north eastern stick dancing and pipes
after a short break, let’s continue our series on things. in my previous posts i solved the subject-object problem by claiming the subject is recursively made of objects, and that subjectivity is no more than distorted copies of real information. this was only possible because of my axiomatic opinion that things are real. once i get to minds, subjectivity will become clear by its physicality. you are obviously entitled to make your reality any_real, like _surreal or irreal. doesn’t matter to me, since your thoughts, in this line of thinking, are things too (real things even). this is enough to make a lot of people angry, so i’m moving on.
we had our miniverses, macroscopically different. one with a vocabulary of two (a, b), and one with a vocabulary of six (a, b, c, d, e and f). so now we can define our vocabulary in our own miniverse (the one we live in). this is the quest for the elemental alphabet that we spend so much money on (your bosons give me hadron?). but depending on how deep we want to go, we might not need to know the core letters.
this is what we must ask ourselves every time. where are we drawing the boundary? am i concerned with brownian motion? hydrostatic pressure? rainfall on your wedding? how deep is my zoom in?
let’s try to formalize this question in simple terms in these steps: – what information are you doing work with (how your thing is sufficiently quantifiable, with your chosen distortion or error); – find the simplest alphabet to represent that information, given all the alphabets you have (you can’t use alphabets you don’t have).
an example on how this works. if you are doing simple construction work and want to think (or imagine, or project it), what is your alphabet? let’s take building a simple wall as an example. let’s imagine i don’t want to make them fancy and anti-seismic, rather the old school kind that always kills people at some point. of all the possible letters i could work with (atoms, molecules, chunks of clay, geological formation of rocks, etc), i will choose the simplest amount that allows me to do work within my boundary (this boundary being the one that has my little construction yard inside, and everything else on the outside). my letters are bricks, concrete, the laws of gravity and static forces. why? because to describe my activity (the work i’m doing), this allows me to save and retrieve my project with no loss of information (sometimes the type of brick isn’t important, nor the type of concrete) plus it can be encoded in the smallest chunk of information (occam’s razor). imagine a piece of paper. you could use that piece of paper to write
put bricks alternating on top of each other with concrete between them
or you could use that same piece of paper to write
start a universe make a lot of stars explode and find one that has a good planet have all these things happen to it so we have clay and walking monkeys and concrete and teach them to carry the things and make them build things
in fact, if you only wanted to use core elements, you could go as far as
quark id#1 move to a quark id#2 move to b quark id#3 move to c quark id#4 move to d quark id#5 move to e (…)
in a huge sequence. it’s easy to say that if you choose a deeper alphabet, you might not end up with a simpler explanation. so saying F=ma is simple is a bit naive. it depends on your subject.
so what we’re describing is that activity (work) is what makes us choose our alphabets. for a culture that never deals with earthquakes, a brick and concrete alphabet is enough to do work in their reality (they don’t know earthquakes are real because they haven’t observed them).
again, this is where we specify. every human activity has its own jargon, its own alphabet that is used to accurately do work. that work can be analyzed quantitatively by looking at the thermodynamics of the system. what is generating information, what is destroying it?
so in a couple of lines i jumped from tiny things and miniverses to construction work and made them seem similar. this means that this model is fractal, since it repeats itself in different scales (or zoom factors if you will).
in my trade jargon, you’d call going from lower level to higher level descriptions. obviously everything i write is highly influenced by my trade. again, once we get to minds, it might become clear why. lower level is no more than fewer agents and more data or more descriptions and less models. higher level is the opposite. as you go into more and more abstracted realms, you will have more models and less descriptions.
for example, you have 5 marbles, each in a hue of blue. if you need to telegram this to someone (they call that tweet these days isn’t it?), you could write:
i have a duke blue marble, a federal blue marble, a navy blue marble, a sapphire blue marble and a prussian blue marble
or you could write
i have 5 dark blue marbles
which one do you prefer? one uses more description, the other one uses more modeling. the closest to reality is the descriptive one, since the information has less distortion when compared to the real marble. the smallest one (cheapest one) is the modeling one. they will be equivalent when all your marbles are exactly dark blue (there is no difference in the distortion in both telegrams).
it will always depend on what kind of work you’re doing, and whether you’re a science major or a liberal arts major. literature for example is beautifully descriptive. it can also be a bit exhausting at times. science on the other hand, is beautifully abstractive. it can be a bit unintelligible at times. anywhere in between you can find an expert and a smart ass. that’s how we work, and how we make ourselves feel superior to others.
so is there a more real perspective? the realest perspective is to accurately observe and describe all states of all things at all time. this is impossible. so we can induce from our agents all states of all things at all time. if the distortion between reality and our induction is zero, we have found our theory of everything. this is my version of the formulation of the scientific method.
again, there are some problems that have to do with computation, which i briefly described as “how much you’d have to write on your paper” (we can call that paper the tape on a turing machine), that everyone trying to use models instead of descriptions will have to address. also, due to our light cones, we cannot verify global minimum distortion of our models, only local (even if local is our whole light cone).
so my view of the scientific method, summarized, is the very difficult task of creating a set of agents whose generated thing space has zero distortion relative to the real thing space.
remember the miniverse? our agent 3x(a,b) was our theory of everything. it could generate our miniverse with zero distortion. we could say everything there is to know is known from a model perspective. but we would not know all the arrangements themselves without generating them, which would require, you know it, a lot of paper. in the end, we would be able to telegram our miniverse in a tinier piece of paper, but we would not know the lives of mr. a1 and mr. a2 and how they lived their lives. to do so, we would have to generate their lives from our law. while possible, if you have a lot of letters, it quickly becomes intractable. so we would do:
3x(a,b) = (aaabbb),(ababab),(…),(bbbaaa)
this simple miniverse has only six letters but already 6⁶ ways of arranging things! try writing that in a piece of paper! this is the obvious intractable issue that i fail to have science types understand. but we can see how powerful laws are. ~7 characters (for a mind) can generate 46656 different arrangements of things. it is a compression of 5 orders of magnitude!
math disclaimer: i used the cartesian product of sets (hence 6⁶), not the arrangements. i like to think ababab is not the same word as ababab, because two a_s are not the same _thing, instead they can both be saved and retrieved using the same information (they are redundant). it’s different. but whichever you choose, the compression rate is astounding.
so do i favor models or descriptions? depends on what kind of work i’m doing. so i choose both to signing up to any. but already we can see that reality isn’t black and white, but rather a complex spectrum, like that mutant onion i was talking about, and that it is possible to compress things enough to talk about them, but not to fully represent them (as of today’s knowledge).
now that we’re done with understanding different layers of abstraction and how naturally the scientific method emerges from this way of thinking, we can begin our journey from the objective to the subjective. that will be for the coming posts.