Lessons in Meta-Technology
© 1997 Henry A. Flynt, Jr.
The 1980 "Study Problems in Meta-Technology" was written half a year after I announced meta-technology. At that time, the documents purpose was to serve as a conspectus of this new field which corresponded to no academic discipline, and to underline that for me, the questions could be answered (some of them had been). It was not an aptitude test, because it might have taken the reader years to solve some of the problems independently, whether I already knew solutions or not. In a few cases the problems embodied my mistakes and deserve to be withdrawn.
I continued the project by working up problems on cards. The last entries were made in 1983, evidently.
By now there are enough manuscripts of meta-technological interest, and I have stumbled across enough powerful meta-technological techniques, that the Study Problems are no longer needed for the original purpose, and fall far short of reflecting the breadth and power of meta-technology.
Today, what is needed is to pry the separate lessons out of the original material and organize them as a research aid.
(A phenomenon which) breaks the framework of objectivity is e.g. a proximate, tangible phenomenon (a phenomenon whose elements are physical or psychological) which cannot be assimilated in the ontology of natual science and logicism.
Speaking of Necker cubes, the image orientated as if seen from above is called a topside.
Give an example of a perceived ["instantaneous"] unambiguous] change in position without perceived motion.
Give three qualitatively different examples.
1.1. Cross the forefinger and the middle finger of the left hand, and touch the forefinger with a point, and the middle finger with a round object. Then close your eyes and feel which finger feels the point. Then open your eyes. (May have to experiment with positions.)
Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception, p. 205.
1.2. "Vibration" or reversal of orientation of a Necker cube.
1.3. Hold a dowel vertically in front of your eyes and look at the dowel. Then suddenly refocus your eyes to distance so the dowel splits in two.
Significance of this problem: relation of physics and quantification of perceptions to phenomenal contents. E.g. ancient astronomy: theory of motions of heavenly bodies without tactile data, without verification that celestial things are "material bodies."
Give a replicable, non-mystified procedure [non-credulous also, attainable within a day or so] whereby you personally attain a condition which is waking, conscious, and mobile without ego-identity and planning.
Answer: prolonging or "going with" morning amnesia.
Give an example in which two unimpaired people look at a single objective entity [inert visibly physical entity] at the same time under the same lighting conditions from essentially the same vantage point and validly see distinctly different [phenomenal] images.
specifiably and distinctly differently-shaped images.
Answer: Looking at a Necker cube drawn on a wall. See 4 for corollary.
Suppose two people stand side by side and look at the same "external thing" at the same time under the same lighting conditions, neither impaired in a medical sense. Give a case where what they see is different, but they name what they see identically.
("side by side" we name an object the same despite slight differences in its orientation. But the answer here is much more unusual than that.)
Answer: The two people stand facing a mirror large enough to reflect both faces.
×Compare when two people side-by-side gaze in a mirror wide enough to reflect both. Each sees the "personality" of both faces differently.
Give an example in which two unimpaired people look at the same row of drawings at the same time under the same lighting conditions from essentially the same vantage point, and when asked to report how many "oriented items" they see, validly give different answers.
Answer. Show a row of Necker cubes. ["topsides"]
Give a case of tricky but rigorous stroke-notation where you can designate the number of strokes in three strokes with two strokes.
Answer: Rather than reproducing Necker cubes I will indicate where they go by C.
How many strokes in III? Answer: III.
How many (figural) strokes in CCC? Answer could be CC if figure only counts as a stroke if it is a topside.
(Well C = CCC could be true momentarily.)
Give an example of a perceived logically impossible "stationary" spatial configuration.
6.1. Visual: The paradoxical Necker cube which seems to extend in two mutually exclusive directions at the same time.
6.2. Tactile: Cross the index and the middle fingers of the left hand and place the little finger of the right hand between their tips. Feel the little finger as two fingers with the left hand and as one in the right hand.
Give a case where one person gets two different enumerations at the same time for one set of perceived things. 1 = 2 as a content paradox supported by a realm of anomalous, uncanny perceptions.
Answer: crossed fingers. [evidently meaning 6.2.]
× Develop an arithmetic of 1 = 2 etc. supported by a realm of anomalous, uncanny perceptions.
(Hint: I already have two different solutions, both of which are displaced from intersensory discorrelation phenomena.) [whats the other?]
[Afterthought: arithmetic of discriminations of slowly moving observables, "equivalence" not transitive.]
Contrive a case where 1 "equals" 2 not because of a content-paradox but because the name of 1 and the name of 2 become contradictorily indistinguishable or confused in perception.
Answer. Define 1 as topside, re (6.1).
Give a concrete example of spoken language such that the [potential] vocabulary (the set of possible names) is uncountably infinite (by classical physical/mathematical standards): although each name is finite and the number of words actually selected and used is finite.
Hint: the solution involves "analog nomenclature." Time is assumed to be a continuum represented by the real line.
Answer. Prolonging the adjective "long" to indicate different gradations of length. A potentially uncountable number of choices.
Hennix ?the names of real numbers in classical analysis satisfy this problem. No, because the names are infinite sequences of digits, require an infinity of extent to realize one name.
×Give a concrete example of a language whose (potential) vocabulary is uncountably infinite (by classical standards) even though the number of words actually selected and used is finite.
the word long; hint, the solution involves analog nomenclature; [objectivity of time, may not come in here]
Give a transformation that nullifies the principle of classical mechanics that two material bodies cannot occupy the same [spatial location] position in space at the same time.
Hint: try a transformation on the synthesis ["construction"] of physical entities from phenomenal data.
Answer: "Intersensory Discorrelation" (1981), with "What Entities Are the Subject-Matter of Physics?" (1983), is devoted to the topic. Take the intersensory discorrelation illusions as normative and [[reinterpret "normal" phenomena accordingly]] impact this on the construction of physical bodies from phenomenal data. Then the determination of what is a material body is realized to involve a vicious circle. Vast solution, since it involves getting rid of "25,000 years" of object-intentions in human culture.
Give examples to show that object-perception/ recognition is not merely a matter of conscious voluntary stipulation or fiat (labelling), but pre-empts conscious voluntary intellectual acts like stipulation and permission (labelling).
11.1. Waterfall illusion.
11.2. Hold a newspaper headline just beyond the distance were a subject can read it. Then tell the subject what the headline says.
Then he will be able to see it.
Suggestibility intimates that perception does change because of stipulation
Person sees A; then you tell him he should see B; then he sees B
CH in the case of empathy, the recognition is not just the product of labelling what do you recognize?
[personhood theory, computation on empathy? can you manipulate empathy?]
You discover something unexpected about yourself the outside presence triggers something you did not know about yourself.
Romantic affection: the shock of recognition. illusion of projection.
Give a surface covered by two different colors at the same time.
Real answer: Counting Stands, exhibited 1993.
At the level of the language used to describe perceptions, expound a paradigm of determination of an objectivity by reciprocal subjectivitieswhich "breaks the framework of objectivity."
Answer supposed to come from "Determination of an Objectivity by Reciprocal Subjectivities" (1980). Social molding of perception that keys on control of the vocabulary of reportage, and estranges people from what they perceive. Names of tempered musical intervals. Conformist power of newly introduced reportorial language. In the LSD community, the neologism trails appears, as well as the report of seeing God, and subsequent recruits are expected to testify to these phenomena.
Expound a paradigm of determination of an objectivity by reciprocal subjectivities as in Problem 1but this time give a paradigm which does not depend on deceit and delusion, and which energizes the subjects rather than crippling them.
Answer supposed to come from "Determination of an Objectivity by Reciprocal Subjectivities." The dream commune.
Given a realm of whose situations a description has to be inconsistent to be authentic. It does not follow in a palpable case that every proposition is provable. (Which is how it is with an inconsistent theory in the reigning logic.) So what are "the laws of inferences" that conserve descriptive authenticity relative to this realm?
Characterize [the laws of descriptively authentic inferences in]
the consequence-relationships in authentic descriptions of logically impossible world-states in dreams.
[In 1997, I produced a massive study, on this topic, which is needed to give the question focus as well as to answer it.]
Specify a transformation that abolishes its specification. Then, in two different and incommensurable realms, specify a transformation which virtually abolishes or massively undermines the entire language of which the specification is a text. (Hint: try a thought-experiment in cosmology and a thought-experiment in intersensory discorrelation. Does the cosmological example create any epistemological problems for physics?)
×A. Specify a transformation that abolishes its specification.
Answer. Erase this sentence, written in pencil on paper.
An order which ceases to exist if you obey it.
B. Specify a transformation which abolishes or massively undermines the entire language of which the specification is a specimen text.
Give answers from three different and incommensurate realms.
[Mention a system of propositions which is a truth about the future now; but not when the future arrives. 16.B.1 is an answer.]
16.B.1. Cosmology: the universe evolves until consciousness and language disappear. (Does this case create any epistemological problems for physics?)
Physicists do consider this example at the beginning and at the end there are processes without an observer to see or characterize them.
Does the universe continue to obey physical laws after the operation of the universe has eradicated physics itself? [entropy of information?] Answer would have to be, the future obeys the laws now, but not in the future.
Hennix: language does not enter the cosmological model; language is not a physical phenomenon. [Not good enough, entropy of information. "The observer" in the Copenhagen interpretation is a physical concept.]
How physics deals with consciousness. It does not describe consciousness but is an instance of consciousness.?
16.B.2. The afore-mentioned "Intersensory Discorrelation." Vast solution, since it involves getting rid of "25,000 years" of object-intentions in human culture. The normative object-identifying concurrences are formally defined in a sort of matrix. The ontology is that of replicable subjectivity. But then the discorrelation anomalies dissolve the meaning of the terms of the formal definition. For example, if I see my hand holding a book but feel a pencil in the hand, I might no longer know whether I wanted to call it a book.
16.B.3. The vicious answer.
You undertake to prove the following sentence:
[This sentence exists.]
This language exists.
Your struggle to secure the proof will comprise the transformation.
To learn, as in "Anti-Mathematics," that a system of pure truth is actually a hoax induced by societal brainwashingor less polemically, a morass of contradictions regulated by social control of orthodoxy, social control of language, etc.is in a way uncanny like the waterfall illusion: mathematics begins to "swim." To express all this in a single word we might say that mathematics is (covertly!) embedded knowledge. But whatever uncanniness "Anti-Mathematics" succeeds in associating with mathematics derives from the exposé of deceits and frauds; whereas the waterfall illusion, as a perception, is just what it is.
Furnish a paradigm of embedded knowledge which is uncanny apart from an expose of willfully occluded/obscured deceits. (Trial solution: common sensethe conceptual medium of ordinary apprehension of the world and ordinary social interactionhas to be openly paradoxical to perform its functions. So exploit the paradoxes of common sense. Try my "Paradigm 1.")
Expound an experiment in intersensory discorrelation of the subjects volition. ("Intersensory Discorrelation" treats the topic at length.)
The discorrelation is defined and experienced in the frame of reference of replicable subjectivity.
The commands of the will are monitored in efferent neural channels by neurophysiological instruments.
An example of volition (which however does not involve vision-guided tactile manipulations) is the report of a subject who took a psychoactive drug and "couldnt close his eyes"; i.e. he saw the same outside world even if he felt he had closed his eyes. In this case, we imagine monitoring nerve transmissions to the muscles of the eyelids; while the anomaly is described by a refinement of the vernacular, by a sort of matrix.
We imagine interchanges between the frames of reference
electronic registration of efferent nerve impulses
language of replicable subjectivity.
The interchanges may be complicated by choosing the subject as the observer of the read-out of the instruments monitoring his efferent nerve impulses; and by contriving the specified discorrelation to affect the procedures of human utilization of the scientific instruments. [What, the counting stand as cursor controls or joy sticks? You attempt vision-guided manipulation of the levers, the scope displays your motor commands, and you are trying to "pan" the monitor with the levers?]
Devise interchanges which break the framework of objectivity.
Assume that physical science has devised a brain-monitoring machine which continuously registers the total physical state of the brain up to quantum fluctuations; and which also registers all mentation.
Assume that the machine can output the physical-state data and mentation data in all modes: up to induction of the registered mentation in another mind by induction of the physical substrate of that mentation in another brain (whatever that means).
Devise a thought-experiment in which the subject being monitored reads SPV propositions, and his mentation is fed back to himor interchanged with another subject reading SPV propositions. This should allow a second-order breaking of the framework of objectivity. (Also explicitly discredit the neurophysiological ontology of "intelligence").
Expound a paradigm which breaks the framework of objectivity which is a synthesis of sex and "mathematics" (formal-structural processes quantified).
It is generally accepted that physical technology (engineering) depends on the truth of the mathematics it utilizes. If so, then elucidate the "verso" (underside) of this relationship. Establish linkages such that if a mathematical theorem is shown to be inconsistent, then all physical structures built with its help will collapse immediately.
By using Failure Theorems about the quantification of nature (from Zenos paradoxes to the physical implications of Riemanns Rearrangement Theorem, Dedekinds definition of continuity, the Hausdorff-Banach-Tarski paradox, and beyond), define a physics such that the state of reality explicitly and tangibly varies according to the mathematics through which one notices (apprehends) it.
The physical properties of nature depend directly on the pathway by which consciousness apprehends nature. latest version from one of the 1982 physics manuscripts
This is by far the most ambitious problem in cross-potentiating primitive meta-technology with natural science, and I do not expect a solution in my lifetime; nor do I expect a solution without a massive commitment of resources.
× Contrive a case in which a physical property of things depends directly on the sequential permutation of the acts by which consciousness assesses that property.
Answer. Riemanns Rearrangement Theorem applied e.g. to
Give this a physical interpretation, ponderable and bouyant particles in a vessel of fluid. The weight of the system varies according to the order in which the weights are canvassed.
In a 1931 paper, Carnap posed the problem of whether a god could give us knowledge that we cannot obtain by ourselves because of the insufficiency of our faculties. For Carnap, the test of such a transfer of knowledge seems to be whether we could check the information after it was told to us. (Carnaps example was a proof of Fermats Conjecture.) Carnap also gave as an example the case of a sighted person who teaches a blind person physics. Expose the fallacies in this latter example.
Give several meta-technological perspectives on the problem posed by Carnap. What if the superior "information" is not commensurate with peoples conceptualization of reality and compartmentalization of human faculties, and if it derives its meaning from experiences which people to not want to have?
What are the difficulties in developing an ennobling cultural vehicle which channels energy of the body, emotional profundity, and exaltation and can directly confront people impaired by scientific objectification with their lacks?
[[Knowledge, even from a god, is nothing to us if we cannot establish meaning for it. (But Al-Ashari's doctrine of bi-la kayf.)
Even if a god tells us that the universe is made of mind, that is nothing to us because we humans have never established /constructed/proved a meaning for this proposition.
Even if a god tells us that the classical integers exist, that is nothing to us because we have not established a meaning for this statement.
Problem with Carnap is that it is rigid, schematic, mechanical about the border between knowing what something means and not knowing what it means. Most practical knowledge depends on partial understanding.And: whether the high-level abstract assumptions of the practical knowledge are meaningful or not is constantly being revised.
historical destiny problems
When instrumental cognition (e.g. scientific technology) is turned so that we ourselves are within its scope, it converts us into Things-not-capable-of-insight conceived as bundles-of-qualities, into things-which-are unable-to-encounter-each-other in the way in which the Self encounters "its world: into walking lumps of lard. Modern Western civilization is unique in the degree to which it has attempted to make instrumental cognition autonomousto counterpose it to subjectivity, myth, faith, superstition, etc.and to intensify this theoretically astute pragmatism as if it were the whole of cognition and the highest good to which we can aspire. The resulting strains on the collective world-view are obvious insofar as they take the form of the proliferation of occultist tendencies. But there is no reason to suppose that any of these tendencies can achieve sovereignty in the intellectual institutions as long as they have to compete with scientific technology on the present basis.
[Written in May 1980, before I knew how bad it would get. In the "cultured" status quo today, occultism has been rehabilitated, in the guise of "deconstruction," and has taken over every corner of Academia but the pragmatic aspects of science. The educated classes have returned to the unprincipled accommodation which "scientific philosophy" fought so hard to escape from, in which pragmatic knowledge exists co-exists senselessly with superstition which is scientifically inoperative and whose function is rather manipulation, control of collective motivation. [consolation, or social legitimation, or agitation]. Indeed hard science cannot be overrun by occultism without forfeiting its pragmatic value. But outside that core, occultism has won the battle for respect.]
Is the domination of scientific technology producing any strains in the collective world-view other than those which have regressive consequences? If so, what are these strains? [I am asking to perceive the opportunity for ascending transformation created by the strains. It would be a collateral trend with meta-technology.]
Could an individual who possessed powerful technological knowledge ever plausibly fear for his personal safety? (What happened to Archimedes?)
Does the historical record omit people whose deeds were greater than those of the figures included in history, because the included figures were masters of opportunism and were able to force the former into obscurity?