Archive for the ‘Consciouness’ Category

Omniscience: The Voice of God

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Wow. Put this in your speakers and grok it. I didn’t make it, but I like it.
— MRK

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EPIC Music: awe therapy

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

meThere are dark times in every life.

Times when the treadmill tunnel just seems to be getting longer. Time when you feel like another cog in the machine, wearing out in the grind.

For such times you need something to make sense out of the chaos. And one way order arises from chaos is music: the joyful noise sentience makes to thank the Multiverse for awareness.

My favorite for emotive uplift is Epic music. The visual equivalent of looking at an image of a galaxy. You cannot perceive the pattern without feeling something deep within you cry out to embrace that grandeur and to be part of something great and beautiful.

Words get in the way. The best Epic music has no words in a recognizable language. The rhythm and chord progression is a calculus of its own and we all know its unseen secrets, we all know the flavor of exhultation and exaltation that comes from stirring music. Certain musical patterns resonant with our limbic system for various reasons, evoking pleasure on a level fusing the left hemisphere’s craving for detail and the right hemisphere’s passion for harmonic synergy. Not just ordered sound. Rightly and happily ordered sound. Join its chorus!

With certain music, there need be no explanation. It lifts you up emotionally like a wave and carries you forward in singing along with it, with your soul. With certain music you remember the sadness and the triumph both, and marvel at the miracle of existence. When you feel down, try this music. Jump-start your own joyful noise.

– MRK

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Mixed Signals

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Figure 1There seems to be no avoiding that a daily bombard is bound to contain mixed signals.

Indeed, since the Input is from a vast admixture of Sources, one would expect variety in the quantity and quality of its contents. One is seldom disappointed in such an expectation.

Some of these sources are merely noise, patternless emanations from disparate randomness. The noise, however, is only an inconvenience — mere flavoring — that must be sifted out of the data without harshing the statistics.

Sometimes multiple signals received say different things. A source may recede, apparently withdrawing from consideration, only to return before despair sets in. When this occurs I am mystified but grateful.

Sometimes we can control the availability of data. Sometimes it is important to do so. Data’s not gonna control itself. And reliable patterns are always comforting, in that they are self-consistent.

The Computation proceeds.

– MRK

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Oasis

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

meIt’s 6AM and I’ve been tossing and turning, as the cliche goes. In the chaotic and mysterious three pounds of gray goo that serve as my brain, sizzling with waves of ionic exchange, axonic and dendritic membranes are oozing with neurotransmitters; thoughts are colliding and interpenetrating in an attempt to process the recent incoming barrage of inputs and render some ordered sense of them.

In other words, I can’t sleep because I cannot stop thinking. Finally I realize what it all means: it is time to go to work and produce output. To the keyboard!

Have you ever felt like this? Staggering from the desert wasteland that is most of my life, I somehow fall face first into fresh-smelling green grass and suddenly realize that I have come in from the sandstorm.  I have reached an oasis.

Sometimes an Oasis is a safe haven: an unexpected job opening, acceptance into a graduate school, or finding an apartment you never expected to get. But for me, more often, an oasis is a new friend, someone you strike sparks with — a delightful and serendipitous opening of the heavens to bestow an undeserved gift in the person of another sentient creature that groks you as the trees grok the wind, as the waves caress the shore. A fellow traveler to whom you want to explain everything — but to whom, really, nothing need be explained.

Mine is a lonely existence. I have struggled to understand why a friend and I were given a technology too far ahead of its time to be applied (and to make money) in our own lifetimes. I have struggled to understand why I have lived when better folks than I have perished in the grind of the times. And I have struggled to find a place for myself in which I can contribute the the welfare of all without hurting anyone.

What makes life worth living, for me, is the occasional discovery of kindred spirits who ‘get’ me, who understand the same things as I, who have read the same books, enjoyed the same movies, and gleaned from them the same insights or delusions as I have. Some of the same thoughts are occupying both our brains, like distributed software on multiple processors. When I meet such persons, it is like falling into an oasis, a place of refuge and spiritual support that recharges me and enables me to shoulder my pack and head out into the wilderness blazing a trail that almost no one knows or cares about.

And not just recharges. Meeting such a person overstimulates me to the extent that I cannot sleep. Can’t sleep — must think: what is the Multiverse trying to tell me this time?

This is where I am now. Sleepless but refreshed, distracted but inspired, bewildered and yet somehow focused. Unjustifiably happy and serene in a turbulently jubilant way, if that is possible. I am trying not to remember how few and far apart such oases seem to be for me, and to enjoy this one before I put my face in the wind again. I will continue, and continue knowing such persons exist and wish me well.

You know who you are. This is not about me, it is about you. Waiting has filled.

— MRK

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Thinking about Thinking I: Is Writing Important?

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

meThis is a post that really belongs in two categories, Consciousness and Writing.

Sometimes you might ask, why do we need writers? Why can’t they all stop writing about life and just start living it? Of course they are living; dead writers generally stop writing. But the question still seems meaningful, because it often appears that writers are getting paid to do what everybody is already doing.  They just get more attention because people think they talk about it better. Or just use bigger words to say it.

But there’s more to it than that. People in many occupations are paid to think. You wouldn’t want a surgeon or a dentist or an attorney who works for you thoughtlessly. The difference is, while everybody thinks, some more than others, their thoughts are usually one-offs that are used and then discarded. Gone. Never experienced again.

But that’s not the case with writers. Writers also think, but they write their thoughts down, so that they don’t disappear.  We probably all know good cooks and mechanics, but the ones that take time to write down how they do something well make it possible for others to learn how to do that thing in much less time.

This is why writing and books are important. We usually date the start of a civilization from the time it invents a form of writing. From that point on, knowledge can accumulate, can grow, instead of being merely maintained by verbal transmission from teacher to student. The great civilizations of the past were founded on remembering what works and what doesn’t discovered and preserved in writing.

There are some people who never read how-to books, and other who never read novels. The how-to people may tell you that books that teach you how to do things are useful and good, whereas novels are “merely” stories that entertain. They would thus make a distinction between scientists and engineers and craftsmen, who teach us things to make life better, and “mere” novelists who are storytellers that help us kill time between work and sleep.

I’ve been both kinds of person. In college and graduate school, I concentrated on physics and math because they seemed productive fields of endeavor. I still watched movies and read novels, but in my heart I considered them play rather than work. Mere recreation. I pursued a technical career in computer programming, now called software development. And I believed I was contributing to the greater good.

Now I am writing, and while I love it I am surprised at how much work it can be. You may think or reading as play time, but writing is not, I assure you. And it is important work, even if you’re “merely” writing a story. I still believe I am contributing to the greater good.

Why? Because I am trying to come up with thoughts that are meaningful and worth keeping. If a novel is just “a bunch of stuff that happened” it might not be worth much. But in any serious effort at writing, the characters in the story will have thoughts. The difference between a trivial work and a good one is that these thoughts will be non-trivial. Reading the story, watching the film or play will make you think, too. You will see something in a way you hadn’t considered, or be reminded of an important insight you had and then forgot. You will be reminded just how precious life is, just how much of a difference one person can make, or how life-changing choices can be. In other words, you will have experiences you would not have had if you had spent the time playing Angry Birds.

Writing is important. It’s not the most important thing, maybe, or the only important thing in our lives. But it is important.

—MRK

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Modal Logic and Quantum Mechanics

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

meAnd here I am again.  Yes this is me today. It’s too late to hide now.

Today I’d like to talk about modal logic. My introduction to symbolic logic and the predicate calculus began in a philosopy & logic class in the late Seventies. But that was merely true-false logic.

Modal logic is a generalization of simple logic, going beyond whether statements are true or not, but whether it is possible for them to be true, or necessary that they be true.

modal1

The combination of these operators yields some interesting theorems:

modal2

If this sounds more like philosophy (epistemology) as well as Quantum Mechanics, then perhaps it is. For example, one way to state the principle of “mixed states” such as we find in the “uncollapsed state vectors” might be the following:

modal3

Conversely, if one passes a beam of spinning particles such as electrons through a magnetic field so as to cause the “spin up” particles to deflect one way and the “spin-down” particles to deflect the other way, then the states are no longer mixed. In this case, looking at either one of the diverged result beams, we find that it is no longer possible to observe both “up” and “down” states:

modal4

More on this later –MRK

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