Saturday, June 16, 2018

Refugee Camp Science

Camp Life

The Global University is highly militarized and low on people skills, which means it's somewhat weak in the brains department, or "mentally deficient" as we say in the business.  Long story.

In terms of funding, the talented scientists and engineers need to represent their research foci against a backdrop of Endless Wars, as that's the lifestyle most students see as realistic for themselves.  How will my research help on the battlefield?

Metaphorically, we're always able to see War when we need it.  President Johnson tried his War on Poverty, but then how was that going to profit Big Business?

What followed was a War on Big Government in order to stop it from FDR style experiments with so-called "socialism" (the irony being the military is highly socialized, in addition to being not democratic).  The Business Plot, at first frustrated by Smedley Butler, won out.

One consequence of Endless Wars, with its belief in "regimes" and "regime change",  is an endless stream of refugees from the bombing ranges the Global U selects for fairly indiscriminate flattening and rubblizing.  As faculty knows:  we're a bit weak in the head.

Student housing, being destroyed over there, needs to be reconstructed over here, in the form of refugee camps and the Global U is starting to train people in the many skills related to setting these up and providing management and materials.  We're looking at large logistics challenges, especially around supplying the basics, such as WiFi.

GST has been helpful in linking all of the above to the Earth Energy Budget (EEB) at least conceptually.  Exactly how currencies come to represent current, in terms of kilowatt-hours, is another discussion.  Think of energy as gold bars and of the sun as their place of origin (we import more energy from the Sun, as a planet, than we do from all the oil fields combined).

Another branch of study the students are going into:  weapons inspection and disposal.  Those making bright shiny new weapons often have an investment in retiring the old ones the sooner the better.  When conversion is a possibility, in rare cases, only a systems based approach will graph out the consequences and provide anticipatory programming.

My network of "spy camps" (derogatory) was envisioned with similar goals e.g. testing lifestyles with a degree of self-sufficiency even in a remote wilderness.  Campus facilities employing XRL (extreme remote livingry) have an ephemeral quality.  The entire campus is designed to vanish without a trace after the research data has been collected.  Permanent infrastructure may be left behind in some cases, but minus the campus that put it there.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Heaven, Again and Again

I'd like to write a Medium essay on this topic, of Heaven versus Reincarnation as two belief systems that philosophers sometimes just assume are opposed, even though both feature an After Life in some sense.  The devil is in the details right?

However, I'm in a hellish state of needing to connect to a virtual classroom on Monday, for hours at a time, and I've been depending on my Android doing Bluetooth for that purpose.  However, the Android appears to have gone crazy.  Not the first time.  Fighting to save the Android's sanity is taking a lot of my time.

That's the thing about Heaven:  it comes with a flip side or Hell.  If you wake up in some After Life, you're going to wonder what the Judgement was.  Yes, I know, we're not all on the same page as to the timeline.  The orthodox Christian belief is we need to stay dead until the end of time, at which point, we experience the Resurrection.

What may confuse people is that's apparently not how it worked with Jesus.  He could be resurrected as a fully formed adult, just days after he was entombed.  Did he look the same though?  Some accounts say only his closest disciples were able to authenticate that this was the same guy.

I diverge though.  Or maybe not, as I'm wanting to highlight that the legends or myths are already murky.  Judgement Day has to wait for a Second Coming.  Is there a Heaven without that Judgement Day coming first?

In the archetypal realm, this is already the After Life.  We've died and been reborn many times, and each time we're born, we get a lot of what we prayed for.  The living standards humans enjoy now are pretty good for some, totally miserable for others.  We regard Creation as both Heavenly and Hellish, but ultimately neither because not Eternal.

What would Heaven be like then?  You have a body?  What if you think others are better looking?  Are you condemned to jealousy, envy and so on?  That would be Hell right?  You keep suffering from the same sins you did before, except eternally.  There's Karma in this picture, it seems like.  Here's an After Life, which you expected to be Heavenly, but once you get there, what do you get to do?  Do you have a job?  Is your life meaningful?

Getting to a world that still made sense, had a history, a narrative, or set of narratives, would seem a Heavenly Outcome to many, especially if said world were relatively free from want and diseases, compared with some Hellish world one had just been in.  A believer in reincarnation prays for a better After Life.  How is that so different from a believer in and/or hoper for Heaven?

In sum, I do not buy the idea that we have any strictly necessary division in namespaces, between those dreaming of Heaven, and those praying for an After Life on Planet Earth or some other planet.  What both believers have in common, in addition to aspirations for a brighter, happier future, is a sense of continuity.  How will we know "this is me"?  Is one cogito as good as any?  That goes against our sense of having a self to preserve.

Now we're getting into another sticky area in philosophy:  continuity of self.  Those into reincarnation sometimes claim to have memories from past lives.  However, beliefs do not always bend in response to such claims, as those not believing in reincarnation may nevertheless believe in dreams, fantasies, thoughts contrary to fact.  "Sure you claim to believe in past lives, but that doesn't mean I have to believe you had any" is how the reasoning goes in that case.  And so for many claims people make.

My claim is simpler:  belief in an After Life includes belief in Heaven/Hell and belief in some future lifespan in any context, comes under the same umbrella.  Those positing a strict separation between these two belief systems are being unnecessarily strict in my view.

In contrast, some believe in No Before Life, and No After Life.  The cogito does a "heads up" in a single lifespan, experiences the mystery of Being, and then reverts to Non-Being, which is not, after all, a state of Being.  Saying someone "is" dead or "is" not yet born, is to posit a "someone" and that's where the oxymorons get started.

Even here, I'd say there might not be as strict a dichotomy as we might think at first.  To have another life while forgetting your previous life completely, suggests some underlying continuity that's deeper than one's memories and thoughts.  That a specific ego might dissipate, never to reconstellate (reconstitute), is possible even in the course of an ordinary lifetime.  A person you once felt and considered yourself to be, is now dead to you.  There's no going back.

This issue of Continuity (an important word in film) likewise arises for those who believe in Heaven. We expect to be reunited with our loved ones, in many stories.  However that implies we recognize them, and they us.  Did all the people we don't want to remember go to Hell?  Does that mean we can't remember them in Heaven?  Does their suffering not detract from our eternal satisfaction?  Do we exult in it then?

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Upsetting Sets

Modern "Set Theory" - is it a religious belief system? by Dr. N. Wildberger

Some of us who study the Bucky stuff are likewise attracted to the mathematical research of Dr. N. Wildberger.

Why?  Because he is:

(A) not afraid to talk about Foundations and
(B) questions the ones a lot of us grew up with in the 1900s.

At one point he says explicitly that his questioning of the dogma that Set Theory somehow provides logical underpinnings, is deliberately designed to bring mathematics more into alignment with computer science, wherein the Set is one data structure among many.

Furthermore, computer science is resolutely discrete and content with Finitude, at least in some circles.  Dr. Wildberger is, philosophically speaking, a Finitist.

What I anticipate is the unwillingness of mathematics faculties to take on Learning to Code at the high school level is going to result in a corresponding loss of influence when it comes to preaching, I mean teaching, about mathematical foundations. 

Are we so sure we need "infinity" as a central concept then?

Years ago, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) changed its logo from something promising, an octet truss looking thing, to an infinity symbol.  This could be interpreted as a symbol of self defeat, as we leave Cantor dust in the dust, so to speak.

What's missing in our selection of a coordinate system is a sense of its frequency, scale, degree of resolution.  The assumption is that any grid is immediately resting upon some continuum, that stable reality that makes "solids" solid.

Even if we don't find much justification for such a reality in physics, many still believe we're able to access this continuum through some third eye (the "mind's eye"), and therefore the continuum remains an object of mathematical study.  I'm not saying it shouldn't be, only that said eye might be critical (in the sense of skeptical).