Finding a scientific explanation for consciousness

What is consciousness?

It is a seemingly tough thing to get your mind around. We all experience consciousness, or at least I have faith that other people experience consciousness and aren’t just unaware zombies.

Consciousness is different than mind, that is for sure. There can be processes of the mind that you are not conscious of. Computations and cognitive events that occur in the mind but you are not aware of, not conscious of all the same. Rather, you are conscious of your mind (or contents/objects of your mind). Consciousness is awareness. The consciousness is aware of things, it is aware of objects. To be conscious is to be conscious of something. Of what you are reading, of tastes, visual field, smells, tactile sensations, thoughts, emotions, memories, etc. Your mind is capable of constructing/presenting to the consciousness all sorts of sensations, all sorts of thoughts, all sorts of memories and emotions. We each have a vast range of memories at our disposal, but we are only conscious of the ones that we are conscious of, the ones we are made aware of.

So consciousness is an awareness.

This awareness is of whatever it is you perceive through the senses as it is constructed and presented by the mind. Meaning, consciousness is an awareness of the objects of the mind. It is like a light being shone onto something, and that something is an activity of the mind.

Consciousness is unified. I don’t experience a consciousness of my visual field of my laptop right now that is separate from my tactile sensations as I press on the keyboard. Rather, the two occur in one single unified experience. They occur together. It isn’t one consciousness experience one set of perceptions and a different consciousness that is aware of another set. Everything – my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, memories, all occur together in a single unified field. One consciousness.

Consciousness is non-reducible. In science we like to reduce things. A human body is reduced to systems (skeletal system, central nervous system, reproductive system, etc). These systems are reduced to organs, tissues, etc. These are reduced to cells. Cells are reduced to macromolecules. Macromolecules are reduced to atoms. Atoms are reduced to subatomic particles. Subatomic particles are reduced to probabilistic quantum events that have no real physical existence. But consciousness, consciousness isn’t reducible beyond itself. It simply is. It is awareness. It is awareness of objects, and you can’t reduce the awareness beyond what it is.

Consciousness is one of, if not, THE big ticket areas of study today. It is found to play a role in our modern day physics (quantum mechanics), it is one of the hottest topics of study in philosophy (philosophy of mind), it is at the core of the yoga, meditative, new age and mindfulness movement, and it is the final frontier of psychology, computer science (artificial intelligence), neuroscience and cognitive science.

Each domain has its own approach and tool kit to use in attempting to tackle the problem of explaining consciousness, but how will science attempt such a feat?

Science claims to be objective. Science is also a methodology that has limited scope and range.

The current leading model in science is that the mind and consciousness are caused by biological processes in the brain. This is to say, that the mind and consciousness arise from molecules and atoms interacting with each other according to the laws of physics. To not believe this to be the case is to pretty much commit academic suicide.

I won’t discuss the problems associated with this view, or why I might have a problem with it (though I will ask what it means for molecules to have knowledge of molecules, and how can molecules be aware of molecules, if awareness and mind are just properties of molecules). Rather, I will ask what science would need to do to look for consciousness via experiment.

A proper experiment controls all the variables except one. If that one variable is altered and it has no effect on the thing being measured, it is inferred that the variable has no causal relationship with the effect being studied. If, on the other hand, the variable is altered and it is found to have an effect on the thing being measured, it can be stated that there is a correlation between the two, and from there further investigations can be made to see if this is just a correlation, or if the relation is a causal one.

An example can help.

You enter into a new home and you want to determine which light switches on the walls control which light bulbs on the ceilings. Let’s say there are 10 switches and 10 light bulbs in this house. It would be unscientific and not helpful to turn on 5 switches then walk and around and see which light bulbs went on. You controlled 5 variables, but changed the other 5, and now you can’t really tell which light bulbs correlate with which switches. The best way to go about determining these relations is to leave 9 of the switches in the off position, turn one switch on, and then see which light bulb changes. Hopefully you see a 1-to-1 correlation. You can switch it on, and off, on and off. See that they always correlate, and if you are so confident in this relation, you can infer that the light switch has a causal relationship with the light bulb, in that the switch being turned on causes the light bulb to go on. And you can continue this process for the other 9 switches.

Now, what if the exact same scenario was repeated, except in this scenario you enter a new home and there is a dog there. What you don’t know is that this dog is scared of illuminated light bulbs. You repeat the experiment above, and what you find is everytime you turn on a light switch two things occur: a light bulb illuminates, and the dog barks. Now, if you have never turned on a light switch before, you have never seen a light bulb before, and you have no previous concepts of electricity, it is just as likely in the above scenario that you would correlate the dog barking with the light switch, and the light switch to the light bulb illumination, and the light bulb illumination to the dog barking. You might even infer that this is more of a correlation, but that the light switch being turned on causes the dog to bark and the dog barking causes the light bulb to illuminate. It sounds silly, but it would be perfectly plausible for someone who had no previous concepts of light switches, light bulbs, dogs, and electricity.

The example might seem silly, but it isn’t. It isn’t silly because the pursuit of science is a pursuit from a state of ignorance (no knowledge of the universe) to a state of facts and truths. Meaning, at some point along the way during the pursuit of science electricity was not known, light switches were not known, light bulbs were not known, nor the reason for dogs barking nor their effects. At some point, none of these concepts were known. And in all truth, any field of scientific study is a field of unknown. No correlation or causal relation is obvious. When you don’t know anything about dogs, light switches, light bulbs or electricity, the model that light switches cause dogs to bark which cause light bulbs to go on is perfectly plausible.

Back to consciousness.

How are we to study consciousness through science under the model that consciousness and mind exist through a causal relationship from atoms and molecules that comprise the brain?

Let’s go back to the house with the light bulbs. If you had a light switch and turned it on and off and not a single light changed, what conclusion could you arrive at? Well, let’s say you changed all the light bulbs making sure they were all working. Light switch on, and nothing. No light bulbs illuminated. Well, you could have to conclude that the light switch has no causal relation to any of the light bulbs. The light switch’s on/off position has no bearing on any of the other light switches functionality. The light switch would have no effect on the lights. It has no relation to them. Maybe to something else, maybe an outlet, maybe it isn’t even connected to any wires/electricity. Who knows! But, you would conclude that it has no causal relation to the light bulbs.

Ok. Now, in the house with light switches and light bulbs we had a model to test: there are light switches and light bulbs and the light bulbs are causally controlled by the light switches. In the study of consciousness/mind we have a model to test: there are atoms/molecules/cells and mind/consciousness and the mind/consciousness is causally controlled by the atoms/molecules/cells.

Now, atoms/molecules/cells are in constant motion, and they are constantly in flux. Being in flux means they are coming and going, never being, always becoming. An atom spends some time comprising this molecule, then is transferred in a chemical reaction and comprises that molecule, then finds its way into the blood stream or spinal fluid, and eventually makes its way out of the body. Likewise, an atom that was once a part of a seed on the earths surface is now in your belly, and then finds its way into the brain and is part of a neuron and part of a dopamine molecule, etc, etc. All these atoms are moving, all of these molecules are moving, all of these cells are moving. Nothing is static, nothing is fixed, all is flux.

And yet, we experience a single unified non-reducible consciousness. All this change, and yet only one single consciousness. Yes, it is true that the objects of consciousness (objects of our mind) are constantly changing, but consciousness itself never changes. It always is. 

So, if we keep changing the light switches and the light bulbs don’t change and we conclude that the light switches have no causal role in producing or affecting the light bulbs, then if the atoms are constantly moving, constantly differing, constantly changing their relations, their states, their levels, their activities and consciousness is still this single unified non-reducible thing from moment to moment remaining unchanged, then we must also conclude that these atoms, these molecules, these cells have no causal influence/affect/role in determining consciousness.

If there does exist a causal relationship between something physical (atoms/molecules/cells/etc) and the existence of consciousness, then there must exist a light switch. There must exist something, whether it is an atom, a molecule, a cell, a set of atoms, a set of molecules, a set of cells, a relation between members of these sets…etc…something that when present or absent consciousness exists, and oppositely when absent or present consciousness does not exist.

I am not saying such a thing exists, in fact I believe the exact opposite, but that is just a hypothesis/conjecture.

But if there did exist a physical causal relationship for consciousness, first it must be shown that there exists a certain distinct and discrete physical state (atoms/molecules/cells/relations between these, etc) that correlates with consciousness, and the perturbation of this physical state would have to correlate with the absence of consciousness.

We don’t know of one, and finding one would require quite complex relations/modelling to be done as it is known that all physical systems, the brain included, are constantly in flux. How can a state of flux produce a constant stream of consciousness, a singular, unified non-reducible consciousness? The analogy with our house of light bulbs would be a house where light switches are constantly in flux, turning themselves on and off continuously, and yet we think that one light bulb stays on constantly, and we want to figure out what the causal relationship between these dancing in-flux light switches have on that single continuously lit light bulb. Seems illogical and impossible, doesn’t it? I am not saying it is impossible, but it seems unlikely.

Of course, there is a difference between the two analogies that leaves it hard to even talk scientifically about producing consciousness. The light bulbs are either on or off, that is not really open for debate. Consciousness, though, is. Consciousness is always of something. Conscious of my hunger, conscious of my dog wanting to go for a walk, conscious of how tired I am. Conscious of how long this blog post is getting. Consciousness is always of an object. Now, the question remains: What happens when you are conscious of no-thing? Commonly this is referred to as unconscious or not conscious, like deep sleep without a dream. But how can we distinguish that state from being conscious, but conscious of no-thing, no object? What criteria do we have to make that judgement?

So even if we found that light switch, that physical state in the brain, we still couldn’t distinguish between the two interpretations of the physical state causally affecting:

  1. No consciousness (off light switch position); or
  2. Consciousness of no object (off light switch position)

And so the pursuit of science to find such a causal explanation for consciousness seems deeply troubled. It is interesting though, that is for sure.

With that, I walk my dog and then sleep.

Hypotheses, parent hypotheses and instrumentation

The pursuit of knowledge begins with a hypothesis.

Whether or not it is explicitly known or made conscious of, the act of posing a hypothesis itself rests on a hypothesis (or assumption) that the truth value of a hypothesis can be ascertained (that the hypothesis can be verified or refuted). This must be assumed otherwise posing the hypothesis itself would be a vain pursuit. One asks a question with the implicit assumption that an answer exists. I do not ask, “Why is the garbage can sprinkler farm house?”, because I do not believe that to be a question, I do not believe it to be a question because there exists no answer, and there is a specific logical structure to questions and answers, being that questions have answers. If a question has no answer, then it isn’t really a question, it is just a string of words I can utter but has no meaning.

I also do not believe, “Why does the farm house cook?”, to be a question because though I can create a concept of what this sentence means, it still is a meaningless question. Questions, in order to be questions, must make sense, be meaningful, and be categorized as having an answer.

No hypothesis can be posed without another hypothesis being integral, inclusive, contained within itself. For example, when I pose the hypothesis that expressing a certain protein in liver cells will have causal influences on the levels (and thus function (note: protein levels correlate to function is itself a hypothesis)) of the other proteins expressed in that cell, this hypothesis poses within itself a vast multitude of preceding and necessary hypotheses. Hypotheses such as: that proteins exist, that proteins carry out functions, that proteins interact, that our model of the cell is true, that our instrumentation works the way it does (from the accuracy of a pipette that draws our chemical solutions, to the mechanical integrity of a centrifuge, to the accuracy of our electronic thermostats, to the software we use, etc, etc), and many other hypotheses. Essentially every currently held to be “true” model within science is a hypothesis that has yet to be refuted. It can never be proven to be true (as this would be inductive and not deductive), so it is still a hypothesis yet to be refuted. And so for any hypothesis, H, stated at time, t(n), then that hypothesis statement would rest on all other non-refuted hypotheses at time t(n-1), t(n-2)…until it finally rests on the axioms that provided the very logical structure (rules, assumptions, postulates, definitions) of the field of knowing that the hypothesis exists in.

Now, I am curious about the logical structure behind an explanation/interpretation behind instrumentation in quantum mechanical experiments. Actually, about instrumentation in general.

A couple of months ago I was watching a scientific documentary on netflix and there was “imaging” of the surface of materials such as metals. Images were something like this:

And so we are told a story, an interpretation of this image that we are viewing (note: the image itself is represented via atoms that form a screen printout from the computer this was used to create and in our case represented via atoms composing our laptop screens) is that atoms really are physically extended things in space, we can kind of visualize them. The amazing thing about this image is the interpretation/meaning conveyed that atoms really are physical geometric things that exist. It is interpreted as a confirmation that beneath what we can see are these smaller, real, physical things that we can’t see, and those things make up the things we can see. Atoms. Matter.

But here is the problem with an experiment like this. What you get from this image is that atoms have these three dimensional shapes. There are parts of an atom that are closer to one point in space (i.e. you, or something one namometer away from a certain gps location) and then there are some parts of that very same atom that are further away from that very same point. That is to say, a single atom is not a dimensionless point, it has a physical geometry and has regions that differ over space. The atoms on the surface of the substance depicted above clearly have dimension. There are parts of the atoms that appear closer to the perspective of the observer than other regions of the very same atom. Meaning, pick any object in the room you are in. Comprising that object are atoms, let’s pick one of them. Now, if we were to measure the distance from let’s say your nose, or any other single point in space, to that atom, we could get multiple measurements. We could get multiple measurements because we could be measuring from that point (your nose) to different areas/regions/parts of the same single atom. Just like measuring your distance from a ball, that distance depends on what point you are measuring on the ball, the front, the side, the back, the top, bottom, etc.

Ok. This might seem obvious. Why am I taking such great attention to this? Because if this is true, then we have to see what causal effects, what logical relations this new truth has for all the preceding hypotheses that this hypothesis is founded upon. In this case, what struck out to me was instrumentation. Now, the instrument that do these imaging techniques, which tell us that atoms have geometry, involves measuring. It has to be able to measure distances and thus geometries. There is a source, which exists in space, and thus has a (hypothesized) very real space it occupies, with a very real distance separating itself from the sample it is to measure. The method to measure is to send, from the source, a laser (electromagnetic radiation) which moves at a constant and known (Maxwellian/Einsteinian) speed (the speed of light), and it will hit the surface of the object, and bounce back to a detector. We can measure the time it takes for the laser beam to be emitted from the source and then detected by the detector. Since we know the time it took for the laser to travel, and we know how fast it is travelling, we can tell how far (the distance) it traveled. If we can be incredibly precise with this distance we can compute the geometry of the surface the light is reflecting from. Just think if you were blind folded and you were given a device, say a cannon or gun, that you knew shot something at a constant and defined speed. You shot the cannon/gun in a direction, and all you knew was the length of time it took to hit something. You could move yourself left and right slowly shooting over and over, collecting data points and deduce the shape of the thing you were shooting at. You could do this in the very room you are in now. Closer things to you would get hit earlier, further things would get hit later.

Now, returning to the experiment itself, the entire instrument itself is made up of atoms, including the detector. Now, if we were to visualize what the surface of the detector would look like, it should (by hypothesis) look like the surface of the material in the image above (since it too is made up of atoms). Now, if this is the case, that means that the detector itself has a geometrical shape, with regions of a given atom that are closer or farther away than any given point in space.

This is important. This is important because the detector detects once the laser reaches (excites) the detector. The laser is assumed to be so precise (small in physical size in terms of the wave traversing over space which would include concepts such as frequency, amplitude, wave length) that it will contact a point on the material (collection of atoms) the size smaller than an atom. I find this hard to get across. What I mean is this, if you use your right index finger to touch your leg, the thing we would call the point of contact isn’t really much of a point. It probably occupies an area of several millimeters. When you try to be precise with your big clunky finger tip, well, it touches an area of your leg. Now, our laser, like our finger tip, is going to touch the surface of that material. In order for it to produce the resolution of an atom in an image the laser (finger tip) has to have an area of contact that is smaller than the area of an atom. It must be smaller than an atom. That is a pre-requisite to be able to tell that one point on an atom is further or closer away than another, which after all is the entire pursuit of this imaging.

So, this laser is so precise that it can touch one part of an atom while still not touching another part of that very same atom. Ok. Now, let us try to visualize with our imagination this experiment occurring. Shrink yourself down to the size of the atoms. The light source is emitted (laser), it travels across space and hits on an area of an atom that makes up the “surface” of the material object, then the light reflects and moves towards the detector, where there again the laser will touch another area on the surface of another geometrically three dimensional atom. Is this not a problem? The reason why this would be a problem stems from the fact that we take this image to be a truth statement. It is a visual statement, and can be verbalized by stating that it is true and representative of reality that atoms are three dimensionally extended things. We make this statement because we assume that our hypothesis that our instrumentation functions “properly” is true. Our concept of our instrumentation functioning properly is that it is representative of reality, that it functions as we think it does.

But now, if we come to recognize that a physical detector made up of physical atoms which all have a three dimensional geometry, and that the laser can hit those atoms at any various part and still be touching that same atom (this is to say, that the laser can touch the same atom at different areas), and that each of these parts/areas of the atom can be physically closer or farther away from the path in which the laser has been travelling, then we can not know if the laser hit a region/area/part of the atoms of the detector that were closer or further from the point that the laser hit on the atoms of the material.

Maybe something like this:


In this image you can see that the light hits a specific point on the atom of the material, then moves towards the detector and hits a specific point on the detector. Now, the detector can tell when it was excited (when the ‘detection’ occurred). It cannot tell, by default, which area of a single atom was activated, since it is the very same atom and just one thing. It is binary, either activated or not, there is no more information that can be contained within the activation. The activation/excitation/detection within the detector would be the exact same whether it occurred at one point of the atom or another. It is still the same atom.  And so the light source could hit a single point on the material, but the path the laser follows, as it is a wave and thus moving and spreading over an area as it travels, it could hit different areas/points/regions of the very same atom. Why does this matter? Because different areas of the same atom necessarily occupy different regions in three dimensional space, relative to each other these areas of the atom will be closer/further in relation to a straight line from the point of contact of the laser on the surface of the material. Meaning, one laser will travel a bit further and one a bit less than the other. Moving at a constant and equivalent speed, this means that what is detected will be in one scenario, a wave having a shorter time span, and in another scenario a wave will have traveled over a longer time span.

Why does this matter? In these scenarios we have a source that emits at the same time point, time = 0, and both hit the same point on the atom of the surface material being imaged, then the laser reflects and moves towards the detector. In both instances the laser strikes the same identical atom (in non-simultaneous events of course!). In one instance the atom is contacted at a point closer, and in one instance the atom is contacted at a point further from the point of the surface material. This means that the time recorded for one instance will be longer than the other. Most importantly, they will be different! Yet for both scenarios the same point on the surface being imaged is being measured by the laser. It is the same point of contact, and thus, our hopes, our hypothesis for the instrument we are using is that when the laser hits a specific point on the surface, it will reliably be detected as an accurate and truthful representation of what the actual surface material is like in reality. But this cannot be.

This cannot be the case because we can have two very separate pieces of data for a single measurement. Is that point in space, the thing we are trying to image closer or farther? Did it take the laser 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 or 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000011 seconds to travel to the detector? It might seem like a small difference, but in all reality that is a 10% difference, highly significant. If you look at any object relative to you that you can see right now and you could not tell if it was where it actually is, relative to you, or 10% closer or further away, well, then the print on my wall is either 8 feet away, or it is close to 7 or close to 9 feet away. I don’t mean seemingly, I mean truthfully, in reality. Because we take that image to be a truth statement, and I think that the print on my wall is truthfully a specific distance away from me.

So we cannot truly, from the data, tell what could be the true image, the true three dimensional geometry of the material. We can’t because we start with the hypothesis that the image produced is true. If it is true, then we must take that new piece of data and see how it affects all the preceding hypotheses which that hypothesis (that the image is true). In doing so, we find that the hypothesis that the image is true becomes an impossible contradiction: it cannot be true since it refutes itself as argued above. The result of the hypothesis implies a direct refutation of a hypothesis from which the parent hypothesis relies upon. So the imaging is meaningless. Yet we take it to be true.

I am also interested in this line of reasoning and looking at preceding hypotheses when it comes to instrumentation for experiments in quantum mechanics. But I am tired and this thought will have to wait for another time.

Encryption of Information and Allegory

We all live in a digital world. We communicate via phone, text, e-mail, skype and various social media platforms. We share pictures, private information, private documents, both personally, professionally and institutionally over this digital world. This data is sensitive and often proprietary. It can be sensitive and so we want to keep it discrete and secret. It is important that when people communicate by e-mail or text on their smart phone that the information being shared is kept solely between the parties involved.

With this need in mind we have the concept of encryption. From war strategies to confidential corporate data to sharing a personal story, we want to maintain privacy and we do this, digitally, through encryption. Encryption involves altering information (which comes in the form of symbols (syntax/language/etc)) in such a way that the information is not obvious. The person intended to receive the information is made aware of this relation between the true information and the encryption of it. There are obviously many ways of encoding/encrypting a message.

I am faced with a question. Methods of encryption are made, and they are decoded/cracked/solved. From this, new methods of encryption are developed. With this in mind, I am curious if it is possible for there to exist a method of encryption such that it would be necessarily impossible to crack/decode without knowledge of the encryption method? Is there a proof that would claim that it is impossible for such a method of encryption to exist?

If such a proof exists, one that would show that it is impossible to create an uncrackable code, and thus there is no possibility for the existence of a perfect method of encryption, then that would mean, necessarily, that all information in existence can be made aware of, can be known. It would mean that it is possible to know the meaning of all information in existence.

This would necessarily follow since there would be no possible way for information that is “out there” in the world/universe to be encoded in such a way that it could not be perceived, no matter how convoluted and complex that information might be encoded. That is, if there does in fact exist information in the universe, it cannot be encrypted perfectly, and so necessarily, it is possible to be made aware of that information.

If this is true then there are very meaningful consequences to be considered.

There are views and interpretations that put information as the structure of the universe, of reality. Information is the word or concept for what is conveyed by something. Information is meaning in that sense, since meaning is what is conveyed by something. This something could be symbols, objects, events, series of events, relations, physical objects, phenomena, sense data, etc, etc… essentially, experience of the phenomenal world. Everything is information.

An atom is information. You cannot know an atom and not know that it is an atom of something. You cannot know an atom and not know that it is composed of subatomic particles. If you do not know those things about the atom then you cannot truly say you know the atom, since those concepts are contained within the concept of ‘atom’. You might know that there exists a word ‘atom’, and you might have a rough idea of what an atom is, but that isn’t truly knowing an atom. To know what an atom is, is to know the concepts contained within ‘atom’.

Likewise, you cannot know what is happening in a sporting event without knowing the sport and rules and relations they all play to one another. You cannot know what is happening in a chess game without knowing the rules of chess, the pieces, how they relate to each other, the structure of a game, the possible moves, etc. So a move in chess is information. It contains and conveys something: meaning. The same is true of a kiss, of seeing the sun rise, of seeing a brand image, of a smell, of a visual field, of the sense data one would call ‘heat’, of a certain sound, etc. Everything is information.

What is interesting about lots of our information is that they are social constructs. Seeing a man with a football run across a painted line on a grass field allows me to perceive a “touchdown”. “Touchdown” was the information conveyed to me when certain events, objects and phenomena were perceived. But a “touchdown” is a social construct. It isn’t something that can be measured using physical methods of science. There is nothing in crossing a line on grass with a football that intrinsically, out there in the universe, constitutes a “touchdown”. If it did then all cultures, all humans would naturally know what a touchdown was when they saw it. It wouldn’t need to be explained. Rather, we see certain events and under certain circumstances we impose onto reality the concept of “touchdown”, which is something we learn that is associated with a specific set of criteria (man + football + crossing a painted line +…..). The same is true of so many concepts, (in fact, all) from marriage, gender roles, what constitutes a date or friendship, what a proper meal is, what is healthy, what the function of biological processes are, what is an economy, money, social norms… the list goes on and on. We agree, and disagree, on what constitutes life (is a bacteria alive? is a virus? is a 2 month fetus? is the planet? is the universe? is a protein?). We even have to agree what constitutes a mountain. That is a concept upheld by our own definitions. The same is true with what an ocean vs sea is. Where does the mountain end? Can a line of demarcation be drawn at an exact set of atoms, objectively, of where any given mountain begins and ends? Of course not. The same is true for where an ocean ends and a sea begins. That distinction doesn’t exist “out there”, objectively, in nature, rather it is a convention we hold and impose on reality, and our thinking so makes it “true”.

A touchdown is a touchdown by convention, yes, but it in order for the information/meaning “touchdown” to be conveyed a certain logical structure has to be satisfied. The elements that make a touchdown a touchdown have to be present, and have to be consistent with what constitutes a touchdown. A logical structure still has to be satisfied, even if that logical structure is also held in convention. For example, it would be hard to imagine the meaning/information conveyed in a man from a football team carrying a football into an end zone as a marriage. Perhaps it is possible, but I cannot see it being the case where even if people all agreed that set of criteria constitutes a wedding, that it would make it so. I think this way because the concept of “wedding” has a different logical structure than a man carrying a football into an end zone. We also couldn’t say that the football player “died”. Essentially, what I am trying to communicate is that we can’t impose just any belief/concept/truth to any (set of) syntax/symbols/objects/relationships/etc. It must still fit a logical structure in order to be satisfied, because that logical structure is also a convention and is involved in holding the conventional concepts as true.

This is related to information and information encryption because anything, any syntax, any object, any symbol, literally anything at all (even the relationships between syntax/objects/symbols, and the relationships between those relationships, ad infinitum) can be and is given meaning, can and does convey a meaning. This can be done because any mind, any culture, any person, any conscious being can impose onto that object/syntax/symbol/relation/etc any meaning whatsoever, as long as it follows a consistent, coherent and cogent logical structure (which itself is information/meaning that is held in convention). In doing so, that object/syntax/symbol/relation/etc will now carry that meaning and information in the future. If this is true, that any symbol/syntax/object/relation/etc (i.e. anything at all) can carry any possible form of meaning/information (as long as it follows a coherent, consistent, cogent logical structure), and if it is true that any and all information in existence can possibly be observed (no matter how complex the form the information is encoded/encrypted), I contend, with these two truth statements together, that any and every logically coherent/cogent/consistently structured word view will have the ability at arriving at any and all information/meaning that can and does exist. Essentially, what this means and can be interpreted as, is that any logically consistent/cogent/coherently structured system/world view can arrive at all the same information/meaning (i.e. truth statements) as any other logically consistent/cogent/coherently structured system/world view. As long as there are no contradictions in a world view, it will arrive at the same truths, just in different ways, from other non-self-contradicting systems/world views. More plainly, all non-self-contradicting world views are allegories/metaphors/analogies of the each others, since they all arrive at the same truth. Whether it is a religious, mystical, logical, scientific, personal world view, as long as it is consistent within itself, any and all world views will come to the same information, the same meanings, the same self-imposed truths.

All is allegory.

In a different light, if we are to assume that there does in fact exist a truly objective reality/universe, then that universe/reality can be knowable, as it is information that makes it objective, since “objective” is a predicate that describes something (i.e. something that is  being described as objective), and the thing that it describes is a truth statement, which is information/meaning. So, if there does exist an objective universe, then it should be possible to come to determine the information that makes it objective (this being considered the laws of physics and the pursuit of science). Though, as I have written previously, I have doubts and think that the objective/subjective dichotomy of events/reality/universe/nature is a problematic duality that is either incomplete, false or meaningless. But this warrants more attention.

But all of this rests on the possibility/impossibility to perfectly encode information such that it would be impossible to be cracked. This will require more investigation!

(Note: Of course, it is possible for someone to think that a man carrying a football to an end zone is in fact a marriage, but that would be logically inconsistent, assuming all other world views/concepts were the same. The importance of the non-contradictory world view is something akin to working 95% done through a sudoku puzzle and realizing you have two 8’s in a row. Somewhere you made a deduction that was wrong (i.e. not necessarily true).The entire system, the entire puzzle is wrong(it contradicts itself), and can only be corrected if all the false assertions can be traced back to the first wrong deduction. But, this isn’t always possible in sudoku, as also it is for real life. In such a case we might call such a person with a contradictory world view to be wrong, crazy, insane, odd, etc. No matter the label we apply to that person, their world view can’t be taken seriously if it is not coherent/cogent/consistent within itself.)