[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
>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
>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?
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
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,
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big
Bang to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the paleopsych