On 22 Feb 2011, at 22:14, benjayk wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Now, just recall that "Platonia" is based on classical logic where
falsity f, or 0 = 1, entails all proposition. So if you insist to say
that 0 = 1, I will soon prove that you owe to me A billions of
dollars, and that you should prepare the check.
You could prove that, but what is really meant by that is another
It may simply mean "I want to play a joke on you".

All statements are open to interpretation, I don't think we can
avoid that
entirely. We are ususally more interested in the statements that are
vague, but vague or crazy statements are still valid on some level
though often on an very boring, because trivial, level; like saying
"S afs
fdsLfs", which is just expressing that something exists).

We formalize things, or make them as formal as possible, when we
search where we disagree, or when we want to find a mistake. The idea
of making things formal, like in first order logic, is to be able to
follow a derivation or an argument in a way which does not depend on
any interpretation, other than the procedural inference rule.
Yes, I get the idea. I agree that the derivation does not depend on any interpretation (other than one we can easily agree on). But what the axioms
and the derivations thereof "really" mean is open to interpretation.
Otherwise we would have no discussion about "Do numbers exist?".
I don't think we can understand "1+1=2" without some amount of
interpretation. We need to interpret that the two objects are of the same
kind, for example.
Formal results are useless if we are not able to interpret what they mean.

I am not sure. We want avoid the "philosophical discussion", which can be endless and obstructive. So instead of trying to find the ultimate interpretation on which everybody would agree, we try, in a spirit of respect of all interpretation, to find our common agreement. Is 0 a number? OK, we agree that 0 is a number, and from that, agreeing with classical logic, we already agree that at least one number exist, 0. And the existence case is closed.
Next question, do we agree that numbers have a successor? Yes, that is the point, if x is a number, we want it having a successor, and successors ...., 0, s(0), s(s(0)), ...

In this manner, we don't throw away, any interpretation of the numbers, but we are able to derive many things from what we agree on.

The question of the relation between human and numbers is very interesting, but has to be addressed at some other levels, with some supplementary hypotheses. If not we mix unrelated difficulties.

I have to admit I'm not sure if it is valuable to make everything as formal as possible, if we want to find a mistake. My intuition says it is not, at
least not always. It might to lead into a loop, where we formalize
everything as much as possible and make very little progress in what we
really want to achieve.

I agree. Only, when it is hard to find the mistake, we do get more formal or we become the victim of that mistake.

If in our informal communication we want to find where we disagree (which seems to be an important function of communication), we should formalize our
natural language, too.

I think that this is just impossible. To formalize a natural language, or a person, would kill it. It would be like pretending we can know our level, or that we trust blindly the doctor in case he would contend himself to send your Gödel number to the museum. Natural language are of the type "alive", they changed, get new words from other languages, etc.

I think it has been tried, but I'm not sure whether
there is much value in doing that.

No value, unless the natural language is perishing, because only known by few old people. Then it might be nice to formalize it to keep its memory in the natural languages museum indeed.

It might lead to a language that is too
difficult, too little flexible and too much restricting for almost all

Not really. Formal can be very flexible, like the programming languages, but natural language are "naturally" self-transforming, and have to adapt.

I'm not sure, either, if it is - even just in science - always a good
approach to try to find mistakes.
Maybe there are none and we never really
know and trying to do will lead nowhere or there always some mistakes and trying to eliminate them will just spawn new ones. Maybe both are true in
some way.

Mistakes are what make us progress. Beware the fatal mistake, like flying a plane with a bug in the altimeter.

I guess both sides are important: We have to formalize, to establish
structures, that give us some frame of reasoning and we have to break
formalities (which might manifest as some kind of behavior that appears very mad, if not evil, like denying God in the middle ages) in order to discover
new structures.
This might be the reason for the dream state.

Molecules and Cells are formal things. Form is matter, in *some* sense. Informal comes from relation between forms and "effective" functions and relations among those forms, especially when they are universal and reflect each others. Formal science without informal conscience can lead to catastrophes, and then we learn, and if we don't, we will make the catastrophes again, and again.

I don't feel we can make an easy distinction between formal activities and informal activities, too (like "banishing" structure-breaking creativity
into the arts). It just feels wrong for me. It will lead to zombie
scientists (actually there are already quite a few of them, I think you whom
I mean ;) ) and utterly mad artists.

Some people seems to believe that by making the human science more rigorous, they will be less human. But it is a pretext to continue the inhuman things.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

3=7 may mean that there are 3 objects that are 7
objects which might be interpreted as aserting the existence of (for
example) 7*1, 7*2 and 7*3.

Logicians and mathematicians are more simple minded than that, and it
does not always help to be understood.
If you allow circles with edges, and triangles with four sides in
Platonia, we will loose any hope of understanding each other.
I don't think we have "disallow" circles with edges, and triangles
with four
sides; it is enough if we keep in mind that it is useful to use
words in a
sense that is commonly understood.

That is why I limit myself for the TOE to natural numbers and their
addition and multiplication.
The reason is that it is enough, by comp, and nobody (except perhaps
some philosophers) have any problem with that.
I'm not so sure about this. There seem to be many people who have a problem with numbers, especially with ascribing existence to them (even if it seems
obvious to you) - not just "some philosophers".

People having problem with numbers have been victim of a traumatic teaching of math. The philosophical question of the existence of any thing, except consciousness here and now, is desperately complex.

That is why I like comp, because it allows (and forces) to derive the psychological existence, the theological existence, the physical, existence, and the sensible existence from the classical existence of numbers, which is simple by definition, if you agree with the use of classical logic in number theory. This *is* taught in high school, and problems with that are most related with bad teaching of math in a context of 1500 years of Aristotelian quasi dogmatic paradigm.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

I think it is a bit authoritarian to disallow some statements as

I feel it is better to think of truth as everything describable or
experiencable; and then we differ between truth as non-falsehood and
trivial truth of falsehoods.
It avoids that we have to fight wars between truth and falsehood.
swallows everything up. If somebody says something ridiculous like
"All non
christian people go to hell.", we acknowledge that expresses some
about what he feels and believes, instead of only seeing that what
he says
is false.

This is a diplomatic error. Doing that will end up with everyone doing
war to you.
There is definitely some truth in that. Many people don't like lack of
opposition, or even interpret too much agreement as a kind of opposition. I
experienced this quite a few times.

Like when Alice said that mustard is not a bird, and the duchess said 'you are so right', and Alice said she thinks mustard is a mineral, and the duchess daid "of course it is", and Alice add "oh I know it is a vegetable" and then duchess still agree, and on and on ...

But then, it is not possible to not offend anyone. There will always be
someone waging war against you, even if just subconsciously.

Sure. If you want please everybody, eventually you make everybody angry at you.
I know I am at risk trying to satisfy all universal machines :)

I don't have the experience that "everyone" is doing war to me, when I am very much inclusive in what I believe to be true (or good). Some people,
especially those holding unconventional beliefs, will appreciate your
You will not have the masses or authorities behind you, though (they like people reiterating their beliefs in strong and authoritative manner). But neither do I want to. Well, maybe in some way I would like to, but then I would probably fall into the trap of authoritarianism myself. There seems to be inherent tension between being believed in and not being authoritative.

Not really. Authoritative argument are symptoms of lies or bad faith.
If you trust truth (which is hard given that it is unknown) you fear nothing.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

It is far too much "politically correct'.

I don't think I am politically correct.
Saying that the state or conventional religion is harmful (or just
superfluous) - like I do sometimes - will lead you into much opposition (the
second not so much in my particular environment).
I am not saying we shouldn't disagree (even vehemently). We may disagree, but at the same time realize that there is some truth to what is being said by the other party. I agree, though, that it is a hard line to walk between
disagreeing too much and agreeing to much. Most confusingly sometimes
agreeing to much might seem like disagreeing (with disagreeing) too much.

Yes. This can be contingent, but religion is the best thing in the world until the power steals it. This lead to unending confusion and suffering, and "religion" is made into the worst thing, *especially* that some truth remains.

I think religion, that is your relation with truth, is eminently private, and that no one can tell what you need to believe in, unless your belief harm others.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Of course, when someone genuinely says that all "non christian people
go to hell", there are many possible "truth" behind the statement,
like "F..ck the atheists", "F..ck the agnostics", "I hate you", "you
have to obey to what I say", "You don't belong to my club", etc.
Or "I believe there will be justice and non-Christian people are inherently evil and thus have to go to hell for justice to prevail, even if I don't like it" or "I believe what I have been told, because I cannot believe only
what I see myself".

Yes. Lack of self-confidence. It is the children philosophy: p is true because my father said so. It should no be used in the academy, I think. It can be useful in the army, or with the fire men, when quick decision have to be made. For poliltics, it is already much more complex.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

On the contrary, when you want to make a point, especially a new one,
it is far better to respect the truth of your opponents, but then you
have to distill what you and your opponent agree on. In science this
works very well in theory (in practice we have often the obligation to
wait that the opponent dies).
"On the contrary"? What you wrote seems to be a confirmation of respecting
that there is truth in other people beliefs.

Because then you can extract the partial truth on which you agree, but this asks for accepting there is a part where we disagree. There is no shame in that, and in absence of convincing argument, we have to know we don't know the truth. The genuine respect comes from the genuine or sincere doubting.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

I believe the only way we can learn to understand each other is if we
acknowledge the truth in every utterance.

That is extreme relativism, and makes truth so trivial that it lost
its meaning.
I think truth is a naturally very relative notion, today it might be true
that "it rains today" on Monday and it might be false on Tuesday.

That might be absolute truth disguised into indexical statement. "It rains today" is "it rains the 23 february 2011" uttered the 23 february 2011.

It might
be true that x=3 in some context and in some other x=4.

And given that Leibniz convinced us that two quantities (3 and 4) equals to some other (x) are equal to each other, we can derive that 3 = 4. Come on, x is a variable. Variables variate. You were obliged to mention the context. This does not relativize truth. It just motivates us for the study of functions and all that.

But paradoxically it seems like an absolute notion, too. There really seems
to be an absolute truth regardless of circumstances.
So I am an extreme relativist, but also an absolutist.

Doubt can rise only from at least a certainty, like consciousness.

It's the same with triviality. Truth is trivial, it simply is true and it is hard to say anymore about it that is surely true. On the other hand, it's highly non-trivial, as seen in this non-trivial world; there seem to be
infinite structures in or of truth.

Logic makes that clear. Some truth are trivial (like "p -> p", or "p & q -> p", or "0 = 0"), but the notion of truth itself is so complex and non trivial that there is no arithmetical predicate for just arithmetical truth. Truth is as trivial as God! It has no description.

"I" or "thing" are very relative words, too. Yet they still have meaning.

They are indexical. They are wonderfully handled by Kleene second recursion theorem. It is logic at his best.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

On the contrary I think that once we truly love or
respect someone, we are able to tell him "no", or "I disagree", or
"you are wrong".
I agree.
But I think we can disagree on some level and agree on another level and we will always find some level we can agree one (but probably also some we can
disagree one).

The big ethical threshold is when we disagree but can agree to talk gently about the disagreement around a cup of coffee, instead of using bombs and bullets.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

There is absolutely no shame in being wrong. The shame is when someone
knows that he/she is wrong, but for reason of proud or notoriety, is
unable to admit it.
Right, but it is easier to admit being wrong if you feel you were right in
some sense.

Of course. It means you understand in what sense you were wrong.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

I don't think the omnipotence paradox is problematic, also. It
simply shows
that omnipotence is nothing that can be properly conceived of using
classical logic. We may assume omnipotence and non-omnipotence are
compatible; omnipotence encompasses non-omnipotence and is on some
equivalent to it.
For example: The omnipotent God can make a stone that is too heavy
for him
to lift, because God can manifest as a person (that's still God, but
non-omnipotent omnipotent one) that cannot lift the stone.

That makes the term "omnipotent" trivial. You can quickly be lead to
give any meaning to any sentence.
Well I think this makes sense on some level. Language is symbols
that are
interpreted. There is no absolute rule how to interpret them, so we
interpret everything in it (but we don't have to!).

We can do poetry. But if you allow this practice in science (including
theology) you will just prevent progresses.
I don't think science has to defend itself against something by disallowing something; it follows simply from what we understand as science that is
doesn’t include poetry in the usual sense.

You are quite optimistic here. If you were correct on this, I think human science would be much more human. We would practice harm reduction since a much longer time, and cannabis would never have been made illegal (not even a second).
Poetry and art are not a problem, but rhetoric and sophistry is.

That we restrict our use of language in science does not mean there is no sense in more extended use of language. I did say there is no *absolute* rule how to interpret symbols, not that there are no locally valid rules.

That is why we might use local formal language, where deduction are interpretation independent.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Language are interpreted plausibly by universal machine (brains,
bodies). The interpretation have to follow constraints to be sensical.
But if there are no constraints they can follow constraints.


Bruno Marchal wrote:

In most cases it is most useful to interpret some quite specific
into a sentence (if you don't want to act madly), but as we use more
and vague terms there are more and more ways to interpret what is

I think that humans suffering is in great part due to a feeling that
in religion and in human affair we have to let people believe in what
they want to believe. We just tolerate superstition.
I disagree very much with that.
I think tolerating superstition is important. Otherwise we are just being authoritarian. If people can't believe what they want to believe, they will have to believe what you want them to believe - everybody needs to believe
What would you do with superstition, if not tolerate it? If you don’t
tolerate superstition you can’t tolerate superstitious people. And this will lead to great disaster of leaders imposing their superstitions on other people. Because the leaders will not be aware they are being superstitious. They believe especially strongly that they are in possession of the truth.

Oh! I can tolerate superstition, unless they harm people (me, but also children).
To give a cruel example, if you are not to much sensible, look at this:


That sum up what I think of superstition. Of course, I cannot preach the right thing to do, but I can still deplore the naivety and the suffering, and maneuver indirectly. Supersitition is very bad. It is a disease of he mind. It is natural like cancer, and I can tolerate it in the same way: by searching for cures.

Even our own societies used harmful rules based on almost unconscious superstition.

I don't say it is easy to fight them, but I think we have to fight them. It makes the fear of some people harmful to themselves and to the others. It also put pseudo magical marmalade on top of mystery, hiding the fundamental questions and the deeper mystery to people.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Did you confess that you killed your wife? yes, sure, but by "I
my wife" I was meaning that "I love eggs on a plate".
This will not help when discussing fundamental issues.
Right, but I am not saying we *should* talk in a way that is
impossible for
others to understand.

OK. Now, in complex matter, like "is there something after life", even when people agree on many things, the subject is so much difficult and so much emotional, that it is part of the problem to be understood, or
even just heard.
I don't think "is there something after life" is really a complex question. There is basically an answer “Yes” or “No” and if we introspect without preconceived notions we will find that absolute non-existence of ourselves
just can't be predicted by ourselves.
But I agree "what is there after life" is a really complex question.
It's one of the most fascinating questions, because all possibilities I can conceive of are very strange, pose many new questions and have profound


Bruno Marchal wrote:

We should talk as clearly as possible.

That is the point.
It is very difficult when we talk about fundamental matters, where many things are in fact unclear. In this case talking as clearly as possible might involve talking unclearly, rather than pretending you got it figured out (this leads to pseudo answers like it is all just matter interacting).
It's quite subtle.

You are right. Like in falling in the 1004 fallacy, where we introduce unnecessary precision. Human science falls very often in that trap. We have to be as clear as possible, but not more!

Bruno Marchal wrote:

But that it is impractical to speak in a in an incomprehensible way
can be
reconciled with that it still makes sense on some level.

Of course.
Well, that was my point.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

But that is the reason that we should avoid going to that
So we should avoid about talking truth in the seemingly incomprehensible?

OK, let me tell you the truth once and for all: thu ioplokio kjy7n'k, but but isnasmich ty(6,iolopik, no?

Honestly it seems that would lead to disregarding truth we simply do not
understand, which is not good.

uityju778, thryunbvazo^lo-iolopik, ##@jolopik#

I don't think we need to be afraid of any level.
If we avoid this level we will exclude persons from society that speak in a way that is hardly comprehensible, for example schizophrenics (I know one).

This is different. As we might feel some empathy for some person or group, we can *try* to understand. But we are not obliged to make sense. You might ended like the duchess. Someone tells her "thryunbvazo^lo-iolopik, ##", and she will tell you "Oh, you are so right, my dear".

Among them it is quite common that they talk a way that is hard to

*That* is the problem.

Most people simply won’t bother trying to find the truth in what
they say and will label them as totally devoid of reason and a danger for others and themselves (which might be true *sometimes*) and then force them for months into a mental institution, which is not necessarily better then
prison, especially when you are restrained (which might be done for
childlike, not really dangerous, behavior already). Often the so called “mad” people are not being taken serious on any issue and they are forced to
take medications that have awful side effects (even if they are other
alternatives), because they are supposedly not even able to judge if they have an unusual adverse reaction or they are lead to suicide because they
feel rejected by all of their surroundings.

That happened to some scientists, like Boltzman, and perhaps Cantor. I agree with you, special people are easily mistreated. but in some country you can be send in jail because you have some joint on you, and being stoned is declared to be a mental illness in some dictionary. Well, to believe that Marx can be wrong, or Darwin correct, could send you to jail in some country. A nice sentence, with which I do disagree is "reason is the truth of majority", "madness is he truth of minority". But the "truth" might lie on the contrary, of course (of course?).

Bruno Marchal wrote:

If you approach that level, you can please everyone for a time
but soon enough, everyone will disagree and feel betrayed.
I am not saying we should pretend to not disagree if we do disagree. But we
still can appreciate some underlying truth in every utterance.

Once people genuinely engage a discussion, they appreciate the truth of mutual respect and mind opening. A conversation where people agree is quickly boring. Disagreement is the salt and pimento of the rich conversation. What is not nice is *systematic* disagreement, or *systematic* agreement (unless you are a dictator or something).

There are two very bad sort of parents. Those who say always "yes" to their children, and those who say always "no".

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Bruno Marchal wrote:

A have a few questions regarding the non-technical part of

What does it mean that the soul falls, falls from what?

From Heaven. From Platonia. From the harmonic static state of the
universal consciousness to the state with death and taxes.
How come that we don't have memories of falling from heaven?

Plotinus begins his treatise by that very question (at least in the
Porphyry's assemblage).
It is a very good question. The 'official' answer is that we ate the
fruit of knowledge and God was pissed of.

Some people do, or at least pretend they do have memories of heaven,
or sometimes hell. They usually get such memories either 'naturally',
or after an extreme conditions (like with Near Death Experience), or
after ingesting some mind altering substance.
These memories are usually not memories of a state of living in heaven, but of a temporally altered state of mind, though. Or do you know of a case of
pre-birth heaven memories?

Like a platonist, each time I understand a mathematical argument I feel like having a pre-birth heaven memory. It is Plato's theory of reminicense: we discover what we already knew. Math is an introspection, and it can guide us toward "eternal truth". Now, near death experience and salvia experience can lead us to the understanding that our consciousness might be more independent of more contingencies than we usually believe. This might make sense in comp, I am still not quite sure about this.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

The case of salvia divinorum is particularly interesting with respect
to your question.
I had some experience with salvia. It is an interesting herb. One of the
most interesting entheogens it seems.
My experiences were a bit disappointing, though. I tried maybe 10 times; first with minuscule amounts (that didn’t do anything at all), then with as
much of 30x extract as I was able to take in. I was sometimes giggly,
relaxed, confused or physically uncomfortable. I had the feeling of
belonging into another (quiet strange) place, or being (slightly) physically and mentally pulled into another realm. During some tries I was compulsorily making movements or repeating syllables/words. During another try if felt
like I was dying during each moment of experience.   But none of these
experiences were really profound.

Try 15X, or perhaps the leaves. You have to be very patient, and probably explore a bit more that "quiet strange" place, perhaps. I am studying all reports and videos, people reacts very differently. Most do not like that at all, and it is a bit normal. I find it very interesting for the study of consciousness, but you need some passion for theology. It might be a question of taste.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Many experiencers get a distinct feeling that they
got information that they are not supposed to know, or to memorize,
and still less to make public.
It is an interesting aspect of the experience. It is hard to judge whether it is more than a feeling that is induced by the drug, or whether there is
something more profound behind it.

Eventually the experience can be often described as an hallucination that life is an hallucination. It is very amazing, and you learn about the capacity of putting in doubt what you believe in the most. The question is never "is that true?". The answer is in the very uttering of that question. The plant can broke certainties, and this makes us more sound. I think. But not everybody is ready, and some care have to be taken. But it does not last long, and people usually forget the experience.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

You are not supposed to remember "heaven", because ..., well, because
if comp is correct, that kind of information belongs to G* minus G. It
is true but unbelievable, incommunicable. So, to make them public,
makes no sense.
It conflicts I bit with the observation that seemingly many of the people
having an awakening / enlightenment experience try to convey what they

I guess this is due to half or partial enlightenment. The real guru might be your taxes inspector, or the taxi driver, you will never know. Above some threshold of such experience you know it makes no sense to try to share. It is "almost" obvious: once you meet God (assuming it exists), you can trust Him or She or That concerning the others, accepting some usual attribute of God. You can guess somehow that "he" does not need you to convey anything.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

It is the paradox of enlightenment: it has no direct use here at all.
Otherwise it would maybe have evolved to be common already. But maybe it is not so easy to evolve a brain that is commonly capable of enlightenment (while retaining the capability to act like usual) and it really would have
a big use.
Enlightenment is a very mysterious thing in general. It surely seems to be a real experience, but why it happens, what it’s purpose is, why it happens so seldomly or whether it is really such a (o rather *the*) absolute view of the world and not merely heightened awareness (that due to its profoundness is mistaken to be an absolute experience rather than one of many states of

I think babies are born enlightened. I think we get enlightened each night. We are just not supposed to remember that. It might alter the "cosmic game" in some way. I don't know. I think the universal machine might be naturally enlightened. That it is the state of universal innocence, before you get memories and a contingent job. It is the state before the fall, before the tension between proof and truth transforms you into a particular person.

Bruno Marchal wrote:

Many dismiss the mystical experience as 'just' a brain neuronal firing.
Of course, such a dismiss would also be a brain neuronal firing, and
to reduce knowledge to such firing makes no sense at all.It is a self-
defeating idea. It is as absurd as saying that the theory of
relativity is only but ink on paper.
I agree. I wonder why we are prone to trying to reduce every experience to neuronal firing, when it seems so obvious that it is something more primary.

It is also a category error. A pain is not a neuronal firing. Even if they are strongly correlated, they are different. A pain is a first person quale, and a neural firing is a third person (or with comp first person plural) sharable happening describable with quanta and numbers. The relation between the two are not obvious, as UDA is supposed to illustrate, in the mechanist frame.



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