Registered: Oct 2005
the system that made it versus what it looks like
The most amazing lesson from NKS to me, and this has been the case for the last 11 months or so, but I never know whether to post my thoughts or not on these forums...as I'm not sure if the interest of readers here lies more in the old-skool quantitative realm, or whether there is larger, deeper spiritual interest...which might sound flaky to some quants, but which I say with no shame whatsoever, in fact, with a certain purity and a certain pride...anyway...
inhaesio zha has attached this image:
The most amazing lesson for me, from NKS, has been this (and the location of this post implies that I think it's more "philosophical" in nature, but...whatever):
This is going to sound simple. And everything profound is simple, is obvious, from a certain point of view. But...
Let's say I am living in a world, or viewing a system, which appears to have behavior/activity/forms that are cohesive with respect to the X and Y axes...like in this picture I'll attach. To me, subjectively, it looks like squiggles, like someone drew squiggles on a basically 2-dimensional piece of paper, with an eye capabale of seeing forms in at least two dimensions. It seems that way because if one travels along either the X or Y axes alone, the "squiggles" close themselves. That is, there are closed forms which, whether viewed from left to right or from top to bottom, open and close themselves in a circular form. The squiggles are mutated circular forms, warped circles. Which, consciously/receptively to me, makes it seem like the method behind their creation had some at-the-moment knowledge of at least 2-dimensional space. Right? How else could you draw a circle, or conceive of one?
But of course you can. We can write an algebraic formula that plots a circle in 2-dimensions even though the formula can be said to have no knowledge of dimensions at all.
So from a technical point of view what I'm saying here is obvious, ancient, basic, boring.
But from an experiential point of view, I find that CAs and some other of these NKS systems illustrate beautifully a profound nature of the world, which is:
The method that created the thing I'm observing might have *no idea whatsoever* of the [dimensional/shapely] context in which I'm observing the thing. Right? The thing that's "drawing a circle" may have no idea that it's drawing a circle, because what it's doing is only drawing a circle from my point of view.
What's profound about this for me is to re-consider my phenomenal world: the thing is, when I see [a circle], while that thing seems like an indisputably cohesive whole to me, it is quite likely that the two vertical or horizontal halves of that circle were computed *with no knowledge of each other*. You see that from my attached squiggle, yes? Those closed forms, those forms which look closed from my view of them as a 2d image, were created by a process wherein the "left half" of the thing had virtually no knowledge of the "right half" of the thing...for almost all of the form's existence through time in the second dimension!!!
So it's quite possible, and maybe, likely, that complex cohesive forms I experience through the 4th or whatever dimension of time, that cohesions and symmetries in those forms are not, properly, causally related to each other. That a circle is not actually, at the level of its formation, a circle at all! It may actually be two causally unacqainted formation sequences that *happen* to be symmetrical. Chairs usually have four legs. But it may very well be that the legs have nothing to do with each other...or, more precisely, that in their formation, whatever forms leg 1 has absolutely no knowledge of whatever is simultaneously forming leg 3.
You see what I'm saying? There's a metaphor in philosophy of a two-sided tapestry...originally the metaphor is that the chaotic side of the tapestry is supposed to represent how the world seems to us...and god is on the other side, the organized side, god is making sense, and because we happen to be observing from the back side of the tapestry everything seems crazy.
But I think we have concrete reasons, now, to think the metaphor runs the other way:
It may well be that god's side is the side of chaos [chaotic to us], the side with the strings hanging all over the place in no apparent order [not apparent to us]. And it's because of how we observe the tapestry...through a systematic (and trivial) methodology of simplification...that from where we sit, the tapestry takes on [a simplified] order.
I think "reality" is the complex side, the neumenal world. And what we observe, which is far from how things "are", our pheneumenal world, is the organized, the simplified, the "sensible" side of the tapestry.
I think there's a simple [quantitative, mechanical] network-unrolling methodology which supports this. And if it's not already obvious after reading this philos-oriented post, and once I sober up enough to write it out, I'll post it here.
I hope to be met with feirce objections and outright slander, but I fear I will encounter, as usual, only silence. I pray I'm wrong.
Last edited by inhaesio zha on 09-22-2006 at 03:06 AM
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