Re: The Meaning of [your] Life

From: Mark Peaty <>
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 02:31:07 +0900


   1. Thank you for responding. Of course I have no right to expect a
      response from anybody, but I was starting to just wonder if I HAD
      been a bit rude! :-) And of course now it serves me right if I
      can't understand some of what you have written ...
   2. 'Assuming the digital mechanist thesis, ... least there could be
      an ultimate *partial* sort of meta-answer.'
      Hmmmmm, and is there a plain English version accessible to anyone
      with far less than a degree in mathematics? [ En Francaise tres
      simple, c'est aussi possible pour mois avec l'assistance des
      services Google de traduction. Mais il faut que mes responses fut
      en Anglaise par ce que detruir la lange Francaise a cause de mois
      fut tellment triste a tois et n'aurais pas d'utilite. ]
   3. Me here, you there. You are an other to me. And I assume, in light
      of the 'Tit for Tat' strategy and its intrinsic simplicity and
      empirically tested/modelled effectiveness, that acting ethically
      towards you and [other] others is the approach most likely to
      facilitate the creation of value accessible to us both. In plain
      English I like to put that now as: My vocation is that I help
      others. My preferred method is to Enquire, Inform, Empower and
   4. We will all die. There is no good evidence to support any other
      assertion about how we ultimately end up.
   5. ' ... say also that there was nothing before birth. In that case I
      (the first person "I") would have emerge from nothing. ...' Yep!
      In plain English, rough and ready terms that's it! But actually we
      can of course quibble about what is 'nothing', because 'nothing'
      isn't anything. So a more sophisticated assertion is that each of
      us is an emergent property of, well, the universe. I can be
      romantic and say: this experience of being here now is what it is
      like to be the universe looking at itself from a particular point
      of view. It works or me, probably because I now know how to not
      take myself too seriously. [Sh*t a brick! One look in the mirror
      makes that one clear -] But I have been disappointed at the number
      of people who have quibbled at the idea.
   6. That 'I' might 'come back again' ... DOESN'T RING TRUE! To put it
      succinctly, all these ideas of human awareness being related to
      some non-physical entity and possibly being able to endure beyond
      the death of the body are all from the pre-scientific universe:
      the time before this. There is nothing amongst all of the new
      knowledge discovered about the world through the application of
      scientific method that lends support to any of these soul or
      disembodiable spirit based ideas concerning our awareness. The
      only reason these kinds of ideas still have some kind of general
      currency is ignorance concerning the mind blowing efficacy of
      scientific method and the fruits of its application.
      ......................... I will now dismount from that soap box,
      but not before reminding readers that the effect that scientific
      method has had on the human species is of the same order of
      importance as the acquisition of versatile grammar. Before true
      grammar people had the ability to refer to things not present but
      only in the very simplest of terms, and to use a limited
      vocabulary and simple two-item juxtapositions to associate a
      subject with a simple predicate with no recursions. That state of
      affairs may have lasted several hundred thousand years. The advent
      of versatile grammar allowed the creation of complex predicates
      with multiple recursions ie phrases, clauses and sub-clauses. This
      allowed the telling of stories and thus discussion, in principle
      at least, of absolutely anything.
   7. Ask the question: Why would anybody want to reconstitute and let
      loose a person from the distant past?
   8. It does not seem particularly coherent to say: 'There is no
      universe' because this is equivalent to saying that nothing exists
   9. People who are completely paralysed depend on others whose muscles
      ARE in working order and properly connected to their brains/CNS.
      Maybe this dependency may be mitigated in the future by the
      creation of implants and prosthetic attachments which allow the
      direct reading of brain states to control other prosthetic machinery.
  10. '...except when you are witnessing what I would call a
      reductionist view of numbers and machine...' I am not clear about
      what you mean here. I see numbers as human constructs;
      mathematical objects embodied in the logico-mathematical language
      system. As I see it, mathematical objects derive their existence
      and power from the way they are defined. Because of their clarity
      and fixed meanings numbers and other math. objects have allowed
      people to express summarised and succinct descriptions of
      processes in the world, where the world has manifested groupings
      and recursively generated properties amenable to algorithmic
      analysis. This almost certainly indicates that the universe is
      made of parts or processes which are constituted at their smallest
      levels by existents which are many, small, and relatively simple.
      However the fact that so many apparently completely arbitrary
      numbers [such as ratios and constants] are needed to describe the
      relationships between physical things indicates I think that the
      ground base of physical reality may not be constituted by
      relationships equivalent to integers. Perhaps it is that the true
      constituents of nature are more akin to bundles of connections
      with fractal dimensionality because they are not in anyway static.
      Our concept and perception of apparent enduring structures and
      identity of things in the world being entirely emergent properties.
  11. 'I could even argue (as I do from times to times) that modern
      (post-godelian) mechanism is a sort of very powerful vaccine
      against a vast class of reductionist view of both human and
      machine' ------- What does that mean? :-[



Mark Peaty CDES


Bruno Marchal wrote:
> Le 05-janv.-07, à 19:48, Mark Peaty a écrit :
> Assuming the digital mechanist thesis, a case can be made that at
> least there could be an ultimate *partial* sort of meta-answer. I am
> not sure about that. Recall that after Godel/Turing & Co., we can no
> more pretend to really know what are numbers and machines or what they
> are capable of, including their relations with fundamental question.
> ... the universe and everything except that IT IS, and you are
> here to take part in it and observe yourself and others doing so.
> Existence is the source of value, indeed it is the essence of value.
> OK.
> This already depends a lot of what you mean by "me" and "you". In any
> case I am not sure you can *know* things like that. It could be a form
> of wishful thinking. And in order to add something obvious: the
> prediction "you will not live forever" is neither confirmable (with or
> without comp) nor refutable (with comp).
> You may be right and sometimes I hope so, but I have no certainty
> here. After all most among those who say that there is "nothing" after
> death say also that there was nothing before birth. In that case I
> (the first person "I") would have emerge from nothing. Going back to
> nothing when dead, how could I be sure I will not come back again?
> Perhaps by being some new born baby? Perhaps with my memories
> reconstituted by some far away future technologies?
> the fact is, being conscious is inherently paradoxical, and there
> is no escape from the paradox, just like there is no escape from
> the universe - until you die that is.
> Let us hope! To be sure even G* provides a hope we can die eventually,
> but evidences are there that it could be less easy than we are used to
> think. There could be a rather long Tibetan like Bardo-Thodol to go
> through before ... I really don't know, for sure. I *can * ask the
> lobian machine, but it is today intractable, the machine will answer
> after the sun blows up.
> Your impressions, perceptions, feelings, intuitions, etc. of being
> here now [where you are of course] is what it is like to be the
> updating of the model of self in the world which you brain is
> constantly constructing all the time you are awake. When you sleep
> there are times when enough of the model gets evoked that you have
> a dream that you can remember. The paradox is that for most of the
> time we assume that this awareness - consciousness, call it what
> you like - IS the world, i.e. what it is like to be 'me' here now,
> whereas in fact it is only what it is like to be the model of 'me'
> here now.
> OK.
> To assert without doubt that GOD, NATURE or the UNIVERSE exist is
> neither correct science and/or theology.
> Think about it! This is what you should be really concentrating
> on, because you and I are NOTHING if our muscles can't be made to
> move in exactly the right way and the right time.
> Certainly not. Just think about people who are "completely" paralyzed.
> "completely" relatively to the local available technologies. To say
> they are nothing is a exaggerated shortcut. Have you see the movie:
> "Jonathan got his gun"?
> I think I can agree with many things you are saying, except when you
> are witnessing what I would call a reductionist view of numbers and
> machine. I could even argue (as I do from times to times) that modern
> (post-godelian) mechanism is a sort of very powerful vaccine against a
> vast class of reductionist view of both human and machine.
> Bruno

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Received on Mon Jan 08 2007 - 12:32:05 PST

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