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Fundamental Physics.

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If you think that we may someday reach a fundamental level of understanding.

I think we never will.

Not because we lack the resources, which we may or may not, but because there is no level that is ever fundamental.

The most fundamental understanding we already have today.

Or at least *I* have it. And it’s exactly what I keep talking about.

In the most simple terms it’s like this: There’s a phenomenon. Why did it occur? Ah, it seems to be causally linked to these phenomena. But why did they occur? Well, they seem to occur within this causal pattern with even more subtle phenomena. But why do those phenomena occur? And so on, and so on, and so on.

You either follow a never ending network of causality between ever new phenomenal patterns or you encounter at some point phenomena that don’t seem to be causally connected to anything and just happen. Once you encounter those you can come to the conclusion that they do, indeed happen for no reason or that they are causally connected in ways that you cannot fathom. But even assuming the latter you’re only back to chasing an infinite causality along an infinite causal network.

Well, if you assume that some phenomena happen for no reason then you can stop asking questions about a phenomenon’s past. The question “why” means “for what reason,” and if you assume that there are none then there is no “why.” If you assume that even if you can’t find any reason for the moment there might still be one you’re still stuck with why the infinite network of cause and effect exists. It could be caused by something but that just means there’s an even bigger network into which the infinite network is embedded. What about the whole thing of all causal connections, no matter how big it is? Well, if it’s *all* causal connections that there are then it cannot have a causal connection to anything outside it any more. So the whole entirety of phenomena and causal patterns between them has no cause.

And that’s the only fundamental metaphysical law you can be sure of. Everything altogether can’t have a reason because there’s nothing else by definition.

What else do you suggest would be a fundamental understanding? So we’ve discovered the hot, dense state that the Universe used to be in and we call it the Big Bang. Well, why did the Big Bang happen? Apparently our matter was caused by initial imbalances in the energy distribution of the Universe in its initial stages. Well, why did those imbalances exist? Even if you explain them through even earlier imbalances you haven’t really answered anything. Either you can infinitely regress in your causality or you can postulate at some point that this is just the Universe the way it was for no reason.

It can be fun to dig ever deeper, looking to see what else will turn up. But don’t expect ever to hit bottom! Or, if you hit bottom, you’re left with explaining why there’s a bottom there. There’s never any final answer that way.

The only final answers there are are: The principle of cause and effect exists for no reason, everything altogether exists for no reason, therefore its particular shape has no ultimate reason other than internal consistency if cause and effect sticks to the laws we’ve figured out. And that’s the way it is, the way it was, and the way it always will be, no matter how primitive or how technologically advanced we are.

Physics is interesting. It provides us with a certain amount of control over our environment and a reasonably good life. So, by all means, let’s keep exploring! But don’t expect it to ever provide you with salvation from existentialist uncertainty! Cosmologists who claim they could explain it all any day now are bullshitting you and maybe even themselves.

Written by ulrichschreglmann

April 18, 2010 at 4:08 am

Would an introvert be happier living amongst intelligent machines rather than people?

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True, heavy machinery developed during the industrial revolution made
our lives physically a great deal easier in the long run. The infor-
mation age has been abolishing tedious brainwork for us in very much
the same way.

But you still need people for some things. And people still need to
tackle unpleasant chores in order to keep paradise going. But extrap-
olating past developments into the future, is there anywhere a time of
a truly conflict free society on the horizon in which such things as
faith, devotion, and zealotry are no longer needed?

Why do you still need people for certain tasks? It’s because the com-
puter is a relatively simple machine without emotions and desires.
Even that doesn’t make it a perfect, bug-free machine, as we all know.
For any intelligence, artificial or otherwise, to present us with liv-
ing conditions tailor-made for our OWN needs and desires, however, it
is necessary to at least emulate those within itself.

In other words, the machine, or agent, or whatever you may call it,
has to develop something like urges itself–urges that can be either
indulged in or remain unfulfilled, depending on the circumstances.
The ideal way to do this would be to simulate a person perfectly.
A perfect simulation would, however, be indistinguishable from the
real thing. It would think and feel and believe it’s the person be-
ing simulated in fact. And it would be the guinea pig everything is
thrown at to find out whether or not it would please the master.
(And I have a horrible feeling I’m one of them and that they forgot
to switch me off after things went haywire.)

Thus even relying solely on machines and believing oneself to have
fulfilled, finally, one’s own every whim, without any guilt or other
emotional ballast, is just another way of having successfully placed
oneself on top of the food chain. But in order for that position to
be occupied there must be an awful lot of suffering going on down be-
low, whether you realize it or not. (Most of ours lies on the micro-
scale of our organism and, of course, in all the failures of our evo-
lutionary past. Some of it, like and abatoirs and third world sweat-
shops, are of a less abstract nature.)

Written by ulrichschreglmann

March 29, 2010 at 4:01 am

I wonder whether US descent into a dictatorship is unavoidable…

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I look at the political gridlock and the deep ideological division and
then I see historical examples from other countries and times and I
wonder whether what we see played out today may lead to an inevitable
power grab by an imperial executive, with all the parties contributing
to that eventual outcome, including those who warn about it and who
protest against it.

I mean, I look at other places that used to be established republics
or fledgling democracies, such as ancient Rome, France after the Revo-
lution, Germany after World War One, and I always see it played out
that way. Some crisis or shift in logistics makes things no longer
work the way they used to and power becomes shaky. There are those
who wish to adapt and then there are those who blame everything on the
people who wish to change things. Eventually the ideology that wishes
to return to a perceived golden age thinks that the only way to
achieve their goal is to stall everything until those foolish “revolu-
tionaries” in power relent.

So eventually nothing moves until someone comes along who cuts through
the deliberately entangled red tape like Alexander the Great through
the Gordian Knot. The problem is, such a knot-cutter is more likely
an authoritarian, totalitarian force rather than someone who would
then cede power to a committee again, which might return to the grid-
lock that went before anyway. If such a usurper is only mildly com-
petent then the situation might temporarily improve again under such
centralized rule, warming the people to the concept of more monarchic
form of leadership, not calling itself a kingdom, but essentially giv-
ing the head of state such powers.

And before you know it you’re suddenly an empire under a Caesar or a
Napoleon or, in the worst of cases, a Hitler or a Stalin.

All the signs point to a lot of people being ready for such a power
shift and the whole political climate sounds like a prelude to this
kind of change. I’m not saying it has to happen, but if it happens
this is the kind of time when it usually happens.

I wonder how it will all play out in the end…

Written by ulrichschreglmann

March 29, 2010 at 3:53 am

Posted in America, Politics, Uncategorized, USA

Tagged with ,

Health Care

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The
resources for universal healthcare exist in the US. They exist in all
developed countries, where they are applied. It is deliberate sabotage
for profit motives that makes the system work suboptimally, not the
fact that there are too few people volunteering for hospital jobs or
something.

Think of a hotel that installed perfectly working emergency exits in
case of a fire but then made them coin-slot operated for a little bit of
extra profit during an emergency and failed to make sure that guests
are equipped with coins at all times. That’s the kind of needless com-
plication in combination with negligence I’m talking about, not just
slacking off.

Written by ulrichschreglmann

March 26, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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