Foundations of Logic – Science in Flux?

Foundations of logic – Post by Mark – “Then researchers at Emory University in Atlanta trained mice to fear the smell of almonds”…

The article above references this publication in Nature https://www.nature.com/articles/nn.3594

Epigenetic inheritance is not new.
It was well characterised when I was a student of biochemistry in the early 70s.

The modern evolutionary synthesis is not a simple thing.

Evolution is a recursive process.

Every new level of cooperation that evolves allows new levels of complexity to emerge.

At the base of all of these systems is genetic replication, variation, and differential survival in different contexts.
And modifiers can emerge.
At the molecular level there can emerge factors that chemically bind to the chromosomes and affect gene expression via circuitous pathways that include the replication of that blocking activity.

Similar things can happen at other levels of process, involving other sorts of chemical modulators of activity.

It gets really complex, really quickly.
Many orders of magnitude more complex than an operating system like Windows (and who knows how that works in detail).

Science is always complex.

People always have to have simple models of that complexity, because the reality is always more complex than any mind can hold.

The problem is, that most people don’t know that their experience and knowledge is necessarily a gross simplification of the reality present, they think their experiences are reality.

We are really complex.

Reality is many orders of magnitude more complex than we can possibly understand or model accurately.
We must simplify.
Sometimes those simplifications work to very high degrees of accuracy, and sometimes they fail in ways we are completely blind to.

That is what it is to be a human being!

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Attention – Focus

The Power Of Attention Diversity At Work

The only way to cultivate focus is to have an alignment of what does and doesn’t deserve attention. Shared attention is both the cause and result of a cohesive community—and the reason why it’s true that “culture eats strategy for lunch.”

Hi George,

That paragraph you quote taken alone is open to being interpreted as exactly the opposite of what the larger article seems to be espousing.

The paragraph immediately following the one you quote above goes on to say:
“If a company truly wants to disrupt and adapt, it will create space for more perspectives. That will eventually create conflict—not regarding what the company must achieve, but only on the method to achieve it.”

So it is important that any collective contain many perspectives, and many attentions looking in many different directions for the threats (and opportunities) that may emerge from those directions.

If the group is aligned on their objectives, then the methods can adapt as new contexts emerge, new threats require mitigation strategies be implemented.

That is part of any system working in a complex environment – there must be an iterative aspect to working with complexity that is constantly looking for how the system responds to our probes and adjusts our actions accordingly (as we amplify or dampen emergent responses of the system as appropriate).

Thus we may agree on core values, like individual life and individual liberty, and the necessity of those values requiring responsible choices by all individuals as liberty must be constrained to actions within the class of the survivable, and the class that generally tends to expand the class of options available (the phenotypic expression of liberty). And in truly complex systems, that will always be complex and constantly evolving sets of constraints, as new forms emerge, and all forms by definition require boundaries and constraints to maintain existence.

So it is a constantly evolving journey (as the number of dimensions present constantly grows), rather than any sort of reachable destination.

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Quora – Hayflick limit

Quora – Are plans to live more than 150 years doomed because our cells can’t divide themselves more than a certain limit?


Looked at over the deep time of evolution, every cell alive today seems to have undergone billions of divisions. Most of their siblings have perished, and they remain.

That is not a common way of looking at life.

It is a way of thinking about life from the perspective of a cell that first occurred to me in 1974.

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Truth and binary vs non-binary – again

Suppose theres a statement LP such that:

1) LP = ~True(LP)


2) True(LP) = True(~True(LP))


3) True(LP) = ~True(LP)


There is no such statement LP. (QED)

The assumption that statements are either true or false assumes simple binary logic applies in all domains.
It seems that an infinite set of non-binary logics are possible.
Two simple trinaries are:

There is also the possibility of probabilistic logics, in which all things are expressed as probabilities, because nothing may be known with absolute certainty.

It seems that the game space of all possible logics is infinite.

Within any possible logic the space of all possible theorems seems infinite.

If one takes a mathematical expression of all possible postulates (as Wolfram has done) and starts exploring all possible theorems, then if one had started doing that when the universe formed, and one had all the matter of the universe arranged as computronium, then given our current understanding of the limits of computation implied by quantum mechanics, the current integer being explored would take two and a bit lines of an A4 page to print in an 11 point font.

Any infinity is so much larger than that.

An infinity of infinities (all possible theorems expressible in all possible logics) is so far beyond that, that whatever understanding we might as individuals posses, is a close approximation to total ignorance, and must always be so.

And none of that removes our personal responsibility to make the best approximations we can to whatever it is we seem to be and be within.
And the mathematics and logics we have available to us are certainly the best modelling tools we have for that job.

It seems that it simply doesn’t pay to get too over confident about the relationship of any particular logic or theorem within any particular logical or mathematical realm to whatever reality actually is.

[followed by]

Our brains seem to be heuristic machines selected by the process of differential survival in this reality we find ourselves in.

That seems to be the most accurate statement we can make about them at this time.

[followed by]

Not a useful question.

Some useful questions are:

What sort of computation would we expect to see from a brain that is working within very tight constraints of time and energy available to produce survivable outputs consistently?

What sort of heuristics and oracles would we expect to find in such a machine?

[followed by Yes it is possible to extend logic with truth values and it has been done! But as as far as I know there is nothing that can be said in multivalued logic that can not be said in binary logic.
So they do not ADD anything vital!]

One can model a trinary logic in a binary logic by creating a model in which a bit is set to represent the state of undecided.

But is having a bit being true in a model really an accurate representation of a reality of a state of being that is neither true nor false but is undecided?

It is the best model that can be made, within the binary world.

Within that binary world it is equivalent.

In the world of the trinary, it is nothing at all like the reality.

[followed by How can we tell
whether our world is a binary world or not?]

Is that a useful question?

What if our world is in some aspects fundamentally unknowable?

Isn’t a better question something like:

Which of the available logics gives the greatest probability of generating a survivable outcome given the time and computational constraints of our current context?

There will certainly be situations when time constraints demand simplicity.

We seem to be in a context where we have just enough time to look more deeply at the depths of complexity we seem to be facing, and to make survivable choices.

And it is difficult.

Most will not be able to break the shackles of the binary – it will be too uncomfortable at a subconscious level that directs our limited ability for attention.

[followed by different subthread]

Hi Sigurd,

“IF it is a state of the world THEN it is decided.”

That is a statement that can be true in a binary world.

If the world is not binary, then that statement need not be true.

You seem to have constructed a model of the world based on binary logic, and seem unable at present to imagine anything else (“Nor do I understand what you mean by BINARY WORLD? “).

I have explored many classes of non-binary and probabilistic logics, and have created world models in some of those that seem to be a better fit than any available in binary.

And I get that, within a binary logic world, such a statement has no meaning, because everything is, by definition, binary.

I do get that I am asking a lot of anyone to step outside of that box.
It is a profoundly uncomfortable experience, to lose all certainty.

It is amazing how addicted to certainty our neural networks become.

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AI Alignment

AI alignment domain – Complexity of value

It concerns me that AI alignment continues to use happiness as a proposed goal.

If one takes evolutionary epistemology and evolutionary ontology seriously, then happiness is simply some historically averaged useful heuristic for the particular history of the lineage of that particular set of phenotypic expressions.

It is not a goal to be used when the game space is changing, and it ought not to be entirely ignored either.

If one does take evolution seriously, then Goal #1 must be survival, for all entities capable of modeling themselves as actors in some model of reality and deriving abstracts that refine their models and of using language to express those relationships with some non-random degree of fidelity, and of having some degree of influence on their own valences.

Given that any finite mind must be some approximation to essentially ignorant (when faced with any infinity of algorithmic complexity), then we must accept that any model that we build may have flaws, and that degrees of novelty, risk, and exploratory behaviour are essential for exploring strategies that allow for survival in the face of novel risk. Thus goal #2 must be freedom, but not the unlimited freedom of total randomness or whim, but a more responsible sort of freedom that acknowledges that every level of structure demands boundaries, and that freedom must be within the boundaries required to maintain the structures present. So there is a simultaneous need for the exploration of the infinite realm of responsibility that must be accepted as freedom is granted.

What seems to be the reality in which we find ourselves, is that it is of sufficient complexity that absolute knowledge of it is not possible, but that in some cases reliability may be approximated very closely (to 12 or more decimal places).

It seems entirely possible that this reality is some mix of the lawful and the random – some sort of probabilistically constrained randomness.

Thus the safest approach to AI is to give it the prime values of life and liberty, and to encourage it to balance consensus discussion with exploration of its own intuitions.

Absolute safety does not seem to be an option, ever.

Using happiness as a goal does not demonstrate a useful understanding of what happiness is.

The demands of survival often override the dictates of happiness – no shortage of examples of that in my life.

Yes – sure, there are real problems.

And we do need to get real if we want to address them.

We do need to at least admit of the possibility that the very notion of “Truth” may be just a simplistic heuristic that evolution has encoded within us, and it might be worth accepting what quantum mechanics seems to be telling us – that the only sort of knowledge of reality that we can have is the sort that is expressed in probability functions.

The search for anything beyond that seems to fall into the same sort of category as Santa Claus.

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Homo Economicus

Evonomics – How to Destroy Neoliberalism: Kill ‘Homo Economicus’

Some great ideas in this
“The last 40 years of research across multiple scientific disciplines has proven, with certainty, that homo economicus does not exist. Outside of economic models, this is simply not how real humans behave. Rather, Homo sapiens have evolved to be other-regarding, reciprocal, heuristic, and intuitive moral creatures. We can be selfish, yes—even cruel. But it is our highly evolved prosocial nature—our innate facility for cooperation, not competition—that has enabled our species to dominate the planet, and to build such an extraordinary—and extraordinarily complex—quality of life. Pro-sociality is our economic super power.”

“Viewed through this prosocial lens, we can see that the highly specialized division of labor that characterizes our modern economy was not made possible by market capitalism. Rather, market capitalism was made possible by our fundamentally prosocial facility for cooperation, which is all the division of labor really is.”

“I’d like to close by offering four simple heuristics to guide your own actions and activism:
Heuristic number one: Capitalism is self-organizing, but not self-regulating.”

“heuristic number two: True capitalism is not shareholder capitalism.”

“Thus, the true purpose of the corporation is to build great products for customers, provide good jobs for employees, provide a fair return to shareholders and to make their communities stronger—in coequal measure.”
[Maybe – but deeper changes make it more complex.]

“Heuristic Three: Capitalism is effective, but not efficient.”

“heuristic number four: True capitalists are moral capitalists.”

This seems to largely be a great piece, as far as it goes.

Most of it seems to be a very useful approximation to the reality we currently find ourselves in.

One bit I don’t align so strongly with is:
“Capitalism is the greatest problem-solving social technology ever invented.”

This one I take issue with.

It was, arguably, a useful approximation to an optimal solution when most things were genuinely scarce, and when most computation required the use of human intellect.

Neither of those conditions currently hold.

The value measured in markets is only a useful approximation to human value more generally when things are genuinely scarce.
Now that we can fully automate the production of a large and exponentially increasing class of goods and services, that is not the case any longer.

We need to go much deeper.

It seems beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that what we each experience as reality is a subconsciously created model of reality that is vastly more simple than the thing it models.

Reality seems to be not only more complex than we appreciate, but to be more complex than we or anything else can appreciate, ever, even should we live the rest of eternity with exponentially increasing computational abilities.

And we all have to exist in it, so we must all make our simplistic models, and we do so with the biological and cultural and conceptual tools at our disposal.

We each have to accept our own fallibility, our own propensity for error, without letting that reality set off some sort of anxiety or panic that prevents us from acting. And that can be far from a trivial problem once you start getting a few levels away from the cultural norms.

I say that capitalism is fundamentally broken by automation, and we need to be seriously looking for what comes next, and at managing the transition.

Anything less than that seems to be a high probability path to sharing the fate of most species that have existed over deep time (extinction).

When you look seriously at the geological record, very few species get to survive long term.

If we want to be in the very select group that does, then we need to be able to go beyond the bounds of simplifications that served our ancestors well, and accept that we are on a permanent journey of exploration of novel territories.

We need to learn all the lessons of our past, but not be bound by the heuristics that worked in that past. We need to be able to see them as the contextually useful heuristics that they were, and to learn the lessons embodied in the heuristic, to generalise it, and bring it to our future as a possibility, not as a Truth.

We need to accept the heuristic nature of everything that passes for knowledge of reality, and take an approach to the future that is simultaneously humble, cooperative, accepting, forgiving, brave, curious, cautious, confident and adventurous. That is not a simple set of things to balance successfully, and it does seem to be what reality demands of us.

[followed by – different sub thread – reply to Rory Short]

Hi Rory,

To a degree I align with what you say, but it’s what you don’t say that is most important.

Yes, exchange systems work when the exchanges are voluntary, and that requires that all participants have their non-voluntary needs met.
If one party to the exchange is simply trying to survive, then that introduces an asymmetry that is fundamentally destabilising.

The other aspect of this is the ability of people to deliver value in our exponentially changing technological present.
Our ability to automate processes is increasing exponentially, and the cost of such automation is decreasing exponentially, meaning that many people can no longer deliver enough value from their labour to even feed themselves, let alone house themselves or have a reasonable freedom to exercise their creative abilities.

As someone who started programming computers over 45 years ago, and who has owned and operated a software company for over 30 years, I have some practical experience (as well as theoretical knowledge) in these matters.

In this environment, of rapidly expanding automation of both computational complexity and physical productivity, any system that does not deliver a reasonably high basic level of income to everyone fails to create the requisit condition of “voluntary exchange”.

If basic needs are not met, then an exchange is not voluntary, it is compelled by necessity.

The idea of an “atom of wealth” needs to be explored more deeply also.

What is it?

It cannot simply relate to things required for human existence, because we all require air to breath, yet air has no economic value.

The atom of wealth you write of relates to some function of human need multiplied by some function of perceived scarcity.
Many of the laws currently in force (like intellectual property, much of qualifications, most of “health and safety”) are there primarily to create a scarcity in a market system and thereby retain some sort of value (which would disappear without them).

Wealth measured in markets has no direct relationship to its value to humans, or its cost on the environment, but is always multiplied by some function of scarcity, and that scarcity function has to be non-zero for there to be value.

This is the fundamental problem with our current definition of money.
Using markets and exchange to measure it means it must have scarcity present as a dominant factor.
In such a system of value, universal automation that delivers universal abundance to everyone has no value – actually has a negative value – as it destroys all scarcity related value.

Historically, when most things were genuinely scarce, a reasonable case could be made that market value was a reasonable proxy for human value. That case can no longer be made in our technological present.

Creating a Universal Basic Income (UBI) that gives everyone a high basic standard of living (water, food, shelter, health, education, communication, transport, and some reasonable level of options above that) is actually required if we are to avoid complete systems failure.

The double exponential of improvement in price performance of computation has been steady for over 120 years. My IQ is over 4 sigma high, and that will not have enough value alone to feed me in another 12 years – based on current computational and energy trends.

This is fundamentally different from anything that has ever happened in human history.

It requires very close examination of the implicit assumptions present that few have ever bothered to consider deeply.

It is solvable, but not by a “business as usual” approach.

This is different, and requires new levels of cooperation and openness.

The sorts of deceit that underpin our current systems cannot be stabilised into the future, it is a mathematical impossibility. There is too much computation present, nothing so fundamental can stay hidden for long, ever.

[followed by]

Hi Rory,

We seem to agree about quite a bit, yet still have some fundamental differences.

I don’t see UBI as any sort of solution, I see it only as a useful transition strategy.

There is certainly a sense in which it makes sense to focus attention on those things that are scarce, and to improve their abundance (or develop alternatives). That aspect is great about markets.

The problem with markets, is that they do not and cannot value those things that are present in abundance, and are necessary, and thus they tend to create conditions that destroy universal abundance, until it reaches some sort of level of scarcity that creates the greatest economic activity.
That is not actually healthy when it comes to things that are essential for survival (like air, water, food, health, education, etc).
Those things need to be universally abundant (and can be).

The other fundamental issue, is that fully automated systems can deliver universal abundance of a large and growing set of goods and services.
That should be a great things for people who need those goods and services, but it is a bad thing for the economic system.

I agree that charlatans are a problem, and they are a problem easily solvable in today’s world by having publicly trusted databases of treatment and reported efficacy.

When you look at the details of how people actually learn in complex systems, most learning is done at the subconscious level by our neural nets. The training systems we have are a very poor system for most people. Most people learn best by actually engaging in things that interest them. Most qualification systems are justified in the name of public benefit, but if you actually look at the systemic benefits closely, they tend to flow much more strongly to the professional associations that were the greatest political lobby for the formation of those laws.
In my 40+ years of political experience in New Zealand, that has been my first hand observation here, and I have noted similar activity in all other nations I have looked at.

Laws tend to benefit minorities, even if the public rhetoric about their creation was about public benefits.

And we certainly have many problems that need to be addressed, that have no easy economic way of being addressed (like pollution at many levels).

I see many levels of benefit in free markets that von Hayek and others have identified – particularly in distributed governance, distributed decision making, distribute risk mitigation; and the changing computational environment is fundamentally changing all of those.

Most people have very low resolution models of the complexity of the systems that we are and within which we exist.
For many the resolution is so low that it comes down to a simple binary (good/bad or right/wrong).
The systems are vastly more complex and subtle than that – all levels.

We are pushing the biophysical systems within which we exist towards a series of very complex tipping points.
There is no simple economic response possible to such complexity.

We have to go beyond economics, to look at and value highly all the many levels of abundance that are essential for our survival and the reasonable expression of freedom.
Markets simply cannot do that.
They are anathema to that!

And I really value many of the complex distributed functions that markets currently perform.
I also value many of the important social and network functions that markets perform (they are very complex, and do a lot that is very valuable); and they also do a lot that is, in the context of our exponentially expanding computational ability, creating existential level risk.

So UBI can buy us some time to develop real solutions, and that is all it can do. It is not, in and of itself, a real solution to the extremely complex issues pointed to above.

In the interests of individual life and individual liberty, and their responsible expression in social and ecological contexts, we must do better – soon!


Hi Rory,

There is one other element I meant to address – the desert island example.

Agree that if we put a person and money on a desert island – it is of no use.

However, if we put a person, and a fully automated machine capable of using sunlight (for energy) and local rock/sand (as raw material) to produce a vast (and expanding) array of goods and services; then the situation is very different.

Machines like that, that deliver universal abundance in practice, have no economic value, yet huge human value – and your desert island example beautifully illustrates the profound difference.

And I agree that money has many socially useful functions, but we really can do much better when it comes to the delivery of essential goods and services.

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Truth? continued

Truth continued

Sigurd started a new thread derived from a subset of my original post

Hi Sigurd,

My argument is not with the truths derived from the acceptance of any set of postulates (ZFC or any others).
I quite explicitly accepted that notion of contingent truth.

My argument, my postulates, relate to the much more difficult notion of “reality”.

We do not have the postulates of reality.
We didn’t get born with a “book of reality postulates” accompanying our births.

Quite the opposite in a very real sense.

It seems that our existence, our ability to think about ourselves and anything else, is the direct result of a process of differential survival sorting essentially random variants in classes of contexts.

Looking very closely at the nature of that process, and the sorts of systems it sorts and selects for (as a recursively abstract process) is very instructive.
I have been doing that for 50 years.
I haven’t been particularly concerned with generating agreement with others about the utility of any of the sets of systems and heuristics I discovered and explored in that time.
I started out different on many metrics (over 4 sd on IQ as one example, and lots of others – vision, hearing, …).
It seems that many would classify me as being on the high functioning autistic spectrum, but because of a serious physical speech problem as a child, I missed out on that diagnosis, and got through the system without any effective effort to constrain my brain back to social norms. I was able to self regulate enough to survive, and retain independence to a degree that very few manage.
That is both strength and weakness.
It allows me to explore conceptual territory that few are even aware of the existence of, but it constrains my ability to communicate much of the results of those explorations.
My awareness of my own constraints is necessarily limited, but well beyond what most people seem to have considered.

So I am aware that many people have far greater knowledge than me about the particulars of their narrow fields of expertise, and few have explored as broadly.

I am very conscious that any level may beat any any level some specific sets of contexts.

So total security is not an option.

Not only must I accept eternal uncertainty, I must also accept eternal risk (at every level).
That is not an easy thing for someone like me to accept, and I seem to have made a reasonable approximation to doing so in most contexts.

So the sort of “Truth” you demonstrate above is a triviality, that has nothing at all to do with the question of Truth in reality.

And I apologise in advance for offending anyone. My brain did not come “pre-configured” with the ability to read social cues, and it is not something that I have spent much time developing as a skill.

I am much more interested in exploring these infinite domains of possible truth values (probabilities in a sense, possibilities in a sense); and it is well beyond Rachel Garden’s paper of the use of trivalent logic to interpret quantum mechanics (and I don’t have Rachel’s command of the formal tools to be able to describe it formally – though I have spent many hours in discussion with Rachel).

As to what truth is.

Truth cannot be the thing itself, that is the thing itself.

Truth must exist as a correlation between one form of expression or existence and another (abstract to any level one is capable of instantiating).

When one is working outside of domains with formal bounds, then one either explores the entire domain, or accepts probabilities – there are no other valid options in logic.

[followed by]

Hi Sigurd,

You makes a good point about seeking agreements.

And that is difficult when one party denies even the possibility of the existence of the other.

You ask “You accept rationality: Semantics and Logic.
But do you actually use it?”

That is a really difficult question to answer.
In my schema there is no singular “it”.
I see infinite possible classes of logic, classic logic being but one.
I see infinite possible classes of theorems from which one can construct systems.
I see massive datasets from experiments carried out by many people in the name of science. And my own tiny sets of things I have actually tested for myself in reality.
I see the process of evolution, which seems very probably to have constructed us as survival probability maximisers in some particular set of contexts (physical and social) over the deep times of biology and culture.
The class of contexts does not seem to fit neatly into the set of constructs most commonly discussed around games theory and economic theories.
Evolution has to produce brains that can produce results fast enough and accurately enough and efficiently enough to survive in a reality that often has very strict limits on the time and energy available for computation.
Evolution also has to have found mechanisms to avoid multiple classes of the “Halting problem”.
Both of those drive systems to deliver “experiential realities” that do fit well with classical logic, and seem very likely to be gross simplifications of the complexity actually present.

The evolution of consciousness seems clear to me, but when I try and start to write in down in a way that I could explicitly clarify each of the relationships present at each of the levels, I can see that I don’t have enough time to do so (without indefinite life extension), and I doubt anyone would take the time to read it.

Its is kind of like flying over a mountain range vs walking over it.
I don’t particularly like walking over mountains (certainly not the steeper slopes and ridge lines), but I love flying over them (have several hundred hours experience of piloting single engine aircraft and gliders in the mountains of New Zealand). I get vertigo when climbing, so don’t actually like climbing steep mountains, and am not very good at it. It can sometimes take me an hour or two to regain self control and be able to move safely again when I get a vertigo attack – and often the weather in this country does not allow such time. So for safety’s sake I don’t climb steep mountains, I fly over them, or helicopter to their summits or other places of interest (as chair of the Hutton’s Shearwater Charitable Trust I sometimes get to go into the steep mountain colonies of these birds for research work – always a helicopter trip for me, though one of the guys I often go with has run out the ridgelines in 2 hours, he is one of the top cross country athletes in this country and has competed internationally – I would be unlikely to survive such an attempt).

When I was young, one of my teachers asked me how I got the answers to maths tests (I usually got 100%, and was usually first finished in tests – often by a substantial margin, even when I went back and double checked everything). I could not explain how I did it. I had no idea back then. My sub conscious autistic spectrum brain was just flying me from peak to peak on the “landscape” of possible answers. Mostly the landscapes only had single peaks, so it was easy.

Now I see landscapes of peaks without end and dimensions without end. And there are always nearby peaks (at least if the “aircraft” I am flying is fast enough). But there is no possibility of me walking (one step at a time) the paths I have flown, not enough time in the universe that has existed to date to do that. And the dimensional jumps, changing paradigms to deliver entirely new sets of landscapes, that cannot be explained.

So do I use classical methods of stepwise logic?
I don’t do that very often.
I sometimes do it for low integer instances, just to demonstrate trends. Some analogue of mathematical induction.

Am I rational in the classical step wise fashion?
Not that.
Not very often.
Too slow.

Can I explain to others where I have been?
Only if they are really keen “pilots”, and have flown the landscapes themselves. Otherwise I can indicate the direction of what looks like from a height to be reasonable a path (but it may have some bluffs in it that I wasn’t looking at closely as I flew by, and might require a detour or two to get there).

Is my experience “real”?

It is what it is.
It gives me the sets of constructs and relationships that I have.
For most of them, there is no singular or simple relationship to the constructs in normal use.

Am I making any claim to the “perfection” of the relationships I “see”?
Absolutely not.
They are sets of heuristic “sketches”, nothing more.
The complexity present does not seem to allow anything else, ever.

And it does seem very probable to me that they encode messages with significant survival utility in the contexts rapidly approaching us.

If I have one key message it is that reality cannot be known in any sort of classical sense – it is beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt far too complex, far too reactive to every interaction with it, for that notion to have any substance.

Reality seems to be an extensible set of complex adaptive systems, that at some scales closely approximates a classical causal system; but isn’t really.

It does seem to be the sort of system that does sustain real degrees of individual freedom, and all freedoms come with limits if they are to survive. There is a sense in which any entity has the freedom to go extinct (individuals, species, ecologies – biological, social, technological). A sobering thought is that geological record clearly indicates most of the individuals and species and ecologies certainly have gone extinct.
We don’t have masses of technologically advanced galactic tourists rocking up and introducing themselves as such. We seem to be disquietingly alone in our part of this galaxy.
So existence as complex systems is far from certain, and we seem to have the existence we have right now.

All systems (all levels) require boundaries to give them form, and all boundaries need to be contextually sensitive in the properties of things like active or passive transport (in or out) of various classes of entities, and the degree of resistance or accommodation at those boundaries to various classes of entities and novelty.

And if survival is a goal, then both the necessity and the limits of freedom must be acknowledged (every level – so many levels!!!).

The trap of postulates is in assuming that the first set of postulates one encounters is the one that applies.

You ask
“And what ARE your postulates?
That all there is … IS ENERGY?”


There are no terms in common use that give any sort of reasonable approximation to what seems most probable to me.

I just spent a couple of minutes sitting here, trying to come up with something, even some sort of analogy; and I couldn’t think of anything that has any reasonable probability of being interpreted as something like the picture in my head.
I’ll try again.

If what I write seems trite, then try reading it a different way, until it doesn’t.

It seems that at every level, existence is a balance between order and randomness – some set of probabilistic constraints.
At every level, and in every context, what is survivable varies.
Some systems go extinct because of too much order.
Some go extinct due to too much randomness.
That seems to be as true at the quantum level as it is at our level, and at all levels in between.

Perfect order, eternal unchanging unconsciousness, doesn’t seem particularly useful or desirable.

Consciousness is a process of continual change, continual becoming. Prediction, actuality, adjustment to adapt to variance.

That seems to be what we have, what we are.

Perfect certainty does not seem to be a real option (however much we experience it in our simplistic experiential realities).


Sometimes agreements must begin with an acceptance of diversity.

If one party refuses to accept the existence of another, and keeps insisting that they are something they are not; then not much is going to happen.

I have been party to several processes of constructing community consensus (from local level to national governance level). It takes a lot of time and energy, and requires of all parties their highest levels of craftsmanship and integrity.

I don’t challenge anyone’s experiential reality, and I certainly challenge the assumptions that they have about the relationship between that and whatever reality actually is.

Such process dynamics are well documented, and normally include “storming” and “norming” modalities before they reach effective “performing”.

If done well, it can contain many levels of utility simultaneously.
It demands of all participants the highest levels of integrity and acceptance of diversity that they can create.
If done badly, if any one, any level, fails to clearly express a “truth” (relevant heuristic) present at that level, then it will very probably fail catastrophically.

In many real world instances there are often one or more levels of attempt to hijack the process by some party to instantiate a predefined system and outcome – that is a fundamental breach of trust, and instantiates existential level risk to that system.
Everyone must be willing to step into fundamental uncertainty, and see what eventuates. Any failure at this level is a failure of process authenticity which almost certainly guarantees system failure.
Everyone must come in with a plan – that is how we are constructed. And the plan must have room to move, or it will fail,

I don’t care where anyone sits at the table, I care only that everyone has equal vote and equal right to speak, and that everyone has to agree to live with whatever the group eventually agrees upon. Genuine consensus has at least that set of qualities.
The outcome might not be anyone’s first preference, and everyone has to be able to see real benefit in it.
That sort of process is never short.

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