How does Time’s Vertical/Cyclical/Spiral Dimension from Notebook #1 (Spiral Time) fit into Life’s Information Digestion System? To answer this question, let us revisit and reformulate our ID model.
Life requires a unifying, organizing energy, which includes a temporal sense, to exist and survive as an autonomous entity. To exhibit this basic fact, let us provide a cogent example.
All molecules are individualistic – only thinking about themselves. Their sole MO is mechanistic stimulus-response. This is also true of so-called ‘animate’ molecules.
In fact, there is really no such thing as animate/living molecules. All molecules are inanimate. Biologists speak about the four types of biomolecules. Yet the smallest unit of Life is the incredibly complicated cell. All the parts are inanimate by themselves – even the biomolecules. They only become animate as a whole cell, not before. Individually they are not alive - remaining inanimate.
Further, a cell must have some kind of temporal sense to even pursue survival as an autonomous entity. The sense of self-preservation that is an innate feature of all life forms requires the experience of time to differentiate one moment from the next, one object from the next, food from poison, to even have an experience/memory. Existing solely in the Now of horizontal time, molecules don’t have a sense of time and so cannot perform this differentiation that is necessary for survival.
What confers inanimate Matter with this holistic perspective that is an integral feature of all living systems? Bio-scientists as a group either dismiss or ignore this question – preferring to remain in the group think (dogma) that Life is an exclusively chemical phenomena. This atomistic, reductionist way of thinking is blind to the holistic, organizing relationship with information that characterizes all living systems.
According to our ID model, Life’s information digestion system, which includes Attention combined with the image overlay process, provides the temporal sense and the holistic perspective. This basic property of all living systems eventually evolved into human Consciousness. Where did the first cell’s ID system come from?
Just like the Big Bang or Zeno’s first step1, Life’s first step – the infusion of Attention (along with the ID system) into Matter (the creation of the initial mother cell) – is a miracle. Rather than merely a physical process, this ‘divine’ infusion includes a holistic perspective – an organizing energy that seeks the survival of an autonomous entity through time - first the cell and then the organism. This holistic orientation is unique to cellular life.
Bio-scientists might call Attention an emergent feature of Matter. Could be. But Matter can’t perform this unifying function, as it is atomistic and lacks a temporal sense. Further, this perspective tends to blind us to Life’s interactive relationship with information.
According to our model, Life’s ID system, which includes Attention, provides both of these services (a temporal sense and a holistic perspective.) To perform this holistic function, Attention (ID system) senses and interacts with the information contained in data streams. Attention digests these DS via an Image Overlay Process (IOP).
In this ongoing process, Attention senses/experiences the current (present) image overlaid upon another past images in succession. Because these images are translucent, Attention can ‘experience/sense’ images from the past.
This experience of ‘time passing’ introduces/generates time’s vertical dimension - a major foundation of our experiential reality. We employed the adjective ‘vertical’ for a specific reason. This temporal dimension is based upon the stacking of punctuated images (like a cartoon). Derived from the horizontal timeline – one translucent image is stacked on top of the rest. Without this vertical dimension, there can be no experience – nothing but the nameless Flux.
Our biological brain simulates these image stacks resulting from Attention’s IOP. Stacks upon stacks of layered neurons inhabit our brain. These are the source of our mental images, memories, models and behavior. These dynamic stacks are constantly reorganizing their circuits due to environmental stimuli and interactions with one another. The regular firing of these neural image stacks is what scientist are examining with their cognitive imaging machines.
Brain’s Image Stacks ≈ Attention’s IOP
Summarizing: Time’s Vertical Dimension derives from Attention’s Image Overlay Process (IOP). Life’s ID system employs this process (IOP) to ‘digest’ information – transform data streams, e.g. sensory, into a form that is useful to the organism. We deem this dimension vertical because it is based upon the stacking of translucent images from Matter’s ordinary, horizontal (linear) timeline.
The only way that an image enters time’s living dimension is via Attention. By focusing, Attention invests an image with a quanta of mental energy. When Attention focuses for sufficient duration upon a data/image stream, the images stacks become concentrated enough (number x duration) to generate a Memory/Experience. Mind employs these Memory/Experiences to generate Models of Reality. Living systems then utilize these Models to better navigate through and a dynamic and frequently treacherous environment.
Requiring the temporal sense generated by Attention’s IOP, the process of Images > Experience/Memories > Models only exist in time’s vertical dimension. Matter only exists in horizontal time and so does not have this capability. Only through vertical time and the process that generates it can we experience living. Or is that an illusion too?
Attention’s IOP -> Time’s Vertical Dimension & Images
Images -> Experience/Memories à Models of Reality
Besides vertical time, our young scientist’s Notebook #1, Spiral Time, developed the notion of Time Momenta. Postulate #4 of Ecological Time Theory encapsulates this unusual construct. “4. Activities acquire a partial momentum and seek to perpetuate themselves.” Stated another way: the quanta of time’s vertical dimension have a momentum that seeks to preserve itself.
The Author employed the Time Momenta construct to explain a particular feature of his long-term relationship with data streams – the persistent endurance of habits. According to his model, Time Momenta are the source of Habit Formation – the momentum that drives self-perpetuating behavioral patterns, good and bad. This construct has metaphoric parallels with our urge for self-preservation and even Matter’s conservation of energy.
How does this curious construct (Time Momenta) from the author’s first Notebook (1994) fit into Life’s ID System circa May 2023? To understand Time Momenta’s place in our system, we must first address the ‘mental energy’ that drives the momentum. What is our rationale behind Attention’s mental energy?
Let’s return to our model. As mentioned, Life’s ID system employs the IOP to transform the info contained in data/image streams into a useful form. With each iteration of the IOP, Attention invests the current image/data bit with a quantum of mental energy (a menton)2. This investment generates an infoton – energy-invested information of an image.
Attention’s Mental Energy x Single Image = Infoton
Before proceeding forth to where Time Momenta fits in, let us tackle some immediate questions. What is the justification for our claim that Attention invests each image with mental energy? Investment implies quantification. How can mental energy be quantified?
Time for some math. As exhibited, Attention’s IOP generates time’s living (vertical) dimension. This temporal dimension is crucial for living systems as it is where experiencing occurs. The Living Algorithm (LA) is the mathematical realization of Attention’s Image Overlay Process (IOP). Data Stream Dynamics (DSD) is the mathematical system that derives from the LA.
DSD derived from LA = mathematization of IOP
Due to this intimate connection, DSD is metaphorically compatible (≈) with Attention’s IOP. In other words, DSD reveals the patterns behind Attention’s IOP.
DSD ≈ IOP
As the IOP is an integral feature of our ID system, DSD is the mathematical system of our ID model. The development DS Math and ID Model was and is interactive. Rather than Math to System or System to Math, the arrow goes both ways. By studying DSD, we can learn about Life’s ID system and vice versa.3
DSD <-> ID model
What does DSD have to teach us about our ID system? Data Stream Dynamics has many parallels with open energy systems. The logical compatibility (≈) between DSD and our ID systems suggests that we can also treat Life’s ID system as an open energy system. Rendered symbolically:
If (DSD = Open Energy System), Then (IDS = Open Energy System)
What is the significance? What does it mean to be an open energy system? Why can we treat a mathematical system as an open energy system?
Open energy systems have at least 4 characteristics in common. 1) Open energy systems convert fuel into energy. 2) This energy is employed to enable the system to survive or operate. 3) The fuel comes from outside the system. 4) The fuel must be replenished regularly. (Note: ‘open energy’ systems and the ‘closed energy’ system of our Universe are metaphorically incompatible (≠).)4.
To better understand, let us examine the logical parallels between 4 open energy systems. Two are familiar – cars and bodies; and two unfamiliar – Life’s ID system and the LA (both from our model). Comparing the familiar with the unfamiliar will deepen our understanding. 5
In each case, the system converts external fuel into energy that does work. Cars consume gasoline; the Body consumes food; our ID system consumes image streams and DSD consumes data streams. The car’s internal combustion engine transforms gasoline into mechanical energy; the Body’s digestive system transforms food into biological energy; Attention’s ID system transforms image streams into info energy, i.e. experiences; and the LA transforms data streams into numerical energy.
Energy is defined as the ability to do work. This is true of the car’s mechanical energy, Body’s biological energy, Mind’s info energy (embedded experiences) and LA’s numerical energy. Each of these forms of energy are employed to do some kind of work, i.e. changing or maintaining the state of their respective systems – the car’s location, Body’s homeostasis, Mind’s organization (form a memory) or the Data Stream’s velocity/Living Average. [Note: Numerical energy only exists for open data streams, never for closed data sets.]
Finally in each of our four cases, the fuel that is converted into energy is consumed and so must be replenished – Car’s gasoline, Body’s food, our ID system’s image streams, and LA’s data streams. Because the fuel comes from outside the system but is absorbed into it, we call these open energy systems. [Energy is not conserved, as in the more familiar closed energy systems.]
Bringing it all home: the fuel of the LA system comes in the form of a single data bit/datum/number from a data stream. The fuel of the ID system comes in the form of a single image from an image stream. As such, images and data have an isometric (metaphorical) relationship (compatible (≈) in their respective systems. Shown below.
Number/Datum/Data Bits ≈ Single Image (Menton-invested)
Because of the logical parallels/similarities with an open energy system, we felt justified in saying that ‘LA’s digestive process transforms raw data into numerical energy. Because the LA is the math of Attention’s IOP, we felt equally justified in saying that Attention from Life’s ID system invests raw images with (mental) energy.
LA transforms Data into Numerical Energy
Attention invests Images with Mental Energy
ID System transforms Images into Experience/Memories
The logical compatibility between numbers and images in their respective systems confers the ability to quantify Mental Energy. Numerical energy is analogous with mental energy (mentons) invested in images. As they both participate in the same mathematical system, numbers can be assigned to mentons.
Attention either invests an image with mental energy or doesn’t. Attention is either on or off, awake or asleep, focused or interrupted. Due to this either/or characteristic we can quantify Attention’s focus in binary form as a 1 or 0.
However, our system does not remain binary for long. The digestion process of these numerical and image-based systems immediately transforms fuel into energy. The binary fuel loses relevance after being transformed into energy. The transformational process transforms binary into rational.
What does this mean? We must return to our model for an explanation. In so doing, we will also be able to come up with a home for Time Momenta. Read on.
Why this obsession with quantification and mathematics? Many (a significant subset) in the scientific community are only impressed with a mathematical language. This community includes physicists, chemists, astronomers and biologists. Some esteemed members barely trust a discipline unless it is mathematically based. Lacking this symbolic framework, certain common place constructs, such as mental energy, cannot even be favorably mentioned to colleagues for fear of derision or worse - shunning.
There are many excellent reasons for this math fetish. A primary basis is that the symbolic language of mathematics has been wildly successful at characterizing many features of existence, especially phenomena associated with the material world. Indeed the connection between math and reality has been so precise as to border on the miraculous. Because of this virtual identity between the underlying logic of math and phenomena, scientists are suspicious of phenomena that lack this symbolic foundation.
There is another reason for this overwhelming prestige. The precision of math’s symbolic language makes it ideal for experimentation. The predictions based upon mathematical models tend to be more exact than verbal projections. Accordingly, confirmation or invalidation are more straightforward.
Plus communicating with mathematical symbols is less ambiguous and more concise than with words, which can be easily misinterpreted. For mathematicians, less isn’t just more, but rather everything. Some mathematical scientists, e.g. Paul Dirac even distrust symbolic expressions which are too complicated.
Grounding this discussion in our topic: Mental energy has been stigmatized because it has been math-resistant. Due to this shortage, many otherwise brilliant scientists even believe that mental energy is just a myth, without substance, not worthy of study.
However, they have just been looking in the wrong places. Unaware of time’s vertical dimension, these academics have the unjustified faith that anything of significance only occurs in Matter’s horizontal (linear) dimension. Rather, all living experience only happens in spatial time.
Further, this community of skeptics has only utilized certain types of mathematics. Having only seen white swans, they don’t believe in black swans. Having only encountered obedient equations, they can’t imagine that disobedient equations could be the key to a mathematical characterization of mental energy.
Due to Math’s well-deserved prestige, the only way that my scribblings will survive the test of time is if Life’s ID system has a mathematical system of its own. DSD, the natural mathematical language of data streams, provides this function. The symbolic language will provide anti-fragility to the system when the inevitable stressors arise. This is why providing a basis for the quantification of mental energy is so important. The next section tackles the mathematics of other features of this system, notably Time Momenta.
How does Time Momenta from Notebook #1 fit into our ID model. The discussion is based upon two fundamental assumptions (discussed above). Written in symbolic form:
1) Life employs IOP from ID system to digest info.
2) LA ≈ IOP
Due to this relationship: the LA’s data streams are analogous to Attention’s image streams.
LA invests Data w/Numerical Energy ≈ Attention invests Images w/Mental Energy
LA is the natural mathematical algorithm of data/image streams. As it derives from LA, DSD is the natural math system of data/image streams, hence IOP.
What does DSD reveal about IOP, Life’s digestion process? As their inferential structure is isomorphic-like, i.e. exceedingly similar, we can better understand the unknown (ID system) by examining known (DS math).
As already developed, DSD has many similarities (≈) with an open energy system.
DSD ≈ Open Energy System
A relevant characteristic shared in common: OE systems transform fuel (raw materials) into energy. This energy powers the system, i.e. enables it to perform a function separate from energy production.
While having many features in common, OE systems can consume fuel in different ways. For instance, cars consume gas immediately - converting it into mechanical energy to power the vehicle. Body converts food (raw) into glucose (fuel). The glucose can be stored as bio-mass or converted into bio-energy (ATP molecules). Even the bio-energy contained in ATP molecules can be used immediately or stored (not too long).
While different from these two examples, DSD and our ID system (due to their logically isomorphic relationship) both consume fuel in the exact same way. One converts data streams into numerical energy; the other converts image streams into info energy. In both cases, part of the energy is used immediately (kinetic) while the rest (potential) is consumed slowly. The potential energy from the original conversion is converted to kinetic energy gradually over time. The kinetic energy is used to change or maintain the state of the system (for instance, homeostasis or movement).
With each iteration of the respective processes (LA numerical and IOP image-based), a portion of the remaining potential energy is converted to kinetic energy that does work. The amount of kinetic energy produced in each iteration is proportional to the amount of potential energy that remains. The consumption rate is akin to radioactive decay, i.e. logarithmic. As such, both have half-lives.
Summarizing the differences: Cars and bicycles use the energy immediately; Bodies use energy judiciously; DSD and our ID system consume energy logarithmically, akin to radioactive decay. (See article 44: 1 ‘Numerical Energy, Decay Factor & Radioactivity’.)
This is where Time Momenta enters the ID system. Attention invests an image with quanta of mental energy (menton) to create an infoton. Part of the infoton’s energy is used immediately to create a partial unassimilated memory of the image (a memorus). With each iteration of the IOP, a portion of the infoton’s remaining potential energy is consumed to create the same memory.
In such a way, the initial image has momentum that seeks to perpetuate itself over time. Rather than constant, the energy of the infoton decays with each iteration. The image’s decaying energy is expressed with each iteration of Attention’s IOP. However, the mental energy, the experience of the image, and the memory (menton, infoton, and memorus) only occur in time’s vertical (cyclical) dimension.
Matter’s inexorable horizontal, (linear) time is continuous (witness Calculus). As such, it doesn’t have room for any phenomena that requires a sense of time passing. This limitation rules out experience of any kind.
Even Matter’s image only persists in vertical time via the IOP. This is Berkeley’s point. A tree falling in a forest with no one around is not experienced. Lacking Attention’s mental energy to create a memory, any material process (a falling tree) is only part of the nameless, formless Flux. It only exists in time’s horizontal dimension, not in time’s vertical dimension, where experience occurs. Without Attention, matter’s existence is one dimensional (linear), rather than multi-dimensional (spatial).
Summarizing: Time Momenta is the persistence of the mental energy invested in an image (infoton). Rather than continuous, the infoton’s decaying mental energy loses some of its power to do work with each iteration of the IOP. This punctuated existence only occurs in time’s vertical dimension – the Realm of Experience.
As mentioned, because the focus of Attention is either on or off, the mental energy that is invested in an image can be expressed as a 1 or 0. By such a method, any image stream can be expressed as a string of 1s and 0s. Then via the LA, the strength of the Time Momenta of a particular image stream can be easily computed.
One image is boring because a single image decays the same way. However, a string of images that are all invested with mental energy can accumulate enough energy to generate an Experience. This process along with its relevance is the topic of the next section.
As mentioned, Attention invests an image with mental energy to generate an infoton. Although a crucial part of the process, an infoton is only an incomplete memory of a single image. It has no reality.
Single Image ≠ Memory
For the images to become real, Attention must be sustained on a particular data/image stream for sufficient duration. Sustained focus results in the accumulation of mental energy-invested Images. When the accumulation is large enough, it sparks the Gap between imagined and real. This spark generates an Experience of a particular image stream.
Sustained Focus = Accumulation of Mental Energy-invested Images
Attention sustained on Image Stream for sufficient Duration = Experience
Let us provide an example of this phenomenon that occurs daily. It is the difference between a Glance and a Gaze. To truly savor the beauty of a woman, landscape or painting, we must gaze for sufficient duration to have the experience. A mere glance is not sufficient to savor voluptuous curves and gorgeous colors. We must dwell in the exquisite moment for more than an instant to take in the scenery. A Glance is akin to a single Image, while a Gaze enables the accumulation of mental energy-invested images required to have an Experience.
The Experience is then embodied as a Memory, or more accurately a composite Memory. In such a way, Memory and Experience are linked. Memory is the literal embodiment of an Experience. A Memory equals the freezing of the accumulated mental energy of an Experience into Cellular Matter.
Memory = Freezing Mental Energy of Experience into Cellular Matter
The Experience could be tucked away in multiple places in an organism’s dynamic structure. For complex systems, Experiences are probably frozen as Memories into our neural networks. For single cells, an Experience might be embedded into the cell’s cytoskeleton, or even connective tissue.
Just as our physical brain simulates Attention’s IOP with its image stacks, neurons provide a physical analogue for the generation of Experiences. A single electric impulse does not cause a neuron to fire. Rather the electrical impulses must reach a threshold before a neuron will fire. In such a way, a single image or single charge is not real. It requires an accumulation of images or electrical charges to generate an Experience or cause a neuron to fire (become real).
Neuron Firing ≈ Experience Generation
A Memory is a useful abbreviation of Living Experience, but is not it. Similarly, electromagnetic wavelengths can characterize a rainbow, but are not the glorious experience of the sky’s color gradient as a rainstorm is passing. A Memory is useful to the organism because it organizes image streams, both content and behavior, into simpler packages for understanding.
Memory = Useful Abbreviation of an Experience
These ‘isolated’ Memories are then incorporated into relational Models of Reality. Models relate individual, isolated Memories into a dynamic package that is both descriptive and predictive. Categories are joined into processes that describe a certain feature of a dynamic reality. In so doing, these descriptive Models provide a rough prediction of what is going to happen in a similar situation. [Note: these rough categories, i.e. isolated Experiences vs relational Models, have a fractalized boundary line, as do most living categories.]
Isolated Memories incorporated into Relational Models
New Experiences regularly test these Models. There are three basic outcomes: reinforcing or refining the current Model, or creating a new Model. This process is akin to the scientific method as described by Karl Popper.
A baby’s model begins with Mom as the source of Food. In infancy, this model is regularly reinforced. Over time, the model is refined to be associated with certain times of the day. When the youth leaves home, he must throw out the old model altogether.
We and all living systems employ this basic process to generate Models of Reality. Attention invests an image stream with mental energy. When the accumulation of mental energy passes a threshold, the image becomes a Memory/Experience. In turn, these Memories are employed to create Models. We utilize the Models to optimize our behavior.
Images -> Memories -> Models
This Model-building process is of crucial importance to our ability to survive and thrive. As such, one of the primary purposes/goals of our ID System is to facilitate the process. It all begins with Attention investing an image stream with sufficient mental energy (duration and intensity) to generate an Experience.
Primary Purpose of ID system = facilitate Model-building process
If it is to be raised to the rank of mathematical Science, rather than mere philosophical speculation, our ID model must answer a basic question: How are Experiences generated? What is the mathematics behind this process that is fundamental to Life’s ID system?
As mentioned, a single energy-invested image (infoton) does not generate a Memory/Experience. Rather it requires an accumulation of mental energy (infotons) to generate a Memory of the Experience.
This accumulation is associated with the data/image stream’s acceleration. When Attention is focused upon an image stream for sufficient duration, the DS Acceleration describes a Pulse. Derived from DSD, we have deemed this the Pulse of Experience. This Pulse provides a mathematical analogue for the Experience-generating mechanism of Life’s ID system. [For more detail, read the article ‘Data Stream Energy Density’ (Notebook #34:13)].
What is the relevance of these early scribblings to our ID Model? What is the relationship between the past and present? Where does this ‘ancient’ understanding extend or refine our current model?
Let us offer a modern postulate that takes advantage of the ancient postulates. There is no need to number this one, because there is no particular order. But for ease of reference, how about naming it the 6th Postulate, as it follows the 5 original ones.
6. Life’s ID System operates in Time’s Vertical Dimension.
Because they are all components of Life’s ID System, Images, Experiences, Models and the Attention Synergy also operate in Time’s Vertical Dimension.
The whole package requires a sense of time, e.g. a sense of past, present and future, to operate. Attention’s IOP confers this temporal sense. As horizontal time is continuous, i.e. without breaks, Matter does not have this capability.
Time’s vertical dimension is orthogonal (perpendicular) to Matter’s horizontal time. Physics reveals the laws that govern H Time. DSD reveals the rules that govern V Time. The mathematical systems that govern time’s two dimensions are entirely different and independent of each other. (Postulate 1: The Source and the Source’s data stream are independent of each other; the principles that govern each system are mutually exclusive.)
LA, the mathematics of the IOP, reveals the differences between time’s two dimensions. The Decay Factor, D (a constant in the algorithm), determines the level of opacity between the succession of sensory images. For Matter, D = 1 always. This indicates that there is 100% opacity between images in Matter’s horizontal (linear) time. Due to this lack of transparency between images, there is no overlay, no time sense, no meaning, no value, no context, no experience, no memory, no models in material time.
In contrast for living systems, D, the Decay Factor, is somehow greater than 1 (D > 1). This indicates that the succession of images is transparent. This transparency enables Life’s temporal sense with all the ensuing benefits including the ability to experience image stacks. Because of the absolute continuity of H Time, these discrete images can only be experienced in time’s vertical dimension, the Spiral Time of Experience.
Life exists at the intersection of the two temporal dimensions. Her interactive choices occur here – bound in by material time and playing with experiential time. Rather than Descartes’ Mind-Body duality, i.e. completely isolated strangers, Life’s interaction is more like a couple’s healthy relationship.
1 Zeno, an ancient Greek philosopher, presented a series of logical reasons why it is impossible to move even one inch. Under the logical perspective, it takes a miracle to move even one step.
2 We employ the term ‘mental energy’ in a technical way – as a method for understanding Attention’s relationship to an image stream. Although related, this quantized menton is not our capacity for Attention. Rather our capacity for Attention is related to the acceleration of an image stream – the accumulation of mental energy. For more, see the article ‘Attention Capacity & Sleep Biology' (Notebook 32:12).
3 This is a normal process in the mathematical sciences. Mendeleyev’s Periodic Table led to the discovery of new elements. Dirac’s equations for the Subatomic Realm resulted in the discovery and medical use of anti-matter.