavior, as the causal side seems to, it does seem to necessitate it in a sort of logical sense. Taking the syllogistic examples above, we see that some object I might be holding in my hand is carbon because it is a diamond, and it is the thoughts "All diamonds are carbon." and "This is a diamond." that necessitate this in a purely logical sense, but they are not causes of the conclusion "This is carbon." - at least, not proper causes. The role proper causes play in this case is in terms of the neurological activity that correlates with this syllogistic thought process, activity that cannot be seen solely by introspecting those thought processes nor the logical necessity that binds them together. It could be said, therefore, that from the first-person perspective, we only see the reason side of this duality, and from the third-person perspective, only the causal side. So the particular approach we took to resolving the paradox of mind and matter was to do away with the mutual exclusion problem, and to show how what may appear to be two distinct paths are really one path with two complimentary aspects - cause and reason. However, part of the mystery of mind and matter is how the brain produces the mind, and the theory so far does not shed any light on this. The theory is still correlative. We have only shown how dualism is not incompatible with neurological determinism. We have yet to show why the parallel between mind and brain exists in the first place. It seems as though meaning is the main determinant of the direction of flow, but how does it know the configuration of the next MOD in the process so that it can steer this flow in the right direction? If you think about it, the flow of our experiences is determined, on the one hand, by meaning, but on the other hand, by the need to conformed to the configuration of MODs and the signals that pass through them. How does meaning keep itself synchronized with these neurological processes while at the same time adhering to the direction of flow that meaning necessitates? How is it that reason and cause drive flow in the same direction? To answer this, we will need to address the question of causation, which we will do in The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter. The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter
The Paradox Reexamining Dualism A Few Objections White Box Parallelism The Correspondence Rule An Infinite Pool of Experiences Experience and Meaning Black Box Parallelism Along Dualism Formalizing the Correlation Meaning and Flow Experience and Reality Sense and Understanding

Neurological Determinism

Consciousness and Mind

Final Thoughts on Meaning TOP

Conclusion

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Appendix
Do MODs determine how mental experiences feel? To be more precise, you will read further below that the exact configuration of a MOD is not enough to determine how an experience feels, but how the surrounding MODs affect the one in question also plays a role. Actually, It Could Be Color Actually, it could be sound, or color, or touch, or any one of the experiences listed, but it would have to be a completely new brand. In other words, it would have to fall into a new category of said experience. If it were color, for example, it would not be red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, or any mixture thereof. It would be a whole new brand of color never before seen by human eyes. Heeding To Materialism Even in expounding the existence of something so immaterial as qualia or experience, the description of its essential character offered here works even for the materialist. The only concession we would have to make is to attribute this description to the illusion of experience. That is to say, everything that we say about experience, including the formal definition given here, is equally applicable to what materialists take to be the illusion of mind, and the correlation it has with MODs is just as valid. We would be describing what this illusion feels like. Circumventing Sensation Entities or events in Reality are not limited to the senses for stimulating experiences in the human mind. Think about the effect that mood-altering drugs have on the brain. This is a perfect example of an entity/event from Reality giving rise to emotions directly. Although the entity in question is easy to comprehend (a short lesson in pharmacology should clarify it), don't confuse this ability to comprehend with an ability to understand what the entity in its absolute form really is (that is, its form in Reality - or - the actual thing the altered mood corresponds to). The concept of the drug and what it does in the brain is just a construct, a cognition that represents the entity from Reality in its absolute form. It too abides by the Correspondence Rule, albeit much more indirectly (that is, cognitive models of things in the world are rooted in other experiences, like sensations and memory, which correspond with entities/events in Reality more directly). The example of mood altering drugs is an interesting one because it demonstrates how the effect that entities/events from Reality have on the human mind will not always be felt as something that originated in the outer world (whether that's the outer world of a subjective reality or Reality itself). After all, if someone was administered a mood altering drug without knowing it, they wouldn't feel as though something from the outer world had an impact on them instead, they would only feel a change of mood. They might not even question why.

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Experiences Influencing Experiences When an experience requires another one in order to entail in a certain way, you can think of them collectively as one grand experience that always entails in that way. In terms of all the MODs involved, you can think of them as one large MOD that requires the cooperation of each of its components in order to have the particular effect on the recipient MOD. Defining Direction Direction, as it applies to momentum, is the specific meaning, out of many, which dominates the flow of experience. For example, if I notice that the gas price at a given station has been going down in the past few months, this could mean that the economy is tanking, or it could mean I should buy gas at that station, or it could mean that public transportation use will go down. Actually, it most likely means all these things at once. When you look at the gas price sign, however, only one of these entailments will predominate (assuming you're limited to these three meanings only), and it will set your train of thought in that direction. This direction is mostly determined by where your train of thought came from before you saw the sign. That is, supposing you were looking for a place to fill up, seeing the sign would entail the thought "I should buy gas at this station." If you were an economics professor on your way to a lecture, perusing over your notes in your mind, seeing the sign might entail the thought "the economy must be tanking." If you weren't thinking about anything related to gas prices, you might not even notice the sign. Figure 3 gives a graphical basis for why I call this direction.

Figure 3

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