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  1. Last 7 days
  2. Jan 2023
    1. Note 9/8j says - "There is a note in the Zettelkasten that contains the argument that refutes the claims on every other note. But this note disappears as soon as one opens the Zettelkasten. I.e. it appropriates a different number, changes position (or: disguises itself) and is then not to be found. A joker." Is he talking about some hypothetical note? What did he mean by disappearing? Can someone please shed some light on what he really meant?

      On the Jokerzettel

      9/8j Im Zettelkasten ist ein Zettel, der das Argument enthält, das die Behauptungen auf allen anderen Zetteln widerlegt.

      Aber dieser Zettel verschwindet, sobald man den Zettelkasten aufzieht.

      D.h. er nimmt eine andere Nummer an, verstellt sich und ist dann nicht zu finden.

      Ein Joker.

      —Niklas Luhmann, ZK II: Zettel 9/8j

      Translation:

      9/8j In the slip box is a slip containing the argument that refutes the claims on all the other slips. But this slip disappears as soon as you open the slip box. That is, he assumes a different number, disguises himself and then cannot be found. A joker.

      Many have asked about the meaning of this jokerzettel over the past several years. Here's my slightly extended interpretation, based on my own practice with thousands of cards, about what Luhmann meant:

      Imagine you've spent your life making and collecting notes and ideas and placing them lovingly on index cards. You've made tens of thousands and they're a major part of your daily workflow and support your life's work. They define you and how you think. You agree with Friedrich Nietzsche's concession to Heinrich Köselitz that “You are right — our writing tools take part in the forming of our thoughts.” Your time is alive with McLuhan's idea that "The medium is the message." or in which his friend John Culkin said, "We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us."

      Eventually you're going to worry about accidentally throwing your cards away, people stealing or copying them, fires (oh! the fires), floods, or other natural disasters. You don't have the ability to do digital back ups yet. You ask yourself, can I truly trust my spouse not to destroy them?,What about accidents like dropping them all over the floor and needing to reorganize them or worse, the ghost in the machine should rear its head?

      You'll fear the worst, but the worst only grows logarithmically in proportion to your collection.

      Eventually you pass on opportunities elsewhere because you're worried about moving your ever-growing collection. What if the war should obliterate your work? Maybe you should take them into the war with you, because you can't bear to be apart?

      If you grow up at a time when Schrodinger's cat is in the zeitgeist, you're definitely going to have nightmares that what's written on your cards could horrifyingly change every time you look at them. Worse, knowing about the Heisenberg Uncertainly Principle, you're deathly afraid that there might be cards, like electrons, which are always changing position in ways you'll never be able to know or predict.

      As a systems theorist, you view your own note taking system as a input/output machine. Then you see Claude Shannon's "useless machine" (based on an idea of Marvin Minsky) whose only function is to switch itself off. You become horrified with the idea that the knowledge machine you've painstakingly built and have documented the ways it acts as an independent thought partner may somehow become self-aware and shut itself off!?!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNa9v8Z7Rac

      And worst of all, on top of all this, all your hard work, effort, and untold hours of sweat creating thousands of cards will be wiped away by a potential unknowable single bit of information on a lone, malicious card and your only recourse is suicide, the unfortunate victim of dataism.

      Of course, if you somehow manage to overcome the hurdle of suicidal thoughts, and your collection keeps growing without bound, then you're sure to die in a torrential whirlwind avalanche of information and cards, literally done in by information overload.

      But, not wishing to admit any of this, much less all of this, you imagine a simple trickster, a joker, something silly. You write it down on yet another card and you file it away into the box, linked only to the card in front of it, the end of a short line of cards with nothing following it, because what could follow it? Put it out of your mind and hope your fears disappear away with it, lost in your box like the jokerzettel you imagined. You do this with a self-assured confidence that this way of making sense of the world works well for you, and you settle back into the methodical work of reading and writing, intent on making your next thousands of cards.

  3. Jul 2022
    1. let me comment on your quantum physics i have only one objection please i think it's uh uh it's 01:01:21 what you said about the two uh sort of prototypical uh quantum puzzles which is schrodinger the double slit experiment uh it's uh it's perfect um my only objection is that in my book 01:01:34 i described of course i had a chapter about schrodinger cat but i don't use a situation in which the cat is dead or alive 01:01:46 i prefer a situation in which the cat is asleep or awake just because i don't like killing cats even in in in in mental experiments so after that 01:01:58 uh uh replacing a sleep cut with a dead cat i think uh i i i i completely agree and let me come to the the serious part of the answer um 01:02:10 what you mentioned as the passage from uh the third and the fourth um between among the the sort of the versions of 01:02:25 wooden philosophy it's it's exactly what i what i think is relevant for quantum mechanics for this for the following reason we read in quantum mechanics books 01:02:37 that um we should not think about the mechanical description of reality but the description reality with respect to the observer and there is always this notion in in books that there's observer or there are 01:02:50 paratus that measure so it's a uh but i am a scientist which view the world from the perspective of 01:03:02 modern science where one way of viewing the world is that uh there are uh you know uh billions and billions of galaxies each one with billions and billions of 01:03:14 of of of stars probably with planets all around and uh um from that perspective the observer in any quantum mechanical experiment is just one piece in the big story 01:03:28 so i have found the uh berkeley subjective idealism um uh profoundly unconvincing from the point 01:03:39 of view of a scientist uh because it there is an aspect of naturalism which uh it's a in which i i i grew up as a scientist 01:03:52 which refuses to say that to understand quantum mechanics we have to bring in our mind quantum mechanics is not something that has directly to do with our mind has not 01:04:05 something directly to do about any observer any apparatus because we use quantum mechanics for describing uh what happened inside the sun the the the reaction the nuclear reaction there or 01:04:18 galaxy formations so i think quantum mechanics in a way i think quantum mechanics is experiments about not about psychology not about our mind not about consciousness not 01:04:32 about anything like that it has to do about the world my question what we mean by real world that's fine because science repeatedly was forced to change its own ideas about the 01:04:46 real world so if uh if to make sense of quantum mechanics i have to think that the cat is awake or asleep only when a conscious observer our mind 01:05:00 interacts with this uh i say no that's not there are interpretations of quantum mechanics that go in that direction they require either am i correct to say the copenhagen 01:05:14 school does copenhagen school uh talk about the observer without saying who is what is observed but the compelling school which is the way most 01:05:27 textbooks are written uh describe any quantum mechanical situation in terms okay there is an observer making a measurement and we're talking about the outcome of the measurements 01:05:39 so yes it's uh it assumes an observer but it's very vague about what what an observer is some more sharp interpretation like cubism uh take this notion observer to be real 01:05:54 fundamental it's an agent somebody who makes who thinks about and can compute the future so it's a it's a that's that's a starting point for for doing uh for doing the rest i was 01:06:07 i've always been unhappy with that because things happen on the sun when there is nobody that is an observer in anything and i want to think to have a way of thinking in the world that things happen there 01:06:20 independently of me so to say is they might depend on one another but why should they depend on me and who am i or you know what observers should be a you know a white western scientist with 01:06:32 a phd i mean should we include women should we include people without phd should we include cats is the cat an observer should we fly i mean it's just not something i understand

      Carlo goes on to address the fundamental question which lay at the intersection of quantum mechanics and Buddhist philosophy: If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear? Carlo rejects Berkeley's idealism and states that even quantum mechanical laws are about the behavior of a system, independent of whether an observer is present. He begins to invoke his version of the Schrödinger cat paraodox to explain.

    2. i just wanted to interject that uh could i come at this point carlo i would like to insist a bit on this because i'm i'm not quite clear 01:07:22 on whether you are agreeing or not on the question of the mind um thank you this is also i wanted to ask him the same question mario uh so by just raise the question 01:07:40 specifically all right so let me okay since we're talking about nagarjuna now i would also like to uh read some simple verses that he has and get from both from barry and you what do you 01:07:53 think so this is from chapter three examination of the sentences seeing hearing smelling tasting touching and mind are the six sense faculties their 01:08:04 spheres are the visible objects etc like the scene the herd the smell that tasted and the touched the hair sound etc and consciousness should be understood so actually i'm confused from both of 01:08:18 you first of all barry is the mind anything special in buddhist philosophy or is it just like seeing and hearing and carlo are you saying there is anything 01:08:31 special about them right

      Mario interjects in the conversation to clarify Barry's question to Carlo, which is concerning the subjective aspect of experience and how it fits into science as the observer. It comes down the the question of existence of reality and the obrserver's role in that, epitomized in the question: If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?

  4. Jan 2022
    1. Goodhart's law is an adage often stated as "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure".[1] It is named after British economist Charles Goodhart, who advanced the idea in a 1975 article on monetary policy in the United Kingdom:[2][3] .mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control purposes.

      We measure what we find important.

      Measures can and often become self-fulfilling targets. (read: Rankings and Reactivity by W. Espeland and M. Sauder https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/files/rankings-and-reactivity-2007.pdf)

      When a measure becomes a target it ceases to be a good measure.

      So why measure?


      Is observation and measurement part of a larger complex process which isn't finished until the process itself is finished?


      This seems related to the measurement problem in quantum mechanics, Schrödinger's cat, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and the observer effect).