Zero-point existence

Recently I’ve been reading a combination of Undulating ungulate‘s book draft which discusses science, mysticism, and reality.

I’ve also been reading up some about quantum physics, and the idea of the evolution of physical properties of the universe. I’d like to read more about the ideas and work of John Wheeler and David Finkelstein (both being suggested researchers to investigate when I asked Ben Goertzel about a starting point on evolving physical laws).

This, combined with working on stuff for OpenCog, has led to several immensely surreal moments. Mostly while lying in bed about to drift of to sleep, when all reality and time collapses into a single point. Well perhaps not all reality, but at least my life and memories. Possibly this is a cognitive effect of memories being more easily retrievable in the state just before sleep? At any rate, given that: I think free will is just an immensely useful illusion of consciousness, and that physics tells us that the fabric of reality is space-time instead of two perpendicular concepts. It’s not infeasible to believe that seeing the future is possible. In fact, that’s exactly what intelligence does. We make predictions about the future. The question is, can we make predictions on things that, based on our limited of knowledge about the universe, are essentially random or make predictions that are more probabilistically accurate than our past experience allows?

I’ve also bought Outside the gates of science by Damien Broderick, which should be an interesting read. The book addresses some of the paranormal effects in experiments that have been deemed statistically significant but as of yet cannot be rationally explained (actually I bought this last year, I just have lots of reading queued up).

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

I picked this book up cheaply since it was a tacky version with George Clooney on the cover that came out for the related movie. I had it sitting on my shelf for a while since when I saw the movie, despite it being excellent, I associate it with some pretty bad times. One day I’ll be ready to appreciate it again though.

solaris

The book was a bit of a let down and reminded me a lot of a Dostoevsky novel. Lots of grim internal commentary going on. Unfortunately I couldn’t relate to the characters very well, the most human one (Rheya) is ironically not really human, which I can say without really ruining the plot. Although perhaps that is an ironic point that the author was trying to convey. I found the main character a passive-aggressive asshole more often than not, and unfortunately the book is written in the first person.

The plot itself was also a little lacking, nothing really happened, and there was a lot of history on Solaris and its research to read. History is great, but in this short novel it seemed to be a little excessive. Maybe I’ve been ruined by reading pulp sci-fi with at least a little action.

It did however invoke atmosphere – loneliness, isolation, and being in the clutches of unfathomable alien entity. Glad I read it since it is a classic, but I probably wouldn’t read it again.