My side of a facebook discussion with Tom – on QM and understanding more generally and deeply. – Udpated 31/3/17

Tom’s facebook post on Action and QM

Hi Tom
One of the great difficulties with quantum mechanics is that while the mathematics give us very accurate numbers in respect of the outcome of experiments, there is little agreement about what processes those mathematics are actually describing.

I tend towards Feynman’s interpretation which seems to be probabilistic, indicating that at the lowest level we can measure, reality seems to be random, but contained within certain sets of probability distributions, and summed over the vast numbers of quantum states and times that deliver the smallest thing a human can directly experience, deliver a very close approximation to hard causality in most instances.

It seems to me that everyone must make certain assumptions about reality in order to do or think anything.
It doesn’t seem to matter much what set of assumptions one starts with, provided one is willing to put those assumptions to the test of experiment, one does eventually get to a place of profound uncertainty and unknowability, and along the way one picks up sets of heuristics that are particularly useful in certain sets of contexts.

The real kicker we all face, is that we can never quite be certain what the context we are actually in actually is – recurs to infinity!

Heuristics all the way down and up again.
Respect for life and liberty.
The unknowable Tao.

[followed by]

Hi Tom
A circle is only one of many possible two dimensional structures.
Yes it has analogies in reality, and they are limited.
All possible topologies, all possible dimensionalities, have analogues in thought and reality.
Don’t limit yourself.

From the cells eye perspective, every cell in our bodies has been alive for some 4 billion years. Sure the particular collection of cells that is our bodies is much more recent (some 62 years in my case). But before all the cells in me were the zygote that became me, they were in my mother, and grandmother, and ………

The cells’s eye view is very instructive, when one is prepared to take it on.

[followed by]

The body has many more than two dimensions.
Try out some other numbers.
Yes, it will be uncomfortable.
Comfort is vastly over rated, and it has a place.

[followed by]

You can’t get there that way Tom.
I can only supply the ladder, you need to climb it if you want to see what is up there.
And there is no requirement to climb any ladder.
Any domain is infinite.
You have choice.
I respect that.
An infinitude of ladders are available.
And there is an aspect of sequencing, though infinite paths are viable.

No finite entity can travel any infinity, let alone an infinitude of such.
All I offer is such limited understanding as seems likely to me. I have nothing more than that.

I see flaws in all cultures, all understandings. I don’t accept Lao Tzu any more than I do Plato or Aristotle or Kant, of Einstein. And I can see the contributions each made to the beginnings of something.

Those beginnings have become a something in me.
And I am just a one in an infinitude of the possible.

[followed by]

What you do not seem to be seeing Tom is that Bohr’s description is fundamentally tautological.
Yes – within the framework you have outlined it essentially adds up.
And that is only one of an infinite set of possible frameworks.

I use a different framework, that gives me greater utility from where I am right now – and I give it no greater weight than that.
The perspective you have outlined doesn’t work for me, given the datasets I have, and the questions I have asked of them.

And that seems to be a part of this thing we call choice or freedom, a flowering of diversity, across an infinite set of paradigm spaces.

In the face of such choice, holding too tightly to any one paradigm set seems to be a mistake, a self imposed limit that need not apply. Kind of like painting a picture of the world using only one brush and only one colour. Yes one can do it, yes it is a real art form, and it is kind of limiting. And it is a choice.

[followed by]

Have you actually read Einstein? His intuition was essential to what he did.

Sure we need our intuition, and it is really powerful to understand the evolutionary and systemic roots of that intuition.

Both aspects are essential to what we are. And it is far more than just 2 aspects, it is a whole ecosystem of ecosystems of aspects, about 20 levels deep.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,

There does appear to be evidence, like that of Penzias and Wilson, and CoBE, et al; and exactly what it is evidence of is still an open question in my mind.

And when you look at energy flows, and stellar nucleosynthesis, and a great deal of other evidence sets from astronomy, and physics and logic, there is indication of a starting, and an evolution. Some sort of something that is generally covered by the broad description of big bang, but I’m not at all confident about the specifics of any of the paradigms I have currently looked at in detail to explain that.

And sure there are lots of problems with many of the models common in science today.
I am not someone who follows scientific orthodoxy.
I don’t deal in truth, only in probabilities, when dealing with anything covered by the term “reality” (whatever it actually is).
I am eclectic, and occasionally an original thinker.
I have had a few original thoughts, and compared to what I have gotten from others, the original bits are a very tiny fraction of 1%. And the ways I have of connecting things are not at all common.

So the chances of anyone understanding what I write as I intend it are very low.
And they are higher with you than with most people, and still very low – as evidenced by our conversations here

Light and dark are the simplest possible distinction in respect of light. Two infinite spectra occur in respect, photon density and photon energy. Our perceptual systems can only handle a very tiny fraction of those spectra. We have a limiting threshold of photons on retina below which we register nothing, and a maximal threshold above which irreversible damage to the retina occurs. The cells of our retina are only sensitive to a very tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. After a great deal of subconscious processing that information gets presented to consciousness in the model of reality that our brains produce and results in the perceptual reality of vision. And it is a multi step process, with many layers of processing.

To know ourselves, it helps to have some reasonably accurate model of what we are. And certainly, we are so complex that all models must contain simplifying heuristics that will fail in some circumstances, and at some resolutions – such is the nature of models and maps generally. Their utility comes at a cost.

Of course we see the irony of such things.
Of course it is heuristics – all the way down (to paraphrase a turtle analogy from Terry Pratchett) – that seems to be the nature of both epistemology and ontology. When one starts to understand evolution, that much is inescapable.

Einstein built upon the work of Hilbert and many others. Hilbert built upon Riemann. Those are not simple constructs. They are highly dimensional. Took me a lot of work to be comfortable using (all self taught, and not competencies I have maintained).

I really enjoyed reading Einstein’s relativity – the special and the general theory.
Of course there are errors in it.
And the beauty lies not in the errors, but in the ways of looking at relationships.

Gravity does much more than bend orbits, it gives weight. I’m not going near current string theory rationale for why that may be so, and it aint simple.

Sure, it is complex – hugely, mind bendingly, complex.

And in complex systems occur many classes of chaotic systems that cannot be predicted, from those that are simply maximally computationally complex, to those that are truly stochastic, and an infinite spectrum betwixt and between.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,
Not quite.
Certainly agree that there are many states of being that cannot easily be thought of until one directly experiences them. It seems clear that for the most part our models of reality seem to be based upon the constructs available from the forms embedded in our genetics that become embodied in our brains that then get combined with the forms embedded in our cultures that then become embodied in our brains through our interaction with peers, and then we add the final layer to that of our own individual sets of cognitive and creative processes (which are in part a function of the prior two).

So we all seem to share sets of experiences and concepts that are relatively common, then some of us move out into realms where both experiences and concept sets are far less frequent.

Infinity is very easy to prove, but impossible to experience in totality.
The simplest form of mathematical induction can prove infinity – the case of addition. Start with one, add one to get 2, add to get 3, then 4, then 5,6,7, (in mathematical induction one typically only iterates a small number of integers before going to the next step. I have actually counted to 10,000. The next step is to assume n, and prove for n+1, which in this case is trivial. And thus one has proven an infinity of possibility, without actually iterating an infinity.

I have spent a bit of time playing with various mathematical infinities, both rational and irrational – have spent a bit of time playing with the first billion digits of Pi as one example of a subset of an infinite set.

So I have no doubt that infinities exist in terms of possibilities, and there seems to be evidence that the reality within which we exist may in fact be finite, though beyond our ability to experience, even if we lived the rest of eternity, as the boundaries of it are expanding faster than light can travel. But that is still reasonably speculative, though it does seem reasonably probable.

Quantum physics is a set of mathematical tools that deliver results that align very closely with some experimental results, to within very fine margins of error – less than one part in a billion variance in some experiments. But exactly what those equations relate to in “reality” is still a matter of fierce contention. There are three major classes of interpretive schema that all seem to have about equal probabilities at present.

I don’t favour any of the common ones. My intuition is pointing to something fundamentally stochastic in the nature of being, that is constrained only by probability bounds (anything is possible but only with certain frequencies).

Wolfram’s explorations of computational systems is fascinating in this regard.

Evolution, as a practical process, that seems to have been at work on the planet for some 4 billion years, and is now into at least its third domain (first genetic, then mimetic, and now post mimetic – no agreed naming convention yet as we have no agreed nomeclature for the process – yet it happens within a mind, and is built within the frameworks supplied by genetic and mimetic structures, and it seems to have its own analagously abstract set of rules. I have been actively exploring it for over 50 years, since first seeing hints of it about 1966).

There is a vast difference between the realms of the possible and the actual. Possibility seems to be infinite, reality seems to be finite (yet vast beyond the possibility of knowing).

I’m not too concerned about quantum mechanical questions at present.

I’m far more interested in the sorts of ethical and systemic systems that empower both life and freedom.
Our existing systems are far from optimal at present.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,
I have been clear and consistent.
In the realm of the real, we must have uncertainties.
In the realm of logic we can have a level of certainty, but not completeness.

I spent about 9 months working through Goedel’s theorems until I was confident of every assertion.
That is why I often write that Goedel is one of the very few writers that I have read that I have no disagreement with, because he made no claims at all about reality – he kept strictly to the realm of logic.

And my model of reality has a part of it that has that our ability to perceive and model anything is in the first instance based upon heuristics provided by one of the levels of evolution. That is a necessary starting point.
Where we go from there (if we go anywhere) is up to our choices.

If you look at the work happening in neuroscience, like Doidge’s et al work on neuroplasticity, Buzsaki’s et al work on rythms, Glenberge, Hawkins et al on embodied cognition, Deacon et al on emergence, etc, etc.

Yes, my ideas are my ideas.
Yes, certainly, I am not “mainstream”.
And nor is what I am saying based simply on my fancy.
It is almost all based on the published work of others, and a few unpublished conversations I have had with many and various people in many different fora – both physical and virtual.

I am clearly and explicitly talking about very complex systems – about 20 levels of systems in the case of me, each level emergent from the level below, and each level potentially infinitely complex in and of itself.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,

Like many words, certainty has many different meanings.

To some it means a binary – and is 100% confidence.
To others, it is a boundary on an infinite scale of degrees of confidence.

It seems that risk is real in our world.
Inaction and ignorance do not shield us from risk, only from the knowledge of such risk.
All actions (including inaction) carry risk. Sitting here in my chair there is a finite (though small) risk from such things as lightning strike, heart attack, meteor strike, major earthquake, etc.

So evolution seems to have imbued each of us with sets of heuristics to deliver operational certainty, thresholds above which action is taken without conscious question.

Finite is a simple enough idea in mathematical terms – it means simply a set that is bounded in some way.
Infinite is a set without bounds.
The set of possible integers seems to be an infinite set.
The set of non-repeating digits in any integer base representation of Pi seems to be infinite.
It seems that one might be able to think up an infinite class of such theoretical infinite sets.

The reality we call our universe on the other hand seems likely to be finite, vast beyond knowability, and finite (in the sense that in any particular instant {in as much as the notion of time makes any sort of non-local sense} it consists of a finite number of quantum distributions – and I get that such a notion of time makes no sense, and I use it here in a strictly analogical sense, as a device in a classical form of argument).

Our understanding as human beings seems to start from sets of genetic and cultural heuristics, and grows from that base through many levels of experience.

I started early with loves of both mathematics and biology, which matured into all aspects of philosophy, science, and inquiry into logics, systems, and relationships.
I am eclectic.
I question everything.
Most particularly I have questioned and found wanting most of the classical assumptions of philosophy and logic.
That leaves me in a very small set of individuals, with very little chance of communicating with anyone who is still working within the implicit assumptions of classical logic and philosophy.

In some of your writings you seem to indicate that you may have gone beyond some of those assumptions.
In your insistence on going back to polarity as some sort of definitional tool, rather than simply being one useful tool in a very large toolbox, then I am sometimes left wondering.
When you make a statement like “There you will find the meaning of certainty, that counterfactuality is a priori always-present Isness that can never be doubted” it seems to indicate that you are still firmly locked into the constraints of classical logic, and haven’t seen them for assumptions and illusions that they are.
What you seem to have not yet questioned in a statement like that is the very notion of fact.
For me, facts only exist in terms of probabilities.
And for many things, the probabilities are so close to either unity or zero that for practical purposes, I don’t normally question them, and in debates such as this, if pushed, I have to admit of doubt, though it is doubt that most would consider unreasonable, it is still doubt.

Uncertainty means, that it seems very likely that all of our experience is of a simplistic software model of something that is created in our individual brains by a combination of genetically derived hardware and culturally derived software both modulated by interaction through experience with each other and the wider reality within which we all seem to exist.
It seems very likely that rather than being strictly causal in any Platonic or Aristotelian sense, that reality is a mix of the random and the lawful, in the sense of quantum processes being random within various levels of probability distributions, and that the very close approximation to causality that we often experience is a result of vast collections of such things existent over vast numbers of their native time units.

Once you get that, then it can be experienced as something beyond polarity, and beyond that particular form of logic.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,

My path started with certainty, as all must.
Then came questions.

Questions took me places that very few have been.
The final arbiter in questions being experimental evidence, modulated through the systems available.

Systems and experiment in this instance mean both internal and external.
If you really can answer no to the question – is it possible to be uncertain what uncertainty means, then you clearly have not delved deeply into the notion of uncertainty from a systems perspective.

You have to leave your binary world behind to understand.
And I get that is not easy.
The binary world has a consistency that is very comfortable.

[followed by]

Two very different domains that we are talking about here.
I keep trying to talk about one, you keep talking about the other.

I agree in the sense, that existence has the attributes it does in any instant, at any level.
What is, is, be it reality, or model.

That is not what I am talking about.

Where I am talking about uncertainty is the relationship between model and reality.

Certainly, our experience is what it is. It seems that our experience can only be of the subconsciously created model of reality, never of reality itself. So certainly, our experiential reality is what it is – that is a given in a sense.

What is uncertain, fundamentally uncertain at several levels, is the relationship between our model (our experiential reality) and the thing it models, whatever that is.

In this sense, all of logic, all of mathematics, are modeling tools.
I love the work of Hilbert and others, in creating modeling tools that we can use to enhance the capacities of our models, and thence our experiential reality.

So I accept my experience is my experience. I don’t doubt experience. I do doubt the relationship between experience and the wider reality.

I am clear that there is a fundamental distinction between our experiential reality, and the wider reality within which our bodies and brains with their software models that are our experiential reality, are embedded.

I don’t know what that wider reality is.
I accept it is what it is.
I accept that it has some very strange properties that are very closely aligned to current models we call quantum mechanics.
I am not too concerned with the details of such minutia at present, as I am much more concerned with the reality of our human existence on this planet and our probable future, and for the most part that seems to be most powerfully influenced at very different levels.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,
As someone who has spent many decades with computer systems – the exceptions always matter. However annoying they are, being able to deal with them ultimately defines the utility of a system. Pretending they don’t exist contains the seed of a fundamental dishonesty, leading to systemic failure.

And be clear about the distinction between something being infinite and being universal. Things can be infinite, and still be a very tiny fraction of a greater infinity – like pi, an infinitely long number, but only one member of one class of infinite sets of numbers.

Just because something is infinite does not imply it is everywhere. Yet another disconcerting aspect of infinities.

[followed by]

No Tom,

I dismantled Kant 39 years ago – falsified assumption set.
My thinking is not at all Kantian – many levels away.
Many more than two domains present.
And in order to simplify it as much as possible, to have some hope of communicating something important, I have tended to focus in two areas.

My model and my experience are not the same thing.
There is a very clear distinction, a complex structure, and in a sense it is all related (as all things in complex systems are), and there are context sensitive, flexible systemic boundaries present.
Domains of hardware, with increasing degrees of computational capacity, leading to domains of software with increasing degrees of freedom.
All software requires hardware to instantiate.
All software is influenced by its particular hardware instantiation on how it interacts with the “reality” in which it exists.
Really complex, multi-layered, highly recursive, interactive systems.

My awareness is not my model.
My awareness is a software entity that has the subconscious model of reality as its only link to reality.
So awareness is software, sitting atop a software model of something. That software model is assembled from an amazingly complex set of levels of systems.
The awareness that experiences has as its experiential reality a lower level of software created model of reality. The heuristics and systems that define the content and form of that model seem to be partly supplied by genetics (selected by survival over deep time), partly embedded in the cultural structures one implicitly and explicitly adopts via experience (selected by the survival of things over millennial time frames), partly the result of non-cultural experiential factors (on lifetime time frames), and partly the result of choices one makes.
The software that experiences the model, also has many levels of heuristics to it, and it has degrees of freedom that the model software does not.
The entire system being highly recursive, and abstractable to a potentially infinite set of levels (though the number of levels actually instantiated is limited by the physical complexity of the hardware available in any instant).

Within your interpretive schema, this keeps occurring to you as a simple Kantian duality.
It is not.
It is something several levels removed from such simplicity.
It is deeply related to probability, to systems and software, to nested infinities, to biochemistry and recursive evolutionary paradigms more generally, and to the many levels of profound uncertainties that must come from dealing with infinities of anything. It is both logically and physically impossible to enumerate any infinity in a finite time, let alone deeply nested classes of infinities.

I am not in any way, shape, or form pointing to levels of little men pulling levers.
What I am pointing to is something else entirely, something profoundly complex, profoundly beautiful, and in the highest of abstract senses it has a certain simplicity to it, but that simplicity occurs on the far side of profound complexity. One must go through the complexity to get there.

That complexity includes an infinite set of possible interpretive schema, of which polarity is one particular instance.

I have not explored all possible schema – that is both logically and physically impossible.
I have explored enough instances to be confident that should I manage to live for the rest of eternity, with exponential enhancements along the journey, I would not have to be bored. The journey would seem to contain the possibility of indefinitely extending interest.

[followed by]

I can no more give up my thinking than you can give up yours.

And I’m not asking anyone to give up their thinking.

And I am asking everyone to have the courage to go beyond their current thinking, to question every assumption they hold dear, and to actually try some alternatives.

It can be a terrifying process, stepping into the unknown and uncomfortable – leaving behind the comfort of certainty.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,
No – not really.
There are billions of software entities, systems, at many different levels, all doing their own thing, all interacting, inside each and every one of us. In most people only one is conscious most of the time.
Our consciousness seems to be a level of software system sitting atop the outputs of many different (and prior existing) software systems.

There is a sense in which one can say it is all one system, because we require it all to begin our existence as self aware entities. And once begun, we can survive the loss of quite a few components – but not without influence.
And there is also a very real sense in which the lower level systems can operate quite happily without our awareness being present. We can do amazing things in terms of motor activity (even speech and complex conversation) without conscious awareness being present.
It is a very late comer to the party in a very real sense.
It is something like a conductor of the orchestra, or the general on a battlefield. And battles rarely go to plan (that is something all military strategists are taught one way or another).
What confuses many is that memory is present long before consciousness. When we come to consciousness we have memory of past experience, but few ever ask the question “was conscious present in that experience?” – they simply assume that memory implies consciousness – that is a logical and systemic error.

I understand Goedel – and his work was entirely in the realm of logic. Logic is a great modeling tool. Don’t be fooled into thinking it necessarily applies to the reality beyond our experiential model. That distinction is sometimes hard to get.

I have 40 years experience of software development.
I have a little practical understanding of the many levels of software systems required to get anything even remotely approaching intelligence out of a computer system. Not one piece of software, but an entire ecosystem of software systems.

That is what I am pointing to. Jordan Peterson is masterful in his expression of the realities of embodied cognition, maps of meaning, and the neuropsychology of symbolism. I have a few quibbles with aspects of his thesis, but he is way over 90% there with his major themes.

If you jump onto any infinitely recursive loop, you have a halting problem.
Reality is never infinitely recursive.
Systems may have infinite potential for recursion, and in practical reality they only ever attain some specific number of recursive cycles (reality does impose that discipline).
A basic heuristic is, if you keep a level counter running, and it gets to 3 digits – break out – you are in trouble. Most break at 2 digits, but I have found 12 levels to be useful on occasion. I rarely go beyond 3 now – have to have a very powerful set of incentives.

I started out as a biologist – someone fascinated by the systems of nature – went from behaviour to structure to evolution to biochemistry back to evolution and into systems and from there into computation more generally and into strategy and computers and automation and logic and history and politics and strategy again and back to evolution a third time round. Only a sort of ultimate pragmatism can survive such an exploratory path. I explicitly adopted a strategy to be a generalist at about age 12. I have been consciously going outside my comfort zone exploring new domains for roughly 50 years, many of them previously explored by others, some not so much, a few maybe not at all (at least not that I have encountered any reliable evidence of). And there were plenty of things in my life prior to age 12 that influenced the probabilities of me making the conscious choice I made.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,
I get that what you say is completely self justified and sensible to you.
But it does not support the technology you are using to express the idea, and it does not incorporate the datasets available from the vast array of disciplines.

Of course there is a sense in which we are what we are.

A car is a car, and a car has wheels, axles, motor, brakes, gears, electronics, etc.

We are what we are, and that is embodied cognition. It is a massive collection of atoms, molecules, cells, organised into many levels of functional entities, running many levels of software systems.

At the top of that pyramid of some twenty levels of systems sits our experiential awareness. This experience we have of existence, our being.

It is weird.
It is beautiful.
It is magical.
It is very poorly modeled or understood by the vast majority of people.

Very few people have a simultaneous set of interests in physics, chemistry, biochemistry, systems, computation, neurophysiology, psychology, history, philosophy, logic, economics, ecology, engineering, governance, law, risk management, communication and artificial intelligence.

My understanding is extremely rare – not at all common, not shared with anyone that I am aware of.

If you were to take the time to immerse yourself in the reality of systems development, in the realities of complex adaptive systems, then the reality of what I am saying would most probably appear, rather than the straw men your mental maps keep creating for you.

And it is largely my inadequacies as a communicator that are at cause.
I have been unable to create a map for you that you have found usable or interesting.

And you remain one of the more interesting individuals it has been my honour and pleasure to interact with.

[followed by from Tom’s “Awareness is not “at the top,” Ted. It is the unitive reality, the unitive realness-manifestation, OPPOSITE your parts list, which parenthetically goes to infinity”…]

From the experiential side that is true Tom.
From the systems side it is false.
Both aspects of reality exist.
The parts list is not infinite, and it is big.
The relationships are not infinite, and the number is far bigger than the parts list.
Not many people can make much sense of numbers with more than 20 digits in them.

I am not cramming anything into anything – that is all happening in your model of me – it is the only way it can currently make sense of me. It creates the caricatures that are your current experiential reality of me.

[followed by]

Everything in experience is just ideas Tom.
And some things are persistent, and most agree have an external aspect of shared reality.
Science has developed that notion into understandings that deliver the security and the tools that we currently share – the lights come on when we flick a switch, and we rarely think about the poor bastards atop ladders in gales that keep the power flowing.

Yes – two domains.
The domain of the real, and the domain of our experience.
And the only connection between them is a set of subconscious connections via our sensory systems to our internally generated software model of reality that is our experiential reality.

Reality is what it is – whatever that is.
We each have our own individual experiential realities, in the subconsciously created models our brains create for us.

For me, that reality is as clear as cars, buses, oceans, lakes, forests, earthquakes and all manner of technologies.

And some things that are persistent and common are not aspects of the external “reality” but are artifacts of the biological technology that creates the model.

That fact leads to a whole lot of confusion.

Eleizer Yudkowski has done an interesting collection of many of the biases that human beings are prone to “Rationality: AI to Zombies”, it is an extensive list (1813 pages), and it is only a start.

[followed by]

Like many before you Tom, you have got it backwards.
And in a very real sense, that is entirely understandable.

And no – my experience is not always one.
Sometimes it gets quite crowded in here.
And sometimes it is just one.

[followed by]

And the two domains are nested. The experiential domain is a subset of reality more generally – not anything fundamentally separate, and it is separate in the same sense as the software running on a computer is a separate domain from the computer – and both are required.

[followed by]

It is why we have different understandings of quantum physics. I am not certain any of them are particularly accurate, and I have explored quite a few. Rachel Garden’s is cute.

[followed by “……Nobody will really understand you, Ted, because your ideas but give a snapshot of your process, which is your process.”]

That is indeed how most tend to interpret my words, rather than using them as pointers to something much deeper.

Time prioritisation is complex, deeply so.

One certainly needs to go deep internally, and it is important to maintain external links (required strategy ).

The frequency of my reading of books has dropped – I only do a few a year now, not the one or two per day of my youth.

I read vast amounts, mostly online, mostly abstracts.

I write extensively – again mostly online, some technical reports, some coding.

Most of my focus is split between existential risk and life extension.
AI is a central aspect of both themes, both positive and negative. Lots of dangerous waters requiring careful navigation.

The great filter is still a major concern.
I think I have aspects of it covered, and while I am bright, I can’t believe that entities of my capacity have not existed previously, so the probability that I have developed a sufficient strategic safety net may not be as high as I would like it to be.
Just so many unknowns, unknowables, and uncertainties.

As always – a pleasure engaging with you.



[followed by]

Enitrely agree with your first paragraph, and the first 2 sentences of your second paragraph Tom.
The place where we disagree is in the nature of the paradigm I am using.
To you it appears I am in paradigm 1.
To me it appears I am in paradigm 12, so confident beyond any reasonable doubt that the space of possible paradigms is itself infinite, and that all paradigms have utility in particular contexts.

So while you sit in paradigm 2, convinced that paradigm 2 is the final and definitive paradigm, seeing that my words don’t match paradigm two, and therefore defaulting to the only other interpretation available to you from that context (that they must be paradigm 1), to me you are erecting straw men.

And in a sense, I can see that is how it must be.

I cannot make any claim that paradigm 12 is any sort of ultimate paradigm, it is simply a paradigm, with the characteristics it has, with costs and benefits in particular contexts, like all paradigms I have thus far encountered, and I suspect like all possible paradigms.

I am really comfortable with the old Zen saying, that for the master on a path worth taking, for every step on the path the path grows two steps longer. It is a great description of infinity.

Some paradigms solve problems from other paradigms.
No paradigm I have experienced is devoid of problems.
Logic would seem to indicate that problems will always exist.
Mythology would seem to concur with that interpretation, at least if one uses the sorts of interpretations used by Joseph Campbell or Jordan Peterson.

Life would seem to be likely to contain the possibility of eternal interest, even if one restricts oneself to a single infinite paradigm,and ignores all other paradigms.

Travel safely and well my friend.

[followed by]

Hi Tom,

Much truth in both of those approaches, and also much that is missed.
Thinking’s natural state may be simplicity, but that does not imply that the thing being thought about is simple. That is not a valid conclusion.

Yes thinking tends to be simple, and it gets there by adopting heuristics at various levels, and those heuristics tend to work in certain contexts (which is how they got there in a sense).

And none of that means that anything other than the experiential experience of thinking (rather than the systems that deliver that experience, or the thing being thought about) are simple.

That distinction is really worth working through a few examples of – choose any.

Some limited domains have absolute limits, some domains are infinite, and thus do not have absolute limits. The very idea of limits contains its own limitations, if one is prepared to spin around that particular loop a few times.

You are very close to something Tom, and there is a certain degree of relaxation of attachment to something required, and that is not at all an easy thing to do. The more intelligent people are, the harder that is, and you are one of the most intelligent people I know.

[followed by]

Just like I said Tom, you are one of the most intelligent people I know, and will always be able to construct an argument to defend any particular proposition.

We’ve done quite a bit of that in this particular context.

It doesn’t matter how square I make my peg, you will still manage to stuff it in your round hole that you have constructed for me to live in.
And there is a degree, the degree to which any of us assign form or distinction to something, to which that must be true.
And all such heuristics come with both utility and costs.

Can you not appreciate that action-reaction is itself a binary interpretation?

Can you not see that if one allows randomness, uncertainty into the mix, then the simple concept of action-reaction becomes a far more subtle interaction of possibilities and tendencies – and sure, on some levels, that certainly gets to express as a very close approximation to such a simple notion.
And does the reality of such approximations really serve as evidence of the simplicity – or is it really just what it is (amazing and fundamentally unpredictable complexity that in some particular contexts organises itself into very close approximations to simple cause and effect), and it seems that entities such as ourselves can only systemically emerge in such simplicity approximating contexts – so it is our default experience set.

And I am sure you will have the intelligence to mount a challenge to that, rather than simply trying it on as a possibility and seeing how it fits for you – and keeping or discarding it as seems appropriate to you.


[followed by]

Hi Tom,

I thought the answers were obvious.

[1) Is action-reaction in its binariness simple or complex?]
1/ complex; and
[2) Can you name any complex situation, circumstance, person, thing, event ~~ any complexity whatever that isn’t configured as action-reaction?]
2/ everything.

Action reaction is a very simple, very low resolution, model of a vastly more complex reality in which everything has distributed influence on everything else – simultaneously. The degrees of influence can decay at various functions over space and time depending on the type of connection under discussion. Some of those functions approximate linear, others are exponentials, some are high order exponentials.
In all cases there comes a point where the degree of influence is within the measurement errors for the methods in question and can be discounted for most practical purposes (hence engineering works in practice – mostly).
When dealing with exponentials, that point can be within the resolving power of the unaided human eye.

No checkmate!

Unfortunately we’re not even on the same game board.

[followed by]

The closest approximation seems to be, not getting it at all – which of course is not completely true, because you do get something of it, but put through your paradigm structure what emerges is a caricature that is barely recognisable to me (a couple of elements present, and most of the crucial parts missing).
And I new it was a long shot.

As you know, I am not averse to going beyond the standard scientific consensus, and I do like to retain most of the well tested methods of science (like double blind trials where they are conceptually possible – which in some cases they are not).

At this time (following about 15 mins of contemplation on the matter) I don’t have any approach that seems to offer any greater probability than the ones already tried. If I come up with any, I will certainly get back to you. Maybe send you a copy of my book when it is ready for publication.



[followed by]

Hi Ilaalaa & Tom,

You seem to believe that the universe is necessarily comprehensible.

I’ve been down that path enough times, including the notion of polarity (though nowhere near as far down it as Tom), that it seems likely that all we will ever have is some sort of approximation to something; and I am fundamentally OK with that. I have accepted that.

I am clear that all any of us gets to experience directly is our subconsciously created model of reality. Therefore our experience, in and of itself, must logically be essentially a confirmation of our modeling presumptions.

If you follow computation, from Turing, along the road to Wolfram, and merge in strategy and complexity, then it seems the systemic space of possible useful schema is infinite, though very sparse in the total space of all possible schema.

I seek survival.
I seek the greatest degree of freedom that I can, within the context of optimising survival probabilities.
I am one particular instance of embodied cognition, that goes by the name of Ted.
I am that I am.

On a systemic basis, I understand that the experience of consciousness must sit atop conscious cognitive processes that are (and must always be) far beyond the detailed understanding of consciousness. Any map I may generate must be very low resolution compared to the thing itself (however accurate it may be at that resolution).

Anything may be simulated in a digital computer. Does that mean everything is digital?
Anything can be modeled in an analog computer. Does that mean everything is analog?

Reality has whatever properties it has.
The more closely we look at it, the stranger some of those properties are.

I do not expect to ever be able to predict reality 100% reliably, and I take joy from that.
It seems very probable to me that reality is fundamentally unpredictable, in several very distinct and profound aspects – yet at the scale of normal human perception it is very reliably causal (a very close approximation indeed at that particular scale).

I do think that there does exist a finite probability that I may get to enjoy living out the rest of eternity, and I see no need to ever worry about boredom.
And I might die tonight, or tomorrow, and I have faced death and accepted it and it passed me by.

How many people can honestly say those things?

[followed by]

Once one accepts that reality can contain instances of any computation system, and that some classes of computational system are fundamentally unpredictable (for a large set of different reasons), then one must accept uncertainty.

If one wants anything approaching peace, one must find some way of befriending that notion.

Culture is replete with many instances of such things, including those parts of theology that are not simply political control (none of which appeal to me personally, and they are interesting from a purely technical standpoint, some of them have a certain beauty, but usually built on something quite repulsive to me).

Wave and phasing do not require opposites, and some sort of attractor or flexibility (same thing different context) in some mix of dimensions, is required.

Strings are some approximation to 1 dimension.
Surfaces some approximation to 2 dimensions.
Crystals some approximation to 3 dimension.
Cavity resonators some approximation to 4 dimensions.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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