Awakening From the Meaning Crisis by John Vervaeke, Ep. 12 — Higher States of Consciousness, Part 2 (Summary & Notes)

“Science isn’t believed in because it gives us certainty or facts, science is believed in because it gives us self-correcting plausibility.”

(In case you missed it: Summary & Notes for Ep. 11: https://medium.com/@markmulvey/awakening-from-the-meaning-crisis-by-john-vervaeke-ep-11-consciousness-summary-notes-bb731dfb10e6)

Ep. 12 — Awakening from the Meaning Crisis — Higher States of Consciousness, Part 2 [54:26] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39NpjQDtqNw

  • “De-centering” is central to flow, mystical experiences, and ultimately higher states of consciousness, and relevant for bringing about wisdom.
  • The Solomon Effect: our deepest and most pervasive problems are always problems with other people. Why? Because, as mentioned before, your relationship to others is the most predictive thing in determining how meaningful your life is. And humans are endlessly complex. But if you get people to describe their problem from the third person perspective rather than first person (to “de-center”) they will usually break frame and realize how they had been systematically blocked.
  • Ego-centrism is a systematic error. An all-encompassing error. Only by de-centering do you gain the correct perspective.
  • “Autodidacts tends to get into echo chambers — vicious circles — of their own ego-centric entombment. Entrapment.”
  • “Love is mutually accelerating disclosure.” Love is something you know by participating in it, like your culture or your language.
  • One of the functions of your “self” is to act as glue. By making things relevant to myself I can make them relevant to each other and “glue” them together. The self is a powerful set of functions for integrating — actually complexifying — processing.
  • What is essential for training neural networks (sophisticated artificial intelligence programs) is disruption. Disruptive strategies. Why? Because the problem with powerful machines is that they pick up on patterns and overfit to the data. They will too tightly pick up on the pattern in the sample that does not generalize to the world. Disruption prevents overfitting and allows you to compress and find the real invariants. The real patterns that will generalize to all the varying contexts.
  • “Jamming without skills just gives you junk, it doesn’t give you jazz.”
  • metastability: a state in the brain that’s doing the complexification. Normally your brain is integrating things or segregating things, but in a state of metastability (which can be brought on with the use of psilocybin, for example) it does both simultaneously. The same type of thing happens when you change from a zygote to a complex organism: your cells differentiate into eye cells, liver cells, skin cells etc while simultaneously integrating together to form a single, cohesive being.
  • “Complexification gives you emergent functions. New abilities.”
  • Plausibility. There are two senses of the word ‘plausible’: 1. a synonym for ‘highly probable’, and 2. ‘makes good sense; stands to reason; should be taken seriously’ (the latter is what we’re going to use here)
  • One thing that goes into making something plausible is “trustworthiness.” Something is trustworthy if it has been produced by many independent but converging lines of evidence. E.g. if you’re only seeing something there’s a good chance that it’s only an illusion, but if you can see it and touch it and hear it and smell it then the chances that each one of those independent senses are producing an illusion is radically diminished.
  • Trustworthiness = a reduced probability that I am self-deceived
  • When you have fluency + convergence + elegance you only need one more thing: a balance between convergence & elegance. A lot of convergence without elegance is triviality. Trivial statements are true, but they’re not powerful. They don’t transform.
  • Little convergence with a lot of elegance (aka a promise of power) is when things are far-fetched. e.g. conspiracy theories.
  • When you have all of these things balanced you find the proposal deeply profound. And plausible. Which is all we have to go on.
  • “Science isn’t believed in because it gives us certainty or facts, science is believed in because it gives us self-correcting plausibility.”
  • What we’re always doing in science is inference to the best explanation.
  • “Do not confuse the rationality of wisdom with the rationality of knowledge.”

Next up: Awakening From the Meaning Crisis by John Vervaeke, Ep. 13 — Buddhism and Parasitic Processing (Summary & Notes) https://markmulvey.medium.com/awakening-from-the-meaning-crisis-by-john-vervaeke-ep-13-eae91388ab0a

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