Consciousness and Heat

This one revisits the "consciousness from heat" topic that was identified by one poster as particularly unclear in the Reciprocality papers, adds a discussion of MDMA, and proposes a novel reason for a particular habit found in many mappers.

Physical Context

Reciprocal Cosmology has two arrows of time. The one we see is called the "re-creative" arrow. On it, the universe is organising itself into ever greater complexity. It does this by the spontaneous appearance of structure, which then grows before our eyes into great big structures. The other arrow runs the other way, and it called the "creative" arrow. On it, the universe is decaying from a highly ordered Big Bang (which is in our future) to an undifferentiated blur. The spontaneous appearance of structure that we observe is just the recombination of structures in our future, that have on the creative arrow, fallen apart and then recombined in smaller, weaker form.

This trick of structures falling apart and then recombining on the creative arrow is how the whole spacetime phenomenon of the universe holds itself together. It gives rise to, and is facilitated by, what we see as the fractal geometry of nature. All structure, absolutely all structure anywhere and anywhen, is in fact a decay product of the "final" state on our re-creative arrow, the Big Bang of the creative arrow.

Re-appearances of structures on the creative arrow might be likened to what happens when you choose the wrong synch rate for your monitor. Instead of getting one nice clear X cursor, you get a whole bunch of self-similar X's all over the TV. There is no "random noise" in the universe - just heavily entangled order like a message that's been through the DES algorithm.

The Reciprocality model argues that this self-seeding by fractal back echo is how the main game of the universe is played, at all levels. There is always a thermodynamic (re-creative) explaination for everything. There is also a self-organising (creative) explaination for everything. Sometimes one explaination will be more plausible than the other. Finding Reciprocal Cosmology in "3: Reciprocal Cosmology" is clearly best explained re-creatively. But finding it in "6: History" is best explained creatively.

(This overall pattern has primarily been concealed by the way the Ghost Not has caused us to misinterpret the astronomical red shift data as indicating an expanding universe, while in fact it can be taken to indicate a contracting universe more self-consistently.)

Bennett Machines

There's a wonderful description of the work of Bennett in "The Feynman Lectures on Computation", Addison Wesley 1996, ISBN 0-201-48991-0, pp 137-184. The bottom line is, information == energy. A medium containing ordered information releases energy as it randomises itself. This idea gets particularly subtle when one considers curious information such as the second million digits of pi. It looks like the random data on the tape sitting next to it. Butto a computer that has just ground out the first million digits of pi, it isn't random at all! It contains information!

Information is in the eye of the beholder - it depends what information the beholder has got. Now add to this the fractal (we should really say "multifractal") geometry of nature. It's certainly there - we can Barnsley IFS compress any visual field down to about 1% of its seemingly necessary bandwidth, and will probably do better when we get really fast machines and Dr. Barnsley tells us how he does it. Now we know why it's there we can use it.

The paper "4: Consciousness" describes how it is possible to get waves of heat travelling through the brain, stimulated by fractally ordered inputs, particularly through the eyeballs. The squashy stuff in the brain then does judo on the fractals. They become their own information and beholders, because fractally ordered waves of heat have the opportunity to spontaneously cool, just like people use anti-noise to get rid of unwanted sound energy. The proposed evolutionary pathway for this was to improve cooling in a hot, dry climate. To enhance the strategy, our ancestors took to finding the hidden fractal order (deep structure isomorphisms) in their life experiences retrieved from chemical memory as well. That is how we get awareness out of degrading waste heat, according to the circular causality we see all over Reciprocal Cosmology. Another way of looking at this is to say that because the inputs to the brain are not random, we can use this fact to produce an apparent exchange of information and energy with the future, inside the arbitrary system boundary of our skulls.

So in this model, what is conscious? The brain? It is just a resonator. What is conscious - what is knowing itself - is the ordered but hidden data coming at the brain from all around. It is the universe that is conscious, using the brain as a node. Seemingly spontaneously self- constructing data come at the brain, and building up layer upon layer. Reciprocality often has science in one hand, mysticism in the other.

This is as far as I know, the first time anyone has proposed a way of linking the consciousness of our subjective experience with the consciousness discussed in quantum mechanics, and the regular kind of thermodynamic physics. It's a good excuse for Bothering People in a variety of specialisations.


In a recent discussion of the effects of drugs I left MDMA out. It's a topic in its own right. I'd like to begin by saying that as far as I'm concerned MDMA is a very, very dangerous drug indeed - far more dangerous than most people who take it realise. While I'm going to argue that it can produce genuine cognitive enhancement for suitably prepared mappers, the preparation is absolutely necessary to use the drug safely. The discussion is largely personal and anecdotal. Sadly, such is the woad- rubbing "saying properly" of our societies, there is hardly any credible research to look at.

What MDMA does, I reckon, is heat you up. Nothing more. But with the model of the origin and nature of consciousness I've proposed it is quite enough.

Our culture does very badly by mapper kids. It does not teach them how to use their brains, and it often attacks them. How violently it attacks them is dependent upon how ritualised the adults around the child are. But burning brains with Ritalin is scarcely the start of it. Enough to say that by the age of 12 I knew more about controlling the metabolic and psychological action of drugs than I would wish any junkie to know. And there is a great deal it is possible to know, particularly in an M0 culture where most members don't even realise that they can exercise conscious control over their own heart rates. This is one reason why I've never been too concerned about sampling drugs that are in recreational use (except psychedelics). Others are wanting to know what people are talking about before I open mouth and disgust with people making rules "for my own good". I've also been trying to learn how to best use my natural mapper faculties to do big, holistic, elegant solves, also since I was small.

The first time I took MDMA I was amazed. Firstly I discovered that I had a big problem. The stuff was running away with me metabolically, heating me like crazy, and making the maintenance of focus that I usually use to base control on very difficult. It was very, very hard to keep control and as I've explained, I'm no novice. I started to cast about in my mind for similar situations that I had experienced that might assist me, and then I got the second shock.

When we are using mapper faculties - which are just normal faculties denied to the majority of people because their dopamine self-addiction squelches their feedback loops - we have to bear many things in mind at once. We have to just set up in our minds all the things we know to be true, and allow the pattern of the deeper truth behind them all to reveal itself. Call the number of things we can bear in mind at once our "conceptual field". What I discovered was that my conceptual field was much, much bigger than usual. As I moved into this enlarged conceptual field, my metabolic control improved. I quickly visited the elements of the work problem I was doing the time, and like magic, the whole set of design tradeoffs, structural forms hidden in the problem, and the right way to leverage them became obvious - as if I'd already done the work and was looking at a particularly neat solution from a prior project. Or like a trivial 10 line program might appear in the mind of a seasoned professional with a simple format conversion to do. As I bathed in the wonderfulness of how my project contained its own solution, my ability to control and ride the drug asserted itself.

And this was no false experience, like waking up with a hangover to find the brilliant idea of the night before was "socks in milk bottles". I had the complete system architecture in my head, ready for laying out in an architecture document and implementing. Days of work, possibly weeks of elapsed time, in six hours tops.

Given the model I've proposed, what happened can make sense. Cooling is proportional to temperature. By making my brain hotter, opportunities for deep drops due to stochastic cooling became available. On the other paw, if I hadn't known how to cool my brain by doing problem quakes, it would have got hotter and hotter until spontaneous coolings occured anyway. This would have given me the amazing, wordless sense of total unity that many people report from MDMA use. People who have never ventured into the good stuff their brains can do find this concept that it does all fit together quite alien, and nothing prepares them for direct observation of this fact. It would also have created local hot spots in my brain sufficient to kill the brain cells there, causing the microlesions characteristic of people who have taken MDMA and first found in John Doe corpses in New York in 1986.

MDMA just gets people off their heads by opening their eyes to what they'd know anyway if they weren't M0 victims, and exposes them to danger of brain damage (leading to death if it's in the wrong place). They don't get any more out of the experience than being off their heads however, since they are totally cognitively unprepared for what happens to them.

While working on the Reciprocality project, I had to integrate a great many seemingly unconnected ideas and create a single, coherent picture. The three questions I started with brought in a whole stack of physical issues as well as psychoanalytic and logical ones. While doing this I made occasional use of MDMA to widen my conceptual field in this way. As I got better at it, I found myself on several occasions shivering and hands turning blue with cold (I've a circulatory variation called Reynauld's Syndrome so this happens quite easily), while in the midst of "control subjects" who were red-faced, sweating profusely and clearly very, very hot. On more than one occasion I have been asked how I "do it", but had no answer to give until late into the project!

Needless to say, I'd appreciate the ideas being taken for themselves, their compatibility with prior knowledge and their internal consistency rather than being dismissed simply because I used a contrived state of consciousness to organise them!

I can't recommend this technique to anyone, because loss of control plus misfortune can put the hotspot somewhere you really don't want it and you drop dead. This happened to a girl in England called Leah Betts, and her photo is used as an icon by those who don't give two hoots about the thousands of deaths due to alcohol per year. But it can happen.

Also, it is only useful to mappers with plenty of experience of using their faculties to do big, holistic solves, and with prior experience of managing their metabolisms under different chemical regimes. For the benefit of those who are going to take the stuff in the course of their normal social activities, the following points are important.

  1. Make sure you have a problem to solve. If you are going to attempt the technique on Friday, you should start considering aspects of the problem you are going to consider at least by the previous Friday. Without an adequate problem, you'll have nothing to put in your conceptual field, and cooling cannot occur without reaching dangerous levels.

  2. Make sure you transcribe the solution. If you try the technique on Friday night, ensure you have a quiet space with good chill out music available Saturday morning. You have to keep going round and round the solution as the MDMA wears off, or you will lose it.

  3. Beware of the recoil. The bigger the coolings, the bigger the re-energisations. If you try the technique on Friday, you will be a foul tempered toad quite unfit for human company on Sunday.

  4. Be sensible about costs. As one of Jame Blish'es characters put it, "There is a demon whose common manifestation has a long tongue. It takes me two weeks of fasting and a week of exhaustion to summon it. Shall I call it up to lick stamps?"

  5. Notice if you experience whole-body temperature drops while mapping in this way, quite opposite to the predictions of all prior theory. It won't necessarily be obvious at first - it took me a while to get sufficiently effective. It would make a wonderful experimental topic for Bothering People about! I wish I'd had an IR camera on myself on these occasions. I'm trying to arrange to try it myself ASAP.

Anyway, now we know why so many prophets come from Semetic gene pools and wander round in deserts a lot! In the light of this model, the comment "Why do you wash the outside of the cup? Do you not realise that he who made the inside also made the outside?" in "6: History" is particularly relevant.

Also we have the likely Sufi-inspired comment in Lafferty's "not to mention camels", "for sure the soul has a weight, but who can say what it is?" Energy is information, information is in the eye of the beholder. I love it when a model comes together!


Many mappers can be seen fiddling with things while doing mapper cognition (which is just the good bit of normal cognition that natural immunes retain in M0 society). Pull back the zoom lens on an isolated mapper doing this, and see him or her in the Reciprocal cosmos. On the creative arrow, data structures are becoming simpler in the brain, and structure is zooming away from the conscious being. On the recreative arrow, "random" data is coming at the mapper, and is being integrated into conscious insights.

In the spirit of the "magic" discussed at the end of "5: Hypertime", we can describe the fiddling activity as opening a channel for more multifractal data to enter the brain via the senses. This is why mappers constantly engage in tactile fiddling. Forcing them to stop because packers in their vicinity cannot bear to regard non-microsynchronised movements is thus a particularly nasty and un-natural punishment for their healthy existance.

Oceans and Stars

Do I need to spell it out? Do I really need to spell it out?