Tag Archives: Plato

Where’s the ship? (lots of questions part II)

I explain in Lots of questions, part I how Plato and Brazil made me want to switch from math to biology.  Eventually it seems I ended in fundamentals of computing, but there is this strange phenomenon. I can’t figure it how it works, or why, or even if is widespread or rare. I think is widespread, but I don’t have clear evidence about it other than the old saying that people don’t change.

So Plato+Rio gives geometry+biology gives artificial chemistry+distributed computing.


I don’t get how this functions.

Makes no sense.

Now I have a hint that we are the computation,  we execute ourselves during our lifetime, our brains are just part of the seed, part of the program. We don’t really have billions of neurons and cells, everything is just the state of a computation.  Part of the seed is our genetic inheritance, other part of the seed is our geographical and more largely cultural inheritance. We are not separated from the external medium, there is no external medium, exactly like there is no me and the Net, only many actors interacting asynchonously and locally according to some protocols. In the case of real life the protocols are casted in   real molecules, at a finer scale only emerging phenomena of a much faster and wider computation going on, of a geometrical nature. But the principle is scale independent, that is how we manage space (perception and interaction) in our brains.

So we don’t change.

Take this blog, I make from time to time some counts. For the last 3 months gives this. There are 491 posts on chorasimilarity. In the last week 78 of them have been read, last month 219, last quarter 331. This series makes no sense unlese there are very long range relations between the posts, relations which are perceived by enough readers of this blog.

Oh, great!

Two mysteries. The first is that I have no idea why exactly there long time correlations arrive in my writing. The second mystery is why do you perceive them too.

So there is this strange phenomenon, which I can’t explain.

I remark though that there has to be something starts the new computation cycle, the new turn of spiral, the new chamber of the snail shell.

It is stimulation.

Last time was Plato and Rio.

I feel that I lack something in order to tell you more and for me to learn more in the absence of enough external stimuli.

I know I can build really new and also classical stuff, but I loose interest in time without stimuli. That is why I change every few years what I do. It is not rewarding for me to see that after I left a field somebody picks an idea and makes it stronger, it is not rewarding to see that I was right when nobody believed.  Maybe I just have a nose for good ideas which float in the air and I detect them before many others, but I don’t have the right spce and culture position to make them grow really big. You know, just an explorer who comes back home after a lonely expedition and tells you about blue seas and wide skies with strange constellations. Yeah, OK creep. But then, after some years the trend is to go to bath in those blue seas. And where is the creep? Just coming home, telling about that new jungle and the road from there to the clouds.

Stimulation. Trust. New worlds await. Need my ship, now.




Lots of questions, part I

There is a button for “publish”. So what?

I started this open notebook  with the goal to disseminate some of my work and ideas.  There are always many subjects to write about, this open notebook has almost 500 posts. Lately the rhythm of about a post every 3 days slowed down to a post a week.  I have not run out of ideas, or opinions. It is only that I don’t get anything in return.

I explain what I mean by getting something in return. I don’t believe that one should expect a compensation for the time and energy converted into a post. There are always a million posts to read.  There is not a lot of time to read them. It is costly in brain time to understand them, and probably, from the point of view of the reader, the result of this investment does not worth the effort.

So it’s completely unreasonable to think that my posts should have any treatment out of the usual.

Then, what can be the motivation to have an open notebook, instead of just a notebook? Besides vanity, there is not much.

But vanity was not my motivation, although it feels very good to have a site like this one. Here is why:   from the hits I can see that people read old posts as frequently as new posts. You have to agree that this is highly unusual for a blog. So, incidentally,  perhaps this is not a blog, doh.

I put vanity aside and I am now closer to the real motivations for maintaining this open notebook.

Say you have a new idea, product, anything which behaves like a happy virus who’s looking for hosts to multiply. This is pretty much the problem of any creator: to find hosts.  OK, what is available for a creator who is not a behemoth selling sugar solutions or other BRILLIANT really simple viruses like phones, political ideas, contents for lazy thinking trolls and stuff like this?

What if I don’t want to sell ideas, but instead I want to find those rare people with similar interests?

I don’t want to entertain anybody, instead that’s a small fishing net in the big sea.

OK, this was the initial idea. That compared to the regular ways, meaning writing academic articles, going to conferences, etc, there might be more chances to talk with interesting people if I go fishing in the high seas, so to say.

These are my expectations. That I might find interesting people to work with, based on common passions, and to avoid the big latency of the academic world, so that we can do really fast really good things now.

I know that it helps a lot to write simple. To dilute the message. To appeal to authority, popularity, etc.

But I expect that there is a small number of you guys who really think as fast as I do. And then reply to me, simultaneously to Marius.Buliga@imar.ro and Marius.Buliga@gmail.com .

Now that my expectations are explained, let’s look at the results. I have to put things in context a bit.

This site was called initially lifeinrio@wordpress.com . I wanted to start a blog about how is it to live in Rio with wife and two small kids. Not a bad subject, but I have not found the time for that side project, because I was just in the middle of an epiphany. I wanted to switch fields, I wanted to move from pure and applied mathematics to somewhere as close as possible to biology and neuroscience. But mind you that I wanted also to bring with me the math. Not to make a show of it, but to use the state of mind of a mathematician in these great emerging fields. So, instead of writing about my everyday life experiences, I started to write to everybody I found on the Net who was not (apparently) averse to mathematics and who was also somebody in neuroscience. You can imagine that my choices were not very well informed, because these fields were so far from what I knew before. Nevertheless I have found out interesting people, telling them about why I want to switch. Yes, why? Because of the following  reasons: (1) I am passionate about making models of reality, (2) I’m really good at finding unexpected points of view, (3) I learn very fast, (4) I understood that pure or applied math needs a challenge beyond the Cold War ones (i.e. theories of everything, rocket science, engineering).  OK, I’ll stop here with the list, but there were about 100 more reasons, among them being to understand what space is from the point of the view of a brain.

I got fast into pretty weird stuff. I started to read philosophy, getting hooked by Plato. Not in the way the usual american thinker does. They believe that they are platonic but they are empiricists, which is exactly the poor (brain) version of platonism. I shall stop giving kicks to empiricists, because they have advanced science in many ways in the last century.  Anyway empiricism looks more and more like black magic these days. Btw, have you read anything by Plato? If you do, then try to go to the source. Look for several sources,  you are not a good reader of ancient Greek.  Take your time, compare versions, spell the originals (so to say), discover the usual phenomenon that more something is appreciated, more shit inside.

Wow, so here is it a mathematician who wants to move to biology, and he uses Plato as a vehicle. That’s perhaps remarkabl…y stupid to do, Marius. What happened, have you ran out of the capacity to do math? Are you out in the field where people go when they can’t stand no more the beauty and hardness of mathematics? Everybody knows, since that guy who wrote with Ramanujan and later, after R was dead, told us that mathematics is for young people. (And probably white wealthy ones.)

No, what happened was that the air of Rio gave me the guts I have lost during the education process. Plato’s Timaeus spoke to me in nontrivial ways, in particular. I have understood that I am really on the side of geometers, not on the side of language people. And that there is more chance to understand brains if we try to model what the language people assume it works by itself, the low level, non rational processes of the brain. Those who need no names, no language, those highly parallel ones. For those, I discovered, there was no math to apply.  You may say that for example vision is one of the most studied subjects and that really there is a lot of maths already used for that. But if you say so then you are wrong.  There is no model of vision up to now, which explains how biological vision works without falling into the internal or external homunculus fallacies. If you look to computer vision, you know, you can do anything with computers, provided you have enough of them and enough time. There is a huge gap between computer vision and biological vision, a fundamental one.

OK, when I returned home to Bucharest I thought what if I reuse the lifeinrio.wordpress.com and transform it into chorasimilarity.worpress.com? This word chorasimilarity is made of “chora”, which is the feminine version of “choros”, which means place or space. Plato invented the “chora” as a term he used in his writings. “Similarity” was because of my background in math: I was playing with “emergent algebras”, which I invented previously of going on the biology tangent. In fact these emergent algebras made me think first that it is needed a new math, and that maybe they are relevant for biological vision.

I stop a bit to point to the post Scale is a place in the brain, which is about research on grid cells and place cells (research which just got a Nobel in medicine in 2014).

Emergent algebras are about similarity. They make visible that behind is hidden an abstract graph rewrite system. Which in turn can be made concrete by transforming it into chemistry. An artificial chemistry.  But also, perhaps, a real one. Or, the brain is most of it chemistry. Do you see how everything gets in place?  Chora is just chemistry in the brain. Being universal, it is not surprising that we distilled, us humans, a notion of space from that.

There is a lot of infrastructure to build in order to link all these in a coherent way.

Laws of Form and Parmenides

This is a notebook about relations between Spencer-Brown book Laws of Form and Plato dialogue Parmenides.

It will be repeatedly updated and maybe, if productive, will transform into a page.

The motivation of starting it comes from Louis Kauffman post    Is mathematics real? .


1.  one is infinitely many (Parmenides, source used) vs using the empty set to construct all numbers.

Introduction (142b—c) 
b Shall we return to the hypothesis and go over it again from the beginning, to see if some other result may appear? 

By all means. 

Then if unity is, we say, the consequences that follow for it must be agreed to, whatever they happen to be? Not so? 


Then examine from the beginning. If unity is, can it be, but not have a share of being? 

It cannot. 

Then the being of unity would not be the same as unity; otherwise, it would not be the being of it, nor would unity have a share of being; rather, to say that unity is would be like saying that unity is one. But as it is, the hypothesis is not what must follow if unity is 
unity, but what must follow if unity is. Not so? 


Because "is" signifies something other than "one"? 


So when someone says in short that unity is, that would mean that unity has a share of being? 

Of course. 

Then let us again state what will follow, if unity is. Consider: must not this hypothesis signify that unity, if it is of this sort, has parts? 

 How so? 

For the following reason: if being is said of unity, since it is, and if unity is said of being, since it is one, and if being and unity are not the same, but belong to that same thing we have hypothesized, namely, the unity which is, must it not, since it is one, be a whole of 
which its unity and its being become parts? 


Then shall we call each of those parts only a part, or must part be called part of whole? 

Part of whole. 

So what is one is a whole and has a part. 

Of course. 

What about each of the parts of the one which is, namely, its unity and its being? Would unity be lacking to the part which is, or being to the part which is one? 


So once again, each of the parts contains unity and being, and the least part also turns out to consist of two parts, and the same account is ever true: whatever becomes a part ever contains the two parts. For unity ever contains being, and being unity; so that they are ever necessarily becoming two and are never one.

Quite so. 

Then the unity which is would thus be unlimited in multitude? 

It seems so. 

Consider the matter still further. 

In what way? 

We say that unity has a share of being, because it is. 


And for this reason unity, since it is, appeared many. 


Then what about this: if in the mind we take unity itself, which we say has a share of being, just alone by itself, without that of which we say it has a share, will it appear to be only one, or will that very thing appear many as well? 
One, I should think. 

Let us see. Since unity is not being, but, as one, gets a share of being, the being of it must be one thing, and it must be another. 


Now, if its being is one thing and unity is another, unity is not different from its being by virtue of being one, nor is its being other than unity by virtue of being; but they are different from each other by virtue of the different and other. 

Of course. 

So difference is not the same as unity or being. 

Well then, if we were to pick out, say, being and difference, or being and unity, or unity and difference, would we not in each selection pick out some pair that is rightly called "both"? 

What do you mean? 

This: it is possible to mention being? 


And again to mention unity? 


Then each of two has been mentioned? 


But when I mention being and unity, do I not mention both? 

Yes, certainly. 

Again, if I mention being and difference, or difference and unity, and so generally, I in each case mean both? 


But for whatever is rightly called both, is it possible that they should be both but not two? 

It is not. 

But for whatever is two, is there any device by which each of two is not one? 


So since together they are pairs, each would also be one? 

It appears so. 

But if each of them is one, then when any one whatever is added to any couple whatever, does not the sum become three? 


Three is odd, and two even? 


What about this? If there are two things, must there not also be twice, and if three things, thrice, since it pertains to two to be twice 
one, and three, thrice one? 


But if there are two things and twice, must there not be twice two, and if three things and thrice, thrice three? 

Of course. 

What about this: if there are three things and twice, and two things and thrice, must there not also be twice three and thrice two? 

Yes, necessarily. 

So there will be even-times even numbers, odd-times odd numbers, even-times odd numbers, and odd-times even numbers. 


Then if this is so, do you think there is any number left which must not necessarily be? 

None whatever. 

So if unity is, number must also be.