Re: Is the Mandelbrot Set real?

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 07 Aug 1997 01:31:19 -0500

Hara Ra wrote:
> They are not physical particles. However, the strings which state the
> Postulates are finite and representatable within the physical universe.
> The longest Preal string has as many characters as there are particles
> in the universe, approximately.

Who says this is constant? Virtual particles are popping in and out of
existence all the time. A lot of my workarounds to the Laws of Physics rely
on creating equal amounts of negative and positive mass/energy - since even
negative mass represents a positive amount of information. (I don't think
there's any way to represent a negative amount of information, which is too
bad, because otherwise there'd be a REALLY INTERESTING form of matter out
there somewhere! Anti-real matter!)

Anyway, I don't know if there's a genuine upper bound on the amount of
information the Universe can store. Unless the Universe is quantized, the
amount is equal to - at least - aleph-2. (All those fields of real
numbers...) Even supposing the Bekenstein Bound - what about all the digits
of pi? Even excluding "Platonic" information, what about virtual particles
and negative matter? Would there still be some physical bound on the number
of positive and negative "particles"? I sure don't know.

And - out of curiosity - there can't possible be a sharp distinction between
"Preal" things and "Punreal" things. Even if there is a sharp physical
bound... wouldn't it be essentially arbitrary in some way? I cannot see any
reason why there would be a limit on how much information can be "real". At
worst, we might be ontologically restricted to some low number or ordinal of
aleph-infinity. So if Preal and Punreal don't describe any testable or
fundamental quality of a string... what's the point?

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.