August 2010

Saturday, the 14th

f1rst p0st

the year is 2010.

I decided the world needs another blog.

To define life, an understanding of reality must be wisely filtered. To define wisdom, a description of those aspects of reality that life consists of is required, as wisdom may be described to be the understanding of life and the ability to define reality. The purpose of meaning, or the understanding of wisdom, is the description of reality accompanying life.

today I thought about how little some little people can be. "living out their lives, oblivious". so reality check: I think about stuff, I have the feeling I understand some of the things I see, but this does not make me better. I am not better. I am just lucky, because I have the possibility of keeping a log.

clogging away at the internets.

Wednesday, the 18th

yes, I want to know everything.

I want to know why who when, not necessarily in that order. I want to understand. I want to be able to understand. I want to be able to prove that I can understand. I wonder what I'll lose in the next "I want"...

quantum physics is an important part of our everyday lives (you can't see without it). but it's an interesting exercise to figure out exactly how much we understand about quantum physics. of course, when you start questioning how much you understand something, you have to be very specific about what you understand by "understand".

and, as far as I know, that's philosophy. always realising that the last thing you said needs to be made more specific. thereby creating new words when you want to convey new complicated meanings. and turning the entire thing into a word measuring contest.

one of my (many) points is that I am here, and I think I understand several things, and I think I am not alone. so there is something here. the advantage of people making movies like "Dark City", "The Matrix" and "Inception" is that they can go home afterwards, and continue with the moviestar life. but i succeeded in fooling myself that it matters to know, and now i would really like to know. for instance... if I am young enough to hope that by my old age I'll be able to copy myself into a machine, how can I know if I'm the machine learning what is being copied, or If I'm just evolving into the old man? My mind is doing something, I can perceive it doing it, and I would like to give it food for thought.

it's annoying to write for a blog. I got used to writing for myself, and I can skip a few steps... oh, well.

questioning the nature of reality is probably the most fun thing we can do, as thinking beings. it's full of paradoxes, and it's full of unprovable and unfalsifiable assumptions. but we should go through everything and find out what does matter.

why? because of software patents. and human rights. what we, as intelligent beings, should strive for, is maximum efficiency: the maximum amount of enjoyment with the least amount of physical resources. and when you think about that, it does matter if religions start screaming that science is evil.

so, my message to any possible gods listening: I will test my world, and try to understand it. I don't care if that's good or evil. I want to know everything.

Friday, the 20th

to be or not to be coherent

I've thought about this before.

thoughts come and go, and they come back the same. more or less. when I write, I try to keep everything simple; I try to only make chains where any two adjacent thoughts have something in common, and then turn that into words. or something like that. and I also try to keep a background idea, where I come back in the end, with a deeper understanding.

but it doesn't always work that way. and you have to ask yourself: are you trying to transmit an idea, or are you trying to describe yourself? sometimes these two get mixed up, and you don't really know where the idea ends, because it's something that's been on your mind eversince you can remember, and it might be an idea or it might be you. and sometimes ideas can't get properly translated into words, and the alternative is to allow the others to follow your thoughts, which is kind of the same as knowing you.

I can always find the link between two of my thoughts. someone once told me that I think coherently, because I can't truly get lost in my own thoughts (and they said they didn't think like this). I sometimes noticed that people thought I made paradoxical connections... it's easy if that's what you're aiming for.

on the other hand, if I sit back and think about it, it pays to not be coherent, because you can surprise people into paying attention when you're actually saying something that matters. but that only happens if it seems that you're not coherent when in fact the entire speech is designed. and if I don't design it then it looks like a demonstration, because it's a sequence of "if then else". and because.

writing thoughts in the order that they come can sometimes lead to incoherent writings, but only to the reader. and here you can take off and think about coherence being a matter of consensus. but writing as you think is more sincere in a way, because it allows people to see how you arrange your thoughts.

or you can jump ideas because you want to get people interested, and not bore them with the details (is this the way bore is spelled?). the point of understanding one another is to be able to attack problems with more brains.

i like brains. they can keep a mind occupied.

understanding is the ability to make correct analogies between the object you're trying to analyse and an inner model. and sometimes you can't see the whole thing; and that's when it pays to have more people work on the problem.

it took me a while to understand that there is no reason for some happenings. I happen to exist, but there is no reason for it, even if there are causes. and there are many people trying to find reasons where there are none, or despairing because there are no reasons, when there are no reasons to despair. and that's one reason to try to make them understand some of my understandings: I would be better off if there would be less wasted resources.

there is no reason to be or not to be coherent. there might be reasons for being or not being understood or understandable. I think.

Friday, the 27th

questioning the supernatural

Yes, I need to be more specific.

Humans have their senses, and they can perceive the universe with their help. We cannot directly perceive radio waves, so to someone who doesn't know what they are, walkie-talkies are supernatural (beyond what they know is nature).

It doesn't make sense to ask ourselves if there is anything outside the reach of our senses. If we cannot sense it, than our lives cannot be affected by it; if our lives were affected, then we can sense it. It's not just about logic. For the longest part of our history, lightning seemed more like something thrown than like something fallen; in fact, if you throw something you give it kinetic energy when it has low potential energy, and when something falls it turns it's potential energy into kinetic energy --- with lightning, charged particles are "falling" because of the electric potential. But then we understood what causes it, and we can recreate it; no god is needed to explain lightning.

And even if there are gods that can do things we cannot (yet) understand. The fact remains that there are thinking beings that cause certain things to happen intentionally, so they CAN tell which is the cause and which is the effect. Maybe us humans can't grasp the cause even if we can sense the effect, but that does not mean that the universe as a whole is inconsistent. Rather, we cannot perceive the universe as inconsistent, because by construction we can't ever claim to have all available information, or a way to turn that information into actual understanding; so far, most inconsistencies were solved as just poor understanding.

If we perceive something, we can say it is the effect of some cause. That is the way we think, that is the way we interpret the universe, and it doesn't take much to make up a model of the universe that can always incorporate new observations. I have the feeling I'm not being very clear.

We can't tell if this is a simulation or the real thing. We can't tell if there is a god or not. We can't tell if there is "life after death". What we can do is compute possibilities of certain scenarios. But we can't be sure of what is beyond our perceptions, so the safest thing is to keep an open mind. The human being didn't need to know about special relativity in order to prosper, so we don't readily accept it. But the fact remains that humanity accepts these counterintuitive theories, and uses them, and prospers further because of it.

It's an interesting animal, humanity. Various individiuals can be remarkably stupid, yet we still make fun stuff. How will humanity's view of the universe change over time? That is food for thought. We went from primates to writing blogs... on second thought, our evolution is not really that exciting.

There remain the issues of aliens, ghosts and other apparitions. The fact remains that if the technology to simulate thinking beings can be created, then the possibility of living in a simulation is exactly 1 (additionally, the possibility that we may never know "how deep the rabbit whole goes" is also 1). There's a lot to think about, and no easy way to test these things. Once you realize that you may be just a simulated neural net in training, the entire concept of a world just outside of the obvious takes on a whole new meaning.

What we can do is take what we have, and deal with it. We cannot know the nature of the universe, in an absolute sense. But we can know some of the boundary between what we can know and what we cannot know, and that can help; we should start with that.

Saturday, the 28th

questioning the purpose

And so we can move on to ... whatever. I have the purpose I choose to have. I consider myself an intelligent being, so I make my choices after thinking about how they fit with my various purposes. Again the snake eating its tail.

By the way: there are a number of images that can be found throughout our history. pretty powerful images. There are also a number of ``systems'' trying to describe the universe and man's place in it. Some of these systems have survived for a very long time, and are still relevant today, even though they seem silly. Acupuncture is based on a bunch of nice stories that can be found lacking in scientific rigour. But it works; ok, the studies into whether it works or not are a tad inconclusive, but I felt it work on me, placebo or not. At some point I thought that maybe some of these old philosophies are close to some truth because some truths do tend to be simple. Simple in the sense that natural laws tend to fit into some basic math (like the whole group thing).

What we can understand about the world around us is not that much. I'm only saying this because of the way I live. I have a computer. I've been using a personal computer for more than 10 years. Before that, I had TV. I've been reading books ever since I learned how to read (not that early, don't worry). But before that, I used to sit on the ground and watch the stars, imagining stuff about the planets spinning around them (no, no planets outside the solar system had been discovered then). The life I think is built around my imagination and my friends, and the life I think is mostly the life I live --- this is one of the reasons I consider myself lucky. I control my imagination, and I have a say in the interaction with my friends. Most of my feelings are related to things that I or my friends control. I understand a bit about my imagination, and I understand a bit about the people around me; through talking to myself and to everyoune else I can further this understanding, and I can more easily do stuff that leads to happy fluffy feelings. That's the point.

Once I have something that depends on the outside world, things get complicated. I know some physics; humanity as a whole knows a lot of physics and engineering, and still I have to work for food and shelter. I have no control over the universe. In my imagination, if I start building models of something, I can go back when I make mistakes, but in the real world I can't cross the street unless I'm sure no cars are going to hit me. At some point, I offended people because of things I said; I didn't really want to offend them, so I would have liked to undo it, but they didn't want to (stupid people). The universe is out of my control, and there are people that are not my friends (so they won't have infinite patience with me). That makes it a difficult environment.

And I can say that BECAUSE I have access to the ``inner'' world. If I couldn't speak, the inner world would be much much simpler, and the outer world much much more relevant. I would be much better prepared to live with the unknown.

I say and I feel that I don't understand the world because I have a much better understanding of certain pieces of the world. I would like to understand, and I want to understand. In fact, I think it is my right to understand. My purpose. My duty? and that's where everything goes back to the snake eating its own tail, like the image of the snake eating its own tail.

What I want: is it what I want, or is it what outside influences have educated me into wanting? If I do want it, then why should I care? Is my subcounscious educated too, or will it start ripping my sanity appart when I don't do what it wants? When I was younger, I did have a period when I thought there was some inconsistency between what I wanted and what the other me-s wanted.

I wonder if some future employer will read this one day.

By the way: this is probably one of the most frustratingly interesting things about our minds: I am talking about me talking about me talking about me talking about me. Thinking is all about bluring the line between language and metalanguage: the model becomes real. My friends are persons, even though I know they're a bunch of atoms. And sometimes when I think too hard, I grab my head without really realizing it. And I close my eyes to get away from space (and sometimes time); I wonder if I do it because three dimensions are too much or too restrictive.

I don't think I want to understand. Not all of me. I'd like to not work but still get food and shelter. I know I want that. All of me.


Dear future employer: If I am applying for a job, I will work; we both know I don't want to work, but I want to eat more than I don't want to work, so don't worry. If you're still not convinced, you can tell me this is the reason you're not hiring me; I won't hold it against you. I think.

Sunday, the 29th

I made these tiny programs to write bmp files. And I made these tiny programs to write Julia fractals or standard maps to bmp files. Maybe someone can have fun with them.

The truth is that most of these tiny programs are kind of useless for others. Those who can understand and use them can write their own, and others... well I don't really have the time for documenting stuff like this. By the way, if you mess up your computer because of my code, it's not my fault. you have to compile it and run it, so it's understood you know what it does.

It kind of destroys the entire point, to have to put a disclaimer on what you do. Well, it helps to be an asshole about everything; stupid people get offended easily, so calling stupid people stupid people is kind of a firewall for stupid people. I'm beginning to feel related to Eric Cartman. It's strange, how today's sue-happy society can make me go from fractals and dynamic systems to a rant about stupid people.

anyway, have fun changing your background. In gnome, I set it as a bmp file, and if I overwrite that file it updates automatically. so I can make a script to change the background each 10 minutes or something; but remember that computationally expensive programs will heat up your laptop.