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Arthur C. Clarke 3/9                        ART MATRIX - LIGHTLINK           PO 880 Ithaca, NY 14851-0880
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                                            homer at E-mail
                                            jes at   E-mail

                                            01/22/07 03:25am

     Dear Esteemed Sir,

     In the wee hours of the night, I am again impelled to write you.

     Although you have not yet received a complete and comprehensive
overview of the problem, I believe I have sent you enough for your basic
understanding in my very first letter.

     The subject matter is learning with certainty about causality.

     Learning with certainty that two different events A and B are
causally related.

     Causality is a bit of a red herring, because certainty of ANYTHING
is under question.

     For B to learn with certainty that A even exists however relates
back to causality, because the WAY that B learns about A is via
causality, A has to have an effect on B, or else A might as well not
exist for B EVEN IF IT DOES.

     Thus if causality between A and B is in doubt, then so is learning
about the existence of A, or anything else learned via causality across
a distance.

     B learns about A via changes in state in B occasioned by A.
     B learns about A through A's effects on B, and if the learning
about causality is in question, how then can anything learned through
causality be certain?

     The issues here are quite clear.

     When two different objects learn about each other, they must learn
by being an effect of the other, by changing state as a result of the

     However it is not a valid leap of certainty that just because B
changed state, that this change had a cause; let alone that the nature
of that cause belongs to the object A one is trying to learn about.
     Such trains of thought, that B can learn about A by changing state
as a result of A's influence, are theories at best.
     Delusion about illusion at worst.

     We have the problem of tracking.

     Tracking is when the states of two different objects track each

     For example, light switch is on, light is on.  Light switch is off,
light is off.  The state of the light tracks the state of the light
switch.  The state of the light switch comes BEFORE the state of light
in time.

     Or light is on, light sensor is buzzing.  Light is off, light
sensor is quiet.

     Two objects track each other because of a causal pathway between
them.  If there is no causal pathway between the two objects, then
their tracking each other is coincidental, no matter how dependable or
repeatable that tracking may be.

     We have here a very fundamental theorem that everyone knows,
and everyone agrees with: 
     Dependability of tracking does not necessarily imply causation
between the two objects.

     There is followingness, that means B followed A.

     There is dependable followingness, that means B so far has always
followed A every time we have observed both in operation.

     There is necessary dependable followingness, that means B MUST
follow A and can do no other.

     Necessariness is provided by cause.

     Dependable followingness is not NECESSARY dependable

     Dependability is not guaranteeability.

     Only causation can provide necessary or guaranteeable

     Causation implies necessity and guaranteeability, and necessity
and guaranteeability imply causation.

     Causation is DEFINED as necessary dependable followingness.

     However it is an immature mind that confuses mere dependable
followingness with NECESSARY dependable followingness and thus with
certainty of causation.
     Worse it is an audacious mind that having confused the two, then
tries to assign the nature of the cause with perfect certainty to

     Learning is a kind of tracking.  It is having an idea that such
and such is true about something else in the hope that in fact it is.

     One can 'know' via a number of different methods.

     'Guessing.' One can guess the light is on.  That gives you a 50
percent chance of being right.

     'Trust.' One can be told that the light is on by someone who
claims to have seen it.  This is more likely to be right, but is not
perfect certainty as it depends on your level of trust in the claimer.

     'Faith.' God can tell you the light is on, as he made it and can
not lie, as his every thought becomes true in the thinking of it.

     Well if you believe in such things, you might want to consider
this a good bet, but would you bet your eternity in hell on the light
being on just because God said so?  Would you also bet everyone else's
eternity in hell on the matter?  I think not.  Again direct perception
of the matter and perfect reverifiability is missing, and thus perfect
certainty is lacking.

     'Indirect observation.' Your light sensor is screaming over in
the corner.  Ok, now we are coming close to something that might be
called a reasonable scientific hypothesis, as long as you trust the
circuitry in the light sensor, and also trust God not to be playing
God at that moment, interferring with the laws of physics.  But even
barring this last, there is still no perfect certainty, because one
can not possibly verify with perfect certainty the proper working of
the light sensor.

     Indirect observation is actually a kind of trust, trust in the
theories about physical law rather than the word of another being.

     There is an interesting theorem that says a machine or any
mechanical system can never verify the integrity of its own circuits
with perfect certainty.
     Even if the machine has a correct circuit diagram, and two or
more video cameras that can see each other and into every circuit in
both the cameras and the machine, the machine can still never know if
everything is working the way it should be.
     It is always possible that some circuit is wrong that makes it
look like that circuit is right when it isn't.  This is a major
theorem in artificial intelligence and goes completely unnoticed by

     'Direct observation.' You go look at the light and see that it is
on.  Ok, so now we are as close as close comes to having a high
scientific probability that the light is on.

     But even then with a clean observation one could be imagining,
dreaming, or hallucinating.

     Just because I hear the sensor screaming does that mean the
sensor really is screaming?

     One could be imagining.  One could be asleep and dreaming!  I
have personally woken up out of 7 levels of dreaming, each one as real
as this world we live in now, each time convinced it was the real
world.  I still wonder sometimes.

     What we call 'direct observation' is of course not direct
observation at all, as the eyeball and retina and brain form just one
more causal pathway and level of indirection no different than trying
to see the world through a video camera or a light through a light

     Circuits could be bad all along the way including in our brain,
giving the impression of one thing when the truth is something else

     So where in all this is perfect certainty that the light is on?

     There is none, because we are dealing with two different objects,
observed and observer, each one separated by alleged spacetime
dimension and causality that can not be seen and thus not confirmed.

     Effects are not sufficient to witness cause with perfect
certainty.  Effects are thus only sufficient to allow one to theorize
and hope for the best.

     Causality is not sufficient to witness causality.

     So causality always remains a theory.

     Thus the mechanics of space and time are not sufficient to
witness the mechanics of space and time with perfect certainty, thus
the mechanics of space and time remain forever a theory even to
themselves, ie things made out of space and time.

     No space time gizmo can ever know if it is a space time gizmo for
sure, because a space time gizmo can't know anything at all for sure.

     In the dream state we see a conscious experience of a light, it
LOOKS real, but there are no photons at all, and certainly no light
bulb made of glass no matter how much it looks there is one.

     The dream is self luminous, the light bulb in the dream does not
light the objects in the dream, even if turning off the light in the
dream makes the objects go dark!  It's all just a coordinated hook

     I have had dreams where I turned the light off, and the room
stayed lit!
     Just so in the waking state, we trust we see the alleged physical
universe through our self luminous conscious pictures of it.  We have
perfect certainty of the self luminous pictures, but not of the
alleged referents in the phyiscal universe.

     All day long when we are awake we TRUST that our conscious
experiences are causally connected to our sensory inputs, eyes, ears,
etc, in such a manner that we can trust that what we experience IN OUR
CONSCIOUSNESS represents accurately what is 'out there.' But this is
trust, not perfect certainty.

     But notice.


     We SEE the red, green and blue and we know we do.
     We are using our conscious experience to learn about the alleged
external physical universe.  Where there are two different objects,
conscious experiences of, and corresponding physical referents,
one can never learn with certainty about one by looking at the other!

     One can never learn with perfect certainty about the physical
referents by looking at the conscious experiences (renditions) of them
in our consciousness!
     However we can see our conscious experiences directly, and direct
observation always leads to a perfect certainty.
     The conscious self can learn what it is conscious of (color,
sound, etc) with perfect certainty.  It can learn of its own
existence, its own personal agency.

     Take a look at any two different colors around you, that's a
perfect certainty.  You may be imagining, dreaming or hallucinating

     The *EXPERIENCE OF REDNESS* is certain.

     The implied existence of an external physical universe referent
out there behind the redness however is not certain.

     I see a piece of red paper on my desk, perhaps it is a
hallucination, perhaps there is no red paper on my desk, perhaps no
others will see that paper there, because it isn't there, but they nor
I can possibly doubt that I SEE IT IN MY CONSCIOUSNESS.

     Thus in the parts of us that are a machine, our eyes picking up
photons, our lens, retinas, optic nerves, brain pathways, visual
cortex etc, there is no certainty at all, not even that these things

     But in the part of us that is not a machine, our consciousness,
we know that these conscious things exists with out question because
we can see them directly.

     Seeing red is direct perception.

     Attributing seeing red to some alleged piece of paper in the
physical universe with photons of a particular frequency bouncing off
of it via indirect perception (eyes), is conjecture at best, delusion
about illusion at worst.

     Conscious seeing is always direct perception.

     But direct perception implies that perceiver and perceived are
one and the same object, even if it LOOKS like there is space between
me and what I am seeing.

     Our consciousness and its 'color forms' (including all senses)
are the only things we can know that we see, because we can see
ourselves seeing them.

     Seeing ourselves seeing is infinite reverifiability which is
mandatory to perfect certainty.

     A machine can not do this.

     A machine can try, but it would take forever to complete a
perfect reverification of any state, and it would fail in the end.
     A machine can not see at all, let alone see itself seeing.

     A machine can let one video camera paint pretty pictures of the
alleged external world on its insides, and it can use it's other video
camera to paint another picture *OF THE FIRST PICTURE* on its insides,
but that just creates a second state that vouches for a first state,
neither one of which produce a certainty of what they represent.

     In the first place the second state is AFTER the first state.

     The machine could then point its cameras at the second state and
produce a third state that would vouch for the second state, but it
would yet again be later than either of the first two.

     And it can continue to do this, using later states to vouch for
earlier states, but this only leads to an infinite regression in time
that never produces a single certainty in any of the states and takes
FOREVER to complete!

     True self awareness is a moment that verifies itself in the SAME
     Thus a machine can not be self aware.
     A machine can be 'aware' it WAS 'aware'.

     A conscious unit can be aware that it IS aware.

     Conscious self luminous certainty is all in the single now.

     The conscious *NOW*, proves that the conscious now *IS*.

     Consciousness doesn't use a second state to prove the existence
of the first state, the first state is SELF PROVING.

     And this is a timeless process or else it would never complete.

     The time between being conscious-of, and being conscious-of being
conscious-of, is zero.
     If it weren't zero you couldn't see it, as you can't see
something directly that is in the past, something that is separated
from you by a distance in time.

     We can ask a simple but convoluted question.  Can a machine learn
with perfect certainty that it itself exists?

     Well this would involve the machine existing and being in some
various states or another.

     But then the machine would have to OBSERVE itself existing by
indirect observation via its external video cameras to observe itself,
thus giving rise to a SECOND state in the machine indicating it's
evidence supporting it's conclusion that it existed.
     This second state must be causally related to the prior existence
of the machine, because without causal relation the machine is not
learning, its just guessing.

     But because the machine can not witness that cause directly, it
can only trust that its circuitry is working properly during its
observation of itself, and thus can only attain a level of trust that
the second state actually tracks its existence BECAUSE of its

     When ever a second state or object is used to track a first state
or object, there CAN BE NO PERFECT CERTAINTY of the first object in
the second object, because direct observation of the NECESSITY of the
dependable followingness between them is missing.

     The second object never has direct perception of the first
object, nor of the causation between them.

     Until you can prove there is cause between A and B, you can never
prove anything at all with perfect certainty about either by looking
at the other.

     So what this comes down to is a problem in two different objects
or states.  "Two different" anythings are limited to learning about
each other via cause and effect, and since effect doesn't prove cause,
they may never attain certainty of the other.

     Thus if there is going to be a certainty between learner and
learned about, learner and learned about must be one and the same

     Being one and the same object means there can be no space between
them nor any time!  Any form of dimensional separation between A and B
guarantees that A and B are two different objects.

     Thus the search for certainty is not towards greater and more
dimensions, but towards zero dimensions, no dimension altogether.

     We understand easily how we learn by indirect perception, such as
using a light sensor to learn about the light.

     But it boggles our brain trying to understand how *ANYTHING*
could ever learn anything by direct perception.

     If if A and B are the same object, how does direct perception

     The 'How?' engine in the brain is designed to handle cause and
effect sequences on an evidential and theoretical basis, it KNOWS
there is no certainty in this.

     However ask it 'How can we produce a perfect certainty through
direct perception' and it will break, because it only understands
indirect perception via sequences of cause and effects separated from
each other by distance in space and time.

     To most people of learning, 'indirect perception' is redundant,
and 'direct perception' a self contradicting oxymoron.

     However indirect perception produces no certainty or self
luminosity, yet both certainty and self luminosity are self evident in
the conscious unit, not only in its perception of the color forms
around it, but also in its perception of it's self and personal agency
between desire, will and final action.

     Thus we call this process direct perception, even though it may
presently remain incomprehensible to our 'How?' engine in the brain,
as to how it works.

     Certainty IS consciousness, consciousness IS certainty.

     There can be no certainty in the absence of consciousness, and
there can be no consciousness in the absence of certainty.

     That is a very big statement.

     In the presence of separation caused by dimension between two
different objects, there can be no certainty-of and there can be no

     If A is separate from you, you can never be conscious of A, you
can only be conscious of some later effect of A IN YOURSELF, namely
your conscious experience of A!

     Thus certainty and consciousness can only exist when an object is
learning about itself, but not by cause and effect!  At least not when
cause and effect are two different events separated by space and time,
such as when a machine turns its video cameras on itself to learn
about itself.

     Certainty and consciousness are more like a spaceless and
timeless moment where cause and effect are one and the same event.

     Following the lead of Einstein who called our universe a single
entity of spacetime we offer to call self luminosity a moment of

     Causeeffect is when there is no spactime between cause and

     Then we can have learning about our own existence, our own cause,
our own personal agency, our own data screens of conscious color, with
perfect certainty.

     Your faithful servant,

     Homer Wilson Smith, who hates the term causeeffect with a

Homer Wilson Smith     The Paths of Lovers    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959 KC2ITF        Cross            Internet Access, Ithaca NY
homer at    In the Line of Duty

Sat Aug 11 00:41:14 EDT 2007

================ ====================
Wed Dec  2 03:06:02 EST 2015
Send mail to archive at saying help
================== ===================
Learning implies Learning with Certainty or Learning without Certainty.
Learning across a Distance implies Learning by Being an Effect.
Learning by Being an Effect implies Learning without Certainty.
Therefore, Learning with Certainty implies Learning, but 
not by Being an Effect, and not across a Distance.

Homer Wilson Smith   Clean Air, Clear Water,    Art Matrix - Lightlink
(607) 277-0959       A Green Earth, and Peace,  Internet, Ithaca NY
homer at  Is that too much to ask?

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