Mark Cidade

Toronto Ontario, Canada

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Mark Cidade
Posted over 1 year ago
Benjamin Barber: Why mayors should rule the world
It's an election year. We have an opportunity to vote out Rob Ford on October 27 and to vote in someone else. I am running for mayor of Toronto. I agree that mayors shouldn't have so much power. As mayor, I would distribute my power amongst the people. I still like the idea of an international parliament of mayors—one where each member distributes their power to their people, with surplus power distributed to citizens of OTHER cities who need it most.
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Mark Cidade
Posted over 3 years ago
Can we ever know how another person "senses" the world?
If you were able to explain to yourself what it was like to see whatever colors you see, then you could just use that explanation to tell others, but it doesn't seem that you can any better than I can say how blue appears to me. Since you've experienced what you see at least once before you can now recognize for yourself the phenomena as whatever it is to you on subsequent occurrences, but how can you convey what I would consider a purple-seeing deficiency if you don't know how I tell the difference between purple and almost-purple? One's particular flavour of sense-perception is a unique and random situation, tailored made just for one's self—in fact that's what it is to BE one's self. If I became blind just now, a large part of who I am would fade away and give rise to a new me that saw the world differently, which would still be very different from someone blind from birth, since the emergent conditions would be comparably different. We have the capacity and ability to expand and reconfigure our senses and how they are rendered. The BrainPort is a device that blocks any optical input and converts images into tongue-based stimuli routed to the visual cortex, where upon one can see visually by using their tongue. Cochlear implants have a related mechanism. Theoritcally, you can map any mechanic phenomenal input to a perceptual subjective output (which then can be fed back into the system).
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Mark Cidade
Posted over 3 years ago
Can we ever know how another person "senses" the world?
The brain doesn't try to model how the world really is as much as it forms associations between past and current experiences in order to determine which behaviour to initiate or maintain, so that sensations like shapes, colors, and tones, are used to label and categorize phenomena so that symbols can be manipulated, like when referring to someone by their name so you don't have to ensure that they are within sight and point at them every time they have to be taken into account. The patterns and details that we notice, as opposed to the so-called random noise we ignore, is largely culturally-determined, including the idea of consciousness. People used to be convinced that Mars had canals because at the time digging huge gashes into the planets surface were all the rage so it was natural to think that a similar trend was occurring on a nearby world. I don't think that someone who grew up without language would ever come upon the concept of awareness on their own. What makes me more aware of anything than an infra-red sensor in a motion detector? Sure, I have more sensors for other things but I am deaf, dumb, and blind in the special case where automatic doors shine. In filtering out static, we also make Type II errors, where we fail to see things that are physically there. Our optical blind spot is a good example—a black circle in the front of our visual field would reflect more accurately the reality of how we're configured within our environment but it doesn't help us figure out what we should be doing, so instead adjacent colors are just smeared over to remove that distraction. We often miss clearly visible things on the tip of our nose because we just assume that if we looked down at it while cross-eyed or one-eyed-shut, there wouldn't ever be anything worth seeing. As clear as we might like to think our experience of reality is, it's really just one big low-resolution impressionist mosaic of smears and dabs. http://www.principiadiscordia.com/book/56.php
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Mark Cidade
Posted over 3 years ago
Can we ever know how another person "senses" the world?
With the example of seeing blue, if everything else is considered equal, we can agree that the light hitting our eyes includes wavelengths between 440 and 490 nanometres, assuming that all of those terms I used are unambiguous—and at least as I type this, I trust that they are. In addition to considering everything else equal, such as our inertial frames of reference, we are ignoring normally-relevant factors like culture, mood, genetics, and individual mechanisms for discerning variation (e.g., I may be able to see when a blue is closer to 440nm than 445nm or roughly how many other wavelengths are present and what they may be). If we're wired in a similar-enough way, we can also agree that a given blue stimulus from one context corresponds to some blue stimulus in another one. For example, we can both agree that a pair of denim pants are blue in the same sense that the sky is blue, and if we only had a pack of 8 crayons, we would use the crayon labelled "Blue" to color a picture of pair of jeans and the sky even if that label was removed. We can even go as far as showing that the perception of blue involves analogous neural circuitry between me and you—we could even have identical neurons that fire when we see blue! As for the subjective experience of perceiving what we sense, I really don't know if that question even makes sense beyond sounding syntactically and semantically valid, although at the time of typing this I trust that it's a sensible question to *you*. The potential problem here is that we get pretty close to the limit of what can be expressed through communication as opposed to direct observation. I *hope* that you can see this as a paragraph written in English instead of the mess of red, green, and blue blotches that it's made of (i.e., as pixels of standard video output), and that the gist of the paragraph has been conveyed as pertaining to whatever discussion I imagined you wanted to kick off. I can't even explain to myself how I see blue!