Re: Von Neumann's Blunder

Omega (
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 02:08:01 -0800

Hi Reilly,

> Omega wrote 1/27/97: <Actually Cramer's transactional interpretation does
> not necessarily imply non-locality so much as the fact that local causal
> principles propagate (on themicrocausal level) symmetrically
> bidirectionally through time.... [P]hilosopher Huw Price in his book
> 'Time's Arrow and Archimedes Point' also makes the point that the
> temporally symmetrical bidirectional causality on the microcausal level
> could also have been anticipated by some of the problems Boltzmann was
> having with his work...>
> This makes little sense to me. What makes sense is "the fact that local
> causal principles propagate (on the microcausal level) asymmetrically
> bidirectionally through time." There are more propagational degrees of
> freedom in the future than in the past, not in the energy/space aspect of
> existence but in the matter/time aspect.

Actually there are some overlooked symmetries here that would take care
of your question about symmetry and quite probably explain how symmetrical
fundamental equations can produce macroscopic asymmetry (indeed, a long
overlooked issue that has languished ever since Boltzmann gave up on it).
I'll try to get to it tomorrow.

> Omega: <The big question in my mind, and area of greatest interest, is
> what... is going on in macrocausality.>
> The question is the same one that Plato posed, where does coherency and
> intelligibility come from? David Lindley's "Where Does the Weirdness Go?"
> (1996) and David Wick's "The Infamous Boundary" (1995) both delve into this
> crucial question of how we get from the small to the big.

It is one of the most interesting questions around. While an ultimate
answer may never be found although we may be in the position to make
some long overdue breakthroughs in this area.

> Having been on a fruitless trip to the ontological cellar with John C.
> before, and finding that I'm in agreement with your first statement, I
> would like to reiterate that:
> a) I have never seen a rational case made for information as an ontological
> primitive, the knowing entity always gets dumped;

We are in total agreement here. Likewise, neither has anyone ever made any
kind of rational case for the knowing entity to be an ontological primitive
either. That's what's so absurd about modern arguments about consciousness,
AI, and free will: either they try to resurrect Cartesian dualism under the
guise of complexity, or they reduce to tautologies that do nothing but des-
cribe the Godelian incompleteness of a self-referencing entity regarding its
own behavior.

I've heard of things that could lead to information being an ontological
primitive IF reality is described with complex numbers as opposed to real
numbers. I find it a compelling idea that could cut through this whole
mess, but I have yet to actually dig up the formal proof of this.

A short but interesting argument that this will be a fruitful direction is
the very interesting fact that only a complex number system can be math-
ematically complete. I feel that this will soon be a very hot subject.

> b) I have never seen a rational case made for the current physics
> group-think "paradigm" of Big Bang (creation ex nihilo) to random activity
> (QM) to Big Crunch (or Heat Death, take your pick), everything gets dumped.
> The current metaphysical presupposition of orthodox physics can be
> characterized as: from nothing in the beginning, to nothing in the middle,
> to nothing in the end. (The concept "randomness" has utility within
> mathematical semantic technology but, of course, has no meaning
> ontologically.) Perhaps "group-think" physicists lack imagination as well
> as reason. They certainly don't lack emotions, however, witness the howls
> of rage over the SSC being cancelled, they get emotional when Uncle Sam
> tells them they can't play in taxpayer-funded sandboxes.

Actually the questions of time-symmetry, complex-number completeness, and
these "deeper questions of reality" are all very tied together. I'm going
to make a real effort at doing an opening salvo on this tommorrow.

In the Ecstatic Service of Life -- Omega