Emergence And The Quest For Extraterrestrials

Is the underlying phenomena that drives UFOlogy an emergent phenomenon? Is it created from singular parts with an illusion of a whole? Is it only real when looked at from a certain perspective? Is something in our common human experience now exerting new experiences and phenomena?

Is the source of all those fantastical UFO sightings off world vehicular constructions of a type unknown. Or is it more ephemeral, more ethereal, and all too human of a thing? Must consciousness be considered? What does that even mean?

We are in dark territory surrounded by black water on this one.

To describe an emergent phenomenon, we must assume that emergent phenomena exist objectively, which in the case of UFOlogy is a foregone conclusion. Mathematics and the logic that flows from it are key. When we say that a phenomenon is emergent, what we really mean (without knowing it) is that a phenomenon is emergent within some perceptual modality or experience. Without perception, a map or scope of some set of information is simply another set of information. Nothing ’emerges’, there is only data compression. No labelling scheme requires that we resort to extra-mathematical ’emergent’ properties just because such properties seem to accomplish labelling so efficiently in hindsight.

When we run a query on a database and return a row of data, we would not consider the sum of that data to be a macrostate which has emerged from microstates. To ’emerge’ we would need to invoke some kind of phenomenal sensory quality, such as a visual graph. Even then, it would only seem emergent if the graph appeared automatically like a chemical precipitate from the data. In reality what allows us to see an image based on data in a computer is not any software or math, it is not a computation at all, but rather a physical transduction from semiconductor to optical physics to neurochemistry to phenomenology.  We can see, for instance, how a bunch of ball bearings would have the emergent phenomena similar to a lubricant, but no matter what scale monochrome pixels are viewed at, no colour would emerge. The brain as a whole is on a different scale than neurons or ion channels, but no scale is any more logically likely to precipitate a feeling or flavour than any other.

For this reason, Emergence should not be considered an objective feature to be described by mathematics or logic, but rather it is an aesthetic feature which is grounded in awareness. Emergence is not coupled to some disembodied parameter called ‘scope’, instead, it is the direct presentation of the scoping qualities of consciousness which gives the impression of emergence. It may be more of a ‘divergence’ than an Emergence, as our senses may serve to filter out experiential phenomena subtractively as much as they construct sensations from physical microstates. Macrostates are no less real than microstates, and both are emergent ‘scopes’ within consciousness.

We Are Forever Disjointed

The map is not the territory.

Count Alfred Korzybski used this Structural Differential (image) to drive home his point that the map of a territory is not the territory.  His book: Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics drove the point home with a vengeance. At an early age, his book introduced me to the semantic confusion that results when abstractions are confused with their associated physical objects.

Mathematical models of phenomena never replicate all of the features of the physical manifestation of the phenomena.  Models select a subset of the observables of the phenomena and approximate their quantitative relationships.  Endless arguments could be avoided except for confusion about the reality of these abstractions.

Phenomena itself is directly unreachable because whatever the phenomenon is, we can only access it by what it does. This includes observations, sounds, and even mathematical models. But the conglomerate of these expressions, both physical and symbolic, results in something we can circle and point to, that we can name and refer to, and then call upon to remember and think about.

All evidence is an expression. All expression is potential evidence.

To be less abstract:

  • We see something because it does what it needs to be seen. It emits or reflects photons.
  • We hear something because it does what it needs to be heard. It shakes and generates sound waves.
  • We feel something because it does what it needs to be felt. It carries weight.

And similarly,

  • We model something because it behaves in ways that can be mathematically modelled. It carries logical consistency.

Phenomena are the expressions of evidence with mathematical expressions being no exception.

The best we can do is rank expressions by their abstractness and their distances from their source. Math is more abstract than direct observation. But there is always a distance. Hence, they are equated, if for the only reason that they never meet. From molecules to atoms to quarks to strings, every time we overcome this distance, we have discovered something else. What’s more, different realities exist at every scale. Discovering new worlds in pursuit of the core of our own is a feat, but then what does that make our reality? What does that make the conglomerate of all phenomena? An expression. It’s all one giant expression, and there is no is, there is only does.

Instead of using the term explaining phenomena, let’s exchange that with the term modelling phenomena. Because mathematics in itself doesn’t explain anything. It is language.

Mathematics is the most fundamental variety of truth. It comes before scientific truth (discovered empirically), before social truth (the facts about how we behave to each other and what myths we choose to believe), and way ahead of political truth (as in “The great leader is always correct.”). And here’s a shocking was to think about this.  The statement “1 + 2 = 3” is true whether or not there is a God, and also true whether or not there are humans to think about it.

This is important to note. Mathematics is a language. But there are some fundamental differences between it and other non-mathematical languages. The most important one is the near lack of any ambiguity. Language often has words, phrases, etc. that can have many meanings in many different languages and those meanings are contextual.

The question is: How much of a message do I need to understand the message’s contents with no ambiguity?

In normal human languages, this could be a very long message to extract an exact meaning (longer than the message itself) and by increasing the complexity through increasing the length of the message (over-describe something) it can build in even more ambiguity (it is often not even possible to check to see if you got a meaning right). This concept can be illustrated with the current wave of dank-deconstructionist-ironic memes going around.

Mathematics is also a very compact language.

Because of the lack of ambiguity and compactness, mathematics is amazing to model all kinds of phenomena.

Even better, when dealing with the physical world, a model can be made where the error of collecting the data to create the model is observed and passed along to the model. This is very important in any science. A scientific fact is one where the observation (data) is assumed to have an error instead of just assuming something is right or wrong (which is what humans naturally do; seeing is believing). In other words: The burden of truth lies on the data collected and can be statistically measured. However, if someone tells someone else a statement, the burden of truth often lies with a person choosing to believe indirect observations “at face value”.

I humbly think that if the world had a better grasp on this, we could avoid many conflicts. Beliefs are fluid, they aren’t absolute in truthfulness. They can fall on a degree of truth, but humans often don’t see it that way. Belief is often not open to rational criticism nor is it updated to incorporate new observations. But scientific facts and mathematical models are known to improve as new observations are made, and that is the whole point. Finding a better model.

We will eventually find a reasonably accurate yet eternally incomplete model of what we call “UFO’s”. We will someday have the clarity of unambiguity in UFOlogy. It will take time. Frankly, I do not believe humans have even remotely come close to understanding what they seek. Let alone know how to ask the right questions to create a valid line of inquiry. We are just the dominant primate life on this planet.  We dream of adequateness and worthiness of the delusions we tell ourselves. The Universe has no obligation to make sense to you.

Whether they come from inner space or outer space may not ultimately matter. The source of this phenomena will undoubtedly be more bizarre and unsettling than we can currently imagine. As the fleeting spark of humanity slowly evolves, the search and quest for truth may be our ultimate reward.

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