path of quickest inference, a clarification

23rd June, 2008

I’d like to clarify something I wrote at the end of my last post.

Randomness, as defined by the dictionary, and applied broadly to the world at large i.e., the world is random, is an intellectual construct. A random world would be governed solely by variability, so nothing would be invariable – there wouldn’t be, for example, natural laws like gravity, or a particle with a set velocity always traveling in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force., etc.. In a real random world, no situation would ever reliably repeat as randomness, or invariability would be the sole governor.

A random world might look like a static arrangement of specific elements in various groupings, not interacting with each other – just near each other without touching, like items on a shelf – it would, in other words possibly appear very systematic and perhaps even well organized.

We live in a world of invariability, and invariability and randomness are opposites and don’t exist as aspects of each other – they can’t. when we don’t understand forces governing some event we often refer to that situation as random – but, in reality, it is a situation in which we have yet to understand the forces at play and cannot reliably predict what the precise outcome will be. When we invoke a (pseudo) random algorithm to generate an unpredictable number in a project, or even use a geiger tube to read, say, radioactive decay from cesium-137 (a technique I’ve used) as a ‘seed’ for a (pseudo) random algorithm we are again invoking the “unpredictable” as an invariable subroutine in some series of steps composed of various invariabilities.

Chaos, on the other hand, is a condition in which the outcomes of interactions are highly dependent on the initial conditions at the onset of the interaction and sometimes highly unpredictable. In a world as vast, complex, dynamic and governed by various natural laws, as ours is, events are chaotic. Chaos can contain invariabilities, as well as unpredictable outcomes involving interactions among invariable elements.

When I wrote at the end of my previous post on the path of quickest inference that the choices one might make are not necessarily proof of an individual’s control over environmental circumstances but, perhaps, a personal expression of specific interactions between the body and other, environmental excitations, and that, to me, the forms of these personal expressions may have longer durational aspects and could, in fact, be experienced as things like a career, or some other longer term relationship, I wasn’t trying to say that the world is entirely random.

We are, metaphorically, grazing and coming to consciousness on persistent peripheral excitations, (which are the indices of our interactions with our environment and moment)– at the points of various interactions with our environment. Those interactions that build to thought are developed by quick inferencing, or the experience of building a feeling into a thought into a belief or judgment that may resonate with other beliefs or judgments, and so on, quickly. The development from sensation to feeling to thought suggests to me that all of our intellectual constructions are directly connected to the over, physical array of peripheral excitations and interactions that engages every other element of our environment.

If one’s quick inferencing has a quality of persistence the resulting intellectually constructed forms may have prominent long term temporal aspects – hence a career, a body of work, etc. These longer term aspects are expressions of peripheral, environmental interactions as an intellectually constructed form that features time (an intellectual construction) prominently. It is the quickness of the movement from sensation to thought to belief, etc., and the root of the experience in sensation that suggests to me that the path of quickest inference isn’t something that is literally imposed on our environment from our own agency, but something that is a specific expression of an environmental interaction that we are deeply connected to, and a part of.

One is indeed involved in this development, our involvement often seems, in fact, an invariability in this environment, but, at the root, and to me, at least today, the intellectually constructed forms are literal aspects and expressions of environmental interactions, like the wind, a stone, or gravity, etc.

As we seem to lack primitive instincts specifically for the highly intellectually constructed (I went into this at length in the previous post), the intellectually constructed is often understood as an aspect of ‘virtual’ reality – or something somehow fundamentally apart from other, observable physical forms and interactions. This lack of instinct and the resulting otherness along with the impulse toward quick inferencing seems to limit our understandings of the relationships between our intellectual constructions and the larger environment – of which they are clearly a part. The massive environmental damage wrought by many of our physical embodiments of our intellectual constructions lately (the past few centuries) is, perhaps, an example of this. But I digress.

The peripheral interactions and excitations that don’t express as thought express as other aspects of us in the environment – conscious or otherwise. I wonder if these other interactions don’t follow a similar path of development involving along the lines of efficient resonance between specific aspects of our environment and specific aspects of our physical form – I wrote about this sort of thing some months ago, using Chladni plates as a metaphor. I wouldn’t term these unconscious interactions inferences because an inference is a form specific to consciousness, but the structure of the interaction may be similar, but the result is realized in another medium, if you will, that is also a part of what and who we are.

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