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Atelier - I've Changed My Mind
Écrit par Alex   
Mercredi, 26 Août 2009 00:52
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3. Operating System (Matrix Theory)

Intelligence, by my definition, is a program, which drives life to fulfill the criteria for survival in order to facilitate ever greater information flow, and it will use any means at its disposal to achieve this. Whatever is available, from the preprogrammable biological drives of a reptile mind, to the computations and higher functions of a primate cortex, it will make the best use of whatever it's got to provide the essentials for life, to provide a matrix, within which it can prosper.

At its core, the program is a director of information flow, and the successful flow of information within a matrix is what makes intelligence grow.

I've called this program itself 'COMP', because it's an easy term to remember and because it reminds me of the words, 'competence' and 'computation', which are two of the things that COMP excels at. It is a 'learning code' of four stages; It (1) Grabs the basics in a lo-res scan and compares them to what it knows already, (2) Imitates and copies, (3) Fills in the details in a hi-res scan and (4) Practices and varies. Then it moves on to grab the basics of the next relevant item or skill. We'll have an in-depth look at COMP later on, because it is the underlying theme upon which Matrix Theory sits; the blueprint for all learning and memory, if you like. First I'd like to grab the basics of Matrix Theory itself, the foundations, and place them in the context of intelligence in humans.

The research historically leading to the formation of Matrix Theory comes from several sources. The biologist Jean PiagetR2, amongst others, touched on some of the issues in his studies of human development. He realized that every human has to build anew his or her own intellectual knowledge and ability for understanding and interacting with the world, and he found the nonvolitional intent that is behind intelligence which drives all humans to attempt the necessary interactions for its growth, yet he completely missed the point when he labeled some of the skills of intelligence as 'magical thinking' and dismissed them as erroneous. Considering the enormous influence that Piaget has been on the study of human psychology, his unfortunate assumptions have hindered the progress of our understanding of the development of intelligence almost as badly as Freud has. Piaget made the mistake of rejecting imagination as a contributor to information flow within the brain much as René Descartes rejected the emotional system, and for very similar reasons. He became almost obsessed with how to prevent imaginative thinking in children, as Descartes did with emotional states in adults, considering them 'confused ideas'. Perhaps because emotion and imagination can deceive us sometimes, they assumed this to be the case all of the time, and thus missed one of the key points in our minds' development.

Piaget's second contribution to Matrix Theory was his study of 'developmental stages' in the growth of human intelligence. This was confirmed by biophysicist Herman EpsteinR3, who found evidence of brain growth spurts in human children on a genetically timed basis of maturation, which paralleled Piaget's 'stages'. These accelerated periods of brain growth occur roughly every four years, between the ages of 2-4, 6-8, 10-12 and so on (now confirmed by MRI studies).

It is during these brain growth spurts that matrix 'shifts' occur. Intelligence does go through clear developmental stages, stages that should parallel the physical growth of the brain.

Humanities teacher Joseph Chilton-PearceR4 picked up on these stages in his controversial work, Magical Child, and was probably the first researcher to really grasp the concept of a matrix and a matrix shift (although his interpretation of Piaget's ideas, in religious/spiritual terms, I find at best bizarre). The major problem with both Chilton-Pearce and Piaget's work on this is that both insist on a stage specific unfolding of intelligence within the confines of biological growth, whilst I have found that intelligence continues to develop (albeit with more difficulty)1 even if this synchrony of timed maturation is missed. Many other researchers have had this disagreement with Piaget, although the work of Chilton-Pearce is less well known.

Chilton-Pearce's major contribution to Matrix Theory lies in his grasp of the roles of emotion and imagination in the formation of human intelligence (as Piaget's lies in his grasp of the role of scientific and logical thought). Both, however, had a separate part of the overall jigsaw, rejecting the other pieces, and what I have done is to cut and paste the relevant parts of their research together with that of others and my own, because only when all aspects of the development of intelligence are taken together do we begin to see a coherent picture of what human intelligence truly is.

Perhaps more importantly, we also get a picture of where it is going, together with the rather crucial facts that (1) if we do not go with it, it will almost certainly leave us behind, and (2) if we continue to act against it, both intelligence in humans, and humans themselves, may well be heading towards extinction.

Whilst I would bet on the ability of intelligence itself (with the multifarious forms already cast aside by evolution behind it over several billion years) to ultimately avoid this fate, I would not place the same degree of confidence in the ability of humans themselves (who may merely be another of those forms.)

What is a matrix?

To explore how I came to these extraordinary conclusions, we have to begin with the question, 'What is a matrix?'2

The word 'matrix' is derived from the Latin: 'womb'. The context in which it is defined in Matrix Theory is as a situation which provides three things: a source of input or possibilities for exploration and learning, a source of power or energy to fuel that exploration, and a platform or safe place from which to explore and learn. Whenever these three things are all present in the same space, there is a matrix. (In actual fact, what a matrix should mean to an intelligence is 'my current reality', because those three needs should be met throughout its existence). They can be thought of most simply as Input, Power supply, and Platform. Without those three things, intelligence cannot grow.

The growth and development of intelligence happens in a series of steps from one matrix to another. The current first matrix of our biology-based intelligence is indeed the womb. After we're born, the parent or permanent carer becomes our matrix for a while. After that, the natural world should become our matrix, then our society, and so on; our matrix should change throughout our development until we become completely self-sufficient at about age 15-16 and gain the abilities for mental autonomy and then synergy.

Matrix Theory:

The successful emergence and ongoing development of intelligence is based on its progression from one 'matrix' or set of neural networks, to another. Each matrix 'shift' occurs at first in synchrony with bursts of neurogenesis, then with neural arborisation and later synaptogenesis, psychologically this moves intelligence into a set of unknown, unpredictable experiences which it then assimilates and accommodates into the known using COMP. COMP is iterative; this process should repeat throughout our lives. This is the way intelligence emerges and grows; it is emergent in stages. The stages should parallel shifts to a new matrix; a new platform, new power supply, new input, new tools, new ways of processing information and new abilities.

Whilst this should all happen in a neat synchrony of genetically timed maturation, in humans it currently does not, for reasons we shall explore shortly. By accidentally interfering with the process we have slowed ourselves down, retarded our development, and caused ourselves all sorts of problems. With neurohacking, we can control COMP and we can accelerate a matrix shift.

This is, currently, most important, because without it, most people are stuck in an inappropriate matrix, and will never reach a full maturation of intelligence.

I must make it clear at this stage that I am not one of those people who think we only use one tenth of our brains, or whatever. (Indeed, if we did, the rest would atrophy and eventually disappear!) It is what we use our brains for that is the problem. We are missing out on all kinds of abilities because we are using the networks intended for their execution to frantically maintain cognition in an inappropriate matrix instead. Once we can shift matrices as intended, we free up those networks for their intended use. Intelligence is then free to emerge.

If you are now thinking that we should have all sorts of supernatural/telepathic/ESP skills I'm sorry to disappoint you but that's not it either. What is missing is competence, not to mention the ability to interact, real emotion, autonomy, self-sufficiency and synergy, and you're not going to know what any of that means until you go there for yourself. Inside every mind, is an intelligence trying to manifest. When it does, you may surprise yourself3

Matrix shifts: what should happen.

COMP runs all the time we encounter anything new, but at each matrix shift, the brain is undergoing a growth spurt and forming new connections, which prepare it for massive and rapid new learning. More hardware is being constructed.R3 The locus of our attention and motivation is shifting platform. Our relation to our power supply will change. The way our brain actually processes information will change. Our input needs will change. Finally, our behavior will change, because we have acquired new skills and/or abilities.

Whilst in childhood the time of our matrix shifts should coincide with physical bursts of brain growth, in adulthood they should coincide with bursts of arborisation and synaptogenesis, self-generated by the correct execution of COMP. But the brain is constructed physically as we grow in a certain order for a reason, and if this synchrony is interrupted at all we will develop less than optimal hardware.

What a matrix shift is, in summary, is a shifting of (a) the main locus of intelligence to another physical platform (different networks), (b) the relation to the source of energy or power, and (c) input type, needs and motivations. A matrix shift is like an upload, except you get to keep the original and have a whole new set of groovy tools to play with; the two then work in synchrony; in synergy4.

We are designed to use the relevant matrix to our stage of biological neurological development and our abilities. All of these should develop in synchrony. As a baby, your ability is not at first sufficient for you to feed yourself; you need a matrix which will do that for you. Later, you need a matrix that will fulfill your other, different needs, and so on. If our abilities do not develop as they should (because of insufficient or erroneous input) biological development goes right on ahead anyway, we don't have the required abilities to make a shift and we get stuck in a matrix.

If a baby is isolated from human contact, (as has been documented in some truly dreadful abuse cases), the resulting child remains stuck in matrix 2 and, despite eventually learning to shove food into its own mouth as physical growth continues and gives it the strength to, its intelligence will be seriously retarded, even though it was born in perfect mental health. Cases this bad are obvious to us all, but in a similar manner we are currently, by various accidental means, failing to provide the relevant input (and replacing it with erroneous input) and preventing our intelligence and abilities from developing as intended.

Without the correct input for the human body, (foods, water, exercise), growth is retarded. Further damage is done if toxins are given. Without the correct input for the mind, the growth of intelligence is retarded. And our mistake has been twofold; we have not know what the correct input for the mind should be, and we have further exacerbated the problem by replacing it with what is, for a growing mind, something rather noxious.

The good news is that we could sort all this out, repair the damage, and go on ahead. The bad news is that the very nature of the retardation that it causes makes us too dumb to realize there is anything wrong, and too afraid to face the possibility that there might be. And if we continue along the path that we are currently heading down, intelligence and humanity will part company on a permanent basis. How close we have come to this already, and whether it is too late to turn the tide, I shall leave for you to decide after reviewing the evidence.

I believe a matrix shift is possible at any time in our lives, through synaptogenesis, with as yet undiscovered limits. I also believe that running COMP is the only way a biological based intelligence can shift platform (which has big implications for would-be uploaders). Intelligence has an innate pattern, curiously enough, of already doing to itself what uploaders plan to do to it, as you will see. Physical brain growth (neurogenesis and arborisation) certainly coincides (or should) with the matrix shifts of childhood, but synaptogenesis coincides with matrix shifts after physical maturity and is a great deal more under our volitional control than genetic spurts of brain growth. Because of this, I do not think that the age of our shift to each matrix is so very easily limited or narrow, because through synaptogenesis we can all reach these points at a later time than that at which biology intended. The window of opportunity for mind development and ability need not close with physical maturity, as I am sure many people already know by experience. It may be more difficult to learn a second language in middle age than in childhood, but it is by no means impossible, and since we can reproduce the conditions for learning in childhood by induced synaptogenesis at any age, it may not even, with neurohacking, be more difficult.

The only things that stand in the way of our learning anything new, even how to shift matrix, are fear of change, and ignorance of the necessity for it. Avoiding experience prevents the growth of neural nets that are dependent upon it. Synchrony with the genetic timing of physical maturation may be the optimal time for making these changes, but it is not the only time. Intelligence is not so easily squashed.

So what's going wrong?

The genetic plan for the unfolding of human intelligence and the growth and development of the brain is currently being subverted largely because of our ignorance of its existence. A number of key damaging factors occur in our development, and it has now become impossible to avoid them without a radical restructuring of society itself. Of course, whilst people remain unconvinced that there is a problem or that there is any need for change, that won't happen. Because the damaging factors are everyday factors of our everyday lives; things it would be highly inconvenient to change. (We'll have a look at what they are, in the next chapter.)

The concept that most people's brains are being damaged, by everyday practices, and that we do not even know what they are, is a scary one. When the issue at hand is that our intelligence is being reduced by certain factors, these factors do though become relevant to us all, and vital to neurohackers. In the same way in which we have, through medical exploration and research, discovered more and more things which are harmful to the body, and attempted to eliminate them through medicine and therapy, so it is important to know if something is harming our minds. If Matrix Theory is correct, a large proportion of the western world (and probably the whole world) is being damaged by these practices, so I feel it prudent to investigate them. Doing so has so far proved an invaluable source of information and a guide to n-hacking strategy. In a way, I am partly the proof of the pudding. I got positive results fast because I knew exactly what to hack. First I had to hack myself out of a matrix, and I think that rather a lot of us will need to do that. It might be one of the fastest ways for intelligence to emerge, and I'd like to help it do so5

What does it mean to be stuck in a matrix?

Most people are stuck in a matrix. This is the current problem with human intelligence. If you are stuck in a matrix, it means that your mind's locus of consciousness and most of your brain's operations are using the networks of one particular brain module, instead of working together as a synergy of all systems as a whole (which is what it should be doing). All of the systems that developed after you got stuck will have been co-opted in the service of that one module.

If you are stuck, you will have no real understanding of people in a different matrix from yourself, as the people in different matrices are using different modules as their main locus of awareness. We are supposed to move through every module as we grow it in the first place, experience what it is about, learn how to use the tools it has to offer us and the abilities they bring, and then move on to the next module being built to explore that in a similar manner, retaining the abilities we learned in the last one, and adding them to our new abilities. Being stuck in a matrix means you have to specialize, in the very mechanics of how you think, because you are limited to the tools and abilities of that one module only. The longer you are stuck, the more difficult it is to change; you cannot comprehend other ways of doing things; other ways of thinking.

As you grew up, the other modules of your brain will have developed right on time, expecting you to move forward and start using them. But you will have little ability to use them except in the service of the bit you are stuck in, and your overall brain development will have slowed down. (You are unlikely to have noticed this, though, because almost everybody else is in the same situation, so you'll probably think your intelligence is pretty normal, or even pretty good.)

After initial formation the sparsely used new modules will gradually decrease in size, as you allocate more and more resources and attention to maintaining your world view as processed by the module you are stuck in. Your mind, unbeknown to you struggling to function on sub-optimal hardware, may develop problems, such as 'anxiety related' disorders, depression, or more serious mental problems (if these were not present already from childhood, as is ever more increasingly the case). On the other hand it may not, but the hormones it is producing to keep up the fight to try and fix itself on a constant basis will start to affect your body instead. Headaches, stomach ulcers, cardio-vascular problems, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and an increasing need for low level stimulants; tea, coffee, sugar, cola, (to replace the deficiency of attention/concentration networks, cigarettes (to replace the deficiency in acetylcholine), cannabis (to replace the deficiency of dopamine receptors), sleeping pills (to achieve what the serotonin/melatonin cycle should be achieving but isn't), and so on. You will self-medicate, knowing that you feel better and less anxious on these drugs but not knowing why. The side effects of these will add to your health problems, and tolerance will force you to increase the doses. Your immune system will be poor, and minor ailments will be a constant nuisance.

As you get older, the decrease in your brain modules will steadily increase, and you will start to display the earliest symptoms of senility (memory problems) soon after middle age. You may not notice that either because, well, you expect that sort of thing as you're getting older, don't you? ...It happens to everyone...doesn't it?

Your wealth and your position in life will not save you from this decline. The problem cuts across all ages, sexes, and genetic types. It knows no bounds of color or size or shape. It has nothing to do with money, class or nationality. The only factor that can stop it is intelligence. No matter how clever you think you are now, the only thing that will save you from eventually becoming the mental equivalent of an infant, is to get COMP running and to get yourself unstuck. Real intelligence will not atrophy and will outlast the body (and there are other guys working on that one, in the fields of anti-aging, longevity, biotech and uploading; may they outlive their critics).

There is a difference between being stuck in a matrix and having under-developed or over-developed brain areas. What matters most is the networks, connections between areas, because this is what enables association and synchrony6.

Association is the kernel of COMP, and synchrony is its achievement.

Being stuck in a matrix does not imply a person is not talented. Nor does it imply a low IQ. Intelligence is not about being good at subjects or skills. It is about the ability to interact and synergise, with as many things as possible. Intelligence is good at anything and everything it chooses to do. It is competent in every situation, and excels at those things it finds necessary to specialize in, in each individual. No matter what happens to it, intelligence will prosper, because it can interact with anything; tools, the environment, other people, and new, unknown situations. It can pick up any skill it wants to and master it, with a creative, imaginative, and flexible logic. Intelligence turns any agent bearing it into a polymath.

The problem here is not intelligence itself; it is humans. If intelligence fails to manifest and grow in humans, it will sure as hell find some other means of explication (it always has so far). Humans may turn out to be a failed experiment as far as intelligence is concerned. We may have been a great success at first, with our groovy prefrontal lobes and executive functions, but if we turn away from the growth of intelligence and start destroying it (as we are currently doing), it will cast us aside and continue to evolve without us. It has, after all, all the time in the universe.

1. This is where neurohacking can really assist us, as we shall see.

2. The appearance of the popular movie 'The Matrix' in the year 2000, with it's amazingly coincidental allegories to Matrix Theory, and it's skillful use of analogical language, caused me to get a large influx of emails asking me if there were a connection. Developmental psychologists were using the term 'matrix' some 40 years ago, and a great fan of coincidence though I am (calling it the 'universe's sense of humor'), my only answer must be, 'No, Neo, there isn't'.

3. You may, in fact, fall over. Intense pleasant surprises often do this to people.

4. This is a summary and may seem vague; rest assured I will explain in more detail, probably until you are really sick of it.

5. Maybe I'm an upload midwife and these are prenatal classes. Maybe.

6. Modules use various different brain bits to perform their various tasks, which is why I refer to 'networks', as opposed to certain physical areas of the brain alone. The brain is subdivided anatomically because of the way it looks; if you get hold of one (not a live one, obviously. You can purchase a formaldehyde-preserved brain online for less money than it costs to buy an anatomical guide to one; dissect it with gloves on in the sink, preferably when your partner or parents are not at home) and pull the side bits off, you will have roughly a temporal lobe in each hand. If you poke your thumbs in the top and split the corpus callosum and then pull laterally, wiggling your thumbs towards you as you go, you will almost get a clean pair of hemispheres, exposing the 'limbic system' as a separate lump in the middle. This is how anatomists first explored the brain before we had scanners and things, so all the bits got named before we knew what any of them did. Most networks use various different bits of brain, and people keep changing their minds about which parts to include under which labels. Consequently I feel it's better to refer to networks, for purposes of greater clarity. Anybody who was just sick should not be neurohacking.

Mise à jour le Mercredi, 26 Août 2009 00:53