Diaries of a Mad Genius, Epilogue

Back when I was 19 and just getting into serious philosophy, I took the architectural approach to understanding reality. I tried to define words in the manner than Socrates suggested: “the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms”. However, I wanted to understand reality by finding the basic things in common with all things – a kind of first principle. To do that, I thought it was necessary to be very specific in my language – that is, a word could only mean ONE THING. However, reality is quite elusive, and as I thought about how to define something, I took the approach of making the criteria increasingly abstract. This lead to a few inevitable problems. First, it became impossible to relate these specific definitions to anything “real”. Second, even the “specific” definitions themselves became meaningless. After all, they had been invented and weren’t related to anything real anymore. Consequently, there was no such thing as an abstract reality that related all things in reality. Reality is simply not abstract.

To be more precise, the reality that does relate all things cannot, itself, be described by words or other realities that arise from that one reality. After all, if it could be, then it wouldn’t be the “prime reality”, so to speak. Other philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas stumbled on this fact as well.

My first problem was attempting to relate words to reality. Words are the association of symbols and/or sounds with some vague memories, not some specific mental “definition” as I was hoping. In fact, the ideas associated with a word can change over time due to a variety of factors including memory loss, outside influences using the word differently, or simply personal whim. The reality that I experienced and believed to be outside of my mind laid the basis for those words and thus could not be described by its own derivatives. In fact, “words” themselves speak of the “new” (or reconstructed) reality inside the mind. Ideas, however, are only recordings of reality or constructions from those recordings, nothing more.

Before I had discovered all this, I had hoped to speak about reality by defining each individual word. Once I had discovered the futility of my approach (which was fairly early on), I still persisted in attempted to write philosophy in a topical manner, writing about the definitions of words or conclusions.

It was a backwards approach: I was giving the answer – the results of my long hours of thought – and then trying to contrive some way of proving it rather than taking the forward approach and trying to explain to people how I actually discovered what I did and using the natural thought process.

Admittedly, not everyone can understand my thought process. I tend to think on a manner that takes into account all of the principles and abstractions I’ve discovered and possibilities I’ve considered rather than simply finding concrete examples from “real life experiences”. Thus, the invention of proofs seemed inevitable.

In any case, the attempt to define words subconsciously plagued me for years, and I lost hope of ever writing a comprehensive book on philosophy, which is why I started this blog instead. Now that I’ve been able to reorient myself, my hopes are up again.

With that said, it should be evident that this blog is officially closed. I may reference back to it from time to time, but it promotes bad writing practice for philosophy.

As I said in a previous post, I will be publishing in my new blog, “Trails of Reason“.

Thanks for reading!

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Analytical Articles – Trails of Reason Blog

For those of you who are interested, I have created another blog (“Trails of Reason”) specifically devoted to more prose and analysis. The current blog you are reading is more of an encyclopedia/dictionary, which will continue to be updated from time to time but not as likely as often.

The original purpose of this blog was, in fact, creating an encyclopedia of my mind because I see the world in such a connected way. Unfortunately, it makes it harder to write for. Furthermore, I have wanted to write more analytical articles that touch on a broader spectrum of topics, all the while being related to the fundamentals of my view of reality.

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Escaping the Liar’s Paradox

Please read the About and Disclaimer section.

The liar’s paradox, regardless of whatever label it is given, can be reduced to either of these two forms:

  1. The next statement is true. The previous statement is false.
  2. This statement is false.

If you attempt to seek some solution to this as though it were a problem, then any attempt to restrain yourself to the prescribed confines of language will leave you baffled. In short, don’t try to “solve” it. If you want to make a conjecture about the “truth” or “validity” of any such statement, you first must understand the entirety of the setup.

First of all, the spontaneous approach relies on a few underlying false assumptions. The first false assumption is that the words of a language directly correlate to some real idea. They do not. A word is nothing more than associated sounds and letters that are used to call to mind a particular idea or ideas. The sounds for “no”, for example, mean two different things depending on the language of reference. There is no reason why “no” cannot have multiple associations because “no” isn’t bound to any one of them. Likewise, words “truth” and “false” are not bound to the the ideas they reference, nor are those ideas bound to the words. To phrase this in more practical terms: “You can’t make something true by saying so.” However, even knowing this, we cannot yet make a conjecture about the truth or validity of the paradox in question (even though this explanation does explain many other paradoxes).

The next false assumption is that the statement must make some kind of statement about truth. I am not disregarding this: That if the paradox is declared false, it then makes itself true, and if it is declared true, it then makes itself false. Instead, it is false to assume that any conjecture of the truth or validity of the paradox can be made at all! There is no reason why the statement must be recognized as true or false.

To better understand why this is the correct answer, a third false assumption must also be addressed. This assumption is that the paradox actually gives a real idea. The truth or validity of a statement is completely meaningless. For example, in English, “Red is blue” is naturally false based on the ideas associated with “red” and “blue”. However, if “blue” were to be “red” in some hypothetical language, then in such a language, “Red is blue” would be a perfectly true expression of reality. Therefore, the statement alone (“Red is blue”) has no particular inherent measure of truth. Analysis of truthfulness or validity can only be made when the statements as a whole invoke an idea. “Red” invokes the idea of a color, a comprehensible reality (a reality that can be imagined). But since the paradox in question (the Liar’s Paradox) invokes no comprehensible idea of reality, there is no sense in discussing whether that idea even applies to reality.

All lies share the common aspect that something about them does not apply to reality. If we knew all the facts, then the claim by the lie would be inconceivable. Thus all lies in some way relate back to the same issue with the Liar’s Paradox that I have discussed here. The difference is that usually things involved are more complex and thus allow for some modification or distortion of their definitions that makes it seem as though they would apply to reality.

For example, consider the following claim: “A banana is orange”. The concept of “banana” entails both a shape and a color. Since the shape is usually the primary association with “banana”, it is possible to conceive of both the banana shape enveloped in the color of orange. However, if the definition (and, in turn, the concept) of “banana” required that the “banana” have the color of yellow, then it would be inconceivable for a “banana” to be “orange”. The statement “A banana is orange” would be false – that is, inapplicable to reality.

From this analysis, we could say for certain that in the first structure of Liar’s Paradox (“The next statement is true. The previous statement is false.”), the entire claim as a whole is meaningless and should not be analyzed as two separate components. That says nothing about its applicability to reality. In fact, if we are to say anything about the system, we can say the entire system is “false”, or in other words, inapplicable to reality.

We could try to associate some fact with one of the statements. For example, we could say “The sun shines and the second statement is true. The first statement is false.” But even here, we can treat the parts (“the sun shines” and “the second statement is true”) separately and come to the conclusion that the latter part is still inapplicable to reality.

Paradoxical and ironic as it may seem, if we say that the system as a whole is false, then we should certainly admit that both statements in the system are false. “The second statement is true” and “The first statement is false” are both false. Neither is applicable to reality.

The important fact is that words and statements themselves don’t make something valid or true. They are merely supposed to be descriptors of reality.

If you try to find where such a problem might exist in reality, then the problem might be analogous to two mirrors reflecting the image of each other. Tracing the image back to the first mirror seems impossible, but the fact is, one mirror was hit with light first. Just because there is an apparent dependency does not mean there was no beginning.

If we are to take this analogy literally, we might (incorrectly) conclude that the statements alternate in their truthfulness and falseness as each is analyzed. In the case of the basic system – “This statement is false” – we could say that it is not false until completed, in which case it becomes true about itself and then goes back to being false in alternating manner. But this is what drives people crazy with this problem, and it’s better to stick with the truth: that the paradox is inapplicable to reality and therefore false.

On a related note, there may arise a situation in which (when reduced to its fundamental argument) one person claims a certain other person is always a liar and the other person claims that the first person is always honest. I’ve discussed the definition of a lie, and it hopefully it is evident that the liar is still a liar. Since lying is aimed at providing an idea other than the truth, it is clear that such a claim of “all honesty” is meant to counter the claim of “always a liar” and therefore distort the truth, which is an indirect way of providing an idea that is wrong. I say this as a hypothetical situation, assuming that one person is always honest and the other person is always lying, but the analysis is applicable regardless and could also be used to in the scenario where both people have lied or both people have always (before this point) been honest. The purpose in my pointing this out is that such scenarios, while related to the topic of the liar’s paradox, are not entirely the same.

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Where Brain Signals Go

Please read the About and Disclaimer section.

The brain itself is not an endpoint for its own signals. To demonstrate this point, consider a storm cloud. At some point in time, the storm cloud may have the same electrical composition and organization as the brain. Obviously, storms are larger than brains, but we can consider the relative positions of electrons and some small isolated region of a storm cloud. It doesn’t particularly matter, since both the storm and the brain are both physical entities and thus limited to the realm of the physical. Due to this physical limitation, the storm cloud and the brain are comparable in this regard. Like the brain, the storm cloud sends and receives electrical changes, forcing its electrons around. Unlike the brain, however, the storm cloud can dissolve and perhaps reform somewhere else. These acts of dissolution and reformation make it absurd to believe that the storm cloud itself has some “consciousness” in its physical limitations. Perhaps if some extra-dimensional conscious being happened to be created or go to wherever storm clouds formed, there would be a consciousness present, but regardless, the cloud itself would not be the conscious. Likewise, it is peculiar to believe that the brain, which begins its existence by being formed from a single cell, is its own consciousness.

To be more specific, by consciousness, I refer to that in which can nowlos. Nowlos has to be somewhere, as evidence from experience. Perhaps I am the only person who can nowlos, but even if it were just me, there still must exist some endpoint outside of the brain. It is this endpoint of the electrical signals (interpreted as “knowledge”) (where such signals become nowlos) that I call the “soul“, wherever it happens to be. Undoubtedly, however, it cannot be in the physical world.

The mechanisms by which the brain signals become consciousness are unknown. It is my sneaking suspicion, however, that electrons entering the brain could become entangled (in position) with entities in other worlds and dimensions. This should not seem such a bizarre idea since nothing in particular hinders such interaction. Perhaps within the interior of the brain, there is generated some sort of field, which, supposing it could be tampered or amplified, may make telepathy possible.

Addendum:

The comparison between the brain and storm clouds is made because storm clouds are “unorganized”. But “organization” is subject entirely to interpretation. If by “organization”, we mean that storm clouds are simply not systematic, this can be contested on the basis that the follow the laws of physics, just as the brain does. They merely don’t have an identifiable structure. But again, all of this is meaningless. On top of this, a point must be made that computers themselves will never gain a “consciousness”, no matter how much “information” they are given, since knowledge itself is subject to interpretation and the existence of a conscious nature is not.

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Definition of “Possibility”

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Possibilities are the results of reality that share an identified collection of facts. A possibility is one such result.

For example, suppose a person enters a building with three rooms. Without considering other information, there is a possibility that the person entered any one of the three rooms because they all share the common fact that “entering the building” is a means for a person to occupy one of the rooms.

It may be difficult to describe what “possibility” is in a singular nature because “possibility” often implies there are more possibilities.

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“For example…”

This phrase – and the word “example” – is used in various locations here. It always applies to systems, but while in general, it may apply to generic systems, it will also be used to speak of cases where I (or we) assume a system of reality identical to our expectations (that is, a reality where the “example” speaks of “truth”, according to a definition of truth).

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Probability and Scientific Causation

Please read the About and Disclaimer section.

First, a little opinion: For around 100 years or more, the scientific community has been bottled up on the philosophical problem that can be summarized by the notion that the complexity of an abstract concept can somehow supersede its realm of existence and establish the existence of something in a world outside of itself. This problem can occur in many ways, but one way in particular that comes to mind is the issue of probability. This beautifully large word seems to have the same logic-numbing effect on scientists as words such as “professional” and “quality” have on the amateur – somehow something amazing is to be expected; the power seems to be enhanced as a result of the abstracting of the composing principle. It’s as if one could expect a dolphin to be born of a deer by virtue of them both being mammals. While that does not mean the our initial impression of the absurdity somehow nixes a reality – if it is a reality – it does mean that, if the idea is a reality, we should (in theory) eventually be able to give some reasonable explanation for it to be called “science” and not just philosophy.

The intention of science is to make observations of phenomenon and find some reliable pattern. This pattern is then to be expected every time. We call this “determinism” because it means we usually can “determine” the result by knowing all of the details. If we maintain this intention of science, then it is absurd to end at the conclusion that determinism is false, especially since, after many experiments and observations, we have found such consistent patterns, which lead us to conclude things are deterministic. All that is not to say that all of the mechanics of the universe (and beyond) can be discovered nor does it mean that there are not things in the universe that are non-deterministic (that is to say, they don’t have an expected pattern of existence). But if there are non-deterministic things, they ought to be labeled as “non-deterministic”, not bundled with the idea of “probability”, which implies many other things. Here’s why:

Suppose I were to hide a marble under one of three cups. The deterministic conclusion is that the marble exists under one cup – or at least can only be observed under one cup (taking note of the idea that the particles composing the marble may actually extend across all of space). The probabilistic conclusion of the observer who does not know where I put the marble says that there is a 1/3 likelihood of the marble being under each cup. (And in fact, if we are to take the existentialist approach, there is a 1/infinite chance of the marble being under each cup because the “observable marble” may have moved or been moved or destroyed after being placed under a cup.) However, if all three cups are raised to reveal the observable marble, and the marble had, in fact, not moved, then the probability was not perfectly descriptive of the actual reality, for neither of the other cups (nor any other cup in the universe), had contained the marble. To me, however, the probability that the marble was under the cup I put it under would be 1/1. It would be the correct probability. The only difference in the accuracy of these two probabilities – the 1/3 and the 1/1 – is the observer, and this is an important point.

Probability is nothing more than a description of the knowledge of the observer, though it is an interesting description for it says something accurate about the observer and not necessarily about what is being observed. As I already pointed out, the existentialist viewpoint is that there is a 1 in infinite chance of an observable marble being under a cup. This isn’t because of some bizarre physics about the universe – though the universe may very well work by some bizarre physics – but because of some lack of understanding about how the universe works. If there is any lack in an understanding or information, there is infinite lack, because it is that “last piece” that could be infinite in one way or more. Concerning the observer who expects a 1/3 probability, we can say this observer expects a more or less deterministic outcome. That is, they expect a number of limitations on the universe such that the outcomes can be filtered down to expecting a 1/3 probability. And this is the normal expectation of science, hence the great effort of scientists to control the variables in an experiment. In my example above, the scenario in which I hide the marbles could have been with me at a small table with two other people – the person making the guess and some external observer who can verify that I didn’t place the marble anywhere but in one of the three cups. I believe this experiment has been performed time and time again with the same results, assuming that the setup and execution has gone as expected.

Hence, since probability is about the observer, it should be obvious that the reality cannot be effected by it, unless there is some means by which lack of information or a presupposition about reality is translated into reality. (For example, someone (this person being the “means”) may have the observer make a guess at a probability and use that guess to determine the outcome. Notably, though, the guess in this case is what is stated by the observer, not necessarily a personal conviction.) Assuming no translation occurs, there is obviously no translation. Thus, the lack of information (which leads to the observer making a statement about probability) does not, by virtue of being “lack of knowledge”, effect reality. It may effect reality as a result of being represented by the presence or absence of electrons in a brain, but not by being what we identify as a lack of information or understanding.

All that said – and this is the important part of this article – that “probability” is not a basis of existence. Just because something is possible does not mean it is. What is quite interesting is that – from a perspective of psychology – accepting a probability can cause the disregard of reliable deterministic “facts”. While this is certainly acceptable from a philosophical perspective, it is absurd from a scientific perspective, where great pains may be taken to identify such facts. That is not to say scientific “facts” are always correct, but there are certainly cases where even the phenomenon that have always performed the same way are brought into question. For example, accepting the possibility that a ball may roll up hill may lead a person to conclude that the ball will eventually roll uphill, even without some identifiable reason. A layman’s example would be believing you will find a tribe of natives on any island you happen to sail to.

I mention this because it will be important when discussing scientific theories, some of which may disregard what I think even the greatest skeptics can see are observable facts (that is, patterns that have “always” been observed) or confuse the idea of “non-determinism” (description of reality) with “probability” (description of the conclusion based on psychological analysis).

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