Looking up a favorite quote I have kept in mind for a while …
“In considering perception, we shall not say, for example, ‘I see a tree,’ because the tree [as such] is not within our explanatory system. At best, it is only possible to see an image which is a complex but systematic transform of the tree. This image, of course, is energized by my metabolism and the nature of the transform is, in part, determined by factors within my neural circuits: ‘I’ make the image, under various restraints, some of which are imposed by my neural circuits, while others are imposed by the external tree. An hallucination or dream would be more truly ‘mine’ insofar as it is produced without immediate external restraints. (All that is not information, not redundancy, not form and not restraints – is noise, the only possible source of new patterns.)” [Bateson, 1973, p386
.. I came along this text on Qualia and the problem of defining conciousness. In an examination starting with the initial perceptional / sensory impulses the bodily system is exposed to (which become interpreted through Qualia as the available processive ‘methods’) Stephen Jones arguments are developing along the notion of information processing according to Bateson’s terms of ‘information as a difference which makes a difference’ – coming to this description of noise:
It is the “difference which makes a difference” that is the signal. In the real world most of what goes on has little importance to a living system, eg. the random bumping of electrons into atoms in a wire. These things are differences but of little significance and so become described as noise. It is the “difference which makes a difference” that is the signal. In the real world most of what goes on has little importance to a living system, eg. the random bumping of electrons into atoms in a wire. These things are differences but of little significance and so become described as noise. There is noise everywhere, (especially in the media) and it is the determination of significance which becomes important. Donald MacKay defined information as that which alters representations.
Thus one can conclude the ability to ‘read noise’ is a crucial necessity to redefine the neural information inscribed in Qualia. Eventhough this might not make it sound easier to deal with thoughts on the concious/unconcious this explanation adds some relevance to the fact that there is always a slight paranoid undertow in any new reading attempt. It seems to point to the problematic that even concious attempts to respect half-concious impulses of made experiences might have a hard try to get a reading outside a former thought process.
In conclusion. I have argued that qualia must be the information we contain of the world as realized by our sensory transforms of the difference relations in the world. Further I have demonstrated that as qualia are a kind of information they must then be embodied in the physical. In third person terms they are describable as the phase-spaces (the real-time dynamical states) of the neural feature-processing systems that are our physical/biological world-handling and “self” constructing, ie our consciousness. In first person terms they are that intrinsic knowledge we have that is our phenomenal experience of the world. The difference is a difference of perspective. It is the difference between looking at the state of the brain and being the brain; at looking at the information constructing the world and being constructed (at least partially) of that information. Thus, while being on our guard about the possible misuse attached to “representation” (as pictures somehow painted onto a canvas in the brain), the qualial “pictures” we have in our heads are the result of the process of transforming and understanding the externally available data that we can accept in the context of the moment.