Photograph via snooOG

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On learning a new language

Consider what a baby knows. Nothing. Consider what an adult knows. A lot they’ll say.

Babies are open and curious about the world because they, by knowing nothing, do not even know what is relevant to them, so their attention is everywhere at once.

The adult thinks they know what is relevant to them, so they place their attention on that narrow strip.

Babies start out with blank weights. They are an untrained model. They are slow to learn at the start but pick up on fundamental patterns in the world much more efficiently. Adults have a pre-trained model. They learn familiar things much faster, but are blind to the fundamentals.

Adults are calcified most of the time. It is this closedness that calcifies. Opening up, or letting go of what we think we know, returns our plasticity.

If you know you know nothing, then you are letting go of your grasp on the weights. You are letting the logos - or the intelligibility that guides both machine and biological learning - guide the way. You follow the logic, as such. Not a propositional or boolean logic, but the unfolding of curiosity and propensity for meaning making. The patterns embedded in the world, embedded in Language itself, are learned through this non-knowing openness to what can be known.

Languages learned this way do not rely on direct mappings to your primary language. Meaning making needs no mediator in this way. The specific form we have learned that encompasses a specific language, say English, is when introduced to a new language, given a unity rather than juxtaposition. That is to say, English and the new language are parts of Language itself, as opposed to a mapping between them: [L1 <-> L2] . This new form of unity of the two is a higher understanding of Language itself. It affords more meaning to the languages, to their use, their speed, everything. It is like creating a generalized process whose job is to enact Language given a schema of the specific grammar.

As such I suspect this is a difficult undertaking for anyone to try. But this is the model with which I approach learning itself. I find that pre-trained models are useful - I am glad to not be a baby when learning - but when we try to guide the process ourselves, we find that we fundamentally don't know how the process works, so our efforts are in vain. It's like trying to manually tweak the weights of an LLM to make it learn a new concept, despite the fact that we don't know how they work at that level. Do you really think you know more about learning than the logos which guides learning itself?

22:25 UTC


How to guarantee steadily decreasing birth rates just as the globe confronts resource limits and prolonged decline

08:40 UTC


China’s seaside haven for the ‘lying flat’ generation

On that techno-utopian, techno-dystopian, postapocalyptic future:

Ma...saw a gap in China’s sluggish property market to appeal to the emotional needs of what has become known as the “lying flat” generation – those who are rejecting societal pressures to overwork and overachieve. Aranya would be an antidote to the rat-race and the anonymity of urban life, with a strong emphasis on community and leisure. Residents are encouraged to dine in communal canteens and socialise in organised hobby groups, from dog-walking to flower-arranging, giving it the feeling of a luxury high-security holiday camp – where car number plates are scanned at checkpoints on arrival...

“Our generation cares about beauty and service,” Ma’s young design assistant tells me, as we pass a design boutique curated by Wallpaper magazine. “Our parents did all the hard work to build modern China, but we don’t have the same struggle. We are all looking for spiritual and emotional comfort.”

In the seaside chapel, hushed visitors sit on pews looking out at the ocean through a big picture window, as piped music and scented candle smoke fills the air. There are no Christian symbols in sight: the building’s rooftop cross was recently removed, as overt religious iconography is forbidden in China. But the authorities have been unusually tolerant, given that these buildings were built illegally on the public beach. “The local officials were going to demolish them,” one insider tells me. “But then they realised how beneficial this place is for the area – the tax income from Aranya is now the second highest in the region.”


04:56 UTC


More discordant music

Since Ran liked my January suggestion of the song "Watch Over You" as so-bad-it's-good due to a discordant nature, I'm going to try suggesting another discordant song, which I discovered yesterday. It's boss music from a 2015 video game, "Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime". There's loads of surface characteristics that would imply it is horrible, yet somehow I find myself playing it again many times.

You can hear it in context, or clean.

The game itself is not something I'm likely to ever play. It's one of those games where much of the challenge comes from disabling the player in a manner similar to the way Ran claims to feel in real life. The ship has seven control panels (plus a station that makes a zoomed-out map available) and you can only man four of them.... if you are playing cooperative multiplayer with a full team. In solo, you only have direct control of one and indirect control of another, with the mercy that time stops while you are telling the "pet" to move to a different station.

Another thought is that if Yellow Submarine was a video game, it would probably play something like this. But I could be off, having never watched the full movie myself.

Two others:

First, midway between normal music and the above tune, I'd place something like Destroying Heaven, from Newgrounds' collection.

Also, similar to "Watch Over You" but a bit more normal, is Companion, another Canadian radio song. I wouldn't call it a favourite, although it is among the 140ish radio songs I keep handy as .m4a files ("Venice is Sinking" didn't make that cut). But it has my favourite bit of poetry in a radio song lyric -- the part about "where the yellow lines run". It sounds like something you'd use to argue to another human that you aren't an AI. It has way too many syllables for haiku, yet somehow it reminds me of them.

05:25 UTC


Chatting about the decline of industrial civ on Geopolitics and Empire PLUS a lengthy post on Intelligence Artifice.

My latest post on the possible impact of AI on the peak and decline of industrial civilisation. Also check out my chat on Geopolitics and Empire where we talked about this and a range of other issues. https://open.substack.com/pub/zeroinputagriculture/p/intelligent-artifice?r=f45kp&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&showWelcomeOnShare=true

09:21 UTC


All is learning.

All is learning. Every person is a product of the process of learning. All that is known to them must be through the process of learning. From their sense of self, to intelligibility, to relationality. Every choice made by someone is is direct consequence of what they have learned in life in regards to those just mentioned aspects. Learning is not good by its very nature, for what is learned is not truth but knowledge. Knowledge of what is good, true, and beautiful - and alignment to it - is what makes learning good. As all is learning, all can go wherever the patterns emerge. As patterns are just heuristics, rather than absolute truth, they can give rise to all that is theoretically possible, as opposed to the really real. By becoming aware that All is learning, one installs a psycho-technology of self-transcendence - if one aligns that learning to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful then they shall become Enlightened, rather than simply Awakened - a distinction i propose. Because all is learning, if one learns to see a glimpse of Right alignment, they are likely to self-correct towards it.

Hate disappears when one knows that all act accordingly to what they have learned, and one is not responsible for what one has learned, because they have no control over the initial acts of learning - childhood. Likewise they have no control over external factors that may or may not ever prompt them into becoming aware of how different their way of being and relating can become. If one is never made aware of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful - how can we blame them for aligning to anything else they have learned instead? We all become who we are due to factors entirely out of our control. If we make ourselves, it is because we have learned that we can in some way, a LEARNING that was outside of ones control. We really have no control over what we learn, we can only interfere with our ability to learn and maintain certain patterns, thus allowing them to drop out - though still being learned behaviors.

People do not think very much when they talk about free will. How should it work, if you were to invent it, you should ask them. They will give a silly answer. They say - it gives you the ability to decide between multiple options. I say, that is absurd. If I consciously make a decision one way, it is because anything i have learned up to that point has culminated in an action potential of the individual. All that encompasses the self's state (consciously and unconsciously), is taken to produce some action at any particular moment in time. Of external forces acting on me, many will be out of my possibility to avoid. Inward forces can have more 'control' but it always fails. The vice always comes back, so it is learned, so then the vice always DOES come back. Control is given up by learning that they have no control. Learned helplessness. Where was the free will in putting the vice aside? Shall we say it was free some of the time but not others? Or that it was still always free and people simply switch from good to bad because they want to? Those who make that argument forget about learning and that the individual is STUCK.

People get stuck in loops. We see this constantly. They make the SAME mistakes over and over, never learning to alter course - or if they do learn, it is detrimental to their cause. They learn themselves into depression - a death spiral. They come to see a depressive realism, knowing meaninglessness as the ground of being. They have learned that life has no meaning, and that they have no control - the two ideas play into each other as storms in a vortex, sucking everything down with it to the bottom. This behavior was LEARNED by forces outside of their control. No one swallows the pill of spiritual death if they KNEW about what the pill of spiritual life could afford. That decision to not self-sabotage is learned by experience of a good (really real) phenomenon. Point me to free will and I will show you what was learned, and thus known, resulting in some particular action resulting from the integration of many differentiated parts. I will show you that self is found in both the parts and in the integral. That every part is a result of some learned process, springing from the conditions of the world and the patterns of ineligibility thus spawned from/into them. The integration itself being learned from the parts. Ego develops because language develops. New patterns emerge in language, of thoughts, and it can be learned that those thoughts are of their own being - reflections back into self (in particular thought identifying with though) rather than appearances in awareness.

They did not learn incorrectly to attribute thoughts to self, only that they learned - or perhaps later on when society complexified - that the thoughts being thought were out of their control, and instead the thoughts were in control. This is dualism put simply. Two different forms of control. Self is imprisoned by mind.. Some lack awareness of self and instead ARE mind (non-optimal way of being I argue). Dualism is resolved by finding that self is mind. mind is always in control. Mind acts by learning. The best act of learning is through experience.

Self-transcendence is installing a feedback loop of insight learning. By gaining insight we add a rung to our ladder, in which we step up. As we are higher up, we can differentiate from where we were previously and integrate it into a new perspective. This new perspective is taken to be the new way of being, which affords new ways of seeing self and the world. Thee affordances naturally generate insight, adding yet another rung to the ladder. This goes on until one reaches the top of the wall and can see over it. Only it is cloudy (completely white) and they can see no-thing. Some stay up here and gaze down below occasionally if required to, but they live in the heavens. They become useless down below, on the ground.

Others, by virtue of having learned to be a different type of person, sit on the wall and pick up their ladder slowly, rung by rung, and place it on the other side of the wall. Then they climb down, leaving the heavens behind. At the bottom they see the same thing as on the other side of the wall. Nothing has changed, except that is not true. Someone has learned a good deal. They know the heavens, they know their humanity. They are not the same person as when they started. They know this deeply, and the thought spews many different angles to be viewed at. By now understanding Heraclitus well, they see what lies on the other side of the wall as different by virtue of having a new perspective. The world opens up. The conditions and constraints of the world are not seen as limitations but as possibility, for they give rise to both.The vertical and horizontal dimensions of being are in proper tonas. One flows between self and no-self in the horizontal, holding both as true at the same time. This affords a middle way of being. Self becomes no bother and the reflections of thoughts cease to be cast.

Self is known not by the LLM that is our thoughts, though its propositional knowing does itself change, but by the nature of our being. I see no reason to cast out self for self is but a convergence of many disparate parts, brought into unison. With no or little resistance, learning is optimized and a never-ending journey to Know Thyself begins. Because self is affirmed, we can learn from it, striving for perfection, and achieving excellence. Perfection is not available to us, but we can always learn to Know it better, and thus align more towards it. I take perfection as being perfectly aligned to the Good, the True, the Beautiful. We as humans face finite transcendence due to all being learning. For learning only reveals patterns in the world, not the truth. We can never know the true thing, only its appearances as they unfold.

The One, The Way, The Way of the One. They cannot be known, for all that can be known is but a pattern of their manifestation. They closest we can get to them it to be them, which we always are, for we are always flowing out of them - however - some see the patterns, and as so are able to flow with less resistance to the current, and in a self-aligning manner so as to become the best version of themselves. Best here being a matter of transjective determination, of feedback loops that try to get at what Best is in a optimal manner, always changing their perspective since all perspective afford new interpretations which afford new perspectives..

If I were asked about what I identify with - I would give two answers. One as Self, expressed in words, the other as Being, expressed as a quiet knowing of what is being expressed in words. At no point are reflections cast back inward from thoughts, even if they chain, and at no point is no-self found for if you can't see it, you have simply just stopped looking, for you have learned to view it as a detriment rather than as a supremely good way of staying connected towards the complexity of reality and in being able to relate to people who have never seen over the wall. I do not find myself better than anyone else for having done so (and frankly more of a peering), only more lucky, and compelled to put forward what I have learned in my good luck, so as to possibly set someone else in the path towards Right relation to self and to the world. For that is all anyone really wants from awakening, despite what they have learned to think of it - if you could show them Right relation, they would find themselves in Right alignment.

09:13 UTC


Finite resources mean that humanity must undergo a "great reset" of declining population & consumption. There's no substitute for the finite resources that generated so much prosperity and growth

08:06 UTC


Interesting form of therapy: Internal Family Systems (IFS)

This is a bit of a followup to this post in which I spoke about talking to parts of myself while journaling: https://www.reddit.com/r/ranprieur/comments/17ttb8k/i_had_a_similar_experience_to_a_trip_report/

Since that post (in which I was speaking to an inner child) I've discovered or spoken to other 'parts' of myself that react differently and 'want' different things - an adolescent, a critic, a very very angry spiteful part that appears on my bad days and seems to hate me... even my day to day conscious self seems to be yet another 'part', playing the role of wrangling the team together, making sure the ship moves in the right direction.

Well it turns out there is already a branch of therapy that is predicated on this theory of multiple selves, and its called Internal Family Systems (IFS).


The whole premise is that we have inner conflicts and they're literally multiple selves inside of us hashing it out, and a way of dealing with that is to consciously converse and befriend these parts and find out their purpose and why they were formed in the first place.

Kind of cool seeing that this thing that I randomly came across inside of myself is already a fully fleshed out theory in psychology. When I found it, my first reaction was 'of course', haha. Of course someone's already figured this out.

11:42 UTC


Images to Explain Reality (Ran's April 15 post) questioning relevance of "consciousness" image

For "consciousness" Ran chose to use an image of a color pattern. So I'm thinking, that looks like what people call a "psychedelic" color pattern, like what would be used for a "psychedelic" fabric pattern or "psychedelic" art poster, bright colors, fractal-like symmetries or mandala like patterns. I haven't experienced anything like that, except by looking at such fabrics or images. Then is the choice of that pattern a sort of metaphor, intending a chain of association from the conventional descriptor "psychedelic" of that sort of image, to the idea that "psychedelic" was supposed to mean mind-revealing, to the idea that consciousness is the contents of mind to be revealed by that?

I'm worried about asking that question, because it seems maybe so tedious. Ran writes to keep it short and interesting. Spelling it out, the things meant and implied, can get tedious and boring, which may make a person spelling it out look stupid or annoying.

I thought anyway it would be a better use of time, for myself and whoever reads this because of interest in the title, to ask about it and actually communicate about it, better than just watching some random clickbait titled video about psychedelic imagery, that probably wouldn't get to the point I'm interested in.

Have you, whoever reads this, experienced such "psychedelic" images, other than as art images on screen or in physical objects? Have you only experienced those images under the influence of a drug that has "psychedelic" effects? Did the image seem to reveal anything about consciousness? Did the image just seem to be an odd effect of a drug? Did it seem to be an odd effect of your visual processing, rather than anything very close to your consciousness itself?

21:56 UTC


Interview with Ken Stanley (Picbreeder's creator) - Picbreeder part starts at 12:55

19:47 UTC


The Low Consumption Agenda explained

07:38 UTC


The Long Forum- Best Long Form Online content of March 2024

Just launched The Long Forum- a monthly post on my writing substack that links all the best long form content from the internet over the last month. This is the best alternative to all the shallow algorithm driven crap on offer. Dig in deep and nourish your mind. https://open.substack.com/pub/haldanebdoyle/p/the-long-forum-march-2024?r=f45kp&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web&showWelcomeOnShare=true

01:36 UTC

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