Consciousness, Intelligence and Sapience in Multiscalar Systems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


We establish a connection between information processing and processor 'architecture', which provides linguistic separation between conscious intelligence and sapience, and which is applicable in either a computational or a conceptual form to any context.

How on earth do we manage to relate to a multiplicity of mutually-exclusive scales of our environment through the singular focus of consciousness? Presumably there must be some kind of interface between the two which implements coding/decoding - either of which may be integral or dis-integral in character. In any unified system the unification of multiple scales by their interaction is itself a consciously recognizable system property: this is hyperscale. In this paper we describe not only how hyperscale can fulfill the function of integral/dis-integral coding/decoding between the multiple scales and the singular forms of mental consciousness, but also how it is a natural and necessary part of any unified multiscalar system.

Information processing in a system always takes place between different 'architectural' scales of a processing entity: simplistically, we can view intelligence as the 'tool' which permits a conscious 'overview' of the relevance of individual items of information and the means by which all available information is taken into account in generating or updating a new, higher-level, simplified representation of the information system. As such it functions as a complex mix of context-translator, interpreter and comparator.

System unity presumes a degree of coherence across all the scales of a system, where all of these are derived from others through intelligence. Sapience is the 'tool' which permits evaluation of the relevance to a conscious purpose not only of individual items of information - as does intelligence - but also of the multiple system scales themselves as individual informational 'entities'.

The individual scales of a natural system are partially isolated from each other (through en-closure) but also partially in communication (through process-closure). The balance between these two through mutual observation takes the form of an autonomy negotiation. Hyperscalar coherence is created through this mutual inter-scalar observation, whose recursive nature ultimately generates the independence of high-level consciousness. Consciousness acts both as the servant of intelligence and sapience and their master in promoting an entity's coherence, cohesion and survival. We conclude that intelligence and sapience are distinct and necessary properties of all information processing systems, not only conscious ones, and that the degree of their availability controls a system's cognitive capacity, if not directly its application.

The central hypothesis is that we integrate all observational scales into a hyperscalar 'phase space' within which we are free to roam without taking any account of the 'reality' of the 'location' from which we make our observations. Considerations of internalism, externalism and even the 'existence' of our viewpoint itself are ephemeral within hyperscale: we are the lords of our own creation, of our own 'scale-free selves', and we can fly anywhere, view anything. This raises an exciting possibility: is hyperscalar 'phase space' the origin of Baars' "Theatre of Consciousness"?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTowards a Science of Consciousness
EditorsDavid Chalmers, Stuart Hameroff
Place of PublicationTucson, Arizona, USA
PublisherCenter of Consciousness Studies at The University of Arizona
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2014
EventToward a Science of Consciousness 2014 - Tucson, AZ, United States
Duration: 21 Apr 201426 Apr 2014

Publication series

NamePhysical and Biological Sciences


ConferenceToward a Science of Consciousness 2014
CountryUnited States
CityTucson, AZ

Bibliographical note

David Chalmers and Stuart Hameroff


  • Consciousness
  • Intelligence
  • Multiscalar System
  • Hyperscale
  • Birationality


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