Sunday, February 26, 2006

White Roses or Reductio ad absurdum (2)

Why are oppressed people so proud of resistance fighters? Why are conscience-stricken minds so glad to hear from nobleness and decency?

The slaves of the world, remembering Spartacus, the proud Britons adoring Boudicca, the Germans proud of Sophie Scholl?

Because these persons are living examples, that people are not all the same, that slaves are not all submissive, that Britons did not all servilely comply to the Romans and that Germans weren’t all monsters.

They are living proofs by contradiction - reductio ad absurdum. And when times changed, the slaves were freed, the Romans were expelled and the Nazis had got what they deserved, no one could claim that all slaves were submissive, because Spartacus fought and no one could claim, that all Britons are willing poodles of the Romans, because Boudicca resisted and no one could claim, that “all Germans blindly went along with Hitler”, because Sophie Scholl of The White Rose “been mistreated so much in her "questioning" by the Gestapo that she arrived in court with a broken leg” displayed “great courage, she stood up to the President of the Court, Roland Freisler (known for his perversion of justice), saying: "You know as well as we do that the war is lost. Why are you so cowardly that you won't admit it?"”

As Steve C. Day let his protagonist say in his story “I Can Still Remember Freedom”:“And one more thing, old man: You were wrong in what you said . . . Your life did matter. You made a difference. In fact, as things worked out, you made all the difference in the world.”

A single soul can make a difference – because (s)he can be the one thing leading a claim A to an absurd result B as in:

A — You should respect C's belief, for all beliefs are of equal validity and cannot be denied.

B —
1. I deny that belief of yours and believe it to be invalid.
2. According to your statement, this belief of mine (1) is valid, like all other beliefs.
3. However, your statement also contradicts and invalidates mine, being the exact opposite of it.
4. The conclusions of 2 and 3 are incompatible and contradictory, so your statement is logically absurd.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Power of Pictures: Scientia est potentia

Know the cave paintings of Chauvet? Or the Bâton de commandement of Gourdan?

Ever felt respect for people studying the stars because of their human curiousness, but without the knowledge of the ages – how to describe what they’ve learned, how to store it, how to use it?

Describing what they’ve learned – needs formulas.

Storing it – needs writing.

Using it – needs teaching and tools.

All the things we know so well: script and science, training and technology.

The ancient people in the Ice Age didn’t have, what’s so ubiquitous for us – the knowledge of the ages.

The ancient people had to do their research on the very first steps of the power of human culture, of what the Roman saying describes: Scientia est potentia – knowledge is power. And the ancient people did it very well.

Look at their pictures. First they started with “normally looking” images, but soon the paintings got “ugly”, loosing details while boldly emphasizing others: They had understood that the pictures could be used more precisely to describe an idea, if the part of the picture, showing the similarity to the idea, dominates and the other parts, disturbing the clearness of the idea, vanish.

So they discovered the symbol.

By emphasizing more and more the significance, by omitting more and more unnecessary details, they invented writing – first the painted writings of China and the hieroglyphs of Egypt, then the more abstract reduction of writing to syllables and at last our latin letters without any meaning left: a, b, c, d.

But look at the power of that letters! The pen is mightier than the sword, it is said.

Put the letters in the right way and they shake the world! Talk about hate and offended gods and the letters are able to incite riots over the whole world.

That’s power.

And the ancient paintings did start this evolution – and the ancient people felt that power.

They felt how important it is to describe and store knowledge, because knowledge can be used.

Information is behavior: The more you know about a dynamical entity, a system, an object, a person or a nation, the better you can foresee the decisions and the resulting actions, the better you can control the situation.

The ancient people knew that – they knew that the power of information is usable by painting it precisely, by pictures of the observed to describe and to store it, to understand it and to foresee it and in the end: manipulate it.

And that’s true until today, because guess, how even a mathematical function is called? Abbildung, Mapping.

The ancient people did just one mistake: they thought, that each and every mapping is powerful, but as we know now, that’s not true. Only the provable, precise maps are useful, allowing to reconstruct the behavior (!) of the original system by the map.

The power of pictures: first magic, than science.

Evolution of knowledge, as humankind learned to optimize the new strategy of correctly describing and storing and teaching and using.

But interestingly, many of the ancient ideas survived.

The faith of the power of any picture exists in all veils on Earth. Yes, veils. They first weren’t signals of inferiority, but signals of VIPs like the Chinese emperor, not allowed to be seen by the underlings, since they could use the “Evil Eyes” against him.

Like any animal fearing the spying eyes of predators – by which those try to gather enough information about the victims to use that information against them – humans fear the direct gaze until today. Just watch somebody some time – (s)he’ll get nervous and many even get aggressive.

Together with the ancient knowledge, that mappings are the tools of information processing, it’s easy to understand, that fearful people try to avoid being seen and painted: try to forbid making images of them.

Because a mapping can give knowledge – because an image can give power.

What surprises me much is that even our modern Gods are less powerful than images – because the verboten pictures have the same origin as ever: Images give power and no human shall have that power over God.

however - how can that be? Previous gods are of limited capabilities, sure, they may have reason to fear the power of the humans, but all the Abrahamic Gods are omnipotent, there is nothing left which should allow anything or anybody to have power over them, not even pictures, may they be good or bad.

But yes, i forgot: faith doesn’t follow logical thinking. So believers can follow rules of cave painters which contradict their own faith, just because anything goes in faith and anything can be used to be offended?

Just asking.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What if?

Today, there is no physical proof of telepathy, precognition or other PSI-phenomena, there is yet no idea, how it could work.

While even the human mind is understandable by information, even consciousness is explainable as a self-mapping entity inside a powerful active processing system, concentrating the knowledge about the whole system of sensors like eyes, eares and noses, of experiences, needs and wishes stored in one single point of mapping like the DNA concentrates the knowledge about the passive processing system “body”, while the mechanisms of communication in brain and body are mostly known and proven to be clearly physical action – electromagnetic or nuclear powers – many people think, that physics will never be able to explain PSI and many think, that physics is even a true proof against.

But physics is never a proof against the unknown or the unexplainable, simply because you can only prove something by the method of the physics – the experiment. Therefore, it has to be information and information is repeatable, identifiable process, you can measure, store and compare. So no one will ever be able to use physics to prove the not known. If you hear a person saying: “that’s impossible”, (s)he can’t be a true physicist, because in that case, (s)he has to say: “as far as we know until now, that’s not plausible”.

Alas, regarding PSI, without an idea which physical forces should be involved, without a model to be proven by experiment, it seems, as if natural science may not support PSI-phenomena. PSI seems to be just a wrong pattern derived from the observations. Look a the strategy of an active information processing system (Gleichartigkeitshypothese, Gleichzeitigkeitshypothese): from chaotic signals it creates a world of objects and behaviors by hypotheses of (non-)equality and concurrence of those signals and verifies the result against memory and new experiences. And sometimes the hypotheses are wrong - after a while a contradiction will occur which proves them wrong and then brain rejects the results. Many claimed proofs of PSI don’t survive exact examinations and turn out to be nothing else than such a “wrong pattern”.

On the other hand there are many people swearing that PSI exists, that they had experienced one or another case of PSI-events themselves, there are many serious scientists doing research on that matters with findings of “significant deviation” from the average, yet without a clear proof of perfect repeatability, that persons are able to read thoughts or to foresee parts of the future. Why i say “parts of the future”? Because reality isn’t perfectly deterministic – only the informational component is -, so future can’t be perfectly predefined.

So maybe that’s a hint?

What if?

What if PSI-phenomena are more than wrong recognitions of patterns – more than “optical illusions”? What if our brain, optimized for active information processing, simply does its job?

Why? Because anything which happens is based on physical action stronger than the Planck's constant. And anything which is provable, must be information. Why? Because it has to be repeatable to allow experiments proving it.

But which physical action should be involved? There is no one known which is able to fulfil, what PSI claims to be able – to be instantly effective, over long distances without needing time or without being measurable over the whole distance.

No one? Really no one?

That’s not true.

Non-local physical effects are known, it’s just not information – remember the EPR-experiment?

It’s about – as i call it – proto-information, it is a repeatable process inside the randomness of the quantum continuum, which is not yet identifiable.

But it exists – and that “spooky action at a distance” can change things beyond the Planck's constant.

Our brain uses “high-level” neurons – fast enough for thoughts and body control. While the low-level neurons work on a chemical basis, the high-level neurons allow the signals to “jump”. Together with the fact, that synapses grow to overcome the distance between neurons, to link them together, when a memorized event is imprinted in the brain, there might be some magnetic phenomena involved – a not non-local physical action, but also an action not needing direct contact.

However, magnetism is a physical action with the perfection of repeatability and identifiability provable by experiment, since our brain depends on perfection to be able to process information without loss and failures.

But what if the used mechanisms reach into the quantum noise? Then Mother Nature would have been forced to enable brain to deal with that “medium” to ensure that the information processing system of the brain doesn’t destroy information, doesn’t destroy repeatability and identifiability.

And then brain would have something like access to everywhere, sooner or later provable.

Interesting idea, hm?

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Ever heard from Gaia?

“Gaia - the Earth which keeps itself fit for life”?

By “Professor Lovelock”, “the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on Earth since Charles Darwin”?

“The Gaia system, founded on the interaction of life-forms with their environment, is made up of feedback mechanisms that have previously acted in a benign way for humans.”

In benign way for humans? And now Gaia has changed her mind?

No, Gaia never betrays us – it’s us betraying Gaia.

Gaia is the totality of all earthbound information processing cycles including each and every individual information processing system – like me and you, like America and China, like winners and losers. Gaia acted “benign” for every life because she created cycles, allowing information to flow steadily.

Because only repeatable processes are information – and therefore useful.

We just happened to develop in a period of particular attributes – millions of years Earth was colder or warmer and offered more or less oxygen, so our poisoning of Earth may not matter that much. For Gaia.

It just matters for us.

Gaia will be able to “reconfigurate” her cycles offering life new possibilities – as she did 250 million years ago. And 65 million years ago.

It doesn’t matter, what human “winners” believe or not. Reality decides and Gaia, used to extinction, fits herself for life.

For the whole life, not only a single life form.

Especially not a life form like that:

“This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. And so the problem remained; lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches.” (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Introduction, by Douglas Adams ©)