[Paleopsych] Pavel--Metaphor--plus Ted

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Thu May 19 06:13:11 UTC 2005

I've looked at George's site and, yes, he and you and I should  talk. We are 
following entwined trains of thought.  But our central  team in my opinion 
remains you and me. 
A Russian trip, alas, will be rough because I have no funding for  the trip 
and no way to pursue funding that I can think of.
But here's my current view on what George, you, and I are trying to  achieve. 
 The math and the metaphors we are using are provisional.   They're the best 
we have for now.  If we have to use three metaphors  simultaneously to get the 
feel for something as simple as light, so be it.   If we have to use 20 
metaphors to understand a cell, then let us use them  all.
Someday the metaphor will arrive that will encompass all the metaphors and  
math we use, and it will encompass all of them in a single vision.  But our  
metaphors, our visions, depend on two things:
1) Metaphor depends on our technology.  Computer metaphors were  impossible 
until 1950. Now they are ordinary.  Mandelbrot could not have  worked out his 
fractals without the computers he had access to as an academic  outcast, an 
employee of IBM in the 1970s.  But thanks to those computers,  George, you, and I 
now have fractals and strange attractors.
2) Metaphor depends on our understanding of ourselves, our cosmos, and our  
biology.  Metaphor begets metaphor.  New machines give us new  visions of the 
"mechanisms" of things.  New mechanisms give us new world  views.  Those new 
world-pictures give us new metaphors.
Right now I'm absorbed in the calculations made by our muscles with  every 
step we take to keep us upright, defying gravity, and to move us another  step 
forward without breaking our toes and the bones of our feet.  I  suspect that 
these analog calculations can provide us with new understandings,  new math, 
and new metaphors.  
Lawrence Berger, the sculptor, and I are working on this.  He is  working on 
it with his hands, by sculpting me in the process of thinking.   I am working 
on it with my mind, trying to grasp the nature of thought and  all that it has 
achieved with my limited computer, poetry,  art, religion, and math metaphors.
But, Pavel, I know as sure as sure can be that if we do not annihilate  
ourselves or drive ourselves into a new dark age, 200 years from now new  metaphors 
will flow that will paste all of our scattered insights into a single  ball 
and give new generations new tools to rebel and chafe against, new tools  from 
which to build the basic steps to yet more metaphors.
This is  Edward Witten, a professor of physics at The Institute for Advanced 
Studies in  Princeton, NJ, who has been called by the Scientific American, 
'Probably the  smartest man in the world.'  Witten  made the following comments 
while being interviewed for STEPHEN HAWKING'S  UNIVERSE "On the Dark Side" 
episode which aired on PBS  11/03/97: 
"String  Theory, as developed by the mid-eighties, was characterized by the 
fact that  there were five theories we knew about.  And that raised a rather 
curious question, that was always a little bit  embarrassing.  If one of those  
theories describes our universe, then who lives in the other four  universes?  
We've come to understand  that those five theories we've been studying are 
all parts of a bigger  picture.  In the last couple of  years the picture has 
really changed to something which is called Duality.  Duality, is a relationship 
between two  different theories which isn't obvious.  If it's obvious you 
don't dignify it by the name duality.  So, we have different pictures and it's  
not that one is correct and the other isn't correct; one of them is more useful 
 for answering one set of questions, the other is more useful in other sets 
of  questions.  And the power of theory  comes largely from understanding that 
these different points of view which sound  like they're about different 
universes actually work together in describing one  model.  So, those theories turn 
out  to all be one, so it's a big conceptual upheaval to understand that 
there's only  one theory, which is uncanny in nature."
In  the bonds--Howard
In a message dated 5/18/2005 12:44:13 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
kurakin1970 at yandex.ru writes:

>In a message dated 5/16/2005 12:43:51 A.M. Pacific Standard  Time,  
>kurakin1970 at yandex.ru  writes:
>it look  very interesting.  I'd suspect that we have the seeds of  some 
>pieces for them in our correspondence.  What do you  think?
>You know that I'm a quantum skeptic.  I believe  that our math is  
>The best math we've been able  to conceive to get a handle on  quantum 
>particles is  probabilistic.  Which means it's cloudy.  It's  filled with  
>choices.  But that's the problem of our math, not  of  the cosmos.  With 
>precise math I think we could  make more precise  predictions.
>And with far more  flexible math, we could model large-scale things like   
>bio-molecules, big ones, genomes, proteins and their  interactions.  With a  
>robust and mature math we  could model thought and brains.  But that  math 
>many  centuries and many perceptual breakthroughs away.

Maybe yes and  maybe no. Roger Penrose discusses in his "New Emperor's Mind" 
that some  physical processes can in in principle be out of possibilities of 
mathematics  to describe them. All that concerns such un-computibility is of 
special  interest for George. Now he interested in DNA  computions:


These  slides are in Russian but images speak themselves.

I hope that if You  come to join me at QI-2005 at Zelenograd, we discuss this 
vast. And coffee,  lots of coffee at nights.

>As mathematicians, we are  still in the early stone age.
>But what I've said above has a  kink I've hidden from view.  It implies  
>there's a math  that would model the cosmos in a totally deterministic  way. 
>And life is not deterministic.  We DO have free will.   Free  will means 
>multiple choices, doesn't it?  And multiple  choices are what the  
Copenhagen School's 
>probabilistic equations  are all about?
>How could the concept of free will be right and  the assumptions behind the  
>equations of Quantum Mechanics be  wrong?  Good question.  Yet I'm  certain 
>we do  have free will.  And I'm certain that our current  quantum concepts  
>based on the primitive metaphors underlying our existing   forms of math.  
>Which means there are other metaphors ahead of us  that will  make for a 
>robust math and that will square free  will with determinism in  some 
radically new 
>Now the question is, what could those new metaphors  be?
>I, by the way, have a theory about how free will  works in the brain.
>Does this sound like something we could  propose as a paper and something  
>that we could carry across the  finish line by using the technique you've  
>invented for  interlacing and taming the force of our two minds?  The   
>email conversation technique?

Howard Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A  Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution  of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate  Psychology Department, New York University; Core 
Faculty Member, The Graduate  Institute
Founder:  International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution  Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango  Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the  Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, 
Academy of Political  Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human  Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; 
executive editor -- New  Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology  Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer  Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see  www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of  Mass Mind from the Big 
Bang to the 21st Century, see  www.howardbloom.net

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