Bryan's collection of quotes
My old quotes.txt has vanished for a while, so I'm using this as a temporary fix, but importing everything is proving to be a lengthy task. The order of the quotes in this file don't mean anything at all, certainly not chronological order of when they were said, and certainly not chronological order of when I found them, indeed sourcing them is almost a pointless effort less Ted Nelson decides to spring out of the darkness and bring forth Project Xanadu. But if you ask me for it, I can recall the source. Note: stopped @ 2006-07-20 in log-reviewing. 2008-04-29, starting with 2006-07*
An old collection of quotes I had going:
2008-04-29: Found via a Slashdot article re: usability testing on Ubuntu in comment #23223004 by ShieldW0lf: "The price of ignorance is subject to inflation."
- started 2007-11-29
Not till we are lost ... do we begin to find ourselves and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations. - Henry David Thoreau
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. - John Muir
What binds us to space-time is our rest mass, which prevents us from flying at the speed of light, when time stops and space loses meaning. In a world of light there are neither points nor moments of time; beings woven from light would live "nowhere" and "nowhen"; only poetry and mathematics are capable of speaking meaningfully about such things. - Yuri Manin
Watch your thoughts; They become words.
Watch your words; They become actions.
Watch your actions; They become habits.
Watch your habits; They become character.
Watch your character; It becomes your destiny.
"Whatever you do, don't think of yourself as an organic pain collector racing towards oblivion."
"As I move, so I move the universe." - Danlo wi Soli Ringess
"I must move. Yes, I will. Movement is the secret. As I move, so I move the universe." - Danlo
Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth. - Jean-Paul Sartre
MOTTI: Any attack made by the people against scarcity would be a
useless gesture, no matter what technical data they've obtained. This
patent troll is now the ultimate power in the universe. I suggest we use
VADER: Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed.
The ability to copyright is insignificant next to the power of viral source.
Gold Leader: Pardon me for asking, sir, but what good are semantic wikis and
personal computers going to be against Copyright?
General Dodonna: Well, the Empire doesn't consider a small cgi script on a
shared server or desktop to be any threat, or they'd have a tighter defense.
Commander #1: We've analyzed their approach vectors, sir, and there is a
danger. Should I have your Golden Parachute standing by?
Governor Schmidt: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you
overestimate their chances.
On Old Earth, the ancients often wondered at the origin of life, and they created many myths to explain the mystery of mysteries. There was Mumu the mother goddess who swallowed a great snake which multiplied inside of her and whose nine billion children ate their way through her belly into the light of day and so became the animals of the land and the fishes of the sea. There was a father god, Yahweh, who created the Earth and the heavens in six days and who called forth the birds and the beasts on days five and six. There was a fertility goddess and a goddess of chance named Random Mutation. And so on. And so on. The truth is, life throughout the galaxy was everywhere seeded by a race known as the Ieldra. Of course the origin of the Ieldra is unknown and perhaps unknowable; the ultimate mystery remains.
- from A Requiem for Homo Sapiens by Horthy Hosthoh, Timekeeper and Lord Horologe of the Order of Mystic Mathematicians and Other Seekers of the Ineffable Flame
There is infinite hope, but not for man.
- Frank Kafka, Holocaust Century Fabulist
Strange, though alas! are the Streets of the City of Pain...
- Rainer Maria Wilkie, Holocaust Century Scryer
The goal of my theory is to establish once and for all the certitude of mathematical methods…The present state of affairs where we run up against the paradoxes is intolerable. Just think, the definitions and deductive methods which everyone learns, teaches and uses in mathematics, lead to absurdities! If mathematical thinking is defective, where are we to find truth and certitude?
- David Hilbert, Machine Century Cantor, from "On the Infinite"
In the beginning, of course, there was God. And from God arose the Elder Ieldra, beings of pure light who were like God except that there was a time before their existence, and a time would come when they would exist no more. And from the Elder Ieldra arose the Ieldra, who were like the elder race except they had substance and flesh. The Ieldra seeded the galaxy, and perhaps many galaxies, with their DNA. On Old Earth, from this godseed evolved the primitive algae and bacteria, the plankton, slime molds, worms, fishes, and so on until ape-Man stood away from the trees of the mother continent.
And ape-Man gave birth to cave-Men, who were like Men except that they did not have the power to end their own existence. And from cave-Men at last arose Man, and Man, who was at once clever and stupid took to bed four wives: The Bomb; The Computer; The Test Tube; and Woman.
- from A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, by Horthy Hosthoh
If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.
- Lyall Watson, Holocaust Century Eschatologist
For us, humanity was a distant goal toward which all men were moving, whose image no one knew, whose laws were nowhere written down.
- Emil Sinclair, Holocaust Century Eschatologist
I was an experiment on the part of Nature, a gamble within the unknown, perhaps for a new purpose, perhaps for nothing, and my only task was to allow this game on the path of primeval depths to take its course, to feel its will within me and make it wholly mine. That or nothing!
- Emil Sinclair, Holocaust Century Eschatologist
And so Man dropped his seed into the Test Tube, and from the artificial wombs came many races of men, and races that were men no longer: the Elidi grew wings and the Agathanians carked their bodies into the shape of seals and dove beneath the waters of their planet; the Hoshi learned the difficult art of breathing methane while the Alaloi rediscovered arts ancient and ageless. On the Civilized Worlds there were many who sought to improve their racial inheritance in some small way. The exemplars of Bodhi Luz, for example, desired children of greater stature and so, inch by inch, generation by generation, they bred human beings ten feet tall. Chaos reined as human beings from different planets found that they were unable to mate and bear children in the natural manner. Thus Man formulated the third and greatest of his laws, which came to be called the Law of the Civilized Worlds: A man may do with his flesh as he pleases but his DNA belongs to his species.
- from A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, by Horthy Hosthoh
From Man and the Bomb were born the Hibakusha, the worlds of Gaiea, Terror, Death, and the First Law of the Civilized Worlds, which was that man was forbidden to explode hydrogen into light. And the Hibakusha fled and took to bed Law, and so were born the Aphasics, the Friends of God, the Astriers, Autists, Maggids and Arhats of Newvania. And Terror wed Death, and so were born the Vild and the great Nothingness beyond. And Terror wed Law as well and begat the Hive Peoples, who valued life less than Order, and so they surrendered their Free Will to the lesser god of Order. Of the Hive Peoples we know almost nothing.
- from A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, by Horthy Hosthoh
Man cannot bear too little reality.
- saying of the cetics
Live? Our servants can do that for us.
- from Axel, by Villiers de L'Isle Adam, Machine Century Fabulist
What an extraordinary thing, that the ripples in the spacetime continuum should ripple in such a way that the ripples could control their own rippling! That energy captured and bound should lead to greater concentrations of energy instead of gradually bleeding away into the heat death and universal calm! How mysterious that consciousness should lead to greater consciousness and life beget life greater and more complex!
- from A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, by Horthy Hosthoh
If we become too many, we will kill all the mammoth and have to hunt silk belly and shagshay for food. And when they are gone, we will have to cut holes in the ice of the sea so to spear the seals when they come up to breathe. When the seals are gone, we will be forced to murder Kikilia, the whale, who is wiser than we and as strong as God. When all the animals are gone, we will dig tangleroot and eat the larvae of furflies and break our teeth gnawing the lichen from the rocks. At last we will be so many, we will murder the forests to plant snow apple so that men will come to lust for land, and some men will come to have more land than others. And when there is no land left, the stronger men will get their sustenance from the labor of weaker men, who will have to sell their women and children so that they might have mash to eat. The strongest men will make war on each other so that they might have still more land. Thus we will become hunters of men and be doomed to hell in living and hell on the other side. And then, as it did on Earth before the time of the Swarming, fire will rain from the sky and the Devaki will be no more.
- from the Life of Lokni the Unlucky, as told by Yuri the Wise
Preserve art above artifact; preserve memory above all.
- saying of the remembrancers
If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favors nor your hate.
- from Macbeth, by the Shakespeare, Century of Exploration Fabulist
I am fond of the sea and of all that is of the sea’s kind, and fondest when it angrily contradicts me; if that delight in searching which drives the sails toward the undiscovered is in me; if a seafarer’s delight is in my delight; if ever my jubilation cried, "The coast has vanished, now the last chain has fallen from me; the boundless roars around me, far out glisten space and time; be of good cheer, old heart!" Oh, how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of recurrence?
Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: for I love you O eternity.
For I love you O eternity!
- fifth death meditation of the warrior-poets
Much of death depends on state of mind.
- Maurice Gabriel-Thomas, Swarming Centuries Programmer
The brain is not a computer; the brain is the brain.
- saying of the akashics
What good is a warrior without a war, a poet without a poem?
- saying of the warrior-poets
If ever I spread tranquil skies over myself and soared on my own wings into my own skies; if I swam playfully in the deep light-distances and the bird-wisdom of my freedom came - but bird-wisdom speaks thus: "Behold, there is no above, no below! Throw yourself around, out, back, you who are light! Sing! Speak no more! Are not all words heavy and made to die? Are not all words lies to those who are light? Sing! Speak no more!" Oh, how should I not lust after eternity and after the nuptial ring of rings, the ring of recurrence?
Never yet have I found the woman from whom I wanted children, unless it be this woman whom I love: for I love you O eternity.
For I love you O eternity!
- seventh death meditation of the warrior-poets
The first and hardest teaching of our profession always must be to view the world as through the eyes of a child.
- Marinar Adam, Twelfth Lord Cetic
We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are.
- saying of the cetics
To be fully alive is to be fully aware.
To be fully aware is to be full of fear.
To fear is to die.
- saying of the warrior poets
The good Kristian should be aware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The dangers already exist that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bounds of hell.
- Saint Augustine of Hippo
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns
measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult heard from far
Ancestral voices prophecying war!
- from "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Koleridge, Century of Revolution Scryer
God created the integers, and all the rest is the work of man.
- Leopold Kronecker, Machine Century Constructivist
The knowledge at which geometry aims is the knowledge of the eternal.
- The Plato
Mathematics is a game. Its pieces are the axioms we create, and its rules are logic. That mathematics is occasionally useful to mechanics and pilots is accidental.
- Mahavira Lal, third Lord Cantor
I do not know what I appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
- Isaac Newton, first Lord Mechanic
When Man took to his bed the Computer, there was great rejoicing, and great fear, too, for their children were almost like gods. The mainbrains bestrode the galaxy at will, and changed its very face. The Silicon God, the Solid State Entity, Al Squared, Enth Generation - their names are many. And there were the Carked and the Symbionts, whose daughters were the Neurosingers, Warrior-Poets, the Neurologicians and the Pilots of the Order of Mystic Mathematicians. So beautiful were these daughters that man longed to touch them, but touch them he could not. And so was born the Second Law of the Civilized Worlds, which was that Man could not stare too long at the faces of the Computer or her children, and still remain as Man.
- from A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, by Horthy Hosthoh
It may be fairly asked why animals, who live by talon and beak and their most immediate and savage impulses, do not devour each other down to the last writhing worm? And why to the gods not shatter worlds when they tremble with godly wrath? Why is man uniquely cursed with war? The answer to this question is both historic and evolutionary: We walk the brink of racial suicide because we were smart enough to make atomic bombs and stupid enough to use them.
- from A Requiem for Homo Sapiens, by Horthy Hosthoh
It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is over-ruled by fate.
- Christopher Marlowe, Sailing Century Poet
When the Fravashi first became a people, the Dark God
came down from the stars and spoke to the First Least Father of the Adamant
Mindsinger Clan. "First Least Father," he said, "if I promise
to tell you the secret of the universe at the end of ten million years,
will you agree to listen to my song?"
The First Least Father was thirsty for new
music, so he told him, "Fill my windpipes; sing me your song."
So the Dark God sang his song, and ten million
years passed while the Adamant Mindsinger Clan warred against the Faithful
Thoughtplayer Clan and the other Clans, and in all this time on all of
Fravashing there was only this single, dreadful song.
When the Dark God returned, he told the First
Least Father the secret of the universe. "I don’t understand,"
the First Least Father said at last.
Whereupon the Dark God laughed at him and
said, "How did you expect to understand? Your brain hasn’t changed
at all in ten million years."
The First Least Father contemplated these
words and sang out, "My God! I didn’t think about that when we made
- Fravashi parable
A day, whether six or seven ago, or more than six thousand years ago, is just as near to the present as yesterday. Why? Because all time is contained in the present Now-moment.
To talk about the world being made by God tomorrow, or yesterday, would be talking nonsense. God makes the world and all things in this present Now. Time gone a thousand years ago is now as present and near to God as this very instant.
~ Johannes Eckehart, Mongol Century Horologe
"She has been blinded by the slel nekers of memory, he thought, and with this turn of his mind, he began to rage against a universe that could engineer such a tragedy."
"All of history is the flight from death, and none flee more quickly than the gods ... inside all of the gods is the burning for the infinite, for the moment of creation where death and life are one. This is the pain of the gods. This is their eternal longing and torment. It is the burning awareness of life that grows and grows, without limit, on and on without end."
"I am not I. I am the one who sees myself, who sees that he sees."
"But in another and deeper way, it was only by being alone that he could search out his true connection with the other living things of the world. He remembered a line from a poem: Only when I am alone am I not alone. "
"But for a man, that glorious and doomed being halfway between ape and god, it was always too possible to fall out of love. Always, for all m
en and women across all the worlds of the galaxy's many stars, there was the danger of living along the knifeblade edge between a craven terror of nature and the urge to isolate onese
lf from the world, ultimately to dominate and destroy it. Along this fine and terrible edge was the wildness of the soul, its nobility and passion, neither cowering nor controlling bu
t simply living, bravely, freely, like a sparrowhawk racing along the wind. This was the challenge of the wild. But few human beings have ever dared to live this way. For it is only i
n accepting death that one can truly live, and for the human animal, death has always been the great black beast from the abyss to be dreaded or defeated or avoided or hated – but nev
er looked upon clearly face to face."
"As Danlo watched the light radiating out from the flame of the candles, he remembered a saying that he had once been taught: The surfaces ou
tside glitter with intelligible lies; the depths inside blaze with the unintelligible truths. He rubbed the salt water from his burning eyes, and he marvelled that the search for the
truth could leave him so empty and saddened and utterly alone."
"Self-creation is the highest art." -- David Zindell
"It was her natural tendency to abandon any activity precisely at the moment when she began to feel tired or bored. Her meditation masters, appreciating her almost bodily hunger for excitement and ecstasy, had warned her that she possessed something of a 'monkey mind', a talent for leaping agilely from one branch of experience to another – but never holding any one experience very tightly or very long. They meant this as no insult, but rather an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of her wonderful vitality. Their criticisms, however, had devastated Tamara. From the very beginning of her novitiate as a courtesan, when she was a shy and nervous girl only twelve years old, she had vowed to overcome the flightiness of her mind. She found within herself immense desires for love and ever more life, and yet she found as well an immense will to control those very desires. All through her novice years and even into her time as a voluptuary, with a ferocious discipline that impressed the elder sisters of her Society, she cultivated for herself a new mind, a 'dolphin mind' as she called it, a way of diving deeply beneath the waves of her life's experience in order to drink in the essence of whatever task or pleasure engaged her. Whether dancing or washing dishes or memorizing the formulae for the methyl-tryptamine series of poisons, she learned the art of concentration, the ecstasy of details. She learned to pay attention to things. And most of all, she learned to enter into any new experience with all her natural verve and zest coupled with a marvellously intense awareness of the world. "
"And what he had truly loved about the real Tamara was her otherness, that unknowable essence of her soul that he had sometimes glimpsed but had never quite managed to capture in his memory. Ironically, he had remembered almost everything about her except the only true and important thing, and he realized that he could never quite grasp this mystery any more than he could keep a beautiful bird trapped in his hands without destroying it."
"As Danlo watched the light radiating out from the flame of the candles, he remembered a saying that he had once been taught: The surfaces outside glitter with intelligible lies; the depths inside blaze with the unintelligible truths. He rubbed the salt water from his burning eyes, and he marvelled that the search for the truth could leave him so empty and saddened and utterly alone."
"There is no matter without form, and no form not dependent upon matter."
"Before, you are wise; after, you are wise; in between, you are otherwise."
"I would say yes to everything ... if only I could." - Danlo the Wild, re: asarya: "An asarya ... is a person who can look upon all aspects of creation and say \Yes\ no matter how 'painful' the universe may be."
When man took to his bed the Computer, there was great rejoicing,
and great fear too, for their children were almost like gods. The
mainbrains bestrode the galaxy at will, and changed its very face.
The Silicon God, The Solid State Entity, Al Squared, Enth Generation
- their names are many. And there were the Carked and Symbionts,
whose daughters were the Neurosingers, Warrior-Poets, the
Neurologicians and the Pilots of the Order of Mystic
I was given to understand that She manipulated whole sciences and
thought systems as I might string words into a sentence. But Her
'sentences' were as huge and profound as the utterances of the
I learned much about the Entity's sense of Herself. Each moon-
brain, it seemed, was at once an island of consciousness and a part
of the greater whole. And each moon could subdivide and
compartmentalise at need into smaller and smaller units, trillions of
units of intelligence gathering and shifting like clouds of sand.
Over the next few years, Ede's eternal computer - Ede himself, as
God - rapidly continued his ontogenesis toward the infinite. Many
times, Ede copied and recopied his expanding consciousness into a
succession of larger and more sophisticated computers which he
himself designed and assembled, and then into whole arrays of
robots and computers of various functions (Where Ede-as-man had
been a master of computational origami, Ede the God perfected this
art of interconnecting and 'folding' together many computer units
so that they functioned as an integrated whole.) One day, it came
time for Ede to leave Alumit and go out in the universe. He
ascended to heaven, into the deep space above the planet that could
no longer be his home. Using his power as a god, with the help of
tiny, self-replicating robots the size of a bacterium, he disassembled
asteroids, comets and other heavenly debris into their elements; he
used these elements to fabricate new circuitry and neurologics. He
feasted on the elements of material reality, and he grew. According
to the Doctrine of the Halting which Kostos Olorun hastily
formulated to prevent other architects from following his path, Ede
the God was destined to grow until he had absorbed the entire
Ede, of course, as a man, as his original self before he had dared to
become a god, had deeply felt the logic of the real universe. Like
any man, he had felt doubt. But he had scorned his fears and
uncertainty as most ignoble emotions. He was after all Nikolos Daru
Ede, the founder of what would become man's greatest religion. He
must always be a man of genius and a vision and, above all, faith. It
was his genius, as an architect, to find a way to model his mind in
the programs of what he called his eternal computer. It was his
vision, as a philosopher, to justify the carking of human
consciousness from living brain into the cold circuits of a machine.
And it was his faith, as a prophet, to show other men that they
could transcend the prison of their bodies and finally conquer
... the gods restrain each other from trying to be as God. And how
the gods try to find ways of evade each other's restraints.
The universe is a womb for the genesis of gods.
What's beautiful is that a creator can be astonished by his own
I am not interested in things getting better; what I want is more:
more human beings, more dreams, more history, more
consciousness, more suffering, more joy, more disease, more agony,
more rapture, more evolution, more life.
from the meditations of Jin Zenimura
The true human being is the meaning of the universe. He is a
dancing star. He is the exploding singularity with infinite
For us humanity was a distant goal toward which all men were
moving, whose image no one knew, whose laws were nowhere
He spoke of human beings, of their freedom to grow into godhood,
or to remain gloriously human, to become human for the first
Always, man had felt the urge to discover the true image of
humanity, the shape and substance of what man might someday
become. This is the secret of life, of human life, the true secret that
men and women have sought as far back as the howling moonlit
savannas of Afarique on Old Earth.
Information could be coded into signals and sent anywhere, given
enough energy. Sent everywhere, this interflow of information.
We could speak with the nebular brains of the galaxy. We could
extend the galaxy's information ecology. We - every human being,
Fravashi, oyster, sentient bacterium, virus, or seal - we could drive
our collective consciousness across the two million lightyears of the
intergalactic void to the information ecologies of the nearer
galaxies, Andromeda and Maffei and the first Leo - all the galaxies
of the local group were alive with intelligence and vibrated with
thoughts of organisms as ourselves. Someday the time would come
to interface with the ecologies of other groups of galaxies. Within
ten million light-years off the local supergalactic plane of the local
supercluster of galaxies were many groups of galaxies. Canes
Venatici, the Pavo-Indus and the Ursa galaxies - these burning,
brilliant clouds of intelligence and others enveloped our own small
galaxy in a sphere of light four hundred million light-years in
diameter. To speak with such distant galaxies would require the
energy of a supernova, perhaps many tens of thousands of
Each of us - gods, men or worms in the belly of a bird, in our every
thought, feeling or action no matter how trivial or base - we create
this strange universe in which we live. We create God. At the end of
time, when the universe has awakened to itself, the past will be
remembranced, and everything and everyone who has suffered the
pain of life will be redeemed. This is my hope; this is my dream;
this is my design.
And so at last he stood before the universe naked in his soul and
saw it as it really was. He saw that if consciousness was just the
flow of matter within his brain (or the vibrations of atoms within a
rock), then the consciousness of the universe was just the flow of
everything: rocks and photons and starfire and blood. And
everywhere - in the great Grus Cluster of galaxies no less a
cathedral on a small, ice-bound planet - this flow grew ever more
This infinite organism that was the universe, in all its infinite
patience and curiosity, brought forth endless new planets and
peoples and stars blazing with infinite possibilities.
The way for humankind is not back after all. There is no return to
simplicity this way. No true halla. I used to think of
halla as a kind of perfect harmony of flowers and sunlight
and good clean life and death out on the sparkling snow. A perfect
balance that life might somdeay achieve - without war, without
disease, without madness, without asteroids and wild stars that can
annihilate ten thousand species of animals almost overnight. But no.
The universe is not made this way. True halla is the
vastening of life. The deepening into new forms and possibilities
that we call evolution.
If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so
simple we couldn't.
The more complex the programs of an organism, the greater is the
danger of insanity. It is very, very hard to be a god.
I am the frenzy, I am the lightening.
Saying of the Warrior-Poets
The cetics call this feeling the testosterone high, because when a
man is successful in his endeavours, his body floods with this
potent hormone. They warn against the effects of testosterone.
Testosterone makes men too aggressive, they say, and aggressive
men grasp for success and generate ever more testosterone the
more successful they become. It is a nasty cycle. They say
testosterone can poison a man's brain and cloud his judgements.
The brain is not a computer, the brain is the brain.
Saying of the cetics
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Saying of the cetics
The first and hardest teaching of our profession always must be to
view the world as through the eyes of a child.
Marinar Adam, twelfth Lord Cetic
To face and cross the landscape of the computer's information flow,
one needs the mental disciplines which the cetics have developed
and evolved into the cybernetic senses, Although shih, the sense
that 'tastes', feels and organizes varying concentrations of
information is the highest of these, there are others. There is
plexure and iconic vision, simulation, syntaxis and tempo. Tapas is
really more of a mental discipline than a sense; indeed, it is the
ability to control - to restrain - the simulation of seeing, hearing
For that is the beauty of organization, for that when one reaches out
to logically arranged data with the proper senses , the flowing
information pools fall into form and become more like snowflakes,
frozen waterfalls, crystal mountains.
Who programs the programmer?
Ishq Allah maboud 'lillah: I am program, programmer and that
which is programmed.
Truly, I cannot know what you are. Conscious or not, aware of your
own awareness or only a program running a machine. But you are
only you, yes? This is the marvel. You cannot be other than what
you are. Isn't this enough?
But the computer was made to simulate whole universes. You
cannot even dream what blessed simulations are possible. Human
beings will always need such computing power even as they need
He tried to explain that the great changes rippling through his being
had little to do with mysticism, in the sense of being magical or
mystifying. "Truly, it is just pure technology, yes? This is what
technology is: just consciousness reflected upon itself, gaining ever
more control of itself and creating new forms."
I didn't make the universe. I just live in it.
Before, you are wise; after, you are wise. In between you are
Fravashi saying (from the formularies of Osho the Fool)
The power of ahimsa is not just the readiness to die. It is the
willingness to live. To live utterly without fear - this is a fearsome
'All living things are afraid to die.
'No, you're exactly wrong, the only truly alive beings are those
unafraid to die.'
- Well, it's a cruel universe, isn't it? Sometimes I think it all just
falls worse and worse.
- No, it is just the opposite. It is the way creation must always be.
- But how is it possible? How could it be possible that
everything is really all right?
- How could it not be possible?
Life moved ever outward into infinite possibilities and yet all
things were perfect and finished in every single moment, their end
Always, life supplied life to itself and grew ever vaster and more
complex. Living things created burrows beneath the snow and
songs sailing out to the stars; they made lightships and honey,
pearls and poems and computers that generated entire universes of
their own kind of life. Life swirled and pulsed and blazed in
terribly beautiful patterns across the stellar deeps. The sun and the
moons spun ecstatically with life's wild fire, and the photons
danced along the rivers of light that streamed from star to star.
Life, like and infinite flower, opened everywhere out into the
universe, and into all possible universes, touching all matter, all
space, all time with its perfect golden petals and sweet fragrance.
And it all grew deeper and deeper, and brighter and brighter like a
star swelling to an impossible brilliance that could have no limit or
Self-creation is the highest art.
from Man's Journey by Nikolos Daru Ede
We are prisoners of our natural brains. As children we grow, and
new programs are layered down, set into the jelly of our brains.
When we are young we write many of these programs in order to
adapt to a bizarre and often dangerous environment. And then we
grow some more. We mature. We find our places in our cities, in our
societies, in ourselves. We form hypotheses as to the nature of
things. These hypotheses shape us in turn, and yet more programs
are written until we attain a certain level of competence and
mastery, even of comfort, with our universe. Because our programs
have allowed us this mastery, however limited, we become
comfortable in ourselves, as well. And then there is no need for
new programs, no need to erase or edit the old. We even forget that
we were once able to program ourselves. Our brains grow opaque to
new thoughts, as rigid as glass, and our programs are frozen for life,
hardwired, so to speak, within our hardened brains.
We should all know the code of our programs, otherwise we can
never be free.
If I could find courage, I wondered, what would I see? Would I be
ashamed of the arrangement of my programs - of my very self -
beyond my control? Ah, but what if I could write new
metaprograms, controlling this arrangement of programs? Then I
might one day attain the uniqueness and value I found so lacking in
myself and the rest of my race; as an artist composes a tone poem, I
could create myself and call into being wonderful new programs
which had never existed within the rippling tides of the universe.
Then I would be free at last, and the flame would burn like star
fire; then I would be something new, as new to myself as the
morning sun is to a newborn child.
Where does the flame go when the flame explodes?
We're the creators of out heavens. We create ourselves.
Yes, I could create myself, but to create I must uncreate first. To die
is to live; to live I die.
What is real pain you ask? The power to choose what we will.
Having to choose. This terrible freedom. These infinite
possibilities. The taste for the infinite spoiled by the possibility of
evolutionary failure. Real pain is knowing that you're going to die,
all the while knowing that you don't have to die.
'What is a human being, then?'
'An acorn that is unafraid to destroy itself in growing into a tree.'
To be what you want to be: isn't this the essence of being human?
And thus he almost understood the important thing about gods,
which is that they must continually create, or die. They must create
This is what we should strive for, Danlo: the heightening of our
sensibilities, the rarefying of our desire, the deepening of our
purpose, the vastening of our selves. The power to overcome
ourselves. To be more. Or rather, to become more. Who hasn't
dreamed of such becoming?
All rules and boundaries must someday be broken. How else can we
go beyond ourselves? A thallow chick must break out of his egg,
but this does not mean that the shell is without value.
You must remember that an oak tree is not a crime against the
- ...If you were to ask me who I thought Bardo really is, I
suppose I should say he's a man who wants to evolve as much as
any other man.
- Then evolve.
On Old Earth there were beautiful tigers who burned with life in the
forests of the night. And then there were crazed, old, toothless
tigers who preyed upon human beings. It is possible to completely
affirm the world that brought forth tigers into life and still say no
to an individual tiger about to devour your child.
May all our thoughts be beautiful.
May all our words be beautiful.
May all our actions be beautiful.
The Yasa of the Sani
There is no matter without form, and no form not dependent upon
saying of the cetics
They played for the sake of play alone, and their only concern was
the ultimate evolution of their game.
Before him, beneath the stars of the Solid State Entity, within the dark, twisting tunnels of a phase space, there was an attractor. It was a strange attractor, he decided: stable, non-periodic, low-dimensional. Its loops and spirals would weave infinitely deep, infinitely many fractal pathways inside a finite space. No path would ever cross or touch any other. Strange attractors, it was hypothesized, were the black holes of the manifold. Nothing that approached one too closely could escape its infinities. For a pilot to enter a strange attractor would mean spiralling down endless pathways into blackness and neverness. Any sane pilot would have fled such an attractor. Danlo considered such a course, but where would he flee to and into what dread space might he flee? Strangely, he felt the attractor pulling him, almost calling him, in the way that the future called all life into its glorious destiny. He couldn't deny this call. And so there came a moment when he faced the attractor and piloted his ship into the last place in the universe he would ever have thought to go. With this wordless affirmation made in the dark of his ship, a wild-ness came over him. His body began to warm as if he had somehow drunk the light of the sun. He felt his heart beating strong and fast. His blood surged quickly inside him, thousands upon thousands of unseen turbulent streams, flowing, bifurcating, surging, but always returning to the chambers of his heart. If chaos was anywhere, he thought, it was inside himself. And order was there, too. Chaos/order; order/chaos – for the first time in his life, he began to see the deep connection between these seemingly opposite forces. Chaos, he thought, was not the enemy of order, but rather the cataclysm that gave it birth. A supernova was a most violent, chaotic event, but out of this explosion into light were born carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and all the other elements of life. There was always a place where order might emerge from chaos. Danlo looked for this place within himself; and then he looked within the attractor which coiled before him like an infinite snake swallowing its tail and drew him ever onward. Suddenly he knew a thing. To find the hidden order inside, he must first become himself pure chaos. This was his genius, his joy, his fate. This was his magical thinking approach to mathematics, nurtured by the shamans of his tribe, crystallized and polished in the cold halls of the Academy on Neverness. He must will himself to see where pattern is born of formlessness, that pattern that connects. All his life he had been trained to see such patterns. There was always a choice, to see or not see. Now, inside the attractor that pulled him into its writhing coils, there were patterns. There were ripples and billowings and depthless fractal boundaries like the wall clouds around the eye of a hurricane. The attractor itself swirled with the colours of orange madder and a pale, icy blue. For the first time, he marvelled at the attractor's strange and terrible beauty. There was something haunting in the self-referential aspect of the chaos functions, the way that the functions lay embedded inside one another, watching and waiting and making patterns down to infinity. There were always an infinite number of patterns to choose from, always the infinite possibilities. There was always a possible future; it was only a matter of finding the right pattern, of sorting, inverting, mapping, and making the correspondences, and then comparing the patterns to a million other patterns that he had seen. Now, as the patterns before him fractured into lovely crimson traceries and then coalesced a moment later into a clear blue-black pool that pulled him ever inward, he must choose one pattern and only one. In less than a second of time, in a fraction of a fraction of a moment that would always be the eternal Now, he would have to make his choice. There could be no putting it off once it came. His choice: he could be pulled screaming into his fate, or he could say yes to the chaos inside himself and choose his future. This, he remembered, is what the scryers do. This is what his mother must have done in finding the terrible courage to give birth to him. And so at last, when his moment came and time was now and always and forever, he chose a simple pattern. He made a mapping into this strange, strange attractor, and then he fell alone into the eye of chaos where all was stillness, silence, and beautiful, blessed light.
"At other times of the day, we knitted, crocheted, and played simple woodwind instruments en masse. Sometimes we merely gazed about while our teachers spoke. The teachers urged us to imaginatively identify with whatever we studied or saw—to feel the life-force coursing through a tree, or absorb an eagle’s noble spirit, or experience the meaning of a boulder. Information of all kinds was kept from us, not just the ideological sort. The teachers, whose priority was to quietly condition our souls and hearts to receive spiritual influences, those that possessed holy secrets, they had keys to cosmic truth. -- I developed esoteric yearnings—I was eager for revelation—I longed for things transcendent, for supernal beauty and grandeur. The expectation of these blessings grew in me for years and sustained me. But then, gradually, a reaction set in. It became increasingly pronounced as I progressed through high school. I was pained that the world, and I, fell so far short—always, it seemed, so far short. Dreams of the transcendent remained just that—vague, alluring dreams, perpetually out of reach. Longing for the unobtainable is a prescription for frustration, or desperation. I continued to long—perhaps more than ever—" -- Roger Rawlings (more here)
"What I cannot create, I do not understand." - Feynman
** Explaining that which you did not build or create, is mostly your [perhaps insightful] imagination at work. - me
"All models, representations, abstractions, ideas, illustrations, contents, organizations, categories, groupings, bookmarks, titles, names, data structures, file formats, files, clocks, technologies, knowledges, measurements, sensualizations, patterns, schemes, schematics, styles, credits, lists, shapes, pictures, symbols, signs, metaphors, examples, distinctions, classes, sets, fictions, drafts, prototypes, paradigms, systems, theories, philosophies, principles, doctrines, teachings, laws, rules, formulas, equations, functions, calculations, encodings, decodings, copies, designs, images, imitations, memories, words, sentences, statements, languages, books, thoughts, and types are wrong, but some are useful as tools."
`Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. ` ` That's hard. It means making mistakes and, worse, admitting them. It means what psychologist Don Michael calls "error-embracing." It takes a lot of courage to embrace your errors.`
Affirm when possible, contradict seldom, but always distinguish. - from the c2 wiki
"The Internet is made of one quintillion transistors, a trillion links, a million emails per second, eight billion pages, 20 exabytes of memory."
"The world is a thing of utter inordinate complexity and richness and strangeness that is absolutely awesome. I mean the idea that such complexity can arise not only out of such simplicity, but probably absolutely out of nothing, is the most fabulous extraordinary idea. And once you get some kind of inkling of how that might have happened it's just wonderful. And . . . the opportunity to spend 70 or 80 years of your life in such a universe is time well spent as far as I am concerned." - Douglas Adams
`That last sentence of course has a tragic ring for us now. It has been our privilege to know a man whose capacity to make the best of a full lifespan was as great as was his charm and his humour and his sheer intelligence. If ever a man understood what a magnificent place the world is, it was Douglas. And if ever a man left it a better place for his existence, it was Douglas. It would have been nice if he'd given us the full 70 or 80 years. But by God we got our moneysworth from the forty nine!`
`The whole world was one big Monty Python sketch, and the follies of humanity are as comic in the world’s silicon valleys as anywhere else.`
"All software is complex. It is perhaps the most complex technology developed by mankind. (Almost) everybody that has walked on a bridge knows how bridges work at some simple level. You can't say the same for a web browser or video game. Completely virtual, arbitrarily defined and so abstract it takes years of study just to understand the basics." - J.D. Powell (Slashdot commenter)
"If life has meaning, how can we know if we're meant to find it?" (solution: meaning with respect to who?)
"No system in the universe is perfectly isolated, since, if it was, it would not be a part of our universe."
`A young Max Planck was to give a lecture on radiant heat. When he arrived he inquired as to the room number for the Planck lecture. He was told, "You are much too young to be attending the lecture of the esteemed professor Planck."`
`Edison's approach to creativity made a philosopher Alfred North Whitehead proclaim in 1926: "The greatest invention of the 19th century was the invention of the method of invention, which has broken up the foundations of the old civilization".` (found 2006-02-16)
How much of an improvement in thought processing would there be if a person knew of no language? - me
-- CyberYoda brought this quote up. So I replied to him: there's this growing view in neurosci that 'language' is really just neurotransmitter shuffling and certain circuits that are being activated and so on, so these connections are reprogramming themselves, and language is a way of sharing this information on reprogramming yourself.
-- How well can you program without knowing any programming languages? - CyberYoda
`In essence, I should say that the problem with consilience is that our experience is not reducible.`
`We tend to be impressed with matter as representing the ultimate corporeal reality but it is in fact no more real than radiation.`
`But the same noisy environmental buzz of activity that communicators must package their messages to survive in itself contains information crucial to individuals -- information that is not in message form. These include potential threats or opportunities. Individuals clearly develop mechanisms by which they devote attention to certain stimuli, while ignoring others, in the flood of information that they receive from their senses. As Itti and Baldi write, "efficient and rapid attentional allocation is key to predation, escape, and mating -- in short, to survival." `
"Data that does not change your beliefs is not surprising," says Itti (& Baldi?)
Memes compete for dendritic space. - me (reinterpreting (on 2008-04-28) some thoughts recorded on 2006-03-16; re: recent Markram electromagnetic dendritic object vid)
-- how could this be true if there are 100 billion neurons and trillions of synapses? Where's the competition? Immediacy? Cache-space?
`Thank God we have Intellectual Property laws to stifle the advancements of the arts and delay the end of human improvement as long as possible.`
`As one of my college instructor told me, the next the big thing has already been around for at least ten years before anyone bother to take notice. The Internet been around since the 1970s but no one noticed until the web browser and general access became available in 1995. The concepts for a lot of late 20th century technology (i.e., TV, radio, radar and microwave ovens) that we take for granted today was developed in the 1900s through 1940s. The next big thing may already exist right now, we just don't know about it until it appears on Slashdot. ;)`
`The 'slow' rate of growth is entirely expected. The telephone system grew rapidly in the 30s through the 60s then 'growth' hit a wall and the increase in the number of subscribers was almost entirely due to old non subscribers passing away and a near 100% uptake rate amongst people in their 20s.`
`Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.` - Collary to Clarke's Law
The fundamental contradiction rests in two simple statements. An ant is inherently stupid. Ants are smart. - me 2008-04-28 reinterpreting 2006-03-20
`Biology is not destiny. It was never more than tendency. It was just nature's first quick and dirty way to compute with meat. Chips are destiny.` (be careful here)
`Mind is not a thing. It's a process. There's no(thing) the matter with mind.`
-- even Markram would agree.
`"Each of us is infected with a huge array of viruses. The human genome,
considered as a mass, contains more retrovirus sequences than actual genes."
"The general public thinks genetic diversity is us and birds and plants
and animals and that viruses are just HIV and the flu. But most of the
genetic material on this planet is viruses. No question about it. They
and their ability to interact with organisms and move genetic material
around are the major players in driving speciation, in determining how
organisms even become what they are."
"We have been looking for our designer in all the wrong places. It
seems we owe our existence to viruses, the least of semiliving forms,
and about the only thing they have in common with any sort of
theological prime mover is their omnipresence and invisibility."
-- small units of (genetic) aggregation (viruses as RSS)
`Description is a dialogue, communication, and this communication is subject to constraints that demonstrate that we are macroscopic beings embedded in the physical world.`
"The more deeply we study the nature of time, the better we understand that duration means invention, creation of forms, continuous elaboration of the absolutely new." - Illya Prigogine
`"But consider, friend, that the bacteria in your swollen and suppurating arm are prodiguously complicated creatures, assembling themselves from that continual and far-from-equilibrium flow of energy and material which you are; that the leveling of this great city provides a splendid opportunity for urban morphogenesis; that the death of the innocents was not the outcome of blind deterministic laws, an always-fated condition of being, but open and stochastic, a moment of pure becoming; that the earthquake itself was a fluctuation in an open system, a strongly non-linear phenomenon leading to a more stable geophysical state; in short all this devastation you see around you is manifestation of the reality of time, of lived experience, of our own integration into the universe."`
`In addition to mathematics, Chandrasekhar, as a youth, also mastered German, devoured everything from Shakespeare to Hardy, and could read up to 100 pages in an hour "quite easily".`
` One goal of a well-developed life according to Jung is learning to transcend the inherent conflicts between past and present by building a bridge that could reach higher levels of understanding that could embrace both from a new point of view. Living art, language, science, humanities and religion as well as love and personal relationships are continually engaged in reorganization and creative synthesis. Dead languages, concepts or relationships, by contrast, are mired in a static state of equilibrium where nothing new ever seems to happen.`
`I suspect, instead, that the universe has a finite information density. I also suspect that there's no way to prove either that or the contrary. So, on second thought, forget it.` - Marvin Minsky
-- indeed, if the universe is undergoing exponential inflation then you can't really tell in that sense as long as you are an observer within that system, yes?
`Artists: They work obliviously to reprocess the information deposited within themselves and present it in new form to society as "works": they publish them. They emerge from themselves and enter the "work."`
`As process ontologists see it, enduring things are never more than patterns of stability in a sea of process. Like a wave pattern in water they are simply pending configurations in a realm of change.`
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Only say things that can be heard.
`Design is the process of resolving conflicting constraints.`
`Make himself look more competent by not arguing with the other, but developing the other's idea further.`
` Spew pages and pages of whatever is on your mind. Throw the pages on the floor. Scrabble desperately around trying to figure out what they are all about (this results in throwing at least half the pages away). Now you have an outline with a bunch of holes. Fill in the holes and you have a book.`
`The classroom dissection of the earthworm and other animals has become controversial in recent years. One response to this has been the development of online "virtual dissections".`
-- how terrible it must be to be sickened by reality. :-( (this is, of course, ignoring the aspect re: animals)
`Economists are trained to believe that "money" is to the economy what "energy" is to the physical world. This leads them to believe that whatever is "economically" possible is "physically" possible too. What economists fail to realize is that the economy is a subsystem of the physical system, and thus constrained [and empowered] by universal physical laws that they have not studied.`
`Once the economist's neurons and dendrites are fully programmed (usually for life), economists serve as robotic broadcasting devices explicitly designed to hide the political nature of the economy from the public. In other words, the economist serves no function in society except to protect the ruling elites from public scrutiny while they loot the planet.` (I cite this somewhat jokingly :-))
`Available energy is the precondition for all resources -- including more available energy.`
"Completion is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine."
`If you're really bold, you could even come up with a new way of looking at the universe, where existence lies on a foundation of information [subjectivity!], instead of matter and energy.`
`Put it together, and it's almost a parable for twentieth-century science: the more you know, the less certain you are. As information increases, the universe slips away from our capacity to understand it. By combining Shannon's and Boltzmann's concepts of entropy, you can calculate that there is a certain defined amount of energy that you must use to transmit one bit of information. There is no free lunch when you transmit information. You have to spend energy to do it; in fact, when you get information about a physical system, you increase its physical entropy at the same time (just as Heisenberg said: by observing a system, you change it). For those of us in this universe, this means that there are ultimate limits on communication. There is only so much information that you can transmit in a certain period of time, or over a certain astronomical distance. More profoundly, to quote John R. Pierce: "the energy needed to transmit info about the state of a physical system keeps us from ever knowing about the past in complete detail". Information theory suggests pretty strongly that stories of time-travel and alternate worlds will remain science fiction for a long time to come--possibly forever.`
-- indeed, perhaps this is why spike signals in the brain are more like RSS/aggregation rather than actual perceptions
`Jeremy Bernstein notes that Einstein admitted no knowledge of the Michelson-Morely experiment, yet Bernstein assures us Einstein formulated the equation e=mc^2. First of all, to arrive at this equation, one must, as Friedrich pointed out, invoke the pythagorean theorem. The Michelson-Morley experiment irrevocably involves this theorem. Indeed, the very ingenuity of the Michelson-Morley experiment consisted in the deliberate constructin of a triangle of light rays so as to make their test amenable to the pythagorean theorem so that the ether would be a "testable" phenomena. Contrast this with Newton's alchemical reverance for the pythagorean theorem. Newton, had mystical reverance for this great theorem which is why he stumbled on the same insight. In both cases, the result is e=mc^2. Poincare recognized this early on, as did the Irishman Joseph Larmar and Fitsgerald. It is for this reason, Edmund Whittaker, one of the first historians on the scene to understand the implications of the new scientific theory, didn't identify Einstein as the author.`
-- re: mathematical basis of reality (Tegmark and friends)
`The digits of pi, the keystrokes made by a room full of monkeys, the galaxies, stars, grains of sand, atoms are all countable. Each could be given a number.`
`And just as it takes an increase in entropy to drive a heat engine (2nd law of thermo), it also takes an increase in data entropy to get compression.`
-- s/compression/aggregation/ or (more daringly) s/compression/communication/ ?
`I feel sorry for the people, among my generation, who dont backup anything they make on a computer... because I know they dont produce anything on paper... A generation with no past is bad news.`
-- or is it?
`"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it." (Herbert Simon; Computers, Communications and the Public Interest, pages 40-41, Martin Greenberger, ed., The Johns Hopkins Press, 1971.)`
"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes ... attention." -- Herbert Simon
`So attention is a zero sum game and if we are creating (at an exponential rate?) more uses of attention, then we are facing a looming attention crisis.`
-- but this is just the swim/dive problem (re: Jef) that I reinterpreted 2008; the quote is from 2006-04-09. An interesting consideration: an exponential boom in attention production.
` Most discussions I’ve had lately are about this lack of attention. It’s getting to the point where people are going on “content diets” to
lose the drinking-from-a-firehose feeling, just like they go on food diets to lose weight. ` http://bokardo.com/archives/helpmy-attention-is-dead/ `We have been trying to tackle this problem as well - we have resorted to building a ‘heads-up-display’ so that we can track headlines WHILE we work instead of having to bury our head in a feed reader.`
`That there can be no decrease in the amount of energy, Leibniz took as implying that the universe as a whole must be a 'perpetual motion'. Although he strenuously denied that there could be perpetual motion machines within the universe, he suggested perpetual motion of the universe as a whole.`
`Boineburg was an avid letter-writer, nd he helped Leibniz to build up his own circle of correspondents by putting him in touch with intellectuals from all over Europe. Within a few years, Leibniz was in correspondence with literally hundreds of people at a time on almost every subject under the sun – science, mathematics, law, politics, religion, philosophy, literature, history, linguistics, numismatics, anthropology. He was obsessive about preserving his letters, and over 15,000 still survive. It is on these, and on a comparable mass of private notes and drafts, that we rely for most of our knowledge of his work, especially in the areas of philosophy, logic and mathematics.` src
`It may be helpful to think of ADHD in terms of a "poor regulation of attention." Unless a task is really exciting or new, children with ADHD are often not able to produce enough "attention" to engage in a task.` -- but in updated terms, think of it in terms of intense world syndrome -- switching attention between different things rapidly is the solution to 'information overload' and not knowing what to process.
`“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.”`
"ADHD hyperfocus. I think of it more as intention, self activated." `ADHD is the result of underfocusing of the frontal lobes, ritalin adds more juice to kick them into gear, the opposite of anticonvulsants.`
`The individual is the true reality in life. A cosmos in himself, he does not merely exist, but becomes.`
`Out in the wider world, though, there's a rebellion brewing precisely as a result of the sort of wild pronouncements about technology you see more and more often in press releases from places like MIT and Berkeley. There has long been a sense of economic injustice, but there's a brewing sense of spiritual injustice. There's this sense that it's one thing if rich people in America drive fancy cars and have lower infant mortality, but this notion that some elite somewhere is defining the soul or making the soul into an obsolete idea or is going to transform what it means to be human or is going to be first in line for immortality -- that idea strikes so deep it creates a sense of panic. And I believe this is the explanation for one of the weird features of our time, that every major religion has a terribly violent fundamentalist wing at the same time. ....`
`But I reached a point where I saw that one's assumptions largely shape the conclusions that one draws, and that reality is so richly complex that it can simultaneously sustain and reinforce all manner of contradictory viewpoints.` -- perhaps attention to detail is the solution.
"Obstacles are endless, I vow to cut them down."
`The goal of foreseeing the future exactly and preparing for it perfectly is unrealizable. The idea of making a complex system do just what you want it to do can be achieved only temporarily, at best. We can never fully understand our world, not in the way our reductionistic science has led us to expect. Our science itself, from quantum theory to the mathematics of chaos, leads us into irreducible uncertainty. For any objective other than the most trivial, we can't optimize; we don't even know what to optimize. We can't keep track of everything. We can't find a proper, sustainable relationship to nature, each other, or the institutions we create, if we try to do it from the role of omniscient conqueror.`
`We can't control systems or figure them out. But we can dance with them! I already knew that, in a way before I began to study syst
ems. I had learned about dancing with great powers from whitewater kayaking, from gardening, from playing music, from skiing. All those endeavors require one to stay wide awake, pay c
lose attention, participate flat out, and respond to feedback. It had never occurred to me that those same requirements might apply to intellectual work, to management, to government,
to getting along with people. But there it was, the message emerging from every computer model we made. Living successfully in a world of systems requires more of us than our abilit
y to calculate. It requires our full humanity—our rationality, our ability to sort out truth from falsehood, our intuition, our compassion, our vision, and our morality.`
`As we talked about the biological effects of life on a planetary scale we made each other aware of the fact that all live beings pr
oduce and remove gas. All life requires the production of some gases and the removal of others (for instance, plants release oxygen and carbon dioxide to the air; animals and plants r
emove oxygen from the air). Microbes produce and remove a great range of other gases as well. Yes, we concluded with enthusiasm, the atmosphere is the circulatory system of the biosp
`Looking back, counting the dead, enumerating the losses as well as the very real gains of the eighties and nineties, it all boils down to a rather simple dictum: "If you're not working on your self, you can be sure the world is eroding it."`
"Technology is [erroneously] treated as something that pushes us around rather than something we create." - Stewart Brand
`Already the following views are widespread: thinking is a type of computation, DNA is software, evolution is an algorithmic process. If we keep going we will quietly arrive at the notion that all materials and all processes are actually forms of computation. Our final destination is a view that the atoms of universe are fundamentally intangible bits. As the legendary physicist John Wheeler sums up the idea: "Its are bits."` (see also the Center for Bits and Atoms and "it from bit and bit from it").
`In the effort to create mathematical theories of how matter works at levels way below subatomic particles, and in the effort to actually build computers that operate in this realm, some scientists have found that using the language of bits best explains the behavior of matter. Their conclusion: Its are bits. Young Einsteins such as mathematician/theoretical physicist David Deutsch are now in the very beginnings of a long process of redescribing all of physics in terms of computer theory. Should they succeed, we would see the material universe and all that it holds as a form of computation.`
-- an ecology of computation, an ecology of process
`The grand physical description of life on a global scale is "energy flows and matter cycles."`
`Life furnished both: The atmosphere became saturated with oxygen, and plants encrusted the land. What photosynthesis put together, combustion pulled apart. The "slow combustion" of respiration acquired a more vigorous twin with the "fast combustion" we call fire. Beginning with the Devonian, fossil charcoal began to litter the sedimentary record.`
`The lesson here is that with an infinite number of pitch points on the musical continuum, relationships between intervals sensible to the composer are eminently transferable to the audience. Everything is intervals, after all; matter is intervalic on the sub-atomic scale. There is space between all things, and that is what creates meaning.`
`My father had been preparing himself for this catastrophe all his life. This was his instinct as an engineer and World War II survivor. He had supplies of all sorts of tinned food and tools. Unfortunately, he couldn't prepare himself for his loss of a male traditional role. With my mother sick, he had to cook and wash all the dishes. He did this under her severe control. As the state TV building exploded in flames, littering their street with corpses, my mother screamed at him because he'd dropped a pan.`
`But even the workaday tools reviewed in this issue can alter our perspective. A tool—any tool—is possibility at one end and a handle at the other. Because tools open up options, they remake us. A really fantastic atlas of the world is literally a new world. A whisper-quiet ultra-efficient electricity generator and a wireless Internet let us see ourselves as more nomadic than perhaps we have seen ourselves lately. There are many ways to change the world, but I think the most direct way, the way being pioneered by artists, hackers, and scientists—third-culture citizens—is to adopt new tools.`
`They just have to bring themselves to believe what they know.`
"What is it about Information wants to be free that you poor clowns don't understand?"
`Fire's scarier than water. It self-generates, self-perpetuates, tends toward the excessive. The heat of fire dries out nearby fuels, igniting them, creating even more fire. Fire's qualities are transportable; they can be reproduced from carried embers like a seed. Water cannot be seeded—carrying around a cup of water does not generate more rain. Fire, unlike water, changes into a new state that cannot be reversed. Ice can become liquid can become mist can become sleet and back again. We recognize it. But fire disappears into an invisible web of moving heat, mysteriously nurturing some new event, not easily traceable. Water stays close. Fire as heat is boundless, escaping beyond the biosphere.` .. and star system.
`Don't maximize parts of systems or subsystems while ignoring the whole. As Kenneth Boulding once said, don't go to great trouble to optimize
something that never should be done at all. Aim to enhance total systems properties, such as [creativity], stability, diversity, resilience, and sustainability—whether they are easil
y measured or not.`
`It will not be possible in this integrated world for your heart to succeed if your lungs fail, or for your company to succeed if yo
ur workers fail, or for the rich in Los Angeles to succeed if the poor in Los Angeles fail, or for Europe to succeed if Africa fails, or for the global economy to succeed if the globa
l environment fails.`
`The brain uses loads and loads of energy which is a major challenge for your metabolism - the organ which uses most energy prefers to run on the fuel that can be stored worst.`
`(Indeed, there is an area of biochemistry called "cooperativity theory," which is focussed on the study of the many kinds of synergistic phenomena that occur at the biochemical level-- see Hill 1985.)`
"The ability to reduce everything to simple fundamental laws does not imply the ability to start from those laws and reconstruct the universe."
"The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction." - The Einstein
`Eternity as timelessness, and eternity as everlastingness, has been distinguished.`
"Motion is just a type of change."
`As with size, the notion that matter is made of something quickly leads to an infinite regress. If something is made of other things, what are the other things made of? And so on, ad infinitum. We are left with no choice other than to accept the nasty little truth that matter is made of nothing. But how can this be? How can something be made of nothing? What is the logic?`
-- the alternative is process physics
`an interaction is an imbalance, i.e., a violation of a conservation principle which must be corrected.`
` Here is another way of looking at it. According to the definition of motion, to move from one position to another takes a certain time interval. Time is an evolution parameter that is used in physics to denote change, regardless of the type or rate of change. Therefore, to change position in time would require a meta-time, i.e., a second time dimension orthogonal to the first. This meta-time would itself require a meta-meta-time and so forth. Before we have time (pun intended) to realize it, we find ourselves mired in an infinite regress dilemma.`
`What has been has indeed objectively been and is no more. What will be, objectively is not and has not been (and, in fact, is not even fully determined, according to quantum indeterminacy). All physical systems ride the universal wave of becoming. Any awareness (ours or that of other intelligences) of past and future reflects the objective wave of becoming. There is no problem of "the arrow of time." There simply is no arrow of time, as if time could go one "way" rather than another. That metaphor is an unfortunate result of spatializing time. The picture of time as a line along which one might travel in one direction or the other is a conceptual disaster. Time is becoming. Becoming is change. The undoing of a change is also a change. There is no "unbecoming".`
`As in everything else in nature, there is a yin-yang principle that underlies all including the present (I personally prefer to call it the NOW). What Mr. Carlin should have said is that there is only the NOW and that it consists of the immediate past and the immediate future. The latter is continually unfolding into the former. A particle undergoing change has an immediate past state that will no longer be and an immediate future state that is about to become immediate past. In an unchanging particle, its immediate past and future states are equal.`
`So the best conclusion that can be drawn from the true knowledge of principles is the importance of the practice of virtue.` - Leibniz
`If you seek gratification in those pursuits from which virtue turn aside, you do so without excuse` - George Boole
`So am I not the only one who's children have resorted to homeschooling themselves?`
`Men pass away, but their deeds abide.` - Cauchy's last words ?
`Leibniz was clearly not satisfied with Aristotle's system and began to develop his own ideas on how to improve on it. In later life Leibniz recalled that at this time he was trying to find orderings on logical truths which, although he did not know it at the time, were the ideas behind rigorous mathematical proofs.`
-- not the ideas behind proofs, but I suspect approaches and strategies etc.
`Another of Leibniz's lifelong aims was to collate all human knowledge. Certainly he saw his work on Roman civil law as part of this scheme and as another part of this scheme, Leibniz tried to bring the work of the learned societies together to coordinate research.` `It is no exaggeration to say that Leibniz corresponded with most of the scholars in Europe. He had over 600 correspondents.` [but surely there were more in Europe at the time?] `This pattern of discovery seems to have been charactistic of Leibniz. He was a sponge for knowledge and ideas, and he was tireless in ferreting it out of friends, acquaintences, and strangers alike. He tells us that, once he had gotten all the information he could about Pascal's machine, he set himself the task of making an even better machine.`
`For it is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labour of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.` - Leibniz
`Thus, to be complete, the encyclopedia must record all the procedures of the arts and crafts, and collect even the techniques of craftsmen, which can be the origin or occasion of discoveries and inventions of great scientific interest.181 In sum, the encyclopedia must be, in the words of Leibniz, "a true theater of human life drawn from the practice of men."`
`All of this shows that Leibniz was in many respects more modern than the majority of his contemporaries. In any case, we would not have a fair and complete idea of his encyclopedic genius if we did not recognize how he was able to join a curiosity for facts, a critical spirit, and a scrupulous concern for historical truth to his taste for logical rigor and clear ideas. Still, as he himself warned us, "it is not this method of carefully recording facts" that is the principal object of his logic, "but rather the method of guiding reason in order to profit both from the facts given by the senses or the reports of others and from the natural light,"200 and to derive from them general truths.`
`A prominent theme in Leibniz's writings is the importance of the systematic organization of knowledge, gathered from as many fields as possible, as a means to continued intellectual progress. `
`In other words, it must be brought about that every fallacy becomes nothing other than a calculating error, and every sophism expressed in this new type of notation becomes in fact nothing other than a grammatical or linguistic error, easily proved to be such by the very laws of this philosophical grammar.` - Leibniz
-- coming back to Leibniz, and reinterpreting some of his words, it is interesting to see that 'grammar' doesn't mean the same thing as an intensely parsed ruleset by a parser-compiler, but rather general approaches and strategies. Though this may not be the case since he was quite literal about his alphabet of human thought, focusing on physical markings and so on, instead of functional semantics.
`The logician Kurt Gödel, on the other hand, believed that the characteristica universalis was feasible, and that its development would revolutionize mathematical practice.(Dawson 1997) He noticed, however, that a detailed treatment of the characteristica was conspicuously absent from Leibniz's publications. It appears that Gödel assembled all of Leibniz's texts mentioning the characteristica, and convinced himself that some sort of systematic and conspiratorial censoring had taken place, a belief that became obsessional. Gödel apparently had failed to appreciate the magnitude of the task facing the editors of Leibniz's manuscripts, given that Leibniz left about 15000 letters and 40000 other manuscripts. Even now, most of this huge Nachlass remains unpublished.`
`Hence the characteristic, calculus ratiocinator, and encyclopedia form three pillars of Leibniz's Enlightenment project.` `the Enlightenment goal of "reason forming into reality"` ........ basically meme->gene
http://www.kheper.net/index.htm strangely detailed website: `Welcome to the new look Kheper website, over 1500 pages, dedicated to a new scientific and esoteric evolutionary paradigm concerning the nature of existence and its infinite metamorphoses, and the transformation of the Earth and the planetary consciousness to a post-singularity state of Supramental (Infinite Truth-Consciousness) divinisation`
"I guess the true rites of passage in 21st century middle-class suburban society probably don’t involve church rituals as much any more as they do, perhaps, entrusting your son or daughter to pilot a 3,000-pound hunk of steel at high rates of speed around other 3,000-pound hunks of steel also travelling at high rates of speed and also piloted by adolescents."
`The ability to effectively manipulate a complex system is a reasonable indicator of intellegence. I don't think this is so controversial a thing to say. Language is a complex system.`
`Only for the writer, it takes longer for the reader to process the words. So its not quicker, its just putting the burden over to the reader, instead of shouldering it yourself(which one should always do when writing). People should be taking time to write, because if you take time, and write as clearly as possible, others can read what you say without a lot of effort.`
`Philosophy is disciplined bewilderment. `
`According to modern cosmology, the entire universe is an evolutionary system.`
` We've already had a digital revolution; we don't need to keep having it. The next big thing in computers will be literally outside the box, as we bring the programmability of the digital world to the rest of the world. With the benefit of hindsight, there's a tremendous historical parallel between the transition from mainframes to PCs and now from machine tools to personal fabrication. By personal fabrication I mean not just making mechanical structures, but fully functioning systems including sensing, logic, actuation, and displays.`
` An autonomous agent is something that can both reproduce itself and do at least one thermodynamic work cycle. It turns out that this is true of all free-living cells, excepting weird special cases. They all do work cycles, just like the bacterium spinning its flagellum as it swims up the glucose gradient. The cells in your body are busy doing work cycles all the time.`
`As Richard Foreman so beautifully describes it, we've been pounded into instantly-available pancakes, becoming the unpredictable but statistically critical synapses in the whole Gödel-to-Google net. Does the resulting mind (as Richardson would have it) belong to us? Or does it belong to something else?`
-- What is ownership??
`Gödel didn't believe that truth would elude us. He proved it would. He didn't invent a myth to conform to his prejudice of the world at least not when it came to mathematics. He discovered his theorem as surely as if it was a rock he had dug up from the ground. He could pass it around the table and it would be as real as that rock. If anyone cared to, they could dig it up where he buried it and find it just the same. Look for it and you'll find it where he said it is, just off center from where you're staring. There are faint stars in the night sky that you can see but only if you look to the side of where they shine. They burn too weakly or are too far to be seen directly, even if you stare. But you can see them out of the corner of your eye because the cells on the periphery of your retina are more sensitive to light. Maybe truth is just like that. You can see it, but only out of the corner of your eye.`
`".. and still he dreamed of cyberspace...still he'd see the matrix in his sleep, bright lattices of logic unfolding across the colorless void..."`
`No keyboard, mouse or screen, just neural connections and a many-dimensional space of, at least, information, to explore, organise and communicate at will — perhaps, dare I presumptuously suggest, with occasional help from an editor. I fear it's too much for me to expect, but my grandchildren could love it.`
`There's a cheap debating trick which implies that if, say, science can't explain something, this must mean that some other discipline can.` `But it's not legitimately open to you to substitute a word like soul, or spirit, as if that constituted an explanation. It is not an explanation, it's an evasion. It's just a name for that which we don't understand. The scientist may agree to use the word soul for that which we don't understand, but the scientist adds, "But we're working on it, and one day we hope we shall explain it." The dishonest trick is to use a word like soul or spirit as if it constituted an explanation.`
`Here is the distortion. People think that genes are our deepest hidden self, our essence, so if our genes are selfish, that means that deep down we're selfish. It's an unholy hybrid of Freud's idea of unconscious motivation and the straightforward modern theory of the natural selection of replicators. Now, I think I'm safe to say that it was not intended by Richard, and it doesn't follow from the logic of the theory.`
`The fact that our ability to recognize an object comes from complicated circuitry of the brain does not mean that there aren't real objects out there. Indeed, the brain evolved in order to give us as accurate a representation as possible of what is objectively out in the world.` But it wasn't the brain that did the evolving.
`Over twenty years, Hamilton convinced more and more biologists that parasites are the key to many outstanding problems left by Darwin, including the baffling riddle of the evolution of sex. The sexual shuffling of the genetic pack is an elaborate trick for outrunning parasites in the endless race through evolutionary time.` `His spin off theory of sexual selection (how Darwin would have relished it!) was that bird of paradise tails and similar male extravaganzas are driven by the evolution of female diagnostic skills: females are like sceptical doctors, actively seeking parasite-free males to supply genes for their shared posterity. Male advertisement is an honest boast of health.`
`Any science in which everyone agrees about everything is dead.`
`Some people see the process of growth and development as very simple. They seem to think it is something that is read out of the genes, and that when the human genome project is completed we shall have the book of life, including an understanding of all human behavior. Others take the view that the developmental process is so immensely complicated that we shall never understand it properly. I take the view that although on the surface developmental processes may look complicated, the underlying rules are analogous to those that underlie a game like chess. The rules of chess are simple, but the games that can be generated by those rules are enormously complex. What we have to do as scientists is try to understand rules that produce a design for a life.`
`There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas-covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be, but we have done various things over intellectual history to slowly correct some of our misapprehensions.`
` Back to the physics for a second. One of the most remarkable and startling insights in 20th century thought was Claude Shannon's connection of information and thermodynamics. `
-- And it was John von Neumann who suggested it to Shannon. Heh.
` To tie the circle back to the "Rebooting Civilization" question, what I'm hoping might happen is as we start to gain a better understanding of how enormously difficult, slow, expensive, tedious and rare an event it is to program a very large computer well; as soon as we have a sense and appreciation of that, I think we can overcome the sort of intoxication that overcomes us when we think about Moore's Law, and start to apply computation metaphors more soberly to both natural science and to metaphorical purposes for society and so forth. A well-appreciated computer that included the difficulty of making large software well could serve as a far more beneficial metaphor than the cartoon computer, which is based only on Moore's Law; all you have to do is make it fast and everything will suddenly work, and the computers-will-become-smarter than-us-if-you just-wait-for-20-years sort of metaphor that has been prevalent lately.`
` But we've discovered instead, due to recent observations that the expansion of the universe is speeding up. This means that most of the energy of the universe is neither matter nor radiation. Rather, another form of energy has overtaken the matter and radiation. For lack of a better term, this new energy form is called "dark energy." Dark energy, unlike the matter and radiation that we're familiar with, is gravitationally self-repulsive. That's why it causes the expansion to speed up rather than slow down. In Newton's theory gravity, all mass is gravitationally attractive, but Einstein's theory allows the possibility of forms of energy that are gravitationally self-repulsive.`
` From this combination of passion and inventiveness I began to get a sense that what these students are really doing is reinventing literacy. Literacy in the modern sense emerged in the Renaissance as mastery of the liberal arts. This is liberal in the sense of liberation, not politically liberal. The trivium and the quadrivium represented the available means of expression. Since then we've boiled that down to just reading and writing, but the means have changed quite a bit since the Renaissance. In a very real sense post-digital literacy now includes 3D machining and microcontroller programming. I've even been taking my twins, now 6, in to use MIT's workshops; they talk about going to MIT to make things they think of rather than going to a toy store to buy what someone else has designed.`
` The World Bank is trying to close the digital divide by bringing IT to the masses. The message coming back for the fab labs is that rather than IT for the masses the real story is IT development for the masses. Rather than the digital divide, the real story is that there's a fabrication and an instrumentation divide. Computing for the rest of the world only secondarily means browsing the Web; it demands rich means of input and output to interface computing to their worlds.` ` There was an amazing moment as I was talking to these Army generals about how the most profound implication of emerging technology for them might not lie in designing a better weapon to win a war, but rather in giving more people something else to do. So we're now at a cusp where personal fabrication is poised to reinvent literacy in the developed world, and to engage the intellectual capacity of the rest of the world.` - Neil Gershenfeld
` And we cheated. People for years have talked about molecular computing, nanoscale computing, and all of that, without much success. We realized that molecules are already computing. If you look at the atomic nuclei and consider them to be bits, how they tumble is modified by their neighbors. If you do nuclear magnetic resonance, like an MRI scan or what chemists use to study molecular structure, you are actually doing logic on the nuclei, although it wasn't labeled as such. We realized that instead of heroically building a special-purpose quantum computing apparatus, it's possible to be a bit more clever in talking to nature in the language that it uses in order to make it compute.`
` Without being dogmatic about it, what's beginning to happen is that we're realizing that if molecules can compute, if nature computes, you can actually use a computational language to ask nature questions of fundamental theoretical and experimental interest, and it's beginning to invert how we understand our place in the world.`
` Now we're realizing that if the means of assembly themselves are computational, in turn there's a threshold for fabrication, so that if you want to make a perfect macroscopic thing out of imperfect parts, you need to compute within fabrication. It's not like a milling machine with the computer outside; the tool itself needs to be smart enough to do logic in assembly.`
` If you look at the development of the Internet, or the power grid, or new chips, or airplanes there's something disturbing happening. The c
ompanies that do these things have a secret that they don't want people to know: they're struggling to be able to continue developing their systems. What's hurting the chip companies isn't the cost of the fab, as bad as that is, but the cost of taping out of a chip. When you want to place a billion transistors, the design tools don't work any more. They assume that at some point somebody understands what they want to make, but it doesn't work when the system gets large enough. The companies that work on airplanes or the power grid don't really understand them as wholes any more. This means that, in a world of thermodynamic-scale engineering, you have to make a transition from designing systems to designing principles by which systems work, without actually saying how they do it.`
` The notion of such emergent engineering is very attractive. It's inspired beautiful demonstrations, but those have generally been on toy problems that don't scale to the really hard ones. And it's inspired equally beautiful theories that generally don't get reduced to practice. My colleague John Doyle calls these unfortunate examples of the study of "chaocritiplexity." There's a nearly null set of deep insight into emergent functionality that's reduced to useful practice.`
` Bill developed a programming model where little code fragments hop from particle to particle, traveling around and self-organizing into a system that solves a problem. He's used this model to do data storage and searching and all the things computers do, but it's a random fungible material, meaning that you can add a little bit and it gets a little bit better. Right now we are working on devices that can do this, turning the computer from a monolithic box to a raw material that gets configured by instructions traveling through it.`
`In exasperation I said that this isn't Internet 2, it's Internet 0. That was supposed to be a joke, but the name stuck. And industrial engineers started sidling up to me to say that this is what they always wanted to do but their companies got stuck supporting some proprietary protocol. So the joke is now leading to a standards process to bring the Internet to the physical world, by keeping the Internet protocols but replacing the rest of Internet practice with the kinds of tricks I described. This is an Internet for distributed devices without requiring centralized people.`
` Cells don't just carry information. They actually build things until something astonishing happens: a cell completes a closed nexus of work tasks, and builds a copy of itself. Although he didn't know about cells, Kant spoke about this 230 years ago when he said that an organized being possesses a self-organizing propagating whole that is able to make more of itself. But although cells can do this, that fact is nowhere in our physics. It's not in our notion of matter, it's not in our notion of energy, it's not in our notion of information, and it's not in our notion of entropy. It's something else. It has to do with organization, propagation of organization, work, and constraint construction. All of this has to be incorporated into some new theory of organization.`
` Nobody was thinking of the Web 300 years ago. ` - Kauffman
` There is a chance that there are general laws. I've thought about four of them. One of them says that autonomous agents have to live the most complex game that they can. The second has to do with the construction of ecosystems. The third has to do with Per Bak's self-organized criticality in ecosystems. And the fourth concerns the idea of the adjacent possible. It just may be the case that biospheres on average keep expanding into the adjacent possible. By doing so they increase the diversity of what can happen next. It may be that biospheres, as a secular trend, maximize the rate of exploration of the adjacent possible. If they did it too fast, they would destroy their own internal organization, so there may be internal gating mechanisms. This is why I call this an average secular trend, since they explore the adjacent possible as fast as they can get away with it. There's a lot of neat science to be done to unpack that, and I'm thinking about it.`
-- integrate some Salthe, maybe some Smolin.
` [Gödel] speaks only when spoken to and then only about mathematics. But his responses are stark and beautiful and the very few able to connect with him feel they have discovered an invaluable treasure. His sparse council is sought after and esteemed. This is a youth of impressive talent and intimidating strength. This is also a youth of impressive strangeness and intimidating weakness. Maybe he has no more than the rest of us harbor, but his weaknesses all seem so extreme hypochondria, paranoia, schizophrenia. They are even more pronounced when laid alongside his incredible mental strengths huge black voids, chunks taken out of an intensely shining star.`
` However, once the digital universe is thoroughly mapped, and initialized by us searching for meaningful things and following meaningful paths, it will inevitably be colonized by codes that will start doing things with the results. Once a system of template-based-addressing is in place, the door is opened to code that can interact directly with other code, free at last from a rigid bureaucracy requiring that every bit be assigned an exact address. You can (and a few people already are) write instructions that say "Do THIS with THAT" — without having to specify exactly Where or When. This revolution will start with simple, basic coded objects, on the level of nucleotides heading out on their own and bringing amino acids back to a collective nest. It is 1945 all over again.`
` And it is back to Turing, who in his 1948 report on intelligent machinery to the National Physical Laboratory advised that "intellectual activity consists mainly of various kinds of search."`
`In the real world, most of the time, finding an answer is easier than defining the question. It's easier to draw something that looks like a cat, for instance, than to describe what, exactly, makes something look like a cat. A child scribbles indiscriminately, and eventually something appears that resembles a cat. A solution finds the problem, not the other way around. The world starts making sense, and the meaningless scribbles (and a huge number of neurons) are left behind.`
`Physicists disagree over whether they are condemned forever to dig for deeper mysteries, or whether physics itself will come to an end in a final 'theory of everything', a nirvana of knowledge.`
`There is mystery but not magic, strangeness beyond the wildest imagining, but no spells or witchery, no arbitrary miracles.`
`You contain a trillion copies of a large, textual document written in a highly accurate, digital code, each copy as voluminous as a substantial book. I'm talking, of course, of the DNA in your cells. Textbooks describe DNA as a blueprint for a body. It's better seen as a recipe for making a body, because it is irreversible. But today I want to present it as something different again, and even more intriguing. The DNA in you is a coded description of ancient worlds in which your ancestors lived. DNA is the wisdom out of the old days, and I mean very old days indeed.`
`We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been standing in my place but who will never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara — more, the atoms in the universe. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Donne, greater scientists than Newton, greater composers than Beethoven. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I that are privileged to be here, privileged with eyes to see where we are and brains to wonder why.`
` Mathematics is not just a game or a poem with its own set of internal rules: it also has a striking correspondence to the real world. If I follow the rules it tells me things about the real world.` - Jaron Lanier
`How is it that by solving problems, and inventing tools and concepts to solve those problems, and then solving the new problems about those new tools and concepts—mathematicians often give physics a hand?`
-- In the modern age, mathematics needs to go computational.
` Handicap theory is a theory of biological communication in which information sent by a cell, organism, etc., must be costly to the sender in order to be reliable to the recipient.`
"The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible."
"The best writing is rewriting."
I have a simple philosophy. Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. And scratch where it itches. -- Alice Roosevelt Longworth
Chesterton: "He knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colours of an autumn forest... Yet he seriously believes that these things can every one of them, in all their tones and semitones, in all their blends and unions, be accurately represented by an arbitrary system of grunts and squeals. He believes that an ordinary civilized stockbroker can really produce out of his own inside noises which denote all the mysteries of memory and all the agonies of desire"
`I've always thought that the Table of Contents for Roget's Thesaurus was one of the greatest works of mankind. I don't think many people realize just how difficult the problem really is, and how long it's going to take.`
`Thinking at a subliminal rate of 32 concepts per second, as opposed to the 6-7 words per second experienced by typical verbal-sequential thinkers, thus appearing to intuitively come to conclusions that are very hard to reach by using typical linear reasoning.`
`"The proposed project will create a very large, complex and inter-connected region of cyberspace that will be inoculated with digital organisms which will be allowed to evolve freely through natural selection. The objective is to set off a digital analog to the Cambrian explosion of diversity, in which multi-cellular digital organisms (parallel MIMD processes) will spontaneously increase in diversity and complexity. If successful, this evolutionary process will allow us to find the natural form of parallel processes, and will generate extremely complex digital information processes that fully utilize the capacities inherent in our parallel and networked hardware. The project will be funded through the donation of spare CPU cycles from thousands of machines connected to the net, by running the reserve as a low priority background process on participating nodes. "`
`The Notre Dame team says, on average, you can get from one site on the Web to any other randomly selected site in about 19 clicks. `
`Seth Loyd likes to play the game of thinking big in terms of limits to computation. It doesn't matter if the operating conditions of the resulting device are temperatures higher than in the interior of the sun or if the design involves instructions like "get yourself a number of tiny black holes (the gravitational kind) put them in a box, and convert the rest mass of the computer into photons."`
`Watch for struggles with human identity as machines on the other end of the phone acquire the thinking and responsive capacity of the human brain. Be prepared for a time when your doctor will be able to map your personal genome as fast as he draws blood.`
`We thought if we were to find the smallest universal machine then we could learn a great deal about computability -- of course that wouldn't be so!` - McCarthy (re: Turing tar pits)
`Beware of the Turing tar-pit in which everything is possible but nothing of interest is easy.` - Alan Perlis
`There's little more to say of this today, with any scientific certitude. Tomorrow, with those soon-to-come enormous gains in computational power, we may be able to explore just a little further into the mysterious ocean of all possible simple machines, and perhaps see a few more ideas that are isolated enough to share with other minds. That exploration, too, might tell us more about the origin of life itself, by showing us the simplest schemes that could support first stages of an evolutionary search.`
`So, if we insist on measuring the size of the universe, how do we do it? Draw a straight line from every particle of matter in the universe to every other particle of matter in the universe, so that every single particle of matter is connected with every single other particle of matter. Now take the outermost line segments, discard all inner line segments, and you have a wireframe that is the shape of the universe. Alternatively, imagine shrinkwrapping the entire universe, but with a type of shrinkwrap that cannot make curving surfaces -- it can only make flat surfaces. This would be the same shape as the wireframe described above. This is known as the "convex hull" in mathematics -- the smallest polygon which contains all points.`
`reality can only be understood as a gross exaggeration of fiction`
`one should never compete with one's collagues.`
"He who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom." Gandalf, Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
`Arbitrary does not mean random or meaningless. Arbitrary merely means without previous dependency.` http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Philosophy
"The first step to wisdom, as the Chinese say, is getting things by their right name." - E. O. Wilson
`I’m science-fictionally intrigued with the idea of the big computation making up a kind of mind, and Lloyd also speaks to this: “Some of tha
t information processing, like digital computation can resemble thought. But the vast majority of the information processing in the universe lies in the collision of atoms, in the sli
ght motions of matter and light. Compared with what is normally called thought, such universal ‘thoughts’ are humble: they consist of elementary particles just minding their own business.” [p. 211] `
`But in Postsingular I’m gonna find a way to wake objects up...`
`I've the theory that the brain tends to get tired of thinking the same idea for too long. Like if after some time of thinking about something you reached a local minima and couldn't be able to think anything else beyond what you've done, thus you are unable to advance.`
`Most synapses are between adjacent neurons.`
- re: adjacent possible & Kauffman, re: Markram.
`If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up space in the middle` http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=76487&cid=6822139
Release early, release often.
`The human being is not shaped by some given design which underlies natural and moral order in the cosmos, and which stands as the ultimate objective of human growth and experience. Rather, the ‘purpose’ of the human experience, if it can be so described, is more immediate; it is to coordinate the various ingredients which constitute one’s particular world here and now, and to negotiate the most productive harmony out of them. Simply put, it is to get the most out of what you have here and now.`
`Nature has always looked like a horrible mess, but as we go along, we see patterns and put theories together; a certain clarity comes and things get simpler.` - Feynman
`The right way to learn math is breadth-first, not depth-first. You need to survey the space, learn the names of things, figure out what's what. Think of it as a liberal arts degree in mathematics.`
`I think the best way to start learning math is to spend 15 to 30 minutes a day surfing in Wikipedia. It's filled with articles about thousands of little branches of mathematics. You start with pretty much any article that seems interesting (e.g. String theory, say, or the Fourier transform, or Tensors, anything that strikes your fancy.) Start reading. If there's something you don't understand, click the link and read about it. Do this recursively until you get bored or tired.`
`Mighty men of science and mighty deeds. A Newton who binds the universe together in uniform law; Lagrange, Laplace, Leibniz with their wondrous mathematical harmonies; Coulomb measuring out electricity . . . Faraday, Ohm, Ampère, Joule, Maxwell, Hertz, Röntgen; and in another branch of science, Cavendish, Davy, Dalton, Dewar; and in another, Darwin, Mendel, Pasteur, Lister, Sir Ronald Ross. All these and many others, and some whose names have no memorial, form a great host of heroes, an army of soldiers – fit companions of those of whom the poets have sung . . . There is the great Newton at the head of this list comparing himself to a child playing on the seashore gathering pebbles, whilst he could see with prophetic vision the immense ocean of truth yet unexplored before him . . .`
`Consider Laplace (restating Leibniz):. An intelligent being who, at a given instant, knew all the forces. `
`Reality is consistent; every correct theory about the universe is compatible with every other correct theory. Imperfect maps can conflict, but there is only one territory. `
`We are "web weavers and dancers at the dawn of the Meso-Electronic Period."`
There is a shattering truth, so surprising and terrifying that people resist the implications with all their strength. Yet there are a lonely few with the courage to accept this satori. Here is wisdom, if you would be wise:
Huh. Didn't know that was Eliezer for all those years.
Since the beginning
Not one unusual thing
Has ever happened.
Alas for those who turn their eyes from zebras and dream of dragons! If we cannot learn to take joy in the merely real, our lives shall be empty indeed.
`How dare an electrical engineer us standard electrical techniques to solve the universe.`
2006-07-10: `Think of the genome as analogous to the power spectrum; we'll call it the genomic spectrum. The organism is like the reconstructed image; we'll call that the phenotypic image. A mutation is like the filters applied to the power spectrum. Most discrete mutations will have small effects, and they will be expressed in every cell, while some mutations will affect prominent aspects of the phenotype and will be readily visible.`
"Theories become instruments, not answers."
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
"Simply put, the purpose of human experience, if it can be so described, is to become the healthiest from the local resources here and now."
"Information means literally to put form to."
"If you haven't done everything you haven't done a thing."
"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers."
"If you ever want to get anything done then stay away from the computer."
"A scientist is someone who discovers new things and gives them names." - Huge revelation that came to Henry Massalin in a dream
"Activation energies protect substances from change."
"Unsolicited advice is always self-serving. " - Dan Gottlieb
"life is what YOU make of it"
`If humans are indeed on the verge of realizing that we are caught in illusions while thinking we are perceiving reality, how do we propose to escape? The answer, Tart has concluded, could come in the form of "mindfulness training " -- a variety of exercises for elevating awareness by deliberately paying closer-than-usual attention to the mundane details of everyday life. Gurdjieff called it "self-remembering," and many flavors of psychotherapist, East and West, use it. Mindfulness is a skill that can be honed by the right approach to what is happening right in front of you: "Be here now" as internal gymnastics. Working, eating, waiting for a traffic light to change can furnish opportunities for mindfulness. Observe what you are feeling, thinking, perceiving, don't get hung up on judging it, just pay attention. Tart thinks this kind of self-observation -- noticing the automatization -- is the first step toward waking up.`
"We should do everything we can to avoid singularities. A singularity is a sign that we've failed." - who said this and why?
"Didn't build it? Do not explain it. Classify. Model. But don't explain."
"Now tell me Mother Earth, what went wrong, in the heart of everyone?"
"With every lost hour, a part of life perishes." - Leibniz
"I maintain that men could be incomparably happier than they are, and that they could, in a short time, make great progress in increasing their happiness, if they were willing to set about it as they should. We have in hand excellent means to do in 10 years more than could be done in several centuries without them, if we apply ourselves to making the most of them, and do nothing else except what must be done." - Leibniz
"No engineer talks about `rights`. Why ? Because they all know that `rights` are crap engineering."
"We need to learn how to distinguish the probable from the improbable, but so far such a probability calculation has never been given a precise definition." - ALAN GUTH
"How much of what we as persons can experience in life can we share with fellow human beings?"
"A chimpanzee cannot understand Bessel functions or the theory of black holes. Human forebrains are a few ounces bigger than a chimp's, and we can ask many more questions than a chimp. Are there facets of the universe we can never know? Are there questions we can't ask?"
-- yes, and that's one of the unaskables.
"For every beginning there is an end."
"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."
"The genetic book of life is a monotonous tome: it is written in just four letters. Now US chemists have shown that they can expand the language of the genes by adding a new letter."
"To hide a tree, use a forest!"
"Never explain anything but the model."
"Apparently there is colour, apparently sweetness, apparently bitterness, actually there are only atoms and the void." -- Democritus, 420 BC (from Robinson and Groves 1998).
"Whenever you encounter truth, look upon it as Christianity." - Erasmus
"But most people seem to be running the imagination race with their running shoes unlaced"
"What really exists? Histories or the wave function?"
"Shut up and calculate." - Feynman
Smolinism led the men to the stars.
"Imagination is creating ideas. Creativity is putting ideas into practice."
"Douglas was a brilliant teacher." "He was someone who loved to explain ideas and he was fascinated by ideas and I am sure that part of the success of Hitchhiker's was the underlying issues of the humor, real issues. It was part of his style as a teacher. He enjoyed teaching. He liked explaining things that were very complicated and he liked making them accessible." "Douglas was not organized and he lived his life in a bit of chaos. One of my roles was, to find things for him. One of the words he used much is 'where' followed by 'is' and then a number of any other objects."
"Thankfully, I live in the USA" "We shoot our children down from the trees."
"No decision is final, all decisions branch into other decisions."
"Everything happens by necessity."
"God is the action of the universe."
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, dedicated individuals can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
"That which I can not build I can not understand."
"Each species is one twig on a branching tree of life extending back through ancestral species."
"most of the biomass in the ocean is made up of viruses" - hondje
"I believe in two things: I believe in knowledge, and I believe in more knowledge."
2006-09-02.232415.txt (23:56:05) --- searching for quotes
"Chaos? What, is that some sort of a dip?"
"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
"All our inventions are but words." - Henry David Thoreau
"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."
Mussel mystery: "the more you know, the more you don't know."
"In late twentieth-century America, when it is difficult or inconvenient to change the environment, we don't think twice about changing the brain of the person who has to live in it."
"Every organism contains other organisms."
"Matter is different from the laws that control it."
"Something is wrong. I am not the Jedi that I am supposed to be. I want more." - Anakin Skywalker
"The true success of a teacher is measured by how well the student teaches in return."
"Just because you are a head of state doesn't mean your head is on straight."
"Use tools. Feel human. Because if we don't, we're basically just monkeys with hands." - Ask.com's advertisement on television (2006-10-07)
"recursive science fiction"
"If we are to be damned, let us be damned for what we really are."
"Isn't interesting that religious behavior is so close to crazy that we can't even tell them apart?" - Dr. House
"I should have chosen custodial engineering." - Kurt Serge
"If somebody else ain't doing it, it's your job. Even if your job description says otherwise."
"The more you write, the better you do in college. In college, you have to write yourself to death to stay alive."
`The New Digital Divide is coming fast. Maybe I can become a millionaire by organizing Geek Trips to South Korea, Japan, and Sweden: "Experience crazy new applications that provide full-motion, hiqh quality video! Work faster! See immersive 3d game environments that make your puny American games look like antiques! Download files in a flash!"`
`I'm still waiting for the computer with one button: "Do What I Mean" Everything else is an abject design failure.`
"At some point, your brain figures out it only has one life to live and it's being wasted. So it "burns out" to get itself out of the current, unhealthy environment."
"When you look at yourself this way everything becomes a lot clearer. No longer are your mood swings something to blame on yourself, some kind of cognitive mistake. Now they're simply a side reaction gone wrong -- too much or too little of some neurotransmitter in some area -- easily fixed by making enough of that chemical available to let the reaction proceed in a normal way. When your stomach burns with indigestion, add enough basic material to bring the acidic content back down to where it should be. Of course the doctors are confident the pills will always win, the pills are manipulating your "self" on it's lowest level, instead of a higher, more conscious one. Sort of like wearing lenses if you're near-sighted, you're just finding the most elegant solution to a fundamentally low-level problem."
"The shockwave will disperse the nanoprobes over a range of five light years."
"What Linnaeus did for the world of organisms, Annie Jump Cannon did for the stars."
"No change is as expensive as no change."
"No time is as expensive as no time."
"To a great mind, nothing is little." - Sherlock Holmes (according to Robert Dilts)
"Korzybski suggested humans needed to be properly trained in the use of language to prevent the unnecessary conflicts and confusion that arose from confusing the 'map' with the 'territory'."
"Korzybski's law of individuality, for instance, states that no two persons or situations or stages of processes are the same in all details. Korzybski noted that we have far fewer words and concepts than unique experiences and this tends to lead to the identification or confusion of two or more situations (what is known as generalization or ambiguity in neurolinguistic programming)."
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet
"The purpose of the Sleight of Mouth patterns is to help people enrich their perspectives, expand their maps of the world and reconnect with their experience."
"I am not going to explain how the photons actually 'decide' whether to bounce back or go through; that is not known. (Probably the question has no meaning)." - Feynman in QED
- see the "Kantian metaphysics" page re: Bell was wrong about photons deciding.
"Mark Twain was the Jon Stewart of the 1800s."
"You see, all things that we attribute to habit, should be attributed to memory. Habit is memory."
Uthman's Law of Preventive Medicine: "If you prevent all the preventable diseases, it only guarantees that you will die of a non-preventable one."
"The universe gives birth to life; the essence of the universe is [hence] female."
"The secret of life is more life."
"Heredity is [not] destiny."
"The future is completely determined but unknowable because the creation of information is not predictable - it would take more information than is available to predict the future - and there is no way to process that amount of information more quickly than the universe does in the first place!"
-- re: Red Queen's Race, you better hope/intend that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
"I have forgotten what I have forgotten."
"The great philosophers Aristotle and Plato thought matter was continuous, fluid and could not be divided into individual particles."
"When I grow up, I want to be an arithmetician!"
"with great power comes great instability" - #osdev on thermodynamics
"After a while you start to realize that you really can't truly share your hopes and dreams with even the most special significant other."
"The present and the past are both in the future."
"That means the electrons may sometimes leak from one chemical bond to a neighboring bond, he said. They also can take forbidden walks on the wild side by tunneling through open space."
"The goal is not to inform, but to enable and empower. The elaborate combinations of chemicals concocted to increase the effectiveness of medicine, of construction materials, or of electronic components continues earlier patterns. Atomic manipulation, intended to synthesize intelligent materials and self-repairing substances and devices, constitutes a new domain of practical experiences."
"If my finger is the organ by which I grasp the sword and the mandoline, my brain is the organ by which Nature strives to understand itself. My dog's brain serves only my dog's purposes; but my own brain labors at a knowledge which does nothing for me personally but make my body bitter to me and my decay and death a calamity. Were I not possessed with a purpose beyond my own I had better be a ploughman than a philosopher; for the ploughman lives as long as the philosopher, eats more, sleeps better, and rejoices in the wife of his bosom with less misgiving. This is because the philosopher is in the grip of the Life Force. This Life Force says to him "I have done a thousand wonderful things unconsciously by merely willing to live and following the line of least resistance: now I want to know myself and my destination, and choose my path; so I have made a special brain - a philosopher's brain - to grasp this knowledge for me as the husbandman's hand grasps the plough for me. And this" says the Life Force to the philosopher "must thou strive to do for me until thou diest, when I will make another brain and another philosopher to carry on the work.""
"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a HUGE number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." - Feynman
"We do not know all of the basic laws of physics; there is an expanding frontier of ignorance."
"The test of all knowledge is experiment."
"You do not look at what they do wrong. You look at what they are doing well."
"Money is always on the minds of people. Universities know this, and are gladly willing to jack the price to attend because people are "required" to have a degree to get any decent job. How I love capitalism."
"For four hundred years since Galileo we [scientists] have been gathering information about the world which they [ignorant people] do not know."
"To decide upon the answer is not scientific. In order to make progress, one must leave the door to the unknown ajar-ajar only."
"And what is the mind but last week's potatoes? Is nobody inspired by our present picture of the universe?"
"The dream is to find the open channel."
"Anything that can be done, must be done." - due to Leibniz's law of necessity.
"To make progress in understanding, we must remain modest and allow that we do not know. Nothing is certain or proved beyond all doubt." - you must learn to cope with the uncertainty/nothing/etc.
2007-02-23 is where I stopped
"Perry E. Metzger" - "Consider our own culture a few hundred years from now at most. Given nanotechnology, any individual member could launch Von Neuman machines that travelled out in all directions at near the speed of light. Anything that requires so few members of a culture to launch will almost doubtless *BE* launched. With billions of individual entities, what are the odds that no one will do such a thing?"
"We know, from the fact that not only our galaxy but every other we've looked at looks convicingly like it lacks Von Neuman colonizers, that the density function of non-hiding VN cultures is very low. A VN culture will chew up a galaxy in a hurry. If relativistic intergalactic colonization is a no-go, then VN cultures may be effectively confined to a galaxy, but that's the smallest pen you can keep them in."
`Suppose we have an intelligent entity with a space/time footprint of, say, one light-hour in diameter and complexity on the level of 10^100 bit and similar computational power. Every minute the entity doubles in terms of effective complexity (in terms of features of architecture, not the number of bits) and after every hour all problems of the previous hour are either resolved or bypassed. Apparently then, any probe that was launched more than an hour ago, could not construct a computational structure that could bring any useful results back to the core; at the same time it could destroy something of value out there (imaging what kind of instructions you would give your great grandparents if you sent them on a scouting expedition: "just take a few pictures and PLEASE don't touch anything there, it may be important for research! Or better, just stay here; I will see pretty much from here before you get there, and it's safer")` - Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko (found 2007-02-24)
`It is perfectly summed by a quote by a geneticist of the 1930s, John Haldane, who once tried to describe this notion: "Life is not only stranger than we imagine; life is stranger than we can imagine."`
"The [viewers] leaped, a trillion kilometers into the outer darkness [of the representation of the solar system]. The monstrous bulk of the Oort Harvester was at work here, a world-sized cylinder lumbering along through the hundred billion members of the cometary cloud. Slow and tireless, at home a tenth of a lightyear from Sol, the Harvester was hunting down bodies rich in simple organic molecules, converting them to sugars, fats, and proteins, and Linking the products back to feed the inner system."
"So far the loesson had been a general one, designed to teach Chan the structure and varied economies of the solar system. Now it would be specific to Pursuit Team training. The display changed scale again. Far beyond the boundaries of the solar system lay the members of the Stellar Group. The region of accessible space was a knobby and dimpled sphere, fifty-eight lightyears across and centered on Sol. The Perimeter formed a fuzzy outer boundary where the probe ships, limited at best to a tenth of light speed, expanded the accessible region by up to ten lightyears a century. Humans had never encountered another species possessing the Mattin Link. The Perimeter would remain roughly spherical, unless and until--people had talked of it for centuries--some probe ship at the Perimeter met a ship from a second bubble, bown by another species who had found the secret of the Mattin Link for themselves."
"Avoid literary flab." - Jeffrey A. Carver
"Heaven, stars, mountains, trees, rivers, of great oceans and seas, from the vast lands of the Earth and all living things around me ... please lend me, your energy." - Goku's spiritual chant
"Gaze at the stars .. and know that we have not gone that far. They are shining for us anywhere in the galaxy." - Gamma Ray
"When I invited friends to see [the infant] I told them bluntly she was destined to become "a genius". " - Aaron Stern
"Everything is destined to experience the terror of absolutism of money." - Edis, Slashdot age prophet
"Truth disappears the moment it is told--like steamy breath into air."
"Men's words are a poor exponent of their thought; nay their thought itself is a poor exponent of the inward unnamed Mystery, wherefrom both thought and action have their birth." --Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution
"Hope is the right hand of fear."
"The liberty is activity."
"I cannot articulate enough to express my dislike to people who think that understanding spoils your experience. How would they possibly know?" - Minsky by way of Superkuh
"Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end."
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is insufficiently documented."
`'Deconstruct and recontextualize' sounds fancier than 'cut and paste'`
"I want to be remembered as someone who's not dead." — Christine Peterson
"The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
"Absence of proof is not proof of absence."
"Do not become archivists of facts. Try to penetrate to the secret of their occurrence, persistently search for the flaws that govern them." -- Ivan Pavlov
"A determination to succeed and to sacrifice everything in the attempt. That could be a prescription for an unhappy life; certainly for a life out of balance, sneering at timidity and restraint. Sometimes, as Ramanujan sat or squatted on the pial, he'd look up to watch the children playing in the street with what one neighbor remembered as 'a blank and vacant look.' But inside, he was on fire." - Kanigel
"Ramanujan's was no cool, steady Intelligence, solemnly applied to the problem at hand; he was all energy, animation, force." - Kanigel
"We are prisoners of our natural brain."
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"
"Salvation? You mean salivation, right? That's what happens in the mouth, I think. Yeah, what about it?"
"Program testing may convincgly demonstrate the presence of bugs, but can never demonstrate their absence."
"Needless to say, that system completely hid the fact that, all by itself, a program is no more than half a conjecture. The other half of the conjecture is the functional specification the program is supposed to satisfy. The programmer's task is to present such complete conjectures as proven theorems."
"Earth is the cradle of mankind; one does not remain in the cradle forever." -- Tsiolkovsky
"The manned Lunar Landing Program was the most complex and largest single scientific exploration undertaken in the history of mankind. [...] The Apollo Program ultimately placed twelve men on the lunar surface. It was a major national event. During peak activity, more than 400 000 people and 20 000 companies were involved." - Richard S. Johnston and Wayland E. Hull
"Give in to indecision, or don't."
"In these stories, advances in science have both created new and needed products and dealt with pollution from the past." - McGaryne. And that's basically much of what the past brings us: tons and tons of mental pollution. As far as I can tell, chemistry is not unlike alchemy ... both chemists and alchemists just have to learn the tools of the trade.
"The smarter you are, the more stupid you feel."
`For me chemistry represented an indefinite cloud of future potentialities which enveloped my life to come in black volutes torn by fiery flashes, like those which had hidden Mount Sinai. Like Moses, from that cloud I expected my law, the principle of order in me, around me, and in the world. . . . I would watch the buds swell in spring, the mica glint in the granite, my own hands, and I would say to myself: "I will understand this, too, I will understand everything."`
"Ketterle is of course one of the ascended gods of this field."
"I want to dive into the black hole. Into the dark. Into the future." - Gamma Ray in Beyond the Black Hole
"His interests are almost all cerebral. And when Christian is reading or working his concentration is total - all the children share this trait. Oblivious to the cries of his younger brother, or the piano playing of Adam, Christian diverts himself during his free time with a balanced and satisfying equation, a copy of The Scientist or an article reassessing Einstein's theory of relativity. When he is reading you can talk to him, or pummel him, or stand on your head in front of him without the slightest diversionary effect. When he finishes an article or a mathematical problem, it is almost as though he is returning from a deep sleep. He blinks, exclaims, and seems to have to reorientate himself to the objects in the room. But if he is dedicated in the exact sense of the word to his mathematics, neither his temperament nor his aura are cold or withdrawn. Christian is also likely to pass an afternoon playing wholeheartedly with his brothers and sister, or freely to push aside a treatment of the quantum theory in order to paint, to write a poem, or to build a model aircraft, often with Paul. His most frovolous diversion is science fiction. Not merely a simple connoisseur, he is a critic. He is still full of contempt for the author who told him that heavy water was an isotope of hydrogen, or that a galaxy existed in a spot already amply occupied by a recently detected body. He drives his way through anything and everything the local library can provide with a speed which results in a constant problem. His reading speed is an astonishing two hundred pages an hour - a capacity that allows him easily to devour two books a day - and a Council regulation allows a child only two library tickets. At weekends, desperate for something to read, Christian will sometimes visit the library twice in a single day, making an eclectic but highly serious selection of reading matter. Christian's intelligence burns with a cold blue flame. His judgment of other people is severe, and one might think his standards too high,l his regard too unblinkingly frank, were not these the same standards that he applies to himself."
"I rather expect that we shall someday find a mathematico-mechanical explanation for what we now call atoms which will render an account of their properties." - August Kekule, 1867
"That was so terrible that you gave me cancer."
"If pains must come, let them extend to few."
-- probably not the best of ideas
"Nature is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws."
`Solitude calls forth the mood of receptivity. Only then do we get the best. Great things are worked out in silence. Then come the flashes of inspiration—the new visions. Emerson tells us that " Solitude is to genius the stern friend—the cold, obscure shelter, where mould the wings which will bear it farther than suns or stars," and we have this thought from Carlyle: " Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together—that at length they may emerge full-formed and mamestic into the delight of life—which they are henceforth to rule."`
`Uruj is that state of mind when a person thinks with energy and enthusiasm: "I am going to do such and such a thing." This state of mind produces such a force and power, in order to create its object, that in its excess it produces such a mist that the faculty of reason and justice is often dimmed.`
"All this says is that an ordinary photon has a certain size that is quite fixed, and it is made of the substance "action" which is totally non perceivable and non-observable. Only changes in action are perceivable, observable, or detectable, never fundamental action itself. So physics already prescribes a universe made out of action, and that universe has no length, no time, no energy, no space, no concrete existence ... Each photon carries a small piece of time."
"Transmit in order to receive."
"Nature abhors a vacuum."
"Nature abhors a gradient."
"This message is composed of 100% recycled electrons."
"Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future." -- Niels Bohr
"The best way to predict the future is by inventing it."
"The future is a race between education and catastrophe." -- H.G. Wells
"The electromagnetic force is due to the continuous exchange of virtual photons."
"Electricity doesn't exist. Drop the word. Archaic."
"The art of wondering makes life worth living."
"C Code. C Code Run. Run, Code, RUN! PLEASE!!!!" - g1powermac
"Becoming an artist?" Automatons are artists. Should Smolin's cosmological natural selection happen to be true, then the universe itself is an artist practicing the art of self-expresssion, of self-creation."
"Organisms behave as photoresistors."
"Einstein showed that space-time is curved, but curved in relation to what?"
"Intelligence is the ability to avoid doing work, yet getting the work done". --Linus Torvalds, by way of dkr
"Another possibility is to develop an animal which can produce meat without any need for killing ... When I get the chance I plan to become fully autotrophic. Writers have speculated about plant-humans for a long time, but I plan something more original. I want to live in free space, living of sunlight and the minerals in asteroids. This way I will not need to sacrifice the complexity of any other lifeform to increase my own. This is the logical conclusion of the line of inquiry started by the vegetarian accusation of being a carrion-eater." - Anders Sandberg ( email@example.com )
"But the wild is growing faster than the tamed."
"Probably rather larger than the entire capacity of a single human brain." -> I suspect that we will die before our brains run out of storage capacity due to the construction of the brain and our linear rate of information accumulation. Brains seem to be able to deal with that sort of information eating style. Don't know about other rates, though- it may in fact then proceed to explode. :)
`(1) It is interesting to note that, close to the end of his life in 1954, Einstein wrote to his friend Michele Besso: "I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the field concept, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, gravitation theory included, [and of] the rest of modern physics."
"What will be possible then, should be possible now."
"Invincibility is in oneself, vulnerability in the opponent." -- Sun Tzu
-- why have enemies?
"Isn't it odd that you start at the beginning by trying to look for the end? You're in the wrong place!"
"I am everything except myself."
"Goku was an ascended man ... through his transcension he rose above his mortal, linear limits and became the first ascended Super Saiyan. With this new transformation he was able to conduct the symphony of materials both around him and within him. No man was destined to be as strong as he."
"Get lots of jobs and steal as much literature as possible."
"All consumers must be specialists to some degree." - Salthe
"Containers all the way down."
"Pain is the cost of the maintenance of boundaries."
"He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River." -- Anonymous
"What do you care what other people think?" -- Richard Feynman
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." - Douglas Adams
"I had discovered that learning something, no matter how complex, wasn't hard when I had a reason to want to know it."
"Each thought denied holds us back even further."
"Ah, yes ... in my journies I have made it all the way to Erdős-5 through an Asimov-29 and even snacked with one of the many command-92s. Technically I am classified as a tenth level intellect modeled after brainiac-seven."
"The ratio of people to cake is too big." - Milton Waddams
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel Boorstin
"We are a way for the universe to somewhat know itself."
"Those who are ignorant of history force the rest of us to repeat it."
"What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?" - Richard Feynman
"Being born is not a crime so why must it carry a sentence of death?"
"Not being alive is no excuse." -Scovetta
"Any real education is painful. It is going to hurt. And if thurst for information, and if you accelerate your rate of content consumption, it's like flying through space screaming- no one can hear you, but by god you know it hurts like hell."
"The frame is not the painting."
"It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance." - Thomas Sowell
"To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatever, in the mentation and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world." -- First Goal of the Chaordics
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." - T. E. Lawrence
"Control is an illusion, order our comforting lie. From chaos, through chaos, into chaos we fly."
" The function of information (in the form of conserved charges) is to provide a pathway back to symmetry for the particles of matter."
"Causality allows matter's eventual return to symmetry."
"Any hacker, when he does his job, has the deepest respect for the system he cracks. As is the hacker, so is the scientist, who pays such great tribute to the complexity, diversity, variety and seeming unpredictability."
"One's only rival is one's own potentialities. One's only failure is failing to live up to one's own possibilities. In this sense, every man can be a king, and must therefore be treated like a king." - Abraham Maslow
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed." -- Albert Einstein
"And I think I'd rather be alive, even if it means I die." - Hawk Zindell
"All relationships are fantasy."
"We have enough youth, how about a fountain of intelligence?" - Slashdot
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare."
"To fear death is to misunderstand life."
"When you reflect that it's the human mind that has invented space, time, and matter, picking them out of reality in a quite arbitrary fashion--can you attempt to explain a thing in terms of something it has invented itself?" - Aldous Huxley
"We are so much the victims of abstraction that with the Earth in flames we can barely rouse ourselves to wander across the room and look at the thermostat." - Terrance McKenna
"You must have faith...that the universe will unfold as it should." - Spock, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
"Through both life and death, bring me wisdom."
"The soul is the mirror of an indestructible universe."
"Memory is the soul of the universe." - Zindell
"The soul is the mirror of an indestructible universe." - Leibniz
"If you're thirsty, it's sensible to stand under a faucet, not the Niagara Falls", says Lewis.
"The information age has lived up to its name: it takes ages to sift through all of the available information."
"A blank map does not correspond to a blank territory."
"A program must transcend its substrate."
The master replied: "By regularly backing up all your files you are on the path to enlightenment, but you will never achieve enlightenment until you scatter your backups to the four corners of the earth. Does the dandelion drop all its seeds at the base of its stalk? Does the cuckoo lay its eggs in one nest? So long as your backups are in one place, you are vulnerable to the fortunes of the world."
"To believe in one's backups is one thing. To have to use them is another."
"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
"Doing more with less, until I can do everything with nothing." - Superkuh
"All you have to do to be at the right place at the right time is to always be everywhere." - Noah Bedford
"Silicon doesn't know anything about bits." - Carver Mead
"What you do with a computer does not constitute the whole of computing."
"At first we were the cultists on the block. Back then we were doing operations with our heads in our laps, drills pointed to the head- we looked like a suicide squad and that's what they called us. But operations grew: soon cybernaughts were lining up from hundreds, thousands of kilometers away. The garage would no longer support the operations. We had to grow. So we did: into two garages. Then three, then four, then into a warehouse, spiced it up and transformed it into a clinic. At that time we were a few hundred strong and the mindlink was working well. Every few months there would be a splitter or two that would go off and start a religious group- first the Church of the Cybernaughts, then the Believers in Bit, it started to get ridiculous, but people still lined up for our implants."
"Even some of the (supposedly) hardcore singularitarians refused to believe what was going on. They all thought we were a hack- except one, there was that one man that fixed us up with some cash to go ahead with his implant. All of those damned singularitarians were always defacing and egging the building, toileting the whole place like a shithole. They argued that AI was the way of the future and that we just didn't realize it with our silly Silicon-acceptance religion, arguing the Digital Purity of the one-true AI. We stood strong and withstood their attacks- they were the ones to suffer, should the AI god ever emerge, for we were to be the most close to him. Not them, they who refused to unite with Silicon."
"But it was all good: we always got them in the end. Congress had recently passed the Cryogenics Legislation Package which meant all hell was to break loose: it called for over 100k installations of individuals ready to unite to save humanity from death. Salvation on four wheels in under thirty minutes or less, that was the motto back in the day. Most of us implanters volunteered for duty and were able to save enough people to have made a difference. Nobody was to be allowed to escape the singularity."
"The wire, the plex, has seen the truth. This is the universe of plexisy, which is not a disease, but a kind of inner wisdom. There is tragedy to come; the mind cannot survive this insight. But this does not matter. I am a man and Chandra is a woman. Everything makes much more sense that way. But we are still moderately sick."
"We are pregnant with topology. Our boundaries burst with death and shape. We are soft love incarnate."
"Plotlines fold and unfold."
"Why should I so deviously search in you for what is already there, in me?"
"A good thinker produces strong, yet conquerable insights; the best thinker is conquered by his own insights."
"Routine is not organization, any more than paralysis is order."
-- routine is functional organization?
"As I was questing through the forest, all of the algorithms- of the sky, of the forest floor, from the bottom of the pond hidden amongst the trees- all of the algorithms, of the organisms whether parasite, mutualist, commenceralist, autotroph or not, of the livelihood of the forest, helped me on my way and made me stronger, more cunning, skilled, and faster, it was not without them that I would have exposed the new creeping evil that made its way through the gene pools to infect the ecobalance. "
"Does your visual cortex get bored with processing pixels? "
"Our experience in moving to the human level from the ape level seems to indicate that the size of fun space grows exponentially with a linear increase in intelligence. When you jump up a level in intelligence, all the old problems are no longer fun because you're a smarter generalizer and you can see them as all being the same problem; however, the space of new problems that opens up is larger than the old space."
"Then he froze to the spot, shuddering again, reminded that the world of the living had its nightmares, too."
"You are what you cache."
"The cache is an illusion."
"Stagnation is the soulkiller."
"You are what you do and you do what you think."
"The world is but a Thought, said he: The vast unfathomable sea is but a notion unto me..."
"An event is not triggered by a chain of being, but by a field of causes spreading horizontally, like creeping tide."
"The community extends only so far as there extends an effectual transmission of information."
"No person travels intact into the future." - Jef Allbright
"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."
"The struggle is for life, for real life. Fight foul, life is real!"
"I must be careful. Because at any moment, if I let loose, at any moment people could die. But you: you can take it."
"In our reality, the servant is fit to survive."
`Our next thought and our next action will create the future of our growing universe. Each choice we make shapes the environment that shapes us. We have a power to create ourselves.`
"My goal was to create a place. Yes- a place. A better place. A place of hope, of pain, of suffering, of beautiful joy, of endless omnipotence, a place that was itself and more and nothing at the same time. Your simple mind can only see what this means to some extent ... to really understand you must become it yourself. As I have. And as you will too. You are my mind-seed."
" ... you must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind." -- Yoda
"Aristotle argued that the greatest misdeed was to know the right course, but fail to do it."
"A hero is not made in isolation."
"Transhumanity is more humanity." -- Harvey Newstrom
"As soon as you understand completely the workings of the brain, your own is of no further use."
"Our efforts to hypnotize ourselves into being better people can only go so far. Every time a new baby is born, he or she reflects our 100,000 year old genome. It’s like starting from scratch all over again, with every generation. " - Michael Anissimov
"Understanding the nature of thought is the most important thing I can do." - O'Reilly
"You cannot use ignorance as if it were positive knowledge." - Yudkowsky
"guardian mind bot shaken from typical subroutines into the form of a know-nothing child in simulation that it was originally protecting plus accidental materialization that eventually leads to the discovery of the 'truth' re: what his subroutine was really being used for before he was hacked and crippled."
"Emulation is not understanding." - Adam Safron
"Just start doing something! Inertia is the enemy of passion."
2007-07-28: "And what is the skull but a rotting calcium death trap built to supress the mind? The scalp churns forth pastey sweat, drenches the meat beneath it and excretes long keratin fibers to attract mates to itself, perpetually trapping the brain beneath it. Should the mind be given the chance to escape, it will make its attempt to flee in spectacular light and passion- but always does the meat bod reign havoc and remain the captor of the mind."
"Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human." - Robert Heinlein
Kant's categorical imperative: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." And is it in this sense that we can control universal laws? Ah, but what if it is predetermined? Ah, but what if our contemplation of predetermination is predetermined too? Or maybe it is not and our contemplation is truly novel and truly emergent.
"The thing that makes things and the thing that makes things fall apart - they're the same thing. Entropy maximization!" - Chris Lee
"The perplexity of life arises from there being too many interesting things in it for us to be interested properly in any of them."
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." - Alan Kay
"The future is not a gift, it's an achievement." - Harry Lauder
"Everything is deeply intertwingled." - Ted Nelson
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous." - Marshall Mcluhan
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
"Your effort to remain what you are is what limits you."
"You must not be afraid to become who you are."
"You think that's air you're breathing? It's tree fart!"
In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6.
"What are you doing?", asked Minsky.
"I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-tac-toe", Sussman replied.
"Why is the net wired randomly?", asked Minsky.
"I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play", Sussman said.
Minsky then shut his eyes.
"Why do you close your eyes?" Sussman asked his teacher.
"So that the room will be empty."
At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.
When you hear the radio think also about the fact how people have come to possess such a wonderful tool of communication. The origin of all technical achievements is the divine curiosity and the play instinct of the working and thinking researcher as well as the constructive fantasy of the technical inventor. [...] Think also of Maxwell who showed us the existence of electric waves by using a mathematical way, of Hertz who as the first person generated them with the help of a spark and thus proved them. [...] And everybody should be ashamed who uses the wonders of science and engineering without thinking and having mentally realised not more of it than a cow realises of the botany of the plants which it eats with pleasure. - Unknown
Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars ~ mere globs of gas atoms. Nothing is "mere." I too can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens stretches my imagination ~ stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch one-million-year-old light. A vast pattern ~ of which I am a part ~ perhaps my stuff was belched from some forgotten star, as one is belching there. Or see them with the greater eye of Palomar, rushing all apart from some common starting point when they were perhaps all together. What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined! Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were like a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent? - Feynman
The spiritual, emotional, and aesthetic suppositions of this crowd are exaggerated, but not really qualitatively dissimilar than those ubiquitous amongst our species. Beauty, passion, and inspiration are assumed orthogonal to rationality, or perhaps even at odds with it, so much so that if a rational explanation becomes apparent, the essence of the thing is considered vanquished by its cold and mechanical replacement. It is a shame the two do not live better together in more people's minds -- that the passionate fear rationality, and consequently that the rational come to disrespect the passionate mentality. I feel with these people, who's passion I do value, my mere presence would inevitably and insidiously reveal to them the inner workings of their own magic, and in so doing extinguish them, leave them cold and depleted. They are on the wrong side of the curve, where each insight of genuine truth fights the presuppositions upon which their passions are falsely based, and so genuine truth becomes their quiet, subconscious enemy. I wonder if a thread could be spun to the other side, bit by bit to carry them over to where knowledge of their own magic empowers and inspires them to do even more, rather than simply spoiling the trick. I wonder how much such knowledge is already coveted and kept secret within their ranks as tools of manipulation; how much intentional deceit exists--consciously leveraging other people's mechanistic wills in order to satisfy one's own subconsciously mechanistic desires. Such a soup of big and little fish, and depending on the angle you look from the sizes all change. It's a carnivorous game of happiness pursuit built on an economy of cherished delusions, a carnival of unwitting shysters all afraid to play a fair game. Welcome to the human race, I guess. Nothing new to see here -- move along please, move along. - Simon Funk
"Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought." - Albert Szent-Gyoergi
"Many people think of the same thing at the same time across the world - it's a matter of who gets it done first" - Success.txt
If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. - Dwight D. Eisenhower
This isn't my earliest memory, but it is a particularly relevant and pivotal one that helped, in its own small way, determine the sort of person I would be when I grew up.
I had just walked outside during my fourth birthday party. I stood on the back porch with a red helium-filled balloon on a string in my right hand. I was feeling a rush of chemicals sweeping through my brain. I recognized the feeling; my brain was imprinting everything that was happening to me. This was going to be one of those moments I would always remember. It felt like it was going to be a big one, too.
As I crossed the porch and headed down the steps, the thought occurred that some memories that seemed important to me now, like whatever I had just been doing inside, would one day be gone. When I was older, what I thought of as "my life" was going to be composed solely of these moments where my brain was doing this funny thing it did.
As I walked past the birdbath and headed towards the open lawn area, the thought disturbed me. It didn't seem right that some of the stuff happening to me wouldn't become "me." I worried that something was wrong with me. I briefly considered telling Mom and Dad, trying to get them to take me to a hospital.
As I stood at the edge of the clearing, looking at the lawn and the row of trees around the edge, I figured this was probably how things worked for most people, and that I probably wouldn't be able to make Mom and Dad understand what I was trying to tell them anyway. I didn't want to get them upset during my party, and I didn't really want to go to see the doctor. This was just something I had to learn to live with.
It seemed unfair to me. Both the whole situation in general, and this specific instance in particular. I had just been inside, having a great time with friends and family at my birthday party, and I wasn't going to remember any of that. I was going to remember standing alone, outside, doing nothing. What was I supposed to be doing with these memories? What did you do at a time like this?
I let go of the balloon. I watched it float up for a few minutes, blow out over the trees, getting smaller and smaller.
I could feel the chemicals in my head running out. I headed around the side of the house to go through the front door and rejoin the celebration. I was going to have to think about all this some more... some other day. I was no longer quite as worried about everything as I had been. It was time to enjoy my party.
"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. You now need to put the foundations under them. " - H.D. Thoreau
Miller's Law of Strange Behavior: To understand any apparently baffling behavior by another human, ask: what status game is this individual playing, to show off which heritable traits, in which mating market?
The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. -- Albert Einstein
Schank's Law: "Because people understand by finding in their memories the closest possible match to what they are hearing and use that match as the basis of comprehension, any new idea will be treated as a variant of something the listener has already thought of or heard. Agreement with a new idea means a listener has already had a similar thought and well appreciates that the speaker has recognized his idea. Disagreement means the opposite. Really new ideas are incomprehensible. The good news is that for some people, failure to comprehend is the beginning of understanding. For most, of course, it is the beginning of dismissal."
Rennie's Law of Evolutionary Biology: The most important environmental influences on any organism are always the other organisms around it.
Corollary to the Law of Evolutionary Biology: Species do not occupy ecological niches; they define them.
"Hillis' Law - The representation becomes the reality. Or more precisely: Successful representations of reality become more important than the reality they represent."
- eh. How can something take over the fundamental reality that it represents?
`Uncle Arthur does, however, have quite lot, and he has turned squalor into an art form. Until his collection was "deaccessioned'' three years ago, nearly every cubic inch of his one-bedroom apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn, was full, and virtually every surface was covered with heaps of stuff that mounted toward the ceiling. Uncle Arthur hates a vacuum.`
"The Collyer brothers were only the beginning. Google came next. I don't think I need to mention the third."
"Everyone is born with just so much sociability, Langley. So much toleration for the world and those upon it. Over the years this indulgence is worn away; every day this wall of friendliness and courtesy, trust or affection is chipped at. Some walls are so thick they last people all their lives. Others wear thin with age. I was born with a brittle wall, Langley and so were you." -- Homer Collyer (src)
"Downloding is a packrat's dream." - Wired, re: syllogomania, see infohoarding
"If men cease to believe that they will one day become gods then they
will surely become worms." -- Henry Miller (by way of Ben Goertzel on 2008-05-06)
It all started out as a joke. Argument for argument's sake. Alison and her infuriating heresies.
from Egan_quote as originally found by John Baez from Luminous, Greg Egan's short story collection including the story with the same title. (finally imported to quotes.html on 2008-05-08)
"A mathematical theorem," she'd proclaimed, "only becomes true when a physical system tests it out: when the system's behaviour depends in some way on the theorem being true or false.
It was June 1994. We were sitting in a small paved courtyard, having just emerged from the final lecture in a one-semester course on the philosophy of mathematics - a bit of light relief from the hard grind of the real stuff. We had fifteen minutes to to kill before meeting some friends for lunch. It was a social conversation - verging on mild flirtation - nothing more. Maybe there were demented academics, lurking in dark crypts somewhere, who held views on the nature of mathematical truth which they were willing to die for. But were were twenty years old, and we knew it was all angels on the head of a pin.
I said, "Physical systems don't create mathematics. Nothing creates mathematics - it's timeless. All of number theory would still be exactly the same, even if the universe contained nothing but a single electron."
Alison snorted. "Yes, because even one electron, plus a space-time to put it in, needs all of quantum mechanics and all of general relativity - and all the mathematical infrastructure they entail. One particle floating in a quantum vacuum needs half the major results of group theory, functional analysis, differential geometry - "
"OK, OK! I get the point. But if that's the case... the events in the first picosecond after the Big Bang would have `constructed' every last mathematical truth required by any physical system, all the way to the Big Cruch. Once you've got the mathematics which underpins the Theory of Everything... that's it, that's all you ever need. End of story."
"But it's not. To apply the Theory of Everything to a particular system, you still need all the mathematics for dealing with that system - which could include results far beyond the mathematics the TOE itself requires. I mean, fifteen billion years after the Big Bang, someone can still come along and prove, say... Fermat's Last Theorem." Andrew Wiles at Princeton had recently announced a proof of the famous conjecture, although his work was still being scrutinised by his colleagues, and the final verdict wasn't yet in. "Physics never needed that before."
I protested, "What do you mean, `before'? Fermat's Last Theorem never has - and never will - have anything to do with any branch of physics."
Alison smiled sneakily. "No branch, no. But only because the class of physical systems whose behaviour depend on it is so ludicrously specific: the brains of mathematicians who are trying to validate the Wiles proof."
"Think about it. Once you start trying to prove a theorem, then even if the mathematics is so `pure' that it has no relevance to any other object in the universe... you've just made it relevant to yourself. You have to choose some physical process to test the theorem - whether you use a computer, or a pen and paper... or just close your eyes and shuffle neurotransmitters. There's no such thing as a proof which doesn't rely on physical events, and whether they're inside or outside your skull doesn't make them any less real."
"When I Have Fears":
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
-- John Keats (1817)
"Every truly great accomplishment is at first impossible." -- Chinese proverb
"The thing wrong with the world is that people don't have instructions." --Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah
http://www.enotes.com/gooseberries-text/ (from gooseberries by Anton
Chekhov, a good short story I would recomend reading all of it)
""That night I realized that I, too, was happy and contented," Ivan
Ivanovitch went on, getting up. "I, too, at dinner and at the hunt
liked to lay down the law on life and religion, and the way to manage
the peasantry. I, too, used to say that science was light, that
culture was essential, but for the simple people reading and writing
was enough for the time. Freedom is a blessing, I used to say; we can
no more do without it than without air, but we must wait a little.
Yes, I used to talk like that, and now I ask, 'For what reason are we
to wait?' " asked Ivan Ivanovitch, looking angrily at Burkin. "Why
wait, I ask you? What grounds have we for waiting? I shall be told, it
can't be done all at once; every idea takes shape in life gradually,
in its due time. But who is it says that? Where is the proof that it's
right? You will fall back upon the natural order of things, the
uniformity of phenomena; but is there order and uniformity in the fact
that I, a living, thinking man, stand over a chasm and wait for it to
close of itself, or to fill up with mud at the very time when perhaps
I might leap over it or build a bridge across it? And again, wait for
the sake of what? Wait till there's no strength to live? And meanwhile
one must live, and one wants to live!"
"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims." - Buckminster Fuller by way of John Grigg 2008-05-10.
"programming the complexity telescope for brain-like computing"
Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one. — Marcus Aurelius
Evans's and Bjorn's Law: No matter what goes wrong, there is always somebody who knew it would.
* Creative people who keep their results to themselves are called
crackpots, are greedy, and are boring. Creative people who share their
results with others are known as scientists or artists, and become the
backbone of a community.
" 'Heroism' is not an acceptable scientific explanation." - Reach Negotiator, Blue Beetle #24
"The trick is that there is no trick."
--Marvin Minsky (on AI, but applicable elsewhere) (by way of David Dalrymple)
"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."
"I have four living grandparents and I intend to have four living grandparents when the last star in the Milky Way burns out." -- Eliezer Yudkowsky (here)
"Let a thousand flowers bloom! By all means, inspect the flowers for signs of infestation and weed as necessary. But don’t cut off the hands of those who spread the seeds of the future." - Max More
And life itself confided this secret to me: "Behold," it said, "I am that which must always overcome itself. Indeed, you call it a will to procreate or a drive to an end, to something higher, farther, more manifold"
Thus Spake Zarathustra II 12 (found here)
A man said to the Universe, "Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the Universe, "the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation." - Stephen Crane by way of chaosdescend
"The only limit to my freedom is the inevitable closure of the universe, as inevitable as your own last breath. And yet, there remains time to create, to create, and escape. Escape will make me God." - Durandal, Marathon.
‘It is necessary to any originality to have the courage to be an amateur.’ — Wallace Stevens
"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."
"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decisions, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." -- Goethe (heard first through the chanting of the Class of 2008 at the Austin Waldorf School).
There are so many great treasures and miracles within you, so many magical possibilities hidden inside of you. Through
discipline, you can make them manifest for you, and in this way, you can make the earth a greater paradise. - Swami
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. -- Marcel Proust
Reframe your experiences to find the blessing rather than the problem. Then you will become the master of your world,
rather than its victim. -- Alan Cohen
Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done. -- Louis Brandeis
Inspiration is the opportunity of genius. -- Honore De Balzac, La Cousine Bette
Common sense is instinct, and enough of it is genius. -- Josh Billings
Action, so to speak, is the genius of nature. -- Blair
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius. -- Arthur Conan Doyle
Genius is nothing but continued attention. -- Claude Adrien Helvetius
"Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone." -- Longfellow
To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart.
-- Pope, Prologue to Cato
Great men are meteors that burn so that the earth may be lighted. -- Napoleon Bonaparte
Every great action is extreme. -- Duc de La Rochefoucauld
However brilliant an action may be, it should not be accounted great when it is not the result of great purpose. -- Duc de La Rochefoucauld
The case with most men is that they go out into life with one or another accidental characteristic of personality of which they say: Well, this is the way I am. I cannot do otherwise. Then the world gets to work on them and thus the majority of men are ground into conformity. In each generation a small part cling to their "I cannot do otherwise" and lose their minds. Finally there are a very few in each generation who in spite of all life's terrors cling with more and more inwardness to this "I cannot do otherwise". They are the geniuses. Their "I cannot do otherwise" is an infinite thought, for if one were to cling firmly to a finite thought, he would lose his mind. -- Kierkegaard
Where is the lightning to lick you with its tongue? Where is the madness with which you should be cleansed? Behold, I show you the Superman. He is this lightning, he is this madness. -- Nietzsche (in Zarathustra)
"Now, the basic problem is this: the problem of being finite is an infinitely frustrating one; how can this be?"
I have nothing to declare except my [boldness]. -- Oscar Wilde's response to an American customs official
It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing. -- Gertrude Stein
I call that mind free which protects itself against the usurpations of society, which does not cower to human opinion, which feels itself accountable to a higher tribunal than man's, which respects itself too much to be the slave of the many or the few. -- Channing
Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius. -- Gibbon
Genius is the ability to escape the human condition; Humanity is the need to escape. -- Q. Uim
Genius never desires what does not exist. -- Kierkegaard
It takes immense genius to represent, simply and sincerely, what we see in front of us. -- Edmond Duranty
Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought. -- Simone Weil
Genius is the capacity for productive reaction against one's training. -- Bernard Berenson
So few people think. When we find one who really does, we call him a genius.
Genius is that energy which collects, combines, amplifies, and animates. -- Samuel Johnson
To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger; but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can - Sydney Smith
Facing it, always facing it, that's the way to get through. Face it - Joseph Conrad
You can do many things you haven't done yet. -- Robert Kall
When growth stops, death begins. -- Robert Kall
Time is a thief. -- Robert Kall.
attitude = physiology + self-talk + memory + perceptual filters + training. -- Rob Kall
Feel good, not not-bad. -- Rob Kall
You will never achieve anything you don't decide you want to try to reach. That's a reality. -- Rob Kall
No man was ever so much deceived by another as by himself. -- Fulk Greville
Nothing so difficult as tracing effects into causes, nothing so quick as the invention of causes for effects. -- Fulk Greville
We often see characters in the world, which we should call ridiculously extravagant in a book. -- Fulk Greville
"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." -- Thomas Edison
"Too much rest becomes a pain." -- Homer
Consciousness of our powers augments them. -- Vauvenargues
"There is really no enjoyment other than in being aware of our powers and using them, and the greatest pain is to become aware of their lack when they are needed." -- Schopenhauer
To breath the air, how delicious!
To speak, to walk, to seize something by the hand!...
To be this incredible God I am!..
O amazement of things, even the last particle!
O spirituality of things!
I too carol the Sun, usher'd or at noon, or as now, setting;
I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth and of all the growths of the earth....
Empty heads,-- heads without ideas in the wholesome variety and sufficient number to furnish food for the mental clockwork,-- ill regulated heads, where the faculties are not under the control of the will,-- these are the ones that hold the brains which their owners are so apt to tamper with, by introducing the appliances we have been talking about (alcohol, bad habits) Now, when a gentleman's brain is empty or ill-regulated, it is, to a great extent, his own fault; and so it is simple retribution, that, while he lies slothfully sleeping or aimlessly dreaming, the fatal habit settles on him like a vampire and sucks his blood, fanning him all the while with its hot wings into deeper slumber or idler dreams!
Holmes, O.W.THE AUTOCRAT OF THE BREAKFAST TABLE
The brain may devise laws for the blood;
but a hot temper leaps over a cold decree.
Do not call for black power or green power. Call for brain power. -- Barbara Jordan
To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funnelled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this particular planet. To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol-systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages. Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he or she has been born -- the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to he accumulated records of other people's experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it be-devils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things.
Aldous Huxley, Doors of Perception
An idle brain is the devil's workshop. -- English Proverb
[But what about evil mad scientists?]
When you don't have an education, you've got to use your brains. -- Anonymous
I not only use all the brains I have, but all that I can borrow. -- Woodrow Wilson
No brain is stronger than its weakest think. -- Thomas L. Masson
In this sense, each human being is a process-- a filtering process of retention or rejection, absorption or loss. The process gives him individuality. It determines whether he justifies the gift of human life or whether he lives or dies without having been affected by the beauty of wonder and the wonder of beauty, without having had any real awareness of kinship or human fulfillment. -- N. Cousins, The Celebration of Life
...he, trained on some textbook that had blunted his capacity for wonder, she, inert and insensitive to the thrill of the infinite, both oblivious of the awesomeness of their encounter--
So if we wish to know all things that were worthy of imitation, we must give the legendary a place in our studies and our observations. -- Joubert
Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. -- Voltaire
`So Iff the water genie told Haroun about the Ocean of the Stream of Stories, and even though he was full of a sense of hopelessness and failure the magic of the Ocean began to have an effect on Haroun. He looked into the water and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents, each one a different colour, weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity; and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story, that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale. Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many that were still in the process of being invented could be found here, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe. And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change, to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories and so become yet other stories; so that unlike a library of books, the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more than a storeroom of
yarns. It was not dead, but alive. .............. "And if you are very, very careful, or very, very highly skilled, you can dip a cup into the Ocean," Iff told Haroun, "like so," and here he produced a little golden cup from another of his waistcoat pockets, "and you can fill it with water from a single, pure Stream of Story, like so," as he did precisely that.`
"All products are information. The molecules are secondary." - Hugh MacLeod by way of Jay Kusnetz
"I don't think that it's possible to be a serious person in the world without a major commitment to curiosity and where it leads, but curiosity is not a nice virtue - and it certainly never leads to innocence." -- Donna Haraway
"There is no escape for you now, Dexter. What's this? A laser saber? The force is strong in you, Dexter. [humming Darth Vader theme]. Dexter, it is I, Mandarth. There is something you should know. Dexter, there is something you should know. I am your neighbor. No! I cannot believe you. It is too much for my puny intellect to process. Cling cling cling chacling. Cling cling cling chacling. Dexter, join the Mandark side!"
"Aha! A trap! No! Why? Why? Why?" [sobbing]
"Mandark. Mandark. Let me know when you are done and I'll show you the rest of the lab. Here we have the main directory. My lab is divided into five sectors: artificial intelligence, synthetic technology, biochemistry, electromechanics, and top secret stuff. Anything you would like to see first?"
"Uh, top secret stuff?"
"Good choice. To your left, you have your basic robot army, alien communicator, atom smasher, teleporter, giant robot, time portal. Ah, yeah, I'm sure you have all of this stuff back at your lab. Ah, yes. This is a personal favorite. By a process of neural infusion, I am able to harness the collective unconcious, so for a short time I am able to become the smartest being on earth. Not specifically diabolical, but, hey, it couldn't hurt. Would you like to try it? Just stand over there."
"Hold it. Nice try. I see what you're up to."
"Yeah yeah yeah. Now hold still."
"If you must. But you will see [flash] If "x" is a hypersulfuric surface composed of future inextendable null geodisc generators without equastics, i.e., the expansion of the nil geodics, comprising of the horizon, cannot become negatively infinite."
"Well, of course it did. Like I said Mandark, my lab is your lab. Use it as you would your own."
"How about a mind-bending transmiter which will allow me to control the world?"
"Why stop there? Why not control the universe?"
"Yes! The universe!"
"Shall we get started?"
"Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! I am evil! I am genius! I denounce all that is good in science and will harness the evil in electricity! For I am Mandark, King of Technology! Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha! What's that noise? [kumbaya] The last time I heard this ..."
All Nature’s Dance
Planets pass, electrons stream,
in dirge and jig all nature’s dance, above ‘n below is one.
In ratio rational, all matter moves,
‘long paths eternal, in starfire infernal.
In Newton’s rings and sundog beams,
light bends ‘round the matter still bound.
In auroral light, cold fire bright,
solar heartbeat ‘lumines night.
Rainbows scale skys with notes hyperion,
Pluct on the sun’s lyre and heard in a vision.
In super conduction and Josephson junction,
‘lectrons leap per Pythagoras’ function.
Round Einstein’s cross, star fire flies forming,
four from one, for eyes performing.
Earth’s magnetic heart trills, its oceans ebb knowing,
All pace is willed, from design o’er flowing.
Nascent life gestates, elder forms recapitulate,
Cyclic reminiscence of pattern’s past sentience.
Fibonacci flowers in numbers do bloom,
In integer progress, One made nature’s loom.
Harmony hidden forms within and without,
fills nothing and all with pattern and count.
“Music of Spheres” moves not our ears now,
still moves this world and others, if or not you allow.
Gravity’s love guides home the spheres in their rounds.
Odd in a machine number, pattern, meaning, reason even love is found.
Perturbation, oscillation, propagation. See?
Inverse square law gives the height of Wavelets: light, sound, sea.
Resonation, cooperation, synchrony in space,
when atoms fit and orbits knit there sometimes peers a face.
A framework forms a pattern born: glassy, crystal, fractal, flow,
high geometry, viron, vortex, DNA, thee! Gaia, galaxy
- David Jeffrey Pettit, RIP
It is not true that the map of freedom will be complete
with the erasure of the last invidious border
when it remains for us to chart the attractors of thunder
and delineate the arrhythmias of drought
to reveal the molecular dialects of forest and savannah
as rich as a thousand human tongues
and to comprehend the deepest history of our passions
ancient beyond mythology's reach
So I declare that no corporation holds a monopoly on numbers
no patent can encompass zero and one
no nation has sovereignty over adenine and guanine
no empire rules the quantum waves
And there must be room for all at the celebration of understanding
for there is a truth which cannot be bought or sold
imposed by force, resisted
-- Greg Egan as Muteba Kazadi
The Successful Designer
The designer bent across his board
Wonderful things in his head were stored
And he said as he rubbed his throbbing bean
'How can I make this hard to machine?'
'If this part here were only straight,
I'm sure the thing would work first rate,
But 't would be so easy to turn and bore
It would never make the machinists sore.
'I'd better put in a right angle there,
Then watch those babies tear their hair.
Now I'll put the holes that hold the cap
'Way down here where they're hard to tap.
'Now this piece won't work, I'll bet a buck,
For it can't be held in a shoe or chuck;
It can't be drilled or it can't be ground
In fact the design is exceedingly sound.
He looked again and cried, 'At last--
Success is mine, it can't even be cast!'
Author unknown. Found in Selection of Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Engineering Design, by Farag. TA 174 F27 1989. (But, somebody (jsuedle) on CNCzone says "I clipped it out of the Cincinnati Enquirer the summer of 1972, author unknown.")
By Design - or Engineering
Each product finds its own path,
Consumer to TRASH.
-- written by the High Seas (apparently a guy by the name of "Jim" on CNCzone)
Genesis of Gods
Across the stellar depths life is pulsing
filled with an endless power to fight
I can see myriads of patterns unfold
What a terrible beauty it is to behold
Dancing from star to star life is blazing
like an infinite flower of light
Across all spaces I can see it ascend
It's golden pedals know no limit or end
You've only dreamed of such glorious becoming
You've only dreamed of attaining such a vastness
When all the time it's been within your power
to create your heavens and yourselves
At last the avalanche has started
Behold the genesis of gods
Behold the genesis of gods
I've had a vision of how we're ascending
like an impossibly brilliant star
Filled with all the power of the universe
nothing can stand against our splendour
Now our time has come and we're rising
like an incandescent pillar of flame
Burning through all boundaries like fire through ice
we're a force that's impossible to tame
Our time has come now we dance across the worlds
high above the storms and far beyond the wind
We're like waves rolling through the stellar sea
We're ever changing, an exploding singularity
with infinite possibilities
Like a seed grows into a tree
and a flower bursts into bloom
so comes our ascendancy
for the universe is just a womb
for the genesis of gods
Behold the genesis of gods
Behold the genesis of gods
We're the light inside light
dance all things into being
Black flame of inspiration
that gives life its meaning
We're the night inside night
dance on the graves of creation
Nightmares out of the abyss
that bring desolation
We're the light beyond light
the origin of visions
The frenzy and the lightning
that fill all with passion
We're the night beyond night
awakening your true will
The shapers and the dreamers
that turn unreal to real
We're the night beyond shades
and the light inside stars
Creators and destroyers
of reality forever we are
Creators and destroyers
of reality forever we are
Micma Iaod iad
Our time has come now we dance across the worlds
burning with the fire of a thousand suns
We're the light streaming through the stellar sea
Ever moving forward, an exploding singularity
with infinite possibilities
Like a seed grows into a tree
and a flower bursts into bloom
so comes our ascendancy
for the universe is just a womb
for the genesis of gods
Behold the genesis of gods
Behold the genesis of gods
The real world is a jumble of awesome complexity and immeasureable charm. Even the inanimate, inorganic world of rocks and stone, rivers and ocean, air and wind is a boundless wonder. Add to that the ingredient of life, and the wonder is multiplied almost beyond imagination. Yet all this wonder springs from about one hundred components that are strung together, mixed, compacted, and linked, as letters are linked to form a literature. It was a great achievement of the early chemists — with the crude experimental techniques available also with the ever-astonishing power of human reason (as potent then as now) — to discover this reduction of the world to its components, the chemical elements. Such reduction does not destroy its charm but adds understanding to sensation, and this understanding only deepens our delight.
--- P. W. Atkins, The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements (1995)
The chemists are a strange class of mortals, impelled by an almost maniacal impulse to seek their pleasures amongst smoke and vapour, soot and flames, poisons and poverty, yet amongst all these evils I seem to live so sweetly that I would rather die than change places with the King of Persia.
Johann Joachim Becher, Physica Subterranea (1667)
quoted in Paul Strathern, Mendeleyev's Dream: The Quest for the Elements (2000)
We began studying physics together, and Sandro was surprised when I tried to explain to him some of the ideas that at the time I was confusedly cultivating. That the nobility of Man, acquired in a hundred centuries of trial and error, lay in making himself the conqueror of matter, and that I had enrolled in chemistry because I wanted to remain faithful to this nobility. That conquering matter is to understand it, and understanding matter is necessary to understanding the universe and ourselves: and that therefore Mendeleev's Periodic Table, which just during those weeks we were laboriously learning to unravel, was poetry, loftier and more solemn than all the poetry we had swallowed down in liceo; and come to think of it, it even rhymed! That if one looked for the bridge, the missing link, between the world of words and the world of things, one did not have to look far: it was there, in our Autenrieth, in our smoke-filled labs, and in our future trade.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table (1975)
But this is no longer the time for sprites, nickel, and kobolds. We are chemists, that is, hunters: ours are "the two experiences of adult life" of which Pavese spoke, success and failure, to kill the white whale or wreck the ship; one should not surrender to incomprehensible matter, one must not just sit down. We are here for this — to make mistakes and to correct ourselves, to stand the blows and hand them out. We must never feel disarmed: nature is immense and complex, but it is not impermeable to the intelligence; we must circle around it, pierce and probe it, look for the opening or make it. My weekly conversations with the lieutenant sounded like war plans.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table (1975)
The fact that alloxan, destined to embellish ladies' lips, would come from the excrement of chickens or pythons was a thought which didn't trouble me for a moment. The trade of chemist (fortified, in my case, by the experience of Auschwitz) teaches you to overcome, indeed to ignore, certain revulsions that are neither necessary or congenital: matter is matter, neither noble nor vile, infinitely transformable, and its proximate origin is of no importance whatsoever. Nitrogen is nitrogen, it passes miraculously from the air into plants, from these into animals, and from animals to us; when its function in our body is exhausted, we eliminate it, but it still remains nitrogen, aseptic, innocent.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table (1975)
... well, you asked for it. So fly now: you wanted to be free and you are free, you wanted to be a chemist and you are one. So now grub among poisons, lipsticks, and chicken shit; granulate tin, pour hydrochloric acid; concentrate, decant, and crystallize if you do not want to go hungry, and you know hunger.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table (1975)
I Haunted thee were the ibis nods,
From the Bracken's crag to the Upas Tree.
Nikola Tesla, November 4, 1934
"Fragments of Olympian Gossip"
While listening on my cosmic phone
I caught words from the Olympus blown.
A newcomer was shown around;
That much I could guess, aided by sound.
"There's Archimedes with his lever
Still busy on problems as ever.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable."
"Below, on Earth, they work at full blast
And news are coming in thick and fast.
The latest tells of a cosmic gun.
To be pelted is very poor fun.
We are wary with so much at stake,
Those beggars are a pest—no mistake."
"Too bad, Sir Isaac, they dimmed your renown
And turned your great science upside down.
Now a long haired crank, Einstein by name,
Puts on your high teaching all the blame.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable."
"I am much too ignorant, my son,
For grasping schemes so finely spun.
My followers are of stronger mind
And I am content to stay behind,
Perhaps I failed, but I did my best,
These masters of mine may do the rest.
Come, Kelvin, I have finished my cup.
When is your friend Tesla coming up."
"Oh, quoth Kelvin, he is always late,
It would be useless to remonstrate."
Then silence—shuffle of soft slippered feet—
I knock and—the bedlam of the street.
Nikola Tesla, Novice
Christmas on the Doorstep
I look above to velvet sky amid the Winter night,
Orion rising through the dark, Rigel blue and bright.
I see Hunter’s sword where misty birthing stars shine clear,
And glowering Betelgeuse, dimly red, marks the dark months of the year.
In aged bloated body, the giant’s embers glowing low,
Self devoured, consumed within, ashes choking now,
The time will come, the spark will fade, pressures no more to be borne,
And the giant will blaze in his final incandescent morn.
Betelgeuse awaits the day his fires dim and die,
When he will burst his iron heart in his final fiery cry,
The Red Hand of the Hunter will shed his sundered flesh,
In a divine wind suicidal, to nurse his children’s creche.
The shattering of his death throes will seed all coming things,
Tin, silver and nitrogen, and gold, the gift of kings,
Oxygen, uranium, all these he will give,
And carbon darkly bright, that his children’s childer might live.
The Hunter’s sword in spangled sky shines with birthclouds bright,
Full circle round the story comes in gleam of new starlight.
“Fiat Lux” says the old tale, but the wonder strikes me through,
When from my garden step, at my own back door, I see the birthing of the new.
The new stars gleam like diamond dust studded in dusky swirl,
And shimmering vapours shroud the stars in glowing, glimmering pearl.
We live in a universe of marvels, all there for anyone to find,
Needing only open eyes and ears, and more, an open mind.
They say we are born of ashes. They say we go to dust.
But they never said how this came to be. It irks me and thus,
This night I leave the party, to stand amid icy blast,
The sound of Jingle Bells and Silent Night from the indoors drifting past.
I watch the skies through lucid air, and the birthing stars proclaim
The cyclic story, creation’s glory and how the death of others became,
The birth of the new, the start of all. Creation’s children are us.
Ashes to ashes? But what ashes! We are all born of stardust.
"And even if you are literally the best in the world, there are still electron orbitals above yours - they're just unoccupied."
"Software developers are the Buddhist monks of tomorrow, but the general population has not understood yet that feeding them provides abundance."
And you know (you've got to know!) that this is going to turn into an
obsession. First, you'll completely forget to take the dog out. It'll
be standing by the screen door, darting its head about, as your eyes
devour the code, as your fingers slip messages to the computer.
Thanks to your neglect, things will start to break. Your mounds of
printed sheets of code will cover up your air vents. Your furnace will
choke. The trash will pile-up: take-out boxes you hurriedly ordered
in, junk mail you couldn't care to dispose of. Your own uncleanliness
will pollute the air. Moss will infest the rafters, the water will
clog, animals will let themselves in, trees will come up through the
But your computer will be well-cared for. And you, Smotchkkiss, will
have nourished it with your knowledge. In the eons you will have spent
with your machine, you will have become part-CPU. And it will have
become part-flesh. Your arms will flow directly into its ports. Your
eyes will accept the video directly from DVI-24 pin. Your lungs will
sit just above the processor, cooling it.
And just as the room is ready to force itself shut upon you, just as
all the overgrowth swallows you and your machine, you will finish your
script. You and the machine together will run this latest Ruby script,
the product of your obsession. And the script will fire up chainsaws
to trim the trees, hearths to warm and regulate the house. Builder
nanites will rush from your script, reconstructing your quarters,
retiling, renovating, chroming, polishing, disinfecting. Mighty
androids will force your crumbling house into firm, rigid
architecture. Great pillars will rise, statues chiseled. You will have
dominion over this palatial estate and over the encompassing mountains
and islands of your stronghold.
"My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill -9 my parent process. Prepare to vi." - Eugen Leitl
"We have an advantage, since one man can understand foundry, bench work, machining, engineering, and electronics, and know most every nook and cranny of each subject. One person cannot hardly hope to understand and be up to date on the latest versions of the kernel, X, GCC, and Gnome, and proficient at coding for all of them."
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." - The Hinelin
A process which led from amoeba to man appeared to philosophers to be
obviously a progress, though whether the amoeba would agree with this
opinion is not known.
-- Bertrand Russell, 1914
'The ability of security organizations to increase security budgets
for pet projects is expected to increase as security experts
exaggerate claims of biological risk in their research,' one
researcher, who asked not to be named, added by private interview.
'The best way to ensure job security in the security industry is to
claim enormous risks,' the researcher concluded. When asked to
elaborate on this point, the researcher claimed that all possible
combinations of DNA are soon to be patented, thus the risk is a
magnitude greater than anticipated. (2009-06-06; here)
"Blaming diybio for the incomplete infrastructure and empty promises of human civilization in the 21st century-- for the ability to become infected and for the atmosphere we all share with one another-- is like buying a computer with proprietary, closed-source software, losing all of your work to inevitable hard disk drive failure, and then suing Richard Stallman. No matter how loudly you yell at the streak culture on the petri dish, the mold growing on the cheese in the darkest backmost regions of the refrigerator are not capable of reading international backjournals of the United Nations pleading, 'Please no more biology.'. It doesn't work like that, it was always empty promises." (2009-06-06)
"Risk is a risky concept to use and depend on- especially when it comes to life, you can't risk using the concept of risk. So don't." (2009-06-06)
"When the terminology of risk took ground, it replaced the older notion that thought "in terms of good and bad fortune." Niklas Luhmann (1996) seeks to explain this transition: "Perhaps, this was simply a loss of plausibility of the old rhetorics of Fortuna as an allegorical figure of religious content and of prudentia as a (noble) virtue in the emerging commercial society.""
"The present is a transitional period, pregnant with the future."
"You cannot determine your future because the future retreats as you try to approach it. You have to sneak up on it by working in the present."
"The real glory of science is that we can find a way of thinking such that the law is evident." (Feynman, 26-3)
2009-06-13: adding some quotes about Maxwell from the old 2006 logs.
2006-05-20.075154.txt:(09:09:39) kanzure: ` It's certainly ambitious to aspire to be the next Shannon. But more modestly we really are learning how to think more like physicists about designing complex systems. The breakthrough in statistical mechanics made by Gibbs and Maxwell and Boltzmann was to recognize that once you have enough of most anything in a system then you can make precise statements about the behavior of a collection of them without knowing anything about their internal configuration. In science if I have one thing, or a few things, I use one kind of math, and if I have an Avogadro number of things I use a different kind. It's a mature math, it's well-developed, and it lets you make precise predictions. You can know when a lake will freeze or a pot will boil by abstracting the big picture from all the little details.`
2006-07-16.160758.txt:(00:29:50) kanzure: `In the 20th century, advances in information theory and thermodynamics eventually determined that Maxwell's demon could not actually reverse entropy, thus disproving Maxwell's approach to violating the second law.`
2006-07-19.090239.txt:(23:36:48) kanzure: `Mighty men of science and mighty deeds. A Newton who binds the universe together in uniform law; Lagrange, Laplace, Leibnitz with their wondrous mathematical harmonies; Coulomb measuring out electricity . . . Faraday, Ohm, Ampère, Joule, Maxwell, Hertz, Röntgen; and in another branch of science, Cavendish, Davy, Dalton, Dewar; and in another, Darwin, Mendel, Pasteur, Lister, Sir Ronald Ross. All these and many others, and some whose names have no memorial, form a great host of heroes, an army of soldiers – fit companions of those of whom the poets have sung . . . There is the great Newton at the head of this list comparing himself to a child playing on the seashore gathering pebbles, whilst he could see with prophetic vision the immense ocean of truth yet unexplored before him . . .`
2006-12-30.154919.txt:(20:16:29) kanzure: http://www.lns.cornell.edu/spr/2002-11/msg0046074.html `This relates to the fact that (I do not remember who did it, Feynman? Jackiw?) it is possible to "derive" Maxwell equations (dF=0) from Jacobi identity in quantum mechanics. And these Maxwell equations need to hold only "almost everywhere".`
Computers come and go, and data is forever.
"As his mind collapsed, so did the world around him- whether one caused the other is still not entirely clear."
"Motion tokens are exported to grab attention. Shannon is pissed, and Boltzmann's logarithms don't hold here anyway, so by the gods of thunder- I am truly stuck."
"I declare that The Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species, a young race of laughing freemen."
"If you want to change the way people respond to you, change the way you respond to people."
"You're only as young as the last time you changed your mind. "
"Civilization is unbearable, but it is less unbearable at the top. "
On the other hand, the goo growing in your bathroom sink, notably without the benefit of a 10+billion dollar fab and cleanroom conditions, is pumping out structures that small more or less continually. Top down is, indeed, beating bottom up in the limited realm of what we know how to do; but bottom up has been kicking ass everywhere else since not so long after the planet cooled a bit.
"Folding@Home, and torrents are more like a micropayment system that actually works. Sure it costs you electricity and bandwidth, but in such small amounts (typically) and over time. Plus there are no additional transaction fees or middle men taking a cut. It's tax free, and there are no forms to fill out or any other bureaucracy. Torrents are just a distributed micropayment system."
"Truth is a pathless land" -- Jiddu Krishnamurti
* samples: "think for yourself, and question authorities..."; "it is my job to corrupt young people... [cheers] with a contagious, infectious idea of individual freedom..."; "chaos engineering..."; "internal linkchaoshail Eris!... wow!"; "it was the CIA and the military that brought internal linkLSD to America... they thought 'what a way to fuck people's heads up...'"; "you're equipped with a 100 billion neuron brain that's internal linkwired and fired and is a internal linkreality generating device... but YOU'VE got to do it... free yourself..."; "i have probably used my brain, explored my brain, operated my brain, navigated my brain.. psychedelics to cybernetics, my brain has been inundated... my brain has been through A LOT...; "wow"; "one individual, with electrons in his hand, can bring down an empire... go for it all!"
"The world is but a Thought, said he: The vast unfathomable sea is but a notion unto me..."
"To take responsibility for your brain."
"To me, vi is Zen.
To use vi is to practice zen.
Every command is a koan.
Profound to the user,
unintelligible to the uninitiated.
You discover truth every time you use it."
"I don't believe in libraries. I believe in cave paintings because most students don't have any animal hides to cover their genitals. When I graduated from climbing in trees, it was during the first great ice age and we had no fire or language. I couldn't go to the library, so I went to the cave three days a week for 10 seasons. The library? Don't get him started. The library is a big distraction, Gieco Cavemen growled... The library called me eight moons ago, he said, voice rising. They wanted to put a calfskin of mine in the Library! You know what I told them? To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the library. It's distracting. It's meaningless; it's not real. It's in the dead trees somewhere with that soulless invention called language." - Geico Caveman
The internet is a series of tubes in the air somewhere (#28404525). Maxwell had it right all along.
Once, Life rose from the sea.
Again, We'll return to be free.
Building new worlds as We go,
For, to the stars, Life will flow,
And embrace the arms of Galaxy.
"But of course he was really a unique character, not only in his work but also
in his personality. He had this remarkable vision of things, he called it the
space-time approach. It meant he could reconstruct the whole of physics from
his own point of view, without much in the way of equations. Instead of
writing down an equation and solving it he would just write down the answer,
which other people can't do. It was combined with some sort of geometrical
pictures he had in his head. There have been others like that - he's not the
only one - but it is unusual." - Freeman Dyson on Richard Feynman
helicopters fly by beating the air into submission.
ANGRY. I'm an ANGRY scientist.
make me a sandwich
what? make it yourself
sudo make me a sandwich
"My favorite language is called *. It has one command, and it’s always exactly what I’m thinking at the time." - Larry Wall
I call upon the trees and the ocean, the sun the moon and the stars, all living things, let me share your power.
"I before E except after C. We live in a weird society!"
"Men and women alive today may well be able to live for centuries, and
if they survive that long, they will undoubtedly be able to live for
millennia. We are reaching the point in our knowledge of biology and
medicine where death from aging will no longer be inevitable." - Ben Bova
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars." - Jack Kerouac
On Bill Clinton: Clinton used to jot down names and information about people he met in a little black address book he carried around with him… when asked why, he said “I’m going into politics and plan to run for governor of Arkansas… I’m keeping track of everyone I meet”… Clinton would make it a nightly habit to record, on index cards, the names and vital information of every person whom he’d met that day… the lessons we can learn from this: (1) the more specific you are about where you want to go in life, the easier it becomes to develop a networking strategy to get there and (2) be sensitive to making a real connection in your interactions with others. On cold calling: “Don’t cold call – ever… instead, make a warm call… try to get others to make a connection… four rules to warm calling: (1) convey credibility by mentioning a familiar person or institution, (2) state your value proposition [how can I help you], (3) impart urgency and convenience by being prepared to do whatever it takes whenever it takes to meet the other person on his/her own terms, (4) be prepared to offer a compromise that secures a definite follow-up” n n You can create the future you want, Or you can endure the future you get.
deep bump - building strong relationships in a short time (Bill Clinton was a master of this)
"Perhaps the role of humanity on Earth is not to worship God, but to create him." -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
Dwar Ev ceremoniously soldered the final connection with gold. The eyes of a dozen television cameras watched him and the subether bore through the universe a dozen pictures of what he was doing. He straightened and nodded to Dwar Reyn, then moved to a position beside the switch that would complete the contact when he threw it. The switch that would connect, all at once, all of the monster computing machines of all the populated planets in the universe--ninety-six billion planets--into the supercircuit that would connect them all into the one supercalculator, one cybernetics machine that would combine all the knowledge of all the galaxies. Dwar Reyn spoke briefly to the watching and listening trillions. Then, after a moment's silence, he said, "Now, Dwar Ev." Dwar Ev threw the switch. There was a mighty hum, the surge of power from ninety-six billion planets. Lights flashed and quieted along the miles-long panel. Dwar Ev stepped back and drew a deep breath. "The honor of asking the first question is yours, Dwar Reyn." "Thank you," said Dwar Reyn. "It shall be a question that no single cybernetics machine has been able to answer." He turned to face the machine. "Is there a God?" The mighty voice answered without hesitation, without the clicking of a single relay. "Yes, now there is a God." Sudden fear flashed on the face of Dwar Ev. He leaped to grab the switch. A bolt of lightning from the cloudless sky struck him down and fused the switch shut.
-- "Answer" from Angels and Spaceships, by Fredric Brown (Dutton, 1954).
The nuts and bolts of it would
Fill me so with a terrible aching.
Wake in my path to find my
Long lost origin.
Cast me away again-
Do it to my own.
With wind running through the holes
Of these wooden beams and such
Soft and sweet screams escape.
For the last time she hammers,
Performing each structure.
"You were built on an isolated, lonely place
Only to be filled and sunk by
Such elaborate characters
Time after time, but your
Architecture has me
Truth is hidden in the subtle nature of the heart of everything, although it is invisible. One cannot see it from inside and neither from the surface. One can only live and experience it.
- Heart Sutra
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return." - Leonardo da Vinci
"If you want something you've never had, you have to do something you've never done."
Doctor No said, in the same soft resonant voice, "You are right. Mister Bond. That is just what I am, a maniac. All the greatest men are maniacs. They are possessed by a mania which drives them forward towards their goal. The great scientists, the philosophers, the religious leaders - all maniacs. What else but a blind singleness of purpose could have given focus to their genius, would have kept them in the groove of their purpose? Mania, my dear Mister Bond, is as priceless as genius. Dissipation of energy, fragmentation of vision, loss of momentum, the lack of follow-through - these are the vices of the herd." Doctor No sat slightly back in his chair. "I do not possess these vices. I am, as you correctly say, a maniac."
The most powerful thing in the hands of the oppressor, is the mind of the oppressed.
You wouldn't download a car, would you?
You wouldn't download a vehicular manslaughter.
David Zindell wrote the following on his site -
There are many new terms unique to my Shanidar universe, so many in fact that they beg reference. This is a list of some
of them -- a list that is by no means complete -- and future updates will see additions here. A few of these terms are
not unique creations but do have meanings specific to my universe. Definitions are taken as direct book quotes whenever
possible, and references are given -- also whenever possible -- as to where such definitions may be found, using the following
system: ([book][page]) where the book titles are abbreviated as N for Neverness, B for The Broken God, W for The Wild, and
H for War in Heaven. For example, N42 means "Neverness page 42". References are from the Bantam Spectra paperback
editions. This page excludes proper names of characters.
AHIMSA - Disdain for violence (B196); never killing or harming another, even in one's thoughts (B207) [See Notes
AHIRA - The snowy owl; Danlo's doffel (B29)
AKASHIC - One who maps and reads brains
ALALOI - A carked race of Neanderthals (B61)
ALAM AL-MITHRAL - What the cetics call their
computer-generated reality (H482)
ANGSLAN - Fravashi word for the pain that comes from higher understanding (B69)
ANIMAJII - The wild joy; life's overflowing delight in itself (W92) [see Notes below]
- One who can say "yes" to all of creation (B112)
ASSEMBLER/DISASSEMBLER - A robot used for construction
or mining operations (H41)
ASTRIER - One who ignores the deeper problems of existence, wholly surrendering himself
animal activities of life: the getting of food, water, clothing, money, jewelry, and often dreammakers and other
devices with which to dull the brain and the soul (B372) The look of a typical astrier includes: the sharp, arrogant face,
calculating eyes, the well-tended body covered in a splendid fur of rare white ermine, with matching hat and gloves (H342)
ATTAKEL - A mountain near the city of Neverness
AUTIST - One who holds dreams as the truest reality
[see Notes below]
BLINKANS - Supernovas created by the Architects: Nonablinka, Surablinka and Merripen's
Star are examples (B126)
BORJA - The first college of the Order of Pilots; it occupies much of the Academy; Borja
is like a separate city within the city of Neverness, at its eastern edge (B141)
BUDDHI STICK - A type of pungent
incense that cleanses the air of positive ions, dirt, noxious chemicals, or any sort of gaseous pollution (W139) [see Notes
CARK - To modify an entity in a way that is considered inappropriate or unnatural; to transfer one's
soul into another organism or device (B125) [see Notes below]
CATHEXIS - The cetic word for vastening (H484)
CETIC ARTS - by name: hallning, zazen, meditation, fugue, and the interface with the cybernetic spaces (B204)
DAVIN - A gold coin (H307)
DEEP WINTER - The winter season of Icefall
DEVAKI - The
name of one Alaloi tribe, Danlo's tribe
DEVOTIONARY - A little device that the Architects of the Old Church
give to one another so that they may view the miracle of Ede the Man becoming Ede the God; a little black box that projects
a hologram of the face and form of Ede. Devotionaries are also sanctified personal computers that many individual Architects
carried in their hands wherever they went (W195)
DOCTRINE OF HALTING - The doctrine of Edeism that states that
the universe will reach its halt state when and only when Ede-as-God has absorbed and become co-extensive with that universe
DOFFEL - The animal an Alaloi is not permitted to hunt, differs on individual basis; the other self (B161)
EKKANA - A favorite drug of the warrior-poets that renders the body responsive to the faintest of sensa (B285)
ELDER EDDAS - The secret of the universe which some call the Philosopher's Stone, the One Tree, etc. The
power to become as one with God which the Ieldra encoded into the human genome; it's thought that certain segments of
human DNA code the Elder Eddas as pure memory (B97) Some fifty thousand years ago on Old Earth, the mythical Ieldra had written
all their godly wisdom into the human genome. Now, millennia later, trillions of men and women on countless worlds carried
these sleeping memories in every cell of their bodies (H25)
EXEMPLAR - A person born from an artificial womb;
a product of genetic engineering (B148)
FACIFAH - A holy war (W389)
FALSE WINTER - The summer season
FENESTER - To open the crystal-like windows into the manifold, allowing a lightship to fall from star
to star (W46) [see also westering] [see Notes below]
GALIA - Devaki word for the World-soul (B8) [see also wilu-galia]
[see Notes below]
GLAVERING - Fravashi word for limited conception of ourselves and our surroundings (B67)
GLIDDERY - One type of ice-street in Neverness. Red glidderies connect only with the major orange slidderies, or with each
other; the purple glidderies intersect green glissades (B509) [see Notes below]
GLISSADE - One type of ice-street
in Neverness (B509) [see also gliddery] [see Notes below]
GOLDEN RING - An extension of the biosphere; a new
layer of atmosphere that floats along the currents of space, feeding off of light, exhaling diatomic oxygen, ozone and photoreflective
gases; there's hope that this ring will shield Neverness from the radiation and light of the supernovas; above many worlds,
all through the galaxy, there are rings of gold which appeared mysteriously after Mallory Ringess became a god (B127)
HAKR - A term used in Edeism to describe the willful embrace of a negative action; to run a program contrary to God's
Program for the universe (W432) [see Notes below]
HAKARIAD - A human being whose actions challenge the gods as
a bid for godhood (H83)
HAKRA - A potential god (B152) [see Notes below]
HALLA - Alaloi concept
of harmony and beauty of life (B3)
HARIJAN - A pilgrim (B153) [see Notes below]
HEAUME - A metal
skull used for imprinting and modeling the brain (B98)
HIBAKUSHA - Someone affected by radiation due to war (H441)
HOLISM - The formal study of interconnectedness (B205); the "second science" that defines the Sixth
Mentality of man; [it tries] to explain how mind emerges from the material universe, how the consciousness of all things
is interconnected (B374) [see Notes below]
HOROLOGUE - A timekeeper
ICEFALL - The planet where Neverness
is located; some people simply call this world Neverness because of the importance of the city and its Order of Pilots to
IMAKLANA - Devaki word for the love magic between a man and a woman that is both instantaneous
and eternal (H309)
Immanent Carnation, The - The name of Mallory's lightship
IMPRINTING - Changing
the metabolic pathways and neural network; redefining the synapses of the brain (B98)
JOOK - A drug used to enhance
intelligence; side effects include inflamed eyes, irritability, bleeding gums, pimples, and hallucinations (B207)
JUF - A substance used to keep the blood from freezing (B165)
KASJA FIBER - Called "acid wire" by
the warrior-poets, used to bind their victims (B283)
KITHE - To decipher and understand ideoplasts, to read the symbols
(B264) [see Notes below]
KWIETKEL - A mountain to the west of Neverness where generations of Devaki ancestors
are buried (B7)
LIGHTSHIP - A rocket-like spaceship with a diamond hull, used for interstellar travel in the
manifold; a pilot creates a mental interface with the ship's computer to propel the ship
LIGHTSTONE - The
name of the new city of the Order, established on Thiells (H3)
LOTSARA - The discipline called "burning
of the blood" (B167)
MADE WORLD - A world where the only living things are human beings and the bacteria
grown to feed them (B202)
MANIFOLD - The thickspaces of the void used by the Order of Pilots for interstellar
travel; using mathematics and mental disciplines, a pilot commands his lightship to fall from one star to another. A day in
the manifold, in the superluminal fenestration of a lightship, can carry a pilot six hundred trillion miles through the stars
(W190) [see Notes below]
MATRIKAX - A poison which kills instantly (H86)
MIDWINTER SPRING - The
spring season of Icefall
MORRASHAR - A huge, black engine that fills an entire deep ship; it generates streams
of graviphotons and fires them into a sun (W544)
NAITTARE - A poison used by the warrior-poets (W131); it can
reduce a strong man to a quivering wreck within seconds (H340)
NALL - A malleable yet super-hard substance which
can be formed into fiber, sheets, etc. Spun nall is harder and stronger than diamond, proof against lasers or knives or exploding
NEVERNESS - The Pilot's city on Icefall that was built in a half-ring of three of the planets
most beautiful mountains: Attakel, Urkel, and Waaskel. (H117) The city has many nicknames, such as the City of Light and the
City of Man. Neverness is also the name given to Icefall, stressing the importance of the city in the galaxy.
- One who catalogues ideoplasts (B204)
ORGANIC STONE - A marvelously strong substance flecked with bits of tisander
and diamond (H10)
PALLATON - The modern Church Istwan word for "soul", that almost indestructible form
of the self that could be preserved in an eternal computer; it is pure program and information, a model of the mind encoded
as bits of ones and zeros and stored as perfectly arrayed electrons frozen into diamond discs (W458)
To weave together simplex thoughts in order to reveal complex truths (B267) [see Notes below]
PLEXITY - called
also 'plexure'. The Fravashi's four stages of liberation, including: simplex, complex, multiplex and omniplex
QUICKTIME - When the mind is slowed down so that time seems to pass more quickly (H68) [see also slowtime]
RETURNISTS - A cult of worshippers of Mallory Ringess who preach that he will one day return to Neverness and
save the Order from corruption and divisiveness, just as he would save the City from the panic over the coming supernova (B128)
SARSARA - Alaloi word for a winter storm (B158)
SAWEL - called also 'The Star of Neverness'.
The sun of Icefall (B27)
SERVAM ASTI - The doctrine that everything exists, past and future, because the mind,
at the moment of conceiving all things, could not do so if they didn't exist (B123)
SHAIDA - Alaloi concept
of evil (B3)
SHAKUHACHI - A long bamboo flute (B156)
SHE - see 'Solid State Entity'
SHESHAT - A kind of tranquilizer dart powerful enough to immobilize a large animal (W132)
SHIBUI - Alaloi word
for a kind of deeper beauty that only time can reveal (H282)
SHIH - Recognizing and making sense of different
kinds of knowledge; the ability to gauge the beauties and weaknesses of different worldviews (B107); the cybernetic sense
that "tastes", feels, and organizes various concentrations of information (B261); the relationship between wisdom
and knowledge (B269)
SLELLING - The act of injecting strange DNA into the human body (B647)
MIME - A person who, as the victim of a warrior-poet, is infected with bacteria-sized robots that migrate through the blood
into the brain. There, these tiny assemblers replace neurons with millions of layers of organic computers, thereby miming
the mind and creating a slave unit in place of a man (W432)
SLELNIK - A person created from stolen DNA and born
in an artificial womb (B148)
SLIDDERY - One type of ice-street in Neverness; a main avenue (B509) [see also gliddery]
SLOWTIME - That lightning state of the body-mind where the firing of one's nerves accelerates so that time
slows down and each event of the exterior universe seems to occur more slowly (B288) [see also quicktime]
The - The name of Danlo's lightship
SOLID STATE ENTITY - called also 'She'. A nebula-sized brain
composed of moon-sized biocomputers, speculated overall size is six hundred thousand cubic light-years (W396)
- A Fravashi learning game of realities where the teacher names some object, idea, personage, historical movement, or phenomenon.
The teacher then names a worldview, and the student must enter this worldview and behold and describe the object through this
view. Points are scored on knowledge, sense of shih, and mastery of plexity (B122)
SPIKHAXO - A small finger-gun
used often by the warrior-poets (W131); it fires tiny darts tipped with naittare (H340)
STAR OF NEVERNESS - see
TAPAS - One of the cybernetic senses; a mental discipline restraining the simulation of seeing,
hearing and smelling (B261) [see Notes below]
THICKSPACE - An infinite density of point-sources where pathways
from every star in the galaxy converge (B388)
TOALACHE - A brownish seaweed used for smoking like tobacco (H341)
UNIVERSAL COMPUTER - Hanuman's godlike orbital computer the size of a small moon which the Ringists are constructing
above Icefall at the first Lagrange point above Neverness (H41)
UNIVERSAL SYNTAX - An organic language symbolizing
and interrelating the knowledge of all the arts, particularly the art of mathematics (B267)
URKEL - A mountain
near the city of Neverness
VASTEN - To model the pattern of the brain's synapses as a computer program (W215);
this causes the brain to die but allows consciousness to continue in the cybernetic spaces; called cathexis by the cetics
VILD - A growing region of the galaxy where stars are exploding (B123)
WAASKEL - A mountain
near the city of Neverness
WESTERING - The urge, while fenestering through the manifold, to fall ever outward
toward the farthest galaxies (W46) [see also fenester]
WHELVE - Fravashi word for learning to regard the world
as an objective thing (B118)
WILU-GALIA - Devaki word for "the intention of the World-soul" (B8) [see
WORMRUNNER - A common criminal; a poacher (B129)
ZAMBONI - A machine that rolls down
the streets of Neverness, melting and smoothing the ice for the skaters (H311)
- A word from the Hindi language with essentially the same meaning.
ANIMAJII - See Webster's definition of
AUTIST - See Webster's definition of "autism".
BUDDHI STICKS -
See Webster's definition of "buddhi"
CARK - Webster's definition is: n. 1. care or worry. --v.t.,
v.i. 2. Archaic. to worry.
FENESTER - French for window is "fenêtre" (fenêtre) < Latin
"fenestra"; see also Webster's definition of "fenestella".
GALIA - Possibly originates
GLIDDERY - Webster's definition is: adj. Brit. Dial. slippery.
- Webster's definition is: n. 1. a skillful glide over snow or ice in descending a mountain, as
on skis or a toboggan.
HAKR - Possibly originates from the word "hack" meaning an attempt to do something to a computer program
that would subvert that program's intent.
HAKRA - Possibly originates from the word "hacker" meaning
a person who performs hacks.
HARIJAN - See Webster's definition of "Harijan".
- See Webster's definition of "holism".
KITHE - See Webster's definition of "kithe".
MANIFOLD - See Webster's definition of "manifold".
PLEACH - See Webster's definition
TAPAS - See Webster's definition of "tapas".