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For Me, The Penny Dropped!

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Posted by Alan on March 23, 2002 04:20:24 UTC


I was thinking; this sequential one step at a time approach; is not the only way.

It would be a terribly slow way to assemble a jisaw puzzle, one piece +1... sequentially, if you were not alert to looking for the bigger patterns that suggest themselves from a variety of broader perspectives.

However, I guess Dr. Dick is right that when the puzzle is completed, the fit of the pieces must be precise. For actual jigsaw puzzles, the solved puzzle must not be just a jumble of "looked O.K. at the time" patterns that do not actually fit around the edges with neighbouring patterns.

I was thinkng; what I found difficult about University math and physics is: where they leave out steps in their reasoning; they expect you to do some dodgy "never mind" trick in your head and go with the textbook theory.

So then the penny drops: of course Dr. Dick is just asking that steps are not fudged in going from A to B. So I see there has been a communication problem; as I was looking at the whole picture, scouting out broad patterns, like doing a jigsaw puzzle in practice- looking for the deeper basic structure, not worrying about refinement as that seemed to settle increasingly more precisely into place by itself.

But I see that at some stage it is an idea to take my version of the "solved" puzzle and demonstrate exactly with no step omitted (perhaps except one, the one everybody omits) how: one may understand "time" such as to obtain four key physics equations very directly. (For a hint: see "fair comment" post to Yanniru re: entropy debate).

Now, may I quote Harv: "It's funny how a word looks different when you are typing it versus reading it." That is very significant!

Ever noticed that for a moment, you see a familiar word as a rather silly looking shape? For a moment, it has lost its meaning, it is just a shape. Rare; but foreign languages often look like squiggly shapes, don't they?

Example: I go to the kitchen to look at the oven digital clock. I'm distracted and when I leave the room I realise I still don't know the time, even though I just looked at it! My eyes took in the scene, but I didn't "compute". I wasn't paying attention. I did not focus my brain's pattern-comparison activity on it.

Perhaps that shows you an example of "information" without "meaning" (except for the meaning: "information"). So my brain did not decode the clock. But how I assign meaning to that visual pattern is arbitrary, in that I could have been educated to perceive the patterns we call "digital clock time" as "messages about cats and dogs" or anything.

This gives us an immediate explanation of the alleged crazy behaviour of so-called schizophrenics. They supposedly see hidden messages in things. Um, so do we all! Here are a bunch of funny squiggles and you are seeing messages in them! English text! You could have been raised to perceive quite different messages. To assign meaning differently!

Thus "crazy" people who "see hidden messages" (Nash at one time?) are simply experiencing the freedom and voluntariness of the process of assigning meaning to raw data. Where they fall down is their assignments end out logically inconsistent with other assignments, I guess.
It is best they be encouraged to take responsibility for their choice of meaning-assignment.

Still, people can create a self-consistent fantasy world that is hard to break into. But always I reckon one could find contradictions, that, as Dr. Dick points out, would pull down the whole structure.

In my opinion, meaning is what you get when you overlap a bunch of broad categories (e.g. (1) things with round elements (2) things with four round elements (3) things with engines (4) things that carry people (5) things which are legally allowed on highways etc. to give "car" as the meaning in the middle.

But an alien might come across a car, and juggle rather a different set of categories, overlapping them to get satisfactory meaning of what he sees that might be quite contrary to your meaning.

The assignment of the definition "car" is a matter of whose categories will you make it the intersection of; yours or the aliens?


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