Rebooting and Rooks

I feel rebooted.

The last four days, away from work, travelling about, has been full of people, adventures, magic and stories. I have taken in so much, it will take a while for it to mull around and come back out again as ponderings.

Somewhere inside, Things make sense that didn’t make sense before. I have tied up some loose ends and found many new threads for more journeying. Including but not limited to; properties of water, aikido, balancing, movement. christianity ane meshing with other things. A huge dose of information on history of art – I found a shop in glastonbury full of pre-raphelite and victorian romantic art (it made me think of Amy ). The ownerness is packing up the shop and moving to Cyprus, hopefully to start teaching as well. She downloaded reams of information and inspiration into my little head. Suddenly, dawning awarness – just because i did science all the way through school, there is no reason whatsover I can’t learn about history or art! Obvious, perhaps, but also liberating.

I keep coming back to the notion/concept of ‘energy’, which has encompassed and expanded from the desire to find energy-as-a-mystical-scientific ‘thing’ to more of a natural way of thinking about how stuff works and moves and interacts.

pah!

Days of life, and experience, and people. Talking and listening and watching and learning and loving. Reconnecting with friends, giving and taking and enjoying and relaxing and shaking about.

I have grown up a little more, or perhaps, grown closer a little more. I can see where and what I need to do and go, the biggest block is apathy and fear, as always, but also I can’t just sit back and make things happen. The value of experience is paramount to learning.

I can not right now express or describe to you everything. Memories are off glinting sunlight on a river, the taste of ginger cake and listening to the story of my buddhist friend trying to find his way. Standing on top of the tor, as the wind blew crazy vortices on the grass; wind so strong you could lean on it…the feeling of flight and exuberance and being alive. (Like the rooks and crows that cawed and played beneath you). Darkness fading and then encroaching again. Exertion and rest. Watching Malaika dance while wearing an 1930’s bowler hat (which she makes look -good-). Making biscuits with Rachel in a sunlit kitchen. Candle lit passion and being held to the sound of beating stormy rain. Laughter. Lying on cushions and sheepskin in a ‘goddess temple’ and feeling peaceful. Just..so much…

I suspect that, we can use our minds and intellects to create walls, to build castles we can feel safe in. Or we can use the same for removing obstructions. I don’t think that I need to build new answers any more, which includes, building a new ‘self’ that’s better than the old one. All I need to do, is remove what is in the way and see what is actually -there-. To look for common sense not complex theory. We all have ‘voices’ in our heads; mad and sane a like, of friends, driving instructors, parents, education. Somewhere in here, I have found the little voice that is ‘mine’. This is the voice I want to encourage and one day to be able to express, be it in words or art or action.

If I am serious about this, it will take more than words.

I have also realised that scientific-rationalism really IS but one tool on the swiss-army knife of human ability.

So there 😉

6 thoughts on “Rebooting and Rooks”

  1. Humanity has a toolbox of abilities generated over the course of a billion years of evolution. Scientific rationalism is the most recent and also the most effective one, but it suffers from a buggy and unoptimised software implementation. I’m sure that if evolution had a few million more years to work on the problem, it would become highly efficient and the primary mode of thinking.

    However, the time of natural evolution may well be over.

    1. You do realise, of course, that someone who abandons all forms of though save one becomes a higly specialised system, excelling at one particular application, but introducing glaring weaknesses in other aspects.

      To stick to Scientific Rationalisation is to become a pocket calculator. Excellent for number crunching and mathmatical problem solving, but useless for writing a story, painting a picture, or many other things that require unrestrained thoughts and feelings.

      The best tool is one that is multi-purpose, and that is the essense of a human mind, if you wish to liken it so. so while you highborw science thinkers condense your personalities and thoughts to small shorthand, the rest of us will continue to write mental novels and explore the rest of the world you and your cult shun as useless.

      To us, there IS no useless, just different. And humanity will still appreciate these things, even if you invent an AI, or develop ways to live forever, or cure cancer etc. There is no escaping what we all are. And I think even you know this. :O)

      Geez, I’d been meaning to write something like this for ages. I feel better now.

      1. I have some sympathy for your position, as there have certainly been many formalists with a pathetically narrow view of rationality who have partially discredited the concept. Certainly there has been much foolishness in the history of artificial intelligence. However I can say with conviction that you have no idea of the true power of rational intelligence; I didn’t myself until very recently and only a few hundred people worldwide seem to realise the potential. Humans really are just the very bare minimum general intelligences; we are perhaps 70% instinctive animal and 30% sluggish unoptimised general intelligence. A lot of the nonrational thinking techniques you admire make heavy use of presentient neural adaptations, simply because they’re there and they’re well optimised by millions of years of evolution. However the true potential of intelligence is something far greater than this barely working lash-together.

        > You do realise, of course, that someone who abandons all forms of
        > though save one becomes a higly specialised system, excelling at
        > one particular application, but introducing glaring weaknesses in
        > other aspects.

        Rationality is a meta-system. /All/ other approaches are subsumed into rationality in that if it is rational to use them, they will be used. However this is a difference in kind in itself in that techniques will be mixed and matched by proven utility rather than arbitary preference. In practice pervasive Bayesian optimisation and rational analysis of in-flight subdeliberative processes can produces a range of problem solving techniques both broader and more powerful than what is known to human experience. This is one of the many things that makes AI so hideously dangerous.

        > To stick to Scientific Rationalisation is to become a pocket
        > calculator. Excellent for number crunching and mathmatical
        > problem solving, but useless for writing a story, painting a
        > picture, or many other things that require unrestrained thoughts
        > and feelings.

        You wish. Unfortunately the necessary evidence is still in the
        process of being published, so this will have to stand as my unsupported opinion. That said the truth of the matter is that creativity is anemable not only to replication by sophisticated holistic codelet-driven constraint-satisfaction networks, but also that with equivalent compute power Bayesian optimisation can produce far better results than the combination of Monte Carlo and simple (limited superimposition) energy minimisation in the human neural substrate. I fully expect the ‘art establishment’ as a whole to be demolished by the ease at which styles can be extrapolated and reaction-optimised pieces of media can be produced by transhuman AIs. The retreat to ‘it may be identical to the artifical ones but it’s better just because it’s natural!’ currently in progress in the diamond industry will probably be replicated to my great amusement.

        > The best tool is one that is multi-purpose, and that is the
        > essense of a human mind

        The human mind is essentially Turing-complete, so it shares with the digital computer the ability to emulate any specific mental tool (though in practice we need external memory aids to execute most complex procedures). However in principle it is much less flexible as we can’t reconfigure our hardware or even most of our software. Furthermore neurons run incredibly slowly; serial systems can emulate massive parallelism but parallel systems cannot emulate massive serialism. Rationality is the ultimate general purpose tool and a rational artificial intelligence would be a mind far more universal in capability (at a given total computational power) than humanlike neural intelligence.

      2. > so while you highborw science thinkers condense your
        > personalities and thoughts to small shorthand,

        Regrettably as I mentioned a lot of classic rational philosophy and AI is pathetically oversimplified. This is essentially due to wishful thinking; the tools at the time could only support tiny toy systems and the researchers wanted to believe that they could capture intelligence in the bottle they had in a short research program. In truth implementing a more flexible and reconfigurable substrate than largely hardwired human neurons produces a system with far more useful cognitive complexity for a given overall time/space complexity, simply because special-purpose structures can be built, tuned and destroyed as needed instead of being fixed by genes or slowly built over years of developmental learning.

        > the rest of us will continue to write mental novels and explore
        > the rest of the world you and your cult shun as useless.

        These ideas are actually a key part of cognitive engineering, but to know how and when to employ them without millenia of trial-and-error we must put them in a Bayesian rational framework. Unfortunately the sheer speed of progress in computer hardware means that we may soon be able to simply simulate millenia of evolution. That would be bad, as it would give us working AI that we can’t understand or control.

        > To us, there IS no useless, just different.

        Nonsense. Your relevance filtering threshold may be set a bit lower than average (saddling you with a lot of meaningless junk to plough through but on the plus side spotting novel connections in fewer inferential steps), but you still discard >99.99% of all sensory data you receive as irrelevant to your current goals. You have to, as we swim in a sea of information (which communications technology is making deeper at an exponential rate) with only a very limited amount of attention to go round. Fortunately the universe is full of regularities and causality is a mappable web, not an impeneterably dense hairball.

        > And humanity will still appreciate these things,

        Perhaps, if they’re not regarded as hopelessly quaint, flat and boring in comparison to the new possibilities. It’s really impossible to say; the consequences of immortality or AI are post-singularity speculation.

        > There is no escaping what we all are. And I think even you know
        > this. :O)

        That would be incredibly depressing if true. Fortunately I do not believe it to be so. We have been stuck with human nature for millenia; to date science and engineering have been merely improving the human environment, not the human condition. It won’t be long now though until the shackles of natural evolution are broken and a new flowering takes place. Whether that flowering will include anything current humans would approve of is an open research problem.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful weekend – I am happy for you. Time is flying by for me these days, but even so ,I am learning to relish the moments spent with friends and loved ones as they occur, and relax a lot more. There is no need for stress in my life, and being busy in some ways has even reduced my stress levels. Strange but true. Sounds like you were busy also, but that it didn’t feel like it for you. *smiling*

    I hope your week goes as well as the weekend has.

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