Wednesday, November 16, 2016

ArtsLab S2 Ep.2: Old

ArtsLab produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Series 2 Episode 2: Old
Broadcast Wednesday 16 November 2016, 4pm to 5pm GMT.
Special guest Kev Aldersay.

All ArtsLab content is original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Oldfield 1, Everything Is Old (2016)
Chris Godber, Strange Creature (2016)
Claire Bassi, I Am The Holes In Your Knit (2016)
Mark Sheeky, Physical Marks Of Old Age (2016)
Chris Godber, Infinite Monkey (2016)
Rebecca Cherrington, Old (2016)
Oldfield 1, Oldness (2015)
Moragh Carter, Old Friends And Music (2016)
Russ Abbott, Atmosfear (2015)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The End of the World

There's a lot of doom around at the moment, but there's nothing to fear...

Every so often an apocalyptic cult or idea appears, from the End Time to Ragnarok, to the Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and many more. Why?

People of every time always seem to consider their times are fearful or degraded, and no matter how fearful or degraded the present world may appear, whenever you are reading this, let us make one thing clear; the world is not ending and will never end. Humanity and the creatures and plants of the world we all need will be preserved.

Societies reflect the psychology of the constituents of that society. A group of people behave as one, and we can talk and feel about groups, whether political groups, socio-economic or racial groups, or countries, like we talk and feel about individuals. We can think of countries as individuals, having personalities. One country might seem confident and bombastic, one humble, one open, one oppressive. Countries, like any group of people end up having a personality, one that is a massive aggregate of everyone in that country. Even the animal and plant life of a country contribute to its psychology, as creatures like bears and snakes, heat and cold, cacti and snow, affect how the population behaves and feels, and how the state then relates to other countries, and how we feel about the personalities of other countries.

All groups of people end up reflecting the psychology of the individuals in that group, and all of humanity ends up reflecting the psychology of everyone. This means that humanity as a whole is a complicated beast, but it also means that humanity is as self-preserving as each of the individual selves that make it up. Part of humanity might destroy the planet and itself, just as some humans self-harm, but other parts of humanity work to rebuild and care and preserve the world, just as people work hard to rebuild and care for themselves. Humanity would only be at threat if everyone became suicidal or homicidal, which never happens.

Any species that has become suicidal or murderous no longer exists, for obvious reasons! But life is clearly self-preserving across all species divides. Are there any historical examples of self-genocide by a species? No, a species could not evolve to become self-genocidal.

As a species, our greatest enemy is fear, as this emotion can lead to unnecessary anxiety and potential self, and therefore social, harm. All people have an apocalyptic streak inside, a romantic notion of a neat end, normally a happy ending after a great and terrible crisis. One reason for this might be that these fears are present as warnings of possible disaster, to cause us to take self-preserving action, or to ironically create more stable societies as people peacefully prepare for an ending rather than destructively fight for survival until the last person. Whatever the reason for apocalyptic feelings, the notion of an apocalypse can create fantastical fears about disasters which are not warranted, and certainly nothing to do with the real world.

The will and personality of the people in charge of nations, and those with influence in our hierarchical society will have more influence and control over its destiny. The personality of a leader can shape the personality of their nation and social groups to a greater extent than the other members of the populace, but even in cases where that leader is violent and suicidal, such as Adolf Hitler in his final months, the remainder of society adjusts and prevents as much harm as the other members also prevent.

Thus, we can relax. Humanity will exist for a million years, a billion, or until humankind evolves into whatever myriad forms it is destined to evolve into.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Münchhausen Trilemma Problem

Like you, I enjoy browsing the 'unsolved problems' bits in Wikipedia and solving them in an evening. Don't we all?

The so-named Münchhausen trilemma proves that proving a truth is impossible. We can assume that the authors didn't notice the irony in this statement! That aside, this philosophical argument is goes along the lines of every fact, on its own, can only be shown as true when relative to other facts that are equally suspect. There are a few variations on the number and type of exact possibilities, but the fundamental argument is that truths are either self-proving or depend on other truths that depend on others ad infinitum. It is a bit like an enquiring child answering your every answer with "Why?" and you discovering that you can continue forever.

I wanted to examine this and considered mathematics. Consider 1+1=2. How do we know that sum is true?

Mathematics is an abstraction of reality. When we say "one plus one", each "one" there referred at some point to one actual object, and the maths is true if and only if one real object partnered with another makes two objects (which it clearly does, but of course this text is also abstract, so you'll need to find two actual things to confirm my bold claim). In a pure abstract sense, one plus one only equals two if it is related to reality.

However abstracted mathematics has become, it exists only as a tool to describe or utilise reality. If maths never did this, so that it became purely abstracted, then any conclusions it made would be untestable, and any conclusions would be as true or false as any other, that is, meaningless! But maths is never purely abstracted, and even the most obscure theorems ultimately relate to the world or are used in describing the world in some way.

there were and probably still are today highly abstracted forms of maths that are probably useless nonsense right now, that one day might be useful. George Boole's logic was perhaps too abstracted in its day to relate to any form of reality, and perhaps meaningless and its truths self-dependant, until the invention of actual real-world computers which use boolean logic. At that point the truth of Boole's logic snapped into actual reality.

Ultimately, the truth validity of mathematics is related explicitly to the truth validity of the universe as a whole, as much as we can each personally test it. This argument can be applied to the Münchhausen trilemma too. Truth is only as valid as it can be personally tested, and as such is tied up with belief.

Now we come to truth itself, and what we mean by it. Often, as in much of philosophy, the answer comes down to the word definition of "truth" and "belief".

Knowledge is relative and unique to every perspective because it is a collection of data from different points (the universe) to a singular point (us), and this data might change en-route. As such, information about the universe is different for each observer, and so always personal. Remember that information about the universe that we have only needs to be slightly different, any different at all, to be unique, and if knowledge unique then knowledge is relative, not absolute.

The notion of truth generally implies absolute knowledge, rather than a personal belief, and that's because humans are social creatures and generally groups of us know things and share information. As as result of this gossip, a consensus emerges of what is true and factual. This is convenient, as it saves us testing everything, but the consensus is only an approximate social belief, not intended to be an exact reflection of everything, or even an exact reflection of anything. If our experiences are unique then the only complete truth is our personal belief. If we see a ghost and nobody else does then society confirms that ghosts don't exist, but to us they do.

What of machines that can test things? Are these not independent of humanity and so judgeless infallible tools that measure what is true and what is not? Can't we determine what is true using a machine? A machine that analyses any aspect of the universe is no different from another person that also does this (people can be reliable judges too!). The result of a machine might reinforce, or destroy, a particular belief we have, but it can't define truth any more than another person could, merely offer an opinion to contribute towards our beliefs. Like any observer, a machine's sensor has a unique and limited view of the universe.

So the ultimate solution to the Münchhausen trilemma problem (also known as Agrippa's trilemma problem) is that a certain truth is true if we believe it to be, and that no further proof is necessary.

Replication and Decay

We start in a pure state, but only near pure for purity is infinity and conveys nothing, if one thing is infinite then all things are infinite. Purity replicates, or moves which is replication through time. Inevitably, errors creep in during replication from tiny and essentially random fluctuations and these create information. Just one blip is a steady sea creates some information. The amount of information is proportional to the mix of purity to error.

The information is random and most of the information is meaningless, but some information can, by chance, self organise or form stable structures. Some information is by chance able to replicate itself, its structures, and this is naturally selected over the random noise and begins to proliferate. During replication errors occur, as always, and so things seemingly eventually evolve into a state of chaos where errors dominate. However, as described by this idea, this factor can create the ability to form new unexpected stable structures on a larger scale.

Thus, with only one force for replication, or even motion, and a random disturbance, structures of complexity should arise. These structures should be stable and able to replicate, and during replication errors must creep in. For any replicating structure, errors would be necessary, because a pure and error free state could not evolve into existence itself.

Or could it? Perhaps a random error could push an object into a perfect form, like an uneven copper disc accidentally honed into a perfect circle, but that perfect form, being error free would be trapped in its state for all time. As a perfect form it would not change, have no sense of time or decay or be able to replicate itself. It would effectively be a pure infinite object in at least one dimension or to at least one degree, which would convey nothing, like the infinitely pure state, and if one thing is infinite then all things are infinite. A perfect form cannot exist or evolve at any point then.

On a related matter, can correct information accidentally be regained? This depends on what is meant by correct information. There is only former information. There might also be more stable or less stable patterns, but is it relevant which is better than another, or which comes before or after another?

Let us think about replication more.

What is needed for replication? Is movement replication? Movement needs a change of location but to replicate means to grow, making something new, so movement is not the same as replication. To replicate, extra energy is needed, the same amount as the parent, the thing to be duplicated, and a communication of information about the form of the parent. If the total energy in a system is fixed then replication can only occur by taking energy from elsewhere; either the background, the space into which the replicated thing would appear, or from the parent. Information about the construction of the parent must come from the parent.

The simplest form of replication is division, where one entity splits into two or more parts. This would assume that all parts of the object contain all of the information about it. The lack of complete information in some parts would cause errors when dividing in this way. Cells divide into two parts, and in subsequent twos. Would splits into many parts be as likely as a simple split into two? What might trigger a split?

One large fixed object for all time would be and convey no information, and would be the same as a smaller number of identical objects, so some instabilities must be present inside even single objects, so perhaps the crucial aspect of this are the boundaries between objects, not the objects themselves. It is the space between two objects that makes two objects rather than one, but as earlier stated, one object would be pure meaningless infinity. It is the gaps between objects that create objects. Perhaps it is the shape of these gaps that are the crucial random variational element in the universe.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

ArtsLab S2 Ep.1: New

ArtsLab 2 produced and presented by Mark Sheeky
Series 2 Episode 1: New
Broadcast Wednesday 2 November 2016, 4pm to 5pm GMT.

ArtsLab content is typically original, created by artists and poets for each episode.

Oldfield 1, Everything Is New (2016)
Mark Sheeky, Glass World (2016)
Mark Sheeky, Timeless Travel (2016)
Mark Sheeky, The Growth Of Impossible Love (Special ArtsLab II Remix) (2016)
Helen Kay, Nailed (2016)
Mark Sheeky, Nails (2016)
Dialogue with The Mamas And The Papas, California Dreaming (1966)
Mark Sheeky/Jonathan Tarplee, Dreams Of Golden Cornfield Light (2016)
Rebecca Cherrington, New (2016)
Captain Sensible, Happy Talk (1994) overdubbed with reverse excerpts from The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene (2012)
Patsy Gallant, From New York to L.A. (1977)

All past ArtsLab programmes can be listened to here:

You can listen live during the broadcast on: