Page Created: 8/29/2014   Last Modified: 4/28/2016   Last Generated: 5/5/2021
The word "believe" is frightening to some people.
It means that you see the world in a certain way and act as if that was reality.
I use the phrase "I believe..." on this website frequently.
Many scientists don't like this word, because science deals with postulates, hypothesis, theory, probability, correlation. To believe is to jump the correlation to causation gap, that leap of self-confidence, like jumping across a crevasse. We don't jump that crevasse unless we are sure we will land on the other side. It is up to us as an individual to determine if and when we can do this, as it is built into our mechanisms of free will and self-preservation.
But my use of language is different from many because the way I see the world is different. To me, a belief and a scientifically "proven" theory are one and the same for all practical purposes; they are tentative, temporary placeholders, notes in our malleable memory and history that we make to ourselves about what is real and what is not.
- Do I believe the sun exists? Yes. Does the sun really exist? Who knows--this cannot be positively confirmed.
- Do I believe that when I throw a ball up at sea level that it will follow a parabolic trajectory with an acceleration due to gravity of 9.8 meters per second squared? Yes. Will the ball come back down? Who knows--the laws of physics (as we know them) can suddenly change.
- Do I believe that intelligent life besides Homo sapiens exists? Yes. Is is possible they don't exist? Yes.
- Do I believe that Homo sapiens like myself exist? Yes. Is it possible that I don't exist? Surprisingly, yes. When we awaken after a dream we find that our dream selves were just an illusion...
Everything, and I mean everything is just information in a state of flux--our physical world, our memories, our senses, our scientific laws, our language, our perspective, our meaning, our existence, like that mysterious quantum foam...
But society, just like the human brain, needs to categorize and classify in order to understand knowledge, to provide meaning to information. Knowledge and information is just pattern. Mathematics is really just the study of pattern. Depending on what you believe, different people in society will place you in certain boxes. It helps them understand and control the world they "believe".
My grandmother was a grammar teacher and taught me the rules at an early age, constantly correcting me if I used grammar incorrectly. In my high school grammar and composition class, my best friend and I battled each other for the highest grade in the class, differing by only tiny percentage points on on one test. But when I got to college, in my advanced composition class, the instructor told us that good writers actually break a lot of the rules of writing in their writing style. She told us that this was okay, that we could break these rules if it was necessary to express ourselves as long as we first learned the rules that we were breaking.
But I had known the rules of grammar and writing early on and was already breaking them. When I was in first grade, on the first day of class, I sat at the very front of the class in the center, and the first thing the teacher had us do was write our name on a piece of paper. My name was complex and I learned how to write before I was in school, so that was too easy. So I wrote my name and added a bunch of curly and spiral serifs to my letters, to show the teacher that not only did I know the rules, they were my playground.
Well, the teacher was upset, said I wrote it incorrectly, made me rewrite it very plainly, and then sat me in the back of the class, the very last seat. She knew I was a showoff, like Harry Potter's Hermione, and sometimes I would have my hand raised for long times before she would call on me. But she was one of my favorite teachers.
These events taught me that there are bounds to what we are allowed to do, and sometimes if we want to break or improve upon these bounds, it will not be accepted.
I realized before I set out to write this web site that I was breaking all kinds of bounds, but, like my college composition instructor reminded me, I can break them if I know the rules first and if it is the only way to properly express myself.
I write rhythmically. I prioritize rhythm and pattern over careful word choices. When I listen to a musical vocalist, I rarely listen to the words and only pay attention to the sound of the voice and the music. I rarely, if ever, read the lyrics to songs. I write my words like a song.
Some people write for word accuracy or conciseness believing that those are the most important to convey meaning, but if they get the rhythm wrong, the meaning of those words are distorted and lost.
I only made one attempt at journalism, writing one article for my college newspaper, interviewing a sports trainer that had just retired. The editors liked my article, but before publishing it, unbeknownst to me, they changed some of the words I wrote and altered some of the sentence structure. One of the words, "adorned", they changed to "sported". And then they spelled my name wrong when they published it. This made me furious, as it broke the rhythm and changed the meaning without my approval. After that incident, I realized that this field did not respect literary styles, that it chopped and compressed information into a different form. The Oxford comma↗ popularized by Weird Al Jankovich's "Word Crimes" video is one such example. Older literary style books require this, but some journalistic ones say to remove it. It's two different languages, really. It's that important to rhythm.
I've built my own language to try and describe the world around me, as I did not find traditional languages sufficient, as they were either artistic or scientific, but I needed to merge the two, since the fractal world is this type of merge.
When I was younger, I made heavy use of cliche, as cliche was a way for me to show analogies quickly. Cliches are compressed analogies. But people didn't understand why I was doing this and saw it as lack of originality because they didn't see that the cliche was a component in a larger rhythmic structure. Today, I've replaced many of those cliches with more imaginative analogies.
Like the cliche, I use terms like "believe", when I could say "hypothesize", "theorize", etc. Sometimes I switch between them when I feel appropriate for structure, but there is no real difference to me, as I mentioned earlier.
In many science fiction shows and films, there is a technology called a "universal translator". I've spent a lot of time thinking about such a machine and whether such a machine is physically possible.
In computing, most things are algorithmic, rule-based. Language as we know it is rule-based. But a universal translator would have to transcend these rules, somehow get to the higher meaning regardless of the language. Today, there are many electronic language translators available, but they are designed only for known languages.
If we had a universal translator, we could apply it to all languages (human, alien, animal, collective, AI).
But such a translator presupposes that meaning is universal, which at first glance seems impossible, since different contexts would give different meanings.
But... our very existence and co-existence places us in certain shared contexts. We are all relatively close to each other in the same part of the fractal. We are inside a particular world with a particular shape.
So such a machine could work if it could widen and narrow this context, like a microscope or telescope does for the Eye. This machine would have to be a higher-order machine, something only a higher-order being could create, such as Mankind's collective or something higher.
Perhaps such a being has already given us such a machine, but we cannot recognize it yet.
I believe that such a machine exists. There seems to be physical evidence↗ of its creations.Comments