Saturday, January 20, 2024

The World as a Neural Network

"If the entire universe is a neural network, then something like natural selection might be happening on all scales from cosmological (> 10⁺¹⁵ m) and biological (10⁺² − 10−⁶ m) all the way to subatomic (< 10−¹⁵ m) scales. The main idea is that some local structures (or architectures) of neural networks are more stable against external perturbations (i.e. interactions with the rest of the network) than other local structures. As a result the more stable structures are more likely to survive and the less stable structures are more likely to be exterminated. There is no reason to expect that this process might stop at a fixed time or might be confined to a fixed scale and so the evolution must continue indefinitely and on all scales. We have already seen that on the smallest scales the learning evolution is likely to produce structures of a very low complexity (i.e. second law of learning) such as one dimensional chains of neurons, but this might just be the beginning. As the learning progresses these chains can chop off loops, form junctions and according to natural selection the more stable structures would survive. If correct, then what we now call atoms and particles might actually be the outcomes of a long evolution starting from some very low complexity structures and what we now call macroscopic observers and biological cells might be the outcome of an even longer evolution. Of course, at present the claim that natural selection may be relevant on all scales is very speculative, but it seems that neural networks do offer an interesting new perspective on the problem of observers."

- Vitaly Vanchurin
The World as a Neural Network

Monday, January 15, 2024

Time and Space

"Because of the hazy, nondefinite character of quantum physics (called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle), at the dimensions of the Planck length, space and time churn and seethe, with the distance between any two points wildly fluctuating from moment to moment, and time randomly speeding and slowing, perhaps even going backward and forward. In such a situation, time and space no longer exist in a way that has meaning to us."


Monday, January 08, 2024

Symbolic Communication

"Intellectual-level communication between more advanced terrestrial [non-human intelligences] NHIs and us will require direct access to our cognitive processes. They will have to directly modulate our own abstract references and modes. In other words, they will have to convey their ideas to us by prompting our own mind to articulate those ideas to itself, using its own conceptual dictionary and grammatical structures. And because their message—a product of their own cognition, incommensurable with ours—is bound to not adequately line up with our grammar and conceptual menu, this articulation will perforce have to be symbolic, metaphorical; it will have to point to the intended meaning, as opposed to embodying the intended meaning directly, or literally. 
There is plenty of clinical precedence for this in the literature of depth psychology. Analytical Psychology, for instance, maintains  that the deeper, evolutionarily ancient, instinctive layer of our mind, for not having the language capabilities of the executive ego, speaks to us in dreams and visions through symbols, and metaphors. It can’t tell us in English, for instance, that time is flowing while we procrastinate, prompting us to act. So it may, instead, trigger and modulate a dream in which we, say, accidentally drop our backpack in a fast-flowing river and watch helplessly as it floats away. If the deeper layer of our mind, for being phylogenetically primitive, is incapable of articulating the conceptual abstractions ‘time,’ ‘flow,’ and ‘procrastination,’ it can still point symbolically to its intended meaning; it can still confront us with imagery that evokes the same underlying feeling—a sense of urgency—that would have been evoked by the statement, “time is flowing while you procrastinate.” This is what intellectual-level communication looks like when the interlocutors do not have commensurable cognitive structures. And this is how we may expect NHIs to communicate with us, if they have the technology required to reach directly into our minds and manipulate our cognitive inner space."

- Bernardo Kastrup (1974 - )
UAPs and Non-Human Intelligence

Sunday, January 07, 2024


"We live in a universe where the mathematical equations of the beginning are alive in us. If you altered them in any way, we wouldn’t even be here. We would never have come forth. Those conditions at the beginning of time are exactly what they had to be for us to allow the mathematics of the universe’s beginning to think inside us."
"Our universe had been creating itself for billions of years and suddenly, through the work of a handful of human beings, the universe found a way to reflect on itself, on how it had developed over billions of years."
"The greatest discovery of the last four hundred years is the time-developmental nature of our universe. Scientists have come to realize we live not in a cosmos but in a cosmogenesis, a universe developing from a primordial simple state into ever more complex states."

- Brian Thomas Swimme (1950 - )
Cosmogenesis: An Unveiling of the Expanding Universe

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Cosmic Serpent

"All the peoples in the world who talk of a cosmic serpent have been saying as much for millennia. He had not seen it because the rational gaze is forever focalized and can examine only one thing at a time. It separates things to understand them, including the truly complementary. It is the gaze of the specialist, who sees the fine grain of a necessarily restricted field of vision."

- Jeremy Narby (1959 - )
The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the Origins of Knowledge