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Monday, October 19, 2015

Langan’s “Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe”

From http://superscholar.org/interviews/christopher-michael-langan/


Someone pointed me recently to Christopher Michael Langan’s long paper on his CTMU -- Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe.  I took a little time today to read it over, and here are some of my thoughts....

This “new model of the universe” has received little if any scrutiny in the academic literature, but it has gotten some media attention in the past, due to its author being an interesting character — an especially high-IQ individual who is also a body-builder and has worked throughout his life in blue collar jobs rather than becoming an academic or a corporate researcher….  (Outliers of this sort tend to interest me personally, as I was a semi-prodigy myself in youth, generally waaaaaay ahead of the curriculum while going through school, and finishing my undergrad degree at 18 and my PhD at 22 ... and before finally deciding to finish my PhD and become an "official researcher" I often considered taking a pure-maverick approach similar to Langan's....)

In capsule summary, Langan views reality as a language for talking about itself, to itself.   He understands time as an emergent relationship between different languages, “later” ones along some “emergent timeline” extending previous ones.  He looks at series of languages as progressing toward goals that are expressed as maximization of “generalized utility functions.”  In this view, mind and physical reality are seen as part of the same set of networks of linguistic relationships.  Individual minds are connected with the universal mind, and with physical entities, via linguistic relationships.

He expresses these interesting ideas (and many more details, and some points my crude summary above skips) using a lot of idiosyncratic terminology, plus some reasonable mathematics… 

One term he uses for his model of reality is: a ”Self-Configuring Self-Processing Language" or SCSPL

The only thing in his model that really rubs me the wrong way is his placing a “utility function” in a central role.   This seems a limiting perspective, as Weaver and Viktoras pointed out in their recent paper on “Open-Ended Intelligence.”   But in this regard, Langan is more mainstream than me; the reinforcement-learning perspective is very popular in AI right now, and optimality principles have been central to physics for centuries…

Other than that, the overall framework he posits makes sense to me. 

As Langan himself affirms, what he’s putting forth is a philosophy, not a scientific theory.  It’s not really a new kind of “theory of everything”, it’s a mathematically semi-formalized metaphysics….   If his theory hasn’t attracted much attention yet, I think this is not just because of its author's "outsider" status, but also because almost nobody cares that much about formal metaphysics these days….  Current culture focuses mainly on practical things; and those concerned with metaphysics are generally new-agey and experientially-oriented, not formalism-oriented.

A few further detailed comments follow below….  These are basically my own notes upon reading Langan's paper, rather than a structured formal critique or response, so take them for what they are...

Some More Detailed Comments


Comment 1)


Most of what occurs in Langan’s theory has been said before, though with different terminology and sometimes in different forms. 

The idea that the universe can be formulated as a language that is talking to itself, about itself, has been said many times before; and I wrote about this myself in my book “Chaotic Logic” and later in “The Hidden Pattern” (including references to others discussing these concepts).  

The “telic recursion” aspect he discusses is not laid out in enough detail to really understand what he means.

“ Telic recursion occurs in two stages, one primary and global, the other secondary and local. The primary stage creates the distributed laws, including the laws of physics, which reality obeys, while the secondary stage creates nondistributed, ad hoc supplements to those laws as reality transitions from state to state”

This seems very closely related to Peirce’s “tendency to take habits.”  That is, if the universe at a certain moment (in a proto-temporal sense, not necessarily the same as the time-axis of physics) manifests certain patterns, then fulfilling these patterns in the “future” of that moment can be viewed as a “goal” which is being achieved via following the “tendency to take habits.”   But this assumes Langan’s “distributed laws” can be equated to Peirce’s “habits”, which isn’t entirely clear because Langan’s idea of telic recursion isn’t spelled out in enough detail to fully understand it.

Going on in this vein, if you put together the “cognitive equation” from my book Chaotic Logic, with Peirce’s “tendency to take habits”, you get something pretty close to Langan's telic recursion.   And my formalization of infinite-order probability theory is an alternative, and potential complement, to his language-theory formulation.

I’m not dissing Langan for not referencing my own works, which are somewhat obscure and I wouldn’t expect him to know.  But I’ll note that when I developed these ideas, I gave lots of references to, and discussions of, prior thinkers with similar ideas.  Langan is under no obligation to do this, and his own style has its advantages.  But it also gives the casual reader an impression that these are wildly new ideas, when in fact most of this has been said before in various ways and context.

OTOH, as Pascal said (something like), “Let no one say there is nothing new.  The arrangement is new.”  Arranging familiar ideas in a new way can have significant value, and it may be that Langan’s arrangement of these ideas -- together with some novel bits and pieces -- has some particular force.  I’m not decided on that yet.

Comment 2)


Metaphysically, Langan’s theory seems restricted to Peircean Thirds.

Langan says “everything essential to reality, including everything needed to describe it, is contained in reality itself”.  But this assumes “everything” is contained within the realm of description — i.e. it rules out Peircean Firsts and Seconds.  This is implicit in the “everything is language” approach.  Langan may well see this as a feature; I see it as a bug….

Comment 3)


Langan mentions John Wheeler’s desire to found physics on “It from Bit” and observation and related ideas.   Wheeler's ideas are indeed fantastically inspirational; and Langan wonders why nobody has done what Wheeler envisioned.  But actually, Langan has not done so either (at least not yet!).  Wheeler wanted to actually derive physics from these philosophico-mathematical foundations, not just formalize them as a mathematical metaphysics.

Regarding physics, the connection of Langan’s theory with quantum theory is left pretty durned vague.  There is a lot of work in the last couple decades deriving quantum theory from various very abstract axiom sets (e.g. the relational interpretation).  Can he do something similar or related here?

The connection w/ physics theories of spacetime is left very vague as well.  Is there some connection e.g. with causal set theory?   Causal set theory lacks a propagator (so you can’t use it to derive QFT) … does his metaphysics place some constraint on the propagator that reality must use?

If there are connections of this nature between his metaphysics, and physics, that would be interesting….   Various others are engaged with attempting to derive quantum theory, essentially, from metaphysics. They haven’t quite succeeded but have “almost succeeded” in various interesting ways…  I hope this is where he aims to take his theory next….

Comment 4)


There is a statement on the CTMU wiki to the effect that Langan’s theory proves the existence of God.  Elsewhere Langan has talked about patching up holes in Anselm of Canterbury's 11th century proof of God's existence.

I'm more impressed with CTMU as a theory of reality, than as a proof that God exists.  In this vein, to put it a bit too crudely, what Langan shows in the CTMU paper so far is something like
  • reality is omniscient, in that everything in reality is known to reality
  • reality is omnipotent, in that reality is able to do everything that is possible to do
  • reality is omnipresent, because it pervades all reality
So in a certain sense, it follows that reality is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent — key hallmarks of a Supreme Being!

But this sort of argument doesn’t really justify anything resembling conventional (e.g. anthropomorphic) religious “Gods”, nor does it argue in any useful sense that the universe was designed by something carrying out reasoning or deliberative processes….  The connection between Langan’s ideas and “intelligent design” seems a red herring to me.   His theory suggests that the universe as a whole may be thought of as a mind or intelligence, but doesn’t say anything about this universal mind carrying out a design process (as opposed to, say, a more evolutionary sort of cognitive process).

Medieval-style arguments for the existence of “God” don’t interest me much, but fortunately Langan’s investigations have many more interesting aspects…-

On Academia Etc.


Finally, a few comments regarding Langan’s choice to pursue his theorizing purely as a maverick individual thinker, rather than within the academic world

This choice is very understandable to me —- certainly I find that academia can be tedious and stultifying, with its emotionally narrow culture and its focus on incremental progress, on boring false-modest writing, and on paying service to the recognized lions in each field of study....

On the other hand, one thing academia DOES have is a time-honed set of mechanisms for propagating ideas beyond the individual to the community.   And Langan does seem to be missing this -- his maverick ideas are deep and intriguing, but they don't seem to be getting followed up by a community of others.  Which is too bad, because they're interesting and could likely benefit from the sharpening and expansion that a community of minds focusing together can provide....

I find myself mentally comparing Langan to Eliezer Yudkowsky, another high-IQ maverick who has personally avoided the academic establishment, while developing his own deep and idiosyncratic view of the universe.  Both Langan and Yudkowsky have the habit of introducing a lot of novel vocabulary for describing their ideas, though they have different styles of doing so (Langan likes inventing new words; Yudkowsky prefers assigning new meanings to commonplace phrases, e.g. “Friendly AI” or any of the zillion other “defined terms” commonplace on the Less Wrong blog/network he founded). 

So far, it seems Eliezer has achieved his greatest influence via passing ideas along to more conservative academic types like Nick Bostrom (whose recent, celebrated tome Superintelligence seems to consist largely of ideas borrowed from Yudkowsky and then further polished), and the more conventional mathematicians currently doing math theory at MIRI (the organization Eliezer founded, as SIAI). 

So one might say Yudkowsky has achieved his impact via playing on the fringes of academia and inviting more conventional academics to help develop his ideas — whereas Langan, whose ideas are also interesting, has played a bit further away from the edges of conventional academe, and hasn’t yet attracted so many followers.  But of course their distance from the edges of academe isn’t the only difference between the two — e.g. another difference is that Yudkowsky is damn good at self-promotion; and another one is that Yudkowsky’s area of obsession, AI, happens to have become very popular lately ... way more so than metaphysics and formal theology....

But anyway….  These issues of science-community politics interest me personally because I’ve spent my own career playing around the fringes of academia in various ways (though unlike Langan and Yudkowsky I went a more conventional route and got a PhD, and then spent the first 8 years of my career as a professor before deciding that the incrementalist and status-hierarchy-focused style of academia wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea)….  But these sociological points aren’t ultimately as interesting as modeling the nature of reality!  Regarding which, Langan’s ideas are well worth reading and thinking about.  They don’t yet lead anywhere dramatically conclusive or pragmatically impactful (IMO), but they plant interesting ideas in one’s mind, which is pretty much what philosophy is supposed to do….  I'm curious for what comes next....


49 comments:

Craig Knaak said...

Interesting. I always took Langan as a pompous narcissistic charlatan peacocking for attention by self promoting his so called IQ while offering little in the way of applicable insight or intelligence (something that is apparent in the flights of imagination with Feynman, or the jaw dropping problem solving prowess of Tao.)

But, I guess one never can be sure.

Dylan Catlow said...

If you're looking for more Langan material, I strongly recommend reading through this list: http://ctmucommunity.org/wiki/CTMU_sources

If you'd prefer reading it on a Kindle, you can purchase The Portable Chris Langan on Amazon (which contains all of the sources on the page I mentioned) , or download it for free (link can be found on the same page).

xxxYYZxxx said...

Kudos for the intelligent critique of the CTMU. I'd like to address your detailed points, which I find insightful. The subject of "reality" can be confusing, as any attempt to discuss it can quickly devolve into a discussion of "real things", and not "reality" per se. Real things have boundaries, reality doesn't.

re Comment 1: Telic Feedback is a description of the genesis of syntax (order) itself. If reality is a language, the capacity of self-description requires a universal & distributed, self-similar, syntactic form; Telic Feedback addresses this necessary fact. By contrast, engineering models presume syntax already exist, from some source external to the subject matter, and thus are always in debt to some pre-existing syntax. Reality (theory) can incur no such debt.

In regards to the lack of references, Langan is not an academic and this fact grants him leeway on this matter. Non-academic writings can't be criticized for lack of references since references are not considered a requisite in the field of non-academic writings. To be critical of non-reference is to unwittingly imply that the CTMU is or ought to be considered an academic work. He's not getting paid to provide you with references.

re. Comment 2: re. self-containment of reality by reality, Langan states "..up to observational or theoretical relevance". Another reality with no connection to our own isn't the subject of the CTMU. Containing all elements of self-description is an analytical requirement of a self-contained, self-processing system (ie, the real universe), one w/o access to any external references or processing. Such access to (or appeal to) externality would be a necessary requirement of a realm (or model, or theory, or mind, or viewpoint) which doesn't contain all the elements of its own description.

re.Comment 3: Quantum & Astronomical oddities such as non-locality, wave/particle duality, & accelerated expansion are all implied & logically explained by the CTMU, thus it is a more generalized theory than the theories which generated & failed to logically explain the oddities. What's needed today in Physics is to unite the micro & macro scale theories, and this can't begin until Theory itself is formally addressed, viz. by the extension demanded of them by the CTMU. BTW, this also applies to the development of AI, as it can't be developed until Theory itself is formally understood by science.

re. Comment 4: Langan is clearly not arguing for any particular religion's God figure, but rather for the necessity of a theological interpretation. According to Langan's principle of Hology: since no other structure is available, the global structure of a self-contained system (aka reality) must be equivalent to its "transitional syntax" (viz. distributed laws & modes of operation). This allows for, tho doesn't demand, a theological interpretation of such a global structure, while invalidating anti-theological stances as lacking reality-theoretic relevance, since they lack the possibility of modeling reality as self-inclusive, and become some form of appeal to externality as noted above.

As far as Academia being a vehicle for propagating good ideas, I'm calling BS on this. Only an a aging and post-established Academic can even entertain the subject matter involved in Langan's CTMU w/o jeopardizing their career. The lives of Socrates, Jesus, Galileo, Copernicus, Cantor, Godel, Leary & many others attest to this fact. Even Newton kept his "occult" theory of gravity hidden away until prompted by others to produce it. Wheeler, Chomsky, & even Hawking have addressed such issues, but none during the productive phases of their careers, else they wouldn't have been around long.

Benjamin Goertzel said...

This is a response to the previous comment (which is written in a style rather resembling that of Chris Langan himself, I have to note…)


***
re Comment 1: Telic Feedback is a description of the genesis of syntax (order) itself. If reality is a language, the capacity of self-description requires a universal & distributed, self-similar, syntactic form; Telic Feedback addresses this necessary fact. By contrast, engineering models presume syntax already exist, from some source external to the subject matter, and thus are always in debt to some pre-existing syntax. Reality (theory) can incur no such debt.
***

Yes, I understand (I think)

In symbolic dynamics, one studies how grammatical structure emerges from underlying not-explicitly-linguistic nonlinear dynamics… But in a broader sense this underlying nonlinear dynamical system is also a language…

Telic feedback involves recursion at an ontological level, so that one has a language that emerges from itself — describing the abstract structures that emerge from its own particulars…. This is a beautiful aspect of the universe, and one that I’ve often thought to model using hypersets… but formal language theory can work also, I guess the two are isomorphic if one formulates things right…


***
In regards to the lack of references, Langan is not an academic and this fact grants him leeway on this matter. Non-academic writings can't be criticized for lack of references since references are not considered a requisite in the field of non-academic writings. To be critical of non-reference is to unwittingly imply that the CTMU is or ought to be considered an academic work. He's not getting paid to provide you with references.
***

I didn’t mean that to be a criticism, just a comment…

Some of my favorite scientific/philosophical works, like Spencer-Brown’s “Laws of Form”, don’t have references and eschew the academic style. I have very mixed feelings about writing in the academic style myself…. On the other hand, Spencer-Brown’s book is very clear and easy to grok for almost any reader … whereas Langan’s style is a bit hard to penetrate, so that some grounding of his ideas in prior work would help readers to understand better….

Langan’s style is very clear and elegant, in some places beautiful, but doesn’t do the reader any favors — you really have to read each sentence and absorb it fully before going on to the next. This is OK and has its own sort of integrity, but it’s a style that will limit the number of people who can absorb the contents…. Referencing serves to fulfill academic cultural norms, but also — if done right — can help to aid understanding… But a more incremental, didactic style can also help aid understanding, even without references…

But I’m aware not all writers want to be widely understood. Nietzsche for instance tried to write in a way that would cause the average reader to MIS-understand him, and only the very special reader to get his true meaning…. And he succeeded, he has often been wildly misinterpreted ;-p


more in the next comment...

Benjamin Goertzel said...

***
re. Comment 2: re. self-containment of reality by reality, Langan states "..up to observational or theoretical relevance". Another reality with no connection to our own isn't the subject of the CTMU. Containing all elements of self-description is an analytical requirement of a self-contained, self-processing system (ie, the real universe), one w/o access to any external references or processing. Such access to (or appeal to) externality would be a necessary requirement of a realm (or model, or theory, or mind, or viewpoint) which doesn't contain all the elements of its own description.
***

Hmm.. no, you're not really grokking my point, perhaps due to unfamiliarity with Peircean metaphysics, or perhaps just due to you having a different perspective...

In Peirce's metaphysics,

First = raw experience

Second = reaction

Third = relationship

In this categorization, CTMU seems all about "relationship", because that's what language is about (isn't it?). It doesn't address "Chalmers' hard problem of consciousness", it doesn't address raw experience. This is not necessarily a flaw, just a limitation...

***
re.Comment 3: Quantum & Astronomical oddities such as non-locality, wave/particle duality, & accelerated expansion are all implied & logically explained by the CTMU, thus it is a more generalized theory than the theories which generated & failed to logically explain the oddities. What's needed today in Physics is to unite the micro & macro scale theories, and this can't begin until Theory itself is formally addressed, viz. by the extension demanded of them by the CTMU.
***

I would like to understand the connection between QM, general relativity and CTMU better. It's not very clear to me from the current write-up. I can see general conceptual correspondences but to make the mathematical connection would seem to require some actual math to be written down, beyond what is in the CTMU paper. Is there some other paper available that deals with this aspect more explicitly?

... more below...

Benjamin Goertzel said...

***
BTW, this also applies to the development of AI, as it can't be developed until Theory itself is formally understood by science.
***

That’s not very clear. Often in the history of science, theory and practice develop together, in a loosely but powerfully coupled way. Building stuff based on partially-understood ideas leads to artifacts with interesting properties; and experimenting with these artifacts leads to a fuller theoretical understanding; etc. I think we (well, OK, I ;-) understand intelligence well enough to build a first-pass thinking machine. And experimenting with this first-pass version will help me come to a theory that will help me create a better thinking machine later …

BTW I think this fragmentary bit of cognition/AI theory could be expressed in the formalism of CTMU, with a bit of effort…

http://dynapsyc.org/2011/Mind_World_Correspondence.pdf

(same paper behind a paywall ;p)

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/login.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6613267&url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel7%2F6596019%2F6613256%2F06613267.pdf%3Farnumber%3D6613267

Video with me yakking about the idea…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZHb4No9xao



... and on and on...

Benjamin Goertzel said...

***
re. Comment 4: Langan is clearly not arguing for any particular religion's God figure, but rather for the necessity of a theological interpretation. According to Langan's principle of Hology: since no other structure is available, the global structure of a self-contained system (aka reality) must be equivalent to its "transitional syntax" (viz. distributed laws & modes of operation). This allows for, tho doesn't demand, a theological interpretation of such a global structure, while invalidating anti-theological stances as lacking reality-theoretic relevance, since they lack the possibility of modeling reality as self-inclusive, and become some form of appeal to externality as noted above.
***

I just see more negative than positive value in calling this very abstract sort of “universal mind” a “God.” I feel the use of “God” terminology here -- though truthful if interpreted appropriately -- is generally more confusing/misleading than clarifying…

I also don’t quite agree that CMTU or related models “invalidate anti-theological stances as lacking reality-theoretic relevance.” They invalidate stances that are purely materialist and deny that the universe can have cognitive or mind-like properties…. But there are stances that view the universe as mind-like without positing a "God" in any sense commonly recognized as religious...

The words “Theology” and “God” , as commonly utilized, carry a lot of baggage which is not implied by CTMU..

This is not a deep intellectual point, it’s probably mostly “just” a matter of terminology. But it’s certainly a significant marketing/communication point… ;p


... and...

Benjamin Goertzel said...


***
As far as Academia being a vehicle for propagating good ideas, I'm calling BS on this. Only an a aging and post-established Academic can even entertain the subject matter involved in Langan's CTMU w/o jeopardizing their career. The lives of Socrates, Jesus, Galileo, Copernicus, Cantor, Godel, Leary & many others attest to this fact. Even Newton kept his "occult" theory of gravity hidden away until prompted by others to produce it. Wheeler, Chomsky, & even Hawking have addressed such issues, but none during the productive phases of their careers, else they wouldn't have been around long.
***


Well, academia sucks in many ways and I don’t want to spend a lot of time or energy defending it…

There have been great pioneering thinkers who were ignored or f**ked by academia, and there have been great pioneering thinkers who were treated well within academia…

It’s certainly true that academic freedom kicks in a lot more fully after tenure is granted…

Personally, I left academia because of reasons similar to the ones you cite for being annoyed/disgusted with academia…. There’s a lot of narrowmindedness and parochialism about. As a junior prof in a math department, I was actually frowned upon due to publishing papers and books in fields like CS, psychology and philosophy that were “outside my scope”… Ridiculous! As if knowledge falls into convenient disciplinary categories ;p

And if I were a pre-tenure prof, I'd certainly have been afraid to publish a book like "The Evidence for Psi", which I co-edited last year. That kind of fear is a really shitty thing...

Yet after experiencing a couple decades of other aspects of human society, I came to have more respect for the fact that academia, as an institution, has (in its flawed and awkward way) fostered the growth of knowledge and understanding for 1000+ years…. So many of the amazing tech innovations we use today are based on discoveries made in university labs, and then productized within industry…. Compared to other institutions in our screwed-up society, the academy seems to be the one that does best at fostering learning and knowledge. Business and government sure don’t do any better…. Academia gives a place for a decent percentage young people to focus on learning and knowledge for some years of their life without having to struggle to earn a living; this is very valuable… And it pays a certain number of people to investigate interesting areas of long-term research with a significant percentage of their time; this is also a Good Thing….

So even if 95% of what happens in academia is BS from a deep intellectual perspective, that’s still a lower percentage than in nearly all other parts of our society ;-p !!! And i have some respect for academia because of that, even though I've currently chosen an alternate path to getting bread on my table...

— Ben

xxxYYZxxx said...

Wow Ben, thanks for posting a reply to my reply. I appreciate how you've related Langan's concepts to other theories, this certainly adds weight to the argument for having more references. I generally agree with and gain from your own interpretation of the CTMU, as well as from your response post. You're right, I don't know about peircian metaphysics, and I don't think Langan attempts to directly address any "hard problems" of consciousness, rather but maybe I can address Telic Feedback/recursion in a roundabout way by addressing the connection between the CTMU, physics, & astronomy, as you've requested.

The connection is best explored by Langan's concept of "Conspansive Duality", a concept closely related to both "Topological/Descriptive Duality (TD)(aka state/syntax duality), and "Constructive/Filtrative Duality" (CF), which notes that set formation in brackets (constructive processing) is equivalent to formation by restriction from a larger set (filtrative processing), as in a Venn diagram. These logical forms of TD & CF are mirrored in Conspansive Duality (CD).

Conspansive Duality (CD) is the real connection between the CTMU & Physics/Astronomy. Essentially, CD states that (accelerated) expansion of the universe with static contents is equivalent to a static universe with contracting contents. Obviously this sounds strange, but it directly parallels the TD & CF dualities noted above.

This CD process also directly mirrors quantum mechanical wave/particle duality. According to Langan, quantum-scale events have no "worldline" associated with them. Rather, each quantum state is a Filtration from the previous. This is how the "delayed choice" experiment works. The particle isn't traveling from the A to B. Instead, via "conspansion", the particle assumes one state at point A, it's "syntactic boundary" or waveform remains static as everything "contracts", and its next state is determined when the waveform intersects w/ the detector (also another waveform), thus reflexively assuming its next quantum state as a "particle" from inside (or on the boundary of) its own waveform, with this next-state/particle containing information about which slit it went through. If the detector is off, the same process occurs, sans the information regarding the slit and the interference pattern appears. When status is acquired by filtrative processing, motion can be modeled, on a global(reality-theoretic) level, as a form of "self projecting hologram".

This CD process of filtrative processing generalizes across all scales, with worldlines of macro-scale objects being attributed to the close mutual intersection and processing of the quantum-scale waveforms comprising the object. Where Telic Feedback & Recursion can be inserted here is that each next-state is acquired with respect to the overall system. Note that the interference pattern reflects this, as it conforms to the information available to the overall system, as does the retrodictive assignment of status regarding which slit was traversed when the "delayed choice" device is on, the information from the detector being part of the overall system too. Each quantum state constitutes a new overall status to the system as a whole, which in turn assigns status to the next quantum state. This "out and back", dual-phase process is Telic Feedback, and comprises a mutual assignment of status of each quantum state not only w/ the "present" universe, but the overall "system as a whole". The Telic process, as noted by Langan is "preinformational" and "protocomputational", information & computation, which are the same thing as space(status) & time(process) being its emergent properties.

I hope a fraction of this makes sense, and if so I better quit while I'm ahead, thanks for the discussion Ben.

xxxYYZxxx said...

Ben, I'd love to comment about point 4, the "God" point. I'd nearly agree w/ your analysis here, in fact I could use it nearly verbatim as a "limiting case" of my own view. First I'm not religious, so I honestly have no personal "dog in the fight". I also agree that the CTMU or other such theories can be completely secular and w/o reference to God. Obviously, using the term God is Langan's personal preference, one which we can agree can cause unnecessary conflicts of interest.

"Telic Recursion" in the CTMU is an active process, one involving a "global operator". This operator can, optionally, be refered to as "God", w/o it being necessary to do so, but also w/o implying any supernatural status.

Personally, I think the problem with "God" is the same as the problem with the Ego. What I mean is that "God", as typically cited either by proponents or detractors, tends to be an "Ego of the Universe" figure. In the CTMU, a global operator is part of the reflexive process of telic recursion, and yet accords in some aspects to a traditional theological interpretation in at least the sense that it is active, but up to the the notion that such recursion involves the Global System, ie, Universe, meaning past & future... all multiplexed in conjunction w/ current quantum status of events to assign them state/syntax status and thus allowing for (self) perception. With respect to any genuine religious tradition, God can't possibly have an Ego. Our own Ego is our disconnect w/ this globalized, recursive feedback structure, but is this not yet in arbitrary if not necessary favor of our own such structure?, viz. our own minds being self-similar to a global operator structure, as defined by telic recursion, even with the capacity to create its own "worlds", inhabitant or beliefs.

Just to add insult(and more rambling redundancy), the term "Intelligence" in regards to reality-in-general is just as controversial, and yet for the very same reasons as with "God", ie a Global Operator involved in the reflexive processing of information, it's use can't be ruled out. Information-processing and intelligence are blurred lines of distinction and to positively assert or rule-out intelligence here is to assert something like a Turing-test style relation to the supposed subject.

Thanks again Ben. :)

Benjamin Goertzel said...

xxxYYZxxx -- about the "Global Operator", I think terminology is playing some tricks here..

The word "operator" in ordinary English seems to connote some sentient being, some conscious agent, carrying out operations to control some other entity

On the other hand, in mathematics the word "operator" really just means a set of operations acting on some set of entities and outputting other entities.... For instance a "linear operator" in functional analysis is just a function mapping a linear space into a linear space, satisfying certain axioms...

The "global operator" of telic recursion is an operator in the sense of "linear operators", not in the sense of "the human operator of a steam shovel" ...

It seems to me we can think of telic recursion as a "global dynamical process", which does involve, at each step, dynamics modelable as applying a certain mathematical operator to the state of the universe, thus producing the next state of the universe...

A global dynamical process with cognitive characteristics, doesn't have to be an anthropomorphic mind with a self-model, a will, a moral compass and so forth... You know that. Chris Langan knows that. But people who can't understand the math of CTMU and see the word "God" there, will quite possibly not understand the different between the abstract "global dynamical process with cognitive characteristics" that CTMU entails, and "God" such as they ordinarily understand the word...

Of course, various mystical traditions also teach that "God" is something more abstract than commonplace mythologies would suggest.... My degree of affinity for these mystical traditions has varied over my lifetime...

The association of CTMU with "intelligent design" really turns me off and almost caused me to not bother reading the CTMU paper. Because ID advocates are by and large advocates of much more simplistic theologies than the one Langan appears to be proposing.... Personally I think the word "design" is not well-applied in the context of the global cognitive dynamical process that CTMU posits.... Not all cognitive processes are "designs." "Design" implies some sort of rational, deliberative process --- and nothing in CTMU applies that the global cognitive process of the universe is engaged in explicit rational deliberation. Maybe it is, and/or maybe Langan believes it is, but the CTMU materials I've read don't say so. Explicit rational deliberation -- part of "design" as I understand it -- is a specific set of cognitive structures and dynamics that CTMU does not imply...


-- Ben




Benjamin Goertzel said...


xxxYYZxxx -- about the CTMU/physics connection... I still am not fully getting it, but I would like to


If you have patience, let's deconstruct

***
This CD process also directly mirrors quantum mechanical wave/particle duality. According to Langan, quantum-scale events have no "worldline" associated with them. Rather, each quantum state is a Filtration from the previous. This is how the "delayed choice" experiment works. The particle isn't traveling from the A to B. Instead, via "conspansion", the particle assumes one state at point A, it's "syntactic boundary" or waveform remains static as everything "contracts", and its next state is determined when the waveform intersects w/ the detector (also another waveform), thus reflexively assuming its next quantum state as a "particle" from inside (or on the boundary of) its own waveform, with this next-state/particle containing information about which slit it went through. If the detector is off, the same process occurs, sans the information regarding the slit and the interference pattern appears. When status is acquired by filtrative processing, motion can be modeled, on a global(reality-theoretic) level, as a form of "self projecting hologram".
***

in more detail....

First of all, can you remind me which variation of

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheeler%27s_delayed_choice_experiment

are you referring to? Am I right that it's this one? ---

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheeler%27s_delayed_choice_experiment#Double-slit_version

...

If CTMU can genuinely help with the interpretation of this experiment, that would be great. Obviously it's a paradigm case for a lot of other perplexing QM experiments. And we can see clearly in this experiment where the complex-valued nature of quantum probability comes into play, so that if we understand in detail how CTMU explains this case, it should give a clue regarding the general connection between CTMU and quantum/complex probability...

Note this paper which describes a flaw commonly made in interpreting delayed-choice and other weird quantum experiments

http://jamesowenweatherall.com/SCPPRG/EllermanDavid2012Man_QuantumEraser2.pdf

I suspect that when you say " this next-state/particle containing information about which slit it went through." in your comment you are perhaps inadvertently making this fallacy. But this may just be a sloppy wording in your comment, and not imply anything fallacious in the CTMU treatment of these quantum phenomena...

-- Ben

xxxYYZxxx said...

Hello again Ben. First about the term "operator", I should have clarified upfront that in the CTMU any sort of object or thing is referred to as a "syntactic operator", this owing to the fact that in the CTMU, any "thing" is fundamentally involved in information processing, and hence an "operator". The CTMU distinguishes at least 3 levels of operator: Global, "Agentive", & Subordinate. I assume Agentive means an animal or human operator, and Subordinate means ordinary matter and I suppose particles like photons too.

Ben, I think you've somewhat clarified the issues of God & Intelligence as used in the CTMU. These terms shouldn't dissuade anyone from reading the CTMU, nor is a shallow criticism of Langan warranted based on associating him or the CTMU with any religious connotations. There simply are none in the CTMU, and these issues are presented without insulting the reader's intelligence whatsoever, regardless of agreement or not.

Concerning the CTMU, astronomy, physics.

The CTMU is an amazing conceptual tool for understanding. However I would think it could also be used as a type of model structure for new theories. Consider how absurd the notion of "bent space" was before Einstein, or "force at a distance" before Newton. Real breakthroughs in science arn't welcome at all by the establishment, and can only prevail with the force of overwhelming utility. The CTMU lacks such utility as it's a philosophical construct. But then so does "curved space", or "force at a distance" as a metaphysical constructs alone.

Ben, I did say " .. this next-state/particle containing information about which slit it went through." and it's true I think, it does conatain it. Its poorly worded since it implies motion, but it doesn't admit of the particle moving at all. I did note that in the Conspansion model, particles don't have "world lines", ie the model doesn't feature motion through a space as its basis, but rather it's output, essentially as a self-processing hologram. And that's the point of "Conspansion", ie modeling time, space, & motion as the internal properties of "syntactic operators" in a "unified multiplex", thus Time, Space, & Motion being properties which emerge from the global information processing of a closed system.

Recall that Conspansion is the logical analog whereby contracting objects in a static system is equivalent to static objects in an expanding system - this is a crucial concept, since it unites the micro & macro scale, along with the material and theoretical in the bargain. The "standard" sort of model of expansion* (* I assume there are more than one or at least some variations of the main theory) features many curious and unexplained phenomenon such as: "space", an unexplained phenomenon; "force at a distance", once considered by Science the most occult of ideas; "curved space", which makes no intuitive sense whatsoever; not to mention the "weird" quantum behavior such as discontinuity, wave/particle duality, superposition & non-locality ect. Now consider these same concepts in terms of "information processing", which is essentially what Conspansion is describing, ie a closed information processing system or "self processing hologram".

xxxYYZxxx said...

Langan's concept of "Constructive/Filtrative" duality models the selection of elements from a larger set as being equivalent to constructing them into brackets. This means Descriptive Processing is equivalent to Constructive Processing. The Conspansion Model is basicly a model of filtrative, ie descriptive processing which is conceptually identical to a conventional (constructive) topological model based on a background space, but lacking the "paradoxes" and strange ideas associated w/ the background-space model, since these don't violate any terms of information processing theories*. (*extended to incorporate reality-theory)

In a conspanstion model, no background space exists, rather space is "state" or "location", a property of operators in the system. An example could be that the distance between 3 objects, along w/ the space around them is a property of the 3 objects, where those propeties vary over time, the distances changes. Systemic unity is enforced by the basic form of reality, ie "multiplex unity", meaning the internal properties of operators are cross co-coordinated with respect to each other, with the Global Operator being associated w/ this universal processing. Recall that filtrative or descriptive processing is like a Venn diagram. In the Conspansion model, the outer circle of the diagram is like the Global Operator, it's value is always the same as that of the non-global operators. By this system laws are universal and no variation from them can occur.

Ok, all that said there is no math theory to utilize the Conspansion model for describing observations, so that's the big question I suppose, can this model be formalized? I do wonder if Langan isn't working on such things, and hope curious scholars would learn some of these ideas. I do think they provide insight, and we shouldn't be so reactionary to controversial ideas, nor cherry-pick one strange idea only to condemn the whole lot.

Benjamin Goertzel said...

HI xxxYYZxxx ... I've run out of time for commenting extensively this week, but I want to reply to your new comments briefly just to indicate I've read and appreciate them ...

I'm not trying to poke holes in CTMU at all; I think it's basically correct and insightful and I like it ... I'm trying to figure out to what extent I can use it in my own quest to model and understand the universe !!!

What I was hoping for regarding the delayed-choice double-slit experiment was something more analogous to

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/tpru/BasilHiley/DelayedChoice.pdf

-- where the Bohm interpretation of QM is used to explain in detail how and why the delayed-choice double-slit experiment works.

(I don't especially buy the Bohm interpretation, but I thought that paper did a good and clear job of applying the theory to the experiment..)

An application of CTMU to the delayed-choice double-slit experiment experiment, at the level of detail and clarify of the above-linked paper, would be awesome

(I am not asking for publication in an academic journal or a long list of references or whatever, just actually looking for a detailed analysis to improve my own understanding !!...)

My impression from your reply is that no such analysis exists. This is OK. But then I am left to wonder whether no such analysis exists because

A) nobody has worked it out yet; or because

B) CTMU exists at too abstract of a theoretical level to provide such a detailed analysis

If the situation is B, then I wonder if there is some sort of "bridging formalism", some sort of mathematical formalization that yields QM as an explicit consequence, but also demonstrates some sort of clear homology (?) to CTMU..... Yes I'm being a bit vague here but perhaps you see what I'm pointing towards...

xxxYYZxxx said...

Ben, I'll try one last post tonight. You suggested deconstructing the CTMU and of course I love to chat about it, since so very few people care to do so. The problem as I see it is that I'm not an academic, scholar, or researcher. This means I can't cross-reference & compare the ideas in the CTMU much with perhaps similar ideas, esp any cutting-edge sorts of theories. I have a basic grasp of science & philosophy in general, and that's about it. Another is that the CTMU, as presented, is about as bare as it can possibly be. Langan has quite a bit of other writings, the "portable chris langan" is a pdf I downloaded and has over 500 pages, including the "intro to ctmu" and other goodies. I'd like to share this pdf on Quantum Information Theory, by Ron Garret: http://www.flownet.com/ron/QM.pdf I can't claim to understand all the equations, but the concepts are powerful, and esp figure 3, on page 14.

I'll try to address the (delayed choice) Experiment briefly. In the conspanion model from the CTMU, everything, but especially the components of the Experiment & the photon(s)in question are "contracting" in a fixed system. At the quantum level, this contraction is conceptually identical to a particle forming inside its waveform. The "waveform" is the "prior image" or "previous state" of the photon, and the "particle" is the registration event or "next state". This process is "descriptive", and mimics a Venn diagram where each state is a selection from syntactic potential associated w/ the operator's prior state, the selecting being coordinated with another operator via intersection of boundaries or waveforms.

The particle doesn't move from A to B, and yet it appear AS IF it either traversed both slits (interference), or one particular trajectory (no interference). Since no travel from A to B occurs, and yet this appears to be the case, the experiment is describing a self-processing hologram, where the output/pattern accords information which regards an event which can't happen (ie traversing both slits and/or going back in time and choosing just one).

xxxYYZxxx said...

In the very last I meant to say "...where the output/pattern accords to* information which regards an event which can't happen (ie traversing both slits and/or going back in time and choosing just one).

Thanks again Ben, and I'll close with a Langan quote from the "Intro to the CTMU paper, describing the concept of "hology" in the CTMU: "Hology is a logico-cybernetic form of self-similarity in which the global structure of a self-contained, self-interactive system doubles as its distributed selftransductive syntax; it is justified by the obvious fact that in a self-contained system, no other structure is available for that purpose."

xxxYYZxxx said...

Heh, I said I'd post one last time, however I didn't notice that you replied and specifically about "the" Experiment, even after I posted a bit more about it.. At any rate, the whole "contracting" element of the Conspansion model, in regards to the Experiment, is perhaps difficult to visualize or grasp. Essentially the "syntactic boundaries" or "prior images" of the various components of the experiment "overlap". In other words objects "contract", but they retain their respective relative distance, and their "syntactic boundary" overlap. This "overlapping boundaries" is equivalent to a particle "moving from A to B", except everything is "internalized", no background space is required, and the waveforms are "inside" the particles.

The reason Langan uses terms like "syntactic boundary" instead of waveform, or "operators" instead of object ect, is that these concepts are all meant to generalize across all levels of description, including the quantum level. Ok, peace and I hope to lay the issue to rest for a bit too. Btw if you IRC I'm most always on Freenode ##existentialism & #AI. You may consider trying the #AI since at least one very sharp AI expert chats there a lot. A good forum for idea spewing and arrangement too. As is this btw, but I don't want to massively over spam. so good night. :)

xxxYYZxxx said...

Dear Ben, I'm up early and reading the paper you shared, "Delayed Choice Experiments and the Bohm Approach." No such analysis relating the CTMU or Conspansion to the delayed choice experiment exists afaik, nor do many such analyses of the CTMU in general. Offhand this is the only scholarly-appearing analysis involving the CTMU I've encountered, and it's off-topic here: http://www.thejournalofunconsciouspsychology.com/web_documents/norman_on_langan_atemp._recur.pdf For the record I've not studied this text, just posting it as an example.

The debate between the various interpretation presented in the "Bohm Approach" paper is quite interesting. Where the paper suggests an interpretation involving the presumption of a real & objective trajectory with "real" definite properties of position & velocity, in order to ameliorate surreal metaphysics, it does so based on a phantom "quantum potential" particle, and ultimately resorts to a background "field". Yes this can be used to form a meaningful interpretation, as an engineering sort of model. However the prerequisites of "real" objectivity demanded of the particle itself curiously don't extend to the "quantum potential", nor the "field" (background space) which is ultimately necessary for the model. Its simply not possible to directly study a "quantum potential" or "eigenspace" using the same methods used to study the particle, and this fact highlights the fundamental difference between an engineering model used by science, and a "reality" model implored by philosophers. No matter if all motions in a space could be accounted for, and thereby a physical model of everything existed, the space itself would require an explanation, which leads to an infinite regress of explanations. In all the confusion it's important to recall that Science was originally founded on such a model, ie "mechanistic materialism". The interpretation which the paper argues for seems to be an attempt at retaining such a model, but can't fundamentally unite the theoretical (quantum potential, background space/field) with the "real" particle into a single explanation.

As for the Wheeler interpretation, it makes sense if we extend "the present" to mean "all time & space". This effectively generalizes the "observations" necessary to "collapse" history into the present into the generalized interactions of particles as being "observations of each other", allowing for observer-participation as a generalized process, and thus with evolution & history proceeding as normal w/o the need to assume a human or similar observer. Again, such an extension requires a globalized coordination of the variegated "syntax' or "vectors" involved, thus introducing a "global operator" as a distinct sort of operator in the system, else there's no reason to assume the laws of physics don't change over time or in some other region of reality, or that if and where they do, such differences don't alter the consistency of our perceptual & theoretical accounts.

C Langan said...

I'll begin by saying that I'm most appreciative of Mr. Goertzel's congenial and open-minded approach to my ideas. His commentary is insightful, decidedly a cut above the sort of criticism previously directed at the CTMU.

While the introductory paper to which Mr. Goertzel refers may appear quite skeletal in spots, it was judged sufficient to help establish priority regarding a theory that had already been around for 15 years or so. Much could have been added, but nothing needs to be significantly changed. Although this paper was written with accessibility in mind, it implies far more than the average reader is likely to understand. Unfortunately, spelling everything out in full detail would have required at least another hundred pages or so, and it still would not have spared me the firestorm of atheist-materialist invective that the paper initially ignited. Once you've stated on national television that you can mathematically prove the existence of God - I certainly can, by the way, and in such a way that anyone who denies it will be in a terrible fix once I get around to a rebuttal - logical argumentation makes very little difference in what happens next, and the ideological noise rises to a level at which meaningful communication becomes nearly impossible. Sadly, much of this noise will emanate from the general vicinity of Academia, Inc., which generates it at boiler-factory levels.

On a related note, Mr. Goertzel suggests that I should have cited his own work pertaining to the mind-reality interface. All I can say in my own defense is that I was completely unfamiliar with it. As I work in nearly total isolation, usually lack access to the sort of scholarly periodical that is absent from the typical small-town public library, and have no colleagues to inform me of relevant ideas, I've unwittingly neglected to cite many authors whose work I'd probably have been expected to mention were I on the academic publish-or-perish treadmill. But the truth of it is that through no fault of my own, I'm totally out of the academic loop. (It should also be noted that the CTMU dates from the 1980's, so many who would claim priority over its constituent ideas may be confused regarding the actual timeline of its development. I joined the high-IQ community in the mid-eighties specifically to publish some of my work on it.)

That's probably just as well, as I apparently have nothing to gain from academia and nearly always work from first principles. In fact, it long ago become clear to me that although academia is generally happy to accept promising ideas from any source whatsoever, it is not always willing to properly cite or credit, let alone publish, those who produce them (even if they are introduced on every major television network in the Western World as a major untapped intellect with something remarkable to say!). I don't regard this as ethically sound or remotely productive, so I try not to reinforce it by feeding the academic mill with too much undervalued grist. No one can deny that sundry members of academia have produced a great deal of insight, but in the end, it's just another closed shop and therefore useless to researchers who lack its credentials and affiliations (which, by the way, are not dispensed as fairly and meritocratically as people are usually led to believe).

Of course, Mr. Goertzel seems to understand all of this, or at least to try, and for that I commend him.

C Langan said...

Now I'll register my initial reactions to some of Mr. Goertzel's specific content-related comments.

"Most of what occurs in Langan’s theory has been said before, though with different terminology and sometimes in different forms."

Somewhat true, perhaps, but certainly not with the same import, and often after I'd said it myself in some nonacademic forum. It is only natural to observe that whatever can be described with language is to some extent "language-like", and it is easy to adduce examples. It is quite another story to push that observation to the ontological limit, and make no mistake, it is directly to the limit that the CTMU takes it.

[Incidentally, telic recursion is considerably more than a melding of Peirce's "tendency to take habits" and the "cognitive equation" ("minds are collections of pattern recognition elements that iteratively recognize and embody patterns in each other as system elements"). But for now, this is something of which I'll merely make note.]

"Metaphysically, Langan’s theory seems restricted to Peircean Thirds."

If this is supposed to mean that the CTMU excludes important properties of monadic and dyadic relations, that's totally incorrect. All three levels of Peirce's relational stratification are accommodated, and in fact, in order to achieve a proper conceptual definition of thirdness, firstness and secondness must be included as definientia. As far as concerns the putative logical independence of these relational strata, that's another matter entirely.

"Wheeler's ideas are indeed fantastically inspirational; and Langan wonders why nobody has done what Wheeler envisioned. But actually, Langan has not done so either (at least not yet!)."

I'd have to differ. In fact, the CTMU was designed to satisfy a full range of physical and/or metaphysical criteria including those listed by Wheeler, and one of the first tests to which I subjected it was to decide whether or not it could accommodate satisfactory interpretations of relativity and quantum mechanics while explicating their logical foundations. The introductory paper does not explain how this is accomplished, but I'd maintain that it inevitably *implies* how, at least for a sufficiently well-equipped mind not burdened with various obstructive misconceptions.

Certain people, even some who believe themselves to be on the bleeding edge of reality theory, would no doubt be very surprised at how much scientific and mathematical detail has been added to this framework over the years. (I don't often waste my time and energy on self-promotion, but have always preferred to spend them where my heart is.)

"But this sort of argument [for the existence of God] doesn’t really justify anything resembling conventional (e.g. anthropomorphic) religious “Gods”, nor does it argue in any useful sense that the universe was designed by something carrying out reasoning or deliberative processes…."

The "divine properties" that can be derived from the CTMU are not limited to the "three O's" of Christian dogma (omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence, which are rather more involved than one might think) ... and getting to some of them is not merely a fill-in-the-blanks exercise.

Attempts to trivialize the CTMU proof of the existence of God all share something in common: they come with a misunderstanding, or at any rate an incomplete understanding, of what the CTMU actually says.

I trust that Mr. Goertzel is too smart to get sucked into that categorization, and thank him once again for his intelligent and uncommonly benign commentary.

Best regards, Chris Langan

xxxYYZxxx said...

What the CTMU needs is a corresponding animated video. The most basic processes require the most tedious & complicated explanations, just try explaining how to tie a shoe, or read Heidegger's explication of what "is" is (ahem). Merely stating the very subject matter of the CTMU involves discussing concepts many folks simply wont intuitively grasp, and without some conceptual foothold on what's being described, there's not much chance a potential reader will put forth much effort into deciphering the CTMU. A simple video could pique the interests of potential investigators, not to mention that converting the CTMU's concepts into a video could constitute an attempt of converting such principles into a formal, practical structure. Animating CTMU process, particularly conspansion, would illustrate their connections with more commonly known concepts in science, perhaps isolating particular similarities where a "bridging formalism" could be developed, and allowing research to commence on these ideas in isolation from the "controversial" (pffft) aspects of the theory.

Chris I 100% commend your integrity and duly appriciate the non-commercialized aesthetic of your theory, however I can equally empathize with the position of a researcher like Ben. The disregard of underlying theoretical structure by science in general, and particularly towards anything "new" like the CTMU, is not necessarily always born out of rampant materialism or political dynamics; working researchers (even those like Ben, who have an open mind and genuine curiosity) simply require a formalized "engineering" sort of model to work with, regardless if they do or don't consider its deeper and more generalized implications.

Benjamin Goertzel said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the reply, and first let me apologize for not reading your paper on CTMU (or other related materials you may have written) extremely carefully yet. I did more than skim it, but I didn’t read it with the care it deserves,since the language is pretty condensed…. When I find time to go through it more carefully I’ll understand it better but will also probably have more questions…

First of all, before I get started replying to your replies, I want to note a couple other points that occurred to me…

1)
I’ve been randomly reading bits and pieces of the “Portable Chris Langan” PDF, and in some hilarious “Wikipedia talk page” transcripts near the end, I note that everyone involved seems to agree that sets can’t contain themselves as elements. This is ofc true in standard ZFC and so forth, but it’s not true in Aczel’s AFA (Anti-Foundation Axiom) based “hyperset” theory. Maybe you’ve read about this stuff, but if not, take a look at Barwise and Etchemendy’s book “The Liar” for starters. It’s not the only way to go, but I have a suspicion it might provide a route to some interesting formalizations of CTMU..

For instance, the idea of a “language that expresses stuff about itself, without foundation in anything except that language” would seem nicely formalizable in terms of hypersets…. Such a language can be modeled as a hyperset of productions (let’s say lists, for simplicity) { (W(i,1),…, W(i,k(j))), j=1,… } …. But then each of these productions W(i,r) can also be a hyperset of this same nature. The hierarchy never needs to bottom out, because it’s a hyperset and not a regular set. As an initial model one can look at recursively self-grounded languages like this constructed over finite digraphs as “apg’s” (see “The Liar” for this terminology…).

2)
Also — about your (I believe, insightful and productive) decision to model reality using language as a foundational tool/concept…

I have thought before (as have many others, of course) that it could be sensible to model the universe, **insofar as it can be discussed**, using language as a foundational concept. Since discussion itself intrinsically involves language, it seems one could never refute, using language and discussion, the hypothesis that reality is foundationally based on language. Any non-linguistic model of reality would be equivalent to some linguistic model of reality — with respect to the capability of discussion (in language) to detect differences between things.

But this line of reasoning doesn’t seem to imply that reality fundamentally **is** linguistic, though, unless one defines “is” via something like “ ‘A is B’ iff ‘A and B cannot be distinguished using linguistic discourse and discussion’ “ …

Perhaps we return once more to my favorite Bill Clinton quote, which I never get tired of referencing ;p ;) …

Benjamin Goertzel said...

MORE ...


3)
I am not clear as to your justification for assuming that conspansion occurs at a constant rate. I can see that this is convenient in terms of mapping the abstract concept of conspansion into the particulars of our physical reality (i.e. special relativity). And I can also see that, according to some humanly natural simplicity metrics, this is the *simplest* assumption to make. But still I don’t really see where the assumption comes from… Can you point me to some elaboration of this argument?

The fact that there is no evident theoretical way to define the local rate of conspansion, doesn’t seem to me to imply that it has to be globally constant..

For instance, it seems possible to me that our spacetime happens to be a domain in which the rate of conspansion is constant, yet that other “regions” of the universe (beyond our particular spacetime continuum) might have variable rates of conspansion…. I don’t see how your arguments (as presented in the writings of yours that I’ve read so far) rule this out..

It also seems possible to me that the speed of light varies in our physical spacetime, but we just haven’t figured this out yet. This seems an empirical question.. Variable speed of light breaks standard physics, but I suspect (though haven’t proved) it could consistently be expanded to encompass this possibility…

4)
The posited duality between URSE and ERSU seems questionable to me…

I would suspect, rather, than ERSU is possibly dual (in some sense) to some “subspace” of URSE…

That is: I can grok the dynamic via which the “abstract self-creating language space” of URSE and the “physical spacetime” of ERSU produce one another. The patterns of arrangement and change within ERSU contribute linguistic structures to URSE (which then “evolve” according to URSE dynamics); and conversely, URSE emerges as a particular system of “algebraic / geometric symmetry patterns” within ERSU…

However, my suspicion is that the portion of URSE that is closely coupled to ERSU in mutual inter-creation in this way, is only a *subset* of ERSU. That is, I suspect that the overarching pattern/language space (which I’ve called the “metaverse”) is much larger and more diverse than duality with our particular URSE would allow….

I could cite some experiences with DMT here, but I won’t bother 8-D ..

Benjamin Goertzel said...

MORE...


5)
Somewhere in “Portable Chris Langan” you give an offhanded comment about (paraphrasing as I can’t quickly find the quote now) why such limited creatures as humans are allowed to exist within the universe…. I think you said something like, we are structures that the larger, more complex structures of the universe are built out of…

Whatever you said exactly, it resonated with me when I read it…

One can think of reality as in some ways analogous to the “deep learning hierarchies” inside currently popular neural net learning algorithms. There are simple patterns ,then more complex patterns built out of these, etc. etc. In our spacetime continuum we have particles, atoms, molecules, compound, cells, organisms, etc. But in the broader pattern/language space we also have this sort of hierarchical composition, and in this hierarchy, humans are above some things and also below some things — we are somewhere vaguely in the middle of a very deep and rich pattern hierarchy. We contribute to more complex and deep patterns in the same sense that a pixel in an image corresponds to the overall structure of the image…. A pixel may actually be seen to contain a complex image of some sort, when viewed closely enough. But to see an image, one has to view the pixels as pixels - i.e. somewhere the recursive unfolding stops and one considers some entities as concrete and fixed and then a pattern hierarchy with a bottom is obtained, rather than a bottomless and topless hierarchy of patterns unfolding from patterns (linguistic expressions unfolding from linguistic expressions). OK, I’ve descended into over-complex quasi-poetry here, but to specify this carefully would take more time than I have at the moment ;p …



Benjamin Goertzel said...

MORE (for Chris L ...)


OK, now for some responses to your responses. Note that these will mix up some deep theoretical responses with some shallower socially-oriented responses…. All in the spirit of informal dialogue .. ;-) …

***
Once you've stated on national television that you can mathematically prove the existence of God - I certainly can, by the way, and in such a way that anyone who denies it will be in a terrible fix once I get around to a rebuttal - logical argumentation makes very little difference in what happens next, and the ideological noise rises to a level at which meaningful communication becomes nearly impossible. Sadly, much of this noise will emanate from the general vicinity of Academia, Inc., which generates it at boiler-factory levels.
***

;-) ;p

Well, media and academia, like all our social institutions, have their various peculiarities, but I guess it’s more interesting to discuss metaphysics/physics/math …

FWIW I don’t consider myself materialist (“materialism” seems strangely, obviously counterfactual, since how does anyone know about the material world except via their mind? the Buddhist logicians/metaphysicians saw this long ago…), but I for a long while did consider myself atheist. Eventually I realized there was a multidimensional spectrum of positions not embracing traditional superstitious theologies, nor entirely rejecting the notion of a Universal Mind (of some sort of overall intelligence to the universe)…

***
On a related note, Mr. Goertzel suggests that I should have cited his own work pertaining to the mind-reality interface.
***

Nah, I didn’t mean to suggest that. My work is not that famous, so I wouldn’t expect you to know it…. I was just pointing out the connections…

Also, I gotta admit my philosophical/conceptual writings are a mixed bag so far. Some I’m proud of, some less so; and the great and less-great bits are more mixed-up than I’d prefer…. I’ve got a philosophical masterwork brewing but haven’t found time to write it out yet ;) [sound familiar??]

Benjamin Goertzel said...

MOOORREEE...


***
That's probably just as well, as I apparently have nothing to gain from academia and nearly always work from first principles.
***

Well, kind of. I assume you didn’t invent numbers, variables, logic, words, syntax, semantics, sets, duality, etc. etc. for yourself ;) …. Obviously we are all building on masses of existing cultural knowledge. But I do understand & appreciate the methodology of “thinking things through for oneself” using the cultural knowledge one has already internalized, rather than consulting other sources continually while in the middle of one’s thought process… It seems to me that the Internet has decreased the degree to which people think independently in this sense (by making it sooo much easier to consult human and written sources), and I sometimes wonder about the costs and benefits of this change…


***
In fact, it long ago become clear to me that although academia is generally happy to accept promising ideas from any source whatsoever, it is not always willing to properly cite or credit, let alone publish, those who produce them
***

hmmmmm… I would say, if one is smart and knowledgeable and a decent writer and not totally nuts, getting published in academic venues is pretty much a matter of trial and error, of submitting over and over and repeatedly tweaking one’s work in response to referees’ feedback until it contains a response to every common objection…. This is not hard, it’s just boring, and if your livelihood doesn’t depend on it, why bother… I’m not suggesting you pursue academic publication…

Getting proper credit in academic circles is pretty hopeless; I’ve given up worrying about it personally… Social status issues are part of ape-psychology I’d rather leave behind…

***
it's just another closed shop and therefore useless to researchers who lack its credentials and affiliations (which, by the way, are not dispensed as fairly and meritocratically as people are usually led to believe).
***

Actually it’s pretty heterogeneous and not THAT closed; and I’m pretty confident you could get a moderate degree of academic acceptance for your ideas if you put effort into it. But I’m not especially suggesting you try…. Part of the beauty of the Internet is that you can get your ideas out to interested people regardless of acceptance by any institution or elite group…


***
It is only natural to observe that whatever can be described with language is to some extent "language-like", and it is easy to adduce examples. It is quite another story to push that observation to the ontological limit, and make no mistake, it is directly to the limit that the CTMU takes it.
***

I first encountered the idea that “everything is language” in the writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, the famous mystical ethnolinguist. But he didn’t attempt to formalize the idea…. Still he evoked the concept quite beautifully…

Benjamin Goertzel said...

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[Incidentally, telic recursion is considerably more than a melding of Peirce's "tendency to take habits" and the "cognitive equation" ("minds are collections of pattern recognition elements that iteratively recognize and embody patterns in each other as system elements"). But for now, this is something of which I'll merely make note.]
****

This interests me. Can you point me to somewhere that telic recursion is explained in more detail? This was part of the CTMU write-up that didn’t yield such clear understanding upon a quick read…

As I proposed the “cognitive equation”, basically

— the elements comprising the universe act on each other freely, producing various products [analogous, at least roughly, to your “expansion”]

— the products thus created are “filtered” out, leaving only a subset behind [analogous, at least roughly, to your “contraction”]

Now, Peirce’s “tendency to take habits” implies that the “filtering” stage of this process will preferentially select elements that cause the resulting sequence of element-sets to display significant patterning (as opposed to appearing random)…

This can be interpreted as “teleological” if one likes — because the existence of significant patterning in the sequence of element-sets resultant from repeated iteration of the cognitive equation (i.e. from repeated “conspansion”) is emergent across an extent of “time” (where by “time” I mean the “proto-time” implicit in repeated conspansion, which underlies but is not identical to the physical time within our spacetime continuum, at least in my perspective…)… So one can interpret the patterning-based selection here, as selection based on the “goal” of producing proto-temporal “trajectories” with lots of pattern in them…

Note also that this dynamic yields Sheldrake’s “morphic resonance principle” as a consequence, and thus provides a qualitative (though unfortunately, not yet quantitative) explanation for ESP, remote viewing, some aspect of PK, and some other “paranormal” phenomena…

Suppose one applies the cognitive equation to elements that are expressions in a hyperset language, as I described at the beginning of this message. (How one might do this, I’ll suggest in a moment.) Then, one has a kind of “teleological self-creation” on the part of a self-creating language, unfolding a proto-temporal trajectory…. This seems a kind of “telic recursion”, though maybe not exactly the kind you intend in CTMU (I haven’t yet grokked the difference…)….

[How might one apply a hyperset-linguistic expression A to another hyperset-linguistic expression B, to yield a third hyperset-linguistic expression C? The approach I prefer is to view some linguistic expressions as explicitly transformative. Rules of logic are the most obvious example. When you apply a rule-of-logic (a certain type of linguistic expression) to another linguistic expression, a third linguistic expression (in some odd cases equivalent to one of the first two) is obtained. One can build a more general definition of “applying linguistic expression A to linguistic expression B” out of this, via defining “application of A to B” as “the result, after letting some iterations pass, of allowing the pool of linguistic expressions in the universe to act on the set {A,B}”. For instance, logic rules may take {A,B} as their premises…. Logical forward-chaining is actually a quite general model of *growth*, i.e. *fractal growth* …]

Benjamin Goertzel said...

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Further, if one views the filtering (contraction) step in the cognitive equation as stochastic rather than deterministic, then one gets a proto-temporal “garden of forking paths” of possibilities emerging …. Once can then assign a complex-number *amplitude* to each path and one has something much like quantum theory. But the motivation for using complex instead of real numbers here is not yet obvious (to me), apart from the motivation to agree w/ quantum mechanics.

(There seem to be deep reasons why complex numbers should be used to quantify the *uncertainty about the unknowable* whereas real numbers should be used to quantify *uncertainty about the knowable*. But I haven’t yet been able to formulate these reasons in a way I’m entirely satisfied with… I’d love to hear your take on this…)

This sort of process gives an abstract sort of space, different from our 3+1 D physical spacetime. But physical spacetime can be seen to emerge from it. An abstract concept can have contradictory properties. A specific entity, instantiating an abstract concept, cannot have contradictory properties. Physical spacetimes emerge from logic-rules that take abstract concepts as inputs, and give (sets of) specific (non-contradictory) instantiations of these concepts as outputs. A physical spacetime is a set of instances, collectively arranged in a consistent way… The 3D nature of our spacetime likely emerges because 3D is the minimum dimensionality needed to represent an arbitrary graph (though this obviously needs more explication)…. The 1D time of our spacetime is the projection of the proto-time of the cognitive equation into a subspace of pattern space consisting of instances of concepts…

If one builds a Judea Peal style *causal network* whose nodes are instances arising from concepts occurring in the “garden of forking paths” mentioned above, then one can identify certain instances as “potentially causal” for other instances (i.e. A is potentially causal for B, if there is nothing in the web of events that refutes the hypothesis that A is causal of B). Using these potential causations one can create a “causal set” (a graph whose nodes are instances, e.g. hyperset-linguistic expressions, and whose (directed) links are causal arrows…)…. Causal sets bring us partway to physics, e.g. the work of Benjamin Dribus shows that they bring us to (an abstract form of) the Schrodinger Equation…

But this way of getting space out of “conspansion in self-creating languages” seems, on the surface, different from your way of doing it. But I don’t yet understand the crux or extent of the differences…

And I don’t yet see how to derive, within the approach I’ve vaguely sketched above, the exact form of the “propagator” that lives at each node of the causal network, which is what you’d need to do to derive some concrete generalization of the Standard Model from all this funky abstract metaphysical quasi-physical gesticulation ;) ;p …

Ah well, having typed the above, I now think it’s probably too compressed to be very comprehensible…. But to make it clear I’d need to write a whole essay, which I’ve been postponing for a while due to other work taking precedence! So it goes… But perhaps you can at least get the flavor of my direction of thinking from the above overly-vague notes…. Both the similarities and the differences btw our lines of thought intrigue me…


Benjamin Goertzel said...

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As an aside, since you’re into proofs of the existence of God, you would probably be interested to look up Peirce’s proof of the existence of God, if you haven’t already. He was a master logician (he invented quantifier logic, as you probably know) and he spent a lot of time and energy on his proof of God’s existence…. This is an aspect of his thinking that I haven’t paid much attention to so far (and I haven’t read that part of his corpus in about 30 years…)




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"Metaphysically, Langan’s theory seems restricted to Peircean Thirds."

If this is supposed to mean that the CTMU excludes important properties of monadic and dyadic relations, that's totally incorrect. All three levels of Peirce's relational stratification are accommodated, and in fact, in order to achieve a proper conceptual definition of thirdness, firstness and secondness must be included as definientia. As far as concerns the putative logical independence of these relational strata, that's another matter entirely.
***

These matters are hard to talk about….

In Peircean metaphysics, “First” is intended to be “raw perception”, pure and unprocessed — just pure “qualia”…. So, Peircean Firsts are not “relations” of any kind.

This is a way of talking about Chalmers’ “hard problem of consciousness” — the relation between the *raw feel* (First, qualia) of subjective experience and the structure of subjective experience

In Zen, “thusness” or “suchness” is very close to Peirce’s “First” …

My (perhaps wrong or incomplete) interpretation at the moment is that CTMU looks like a model of the “universe as a system of relationships”, so it looks to live on the level of Thirdness, in Peirce’s metaphysics…

Benjamin Goertzel said...

MMMOOIRRREE...


***
"Wheeler's ideas are indeed fantastically inspirational; and Langan wonders why nobody has done what Wheeler envisioned. But actually, Langan has not done so either (at least not yet!)."

I'd have to differ. In fact, the CTMU was designed to satisfy a full range of physical and/or metaphysical criteria including those listed by Wheeler, and one of the first tests to which I subjected it was to decide whether or not it could accommodate satisfactory interpretations of relativity and quantum mechanics while explicating their logical foundations. The introductory paper does not explain how this is accomplished, but I'd maintain that it inevitably *implies* how, at least for a sufficiently well-equipped mind not burdened with various obstructive misconceptions.
***

Hmm…. Well I can’t claim to be free of misconceptions regarding quantum theory, which is very confusing to everyone. I’ve tried to free myself from misconceptions but it’s hard to know how well one has succeeded…

My current impression is that CTMU, as expressed in the paper I read, is a **metaphysical philosophy** which is **coherent and consistent** with quantum theory and general relativity. This is very nice, no question…. But I don’t yet see how to, say, derive QM or GR from it. I also don’t yet see how it “explicates their logical foundations”, as you say…. I will be happy to read something showing me how it does.

For instance, as I mentioned above, the crux of QM is the use of complex numbers for probabilities … I don’t yet see how CTMU would imply use of a complex rather than real Hilbert space…. Does it?

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Certain people, even some who believe themselves to be on the bleeding edge of reality theory, would no doubt be very surprised at how much scientific and mathematical detail has been added to this framework over the years.
****

That’s good to hear. But has this additional detail been made available anywhere?

Benjamin Goertzel said...


MORE (the last bit finally !!! yeesh, I should take the time to figure out how to get rid of the comment length restriction here ;p)

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"But this sort of argument [for the existence of God] doesn’t really justify anything resembling conventional (e.g. anthropomorphic) religious “Gods”, nor does it argue in any useful sense that the universe was designed by something carrying out reasoning or deliberative processes…."

The "divine properties" that can be derived from the CTMU are not limited to the "three O's" of Christian dogma (omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence, which are rather more involved than one might think) ... and getting to some of them is not merely a fill-in-the-blanks exercise.

Attempts to trivialize the CTMU proof of the existence of God all share something in common: they come with a misunderstanding, or at any rate an incomplete understanding, of what the CTMU actually says.

I trust that Mr. Goertzel is too smart to get sucked into that categorization, and thank him once again for his intelligent and uncommonly benign commentary.
***

Well, I always try to keep an open mind, and to avoid getting blinded by my culture, or by the various cognitive tools I’ve adopted for convenience…

The CTMU paper I read didn’t go into much detail on the “God” aspect…

I would be very skeptical, for instance, if you told me CTMU proves that God is more like the Christian God than like the Muslim God, or than like the Buddhist conception of the divine. My view is that these traditional religions are mostly superstition, though they all have cores of genuine insight and understanding (sometimes very mixed up with superstitions and mechanisms of social control, etc. etc.).

But if you’ve derived further particulars about the “Universal Mind” that would be interesting to read about…

Overall I find it intriguing to read the work of a highly independent thinker like yourself. Your paper isn’t quite math (though it uses math), it isn’t quite science (though it uses, and may have implications for, science), it isn’t analytical philosophy (your methods for defining and elaborating terms are different) and it isn’t Continental philosophy (you’re too precise for that) … but it *connects* to all of these, and it’s full of interesting concepts…. And you are eluding the standard categories not out of a particular desire to do so, but just because that’s what naturally comes out of your mind when you think, and comes out of your mouth and fingers when you communicate…. What a shame there are not more richly, thoroughly independent thinkers out there…! Whorf was like that, Bucky Fuller was like that (to name a couple quasi-random examples), but unfortunately it’s not the way of the world…

— Ben

xxxYYZxxx said...

Ben, Chris, et al, I wonder if this theory isn't related in some way to the context of the discussion, ie formalizing CTMU principles such as conspansion & telic recursion: https://archive.org/details/AnExperimentWithTime
A brief summary: http://www.stafforini.com/broad/Broad%20-%20Mr.%20Dunne's%20theory%20of%20time%20in%20An%20experiment%20with%20time.pdf
A BBC radio discussion of the subject is found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04h7lr0
Yes this theory is over 85 years old, but lets not forget the origin of string theory. I used to think we lived in boring times, but rather it seems we're living through the birth of a new, dare I suggest "grown up", era for science. Good luck to all in the search.

Asher Haig said...

I want to jump in the middle here and seize on one comment from Ben's first response post apart from the CTMU exchange, as it bears directly on my own work and how I see it intersecting with both Ben and Chris's work.

>>
"I have thought before (as have many others, of course) that it could be sensible to model the universe, **insofar as it can be discussed**, using language as a foundational concept. Since discussion itself intrinsically involves language, it seems one could never refute, using language and discussion, the hypothesis that reality is foundationally based on language. Any non-linguistic model of reality would be equivalent to some linguistic model of reality — with respect to the capability of discussion (in language) to detect differences between things."
>>

In connection, I can't help but cringe at the "too precise for that" reference to continental theory in Ben's final response post, as “continental theory” is exactly where this very problem is played out with precision: in the development of semiotics from Saussure, through Freudian psychoanalysis by way of Bergson, Heidegger, Lacan, Levinas, and into contemporary literary theory such as Deleuze and Guattari and Foucault. It is frequently forgotten (or perhaps not known) that semiotics and psychoanalysis are both formal, rigorous sciences. This is the point where I am staging my intervention in the field of AGI, as these formal, rigorous sciences are the only existing place with a formal definition of the psyche as a function of relativity (see Lacan's mathemes and Deleuze and Guattari's development of them into a universe of Turing machines).

In my dissertation work, I discovered that Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus, A Thousand Plateaus, and most importantly—the book the formalizes all of this—What is Philosophy? were the direct and immediate product of an encounter with Turing (Guattari explains this occurred by way of Chomsky). Further, I discovered that Turing had already seen many of these formulations, which he laid out by way of universal machines, ordinal logics, and the imitation game. The imitation game is Turing's model of language/QM (Robin Gandy explicitly attributes this to Turing), which presents the notion that "emergence" consists in lines of time, and that QM conditions emerge when those lines of time converge. This turns out to also be the structure of Gödel's rotating universe theorem, which shows how the "universe" or "zero constant" is instantaneously emergent as the integral manifold defined by the geometry wherein every point of emergence has a closed time-like curve through every other point of emergence. This is usually absurdly interpreted as requiring time travel, but makes far more sense if one understands the CTCs to mean "zero time passes". The imitation game is the model, then, of one particular node of emergence relative to all others ("man" is the term of expansion, "woman" the term of conspansion). Happy to elaborate on this more/share my dissertation.

The point, though, is that Turing's work in this regard concretely defines the natural language problem in such a way that ties all of this together and that Gödel’s rotating universe is what “language” refers to in terms of Gödel’s completeness and incompleteness theorems, which are the focus of Turing’s ordinal logics (“to get around Gödel as much as possible”).

Asher Haig said...

Turing discovers the language problem to be the non-reversibility between the completeness and incompleteness theorems:
* A formal language can produce expressions that it can model and whose models it can prove valid.
* A free-standing statement does not provide its own model and is therefore undecidable.
Turing concludes that a system he calls “intuition” is needed to map informal statements to formal systems that might be capable of imitating them. This formal system is the rotating universe theorem as semiotics, and its expression includes—but is in no way limited to—the statements we frequently conflate with “language”.

“Language” is most properly defined as the potential for translatability between points of relative emergence. In terms of a photoreceptor at the eye, this is the “pure difference” produced between distinct moments of emergence, which has no external metric but can nevertheless produce one internally. Time is the operative term that links the two instances together and produces a language relation. Language, in this sense, is the systematicity of time as the multiplicity of emergence. This is not the same as linguistics, which studies patterns of speech over time. Linguistics studies only a miniscule subset of what is at stake here.

The point is that everything is language because language is the only structure capable of becoming anything and also everything while at the same time converging only on itself, essentially consisting in nothing. It has nothing to do with discourse in the precise sense that Foucault defines “discursive practices”: these are the formations that utter discourse, not the structures internal to the enunciation (which are speech-content, not performance).

“Language” names the architecture of the real insofar as the real is the repetition of difference, which is why it can be considered the one-all and non-all, which singularizes everything even as it distributes it as multiplicity.

Asher

Benjamin Goertzel said...

xxxYYZxxx .. about Dunne's theory of time ... I agree that modeling time as "more than one dimensional" is probably right, and in a different way than modern physics does...

I'm not so sure that the broader scope of time (beyond the one dimension we typically experience) is best modeled as a *dimensional* space at all, though.... This needs more thought..... The multiple dimensions of time Dunne hypothesizes may be best thought of as existing in a larger non-dimensional space (which is still a topological and maybe even metric space) ...

But details aside, yeah, Dunne's thinking agrees w/ mine in that he sees our spacetime continuum as existing within a broader space containing many spacetime continua -- and unlike the quantum multiverse as currently conceived, he sees the possibility of navigating between these (though not easily) ...

Asher Haig said...

This is the relevance of Gödel's rotating universe theorem. We have to distinguish between two types of time: lines of time (which, at any given frame of space-time, are emergent nodes of time prior to space) and arrows of time (which, at any given frame of space-time, relate that point of space-time to the relative convergence with other points in space-time, which is not identifiable with time apart from space).

So we have an infinite number of points of emergence (lines of time) that converge and produce probabilistic intersections where emergence literally "takes place", which produces locales (in the sense of Mach's principle), and from which our common concept of dimensionality falls out (physics). But if we are talking in terms of lines of time, even though they each implicate the whole of relativity (this is what defines relativity), each line of time converges (conspands) only on itself, whereas each arrow of time converges (expands) into the locale. This is closely related, I think, to Umwelt, although modernized for QM/Semiotics/Psychoanalysis.

If we start by talking about emergence in terms of lines of time, then we have no problem with time. The question becomes: what is the math that takes a multiplicity of lines of time and calculates the integral manifold that defines the relations between the specific divergence each point of emergence defines.

The difficulty is that in order to take such a measure, we have to presuppose a continuity of space-time (even as we are speaking of a rupture that reconstitutes it). What this means is that the relation between lines of time and arrows of time is reversible— we can begin the consideration from one or the other. If we start from lines of time, we are composing integral volumes (Leibniz's calculus). If we start from arrows of time, we are decomposing derivative tangents (Newton's calculus). The two, of course, converge. But in order to take this seriously we have to delineate "time" from "space-time".

Asher Haig said...

The implication of this is that lines of time form an n-dimensional integral manifold, whereas arrows of time decompose that integral manifold into tangent lines that traverse the manifold along specific dimensions. We like to talk about space-time as 3-dimensional or 4-dimensional etc, but we easily forget the dimensions that translate a thought/statement like "I want a sandwich" into a trip across the city for pizza.

Asher Haig said...

Ben, can you please elaborate on what it would mean to understand historical time (I believe this is the time you are talking about? Historie rather than Geschichte in Heidegger's sense?) as non-dimensional?

Benjamin Goertzel said...

Asher -- time is about partial-ordering, right? About one event occurring after (or before) another. But not all partially ordered domains are embeddable in a dimensional space....

If we look at Langan-like models of the meta-verse (the overall universe, not just our spacetime continuum) as some sort of hyperset-ish language, then within the space of expressions in this language , many subspaces may have partial-orderings on them; but not all of these partial orderings will be projectable into a dimensional space in any useful way. Specifically if we have a subspace of the space of linguistic expressions, which has a partial ordering (local time-ordering) and a metric (some sort of similarity measure) on it, it may not be possible to project this subspace into a dimensional space in a way that preserves distances (the metric) well...

In our spacetime continuum, local time-arrows between event-pairs all neatly line up to form global time-axes.... But this isn't guaranteed to be the case throughout the metaverse...

Asher Haig said...

I think I would suggest that it is only in the context of space-time that time is about partial-ordering.

That is to say: in the context of space-time, time is a line across a space. It is only because of the presupposed continuity of space that one can imagine the survey of such a line. Without the space to guarantee the frame of reference, there is no way to view the line of time as a pattern at all.

In contrast, in the context of space and time, time is a line of emergence. This means that there is no given frame of reference for continuity in order to consider time as an element of passage. I believe this means it cannot be a matter of partial ordering. Rather, from the perspective of a line of time, time is the selection of a tangent line that determines the orientation of the next infinitesimal.

In other words: lines of time draw curves that capture space, whereas arrows of time draw differentials across space-times.

Asher Haig said...

It just occurred to me that this notion of mapping dimensional space comes from the idea of an absolute reference frame. It may be that time is not dimensional with respect to an absolute reference frame, but that is to be expected since it has already been firmly proven that there is no absolute reference frame.

In contrast, understanding time as a line of emergence, the convergence of all times constituting integral space-time (but not a reference frame), the question of dimensionality concerns the point of emergence. From the perspective of the point of emergence, time is necessarily n-dimensional.

xxxYYZxxx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xxxYYZxxx said...

Greetings syntactic operators, (ahem). I'd like to add here that in addition to the Delayed Choice Experiment(DCE), the Quantum Zeno Effect (QZE) also relates to a closed, self describing system a la CTMU & Conspansion. Both DCE & QZE examples demonstrate a closed process where input amounts to the information available to the system, in general, and output amounts to an observable patterns.

This closed, systemic processing occurs regardless if living conscious observers exist or not, however it also accords perceptually to the whims of said observers. (I call this the "shadow puppet principle").

Note finally, and with apologies for my repeated prolixity, the necessity of systemic closure is guaranteed by the quantum and therefore minimal status of the information generated in the experiments; and since these experiments are repeatable, the information generated and registered is therefore general to the system, meaning as a whole, proving systemic unity and inter-relatedness at all levels from quantum to cosmic. The entire universe reflexively accords its perceivable appearance depending on the measurements (or lack thereof) of one quantum process involved in these experiments, and thus is a self processing hologram.

Unknown said...

This is all extremely interesting. It is becoming more and more evident that, like Ben said, as one would venture out away from Earth and surroundings we would experience a stretch or some kind of mutation possibly in measurements. The farther we travel the more stretched things become. Maybe I'm wrong. Haha. But from what I have been learning about matter this is what seems to occur. I had dreams about this as well. Time and space measurement evolves into more and more slow motion and width the farther out into space a spaceship goes. I have the need to do that to my art work as well. Art itself dictates that to many artists. And I see many people are afraid of that. I see their reactions to my art work. Dr. Stephen Hawking said that things are random. I thought about that for many years. But I experience that differently coming from a different vantage point of course. The vantage point of an abstract artist. I experienced that there is no randomness at all. It's not ordered either nor orchestrated. But it's not random. Things are caused by causes. They are not caused by intelligent design though. Haha. They cause each other in an infinitely continued manner. I found out about that when I studied statistics in psychology. Nothing is random.

Nicki LovesDogs said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snKCli0lTwU&list=PLXSh6dk6yMq4Oft5HXNzMGxOU0VWxpgPi&index=31

Gareth Rees said...

Every time there's a critique, they don't read through the entire damn theory.

Is this really the best you can do?

You had one shot and you blew it.

mystic said...

The CTMU of Christopher Michael Langan reminds me of a virtual reality construct of successive shifts in consciousness states, akin to a closed loop of recursive entanglements; this would be reflecting the necessary increase in information density, thereby, establishing the thermodynamic arrow of time.

The global conspansion rate must be required to provide a constant ratio expressing the value of c, the speed of light in vacuum, although the values in the both the numerator and denominator of successive states can change... X_n / X_d

Non-local connections are not classical... the human brain would have two types of computation, regular neurocomputation and also an extended or non-local mind as quantum or holographic computation... Perhaps the brain is something like a hologram with non-local connections ...

The general properties of the universe like individual atoms and rocks and grains of sand are also part of the universal hologram or "universal wave-function" but a rock does not have an ego.

Some animals are advanced enough to have a rudimentary or primitive form of ego because they can pass the mirror test for self awareness. The Totality of Existence i.e. the Universal Mind, does not have an ego but is a general intelligence ...the wave-function of the Universe.

My intuition tells me that a soul is something that is not made of separated parts but is somehow whole like a continuum that can merge with other souls yet still be itself.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Just a thought...
Maybe you, Langan and Goertzel, can cooperate on the P vs NP-problem ? If Langan is able to solve it, and Goertzel recognises the solution, then perhaps that would cause the solution to be taken seriously by the Clay Institute ?