Abstract 29012016-1

Henk Barendregt Axiomatizing consciousness with applications

About the path of purification/freedom it is claimed, e.g. by the Buddhist written and oral traditions, that the systematic practise of concentration towards insight leads to deconditioning. Indeed, the practise of concentration brings serenity, making it easier to face life. But then continued practise increases the resolution of attention and it can be observed that the stream of consciousness is discrete and deterministic. Apart from being unpleasant, in fact unbearable (dukkha), this seems not to be what was promised. And paradoxical.

As discreteness and determinism are unavoidable, as is well-known in neuroscience, the solution is to consider  that the reaction of dukkha is caused by the wrong view that we are in the middle of the universe and in control of what happens to us. It is this wrong view that can be avoided and domesticated, by systematically practising in a relaxed way concentrated and continuous mindfulness. The above mentioned paradox is solved because wrong view makes us spend emotional energy to pretend we are in control, causing us to seriously limit the space of possible choices. This provides possible explanations for stubborn clinical mental phenomena.

We present a computational model for consciousness, the human hybrid universal Turing machine, in which these mental developments are possible. The model also has consequences for the foundations of mathematics, in that it implies the Church-Turing Thesis oncomputability.