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Posted by Richard D. Stafford, Ph.D. on April 25, 2003 03:04:02 UTC

Hi Aurino,

You are expecting me to clarify your position, when I am not qualified to perform that clarification at all. As I commented in my last note, when it comes to the subconscious solution to reality (which we all use to think about things) I can provide no more advice on how to pick at the strings than can anyone else. I can provide nothing more than opinions based on my subconscious (or intuitive if you prefer) understanding of the world I find myself in.

You want to start with the "string" called "truth". If that is the case, then a good decent start will require a substantial life time of "semi-communications" before we can even begin to understand one another. This is the central quandary of all such discussions. There is the string called "truth" and another called "logic" and they are all connected down in that knot somewhere. People have spent thousands of years trying to unravel that knot and I see very few signs of success. In fact, from my current perspective, I see no possibility of success via that route (the problem is actually far more complex then Harv - or even Russell could conceive). No more than I expect success at pitching a baseball through a tire by thinking about which muscle should be contracted when! The only valid solution is to let your subconscious handle the problem and go with the result.

I ask for a set of words the meaning of which we can agree upon. I put forth one word and one word only: reality is .... Where the ellipsis stands for what ever you wish it to stand for and yet you refuse to allow me that definition. You come back with "truth" (one of the strings sticking out of that Gordian knot I want to talk about) and expect me to "know" what you are talking about. At least I am not expecting you to know anything about what I am talking about because I am talking about the problem of knowing what is being talked about itself! Now, I know that sentence is clear as mud but I am going to leave it in there anyway.

Exactly what basic postulate must you accept to agree with the definition "reality is ..."?

I am sorry but I think you and everyone else just simply fail to notice what I say. To begin with, there is a problem, the existence of which appears to be beyond the comprehension of anyone except myself. You, Aurino, do admit the fundamental existence of the problem (which is far more than anyone else I have talked to) but even you do not comprehend the full extent and depth of that problem.

From my experience of dealing with people I hold two facts to be almost self evident. First, almost all intellectuals overestimate their ability to think things out on a conscious level to such a great extent as to be almost ludicrous. Secondly they, at the very same time, underestimate the abilities of their subconscious to create ideas (I would say to think) so much as to paint the idea as insignificant.

Let me restate the issue in a form I have already expressed in an earlier post:

Even starting with the picture of reality held by the current scientific authorities of earth, we all started off as a single fertilized cell. That cell became two cells; then four and then sixteen ...; on and on. All of the information any of us have about the outside world was either set down in our genetic makeup or arrived through finite physical interactions of that collection of cells with reality. (If you wish to place a lot of dependence upon the genetic makeup [from Alan: "as a baby you knew it all"], then just carry the process back a few million or billion years; the problem of how this came to be does not go away.)

Now every normal human being has what I would describe as fundamentally complete mental view of reality by the age of one. Certainly the changes in that view after the age of one are trivial when compared to the change prior to that age. By the end of their first year, they have enough of a mental image to understand that they have arms, they have eyes, they can walk, that other people exist and that sounds have meaning. The changes in their world view after that are mere adjustments in comparison to what they have already achieved. Now I say that image was achieved by the subconscious mind of that child; in saying that, all I am saying is that it certainly was not achieved through a collection of logical conscious decisions. At that age, I would not be surprised at all if their understanding of a conscious decision was not even functional.

Human beings cannot even solve the problem of walking across the room by consciously deciding which muscles to contract and when. Anyone who tried to do so would be thought an idiot. Why do they think their mental image of the world was achieved by some conscious logical procedure? Certainly how this mental image was achieved has been explained by no one (as far as I know, no one even thinks there is any need for such an explanation). It seems to me that we have here a phenomena which underlies any thoughts we can have about anything. If you cannot comprehend how such a thing can be accomplished, how can you even pretend to be thinking about the rationality of your mental model?

So I come to the world and I say "hey guys, I have discovered a specific way to create a coherent illusion which will reproduce any random collection of data conceivable; a procedure which will provide an internally consistent set of entities and rules which will be totally and completely consistent with the data on which it is based". A Dewey decimal system of organizing absolutely any collection of data so to speak. And, just as an aside, it turns out that this illusion must obey most all of the accepted laws of physics. (This would mean that it is not possible to conceive of a collection of data which could not be seen as obeying those laws - a very interesting result in itself.) An issue totally and completely over everyone's head.

Does anyone care to examine that procedure? Well hell no! Everyone goes to great lengths to convince me that I have lost my mind. They all have very good reasons why what I have done cannot possibly be done; in spite of the fact that hundreds of millions of children have done it on a subconscious level for centuries and continue to do it on a daily basis. If that is not the definition of a closed mind, I have no idea what a closed mind is.

I would further point out that I do not claim that we have achieved our mental image of reality via the procedure I have discovered; all I claim is that I have discovered an analytical way to produce such an image. Either I have done that or I have not. Only an examination of my deductions can determine the truth of that statement. There exist only two ways that my presentation can be disproved: either one must show a collection of communicable information which cannot be cast into my procedure or, one must show a specific error in the deductions contained in the development. The simple statement that what I claim I have done cannot be done carries utterly no weight beyond clarifying the mental limitations of the opposition.

I have solved a very specific mathematical problem the existence of which no one seems to be able to comprehend.

If my definition of reality is incorrect (reality is ...) then so is every definition of reality! That may very well be true (mankind may never put forth a correct definition) and yet, what I say is true of any definition which man will ever put forth correct or not. If you could follow my mathematics, you would see that the procedure I propose is always finite. It is the best explanation of any finite set of data, no matter how large that data set may be.

What I say does not consist of statements about the explanations; rather what I say constitutes interpretation of those statements: quite a different issue. Unless you can follow the mathematics, you cannot follow my thoughts; but I will none the less try to give you an example of what I am talking about. It makes utterly no difference what your image of reality is, it will contain entities of some sort. It will contain collections of entities which will fulfill my definition of "objects". As your knowledge of your universe changes, some of the things which fulfill my definition of "objects" will be identifiable as appearing in that changed universe. The way those objects change as your universe changes will conform to the laws of physics.

I am only barely scratching the surface here!

For instance, can you understand why a mathematical definition of reality leads to Cantor's paradox? I find that a well-informed objection (I didn't come up with it, Bertrand Russell did)

I have not given a mathematical definition of reality! I have presented a mathematical analysis of any communicable concept of reality. I use numbers for nothing more than labels for the collection of things which make up that communicable record. My analysis is of the definition "reality is ..." where the ellipsis stand for anything you want them to stand for. The only constraint on my analysis is that there exists no information outside the information in the communicable record.

You keep worrying about a "true" description of reality when what I am talking about is "any" description of reality; whether it is true or false it is of no consequence. All I demand is that the interpretation of the description is internally self consistent. After all, if I am trying to understand that description, I won't accept an interpretation which is inconsistent. Neither will you! If you cannot find an internally consistent interpretation, you will insert the concept of lying to eliminate the inconsistencies.

The interesting issue is that, if it is possible to give a true description of reality, then "any" must include the true one! So the things I say about any description of reality must be true about the correct description also.

My problem with languages other than mathematics is that they depend very strongly on subconscious interpretation, a process which I cannot guarantee to be error free as there are too many contextual variations in meanings.

My basic argument with you is that you must accomplish what I have accomplished without reliance on your subconscious or you have not solved the problem. The development of language is part of the problem. With regard to that issue, the development of the language of mathematics has been accomplished on a conscious level so it is exempt (for the most part) from that difficulty.

And, your huge programs are as nothing when compared to the accomplishments of the subconscious of a one year old.

Have fun -- Dick

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