la petite morte is what dreams have in common with reality

Leave a comment

some say “life is a big dream”. I disagree with that.

“life is just a big dream” however sounds somewhat more true.
the word “just” signifies a kind of limitation. here it means that life is at most as limited as dreams are.
maybe dreams have more limitations than reality.
but obviously the author of this saying is convinced life has some important limitations in common with dreams.

I guess I have to explain in more detail why I used the notion “at most” instead of “at least”.
let’s start with set-theory: a set is a collection of elements.
however at the same time a set is also a collection of elements that fulfil certain properties.
a finite set can have each of its objects individually listed in such a description, an infinite set can not.
the reason is that for defining some properties only finite-length expressions are allowed.
so when dealing with sets of infinite size, one really is dealing with limitations of some predefined infinite set.
to define an infinite set you take another infinite set and add limitations to it, you throw out elements.

now lets say life is a set of things that could happen, particularly my life is a set of experiences I could potentially have.
dreams are part of my life too, for me it is possible to re-experience all the same things I already experienced in dreams.
those things happened in my mind while I had these dreams. wouldn’t be surprising if my mind could repeat that.
even when I am awake and perceiving my surroundings, I can still additionally experience these things.
this is called hallucinations or day-dreams. therefore the set called “life” additionally contains what otherwise isn’t part of the set called “dreams”.

life has less limitations than dreams, in terms of what one could possibly experience.
for example when awake I can experience defecating, and my creations will remain real. can’t do that in mind alone.
some things possible in reality simply are not possible in dreams. hence dreams have more limitations than life even more than waken life.
the trick here is to interpret dreams as experiences of mind, instead of taking the hallucinations at face value.
then it is natural that experiences of mind also are possible when fully awake.
leaves the question, does life have any limitations at all?
but it is for sure, the limitations we have in life also apply to dreams, they merely are irrelevant there since dream-experiences aren’t bodily experiences.

I have been told, the limitation life has in common with dreams is that both are completely pointless.
you live your life, and eventually you die, there is nothing you gain. similarly a nice dream eventually ends — in disappointment.
also the other way around: all your life long you had those fears, as death comes they all are pointless, a gigantic relief.
at least this is the current time’s interpretation of the quote I made at the beginning.
we can’t really know how the words were originally meant.

dreams are so much more than life could ever offer. a dream is like an experiment in a laboratory!
all the things that encumber us in our waken state, they all are gone in our dreams.
we even frequently lose our memory of life’s hardships, when we dream.
in these ideal conditions we can experiment with our mind’s potentialities, explore mind’s limitations.
can’t do that in the mess we call “life”. in dreams we are responsible for the order, when awake this responsibility is shared.
who ever tried to re-live experiences from a dream also in waken reality, quickly will get disappointed.
some people are capable of experiencing hallucinations, alike to the ones experienced as dreams.
but even for these people such experience is more limited than within dreams.
the biggest difference is that when sleeping we have our eyes closed.
so while waken hallucinations  must adapt to our surroundings, dreams only adapt to our 4 facial senses.
light falling on the eyelids, smells, sounds, tastes, all find their way into dreams.
but when hallucinating awake there further is the sense of touch, and actual shapes we see with our eyes.
these two make it quite impossible to hallucinate for example about sexual experience. but wet dreams we can have anytime.

So, what is the meaning of waken life then? why not just live in dreams all the time?
truth is all I said in the previous paragraph is unimportant, except maybe for a scientist who writes books about mind.
the most important characteristic of dreams and of reality in general is the continuity, the (relative) stability.
we do something, and it has an impact, we are the cause for some effects. our actions are what makes life meaningful.
of course no effect is forever. nothing will last. but relatively to our lifespan, we can actually build up something reliable.
some of our deeds will have effects for hundreds of years.
throw a plastic bag into the ocean and you made a monument for centuries.
for your whole life you then can rely on any fish caught there to contain remnants of your contribution.
dreams have something similar too, but there time-spans are much shorter since dreams are shorter than life is.
and also relatively speaking, the effects dreams have on the future is much more limited than what we do when awake.
the difference here is that dreams depend on mind only. as soon as mind forgets, also its seemingly stable creations disappear.

one just can’t live in dreams alone, our mind isn’t meant to be used that way and our society hasn’t yet automated the gathering of food.
maybe in future this will change, maybe in future nobody will ever forget anything and eating will be a relic of the conservatives.
but till then we have to face the facts. human isn’t meant to live life inside of whatever mind.
even in terms of learning and understanding, our mind isn’t really trustworthy.

this worthlessness of mind, in terms of instability and fragility, this is the only thing that equally limits waken life and dreams alike.
any student will tell you: memory is the biggest challenge in acquiring knowledge, healthy nutrition comes second and could also become part of the same problem.
of course we have great memory, we could learn thousands of books by heart. but that’s not the problem I’m talking about.
let’s look at dreams for example: you see a wall, then you turn around, and as you look again the wall is gone. why?
obviously you noticed the wall is gone, so it cannot be a problem of memory. you remember there’s supposed to be a wall.
same with the student: after many exercises, a completely analogous problem at the exam seems unsolvable. black-out.
and even when the exam is passed, later in job and wherever applicable in private life, all the training is wasted.
we learned things in school and in reality we never even get the idea to apply them. why?
in both, dreams and school, mind is only as strong as it was a moment ago.
you didn’t perform the algebraic exercises a moment ago, then you now must relearn how to do them.
in a dream you stopped looking at the wall, so it isn’t surprising when it’s gone completely.

you must keep mind occupied with some activity, otherwise that activity will need to be re-learned anew.
as a rule of thumb, after 2 weeks without training, whatever abilities you had are lost.
an exercise must be repeated once a week to keep mind alert for that kind of situations.

there is the saying “for a man with a hammer as the only tool, every problem looks like a loose nail”.
this point of view, this seeing only loose nails all around you, I claim this point of view has a time-limit.
i.e. you put your hammer aside for a week or two, and you’ll stop seeing all those loose nails.
maybe other people have a different time-limit, but for me it is at least 1 week and at most 2 weeks.
when I was pretty good at some math stuff and I didn’t do it for that time, I am not good at it anymore.
of course I still can do it, my memory of how to do it isn’t lost, I just stop being so masterful at it.

in dreams there is no such time-limit, instead some sort of attachment is required.
in order for the wall to stay where it was as I turn my back to it, I must continue to feel its presence.

maybe I hear the wall, in the sense that sounds from behind it are muffled.
or maybe I feel how the air-currents get stopped by the wall, or I see its shadow.
maybe I feel the coldness of the wall or I feel how it is looming behind my back like a giant.
luckily this kind of continuity can be trained, now I even am able to leave a room and return to it without problems.
however, that kind of training too has the derogation factor. after about a year without training also this ability is lost.

now to summarize: human is changing all the time, nothing is forever, most things wont hold even for a lifetime.
abstractly seen, if a human had only a single ability, it would be as if that human would reincarnate every week, into the same body.
once a week it would be as if that human died, and someone else is then occupying that body.
this new host still has the same physical set-up, also the same knowledge, but character and abilities differ.
it’s as if the previous host would have left behind some book, from which to re-learn the abilities.
similarly also character can be re-acquired from the remnants of the previous person in that body.

but this kind of relearning has the same limitation as any kind of communication:
the main landmarks of the knowledge can be conveyed in detail, but it’s up to the person to connect the dots.
in mathematics one could say that only a countable subset can be conveyed, the completion must be done manually.
but this isn’t accurate, our memory can only store a finite amount of information, no communication can go beyond that.
so we have some limited description, some thoughts telling us what to do, how to do it we must figure out.
keep this in mind next time you learn something new, it really matters how you store that memory.
no matter how good you are at something after learning it, it’s important to formulate what you learnt for your future selves.

I think at this point I should emphasize, when I talk of death, I mean it!
in my experience it is wrong to beautify the memory-loss into something happening concurrently.
it’s really a cut, one moment I had an ability and the next moment I don’t have it anymore.
but it’s also wrong to claim the real you is dying at some point in your body’s life.
it’s always a small loss of abilities, one ability after the other is lost, till a whole bunch is gone.
also it happens at random time, mostly at a time you relax, for example during sleep.
and most importantly the loss isn’t being noticed till you need the things lost.
it’s as if part of you died and you are facing some zombie instead, some alien person.
in such moments we then say “why did I do such a stupid thing?”
of course it isn’t an alien, we just suppress the fact that nothing is forever, even our mind dies — piece by piece.

no matter if dream or reality, in a way we all die a little from time to time, repeatedly. always keep in mind that secondary mortality.
what’s the point in learning anything at all? you wont improve your abilities after these 2 weeks of training.
whatever new tricks you learn after that time, you will forget about all the old tricks which you then neglected.
if your goal is some kind of mental achievement, never waste more than those 2 weeks.
you want enlightenment? it takes only 2 weeks! if it doesn’t then you will never reach it! give up! or at least focus your life on it!

well, that really isn’t true. as I implied while talking about dreams, the ability of not-forgetting can be trained.
in dreams I have managed to do that, why not when awake?
if abilities of mind are as important for you as they are for me, do that!
keep track of how quickly you lose abilities and make that time become longer.
the secret to this it to avoid being distracted. in the dreams mind must be continuously occupied with the objects.
similarly when awake keep your mind occupied with the abilities you want to keep.
make a list of what abilities you need and create a training-schedule.
this schedule isn’t the important thing here, what one must learn is to be more systematic in the training.
if mind wanders off into unrelated fields, a lot of time is wasted that could have been used for being occupied with some new tricks.
and most importantly, always keep track of what your mind does do, at any time.
it’s important not to be controlled by circumstances, and instead keep up control of the own mind…

Enhanced by Zemanta

Economy from a mathematical pov

Leave a comment

the real world is way too complicated for us to understand. economy is of the same nature.
we can look at different aspects of it though.

I didn’t do it before so I’ll define “Abstract” here.
in middle-school I did not learn what “abstract” means.
at uni in geometry I got an example:
look at the corner of a room. look at the stick of a broom.
what do they have in common? the aspect of a straight line!

to create the abstraction you just repeat their appearance right into infinity.
additionally you need to remove everything that isn’t a line.

it’s a filter that you apply, but it’s not a filter of vision.
it wont remove pixels or something.
instead you dissect how you think of these objects and cherry-pick a single aspect.

so when I use the word “aspect” above I really mean:
dissect how we think of it and find those aspects.
I really mean abstract thinking is getting used here.

one obvious aspect of economy is the money. but which currency?
internationally accepted is that all transactions are handled in USD.

not many decades ago it was gold. but money has the advantage you can create as much of it as you want.
well, the respective national bank can. they created the money in the first place.

another aspect of economy is jobs and workforce.
so, how is money related to jobs? by the wages of course.
but also by the fact that every worker also is a consumer.
so another interesting aspect of economy is the loss of jobs.
there are 2 possibilities: you lose a job because you were fired, or you quit.
right after losing a job, a new one wont be found that quickly, nor a replacement for the worker.
during that time consumption will be reduced. also the company will have less workforce available.
another problem for the company is that along with the workforce also knowledge is lost.

the worker who quit or was fired had experience with a particular set-up.
now the company could look for a worker with the same experience.
such a worker could have just been fired/quit from a competing company.
so one might think this would give the company new knowledge.

it is true that the competing company might have had better ideas.
such a new worker could contribute by introducing the best ideas.
but in reality, nobody will listen.
additionally economy tends towards monopolies, there likely are no competing companies.
and even if one could learn from one, doesn’t mean such knowledge really is useful.
companies always try to outperform  others by using  unique structures. structures found nowhere else.
same goes for the actual work-related knowledge. much too specialized to be useful.

in whole, it’s always a bad idea to rely on this kind of knowledge-gathering.
for example the insurance-adviser might bring some customers.
at the same time the person s/he’s replacing might have done the same for a competing company.
some customers might even get angry when the company fails to give them what only the previous worker knew they need.
same for a programmer working on a project. lot of time is lost with the replacement reading the old code.

knowledge is another important aspect of economy.
a company is only as knowledgeable as its workers.
universities or governments may do as much research as they want. wont help the company without the right workers.
there always must be someone who actually reads the research papers. someone who actually understands them.
in whole economy encompasses most parts of our lives, from school to retirement.
whenever we consume something or whenever we learn something new, we affect economy.

a job pays the worker. so s/he can consume.
a worker provides knowledge for the company. so it can outperform others with innovation.
a worker also provides workforce to it. so the company can produce for consumers.
to make things more complicated, the company has investments on stock-market and others.
additionally the company has debts and other ways of getting new investors for itself.
investors can be other companies or some workers, or indirectly some government, some country.
and debts in turn are again products that can be sold or protected by an insurance.
add to that the various currency variants and the various aspects of money and debts. you’ll get a model for economy.
however, a much better model should consider 2 more things:
resources and the “random” event of people losing or finding a job.
resources are finite. when they run low they become more expensive. also jobs and workforce are sort of resources.
people switching jobs have good reasons for that. so this probability distribution is quite constant per company.
the two fit in nicely with this model, so I’ll assume they are used too — although in real science of economy they aren’t.

now let’s take a look at knowledge and what it does affect.
knowledge is produced in school (not in the lab, there it merely gets discovered).
the reason is that it’s worthless when there is noone to acquire it.
but also the company does give knowledge to its workers.
in reality there is no such thing as “The Knowledge”.
there is always some underlying topic which makes each knowledge distinct.
when you learn something, you learn about several topics at once.
you don’t raise any mysterious IQ, you just know something new.
after some time has passed, the unused knowledge will become thinner. we just forget stuff. it’s easy to re-learn though.
a company would like to obtain knowledge along with the workforce. as a package.
with that knowledge a company can provide innovation.
innovation is a good reason for customers to switch their providers. although, it isn’t strong enough to convince all.
another kind of innovation is capable of making products cheaper or faster to produce.
in general a government might think that giving more knowledge to workers will increase taxes paid by companies.
sadly the loss of knowledge, caused by it being left unused, that loss makes this approach inefficient.
at first income might rise along with education, but eventually people just “know” too much.
what governments want is to raise innovation, but that’s something only the companies can do.
apart from many IT companies, usually the ideas of the workforce wont get through to the bosses.
additionally, whenever innovation makes a company richer, it’ll make another company poorer.
consumers wont just consume more because of better products, their money-resources are limited.

this all raises one question: is it possible to increase the total income of all countries simultaneously?
or is there a limit of how much tax-income can rise globally — without actually increasing the taxes?
how to increase that limit? what’s missing? are the approaches politicians currently use mathematically correct?