Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0030, March 5, 2015


Kinds of Differences II

Copyright 2015 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

     Prickles, do you remember how a couple of weeks ago I was trying to discuss different kinds of differences and you took up all the space we had discussing the utility of such discussion instead? "I am guessing," Prickles says with a sigh, "this means you will be doing just that now." That's right, so pay attention - this is going to be rather subtle. "Go ahead," she says, "I guess I can't stop you."

     OK. To begin with, remember that a difference between one thing and another (or change from one state to another, same thing) is what is observed and that only differences are observed. ("Sounds like double talk, so far," notes Prickles.) Actually, according to the Elements of Existence, observations create the differences, the observation of a difference and the difference observed being one and the same. But that's another story. ("Good," she says, "let's not go there.")

     One kind of difference is the kind that an intelligent machine can observe. It consists of data (information) about the difference, what we call the facts. An intelligent machine can be programmed to evaluate the facts and act accordingly. But this is not the kind of difference observed by conscious organisms such as you and I. ("It isn't?" Prickles is confused. No, it isn't.)

     What we, conscious organisms, observe is how the difference feels. We experience it, and we evaluate it not on basis of facts alone (which we also observe though not quite in the same way as a machine that we made for some particular purpose) but primarily on basis of our feelings. Then we act with conscious intent to shape future events (observations) according to our desire. So we have at least two different kinds of observed differences: purely factual and experienced.

     The difference between these two kinds of differences is one of dimensionality. The difference as observed by a conscious organism has the added dimensionality of the experience of feeling which the factual difference lacks. And there we shall leave it. "Good," says Prickles.

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