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From: Günther Greindl <guenther.greindl.domain.name.hidden>

Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 15:45:27 +0100

'Tis poetry!

Kim, Bruno, thanks for this wonderful dialog. Most beautiful stuff I've

read in a long time - and so spontaneous.

Cheers,

Günther

Bruno Marchal wrote:

*> Hi Kim,
*

*>
*

*> I have not the time to think deeply on zero, so I will answer your last
*

*> post instead :)
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> On 05 Feb 2009, at 12:30, Kim Jones wrote:
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> On 05/02/2009, at 4:23 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:
*

*>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> Hi Kim,
*

*>>>
*

*>>> Still interested?
*

*>>>
*

*>>> I must say I was wrong.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> Only a scientist admits he can be wrong.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Yes. I would even say that someone who can admit to be wrong *is* a
*

*> scientist.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>> Everyone else will risk their
*

*>> life in the attempt to "prove" how right they are.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Either they just lack trust in *themselves*, or they are preprogrammed
*

*> robot or low animals (if that exists).
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> How "right" can one be? Considering the emotion and passion some
*

*>> people invest in defending their righteous viewpoint you would perhaps
*

*>> be led to believe that one can be "very right" if not "extremely
*

*>> right" or even "totally right".
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> I like to "define" truth by a Queen who wins all battles without any
*

*> army (albeit She *can* take time, infinite time). I am an optimist.
*

*> It is more difficult to convince people of falsities, you need bodies,
*

*> clothes, armies, churches, temples, academies, relations, money, bad
*

*> faith, and other rhetorical skills.
*

*>
*

*> Of course once you have bodies, clothes, armies, churches, temples,
*

*> academies, relations, money, bad faith, and other rhetorical skills, you
*

*> can even make people liking and needing the falsities. Leading to my
*

*> (late) father's, more pessimistic definition of truth: truth is what
*

*> humans don't want to hear.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>> The project is highly ambitious and you should follow your own best
*

*>> counsel in how to go about it most effectively. The burden is upon me
*

*>> to come up to your level of description in my understanding.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> To understand math you will have to develop a sense of naivete.
*

*> Somehow a mathematician is someone who abandons metaphysics, who somehow
*

*> is capable of stopping, at the right place, the questioning. The right
*

*> place is of course dependent of the goal you have in mind.
*

*> Of course this makes applied mathematics to metaphysics a bit subtle and
*

*> hard (many traps).
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> After all, I am supposed to explain to you how, when we assume the
*

*>>> comp hypothesis, the ultimate realities become mathematical in nature,
*

*>>> even arithmetical or number theoretical. But how could I explain this
*

*>>> to you without doing a bit of mathematics.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> It may seem strange, but, without demonstrating my understanding in
*

*>> any technical sense, I can at least assure you of my "faith" in the
*

*>> power of your reasoning.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> To be franc this will not be enough. yet I know about your mathematical
*

*> experience. So I formally promise that I will never ask you to
*

*> demonstrate your technical skills. But you will have to develop that
*

*> skill up to some point. To taste the deep flavor, you will have to trust
*

*> your own power of reasoning, or more precisely your own ppwer to
*

*> convince yourself by a reasoning made by another. I hope that you will
*

*> have the serenity to tell me when you don't understand something. A
*

*> minimum of "easy" exercises is needed to be sure the understanding does
*

*> not diverge. My way of teaching you seem appreciate is anything but
*

*> questioning (you, and then the "amnesic" universal machine).
*

*> I would like you to understand in some deep way the seventh step, which
*

*> asks for few but important insight in theoretical computer science. Only
*

*> then can I explain to you in some layman language what really AUDA
*

*> consists in.
*

*>
*

*> I could say this. Although machines can only scratch Cantor's Paradise,
*

*> there is no part of Cantor's paradise which does not throw light on the
*

*> behavior of possible machines. You know, little numbers cannot
*

*> distinguish a Big Number with a *Very* Big Number.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>> I understand music when I hear it - why
*

*>> should it be any different for this discourse?
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Hmmm... First there are musical pieces that I have understood, or
*

*> appreciated, only after many listening. Then, mathematics is usually
*

*> understood after many readings and rereadings, and many
*

*> personal thought experiments, some time with aspirin (if not better).
*

*> I can test on you, with your permission, a sort of particular
*

*> pedagogical path, sort of shortcuts. I have to think.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>> I somehow sense the
*

*>> music in the logic. If you choose well your words, I accept that they
*

*>> emerge from a mind that has already mapped language to arithmetical
*

*>> truth. Of course, I do not expect to pass any high level logic tests
*

*>> using this argument...
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> I have to choose well the words, and I have to choose well the path.
*

*> Expect some dead end alleys. I have to figure out some tradeoff between
*

*> between different kind of efforts.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> Mathematics is a curious music that only the musicians can hear.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> It has always struck me as a possible advantage the musician has over
*

*>> the mathematician. You can fill your whiteboard with your arcane
*

*>> script, but you can not play any of it on your violin. Why I want to
*

*>> compose music derived from my understanding of all this. That is my
*

*>> ambitious project.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Of course this will be impossible literally, but I can get the feeling.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> Mathematicians play with instruments that only them can hear.
*

*>>> To listen to a mathematician, you have to be a mathematician and play
*

*>>> the instrument. Fortunately, all universal machine like you, are a
*

*>>> mathematician, and when a human seems to feel he is not a
*

*>>> mathematician, it just means the mathematician living within is a bit
*

*>>> sleepy, for a reason or another.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> Or merely terrified of his lack of education over it. Nobody loses
*

*>> sleep thinking they are tone-deaf, because you can still live
*

*>> successfully without an inner "pitch model" but it is the same fiction
*

*>> as you describe. If you actually were tone deaf, you could not change
*

*>> gears in your car - you could not recognise a happy-sounding voice
*

*>> from an angry voice, you could not distinguish your mother's voice
*

*>> from your father's, you could not distinguish waves on the beach from
*

*>> the wind in the trees. Music is where our natural tonal recognition
*

*>> faculty is concentrated like a laser beam. I miss greatly the same
*

*>> concentrated ability with numbers.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> From the order point of view, the numbers provide the simplest rhythm:
*

*>
*

*> BAM ... BAM ... BAM .... BAM ... BAM ... BAM ... BAM ... BAM ... BAM
*

*> ... BAM ... BAM ... BAM ....
*

*>
*

*> or
*

*>
*

*> I ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I
*

*> ... I ... I ... I ... I ... I ...
*

*>
*

*> The first stroke, the second stroke, the third stroke,
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> From the quantity point of view, it is the same, except each numbers
*

*> seems to want to memorize his past:
*

*>
*

*> I ... II ... III ... IIII ... IIIII ... IIIIII ... IIIIIII .... IIIIIIII
*

*> ... IIIIIIIII ... IIIIIIIIII ... IIIIIIIIIII ... IIIIIIIIIIII
*

*> ... IIIIIIIII ... IIIIIIIIIIIII ...
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> And then reality kicks back, we have to add the empty or null quantity,
*

*> making 1 the second number. Even the Greeks I love could have sent me
*

*> away from the Academy for daring making 1 the *second* number. The
*

*> "Plotinus" in me is still unders the shock. Order, and Quantity: there
*

*> is already a discrepancy, a conflict. How dares the number zero take the
*

*> first place?
*

*>
*

*> Charles Seife, in his book "ZERO, the biography of a Dangerous Idea"
*

*> said that zero is the twin of Infinity (if I remember well). And this
*

*> indeed has many mathematical interpretation (1/0 = infinity, the
*

*> intersection on the empty set gives the universe, the conjunction of
*

*> zero argument is true, etc. That's probably why a theory of NOTHING can
*

*> be tolerated in a EVERYTHING debate :)
*

*>
*

*> To begin math at zero? perhaps it is more easy starting with one, or
*

*> even two. Perhaps zero should be taught only to hyper-super-qualified
*

*> people, with password, and special permission from authorities from the
*

*> government. We should make zero illegal, perhaps, and cut the head of
*

*> for those who dare to divide by zero.
*

*>
*

*> Thanks to Platonia, nobody can divide by zero, in a finite time. No
*

*> reason to panic, if your computer divides a number by
*

*> zero, inadvertently, you can still cut the electrical power. The galaxy
*

*> will not disappear.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> Especially that I am realizing that some people confuse a computation
*

*>>> with a description of a computation, which are two very different
*

*>>> mathematical objects (albeit relative one) existing in Platonia.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> You can burn all musical scores (partitions) of any piece and the
*

*>> piece is still there.
*

*>
*

*> You could be right here, but you could be wrong. There is a big and
*

*> important ambiguity. Exactly the kind of ambiguity which can make people
*

*> to confuse a computation and a description of a computation, or to
*

*> confuse numbers and ciphers. We know today that numbers and ciphers are
*

*> handled in different part of the brains.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>> A thought once thought cannot be unthought. You
*

*>> cannot delete information from the universe.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Vast subject, but let us not anticipate too much.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> I think.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>> This
*

*>>> plays a key role in the articulation of the step seven with the step
*

*>>> eight. It plays a key role to understand the computationalist
*

*>>> supervenience thesis, and thus where the laws of physics come from,
*

*>>> and of course it is strictly needed when ultimately we interview the
*

*>>> universal Lobian machine.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> I walk slowly in this direction. I am drawn to it by the beauty of the
*

*>> distant music I already hear.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Scientists search the truth, and are driven by beauty. They find some
*

*> ugliness there, and have to change their mind or admits they were wrong.
*

*> Real concrete scientist will not admit the error, but eventually their
*

*> students will, and indeed will develop a new taste and criteria for
*

*> beauty, and the cycle continues.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> So, the time has come I cure your math anxiety, if you or some others
*

*>>> are still interested.
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> You teach me maths for free, I translate your theses for free
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> You did a very good job. Good deal, thanks.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>> I can awake the mathematician in you (like I can
*

*>>> awake the mathematician living in any universal entity, btw :).
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> OK - so you have NO excuse for not applying for a Templeton Foundation
*

*>> grant. Awaken the musical mathematician in the widest possible
*

*>> audience. Us musicians, we play very sweetly when somebody throws big
*

*>> money at us!!!
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> I should. I guess. Thanks for reminding me.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> I propose we begin with the numbers, and, to keep our motivation
*

*>>> straight, I propose we meditate a little bit on the distinction
*

*>>> between numbers and descriptions of numbers, and notations for
*

*>>> numbers. It is a bit like the difference between a symphony and a
*

*>>> symphony's partition ....
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> Parfaitement entendu
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> Given the importance of such distinction in the whole drama, it is
*

*>>> worth to get those conceptual nuances clear right at the beginning.
*

*>>>
*

*>>> I really propose to you to begin math at zero.
*

*>>>
*

*>>> But now I am already stuck: should I explain first the number 1,
*

*>>> or ... the number zero?
*

*>>> A tricky one that number zero ... :)
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> Zero was "invented" (discovered?) only AFTER 1.
*

*>> Yet, zero precedes one
*

*>> in the natural scheme of things.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Ah! Like above. It belongs to the natural scheme of quantities, but not
*

*> on the natural scheme of order, at least not obviously so.
*

*> Armstrong is not the zeroth man on the moon, nor the zeroth winner of
*

*> seven the France Cyclist Tour, all right?
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>> In systems analysis it is axiomatic
*

*>> that the sequence of the arrival of information determines the
*

*>> ordering of all subsequent information, just as rain falling on a
*

*>> landscape creates channels and river basins that channel all
*

*>> subsequent rainfall. I believe that civilisation should have started
*

*>> with zero - had this happened, we would be 400 or so years ahead of
*

*>> where we currently are in our understanding of reality. I do not know
*

*>> why I believe this, perhaps you can explain my intuition here. I
*

*>> believe we are suffering from a historically ingrained perceptual
*

*>> error about zero and one.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Sure, one is also quite a weird one.
*

*> Two too, isn't it?
*

*>
*

*> And if you think twice about three, and four ...
*

*>
*

*> Believe me: mathematicians are at ease *only* with *infinities*. They
*

*> invented them to get some clues on zero and one, and two ...
*

*>
*

*> The term "Number" has the same roots as "Numerous". For the greeks
*

*> numbers really begin with three. zero was just unthinkable those days.
*

*> And how could 1 be a number? 1 is certainly not numerous, nor is two.
*

*> I agree with you that zero is a BIG discovery, which asks for some time
*

*> to be swallowed, if that's possible.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>> Music begins with silence. The silence that
*

*>> precedes the upbeat is part of the music. Sometimes the Nothing is
*

*>> inserted into the midst of the music, Listen to the opening 20 or so
*

*>> bars of Claude Debussy's "L'après midi d'un faune" for a glowing
*

*>> illustration of what I mean. He starts with the one, then remembers
*

*>> the zero ( an inexplicable and mystical silence takes place, not long
*

*>> after the beginning. People have long wondered why this silence.)
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Yeah, zero is a bit mystical, 0 notes, at the right place, can even be
*

*> dissonant, frightful ...
*

*>
*

*> To begin with a silence is almost perverse, you mean this?
*

*> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7tE1PvoSYI&feature=related
*

*> <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7tE1PvoSYI&feature=related>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>>>
*

*>>>
*

*>>> PS I now you are busy. I propose we go at the minimum of your rhythm
*

*>>> and mine. But I tell you that "the poem is long".
*

*>>
*

*>>
*

*>> Qu'il ne finisse jamais
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> It can't. The symphony is infinite. But like the posts or papers, or
*

*> partitions, we have to put a last point without which we perish,
*

*> paradoxically enough.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> Kind regards,
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> B.
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*>
*

*> >
*

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Received on Sun Feb 08 2009 - 09:44:53 PST

Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 15:45:27 +0100

'Tis poetry!

Kim, Bruno, thanks for this wonderful dialog. Most beautiful stuff I've

read in a long time - and so spontaneous.

Cheers,

Günther

Bruno Marchal wrote:

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Received on Sun Feb 08 2009 - 09:44:53 PST

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