martes, 19 de febrero de 2013

The consciense according to User Interface Design, prosthetic limbs and fuzzy gates

This will be highly intuitive; like a painting of (Tina) Turner.

Logic, machines of the mind.
Logic, prostheses of the mind.
Computers, prostheses of the brain.
A "closed prosthesis" is a prosthesis with a well defined (stable) IN and OUT. Oriented towards reliability.
An "open prosthesis" is a prosthesis with a 'not so well' defined IN and OUT. Oriented towards versatility.
Conscience as a coordinator of open prosthesis articulations. Conscience as a cell membrane allowing and resisting influence. Conscience is social but also a personal alter-logic movement. Conscience is an act of criticism, conscience is an act of absurdity and civilization. Conscience is a construction, and constructions are acts of absurdity and civilization.

Machines as a prosthesis of the body. The body as a prosthesis of the mind. The body as a bureaucrat between the machines and the mind.

Conscience is outside logic. Logic vulnerable to the scrutiny of others, other sources of meaning. From your peers criticism to your very own alter-logic. Conscience is related with the alter-ego of a tool. If the characteristic of a tool is its functional reductivism, conscience is portrayed as a non-reductive machine. To use logic consciously is to take logic out of its familiar functional environment and to apply it into new functional requirements, hence its relation with versatility. Nevertheless, versatility is not a privilege of conscious agents; kids, after all, are known to be highly versatile. So it is worth to ask, what do we gain by having conscience if kids are more versatile? Perhaps conscience is a prosthesis, a cultural object of adults allowing them to recover some of the cognitive versatility of kids. Learning a new language seems a good example in this behalf. Kids learn language much easier than most adults, but adults seem to use logic to hack into the natural intuitionist way of learning. Most adults have no longer the cognitive resources that would allow them to learn by intuition (unconscious logic), so they use formal logic (conscious logic) to replace such deficiency. Conscience would in this case act as a prosthesis, or more precisely, as a way to coordinate the proper articulation of known (intuitionist) and new knowledge. It provides to the knew knowledge a transient environment where it can start to take eventual intuitionist roots. Learning a new language by formal logic is to develop a representation between intuitionist structures of the mind and an external, unfamiliar structure. The intuitionist structure adopts the new structure for enough time as for the new structure to be able to walk through its own intuitionist steps, a transient relation of logical subordination. Even if that is valid for the learning of language it may not be a determinant case example for the status of conscience. There is a key idea, thought, in the latter example that help us to give a more general setting, the idea of conscience as a cultural object. I want to invoke such term in its condition of being an open ended device; a device whose purpose, whose conclusive meaning, is not well define. Like a letter from the alphabet who is ready to be articulated into higher structures of meaning. So the idea is to explore a definition of conscience that involves the coordination of low-end movements –like logical steps within the mind– into the unfamiliar purposes and meanings of the external environment, the unfamiliar. For the mathematician, the 'unfamiliar' means pretty much everything that is not required by the very movement of logic. For the romantic, it means the beloved alienation of nature or the hatred alienation of industrial civilization. Politics, civilization itself, is the very act of pulling the phenomenizing epiphenomenology, is to connect events hitherto not attached by "nature", is the rising ecology of power, the creation of markets within markets, the negotiaton of the future(s) and the past (historical revisionism), to impose taxes to casinos in order to address climate change, in a way, civilization is the very craft of absurdity. But absurdity, in this context, is a double-edged feeling; it is attached to fear, nostalgia and ignorance, but also to the sense of awareness about having more power than knowledge of cause and being cautious in response.

Lets point to a paradigmatic example.

Towards a pragmatic formulation of conscience: "logic inside", "logic outside". Its incarnation in the realm of software design; the classical dilemma between User Interface Design: how much parameters should we put available to the user without risking frustration, risking program's stability or reaching user's memory saturation? And movements oriented to go beyond this dichotomy: multi-stage tools for progressive empiric education, fractal software environment where highly developed Helps create a non-hierarchical language that pursues a stable and not so stable (careful not to draw the user into a promiscuous vacuous erudition of the software) user gravitating environment, etc.

Even if the user has the education to use a low ended, highly versatile language, the day to day experience will determine the eventual "figuration" of the software (people that use Fortran with the same object-oriented conscience as if they were using Win 98). In other words, freedom is not a substantive, is a verb. This dichotomy should not be push to hard, though, we should provide a space of action for the user against unexpected situations and in general substantive freedom provides a shelter for the unpredictable verbs to come... to come into practice into a daily basis. Furthermore, there are machines whose very purpose is to be non-reductive; an anti-tool, a meta-tool, a humanist being, etc. Or if you are a hard nose pragmatist, a tool to conceive new tools, a workbench, an Integrated Development Environment, etc.

About the moral aspect of conscience [in here I fail to connect with the former reflection and instead try to pour some redundant poetish blablabla, nevertheless… license of sketch]. If consciousness is indeed that membrane, that interstitial region, that last shelter of the ego within the rise of closed tools –as solid as their optimization can be–, that new stone age, then consciousness is indeed the ultimate object, the realm of the undefined in dispute, not a statical unknown, but the frontline of civilization. Doubt is the smell of freedom, and freedom is the rough material of morality. It is the place of reality because it is the place of history. A turbulent history, a turbulent morality is a state of multi-scale existence, but are "we" to be a scale or a bot in the fractal software of history? Perhaps we, as body, are bots. While the fractal environment we explore is the mind, the ego –there is no canonic ego despite how hard we try to believe so (what an argument!)–. That simulacrum of the body which we call the individual ego is just a transient ego of maintenance of the body infrastructure. The purpose of the body is to be a historical incarnation of the complex ecology of egos taking place in the history (of civilization).
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