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Photoshop Layers & The “Hard Problem” Of Consciousness

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As someone who once taught Photoshop to beginners, it occurred to me that a deeper examination of its most important feature might also open the way to a deeper understanding of our true nature.

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Computer analogies are always tricky, but my own fascination with the reality that DNA is code and operates as software made me go through this exercise.

Let’s begin by understanding that a complete (“whole”) Photoshop file in the PSD format is referred to as a “composition.” It is a complete totality, but Photoshop allows for it to be “deconstructed” into parts so that it can be “understood” differently and eventually revised.

Most readers are familiar with web friendly image formats like JPG and PNG. When they are opened in Photoshop or a similar program a new world becomes available. Those who already use Photoshop know that once the features are learned, one can add effects, lighting, color, transparency, text, and many other “features.”

But also keep in mind as we go through this that everything you are reading (or if you were to do this on your own computer) is just pixels on your screen changing their individual features (color, shape, and brightness).

So let’s begin with a stock image in one of these formats – a picture of a guy at a laptop – and it is already a complete “composition” in Photoshop – just one layer.

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no layer

The “Layers Palette” can be seen right next to the preview image with the original single layer.

Using Photoshop features (info below) we create three new blank layers to modify our composition.

We can now select just the laptop screen, “cut” it from its layer in the original composition, and “paste” it into one of the new layers.  Moving it around we can see that a transparent area is left “beneath” it.

4layercutlaptop

I put quotation marks around “beneath” because on your screen everything is flat, but for the first time you can begin to realize that it is your mind that makes the judgment (literally an overlay) that one image is beneath another. Photoshop programming takes advantage of this.

I can now add another picture, of the CE logo, and paste it into one of the other blank layers.

new layer in front

Since its layer is “above” the one with the monitor, the entire logo is visible.

Moving the order of the layers and dragging the monitor “above” the logo, now part of it is obscured.

So that using its programming Photoshop simulates the three dimensional view we have of the world by using the convention of “higher” layers looking “closer.”

new layer behind

This is just a very simple overview of the powerful layers feature of Photoshop.

And by saving everything as a PSD Photoshop composition, we can return to these fragmented elements and revise them again, adding text, effects, and so on each time, and then saving each as a “flattened” JPG or PNG file for a different purpose.

By keeping the original Photoshop composition, an artist maintains “the whole” — all of the original elements for reuse. Are you beginning to feel like God yet? Or maybe Einstein – since each element exists only relative to its “layer” – but all layers are relative to one another within the one entire composition.

What just happened on a deeper level?

We broke up a complete whole into basically artificial components.  We also saw that our mind reconstructs the whole according to our conditioning, adding, among other things, judgments of depth and scale.

This is what our brain does in filtering out parts of reality and fragmenting the “whole” in order to make “sense” of what it sees, but in effect it is overlaying a set of judgments based on conditioned beliefs.

If we now use the Photoshop analogy of the brain and begin to consider the “hard problem of consciousness,” as science does, as an “emergent” property of the brain – meaning that at some level of complexity and growth consciousness will “happen” – we can ask, how many layers will it take until there is consciousness in this composition – meaning complete knowledge?

In fact does any “feature” of the Program when applied to the composition suggest the presence of consciousness–or just additional “information”?

Author and presenter at SAND Bernardo Kastrup  addresses this very nicely in his video “A Small Theory of Everything.”

Surely we can now see that complete knowledge or consciousness will NEVER occur with the addition of elements or layers, because consciousness is a property of the entire program Photoshop which conceived and created the entire composition, broke it apart, and according to whose principles this small world operates. Consciousness is literally in a different dimension, or scale.

And now we also know that this is only a small fragment of reality, because we have been dealing all of this time with one still graphic image.

In reality nothing is static or still. Everything is in fluid motion or change, analogously to our Photoshop image being just one “frame” in a film or video.  An entirely different set of parameters and laws is needed to “explain” or account for the reality of video – almost infinitely more complex and powerful.

And again, consciousness is “no thing” — it is the space in which all of this takes place; it is never a function or property of any of the individual or collective elements, whether of a frame, a composition, or a full length film or video with many, many frames, each with their own potential layers.

In animation or CGI (computer graphics filming) we can “fool” the viewer into thinking something entirely imaginary exists by using the same principle of Photoshop over many frames, called rotoscoping.

Here again another “dimension” of “consciousness” would be appear to be “applied,” but it is still a fragment of the whole, because it all takes place within an infinitely greater context.

Additional information does not indicate consciousness.

Want to go to an even greater scale? What about virtual reality?  Now you are placing interactive control for entity (self) within a movie of many frames. Again this presents another world or dimension, but consciousness is again not a function or emergent property of that world.

All and everything takes place within or “as” consciousness; as Eckhart Tolle says, it is so obvious that it is hidden like a fish trying to understand water.

So from a scientific perspective or in terms of an observer based science that approaches reality as “it is” and not as fragmented through experimentation or measurement, the “hard problem of consciousness” can only be accounted for by beginning to shift our perspective to entirely different scales and dimensions of being, not mere knowing.

We can peel away layer after layer of our composition until all that is left is a background, which if made transparent, is literally nothing.  The program, or container for the composition, is nowhere to be found–and as an “executable” or application it is like the verb that implies its “work product” or a noun/thing but is itself “no thing.”

(I suppose that if we saw the layers as fluid and vibrational we might come up with our own String Theory for a cosmology of Photoshop but while it might explain the relationship between layers (planes or dimensions) it could never account for their existence.)

In a sense we would need to be the programmer behind Photoshop to comprehend the full scale of a composition, just as when we begin to decode DNA we cannot delude ourselves that we understand its full scale because the mind or consciousness that “created” or “conceived” it is surely far beyond our limited comprehension.

We will need a new set of senses, beliefs, and attitudes – perhaps those of reverence and awe.

******

Photoshop Hints (to do this yourself):

To convert a background into a layer:

  • Double-click Background in the Layers palette, or choose Layer > New > Layer from Background.
  • Set layer options as desired. (See Adding layers and layer sets.)
  • Click OK.

To convert a layer into a background:

  • Select a layer in the Layers palette.
  • Choose Layer > New > Background from Layer.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Beijing Doctors Said 7 Coma Patients Would Not Wake Up — AI Predicted The Opposite, And Was Right

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    AI technology has outsmarted doctors when it comes to coma patients. The lives of at least 7 individuals have been saved as a result.

  • Reflect On:

    Given the serious questions about AI, are there are ways that AI technology can aid our current systems on the planet? How do we decide when we have gone too far with AI?

Sometimes after tragic accidents, people lose their consciousness and enter a coma or unresponsive state. Doctors usually make the call as to whether or not there is any point in keeping these people alive or if the family should consider “pulling the plug.” Doctors know best, right?

Well, recently there were at least seven patients in Beijing who doctors said had no hope of being able to regain consciousness, they were then re-evaluated by an artificial intelligence system that predicted these patients would awaken within a year. Guess what? They did.

One of the awakened patients was a 19-year-old who spent six months with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome after an accident that left him with a severe injury to his left temple. Some of China’s top neurologists conducted numerous rounds of assessment to determine his potential for a recovery. They gave him seven out of a possible 23 points on the coma recovery scale, this score gave his family members the legal rights to take him off of life support if they chose to do so.

After going through his brain scans the computer software assessed him with over 20 points, which is much closer to the full score, which would mean a recovery.

Another patient was a 41-year-old female who was victim to a stroke; she had been in an unresponsive state for three months and had been assessed with a recovery score of six. The computers estimate? 20.23.

The two aforementioned individuals, in addition to five more patients who were also in an unresponsive state, who doctors had predicted would not recover or wake up, did within 12 months of the scan done by the artificial intelligence, just as predicted.

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The Machine Also Made Some Mistakes

Perhaps this is a good time to believe in the power of miracles, a 36-year-old man who had suffered bilateral brainstem damage after suffering from a stroke was given low scores by both the doctors and the AI. He still fully recovered in less than a year.

This AI system was developed after eight years of research, which was conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and PLA General Hospital in Beijing and so far has achieved nearly 90 percent accuracy on all prognostic assessments.

Some of the results of this research were published in the journal, eLife.

“We have successfully predicted a number of patients who regained consciousness after being initially determined to have no hope of recovery,” the researchers said in a statement.

“At present, there are more than 500,000 patients with chronic disturbance of consciousness caused by brain trauma, stroke, and hypoexic encephalopathy with an annual increase of 70,000 to 100,000 patients in China, which brings great mental pain and a heavy burden to families and society,” they added.

“The possible prediction of the recovery of patient consciousness will directly affect the choice of clinical treatment strategies, and even the choice of life or death by the patient’s relatives.”

Associate researcher with the Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the first author of this study, Dr. Song Ming, explained how the system they developed was different from other AI methods used in the diagnoses of diseases like cancer, “our machine can ‘see’ things invisible to the human eyes,” he said.

So How Does This Technology Work?

The patients are analyzed using a brain scan that includes functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI. This technology is able to chart the activity in the brain by measuring even the smallest changes in blood flow.

Because there are so many neural activities going on at once, they are not always directly visible to doctors, however the AI system is equipped with machine learning algorithms and is able to detect these changing details more accurately and recognize patterns that were previously unknown in past cases.

“The AI system assumes that every patient still has consciousness,” Song said. “Its job is to determine the likelihood they will come to within a certain period.

“It will never replace doctors. It is just a tool to help doctors and families make better decisions.”

The Positive Potential Of AI

Many, including myself for the most part, are generally under the impression that AI is something that we should be wary of, and I stand by that statement. But in instances such as these, we can see how this technology is developed and how when used by the right hands can actually be an amazing gift to humanity. There are many instances where AI and other forms of tech can drastically enhance our current models of doing things, with more precision and accuracy. It shouldn’t all be dismissed right away, and it shouldn’t all be given the green light either. We have to be able to use discernment and determine whether or not we are using this technology for the right reasons and what the potential implications of bringing in these new technological advancements to our lives and current system.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Scientists Discover A New & Efficient Way To Turn Sunlight Into Fuel

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new process is able to effectively turn sunlight into fuel by combining natural processes and human made technologies.

  • Reflect On:

    With all of the emerging alternative energy sources that are becoming available to us, do we really need to be burning fossil fuels any longer?

The sun is a big burning ball of fire and thus, energy. Really, everything is energy. We already know that it is the light and warmth of the sun that gives life to every living thing on this planet. We have already seen an example of how the sun’s energy can be utilized to create power with the rapidly increasing use of solar panels, but researchers from St. John’s College, University of Cambridge, have now discovered a new way to utilize energy from the sun and turn it into fuel. Yes fuel — the type of fuel that could directly compete with fossil fuels.

The researchers used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy. Using natural sunlight to separate hydrogen and oxygen including the use of a combination of biological components and human made technologies.

This research could revolutionize the way we are currently utilizing the sun for renewable energy production. Their method was able to absorb even more solar light than the natural process of photosynthesis. A paper, published in the journal Nature Energy described how the researchers were able to develop this process of unassisted, solar driven water splitting.

One of the authors of the study and PhD student at St. John’s college, Katarzyna Sokól said, “Natural photosynthesis is not efficient because it has evolved merely to survive so it makes the bare minimum amount of energy needed — around 1-2 percent of what it could potentially convert and store. “

One of the keys to this process is an ancient enzyme known as hydrogenase.

“Hydrogenase is an enzyme present in algae that is capable of reducing protons into hydrogen,” Sokól added.

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“During evolution this process has been deactivated because it was necessary for survival but we successfully managed to bypass the inactivity to achieve the reaction we wanted — splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.”

The process of mimicking photosynthesis in order to collect and store energy is something that scientists have been experimenting with for years. However, according to Sokól, the earlier technologies are not capable of scaling up to industrial models for a myriad of different reasons — either they are too expensive, or inefficient of use materials could also pose a risk to the environment.

The team took the approach to create an electrochemical cell, similar to a traditional battery, but based on the light-collecting biochemistry of a process called photosystem II. This was able to provide the necessary voltage that is required for the hydrogenase enzyme to do do it’s job and reduce the amount of hydrogen in water so that it can separate from oxygen and become the gas it was born to be.

Although this process may sound simple, connecting artificial systems with natural and organic processes has proved to be quite challenging.

“This work overcomes many difficult challenges associated with the integration of biological and organic components into inorganic materials for the assembly of semi-artificial devices and opens up a toolbox for developing future systems for solar energy conversion,” says, Erwin Resner, author and laboratory head.

There is much more research that needs to be done, but this is a huge and important step towards being able to fully utilize this method for an alternate fuel source.

“This could be a great platform for developing solar technologies. The approach could be used to couple other reactions together to see what can be done, learn from these reactions and then build synthetic, more robust pieces of solar energy technology,” says Sokól.

“It’s exciting that we can selectively choose the processes we want, and achieve the reaction we want which is inaccessible in nature. This could be a great platform for developing solar technologies. The approach could be used to couple other reactions together to see what can be done, learn from these reactions and then build synthetic, more robust pieces of solar energy technology,” she added.

Final Note

While this is certainly a plus in the direction of moving toward new energy systems, these technologies have advanced counterparts in the realm of zero-point energy that can make an even greater impact on humanity, without the need for sunlight.

The challenge? It has often been said that if ‘free energy’ like technologies come out prior to humanity shifting their consciousness enough to truly handle these technologies, we will in essence use them in the exact same way we do now: patent them, limit them and then charge people extensively for energy. This does not help to free the population, but only keeps it enslaved, and abundance limited.

Much Love

 

 

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading

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Wi-Fi Security – Measures to Prevent Technology Enabled Crimes

Every Wi-Fi user must know how to adopt security measures that will prevent them from becoming victims of wireless technology crimes.

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Considered as one of the greatest advancement since the Internet, Wi-Fi wireless networking technology has given mobility to computers. People use wireless technology in the office, at home, and in public places. Unless Wi-Fi users adopt some sort of security, various problems can result when computers transmit unsecured information to one another.

Bandwidth theft, exposed e-mail messages, password or user name theft, and hijacked online identity rank among the top problems brought about by unsecured Wi-Fi transmissions. Every Wi-Fi user must know how to secure their computer.

Use WPA Instead of WEP Encryption

Encryption protocols are used to make network traffic more secure by encoding data packets that are transmitted thereon. Unfortunately, some wireless routers don’t have encryption enable or use the weaker WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) security protocol.

It is well known that WEP security keys are easy to break and therefore network administrators should use the WPA or WPA2 protocols. Even if a router doesn’t support the more secure WPA or WPA2 protocols, WEP should be used; it is better than nothing.

Install a Firewall on Every Computer and Server

A firewall is the most basic and fundamental network security measure there is to secure wireless networks. While Wi-Fi routers can be used to extend the range of networks, they also make the network more vulnerable. A firewall will need to be installed on every computer to ward off security threats. This should be done even if the wireless router has a firewall installed on it.

Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)

B­asically, VPNs form a private network that uses a public network (usually the Internet) to connect remote sites or users together. VPNs use authenticated links to make sure that only authorized users can connect to a network. It also uses encryption to make sure that others can’t intercept and can’t use data that travels over the Internet. Numerous websites offer both free and paid VPN versions. VPNbase is one of them.

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Reduce the Transmitter Power of Network Access Points

Part of the convenience of using wireless networks is the ability to access services remotely. This strength also becomes a weakness, because others can see, and potentially use the network as well, especially when a powerful transmitter/antenna is being used.

To limit how far outside the premises the wireless signal travels, reduce the power output of wireless antennas. This requires some tweaking to find the right setting, because reducing the signal output of antennas also reduces the network’s service delivery and quality.

Disable Remote Administration

WLAN (wireless local area network) routers often come with the ability for a network administrator to remotely configure the router. By default, this feature is usually turned off and should stay that way if remote administration is not absolutely necessary. While network administrators can usually set passwords, to secure access to the router’s control panel, leaving the feature enabled could leave the network vulnerable as well.

Remove or Disable Weak Passwords and Access Codes

Ensure that all default passwords and access codes that come preset on network equipment are changed or disabled. Access the router’s web interface and update all settings that have a bearing on network security. Be sure the use strong passwords as well.

Physically Secure your Wireless Network Equipment

Hardware devices typically come with a hard reset button. Making network equipment readily available to be physically handled by anyone who wishes to do so puts the network at risk. Secure all critical and sensitive equipment in rooms or equipment racks.

Don’t Broadcast the Network’s SSID

To allow for the easy setup of wireless clients, most wireless access points will broadcast the SSID (Service Set IDentifier), or network name. While broadcasting the SSID makes setting up wireless clients easier, it also makes WLANs visible to wireless devices that are within range, including those that are malicious. Turn off SSID broadcast to make the network invisible and more secure.

Simple Wireless Network Security

Ensuring that a wireless network is secure is an ongoing responsibility. Wireless network threats, such as those posed by hackers and viruses can be thwarted by some common sense approaches such as physically securing network equipment and using strong encryption methods and technologies. However, the most effective security measures are those that seek to cover all the known security vulnerabilities.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
Continue Reading
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