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Metaphysics & Psychology

Scientific evidence of the lack of free will in humans

In the 1980s, American neuroscientists, while studying the possibilities of the brain and human consciousness, came to an unexpected conclusion – a person is completely deprived of free will and makes decisions based on a prepared algorithm. 

Moreover, with the help of special devices you can predict all his thoughts and actions. How do we make decisions? How does consciousness depend on the brain? Is there freedom of thought?

“We conquered matter because we conquered consciousness. Reality is inside the skull.” – George Orwell, British writer.

What is free will? This is a person’s ability to make informed choices and make informed actions in a given situation. For centuries, scientists and philosophers have tried to find the answer, what is consciousness and how is it interconnected with the brain and body? As it turned out, consciousness in the body plays a secondary role.

So, in 1983, a group of American scientists led by Benjamin Libet conducted an interesting experiment.

A participant in the experiment observed a green dot moving along the dial of an oscilloscope and had to remember its location when he moved his finger or bent his wrist. In the second case, the subject had to plan these actions, but not to perform them.

To fix the exact time of brain arousal and subsequent contraction of the arm muscles, the researchers brought special medical devices to the subject’s head and arms.

As a result, Libet received three indicators: the time when the subject decided to perform an action (the position of the green dot), the time when the brain reacted to it, and the time when the arm finally moved.

According to the logic of things, first a person decides to move his finger, after which the brain enters the work, which gives the command to the hand to do the will of the owner.

0 - rest, 1 (−500 ms) - measurement of the readiness potential, 2 (−200 ms) - the subject makes a decision, 3 (0 ms) - action
0 – rest, 1 (−500 ms) – measurement of the readiness potential,
2 (−200 ms) – the subject makes a decision,
3 (0 ms) – action

In fact, it turned out that the brain was first activated. It was there that the decision was made to move a finger. After 0.5 seconds, this decision reached the consciousness of a person (at this time he noted the position of the green dot), and after another 0.2 seconds, the muscles of the arm contracted.

Thus, the experiment showed that the brain is ahead of consciousness by half a second and affects the decisions of consciousness. That is, a person does not have power over his own behavior. Theoretically, he has 0.2 seconds to veto the decision made by the brain, but, in practice, this time is not enough to think about the situation.

Amazing incredible

After Benjamin Libet, brain experiments continued. So, at the Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Psychology and Neurophysiology in Leipzig, researchers were able to calculate the time of the origin of thought in the brain, before it reaches consciousness. It turned out that the brain accepts and processes thought 7 seconds before it regains consciousness. That is, noting the activity of the subject’s brain, scientists learned 7 seconds earlier what a person would think about now and knew exactly when he would make the movement.

Hence the conclusion, if someone can predict the decisions and actions of a person in advance, then free will simply does not exist.

However, that is not all. In 1999, Sino-American neuroscientist Yang Dan proved that the brain works no different from the computer, and if you calculate the encoding of the human brain, you can easily read all the information that appears there.

This time an experiment was conducted on a cat. The researcher fixed it on the table, picked up electrodes to his head and showed the animal various images. The picture that appears in the head of a cat was transmitted to a computer in the form of electrical impulses. There, the pulses were again converted into an image. The computer painted what the animal saw.

Knowing how the brain of a particular person works and, having the opportunity to pick up a key to it, you can record his thoughts, memories, read out his character and personality as a whole.

It turns out that not only is a person not the master of his own body (all decisions are made by the brain – a biological computer), it can still be read like an open book.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Can the Universe consciously imitate its own existence?

According to the new hypothesis, the Universe imitates its own existence in a “strange loop”. In an article published by scientists from the Institute for the Study of Quantum Gravity, it is argued that the basis of the hypothesis is the theory of panpsychism, according to which everything in nature is animated. 

The article was published in the journal Entropy and, as the authors of the work write, is designed to combine understanding of quantum mechanics with a non-materialist point of view. In other words, scientists want to understand how real we are and everything that surrounds us. Agree, this is at least an interesting question for modern science and our understanding of the Universe.

What is reality?

How real is reality? What if all that you are, all that you know, all the people in your life, as well as all events do not physically exist in reality, but are a very complex simulation? Like in the series of the animated series “Rick and Morty” when one of the characters got into a simulation and did not even notice it. Our regular readers know that the philosopher Nick Bostrom addressed this issue in the foundational article “Do we live in computer simulation?”, Which suggests that our entire existence may be the product of very complex computer models (simulations) controlled by advanced creatures whose the true nature we may never know.

I am not a supporter of this idea, but despite all the seeming madness of Bostrom’s assumption, we really don’t know what reality is. Modern science is not yet able to cognize the quantum world and understand, for example, why at the atomic level particles change their behavior when they are watched. At a time when physicists are working on building a mission that can figure out if a parallel universe or universes exists, Bostrom’s idea does not look extraordinary.

But the new theory takes a step forward – what if there are no advanced creatures, but everything in “reality” is self-imitation that generates itself from “pure thought?”

Frame from the series Rick and Morty. The moment Jerry found out that all this time he lived in a simulation

The Physical Universe is a “strange loop”, writes Quantum Gravity Research, a Los Angeles-based Institute for Theoretical Physics, founded by scientist and entrepreneur Clay Irwin. The work is based on the Bostrom modeling hypothesis, according to which all reality is an extremely detailed computer program – and they ask: instead of relying on advanced life forms to create the technology necessary to create everything in our world, is it not better to assume that the Universe itself is a “mental imitation of oneself”? Scientists associate this idea with quantum mechanics, considering the universe as one of many possible models of quantum gravity.

One important aspect that distinguishes this point of view from others similar to it is related to the fact that the initial hypothesis of Bostrom is materialistic and considers the Universe as physical. For Bostrom, we could just be part of an ancestral simulation created by posthumans. Even the process of evolution itself can simply be a mechanism by which future beings experience countless processes, purposefully moving people through levels of biological and technological growth. In this way, they generate the alleged information or history of our world. Ultimately, we will not notice the difference.

But where does physical reality come from that would spawn a simulation? Their hypothesis takes a non-materialistic approach, arguing that everything in the universe is information expressed in the form of thought. Thus, the Universe “self-realizes” into its own existence, relying on the underlying algorithms and the rule that researchers call the “principle of an effective language”. According to this proposal, the simulation of everything is only one “great thought”.

How could a simulation have arisen on its own?

Surprisingly, the answer is simple: she was always there, researchers say, explaining the concept of “timeless emergentism”. This idea says that there is no time at all. Instead, there is a comprehensive thought, which is our reality, offering a built-in semblance of a hierarchical order, full of “sub-thoughts” that extend down to the wormhole to basic mathematics and fundamental particles. The effective language rule also comes into force, which assumes that people themselves are such “emergent sub-thoughts” and experience and find meaning in the world through other sub-thoughts (called “code steps or actions”) in the most economical way (well, then) .

We do not know much, which means we must consider all hypotheses without exception

In correspondence with Big Think, physicist David Chester said:

Although many scholars advocate the truth of materialism, we believe that quantum mechanics can give a hint that our reality is a mental construct. Recent advances in quantum gravity, such as the vision of spacetime arising from a hologram, are also a hint that spacetime is not fundamental. In a sense, the mental construction of reality creates space-time to effectively understand itself, creating a network of subconscious entities that can interact and explore the totality of their capabilities.

Scientists associate their hypothesis with panpsychism, which considers everything that exists as thought or consciousness, the purpose of which is to generate meaning or information. If all this is difficult to understand, the authors offer another interesting idea that can connect your everyday experience with these philosophical considerations. Think of your dreams as your own personal simulations, the team suggests. Although they are fairly primitive (by the superintelligent standards of the future AI), dreams tend to provide better resolution than modern computer modeling and are a great example of the evolution of the human mind.

Of course, not everyone will like it, but the Universe can really have consciousness. 
At least we cannot rule it out.

Most notable is the ultra-high resolution accuracy of these mind-based simulations and the accuracy of the physics in them. They point to lucid dreaming – when the dreamer realizes that he is in a dream – as examples of very accurate simulations created by your mind that at times cannot be distinguished from any other reality. So how do you know, while you are reading this article, that you are not in a dream? It turns out that it is not so difficult to imagine that the extremely powerful computer that we can create in the near future will be able to reproduce a similar level of detail.

Of course, some of the ideas of Clay and his team in the academic community are called controversial. But the authors of the work believe that “we should think critically about consciousness and some aspects of philosophy that are inconvenient for some scientists.” We can not agree, because in science there are no or, should be no authorities. 

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Metaphysics & Psychology

The journalist predicted a cancer-free future and was healed

ABC11 American journalist Michael Perchick predicted on his Twitter account that his future would not be related to cancer. The reporter later reported healing, and the post scored 1.8 million likes.

A 28-year-old North Carolina channel correspondent said in January that he was diagnosed with cancer. However, the journalist did not somehow comment on the current state, but wrote about the future. 

“In four months, I will be the 28-year-old who defeated cancer. To the battle! ” – Perchik noted.

Many users supported his entry with comments with words of support. Some users remembered how they themselves fought with a similar diagnosis and they managed to prevail over a deadly disease. 

“I was diagnosed at the same age, two days after my 28th birthday. I’m 34 now. You will succeed, man. Kick your ass cancer,” Humphrey03Pat wrote .

In April, Perchik announced that he had completed the necessary course of chemotherapy. 

On June 5, he retweeted his January post and wrote:

“New information about my life: I was right.” 

This meant that the journalist was cured. In the comments, he met positive feedback from users. Some responded with a meme about dancing coffin carriers from Ghana, symbolizing a cancer funeral.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Death Angel Drummer talks about meeting with Satan during a coronavirus coma

Will Carroll, a member of the Philippine-American thrash metal band Death Angel, spoke about a meeting with Satan during a coronavirus coma. It is reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 47-year-old drummer is sure he has been to hell. He fell ill with COVID-19 after a European tour of the band and was in critical condition for two weeks at a California medical center. Carroll was connected to a ventilator and was in a coma.

According to a member of the group, in nightmares, he appeared to have Satan in a female guise, who reproached him for being lazy and turned him into a monster resembling Jabba from Star Wars. After that, the drummer decided to abandon the use of strong alcohol and marijuana.

“I will still listen to satanic metal, and I still love Deicide and similar bands. As for my personal life and what I experienced, I don’t think that Satan is so cool” Carroll said. 

He explained that he was close to death, but now he feels as if he was born again.

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