so what we are trying to reconcile is the imprecision with which the very small operates, and the non-absoluteness with which the very large operates?
science as prediction
Laplace went in state to beg Napoleon to accept a copy of his work, who had heard that the book contained no mention of God; Napoleon, who was fond of putting embarrassing questions, received it with the remark, "M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator." Laplace, who, though the most supple of politicians, was as stiff as a martyr on every point of his philosophy, drew himself up and answered bluntly, "Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là." (I did not need to make such an assumption). Napoleon, greatly amused, told this reply to Lagrange, who exclaimed, "Ah! c'est une belle hypothèse; ça explique beaucoup de choses" (Ah! that is a beautiful assumption; it explains many things). Laplace then declared: "Cette hypothèse, Sire, explique en effet tout, mais ne permet de prédire rien. En tant que savant, je me dois de vous fournir des travaux permettant des prédictions" ("This hypothesis, Sire, does explain everything, but does not permit to predict anything. As a scholar, I must provide you with works permitting predictions." - quoted by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen). Laplace thus defined science as a predicting tool.
so what if i do? so what if i did?
i want to see you in black and white. i want to see your negative. i want to turn the contrast up until all everything is sharp. everything abstract. only the highest highs and lowest lows will remain. the greatest differences. ---or maybe thats how i want you to see me.
i have a degree in baloney, with a minor in reverse psychology. one half of everything i say is a joke. in that last sentence it was the second half; this one too.
i just had an excellent insight into the nature of doubt and proof. doubt will remain in all matters, similarly, proof will forever be unobtainable. however, there is an application of doubt by which one never trusts anything – a skepticism so extreme that one can never be sure of one's own 'existence'. this use of doubt surpasses the utility of doubt. Likewise, there is a use of doubt so benign that it provides no advantage over acceptance of all ideas. perhaps we could construct a mathematics of doubt, with which we could set up a max/min problem to find the correct amount of doubt which allows us to maximize the utility of an idea.
you dont really want to know, right? just repeat that line... please.
repeat after me: i dont really want to know.
there is a very obscure, subtle irony underlying any statement i make concerning my inhumanity. the background is this: i met matt doyle in third grade. he was new to the school, and i was the nice young boy who was very agreeable and very accepting, and so i got along with everyone; i had no enemies, and was even friends with people who were enemies of each other. my two closest friends in fact, seemed to despise one another. matt however was new, and was a bit of an outcast. one day on the playground he told me 'a secret' that he was an android. in retrospect, im sure he was just a little boy doing what little boys do: play pretend. however at the time i thought he was 'stupid' (i didnt think stupid the way most people do, just ridiculous, or immature maybe even). i believe my response was a subtle display of disbelief, accompanied by vocalized acceptance of the idea. however, inside i had moved matt from the "intelligent, can be learned from" category to the "should be intellectually avoided" category. now, when i make statements concerning my inhumanity, i am not professing to be anything other than homo-sapien. however, i am attempting to declare my independence from the common beliefs, ideals, desires, habits, (as well as many other annoying properties) that human beings in general hold dear.
who id like to meet: someone who hates the universe at least as much as i do. also, they must be in love with the universe at least as much as i am.
i need to talk to dr Wilson about pessimism, Arthur Schopenhauer, physics, and why people are unhappy. i have no real reason to be unhappy, other than the current lack of any fullfilling relationship with the opposite sex, but if it were that simple i could probably go find a girl immediately.
we are descendent from monsters.
heres the line of thought: russian communism failed, why? well, because those in power abused their power. why? why is it that people want to abuse power? why do people want power in the first place? 'power corrupts', but why?
we made it all up. happy, sad, embarrassed, it doesnt actually exist; its a figment--a farse.
one time, after talking to my dad about computers and their ability to simulate things, i asked him, could you imagine what it would be like if computers could simulate weather so accurately, that they could tell you within minutes of when it would rain months from now? and where? that would be an awfully astounding feat, right?
another good question for scott's blog: what is the time complexity of the problem P=NP?
after Gödel's incompleteness theorems blew my mind (AGAIN, after many months of re-reading them), ive decided that the theorems constitute a proof of our intelligence out performing its utility. we are way too smart for our own good.
and then i smile.
some people argue that there is no such thing as a selfless act, and if you give them examples of seemingly selfless acts, they will always explain it away with various subtleties, such as to clear their conscious, or to make themselves feel good inside. even if they do something good for others anonymous, they are still promoting their own psychological well-being somehow. although i tend to disagree with the general statement that all acts of kindness are motivated ultimately by acts of kindness, i will concede to this point, as i follow the argument and find it very plausible. however, to convey my understanding of non-selfish acts of kindness, we should consider a more fluid understanding of 'selfish' vs 'selfless', and rather than taking on the two value, "black or white" system generally used to interpret these acts, we should take acts to be some mix of the two qualities, ranging all the way from 100/0 being completely selfish, to 0/100 being completely selfless, and 50/50 being an intermediate state in which selfish and selfless motivations are equal. taking such a scaling allows us to clarify the idea that all acts of kindness are ultimately selfish, more acceptably stating it as all acts of kindness contain a selfish element. taking this continuous range, it seems likely that most acts of kindness are neither 100% selfish nor 100% selfless, but rather a mixture, with one occasionally dominating the other. additionally, i would state that acts of kindness performed anonymously, by someone who does not feel any personal guilt or debt to anyone, would be approaching the 0/100 state. I know that many people doubt this, but there do exist individuals who genuinely care about other human beings for reasons they do not even understand; they are compelled to improve the lives of their fellow humans by urges more fundamental than the conclusions they reach logically, perhaps not as deeply as instincts (although that may be the case), but possibly learned behavior at such a young and influential age that their concern for fellow humankind is the greatest of their motivations.
i look at the ground to see if its raining.
holy shit, gauge invariance introduced in a place where i might actually understand it! and earlier i was thinking about how i need to describe 'good' and 'bad' in terms of a 'gauge invariance', where there is no true zero, or something...
BREATHE MORE DEEPLY.
at about seven and one half minutes in, "motherfucker=redeemer (part one)" seems as lovely as any idea ive ever known.
i told keith, "good luck" with the grading he had to do... and then i wondered to myself, 'i seem to say that a lot... am i sincere?' i think i am. but somehow i feel uncertain, which isnt a good sign, because confidence counts when assessing sincerity. so now i wonder, do others believe me to be sincere? it doesnt matter, does it.
id like to become addicted to embarrassing moments, situations, habits.
i want to make a scene.
do i say things beyond words? if i do i believe i am unaware.
are we just more aware of the importance (and lack thereof) of jobs? what is the relationship between my survival and the work of other people? does my survival rely directly on anyone anymore? -no. my survival is more reliant on large groups of people. the farmer could quit, the trucker go rogue, the grocer drop dead, but i would still get fed. from other farmers, grocers and truckers. most other jobs equal luxury. food, shelter, water, sanitary, clothing, social health... am i missing something? theres more to this, but im just going to end it here. as with most of my thoughts, they are much more developed and sensical when i am sharing them directly with others, rather than typing them off the top of my head. its so much easier to think with people.
my favorite phrases in this post are 'breathe more deeply', 'we are descendent from monsters', 'and then i smile' and 'this world needs more color'. i dont know where they have come from, but that is typical.
i should write less at a time, or write more often.