Holistic scientist

21 Mar 2019

Towards My New Philosophy

It’s been a rough adventure but I couldn’t have arrived to the same deep conclusions of utmost simplicity if it wasn’t for traumatic events. Experience is not cheap to come by, but going for wisdom quadruples your ante, I guess. I’ve been lost for 4 months, played shameful sick jokes with my most valuable contacts in an altered state of mind. A huge thank you to those who didn’t believe it was real me or didn’t mind me. Looking back, all of that was inevitable and well worth it, and yes believe is the keyword.

Having survived through a depression did nothing to prepare me for its reverse pole cousin. On the surface “feeling too good is very bad as well” is kind of unexpected. Indeed, it took me many months to fully appreciate what is the scale of the problem if there is any. The condition I later learned is widely known as bipolar disorder. In fact, during the spring 2018 I felt more productive then ever. The perks I noticed getting stronger over time were:

  • doing more in less time
  • easily communicating with others
  • having fun in any activity and sharing it with others
  • sleeping less (down to ~4h) but waking up well rested

Above all it could be summed up as my brain working at increasingly higher speeds and enjoying every bit of it. This however produces a vicious positive feedback loop. I felt high simply by recalling some great idea or just planing to work on smth. Now where it goes on to look like proper insanity is when I started to skip my pretty long lines of reasoning before acting since it’s obvious. That’s when I produced a strange joke that if “A tube of glue saves the world” is correct then the world is beautiful place to be in. Basically imagine that somebody may save the world, then having a spare tube of glue won’t make this task harder… In what seemed like a few steps I deduced a formula “the world is too simple to believe it”.

In this elevated state of mind I failed to see any problem with doing whatever I thought of. The culminating moment for me was when I decided to perform some Douglas Adams crazy-style jokes [1]. No, it wasn’t funny at that point, it scared my relatives to shit. I was more and more detached from reality with each logical (to me) step. Ironically, I couldn’t understand why relatives were afraid of me, while strangers would smile broadly. In fact, I was mostly thinking that this must be some prank - people around me hiding the fact that world is basically haven where everybody can do what they like. It’s just disguised well enough to keep things interesting for everyone involved, and a lot of people suffer a lot to hold this illusion.

Later in the psychiatric ward I had ample time to ponder all manner of questions. One idea I had is to find a philosophy that doesn’t conflict with most religious, historical, fictional or scientific theories. Obviously it must not be “nothing” and should have an agenda of its own.

The idea is that current reality as we perceive it is the ultimate result of the interplay of a number of conscious actors. It would be enough to have just two “great minds” that invented the whole world to entertain themselves, because if there are two then they can imagine to have a 3-rd independent one. If the two “true” minds agree on what a 3rd is going to be, it basically comes into existence at least as far as the only two observers are concerned. As we introduce more actors via imagination, for realism there need to be a consensus among these present for a need to introduce something new in this “game” and then endless questioning of the properties of it. Consensus in that something does in fact exists and exhibits certain properties is reality. It may be perceived differently but fundamental test is could it possibly have any effect on other actors is true, then there you go it exists through action. Your own thoughts exist because of their profound effect on yourself.

The lesser the scope of the said thing one needs to introduce the cheaper it gets. A thought is trivial, writing a novel is harder, starting a new sect or scientific theory is much harder, changing the way global economics work might be impossible for any single actor (including state/government) today. Still for many things the secret know-how is fairly easy to obtain and will look like magic once you materialize it. I suspect that it was always like that and in the past we made great discoveries simply because there are always frontier minds that do not accept the way reality works on fundamental level.

A mathematician would casually observe that we have build the world by induction starting with 2 conscious actors. Thus our theory neatly agrees that dualism is a thing (“It from bit”[2]). Better yet since we required our actors to be conscious monism is very much fitting. This ability is (more precisely) having a unique ability to perceive others and to produce new independent actors by agreeing to perceive an apriory non-existent actor. The bigger picture is, of course, that there are endless amount of actors (live, artificial, imaginary, collective, quantum, etc) in our world thus the pluralism is very much given if we are not digging into “how could it all come to exist”. When particles in quantum mechanic have to choose, I have little doubt that they are in fact (composite!) actors, much as ourselves.

For many things in our reality it’s all about evolving the level of expectations - in say in XVIII century a helicopter would seem about as good as teleportation technology. Telepathy? Even the first radios would have passed the expectations test. Computers is another example of something glimpsed by some insane minds (Bebbedge and Ada Lovelace) in the past only to become commodity much like furniture is today. It’s not that far in the past (~100 years) that 8-hour work week was introduced. Internet was perceived by Nicola Tesla in some of his notes, in particular broadcasting voice and visuals from any point on Earth.

It’s obviously won’t help us much to have knowledge of computer sciences a century before we had integrated circuits. But now imagine you are (say) Genry Ford - getting affordable cars on streets needs unprecedented amount of infrastructure, but above all “self-driving” cars of that era must be introduced in society. It would seem to me that while humanity as a whole could trivially stop localized warfare, stop world hunger, get further into space… [insert your goal here] it doesn’t usually work in evolutionary cycle of humanity because indeed there needs to be a buy-in from a significant mind-share. A history is rewritten when nobody can remember the past.

Coming full circle, do we really believe that our precursors couldn’t imagine a self-driving chariot? Some madmen certainly did, but the only idea that worked early on is to study nature and eventually present oneself as a priest of pagan gods. That wasn’t easy as one might imagine as it would require incredible amount of courage and perception. And again the centerpiece is exactly the mind-share which would buy the idea. This is our perpetuum mobile, and wise, lucky or mad men have used it ever since.

Every single time we reach for the next unthinkable it’s somehow eventually becomes the norm. Nothing changed, yet everything changes. This is the essence of my new philosophy, if you’d like humanity including all of the past and future ideologies and thoughts as an envelop is our true “god”. And better yet, our beliefs of our past and future form our expectations. This is the second idea of my philosophy - faith is a real power in that what you and others(!) believe in, limits our options.

So have your faith in our bright future, and be mindful of the past, folks like me can’t wait to see the time where it wouldn’t be so hard to coordinate ourselves to let everyone live like in a dream.

  1. Douglas Adams. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency