On 05/02/2009, at 4:23 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

> Hi Kim,
> Still interested?
> I must say I was wrong.

Only a scientist admits he can be wrong. Everyone else will risk their  
life in the attempt to "prove" how right they are.

How "right" can one be? Considering the emotion and passion some  
people invest in defending their righteous viewpoint you would perhaps  
be led to believe that one can be "very right" if not "extremely  
right" or even "totally right".

> I cannot explain to you the functioning of a
> computer without doing math.

I forgive your moment of weakness. I cannot explain to you the  
functioning of music without showing you the logic of harmony and  
counterpoint. We understand one another

> Orally, drawing on a black board, I would
> have been able to explain a big part of it, and simultaneously hiding
> the mathematics. But I realize now that even this would have been a
> bad idea and would have made things more difficult in the longer run,
> given the ambition of the project.

The project is highly ambitious and you should follow your own best  
counsel in how to go about it most effectively. The burden is upon me  
to come up to your level of description in my understanding. Many  
people try to climb Everest these days. Some die in the attempt - if  
they succeed, they may still lose fingers and toes.
> After all, I am supposed to explain to you how, when we assume the
> comp hypothesis, the ultimate realities become mathematical in nature,
> even arithmetical or number theoretical. But how could I explain this
> to you without doing a bit of mathematics.

It may seem strange, but, without demonstrating my understanding in  
any technical sense, I can at least assure you of my "faith" in the  
power of your reasoning. I understand music when I hear it - why  
should it be any different for this discourse? I somehow sense the  
music in the logic. If you choose well your words, I accept that they  
emerge from a mind that has already mapped language to arithmetical  
truth. Of course, I do not expect to pass any high level logic tests  
using this argument...

> Mathematics is a curious music that only the musicians can hear.

It has always struck me as a possible advantage the musician has over  
the mathematician. You can fill your whiteboard with your arcane  
script, but you can not play any of it on your violin. Why I want to  
compose music derived from my understanding of all this. That is my  
ambitious project.

> Mathematicians play with instruments that only them can hear.
> To listen to a mathematician, you have to be a mathematician and play
> the instrument. Fortunately, all universal machine like you, are a
> mathematician, and when a human seems to feel he is not a
> mathematician, it just means the mathematician living within is a bit
> sleepy, for a reason or another.

Or merely terrified of his lack of education over it. Nobody loses  
sleep thinking they are tone-deaf, because you can still live  
successfully without an inner "pitch model" but it is the same fiction  
as you describe. If you actually were tone deaf, you could not change  
gears in your car - you could not recognise a happy-sounding voice  
from an angry voice, you could not distinguish your mother's voice  
from your father's, you could not distinguish waves on the beach from  
the wind in the trees. Music is where our natural tonal recognition  
faculty is concentrated like a laser beam. I miss greatly the same  
concentrated ability with numbers.

> Especially that I am realizing that some people confuse a computation
> with a description of a computation, which are two very different
> mathematical objects (albeit relative one) existing in Platonia.

You can burn all musical scores (partitions) of any piece and the  
piece is still there. A thought once thought cannot be unthought. You  
cannot delete information from the universe.

I think.

> This
> plays a key role in the articulation of the step seven with the step
> eight. It plays a key role to understand the computationalist
> supervenience thesis, and thus where the laws of physics come from,
> and of course it is strictly needed when ultimately we interview the
> universal Lobian machine.

I walk slowly in this direction. I am drawn to it by the beauty of the  
distant music I already hear.

> So, the time has come I cure your math anxiety, if you or some others
> are still interested.

You teach me maths for free, I translate your theses for free

> I can awake the mathematician in you (like I can
> awake the mathematician living in any universal entity, btw :).

OK - so you have NO excuse for not applying for a Templeton Foundation  
grant. Awaken the musical mathematician in the widest possible  
audience. Us musicians, we play very sweetly when somebody throws big  
money at us!!!

> I propose we begin with the numbers, and, to keep our motivation
> straight, I propose we meditate a little bit on the distinction
> between numbers and descriptions of numbers, and notations for
> numbers. It is a bit like the difference between a symphony and a
> symphony's partition ....

Parfaitement entendu

> Given the importance of such distinction in the whole drama, it is
> worth to get those conceptual nuances clear right at the beginning.
> I really propose to you to begin math at zero.
> But now I am already stuck: should I explain first the number 1,
> or ... the number zero?
> A tricky one that number zero ... :)

Zero was "invented" (discovered?) only AFTER 1. Yet, zero precedes one  
in the natural scheme of things. In systems analysis it is axiomatic  
that the sequence of the arrival of information determines the  
ordering of all subsequent information, just as rain falling on a  
landscape creates channels and river basins that channel all  
subsequent rainfall. I believe that civilisation should have started  
with zero - had this happened, we would be 400 or so years ahead of  
where we currently are in our understanding of reality. I do not know  
why I believe this, perhaps you can explain my intuition here. I  
believe we are suffering from a historically ingrained perceptual  
error about zero and one. Music begins with silence. The silence that  
precedes the upbeat is part of the music. Sometimes the Nothing is  
inserted into the midst of the music, Listen to the opening 20 or so  
bars of Claude Debussy's "L'après midi d'un faune" for a glowing  
illustration of what I mean. He starts with the one, then remembers  
the zero ( an inexplicable and mystical silence takes place, not long  
after the beginning. People have long wondered why this silence.)

> Best,
> Bruno
> PS I now you are busy. I propose we go at the minimum of your rhythm
> and mine. But I tell you that "the poem is long".

Qu'il ne finisse jamais


> http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/
> >

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