What is Eureka?
Posted: 26 April 2007 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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What is eureka?

When you have a problem that needs to be figured out, you may opt to figure it out by concentrating on it until you find the answer, maybe stroking your chin and saying hmmm. Or, the answer may come suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, when you weren’t even thinking about it. Why does only the second method seem like inspiration? There isn’t a lot of difference here. Either way, any solution you ended up with came from your unconscious mind.

In the first example, the conscious mind thinks it worked it out or was in on it in some vital way. But the conscious mind has no capacity to use logic or math. Those talents lie in the hands of our organic mind. Our intellectual talents developed long before consciousness and are performed in a multi-tasking parallel manner which is impossible for the conscious mind to perceive. Likewise, the unconscious mind has limited ability to cope with problems that require even a minimum of conceptual structure. That requires higher stage mental organizations to create a mental workspace where the problem can be broken into parts and then separately and sequentially presented to the unconscious mind which processes and responds with answers.

If you think about it, that act we think of as thinking is simply us consciously herding or steering what other parts of our mind actually do. The role of thinking in problem solving is compiling and organizing a conceptual representation of the problem at hand, like a Power Point presentation to ourselves. Thinking of this sort is a conscious experience, and can create the illusion that thinking is strictly a conscious process.

From our conscious perspective, a sort of process is going on, unfolding in time. We see ourselves thinking logically or working it out, even though at any step of this process we have no perception of how any answer was actually arrived at. Most of the time, we see enough continuous steps to be satisfied that we are consciously sorting things out. But there is a threshold of steps below which we lose the illusion of thinking and can no longer account for our emerging ideas. That’s when we call the process intuition.

Intuition has been called body knowledge, or race-memory, or a spiritual message. The first two are embedded in the design of our physical forms. It is knowledge learned by your ancestors passed on genetically and built right into your emotional and intellectual character. It is knowledge from every move you’ve made and experience you’ve had, the vast majority of which you had no conscious experience of. It’s knowledge you can’t know- somatic knowledge.

Our computers are a good analogy. You might know how to tell your computer to store a bitmap as a jpeg, but you probably don’t know how the little electric chicklets inside do it. It’s the same with our minds. If asked, “What was the capital of Assyria?”, you might remember the answer… but how? Historical facts are no different than a charging gorilla. Do you know how you switched on your adrenalin?

As this inner knowledge is revealed through life experience, consciousness recreates this knowledge into information- what we think we know. That information becomes more conceptual building blocks of the conscious world. Once experienced, we can consciously have known something all along and know that we knew it, but we can’t consciously know something that we haven’t experienced hence don’t know yet. This is why intuition isn’t known, intuition is experienced.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Eureka! is what happens with the self “dips” into the field of the universe. All knowledge is contained in that field - past, present and future - it’s the metaphysical “ether” if you will.

This “force” is carried through our universe by the Higgs boson/field. That field gives mass to all the different particles of quantum physics - and carries with it the energy of all things.

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“All religions are valid, NONE are literal.” -Joseph Campbell

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Posted: 06 June 2007 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Eureka is what philosophers shout after smelling their own brain farts.

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Posted: 06 June 2007 04:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Eureka is the beautiful I found it.  I have experienced it a few times.  Once doing a crossword puzzle, when I found that Edgar Derr Biggers really was the right answer to the clue ‘inventor of Charlie Chan’  ... and another time doing laundry when I found a sock that had been lost for at least 8 weeks, but I didn’t give up on it, and I kept its partner in a basket in the bedroom.  Eureka.  I found it.  Sometimes, eureka is just finding something that you lost.  or misplaced.  or just plain couldn’t remember.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 01:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Biggers, bosons and brainfarts?

Nothing so lofty here, folks.
I merely addressed the illusion of thinking and I have no idea where I got the idea.

I heard that the problem with socks is that they are prone to temporal displacement. Pulled very slightly into the future, they become invisible in the present.

This can happen to any object, but it’s more likely with socks because of their left-right ambiguity.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Nhoj Morley”]. . .
. . . [T]he conscious mind has no capacity to use logic or math. Those talents lie in the hands of our organic mind. Our intellectual talents developed long before consciousness and are performed in a multi-tasking parallel manner which is impossible for the conscious mind to perceive. Likewise, the unconscious mind has limited ability to cope with problems that require even a minimum of conceptual structure. That requires higher stage mental organizations to create a mental workspace where the problem can be broken into parts and then separately and sequentially presented to the unconscious mind which processes and responds with answers.
. . .

You might be overstating things, Nhoj, but only slightly in my opinion. For the most part, I agree. The easier way to see things is to mistakenly assume that “conscious” activity, however that’s defined, represents mastery over life’s variables. I read an article the other day about how smart dogs are, but few people seem to realize that dogs are able to decipher and make use of much of human language. That’s typical of our failed perceptions about who we are and who we are not.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 07 June 2007 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”][quote author=“Nhoj Morley”]. . .
. . . [T]he conscious mind has no capacity to use logic or math. Those talents lie in the hands of our organic mind. Our intellectual talents developed long before consciousness and are performed in a multi-tasking parallel manner which is impossible for the conscious mind to perceive. Likewise, the unconscious mind has limited ability to cope with problems that require even a minimum of conceptual structure. That requires higher stage mental organizations to create a mental workspace where the problem can be broken into parts and then separately and sequentially presented to the unconscious mind which processes and responds with answers.
. . .

You might be overstating things, Nhoj, but only slightly in my opinion. For the most part, I agree. The easier way to see things is to mistakenly assume that “conscious” activity, however that’s defined, represents mastery over life’s variables. I read an article the other day about how smart dogs are, but few people seem to realize that dogs are able to decipher and make use of much of human language. That’s typical of our failed perceptions about who we are and who we are not.

A bit overstated, indeed.  My conscious mind is pretty good at logic and math, at least the computational part (does this statement follow from what has gone before?  Do the symbols in this step of the proof properly follow from allowed operations on the previous strings of symbols?)  The understand part is different, a product of our brain’s ability to recognize complex patterns.  The Eureka! (or, AHA) happens when the parts fall together into a pattern.  Of course it has got to be consciously checked—I once spent six weeks trying to prove a false AHA in number theory, until I found a paper where somebody showed that 705 was a counter-example.  :D   Henri Poincare said that the usual reason for errors like this was a result of grasping onto something that appeared elegant or beautiful.

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Posted: 07 June 2007 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Henri Poincare probably said that after he found a long lost sock.  (which, in the moment of discovery, does in fact appear elegant and beautiful…)

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Posted: 08 June 2007 02:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Hi guys!

dogs are able to decipher and make use of much of human language.

Many animals, including us, have basic language ability. Our ability is enhanced by consciousness.
We humans are often experiencing our unconscious minds and using it to talk. It’s easy to tell the difference.
The unconscious talk like Tarzan. With conscious supervision (well trained), you can talk like David Niven.

I would not doubt your capacity for math or logic, Burt. I would assert that they are abilities of your unconscious mind that are enhanced by your capacity to be conscious.

The Eureka! (or, AHA) happens when the parts fall together into a pattern.

The A-ha moment is not a moment of consciousness. It is an experience of the unconscious mind.

The “computational part” is conscious operations presenting the problem to the unconscious mind.
The “ understand part” is as you say, different.

I’ll dig the hole deeper- Henri point is well taken- the conscious mind has no capacity to appreciate elegance or beauty.

…“conscious” activity, however that’s defined…

Obviously, I’m using my own rather specific definition of consciousness and unconsciousness (patent pending).

Sorry to be brief and incomplete. I haven’t been doing well. Can’t look at this damn screen.

See ya.

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