RE: Re: The number 8. A TOE?

From: Marchal Bruno <>
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 12:25:19 +0100 (MET)

Ben Goertzel wrote:

>Regarding octonions, sedenions and physics
>Tony Smith has a huge amount of pertinent ideas on his website, e.g.
>His ideas are colorful and speculative, but also deep and interesting.
>One could spend a very long time soaking up all the ideas on the site.
>By the way, Tony is a very nice guy, who did a postdoc under Finkelstein (of
>quantum set theory fame) and earns his living as a criminal-law attorney.

Yes. It is hard not to cross Tony Smith's pages, or your own,
when walking on the net with keyword like field, clifford,
or ... octonions. Yet, until now I was less than convinced, and I
was considering Smith and Smith-like colorful ideas as produced
by to much attention to mathematical mermaids. Some papers by Baez,
after my reading of Kauffman's book on knots changed my mind.
This does not mean I am convinced, but only that I am open to the
idea that such approaches could lead to the or one "right" TOE.
In any case, my own approach gives *by construction* the right TOE,
in the case if COMP is true. So if COMP is true, and if you or
Tony (or Witten or Grothendieck ...) are correct, then we must meet.
Or comp is false, or you are false.
Methodologically your ON theory suffers (at first sight)the same
problem as Wolfram, or Schmidhuber's approaches. The problem consists
failing to realise the fact that if we are turing-emulable, then
the association between mind-dynamics and matter-dynamics cannot be
one-one. You can still attach a mind to the appearance of a
machine, but you cannot attach a machine to the appearance of a
mind, you can only attach an infinity of machines, and histories,
to the appearance of a mind. For a proof of this see
Note that the shadows of this appears in your ON paper aswell when
you talk of the many-universes, but you don't make the link with
the first and third person distinction (or the endo-exo distinction
with Rossler's vocabulary). With comp we cannot avoid that
distinction. Let me insist because some people seem not yet grasping
fully that idea.
In fact that 1/3-distinction makes COMP incompatible with
the thesis that the universe is a machine. If I am a machine then
the universe cannot be a machine. No machine can simulate the
comp first person indeterminacy. This shows that the
Wolfram-Petrov-Suze-... thesis is just inconsistent. If the universe
is a (digital) machine then there is level of description of myself
such that I am a machine (= I am turing-emulable, = comp), but then
my most probable neighborhood is given by a sum over all
computational histories going through my possible states, and by
godel (but see also the thought experiments) that leads to extract
the probable neighborhood from a non computable domain, in a
non computable way. In short WOLFRAM implies COMP, but COMP
Eventually physics will be reduced into machine's machine
psychology. If octonion play a fundamental role in physics,
it means, with comp, that octonions will play a fundamental role
in psychology.
And, dear Ben, I should still read how you link octonions
and the "deep aspect", as you say, of the mind.
BTW, I would be also glad if you could explain or give a rough
idea how quaternions play a role in the mondane aspect of the
mind, as you pretend in one of your paper,
if you have the time.


(*) In the *best* case, comp could imply a QUANTUM-WOLFRAM.
Received on Fri Nov 22 2002 - 06:26:00 PST

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