In Pursuit of Language

La Ventana

La ventana – or window – from a small turret along the low stone wall looking out over Baho Tablazo and the Bay of San Juan in Puerto Rico.  Be it English, Spanish, C, Java, or whatever, are not languages like windows that permit us to “see” a portion of Reality? The more windows, the more complete our picture. And are analogies not like fish, seemingly okay from afar, but upon closer inspection, a bit stinky? 

After having visited Puerto Rico earlier this spring, enjoying the sights, sounds, culture, food, history, and so forth, I returned stateside with a desire to learn Spanish. For one thing, being deeply afraid of the onset of memory loss and deterioration of cognitive function, I am looking for things to do to stave off mental erosion. Studies suggest – and it makes intuitive sense to me – that those who speak more than one language have brains that age better than those of monolinguists. Learning any new skill can help fight off dementia – learning to juggle, play guitar, etcetera.

At the same time, I have an interest in computers and how they work. I enjoy gaming and just got my Oculus VR headset for my Samsung Galaxy 7. It’s cool. Disappearing into digitized worlds that completely envelope has been an enjoyable distraction from my every-day-bills-to-pay reality. So, in an effort to begin understanding the computers and tech that are changing our lives, I’ve enrolled in a computer programming class via edX and Harvard’s Department of Computer Science. The class is CS50 and it’s on-line learning at its finest.

As I struggle to pick-up the rudiments of vocabulary and grammar in both Spanish and C, I’ve begun wondering: To what extent are these languages the same and different? To what extent is the fundamental binary code underlying C or PHP or Java similar to the genetic code underlying our brain’s language software? Is there in any sense a binary code that is at the root of our ability to comprehend language? Or if our brains are in fact wet quantum computers, what will the development of dry quantum computers teach us about ourselves? And what serves as the brain’s compiler? And who wrote it’s operating system? Evolution? God? Or was it a collaborative effort? Sometimes, don’t we humans appear to have been designed by committee?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1. In Genesis, God speaks and reality comes into existence! With Schrödinger and his Cheshire-like cat, the observer dependent universe was revealed. Now, the hard sciences have begun to grapple with the possibility understanding consciousness is necessary to a complete model of physical reality.  Consciousness may not be merely a side effect of the brain and its evolution, but rather matter and energy may be dependent on consciousness.

But whose consciousness?*

Indeed! In the beginning was the Word!

I don’t propose that apologists for religion and atheists such as Stephen Hawking or Neil deGrasse Tyson will be singing Kumbaya anytime soon over matters like Intelligent Design. But, whether were religionists or not, if consciousness is the bedrock foundation of the Whole Shebang, then the mystery of language and what it is becomes yet more interesting and vital. For the instructions of the universe may be more than just descriptive equations woven into the fabric of space-time. Rather, they may indeed be a code – a language – and perhaps only the summary of the instruction manual to the universe – CliffsNotes. And our innate human ability to learn language from birth may mean we’re not just star stuff, but that we are hardwired into the cosmos itself.

Is it possible that language is not merely how all that is is described, but how all that is described is?

In any event, such deep thoughts and highfalutin revelries make for nice diversions from the more mundane tasks at hand for students of Spanish and C. Difficulties like memorizing verb conjugations, and looking for missing semi-colons amidst lines upon lines of code. That is the hard work of mastering the many languages used to describe and/or construct both mundane and virtual reality.

* Note: Understanding consciousness as being necessary for matter and energy rather than the other way around does not make one a theist. Just as Stephen Hawking has lost the God of gravity and found instead that gravity is his god, so Buddhist believe consciousness is the foundation of everything, yet still deny a personal godhead.

The Tau of the Rings

hl-tau-and-its-protoplanetary-diskThe circle. Arguably the most fundamental of geometric shapes. Just a set of points equidistant from some arbitrary point called a ‘center’. And out of it comes such complex math as trigonometry and the fundamental constant called Pi which itself permeates the Cosmos.

Pictured above are quite a set of concentric circles. They come courtesy of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile and are produced by radio waves emitting from excited atoms 450 light years away in HL Tau, in the constellation of Taurus the Bull.

In a bit more detail, what are we looking at?

First, the image above is real data. It is not photo-shopped. The only manipulation is that what are otherwise invisible waves of radio energy have been translated into a visible medium which we can see. Were we humans capable of seeing radio energy, and also given the ability to resolve a penny from over one-hundred kilometers away, then the picture above is essentially what we would see on a dark night looking in the direction of HL Tau.

Second, the above is a picture of planets forming around a sun that is only about a million years old. The dark circles being traced out are cleared lanes in the disk of gas and debris which are in the process of coalescing into planets. We are seeing a solar system being born! The picture is revolutionary not only because it is that of a solar system being drawn into existence  by the Compass of God, but, prior to this picture, it was not thought planetary formation would begin so soon around a nascent star.

Third, it is strange and somewhat mystical to note that these very large and distant circles which we contemplate are themselves produced by electrons jumping up and down in their own chaotic, but semi-defined probabilistic orbits as delineated by Neils Bohr, burping out cascading waterfalls of radio energy as they fall back from their state of excitement upon absorbing the fiery radiation of their young sun.

The Circle of Life!

Circles within circles within circles … ad infinitum.

We Live in the Matrix


These large n-color folded adinkras represent the complex systems of super-differential equations of super-symmetry, embedded deep within which Dr. James Gates has discovered a computer code.

In the video following at the end of this post, Dr. James Gates, Jr., participates in a panel discussion of theoretical physicists and says he has discovered, during his 30 odd years of theoretical work, what analogizes to, or possibly is, a computer code in the equations underlying super symmetry. Interestingly enough, scientists working on experiments associated with CERN claim to have “confirm[ed] the existence of a fundamental symmetry in nature.” Thus, this lends support to the notion that theoretical physicists working in super-symmetry may be doing more than just playing with beautiful, but ultimately irrelevant ideas.

One extremely interesting thing about Dr. Gates’ discovery of a computer code in the fundamental equations of physics is that, as both theory and experiment come together, those with eyes may see evidence of an intellect behind creation. Now, the scientists in the video whistle past the graveyard of mysticism by talking about us living in the Matrix, though uncomfortably at that. But even so, talk of us living in the Matrix is just semantics and misdirection to avoid ideas that are at root mystical and religious. For if number, equation, and code are primary, a necessary pre-condition for the Universe to come into existence, and not just surprisingly useful descriptors of physical reality, how do we avoid the ideas behind the code? Where do those ideas come from but a creating consciousness? If we live in the Matrix, we are confronted with possibility of coming face-to-face with the Inventor of the Matrix, just as we may become the inventors of our own mini-matrices, and commune with artificial intelligences who are our progeny and denizens of the virtual worlds we’ve birthed in the substrate of so many circuit boards. We shall be like unto mini-gods of innumerable mini-universes…

Could it be that codes, in some deep and fundamental way, control the structure of our reality? – Dr. James Gates, Jr.

Code is language. It has rules akin to grammar. It arises not by accident, but according to plan. Thus, if Dr. Gates’ discovery is not self-deception, like one who gazes up at the clouds and sees castles and dragons, then we are reading the handiwork of the Supreme Programmer –  the Developer of the Universe. Again, if super symmetry turns out to be akin to Bugs Bunny’s wrong turn at Albuquerque, then finding something strange deep down in the equations is akin to finding hidden messages in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Cool, but ultimately trivial. Super symmetry, and all that goes with it, will prove nothing more than an impressive intellectual exercise that, for all its grandeur, was a mere mistake, and, ultimately forgettable save for those who write histories of science. But, as the discoveries coming out of CERN suggest, super symmetry is not yet dead, its theories being verified by experiment.

All things physical are information-theoretic in origin … this is a participatory universe. – Dr. John Archibald Wheeler

No, saying we live in the Matrix doesn’t get the radical materialist atheist out of the conundrum they so desperately wish to avoid – acknowledging the existence of God when the evidence of Deity is all around them. If not the God of the Bible, at least a Supreme Intelligence, and not just merely an impersonal force or energy. For those who do believe, scientist and non-scientist alike, God is the artist par excellence, not just painting beautiful sunsets for us to admire, but programming the code, writing the very language of matter and energy that allows not only the colors to be, but gives rise to consciousness that may perceive the beauty.

See also The God of gravity – or the gravity god?

Fungus Friday

Shrooms 2 091815

This natural anomaly showed up on my doorstep this Friday morning. I thought fairies were supposed to distribute mushrooms in rings. Apparently, we have a population of  defective or lazy fairies living in the neighborhood. I didn’t eat any of these unidentified shrooms as there are enough pretty colors in my life, nor do I want to spend the next three days thinking I’m a bedspread. Can’t wait to see what turns up on Mushroom Monday or Toadstool Tuesday.

Raise the Pirate Flag! And the Prices!

Hey, guess what? It’ll soon be Banned Book Week! In celebration of this great event, I’m raising the price of my own book, banned throughout the Galaxy and wherever intelligent life is found – The Adventures of Short Stubbly Brownbeard!

Why you ask? Simple psychology.

They say people value things they pay a bit more for. There is a perception that the added price reflects added value. Well, why shouldn’t people pay a bit more for extraordinary, or even semi-extraordinary, crap? I think they should, just so they know how crappy their purchase was. Right? It works for Donald Trump and his line of cologne, ties and clothing, bottled spring water, books, etc. So, I’m raising the price of my worst-selling book to $4.99! And it comes complete with an advertising campaign slogan…

More Expensive. Still The Same Crap. Buy now. Daddy needs new underwear.