Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
We've recently been talking about how questions about general things in life lead to unanswered questions (like the electric fan, leading to the question of "What is an electron?") and we interpret the answers to those questions as "the will of God".
Philosophy has always asked strange questions. Cavemen had no idea what caused fire, or wind, or even rain. For them, this was philosophy... "What is this yellowish glowing thingy that gives us heat.. and burns us when we go close enough", or "What is the thing that we feel is moving, ruffling leaves, but still we cannot see". This was philosophy then. And what was the answer to the philosophical questions at that time..? "It is God". They worshipped fire, air, rain, etc. And what about technology? It was only so much that they could do some basic things: make stone tools, animal skins as clothes, etc. They had no idea why things were the way they were.
Just a few centuries back, the idea was that atom was the ultimate particle. Then came the subatomic particles. Then the quarks. And then came strings. And we're still in doubt if strings actually exist.
Today, the scene is pretty much the same. We have no idea what an electron is, or what made the universe, or even what makes us "alive". And what is the answer to the philosophical questions now? "It is God". And most of the people still worship God... nothing has changed since we were cavemen. Though technology has advanced a lot, we're still unable to answer some questions.
The point I'm trying to get through is, humans have consistently tried to find out what "God" is, and he has almost always found an answer. But that answer is a partial answer. It reveals another "God", a new entity that humans have to solve for again. And upon solving that there's an even newer "God" that comes up...
Its like the quadratic equation problem: y = sqrt(x+sqrt(x+sqrt(x+sqrt(x+..... you square both sides in an attempt to find the answer, and you end up with another problem. Unless you apply the "trick" of the question, you can't solve it.
Maybe humans are doing the same thing. Attempting to solve things with their own way. We've not yet found the "trick" that'll solve the mystery of "God". Maybe we aren't supposed to... because then we won't remain humans. The curiosity of humans would then have been satisfied. With nothing more to know, the human brain would stagnate... leading to the de-evolution of humans into protozoans.
Or it could be the other way round... knowing everything possible in the universe, probably trying to make it better. And doing an experiment on an evolution method much better than genes.. and watching the results over years. These new "species" would then try and seek *us*, the new "Gods".
Strange huh? I've got stranger ideas... more on them later though.
So what does all of this mean? It means Technology <=> Philosophy. Its the current technology that decides what philosophy we "have". And current philosophy provides questions for technology to solve. Quite a cyclic relation between the two, isn't it?
Monday, June 9, 2008
Is this a "weakness" of the human race..? Being unable to answer such a fundamental question... something that is seen everywhere... computers, toasters, space shuttles, television screens, etc. Is it a weakness to attribute things we're unable to answer to some unseen force (and we can't even describe that "force"... :-| ).
Or is it the other way around? I think so. Being able to build productive things upon something we don't understand... its one of the biggest strengths of the humans.
Technically speaking, this is called "Abstraction" (reminds you of those dreaded Object Oriented Programming classes?!!). Abstraction is about building "black box" objects. You give the object some input, and you get the output. You don't need to know the internal details of the object. This is the "definition" of a black box object as in programming "theory". So how does this relate to real life you ask? I'll give you some examples.
A light bulb. You just plug it into the socket, and turn it on. You don't need to know the internal working of the bulb. If you wanted to go into the details, you could do down to multiple levels... deep into the actual working of the bulb:
1) The bulb has a tungsten filament that resists the flow of current. This produces light.
2) Electrons are flowing through... Maxwell's equations apply...
3) Electrons are made up of quarks, Maxwell's equations won't work for quarks... we need some new theory. (umm.. I made this one up)
But why go into all those details when you just want to light up your room, maybe even make it look a bit more beautiful (radiance? lumen?).
Another example, a television. You just turn it on and flick through channels. You don't apply Maxwell's equations to all the inductors and capacitors inside the TV. Neither do you say "The sound is 60dB above my normal level of listening... I'll just reduce it down exponentially". You simply say the volume is high, and reduce it till you're comfortable.
This reminds me of another example of abstraction... having the ability to speak is one of the biggest abstractions humans have developed naturally. The "High" in the previous example could be a 100dB or anything else... and it differs for everyone. And an even greater abstraction is: You produce some random "sound" from your vocal chords and the others are able to interpret that vibration of air as something meaningful.
Everything we do has something to do with abstraction: driving a car, switching on an AC, making a drawing. And this is due to the algebraic brain that the humans posses. Animals don't. Thats why they're the way they are.
So now you ask what this abstraction has to do with God or the "unseen force"? Well, God is just another abstraction (imho). Just as we have infinite faith in the Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism (they work everywhere), many people have faith in God. The only difference is, we've observed Maxwell's equations apply everywhere and thus "proved" it, while for God, we've been unable to "prove" Him...
Philosophy says "There is God". Technology agrees with philosophy completely, and quite blindly.
I'll tell you why. Technology is ultimately based on results from Nature itself... you do something, and see what happens. And based on these observations, you make laws (Maxwell.. V=iR, etc). Why those observations happen...? We do not know... They just, well, happen!
Maybe there's some lack of a sixth sense that prevents us from knowing why things happen the way they happen. All the simplicity and symmetry in the laws of nature continuously hint there is something... we just don't know it, or maybe we just can't comprehend it... Maybe we'll someday evolve. Then we'll have the capacity to know exactly what God "is".
But will we then have to build a new abstraction about how "God" was "made" or something we can't even think of right now?
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
people praying for reasons unknown to me
i wondered if it really helped them
were they being gulled into the act of praying
or was it their natural instinct
i had to give it a try to know why
i waited for a tough situation to come into my life
when it came my natural instinct was to close my eyes
a violent sea within
i reminded myself that i had to pray to know
i bought my hands together and bowed my head down
in silence, there were no words spoken in my mind
nothing asked for
with my eyes tight shut
i saw within to find a the violent lake metamorphosing into a placid lake
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
What is the basic cornerstone of science(technology)-it is the questioning attitude.
what is the basic cornerstone of philosophy(spirituality)-it is the questioning attitude.
get it ?
The difference is in science one is inquisitive about things in the world like say the working of a car,design of a bridge or a tv .
In spirituality the focus is "within".
science has a limit of understanding or a point beyond which questions will not yeild answers.I am not saying development has a limit,the world will continue to see highly sophisticated and advanced technology ,ipods will get smaller,we may have a laptop with only a screen and all other i/o devices might simply be done away with,but there is bound to lot of abstraction involved.let me explain.take a any object around you.say a fan and answer these questions.
1)when a switch is off fan does not rotate when it is on it rotates .why?
a)the answer Is obvious enough.when the switch is closed it completes the circuit ,electricity comes into play ,the electical energy is converted to mechanical energy of the fan (with some loss )
2)what is electricity?
a)flow of electrons.
3)what is an electron?
a)the answer that we had mugged up for the question in our 6th class or so is"Electron is a fundamental particle"fair enough,thats right.But does that in anyway give you an insight into what an electron actually is .?
4)how were the electrons formed?
a)i dont know.
5)why were they formed?
a)i dont know.
you can go deeper into your questions and you will at some point come to a stage where you will not be able to give a convincing,logical answer.That is the point beyond which questions will cease to give answers and a mystery begins.This cosmic mystery ,a very beautiful one ,one that is incredibly ordered yet immensely dynamic is what i believe to be god.
so that is how science and faith are not at loggerheads with each other.
They are the two sides of the same coin.
Let me quote what einstein had to say "Where science ends god begins"
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I believe philosophy paves way for new technology. For example, there are lots of different philosophies about how we "think"... one of them being something to do with souls. I won't go into the details... You probably have your own beliefs and views on this. Now if you know a bit of biology, you know all "thinking" occurs in the neurons in your brain. Philosophy says they're all directed by some soul, some superior power thats around with you, everywhere, all the time.
Now, the tech people did something. They tried to mimic these neurons on computers. They created something called neural networks. And these things actually can "think".
I'll give you an example of how you would do something, and how these artificial neural networks would do. Say both are given a list of patterns and a unique number associated with each pattern.
Whenever you are shown a pattern from that list, you can easily state that this is pattern number #. When you are given a pattern that doesn't match any in the list... you'd say "the given pattern doesn't match with anyone... but is quite similar to this one."
When given a pattern from the list... the neural network would give the answer as the number of the pattern (like Patter number 5). But when the given pattern doesn't match any in the list... it would produce a result like 5.47. Meaning its quite similar to pattern
The above artificial neural network has no more than 10 "neurons". Our human brain has billions of billions of neurons.
So once we have enough processing power, we'll be able to create networks of billions of neurons. And those systems would be highly dynamic. They would do (almost) everything we can do.
But thats quite distant.. even with the current pace of development of processors. But, the question is... when we create this "thinking machine", does the computer all of a sudden get a soul? Or are we getting closer to creating a soul? Are we getting closer to being the Supreme being that can create life? I leave that to you to decide, and that my friend is technolosophy.