An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Category: Bach (Page 1 of 2)

The Big Picture – Barry Ritholtz

The Big Picture is the name of Barry Ritholtz’s blog about stocks, investing, financial markets, and economics. Interestingly, I actually ran across this good blog will searching for Godel, Escher, Bach.

Jason Silva Videos

Jason Silva creates some incredible philosophical videos. He is noted for reiterating Timothy Leary’s description of the computer and internet as the LSD of the 90’s. And his short clips are intended to be such a psychedelic experience. Really great; as most of them are based on many of the books and ideas posted in this blog. Be sure to watch his videos:

Jason Silva on Vimeo

Jason Silva on YouTube

Here is Jason Silva’s film rendition of the strange loop from Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach.

Energy – Stardust – Consciousness

Quote from Edgar Mitchell:
“I realized that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spacecraft had been manufactured in an ancient generation of stars. It wasn’t just intellectual knowledge — it was a subjective visceral experience accompanied by ecstasy — a transformational experience.
The experience in space was so powerful that when I got back to Earth I started digging into various literatures to try to understand what had happened. I found nothing in science literature but eventually discovered it in the Sanskrit of ancient India. The descriptions of samadhi, Savikalpa samadhi, were exactly what I felt: it is described as seeing things in their separateness, but experiencing them viscerally as a unity, as oneness, accompanied by ecstasy.”
The previous quote from Mitchell reminded me that what we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell originated in a stellar explosion more than five billion years ago. However, I think we can look back even further; when all matter in the universe was in a single sea of energy. We are all of such form and substance. Can we look back even further?
But tracing back our origins to the first stars suffers as a mental process. The neurons in our brain store such information and understanding as electrical impulses. Neurons acting in complex patterns inside our brain produce such visions of the past. Our emotions stimulate their acceptance and development.  In effect, these thought processes only show our continual ignorance. Me, writing about this very idea seems to be in direct opposition to what I am trying to say. There seems to be an infinitude of ignorance and a strange loop of never ending information. For it seems simple to imagine the universe as only a manifestation of these information patterns. Perhaps the only solution is to accept ignorance and live. Or maybe there is a single source of information from which all information flows which we will eventually discover. Or, as I suggest, the only answer is to read Godel, Escher, Bach over and over until your eyes are sore. But, throughout history, spiritual enlightenment has been the provider of such answers. Living through a religion in ignorance provides the simple answer to the universe. A religion allows us to stop asking questions; to stop searching for the answer. This raises the question: Can science be considered a religion?

The Creation of Stocks

Warren, Ben, David, and Taylor are four friends who meet on weekends to discuss various ideas and have a good time. They are together one night and begin discussing a business venture.

Warren: I know a great idea!

Ben: Sure, tell us another one of your “great” ideas. I hope this one is better than that silly farming device.

David: Alright, let Warren indulge us.

Warren: Ok… so, what if we printed pieces of paper and told people that they were worth the value of a certain company?

Taylor: Is that your idea? Hahahaha, what could that possibly achieve? I am leaving.

Warren: No, wait! Just think about it. If we printed a fixed number of these papers and said that the sum of the them are worth the value of the company, then we could sell them for that value to people.

Ben: Yes, but what fool would fall for such an obvious scam.

Taylor: What value? How can pieces of paper be worth more than paper? How can we claim that they are worth the value of a certain company?

David: You know, I think Warren has a point. All we have to do is sound reputable and create a way for these pieces of paper to be traded.

Warren: See! David is following me!

David: If this were a scam, we would just sell the papers and run off with the money.

Ben: But isn’t that your plan?

Warren: Hmm… True. But in this case, the people are able to trade with each other to get their money back and possibly a profit.

Ben: In fact the potential for a profit would be the only reason for buying these pieces of paper.

Taylor: Hahahah, so this is a giant Ponzi Scheme?

David: Yes, it does seem so, now that you mention it.

Warren: No, there is a difference. We will simply be selling pieces of paper. The “Ponzi Scheme” that Taylor mentioned would be caused by the infinite self-repeating pattern of people buying the paper from each other and then selling it to other people for a return.

David: That is a very strange concept. Kinda like a strange loop.

Ben: Ok, but wouldn’t each person value the pieces of paper differently, based on their opinion on the value of the company?

Taylor: Yes, person Expensive may be willing to pay ten the piece of paper; while person Cheap may only pay ten for the same piece of paper.

David: Then this is idea is doomed. It will never work.

Ben: Too much chaos!

Warren: No! Someone, perhaps seeing an opportunity to profit will establish a definite lower bound to the value of the piece of paper. Let’s say that lower bound is ten; i.e., there is a person who believes that he can buy a piece of paper for ten and, at a later date, sell it to people for more than ten.

David: Ok. I follow.

Warren: Then, someone else, seeing that there is a potential to make money, will offer 12 for the piece of paper.

Ben: AHH! Yes, a price will dynamically form based on the interactions of all these people.

Taylor: And then?!?!

Warren: Well, then we have a way to sell these pieces of paper for more than the value of paper?

Ben: Yes, precisely.

David: So, by simply saying we have pieces of paper which represent the value of a company we have made a handsome profit?

Warren: Exactly!

Ben: And, in the process we have discovered a way to find the value of a company!

Taylor: Wow! I must say Warren, this is a brilliant idea!

David: What will we do will all this money?

Warren: I think I will buy some of these pieces of paper.

Ben: Me too! And make even more money!

Hofstadter’s Butterfly

Hofstadter’s Butterfly, what a beautiful self-repeating pattern! Discovered by Douglas Hofstadter.


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