Reflections at age 82 and Beyond

Is the Universe a Simulation? The NY Times had a piece postulating that we might inhabit a computer simulation universe based on the laws of mathematics, not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future or past has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. Of course this not a new concept, Plato's theory of Ideas, that non-material abstract forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change, is the highest and most fundamental reality.  Others, mostly mathematician, such as Bishop Berkeley have advance like theories; Berkeley called his "immaterialism".

God the computer programmer?


we live in a neural network


Vitaly Vanchurin at the U of Minnesota Duluth  suggests that we’re living inside a massive neural network that governs everything around us: it’s a “possibility that the entire universe on its most fundamental level is a neural network.”  Physicists have attempted to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. The first posits that time is universal and absolute, while the latter argues that time is relative, linked to the fabric of space-time. Vanchurin argues that artificial neural networks can “exhibit approximate behaviors” of both universal theories. Since quantum mechanics “is a remarkably successful paradigm for modeling physical phenomena on a wide range of scales, it is widely believed that on the most fundamental level the entire universe is governed by the rules of quantum mechanics and even gravity should somehow emerge from it. We are not just saying that the artificial neural networks can be useful for analyzing physical systems or for discovering physical laws, we are saying that this is how the world around us actually works.  With this respect it could be considered as a proposal for the theory of everything, and as such it should be easy to prove it wrong.”

 Question:  Would this theory mean we’re living in a simulation?

Vanchurin : No, we live in a neural network, but we might never know the difference.

This confirms the great mystical insight that the macro and the micro are interconnected. It also reminds me of The Well-Tempered Clavier; a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, composed for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach. In Bach's time Clavier (keyboard) was a generic name indicating a variety of keyboard harpsichord or clavichord – but not excluding an organ.
Pythagoras believed that music was delegated to the same mathematical laws of harmony as the mechanics of the cosmos, evolving into an idea known as the music of the spheres. The Pythagoreans focused on the mathematics and the acoustical science of sound and music. Heraclitus said you hear the logos and  the music of the spheres incorporates the principle that mathematical relationships express qualities or tones of energy which manifest in numbers, visual angles, shapes and sounds  connected within a pattern of proportion. Pythagoras and his school noted that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios.  Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum, which are physically imperceptible to the human ear, and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds. When I listen to Glenn Gould play Bach's Partita no.6 in E minor, I feel that is about as close as humans come to the divine Logos.

Religion seems to take another entirely different road, but on second look maybe they are not so different after all. Athena was to Plato the mind of  God. The Book of John identifies Jesus as the Logos. A term from Greek philosophy, it meant the principle of cosmic reason. In this sense, it was similar to the Hebrew concept of Wisdom, God's companion and intimate helper in creation. The Jewish philosopher Philo merged these two themes when he described the Logos as God's creator of and mediator with the material world. The evangelist adapted Philo's description of the Logos, applying it to Jesus, the incarnation of the Logos. Jesus as simulation turning to flesh?

Martin Heidegger examined the thinking of Parmenides and Heraclitus, when thinking was poetic not scientific, made logos central to his work. Logos means collectedness, the primal gathering principal. In fragment 50 Heraclitus joins logos and hearing. "If you have heard not me but the logos, then it is wise to say accordingly: all is one." This is the primary insight of mysticism: all is some how connected. Then in fragment 34, "Those who do not bring together the permanent togetherness hear but resemble the deaf." As the proverb says, they are present yet absent. This seems to take us to Plato's cave and back to the world of ideas, but Heidegger wants to deal with being itself and that is a major undertaking.

There is much that is strange, but nothing
that surpasses man in strangeness.
He sets sail on the frothing waters
amid the south winds of winter
taking through the mountains
and furious chasms of the waves.
He wearied even the noblest of gods, the Earth,
indestructible and untiring,
overturning her from year to year,
driving the plows this way and that
with horses.
And man, pondering and plotting,
snares the light-gliding birds
and hunts the beasts of the wilderness
and the native creatures of the sea.
With guile he overpowers the beast
that roams the mountains by night as by day,
he yokes the hirsute neck of the stallion
and the undaunted bull.

And he has found his way
to the resonance of the word (logos),
and to wind-swift all-understanding,
and to the courage to rule over cities.
He has considered also how to flee
from exposure to the arrows
of unpropitious weather and frost.

Everywhere journeying, inexperienced and without issue,
he  comes to nothingness.
Through no flight can he resist
the one assault of death,
even if he has succeeded in cleverly evading
painful sickness.

Clever indeed, mastering
the ways of skill beyond all hope,
he sometimes accomplishes evil,
sometimes achieves brave deeds.
He wends his way between the laws of the earth
and the adjured justice of the gods.
Rising high above his place,
he who for  the sake of adventure takes
the nonessent for essent* looses
his place in the end.

May such a man never frequent my hearth;
May my mind never share the presumption
of him who does this.
Antigone, 332

*essent: the being that belongs to every being, the present participle of "sum" in Latin. From which "being-there" emerges.

In the beginning God spoke and the language was neutrinos?

December 25, 2020

Flash! News Update! There was no Big Bang to start the universe, instead there was the Big Bounce!

big bounce
The concept of the Big Bounce envisions the Big Bang as the beginning of a period of expansion that followed a period of contraction. In this view, one could talk of a Big Crunch followed by a Big Bang, or more simply, a Big Bounce. This suggests that we could be living at any point in an infinite sequence of universes, or conversely the current universe could be the very first iteration. However, if the condition of the interval phase "between bounces", considered the 'hypothesis of the primeval atom', is taken into full contingency such enumeration may be meaningless because that condition could represent a singularity in time at each instance, if such perpetual return was absolute and undifferentiated


End (if there is one)


Failure to comprehend what is written above is a fair indication of sanity.