Re: Simplicity, the infinite and the everything (42x)

From: Michael Rosefield <>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 16:16:35 +0100

The trouble with this whole area is that it's so incredibly easy to
not-quite understand each other without quite realising it. It's like that
Wilde quote: "England and America are two countries separated by a common

I think I understand you, though....

As regards the crystal, I think the best way to put it is that I'm thinking
in terms of 'possible contexts'; for every selected object, it could belong
in a number of supporting universes. My mind, for example, could be in a
physical body, a brain in a jar, or an abstract software emulation, etc...
and each of these possibilities has an infinite variety of instances. As far
as I'm concerned, I always exist in all the possible universes that can
generate my consiousness. And each universe can have its own set of
metaphysical contexts, etc.

I think I'm departing from my point rapidly, so I'll try another way. It's
like an inverted form of Kaufmann's 'adjacent possible', which is all the
possible ways a system may evolve next, and what features they may have.
Rather, this takes a feature of a system and asks what its immediate
possible surroudings/precursors are.

Oh, and the holy trinity thing was a term I just thought of -- but what I
mean to convey is that I think of reality as a bit like a fractal; you can
take a little bit of it and it will generate the complete form. In this way
the whole is equivalent to any bit plus the generational principle (growth
algorithm). Actually, I suppose the generational principle by itself should
be able to form the whole from scratch. Perhaps there are a number of
different principles you could have; they will 'grow out' in different ways,
but ultimately lead to the same whole.

Excuse me if I make absolutely no sense. I find language to be a real
problem when it comes to communicating this sort of thing....

2008/8/21 John Mikes <>

> Redface - ME!
> Michael, you picked my careless statement and I want to correct it:
> "...You cannot *build up* unknown complexity from its simple parts..."
> should refer to THOSE parts we know of, observe, include, select, handle, -
> not ALL of the (unlimited, incl. potential) parts (simple or not). From
> such ALL parts together (a topical oxymoron) you can(?) build anything,
> although it does not make sense.
> What I had in mind was a cut, a structural, functional, ideational select
> model (system organization) FROM which you have no way to expand into the
> application of originally not included items.
> I agree with your 'whole caboodle' as a deterministic product (complexity),
> as far as its entailment is concerned. I don't understand "holy trinities" -
> yours included.
> "Growing out" your -it*- requires IMO the substrates it* grows by, - by
> addition - I dislike miraculous creations. A crystal grows by absorbing the
> ingredients already present. Cf (my) entail-determinism (- no goal or aim).
> John
> On Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 8:32 AM, Michael Rosefield <
> > wrote:
>> "You cannot *build up* unknown complexity from its simple parts"
>> That would be the case if we were trying to reconstruct an arbitrary
>> universe, but you were talking about 'the totality'. My take is that the
>> whole caboodle is not arbitrary - it's totally specified by its requirement
>> to be complete. You could take a little bit of it* and 'grow' it out like a
>> crystal in some kind of fractal kaleidoscopic space; eventually its
>> exploration would completely fill it. This makes a kind of holy trinity of
>> equivalence of (Whole | Parts | Process) which I like.
>> * That little bit could even be unitary or empty in nature, solving for me
>> the issue as to why something rather than nothing, and why anything in
>> particular.
>> 2008/8/20 John Mikes <>
>>> Brent wrote:
>>> "...But if one can reconstruct "the rest of the world" from these simpler
>>> domains, so much the better that they are simple...."
>>> Paraphrased (facetiously): you have a painting of a landscape with
>>> mountains, river, people, animals, sky and plants. Call that 'the totality'
>>> and *select the animals as your model* (disregarding the rest) even you
>>> continue by Occam - reject the non-4-legged ones, to make it (even) simpler.
>>> ((All you have is some beasts in a frame))
>>> Now try to *"reconstruct"* the 'rest of the total' ONLY from those
>>> remnant 'model-elements' dreaming up (?) mountains, sunshine, river etc.
>>> *from nowhere*, not even from your nonexisting fantasy, or even(2!) as
>>> you say: from the *Occam-simple*, i.e. as you say: from those few
>>> 4-legged animals, - to make it even simpler.
>>> Good luck.
>>> You must be a 'creator', or a 'cheater', having at least seen the *total
>>> *to do so. You cannot *build up* unknown complexity from its simple
>>> parts - you are restricted to the (reduced?) inventory you have - in a
>>> synthesis, (while in the analysis you can restrict yourself to a choice of
>>> it. )
>>> John
>>> On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 3:19 PM, Brent Meeker <>wrote:
>>>> John Mikes wrote:
>>>> > Isn't logical inconsistency = insanity? (Depends how we formulate the
>>>> > state of being "sane".)
>>>> As Bertrand Russell pointed out, if you are perfectly consistent you are
>>>> either
>>>> 100% right or 100% wrong. Human fallibility being what it is, don't bet
>>>> on
>>>> being 100% right. :-)
>>>> In classical logic, an inconsistency allows you to prove every
>>>> propositon. In a
>>>> para-consistent logic the rules of inference are changed (e.g. by
>>>> restoring the
>>>> excluded middle) so that an inconsistency doesn't allow you to prove
>>>> everything.
>>>> Graham Priest has written a couple of interesting books arguing that all
>>>> logic
>>>> beyond the narrow mathematical domain leads to inconsistencies and so we
>>>> need to
>>>> have ways to deal with them.
>>>> > Simplicity in my vocabulary of the 'totality-view' means mainly to
>>>> "cut"
>>>> > our model of observation narrower and narrower to eliminate more and
>>>> > more from the "rest of the world" (which only would complicate things)
>>>> > from our chosen topic of the actual interest in our observational
>>>> field
>>>> > (our topical model).
>>>> > Occam's razor is a classic in such simplification.
>>>> And so is mathematical logic and arithmetic. But if one can reconstruct
>>>> "the
>>>> rest of the world" from these simpler domains, so much the better that
>>>> they are
>>>> simple.
>>>> Brent Meeker
>>>> > John M
>>>> >
>>>> > On 8/18/08, *Bruno Marchal* <
>>>> > <>> wrote:
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> > On 18 Aug 2008, at 03:45, Brent Meeker wrote:
>>>> >
>>>> > > Sorry. I quite agree with you. I regard logic and mathematics
>>>> > as our
>>>> > > inventions - not restrictions on the world, but restrictions we
>>>> > > place on how we
>>>> > > think and talk about the world. We can change them as in para-
>>>> > > consistent logics.
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> > I think it depends of the domain of inquiry or application.
>>>> > Para-consistent logic can be interesting for the laws and in
>>>> natural
>>>> > language mind processing, but hardly in elementary computer
>>>> science or
>>>> > number theory.
>>>> >
>>>> > Then recall that any universal machine, enough good in the art of
>>>> > remaining correct during introspection, discovers eventually at
>>>> least
>>>> > 8 non classical logics (the arithmetical hypostases) most of them
>>>> > being near "paraconsistency" (by Godel's consistency of
>>>> inconsistency)
>>>> > making the most sane machine always very near insanity.
>>>> > And so easily falling down.
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> > Bruno
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> ><>
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> >
>>>> > >
> >

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Received on Thu Aug 21 2008 - 11:16:52 PDT

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