Tag Archives: Reality

Alan Moore on Science, Imagination, Language and Spirits of Place

In an excellent interview with the Daily Grail, author Alan Moore talks about the spirits of a place, time and simultaneity, and how the ephemeral artifacts of the current times are making it harder for the next generation to be imaginatively creative – something we should all be worried about. Continue reading

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Filed under Mind, Philosophy

Proposition (XIV)

Consciousness is simply one’s own perception that others also perceive you as a thinking thing out there in a world of thinking things.

– Your Joyful Benefactor

 

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Filed under Philosophy, Propositions

Proposition (X)

We can never own the new digital spaces that are springing up around us, we can only inhabit them. Like the spaces that we ‘physically’ move through; the rooms of our home, the countryside, and the city – we have never, ever owned any of these. Continue reading

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Filed under Philosophy, Propositions

Proposition (VIII)

All of the energy in the Universe is the product of oppositions – a manifestation of the tension between the ideal states of Something and Nothing.

Corollary. – The total amount of energy in the universe is zero, because the states of things only change as they pass through time (a narrative) using up the energy that was created during the Big Bang. The common perceptions that the universe came from nothing or an infinity of something do not provide answers about where existence comes from – sense can be made of this only if the tension between these two ideas produces an idea of something and this is the energy from which all matter is made. All manifestations of nature descend from this law: Light, Dark, Repulsion, Attraction, Heat, Cold, Life, Death.

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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The Simulated Artist

The artist decides he can’t stand the smell of oil paint any longer.  He doesn’t understand the reason why, because he used to love it. He gets annoyed by the paint drips and the constant cleaning with thinners that irritate his skin. His apartment, one of ten thousand in the block, is so small that he is forced to clean his brushes in the sink where he prepares food. This isn’t a problem in itself, the food he eats can’t possibly harm him – even contaminated with a few molecules of thinner. However he considers painting to be the kind of activity that should not overlap with the process of his gastronomic requirements – this is difficult as the kitchenette is only two and a half metres from the opposite wall that is his ‘studio’. Continue reading

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Filed under Fiction, Philosophy

Information Overload: We’ve Had it Since the Beginning of Time

How does a number such as Pi exist in the universe? It’s probably been written down to certain degrees of accuracy many times over – and stored on as many electronic devices. Some people can hold hundreds of digits of it in their heads. However, when you think of a circle, try to imagine those magic numbers – the relationship between the circumference and radius, they do not spring to mind, they are not intrinsically anywhere and at most appear to be some kind of approximation. So where then, are they and how are they stored?

The same could be asked of those other magical numbers; the Primes. Consider a thought experiment in which we try to imagine how the primes could crop up in nature – well of course they are everywhere within sets of numbers – but surely they are only ‘known’ to be primes if some kind of system can ‘understand’ them as primes. What do we mean by understand? If we take humans out of the equation for a moment and ask instead – is there a system at large in the universe that could some how sort primes so at least they are definable by their very separation from other quantities? Imagine the asteroid belt within our Solar System or similar belts within billions of other solar systems through out the universe – trillions and trillions of pieces of rock floating randomly through space. Given enough time – surely some conglomeration of these could give rise to a repeatable set of collisions that would sort the rocks into prime numbers up to say one hundred. Perhaps, but it is unlikely that a computing device of such power could arise in one short step, within the complete lifetime of the universe. Instead a very simple computing mechanism has to come into existence that can be improved upon in later iterations until it becomes a sieve of Prime numbers – and of course there is such a sieve; the human brain of Homo Sapiens. One of those Homo Sapiens, a Greek called Eratosthenes actually created an algorithm for calculating a set of primes that we still call the Sieve of Eratosthenes.

This begs the question of how an evolved system, an ever improving life form carries information. It is quite obvious that the information carried by genes must be encoded and decoded within a body in order for the instructions to be ‘read’ and acted upon when a new body is created via reproduction and that this information, which is only now being decoded in a different way – by conscious minds who wish to understand it – came from somewhere and is going to somewhere else, albeit in a more complex state. A problem arises when you consider the raw information – it’s rubbish, a meaningless jumble of noise like the streams of radio waves that we are sending out from the Earth if nobody’s listening, and can only be used if the correct decoding device transcribes the information into another form. Interestingly it is the errors in copying that give rise to the diversity of life as we know it because the substrate that ‘carries’ the information is imperfect and in constant flux. What is information then? Itself, it is an ephemeral, plastic thing and is carried simply by patterns in matter, that inscribe more patterns onto more matter, and by random differences, molds them as it goes.

How all this has occurred is mysterious but it seems that pattern formation within the condensation of early matter in the universe, primed clumps of potential information substrates that eventually formed at least one intensely dense pocket of information flow – our planet and its staggering, descending streams of data. Information then is a shifting sand storm of decodings and interpretations that descends through time and can be cut-off at a stroke, by the burning of a book, the passing of a family member, the extinction of a species or the death of a star.

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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Filed under Philosophy

Change for the Better…

Our understanding of the Universe does not change through discovery. Our discoveries change the fabric of the Universe itself – inventing it as we go.

– Your Joyful Benefactor

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Filed under Aphorisms, Philosophy

Maybe Everything’s Real

Reality is not always probable, or likely.

– Jorge Luis Borges

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Filed under Aphorisms, Philosophy