Ask A Genius 338 – Pain, Pain, Go Away, Come Back Another Day

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 338 – Pain, Pain, Go Away, Come Back Another Day

November 15, 2017

[Beginning of recorded material]

Jacobsen: What would a model of human thought and behavior look like with this information-based view of the universe framework?

Rick Rosner: When we are talking about human tendencies, abilities, cognitive tendencies, abilities, and so on, we need some foundations. So, before we even get to that, there is a framework for this characterizing of human cognitive, ability, behavior, consequences, the everything is the optimum framework is bad.

That we are surely aware of it because human cognition is much more complicated and numerous. The preferred framework is narrative when we are communicating and people for thousands of years have done that through stories, which I like to describe as human behavior moving.

People who are characters are more or less familiar in stories. People are dying for those stories. Of course, the stories on TV in the 70s, or in my mind at least, are fake and not helpful. Their legacy is constrained by even talk of the day.

The action in movies is brutal compared to the past. We have all shows on TV now compared to one or a few in the past. It can be frivolous in describing some characters, most pronounced in characters who are not recognized for their complexity, but still, today’s television is better.

Anyway, the narrative is the preferred framework for all these as opposes to equations, but, there is enough radio out there for telling stories. Most people prefer that over some silly mathematical characterization that gives a little insight into human cognition, in giving of evolutionary background or cultural support for some behaviors.

The cognition behind those behaviors. But the narratives simplify things. Humans have a pretty good ability not to screw up, but when people do try to become realistic about what humans are, someone gives optical statements about human beings.

It becomes human beings as basically bad or all good because of circumstances or innate capacities. We will make umbrella statements. If we do, it would be that humans have a certain level of churning out one area of cognition.

We are talking about humans who have some average level of violability or tendencies to yield to pressure. This is determined by evolution and cultural pressure. In some cases, it is a game theoretic deal.

How much money will it take to get somebody to slap on his screen? Who doesn’t know it’s coming? All those people would have an average level of resistance to an average price. Most people would yield to the temptation to be bad for the money.

So, human beings’ resistances are worth a certain amount of money. So, we have a money equivalent to think of yourself as a good person. So, most people won’t organize to strip something out of a kid’s hands for five or ten bucks, probably not even twenty.

But at fifty, there may be some takers. At one hundred, probably, even more, where once at one thousand, you would probably get 80 to 90% of people. So, there game theoretic accelerations, what framework is there?

There is a money equivalent to feeling good about yourself. The feeling is that you are a good person, “I wouldn’t do that.” But at some point, the money equivalent of actual money is worth more than any good feelings someone might lose by slapping the ice cream, say, out of a kid’s hands.

You probably still have a bad dynamic because of the number of cultural norms that behavior activation is based on evolution, culture, and some influences on the ability to think. There is a thing in high school football that coaches like to use, which is the two-minutes hang.

You make all the players hang for bars for two minutes; it’s supposed to be a test of will and power. In that case, it gives theoretic desire to grow tough versus an example of the ability to focus your will as discomfort and pain rise.

So, that in the two-minutes hang situation: what percentage of players will be able to clearly take it for two minutes? You want to do a good job. It is the ability to focus versus wrecking your ability to focus, may be similar to holding breathe.

Jacobsen: The feeling of pain and discomfort. The role, from your own perspective – as I am on the fence, of free will is in resistance to them. That it can be explained bottom up by a physics, but that narrative and personal feelings and certain reflections can be helpful in explanation of the world.

In your view, narrative descriptions of experience are heuristics, for what physics can alternately explain, but not practically explain given cognitive limitations or computational constraints of human beings. This ties back into a framework of consciousness in an information-based world.

Rosner: Okay.

Jacobsen: Some aren’t reasonable?

Rosner: What do you mean when you say we have different explanations between narrative descriptions and others?

Jacobsen: You can explain things hierarchically from the bottom up, where you have physics on the bottom explaining chemistry on up. Then you have the stories, the narratives that are simpler descriptions.

Rosner: So, you are saying we haven’t built up from physics within reasonable expectations up to human behaviors?

Jacobsen: You’ve noted that you don’t believe in freedom of the will. So, if our mind could explain the fundamental physical actions up into higher order structures such as beings, you could explain them completely.

Rosner: Let’s start by saying, a lot of science will say everything mentioned out of physics. There is already modeling of the world in CG, where there is only CG. More and more lately, you can create stuff with actual physics equivalences.

Like waves and things, because the system is going to represent basic physics phenomena as if in the real world, there will be computer generated phenomena by making computer general. It could create life-like phenomena.

Physics in behavior. Life-like phenomena can come out of that, the sciences, chemistry, becomes one word: physics. Things in the world including chemical principles can be boiled down to the consequences of physical interaction, and biology is traced back to the bottom in physics with the hope that everything eventually will be vulnerable to description through the basic physical interactions of the universe.

Jacobsen: So, in that sense, our narratives of the willing of something through the pain and discomfort is simply a narrative perspective on what can also be explained mechanically. It may not be reasonable or necessary, but then it can be predictable – so no freedom of the will to you.

Rosner: You are able to deploy the other part of the brain. It’s cognitive landscape, moment to moment, compels each subsequent part of the landscape, what you are thinking or feeling in every moment determines what you next think or feel.

It is subject to certain orders of limitation or acceleration, what you are thinking or feeling doesn’t determine everything you are thinking or feeling in a subsequent problem. If you are thinking about the subsequent problem, somebody could slap you in the head, scrambling your processes.

Most people in most circumstances would be scrambled by that, what you’re thinking or feeling plus your environment recreate sensory information. All those things working together determine what next you think or feel and what you next do as a consequence of those thoughts and feelings, which are themselves thoughts.

People with some experience as a football player for several years are going to possibly practice to practice better focus than an amateur or someone who has only been doing the footballing for a couple weeks.

The person who’s experienced will have little processes that will allow for focus and the ability to deploy more fabulous forces to allow that person to aim or end more successfully better than a rookie.

Jacobsen: There are two frameworks there. These two frameworks are apparently disparate but are associated directly or directly in contact to the nearest overlaying. One, the scaled physics-chemistry-biology-psychology framework, but then all grounded in physics.

The other one is narrative. Each has their merits. The narrative one describes by saying, “Rick turned to the left,” or, “Rick turned to the right,” or, “Rick took a drink of the coffee.”

And those apparent choices are paired with descriptions of observing of the choices of another person. They come from the bottom, the scaling up model of physics or psychology.  So, really, they’re both valid because it’s easier to tell a narrative structure for a complicated organism than it is to describe all particle interactions.

Rosner: It is really a description of the world. It is more efficient in a way we can understand because we’re understanding people by their narrative and drives; we understand each other to a grading term of basic human drives.

There is a principle that no matter how weird somebody is you can distill their accent, their thought. In fact, some base set of drives system in common with the rest humanity, even people that were monsters.

When they do something that is monstrous, generally, they base their actions, their monstrous actions, on a common drive; the desire that we all have. The 9/11 hijackers, when they find out who the guys were, they are always nerds.

Not much in a way of social success, no girlfriends, they work over there in something like engineering, have an Arabic background and are socially awkward because it is not the same culture; we’ve seen a lot of action of shooting guys.

All of that stuff can be traced back to the angry nerd bottom that went bad. They are bad guys. We can talk about badness. We are able to talk about people in terms of the will, to some extensive substantial characterization of people.

People’s willpower can be boiled down to psychological forces which boiled down to biological forces which boiled down to chemical forces which boiled down to physical forces.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
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© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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