Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Reductio ad absurdum

Katrina did it again.

Took my plans and washed it away.

I know so clearly what information is, that i often wondered about the fact, how it could be that it was me to find the truth. Just me, a simple human being, not really very lucky, but (looking at all the suffering on Earth) also surely not unlucky, not really a genius, but also surely not stupid. All the pondering was the reason why i understood how it could work, how in the end all the little pieces of puzzle offered me through my whole life could suddenly be put together to create an image no other person could see.

As it was with Darwin. You know, he was privileged – he had to be privileged because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to study and work on natural science in the aristocratic societies of the time – and he was british. And that was also necessary. Maybe if he was Dutch, it wouldn’t have mattered, but if Darwin would have been German or Austrian or Hungarian or Pole, it would have mattered.


Because Darwin had to sail.

He had to be able to visit Galapagos – the island where evolution is visible.

He had to see the result – of what he had thought about before. He had to see a clear, definite realization, the proof of some thoughts and the hints, where something may have to be rethought.

Some events change everything.

The journey to Galapagos changed our view of life as much as Einsteins Relativity Theory– and Katrina may change it, too.

Brenda, whom i know since just a few days from the internet, quoted a post with these words:

“And since this was the first real test of homeland security, we ALL have every right to be scared shitless.”

We all had waited for a “big bang” in September, but none of us, i guess, had really waited for a big bang driven by Mother Nature. We thought of some spooky terrorist attacks, where one politician can say: “we told you, we should have killed them all” and the other can say: “we told you, we should have be a little wiser in treating foreigners.”

But Katrina can’t be declared as “terrorist” – all the Big Mouthes can’t be able to color this “attack” as arabian. Because the one and only people to be responsible for Katrina are surely the people of the first world, so actually the Big Mouthes have to start to de-color this fact: “No, no, there is no global warming, no proof, no guilt, go on and poison the world, make money! Don’t think, just grab!”

You look for something good, Brenda, in Katrina?

“I've read a lot, nothing much worth passing on, but enough to know people have changed since Katrina, just like they did after 9/11.”

The good is, that this is not perfectly true. Because 9/11 allowed the Americans to look away from the real problems, they could find some scapegoats and play “Game Boy” with their mighty weapons to avoid thinking. Don’t think, just bomb.

Don’t think, just act.

What a mess! How could a nation develop a philosophy like that?

Reductio ad absurdum.

That’s my title.

And that’s the reason why this article really belongs to my blog – because information is not only the creator of worlds, it is also the creator of human mind. Information is not only the genetic plan of your brain – it is also the subject of your brains work.

Genes and brain – both are information processing systems, but with an important difference. Genes work like relational databases, the knowledge of the kind of event, which is to be processed, has to be given. I call that “passive information processing”.

The brain is much more efficient. It is able to detect the kind of event by “virtualizing” strategies, so it is able to handle not just one single type like the genes, which can’t store the DNA of frogs and fishes and birds in one cell - just either/or -, but the brain can store information of nearly any type. About everything. By creating metadatas. That’s “active processing”. In the lingo of data-handling: passive vs. active information processing is like relational databases vs. XML.

However, there’s a problem with metadata-programming: Performance.

And despite the fact, that the human brain is the most complex construct in maybe the whole universe, it isn’t able to process the (nearly) infinity of its reality. It has to make compromises to simply be fast enough in its information processing – resulting in a clear decision - for reality.

Historically, brain uses instincts and emotions. Both are information detectors, based on key signals, with a success rate of about 80%, i guess, by just using the same strategies which worked in former times.

"Information only tells you, how the future may look like if nothing will change, because it tells you how the past has looked like."

But history proves, that the 20% failure ratio may be too high:

Remember also?
“It [information] heralds you the future as it might be, but...
it promises you nothing.”

So brain developed a “control station” for instincts and emotions to check the result of its subsystems in a given situation: Awareness. We got “aware” of what was going on. Again with the problem of performance.


Brain tried to find again “default solutions” to accelerate information processing, because instincts and emotions worked really fine (and fast!) – in their “scope of application”.


Brain offered neural connections for each and every situation, humankind has ever survived (you know, mutation and selection demands, that experience has to be moved to the next generation).

Then, in childhood, until you are 10 years old, your life destroys some of the neural connections. Huh, you’ll say? Yes, it’s true – the ones you never need. They fade away like muscles you don’t use.


A brain, perfectly optimized – physically – to your own life, your own mother and father, your own school and friends, your own readings and experiences, the serials you watch and the food you buy, the sports you do and the battles you fight.

Can you see it now? Can you understand now, what is so un-understandable? That the children of war times have “war” in their head and that the Americans prefer “not to think, just act”?

It’s how their childhoods were – John Wayne: “shot, then ask”, the industry, wanting makers, not thinkers, the hire-and-fire-system, which doesn’t care about education of employees, but easily offers you the next job (until now?), the foreign politics, which brought hardship to half of the world, but cheap goods and oil for your SUVs and big screens for your TV.

It seemed to work all the time. Look away, don’t care about the consequences and if you have problems, run and hide – or better rob somebody else, no need to change your life, because all the time all was fine...

it was fine to be strong and the winner and to “can not care less” about the world around...

and it did work until...


That’s the reason, why so many people in America are scared now.

Katrina may be, what World War II was for Europe: the event which taught the people, that no god, no king, no submission to “higher powers” and no “strength”, no credit card and no status symbol can protect them, that..

IT can happen to them.

Stable environments are the dream of every human brain – but they are also nothing more. As much as some people want to believe in stability, the stability of their wealth, their religions, their superpower-nations, their muscles, weapons and “superior genes”, stability is nothing else than a dream, created in our own brain.

Because we mistake the mapping for the mapped.

And the longer the period of stability lasts, the more the difference between mapping and mapped reality will grow. So in the end we need a “proof by contradiction” (reductio ad absurdum) to readjust our brain to reality:

An event which shows us clearly, that we have to change the mappings in our head.

That the world isn’t as neat and easy and small – and manageable - as we want it to be.

Katrina did this for us: The hurricane proved us, that our societies are not that mighty and stable and powerful and rich as we believed. That our societies are as every natural biosphere created by/of thousands and thousands of cycles of information processing. And if we destroy some of the cycles, as we do so easily with environment, we also destroy parts of our own life (keyword scale-free networks).

Nothing or nobody can protect us forever, no money, no nuke, no “superiority” - from the consequences of our own actions. Nothing can protect our lives from being destroyed as any other biological cyle, no law, no police, no god, no gold. Yes, even the rich needed help to escape from New Orleans, remember?

Our life IS destroyable, IT can happen – says Katrina.

That's why we all are scared.


Blogger Miss Cellania said...

You manage to put into words some of the ideas floating in my head. My problem is, I don't have the time or the writing skills to make a coherent paragraph. Thanks.

I will bookmark your blog. I may even post your link in mine, although the subject matter is VASTLY different.

5:41 AM, September 07, 2005  
Blogger Again said...

thank you very much, Miss Cellania

6:12 AM, September 07, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, you make me think harder. I admit to being a lazy thinker at times and make no excuse for some of the things that come into my head that I type for others to read. Being sick yesterday was no excuse. I could have done better. Retrospect is a strange beast.

10:55 AM, September 07, 2005  
Blogger Again said...

Being sick yesterday was no excuse. I could have done better.

oh please, i never wanted to rebuke your or something like that

Far from that! I was so impressed by your texts on your blogs, describing the feelings of the Southern Americans, that i had to answer you - but because i can't do that on your blog, i did it on my own

please brenda, don't change anything - you DID it better ;-)

12:56 AM, September 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a very kind person and one whom I'm proud to know as one of my online friends. To me, these friendships are just as real as in life outside the net and very important to me.

Without you and the others, I'd be very lonely. I'm anything but.

Thanks for being so good to me.

4:35 AM, September 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was so beautifully worded, it made the facts easier to absorb.

The illusions about the perfect American way of life needed to be shattered. Not for the rest of the world- but in the eyes of the Americans. They go around as if blind-folded, refusing to see or maybe believe that their luxeries come from the efforts of others. From people for whom they themselves have no regard- so long as they are safe in thier own sense of security. Mother Nature has just shattered that illusion. But I guess even natural disasters are partial to the rich.

8:52 AM, September 09, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barnita:But I guess even natural disasters are partial to the rich.

Yep :(

1:30 AM, September 10, 2005  

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