Thursday, 12 April 2012

How I See The World



The meaning of life

The question: what is the meaning of life? Has no significant meaning. The universe which surrounds us is material, void of a conscience. This implies one simple conclusion: that there is no meaning to life. Life which takes many forms, be it in the human form or the form of roses or of fir trees, is but a consequence of physical and chemical processes which by chance have happened. We may not know how many universes there are or the exactitude of the size of our own, but what I know scientifically is this: that what happens in the material world is void of meaning to us humans, it dances to a tune that may itself be beyond our own intelligence but this tune is not played by an invisible musician.

On how to improve the British economy

One proposition which would take into effect over many years is to improve and prolong the education of children in areas which will have a constant or increased demand in the global market. We have witnessed growth in the economies of China, Japan, India and Mongolia which is due to a supply of persons with appropriate skills. China and India may be in fault as their economy growth is slightly due to cheap labor as a product of the large poor/unemployed population. However, their education in mathematics,science, English and medicine have soared compared to our British schools. Japan have 85% of children continuing mathematics from GCSE whilst only 15% in Britain. This must change and we will see an economical benefit from such a change.

There is a problem in the governments spending for people who do not wish to work for some reason or other. There must be stricter regulations for one to receive such benefits and more opportunities for these people to obtain certain skills so that their lives can be of use and by doing so they will not just be helping the government they will be helping their own dignity.

However pessimistic the feelings are towards the economy one must also think of the recovery to which lies on the horizon. We are subtly increasing our GDP and redundancies made by companies... private and public seem to be less frequent and more occasional.

Let it be said, that to improve the economy of a nation the nation must delve into the heart of human demands. In this modern world it is no doubt that this demand is knowledge, technology, medicine and visual entertainment. 

I am not an analyst or an economist but this is how I feel the economy may be improved on certain principles.

Symmetry in physical law 

I have only studied a small section of physics but from this and from certain mathematical reflections it has come apparent that there is a beautiful symmetry in nature. Take for example the division of the cell:


this isn't necessarily a physical phenomenon, it is a biological one. However in this mitotic cell division which is the origins of many mammalian organisms the cell division appears very symmetrical. It divides itself into two and then these two divide themselves into two and so on and so forth, quite ingeniously however different simple organs form and then an embryo to a full grown organism. There begins simple cell symmetry which obeys an algorithm ingrained within the genetic material inside of its nucleus and then through time and added complexity an organism appears which is asymmetric. The organism still contains symmetry as shown in the gull and butterfly.


In classical physics symmetry is evident and obvious. Take for example a harmonic oscillator such as a mass on a spring. We can visualize this system in a Cartesian co-ordinate system taking into account the y and x axes as we can assume it is a two dimensional problem. If we rotate the system in the co-ordinate system nothing happens so long as we replicate the forces acting on it. This may seem obvious but it is a consequence of in-variance under rotations in co-ordinate systems. 

Particle physics reflects great symmetry too, for instance the existence of particles and their anti-paritcles such as the electron and positron (predicted theoretically by Paul Dirac). However if we assume perfect symmetry we witness the impossibility of the universe we live in as we should expect a balance of matter and darkmatter.

Take for instance a+b, say b=-a i.e. the negative of a  we would expect a+b=0. This means that if a represented matter and b anti-matter the world would seize to be. Thanks to asymmetry we are here as there was a dominance of matter over anti-matter which physicists still do not know clearly why.

It is with symmetry and symmetry breaking that a lot of physics is done and indeed mathematics, symmetry is  a very useful concept but no doubt it is also a beautiful one.

Why I write

I write for writing itself, it gives me practice into reasoning and exploring ideas. I learn a great deal from writing, how to express myself and my thoughts clearly and simply and I learn much from researching topics which I do not have a full knowledge or understanding of.

I also write for you, the reader, for I know how important and how joyful it is to read. I have read some books, I hope authored by great minds, which have instilled in me the compulsion to share knowledge and thought. It was John Stuart Mill who may have greatly influenced my writing for he was a man who influenced my liberal sentiments to which I feel the need to share my ideas for them to be analysed and discussed in the social world.

I do not think that my work or style is perfect but I hope to strive for clarity and most of all a sincere enthusiasm for the wonders of the world.

Friendship

There is nothing greater than having companions who understand you and change your life in a positive way. There is also nothing much greater than having friends so varied, so smart and who make you laugh in either a witty or naive way. Laughter holds no pretension and no high brow. It is a depressing thing to have no friends and it might perhaps be slightly impossible. I am grateful for the friends I have made and I hope to continue making them and keeping those who suit my personality.

What do you care what other people think?

It seems that many of us hold an instinctive care for the thoughts of  other people about ourselves. This in some cases becomes insecurity and in others arrogance and a perverse nature. This care may be biologically programmed within us, for us to analyse social status and to ensure that we have the best position to mate and to prosper. However is this necessary? Why should we care in these modern times? I have little care... for I know my own principles and I am skeptical of ideas that are not routed in reason. Be happy and thrive do what you love and be open, the scrutiny of the public will either serve you good or be of no use. If you do wrong or believe in falsehoods then yes public scrutiny is good, but do not follow for the sake of following. Leave that behavior to herds of sheep.

War



Again this can be reasoned against so simply it appears so incomprehensible that the people of the past and still of now did not reason so.

Any conflict or contradiction of beliefs can be expressed in language and can be solved with language, either with acquired knowledge or discussion of plans to solve the problem at hand. It seems hacking someones head off, bombing a group of people, shooting another person cannot solve anything. It literally brings only death, it may bring the doer short term gain but in the long run it is not just, beneficial or utilitarian.

I hope in the rest of my life and indeed our existence, no war between ourselves will ever be conceived for it is of obvious fact that it brings nothing of progress. Only psychological delusion will make someone go to war.

One of my friends Joe Rickelton has observed the need to talk about power. It is the desire for power over other humans and the fundamentalist belief that this must be so that causes most strife within the world. Take for instance Terrorism which may be fueled on religious grounds or narcissist selfishness, however these to grounds are based upon fundamentalist beliefs for terrorists to have power. They will not be persuaded or reasoned. The only way to tackle such fundamentalism is a continuing linguistic pressure (through debate and talks with them) and actual strategic violence to ensure the safety of other humans. This is why I hold so much scorn, hatred and rage for fundamentalist people, how they do not reason. This leads to actual human suffering which of all things, is the most damn right worst. Have we not evolved from our violent cousins?

Doctors are trying to cure cancer and other diseases yet there exist some people who cause death consciously. This must stop and if that requires small tactical violence e.g. the capture and killing of Bin Laden then let this be so. Actual warfare is unlikely and unnecessary. I hope we reach a point in our lifetime where we see the existence of only a small amount of violent people which under the control of justice can be stopped in their tracks before they gain mass and enter into another threat such as the threat of terror. 

Does God exist?



This question has plagued humanity for most of its intellectual existence. In order to measure existence in the physical world one must use some equipment to observe an object directly or through it's disturbances on other physical objects. In order to a answer a question in the form: Does X exist? First X must be defined or have an approximate physical description in order for it's physical presence be found by equipment tailored towards measuring it's size and nature. If X cannot be defined then the question cannot be answered as X would be too vague to have any experimental meaning and hence no scientifically certain answer can be given. If X be defined then experiments can done to measure and validate it's a priori description. 

It seems the question Does God exist? falls short, as it does not satisfy the condition that the unknown must be defined sufficiently in order for measurements be taken of it. The definition of God is too vague physically and some even propose that he is beyond the physical world. Therefore the question does not make logical sense.

Will machines govern us?

I feel that technology is increasing but this question seems to me unanswerable but I predict that this will not happen if we are to remain the dominant species. We may build artificial intelligence but not to the extent that they will have the urge to govern a species like ourselves. We have much more recent problems at hand to discuss though this is an interesting one.

Could there be a unified theory of everything? 

In Steven Weinberg's book: Dreams of a final theory this question is thoroughly discussed. Physics in its current state does point towards an ever more simpler more fundamental theory of nature which is becoming ever more cohesive.

How do we know if nature has more layers to its reality or if we are close to it? This we can only find out through doing more science.

How should we teach our children?



Children are very unique, they have the ability to learn almost anything and master it in short periods of time. They have not the stain of prejudice or the burden of convention. Children should be taught empirical truth, like everyone should. They should be taught how to reason and how to value justification for statements, theories and practices. They should be allowed to explore, for this is how curiosity is born. Having fun and lightheartedness are key, for learning about the world is not cumbersome it is joyful, challenging yet fulfilling. They should be challenged and pushed for there is nothing more malicious than to spoon feed a child everything until they are 18.

Indoctrination and the belief of God should not be taught. Many will gasp at this, but I ask why? Do we teach our children that we may exist as batteries to feed more intelligent machines and that we are part of a computer programme? No, for that is nonsense and so is the suggestion that our world was made in a week by some guy who thought knowledge was an apple. I thought so.

Do we have free will?

This seems an age-old philosophical problem. Many think that we do not have free will or that it is merely an illusion. They argue that we live in a deterministic universe and hence our brains are determined to function in a certain way irrespective of our will. 1) the world on small scales is not deterministic is it probabilistic. Also our brain is a very complex system, there may be many ways to respond to external stimuli which our brain might just take the usual response ingrained from experience or it might chose one based on reason. This is all do due to complex nueral processes which may fundamentally be deterministic in some way but as a whole create a complex system able to respond in different conscious ways. This is what makes us intelligent. More knowledge will reveal more certainties on the answers to this question.

Are geniuses born with genius?  



Albert Einstein's brain was once examined after his death to see whether physical observations of his brain will reveal any neuro facts about genius. The only thing which was different was the amount of glial cells in his brain. He had more grey matter than white. However great intelligence is probably greatly determined by genes, for instance high functioning autistic children and genuinely sharp children. However young brains are very adaptable to change and in the right environment their brains will soon resemble that of extraordinary minds.

The answer is no. Genius is part of childhood as many biographies of geniuses reveal.

Greatest way to learn

I, myself, am an independent learner who loves to read and grapple concepts on my own. That is how I have been made to learn. I enjoy it too. Books are the top for learning, doing is great but there is a finite amount you can learn from crude experiments in secondary schools and at home (prove me wrong). Books give recorded knowledge from the past, they enable the acquisition of abstract concepts and the learning of pure mathematics. 

I think the greatest way to learn is to learn every way but much emphasis on books, notes and problem solving. In artistic endeavors practice will obviously make perfect but so will improvisation and exploration. 

Death

We are inclined to fear it yet fear it we shouldn't. We can only try to understand it, how our bodies decay and wither from disease and inefficient cell replication. After understanding we may then try to overcome it if this is possible or even wanted.

Time



As Einstein had shown, space and time are intertwined in a geometry described by Minkowski spacetime. However is time really real? That is, is there any empirical evidence of time. Does our mere subsistence prove the existence of time? Or is time a mere tool for our brains to make sense of the changing world. I expect the latter and this itself is proof that our own biological make up taints our view of the pure external world. I am not complaining however... what is is what shall be. 

Global Warming



There is ample evidence for the claim that human activity has caused an increase in carbon emissions and an increase in general global temperatures which would not occur naturally according to existing geological theory. Such evidence can be found in Newscientist: Running wild (Issue No2872/7th July 2012) which is an article discussing how global warming is affecting the weather.

Many denialists and skeptics who reject that we are imposing ourselves too much on the earth do so without evidence for their own claims. They simply reject global warming on conspiracy grounds or just because they do not wish to make more of an effort in their daily lives. Some skeptics have evidence behind them and this is what is causing a contention, more research needs to be done. It is not simply a 50/50 tie however... more evidence seems to be on the front of global warming.

Despite this debate, it seems that working towards becoming more energy efficient, building more renewable energies, disposing waste more safely and recycling will help progress technology, energy and our own knowledge. Techniques for energy conservation and finding harmless fuels could help our space missions, it could help make the air less polluted which is better for us and for nature. This push for efficiency could also lead to more technologies which could further our species and others.

It is better either way to make an effort to save our planet and reduce our carbon footprint. The effects of us not doing so may be passed our understanding yet and we wouldn't want to find them out before we can prevent them.

Health and physical activity


Child obesity is a big killer for western children and universal healthcare. Over consumption and the lack of encouragement to do sports or go out into the natural environment are big causes of this. There seems to be an ever growing divide between the physical elite and the obese (and unhealthy). To bridge the gap sports and the value of exercise must be everywhere in childhood, they must be buffeted with opportunities to compete, explore nature or swim etc. everyday. 

The value of good food must be ingrained in our youth. This will be done in homes but in schools aswell, temptation to buy cheap, easy preparation and tasty food will seem to save you financially but it kills universal healthcare and may even inhibit your children's academic potential, social confidence or their ambition to live.

Exercise will help you think more clearly, live a happier life. It takes effort but the effort is so worth it. You feel tons better, look better, live longer and it gives you something to wake up  for.


7 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. How I see the world, By Alice Guile.
    And how I heartily disagree with what Luke sees)

    The meaning of life

    I understand what you are saying, Luke when you say that the question ‘what is the meaning of life has no meaning, that it is void of a conscience, (do you mean ‘devoid of consciousness’ because that would be better English?) I however don’t agree with you. You say that the material world is devoid of a consciousness, but we as human beings are not. Therefore, as conscious beings, we are aware of the fact that we are alive, and try to find meaning in that. There is nothing insignificant in that at all, in fact it is the most significant thing of all. Consciousness gives meaning to life. I bet you have or will enjoy reading philosophy books in your life, and you are definitely a fan of great minds. Then think of this; how perhaps pondering about the meaning of life helped some of those philosophers to open their minds, and to write beautiful things. If no-one had ever wondered about the meaning of life, what beautiful things would not have been written? Then it can’t be insignificant, can it Luke, if it has enriched literature, art or philosophy? You are a hypocrite if you read a book somebody has written, in which they discus the the question meaning of life, then say it has no meaning.
    I think that there is absolutely meaning to life, but it is whatever meaning that we create. I think the gradual raising of consciousness is part of it, because the more conscious we become, the more we can wonder about our existence, and therefore the more meaning it has for us.

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  3. You have misunderstood the question. Void of conscience means that the universe... matter does not think for itself it is merely governed by mathematical laws and symmetries. We are conscious yes but our consciousness is due to complex arrays of neurons and evolution.

    The question was about independent meaning i.e. does life or the universe mean something on it's own without us? No... it is merely physical. What we attach to the world is somehow un-interesting, anyone can try and place meaning to the world. What matters is what's there in the actual universe.

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  4. No I haven't misunderstood the question. Conscience is the little voice in our heads that tells us whether we have been a naughty boy of not, Lukey. Consciousness on the other hand tells us whether or not we exist. If you don't believe me please consult a dictionary, they never lie.
    Also; The fact that you are thinking right now tells you that there is more to the world than just the physical. If the world contained only the physical then it would be devoid of life, and then no meaning could be attached to it. So then perhaps I agree that without life it would not have meaning. But that is irrelevant because the universe does contain life. Your question was 'What is the meaning of life' Luke, not what is the meaning of nothingness. Clearly You didn't understand your own question.

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  5. I think I won that. Unless you can give me a comeback ;) ...

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  7. I have a theory that the answer to the question ‘does God exist’ can have two perfectly true answers, yes and no.

    To start off I think that there is definitely something more than what we can see. Of course there is, we have consciousness, thoughts and emotions. People might look at the world and say I don’t believe in anything more than what I can see taste and touch. But how can you see, or taste or experience anything, without the consciousness to know that you are doing it? Consciousness cannot be seen, or heard or felt, but it is definitely there. So perhaps God is like that, some kind of higher form of consciousness? Luke you talk about measurements and the need for something to be defined for it to exist, but there are plenty on things that can’t be seen or defined in this world.

    When we ask the question of God’s existence we have to ask ourselves first this? Are we asking if God exists in the form in which he is perceived by most people who believe in him at this point in history, as some sort of wise man who lives in the sky? Or we asking if there is some ‘thing’ that exists, unto which we put the label of God, but is not like we imagine God to be, because the true nature of God is so far beyond our understanding? So if you might believe that God doesn’t exist, in the way that most people imagine, but that he does exist, in a way which is far above our level of understanding. Because if we did understand what God is then we would become like God, and then we would cease to be human.

    Luke I hope you don't mind me posting stuff, or think I'm being argumentative or rude if if I challenge things you say, I'm just trying to make you think more, which is to your own benefit really, and I find debating fun :)x

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