What is Perception?

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What is Perception?

Postby ashley72 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:52 am

Yesterday I was listening to a Douglas Hofstadter talk... and he was explaining what he believed perception does. He described it as a kind of simplification process or funnelling of many causal things & interactions.

Since then I've been thinking of something analogous to better understand what perception really does as a operation.

I currently think perception is a similar process to what a compiler does in translating lower level languages like machine code/assembly code into higher level languages like C, JAVA, PASCAL

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Its almost impossible for a programmer to write at the level of machine language which is just streams of 0's & 1's or "YES" & "NO". I also think machine language is analogous to what happens in our sub-cortical brain.... fight or flight... which is analogous to Yes/No. Somewhere between the sub-cortical & neo-cortex there must be some type of brain function that acts like a compiler, a program that translates source code (YES/NO) into object code.

As you move up to higher levels languages, the coding language gets more human readable and modularised. This is analogous to the way humans perceive.

Note: Computer architecture isn't the same as brain architecture. The main difference that brain architecture uses "parallelism" whilst computer architecture uses Von Neumann architecture, which is essentially an implementation of a finite approximation of a Universal Turing machine. Computers essentially execute a single stream of instructions in a deterministic fashion. http://www.alife.co.uk/essays/on_parallelism/
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Re: What is Perception?

Postby Webwanderer » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:06 am

This seems a bit too techie for my use. Maybe some others will find it useful.

For me perception is simply current events and conditions, experienced through the adopted filters/beliefs, assembled into a personalized perspective, over one's lifetime to date. As filters and beliefs change and evolve, perceptions change accordingly.

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Re: What is Perception?

Postby Clouded » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:58 am

I think that Clouded's programming language contains too many loops because I spend too much time thinking about the same things over and over again.
"If you want to know what your were like in the past, look at your body today. If you want to know what your body will be like in the future, look at your thoughts today." -Deepak
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Re: What is Perception?

Postby ashley72 » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:54 pm

"Human" perception is an approximation system. It takes millions of causal interactions at the atomic level... and creates a ready made object/concept which is human readable. It's not an exact science like say quantum physics for detecting bottom-up causality. Perception needs to be done in real-time, in a time-frame, that helps a human detect.... can this seething mass or blob of causality be trusted... or is this blob of causality untrustworthy! :lol:
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Re: What is Perception?

Postby peas » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:30 am

Perception is a subset of reality. Therefore, the more doors of perception that can be opened the more reality can be understood.
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Re: What is Perception?

Postby Sighclone » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:34 am

Rupert Spira has two fine books out on this subject - "Presence, Vols 1 and 2"
Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce
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Re: What is Perception?

Postby ashley72 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:34 pm

I was thinking about perception again whilst reading the book "content & Consciousness"... which made something twig in my cranium. :lol:

If you were to build a rudimentary perception machine with a video camera, say two offset lens, a bit like an oculus rift virtual reality headset. https://www.oculus.com/rift/ say in greyscale to keep it simple.

The video stream of greyscale pixels would stream into the neural net analyser. The neural net analyser would have pattern recognition algorithms, that make out different clusters and patterns of the greyscale and classify them accordingly. If the input was just the handwritten digits from 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 it would be interpreted by a simply optical character recognition neural net. This neural net would be able to identify whenever it encounter a 1,2,3 etc. However, there is no meaning in relation to these characters until it is mapped on to some internal representation. That internal representation might be of different numbers of marbles.

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It's this mapping of the physical domain, held internally as a representation, which gives abstract concepts like 0,1,2,3 etc meaning.

This also occurs with our internal representation of self. We first abstract it from the physical domain and hold it as an internal representation.

Now if we introduce the character "I" which is no different to the characters 0,1,2 etc, in other words, the "I" has no meaning until it is mapped to the internal representation of the internal representation of the physical self.

Therefore mappings are what causes the build up of meaning. The more meaning something has, the more mapings it has and so on.
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Re: What is Perception?

Postby viking55803 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:59 pm

I think in the limited domain of human sensory perception, this computer analogy is a reasonable analogy. You might add the output of the programming languages: like a graphical user interface. It's obviously a neuro-chemical process, that is ultimately interpreted in our sphere of consciousness. It's that part that's still a mystery - I don't believe there is general agreement between science and philosophy about exactly what consciousness is. As Eckhart Tolle puts it, this is the vertical dimension and equivalent to actualized or realized spirituality. All sentient beings have a consciousness, that's evident.
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Re: What is Perception?

Postby ashley72 » Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:22 am

The internal representation of "I" becomes many, many things over time. It's this richness of mappings which gives the "I" it's elusiveness and mystery. The loop mappings go from outer representation (video input) to inner representation (memory storage) via the neural network analyser over and over again each time adding to the overall analogy or metaphor of "I".

What people don't see in the elusiveness & mystery of metaphor mappings, is that it can organically grow and spurt new associations indefinitely.

A metaphor says Julian Jaynes involves two components:

The metaphier, and the metaphrand. The metaphrand is anchored in the primary domain, something concrete and easy to know. The Metaphier is the abstract idea that we're trying to represent in the target domain or abstract.

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Human Consciousness is the inner equivalent of the empty space the table & chairs are enclosed within. The video input of the empty space also has an inner representation metaphorically.

Even Eckhart Tolle recognise the power of metaphor...

The inner equivalent to 'Objects' in space such as furniture, walls, and so on are your mind objects: thoughts, emotions, and the objects of the senses. And the inner equivalent of 'space' is the consciousness that enables your mind objects to be, just as space allows all things to be - so if you withdraw attention from things - objects in space - you automatically withdraw attention from your mind objects as well.
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