PhaseTransition


Page Created: 2/17/2015   Last Modified: 4/12/2017   Last Generated: 12/11/2017

I studied philosophy for a few years and disagreed with almost all well-known philosophers. I thought they were full of contradiction, people showing off their intellectualism, or specific interpretations that were no more significant than any other. The field does not advance in a linear sense; it cycles and twists.

Throughout my life, I have always taken the tools provided to me and fed them back into themselves. For wasn't that the whole point, I thought, to apply my tools to examine the world around me? How else can I verify the validity of anything if I cannot first verify the tools I am using?

But I found that some of the philosophy professors that praised my work suddenly distanced themselves when I used their tools in unexpected ways. I once had a logical argument with my logic professor, author of a book on logic, explaining to him in front of the class that his logic was unsound, and the way he defended himself was disturbing--he quickly altered the premises or definitions to increase the complexity, and thus the Time needed for me to box him in and reveal the contradiction, which exceeded the time he allowed for my response. He slithered his way out and then barricaded the hole, a cunning basilisk, reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. But I was a Hermionesque mongoose of unbounded zeal.

Logic, you see, is a deterministic machine, as solid as a rock. It takes an input and performs an output according to a fixed rule. You cannot tamper with the determinism of logic, but people tamper with the inputs and outputs all of the time, throwing rocks at each other.

However, today, I look back on the interpretations of philosophers of times past using a tool I discovered in 1989, and filter them through the structure of a mathematical fractal, and I find that the reason for this cycling, twisting, and contradiction wasn't necessarily the fault of some of the well-meaning philosophers; they were seeing fractal structure which cannot be properly explained using non-fractal language. They were applying lines and circles to something that was both, but neither.

The more I apply fractal structure today, the more I realize that the ancient Greek philosophers saw the same shape, and their dialectic had uncovered this thousands of years ago. All philosophers that have since followed saw different facets of this shape.

So I have re-interpreted the world around me using word manipulation (which is what philosophy really is). Today we are hyper-specialized and see patterns in our areas of specialization, and we sometimes erroneously believe that we are the secret keepers of those patterns. Those patterns exist in all areas of nature, society, and in ourselves, and I believe that there is a middle language between order and chaos, a phase transition or grotesque zone that will one day bridge them. We cannot recognize it fully yet, but we only see enough patterns to disturb us, that transition between mathematical and biological, not unlike the uncanny valley↗ in robotics. The study of complexity mathematics reveals much of this beauty to me and is being applied in many specialized fields today, but our common language lacks a good way to represent it.

These essays are my attempt to feed these new tools back into our philosophies, to re-calibrate our language. These "words out of time" are my attempt to re-balance a "life out of balance", a Koyaanisqatsi↗, turning the grotesque back into the beautiful.