03 Apr

The Sāńkhya Theory of Five Elements

This post elaborates on the Sāńkhya theory of the five “gross” elements. The theory is rather complicated, and not well-understood today. One primary source of confusions is a comparison between the Sāńkhya elements and the Greek elements going by the same name. This post will hopefully illustrate how the Sāńkhya elements are deeply enmeshed with a model of perception and a science involving the rule of demigods in the material world that has no precedent. The classic Vedic text Śrimad Bhāgavatam (SB) is used in this discussion rather than the later texts like Sāṁkhyakārikā.

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02 Apr

The Paradox of Natural Laws and Its Resolution

In an earlier post, I described the problem of computing in nature, namely that scientific laws employ mathematical formulae, but it is not clear how these formulae are being calculated in nature. The reasons for this are historical and date back to Newton’s formulation of the three laws of motion. While Newton had produced a mechanics, he had not himself envisioned machines. He was only trying to describe celestial and terrestrial motion, and his laws were later used to create machines. As a result, the components of reality in Newton’s mechanics (particles and properties) are unrelated to the components of a Turing Machine that can calculate the formulae. This post discusses how the separation of motion and computation leads to a paradox in which the computer that calculates the natural laws for a single finite universe must be infinite in space or time.

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28 Mar

Reasoning and Semantic Computation

Since the advent of computers, it has been widely believed that the human mind is just like a computer. I have previously described why this is a false analogy due to two problems: (1) the problem of meaning, and (2) the problem of choice. I have also discussed the problem of meaning in computing theory in the book Gödel’s Mistake. However, all these critiques are inadequate without an understanding of how nature itself computes. For example, if nature is governed by some natural laws, then these laws have to be computed on some machine to obtain a prediction. How is nature computing these predictions? Even otherwise, living beings are constantly involved in decision making—i.e. what next steps must I take to achieve my goals?—which is also a computational problem. This post discusses a proposal on how this problem should be tackled, and the relation between Sāńkhya and computational theory.

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