Month: September 2023

Felix: “RNG + eternity” is an answer to all questions

Here’s a conversation I had on the platform formerly known as Twitter recently that may elucidate and clarify some aspects of my worldview.

Felix the Mage:
“RNG + eternity” is an answer to all questions


RNG as in random number generator? I’m not sure anything is actually random, though the metaphysical meaning behind quantum-random events is non-mechanistic. I’m not sure the modularized, indirect, and possibly deterministic randomness of an RNG suffices for a ToE, though

Felix the Mage:
The bell theorem excludes hidden variables, making the baseline of reality truly random… iirc
what we see are just statistical patterns emerging from our highly structured part of chaos

Doesn’t Bell’s inequality only exclude hidden variables in the context of quantum entanglement? Or at least it only does in the sense that it proves causality is non-local. This doesn’t seem to exclude metaphysical “causes”/meaning behind randomness in general, especially since Bell’s inequality applies to scientific observation/modeling, which pertains exclusively to mechanism, and what I’m proposing transcends mechanism.

Felix the Mage:
what are you proposing?

what is your point of view?

In a nutshell, life/the universe is so much more than the physical and what we can scientifically model. It’s sublime, boundlessly mysterious, ultimately ineffable, and unimaginably rich in meaning in every conceivable sense.

Felix the Mage:
In other words, you still hold on to idea of human-like deity creating and caring about the world, else you find your life meaningless… and while I understand that sentiment, I found it impossible to attain.

I never said my deity was human-like 🙂 And I wouldn’t stake the meaningfulness of my life on how much the deity cares, because his/her policy seems to be “anything goes.” If God cared, life wouldn’t suck so much.

Felix the Mage:
> It’s sublime, boundlessly mysterious, ultimately ineffable, and unimaginably rich in meaning in every conceivable sense
That it is. And yet – it is still physical and scientific. The reality, in fact, is richer, more meaningful, more mysterious and more wonderful than any metaphysics could even conceive.

Yes, this is true, except that assuming it’s all categorically physical and scientific is an unnecessary limitation and severely constricts its wondrousness (though you can do some mental acrobatics that seem to mitigate some of that loss wondrousness).

Felix the Mage:
There is no need for mental acrobatics. Maybe I just use “physical” too broadly. Maybe I should use “real” instead. Non-dual. I just don’t see any separation between physical and “meta”-physical. It is a one undivided whole.

[backing up a little..]
Felix the Mage:
what do you mean by “metaphysical” here?

Hard to pin down. I guess I’m using it in the traditional sense of being beneath or beyond physics or the physical. Also, I mean something transcendental, spiritual, divine, conscious, maybe the collective consciousness. And it has to do with free will/choice/creativity, which I see as being fundamentally non-mechanistic/non-deterministic, yet not relying on absolute, meaningless randomness either.

Felix the Mage:
yeah, for all of this, you have to ask “where did that come from”… my answer is that it evolved (as all things we observe evolve) by random trial and error…

I think it probably evolved through a combination of conscious, intelligent/informed intention and trial and error, and even the trials could have been intelligently chosen rather than random, or a manifestation of pure freedom.

Felix the Mage:
and the conscious, intelligent/informed intention, being complex, always existed and didn’t evolve from simpler elements? So you basically believe in theist god?

I believe that all that exists in the universe is ultimately life/consciousness. You can call it God, self, consciousness, the collective consciousness, the unity of all beings, the plurality of all beings, or whatever. I’m not sure I believe in a “theist” God, I’m not religious

Felix the Mage:
both life and consciousness are highly complex phenomena. Everywhere we look, we see complex phenomena evolve from simple ones. You can’t go much simpler than RNG, while RNG is sufficient to generate both life and consciousness. Now show me some mental gymnastics 😉

[jumping back up to my explanation of what I mean by “metaphysical”..]
Felix the Mage:
as you can see in the world all around you, this randomness generates copious amounts of meaning

I can see the copious amounts of meaning, but I can’t see that it all comes from meaningless randomness, that’s an assumption.

Felix the Mage:
It is the simplest explanation and we see complex systems evolving from simple ones by random mutation/generation literally everywhere. This is just an extrapolation. No supernatural elements needed.

But this begs the question: We don’t know that those “random” mutations are truly meaninglessly random to the core. As for the need for supernatural elements, the reasons for my metaphysical view aren’t as simple/overt as scientific deduction

Felix the Mage:
Well, the thing is, over the aeons of eternity, many beings like gods were generated. By the same token – everything you can imagine, all that is possible to experience, could be generated. If you call this meaningless, be my guest, but it creates all meaning.

This could be more or less right. I tentatively think that every conceivable possibility and reality is manifest “somewhere.” A generator that generates *everything* isn’t necessarily random, but, from this perspective, which reality or situations you find yourself in could be considered random.

(Though in truth you find yourself in all situations everywhere, it’s just each of your individuations isn’t aware of being all your other individuations)

Felix the Mage:
If you assume anything other than “random” you make it more complicated than “random” =)

Felix the Mage:
yes =) (also, thanks man, this was the best talk on this god-forsaken app in ages 😉 )

A few notes:
1. I say a little more about the false dichotomy of totally meaningless randomness versus totally deterministic causality (regarding reality being necessarily a combination of those two elements if not wholly deterministic), as well as refute several other common issues people have with the notion of free will, in my ‘notes on free will’ post:
2. To elaborate on my comment regarding Bell’s theorem not applying to non-mechanistic causes, the idea is that the universe is to a large degree, perhaps fundamentally, non-mechanistic, but it appears mechanistic due to the behavioral consistency/order of fundamentally unpredictable things on a purely aggregate/statistical scale, such as the huge scale of our own observations, as we ourselves are absolutely huge, our bodies containing trillions of cells and each cell containing trillions of atoms, and the mathematical modeling of physics by its very nature is totally unable to assimilate any kind of non-mechanistic meaning, which is precisely why scientists resort to such ideology as quantum events comprising “absolute,” presumably meaningless “randomness.”
3. I realize, though I didn’t take the time to point it out in the discussion, that Felix’s comment that reality is totally scientific is nonsensical because science is merely a human endeavor to understand reality, so saying reality is “scientific” is pretty much akin to claiming that reality is literally composed of the scientific method, which is obviously absurd.
This mistake is actually very telling, because it reveals the scientism of our times, under which we confuse the scientific and empirical nature of our assimilation of the world, and the limited body of facts we’ve thus far acquired through science, with the fundamental nature of reality.
And not to mention that that claim of his, despite his later backpedaling to include all of metaphysics and everything imaginable under “physics,” still comprises an unnecessary limitation on his part of what reality can possibly consist of. It implies that every aspect of reality is by nature (a) physically/empirically observable and (b) mathematically modellable.
4. Regarding my statement that If God cared, life wouldn’t suck so much, the truth is that I do notice a large amount of divine intervention in the form of uncanny synchronicity to prevent certain things from occurring. So I guess God is active, but just not playing by the rules I would find easy or convenient. Apparently, God leaves it up to me to save myself. =/
5. There’s a fundamental problem with Felix’s formula that I didn’t get to bring up in the discussion because he posted his last line above first, which gave the conversation closure. The problem is that numbers are empty abstractions and can’t possibly give rise to substance, quality or experience. (I’ve written more about that here:
In fact, whatever mechanism comprises the random number generator would have to be more real/metaphysically grounded than the randomly generated numbers themselves. I.e., why would there be randomly generated numbers without a process behind it, whether physical or otherwise?
And there’s another issue: for how long would each individual randomly generated number last, and why? Why would more than one exist at a time in order to give rise to the complexity of the world? Sure, you could create many, many RNGs operating in tandem, but then why would the numbers they generate have any relation or connection to each other in order to create a cohesive world with mechanics/interacting parts?

In Response to Sabine Hossenfelder on God

Sabine Hossenfelder, a fairly popular science communicator, says on Twitter, “I understand that some people believe in God, but I don’t understand how they manage to do that.”

Here’s my response, though pretty much all of it can be found in other words spread out in other essays in this blog.

To start with, it’d probably better for you to say why you think it’s irrational or otherwise wrong to believe in God so that I can refute it. I guess I’m saying that open-mindedness is or should be the default.

I think it’s okay to believe in God because I don’t rely on physicalist first principles in my ontology. I think doing so is tragically narrow-minded and limiting.

Nor do I think it’s necessary or wise to limit what you believe in to what you can imagine a possible mechanism for. The universe is mysterious, you don’t have to understand how something works to know it exists (we don’t even understand how magnetism, or anything else for that matter, works on the most fundamental level; see – Feynman on how magnets work), and it’s scientistic to assume that everything that exists is necessarily mechanistic in nature.

I also don’t think it’s necessary to dismiss any idea that’s unfalsifiable. There is meaning and metaphysical truth to saying “God exists” or “God doesn’t exist,” and there are observable consequences to that truth state. Scientific ideas may need to be falsifiable, but science isn’t the only legitimate means of knowing anything. It relies on hard empirical evidence, and there are more indirect, if indefinite, ways of inferring truths or probable truths. Only believing things that are provable/proven is too easy (their analysis being straightforward and relatively deterministic, almost algorithmic in nature) and fear based. (The desire for social status is a fundamental drive of humans, so academics would fear believing in anything that they can’t defend on academic bases because they’d be looked down upon. And there are other reasons we may fear the possibility of being wrong.) Making educated guesses based on personal experience, others’ experiences, heuristics, intuition, abstract/intangible perception, and whatever other bases puts more of our inherent mental faculties to work.

Another thing that tends to turn people off of the idea of God is Abrahamic religion. Their God is clearly depraved and anthropomorphic, as well as being self-contradictory (being all-loving yet vengeful, judgmental, warmongering, genocidal, etc.), to say nothing of the patent ridiculousness of the religion as a whole that’s tied with that God. The spiritualist God is much more sensible and beautiful, but it’s not what people think of when they think of “God” because of the stronghold religion has on society.

So, those are the reasons I think it’s not necessarily bad to believe in God. Now for the reasons I do believe in God.

I spent many years as an agnostic, until I came across Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. Neale was at a very low point in his life, and out of frustration he wrote a “letter to God” asking questions like, “Why wasn’t my life working?”, “What would it take to get it to work?”, “Why could I not find happiness in relationships?”, “Was the experience of adequate money going to elude me forever?”, and “What had I done to deserve a life of such continuing struggle?”. He had prepared to toss the pen aside, when somehow his hand remained poised over the paper, then the pen began to move on its own. He decided to go with it, having no idea what he was about to write, and he wrote, “Do you really want an answer to all these questions, or are you just venting?”. That was the beginning of his conversation with God. God’s input eventually evolved into more of a “voiceless voice” in his mind. (God says He/She communicates with people all the time, especially via the imagination, and He/She only uses words when all else fails, because words are the most dynamic and hence the most easily misunderstood form of communication.)

Why was I so sold on this book/on the idea that it really was God he was talking to? Well, I’m really good at seeing all of the subtle flaws and shortcomings of people, maybe particularly in their writings, on a few levels: on the conceptual level, on the level of their actual motivations and intentions, on the level of grammar and whether they choose the best possible word for the job, etc.; and in the parts in the books where God speaks, it’s all absolutely flawless (in contrast to the parts where Neale speaks, which are more human). I’ve literally never encountered any text or speech so flawless in my life.

And I know that, obviously, someone who’s purporting to channel God is going try to sound as perfect as possible, but this is a matter of subtle things, unconscious motivation, cognitive perfection, and talent and grace at using language that you can’t do just by wanting to. It’s just like how an intelligent person can play dumb, but a dumb person can’t play intelligent, at least not to a discerning audience.

Furthermore, I perceived the “energy” behind the text–as in the messages it contains and the style in which it’s written, or maybe even something actually spiritual that’s inextricably connected to the text–as being absolutely, 100% pure. It was so pure and neutral that it was almost unworldly. (I guess it’s problematic to say that it’s totally neutral, because arguably if it were then he wouldn’t have had a reason to say anything, but it was neutral of biases or all but the most sublime desires/energies or whatever.)

Another thing that has made me think God likely exists is personal psychic experiences. I’m not talking about “religious experiences” or talking to God, but just witnessing my thoughts being shared with others, sometimes overtly enough to be beyond any reasonable doubt. The specific manner of some of this sharing, the way our minds are apparently connected, seems to indicate a level of unity or non-separation between beings, at least between beings that are close to each other in some way. So, I reasoned, if our beings are “locally” connected to each other, there are probably more and more universal/higher and higher levels of this unity, up to and including the ultimate level, a unification of all beings, which could reasonably be called “God.”

Red or Blue

On August 13, a viral and divisive poll was made on Twitter:

Many intellectuals took the red side; some were dismayed or even disillusioned with humanity because so many people chose “the wrong color,” blue.

Arguments for red’s side seemed to range from “If everybody picked red, everybody would live” to “Red is the correct choice according to game theory” to “It’s not worth risking my life to save those who were too stupid to save themselves.”

To me, the obvious choice was blue. I wrote up a tweet thread explaining my position, and, me being the genius that I am, it elegantly captured the essence of the “blue” phenomenon while exposing the fundamental weaknesses of “red’s” various rationales. Here’s the contents of the thread:

Here’s my thread on why picking blue is right and picking red is wrong (or at least less right).

I’m not convinced that picking blue is in any way an imperfect decision. You know that a lot of people will pick blue (for whatever reasons), and you don’t want them to die (whether their decisions were imperfect or not), so you (altruistically) pick blue at your own risk to help increase the chances of saving everyone. Is that imperfect? No, it’s conscientiously inclusive. What about all the people who picked blue that you’re trying to save? Did they pick it imperfectly? Not necessarily, most of them probably picked it for the exact same reason you did, which we’ve just established wasn’t imperfect! So, even if you argue that it’s imperfect to try to save people who are too imperfect to save themselves (which is obviously debatable; everyone’s imperfect in some way after all, and tolerance/acceptance/forgiveness/grace and and accommodation are virtuous things and make for a better society), it doesn’t apply because they weren’t imperfect to begin with! In fact, they’re more perfect than the red pillers because they’re less selfish.

It’s true that this logic implies the whole “problem” of many people picking blue is circular/self-created, but so what? It still makes perfect sense from the *individual’s* standpoint, as argued above, and it’s only individuals who are making the decision! And the whole ouroboric phenomenon is a beautiful expression of human compassion AND mutual trust, particularly trust in each other’s compassion!

As for the arguments for red I haven’t already covered, it doesn’t matter that it’s not the correct choice according to game theory, as that’s only because most game theory models assume all agents are 100% selfish. And there’s no reason to bring game theory into it anyway. The logistics of the game and the consequences of choosing are immanently obvious. The only questions are ones of the nature of the average human mind (i.e., what are the chances >50% of people will vote blue?). It’s kind of like playing the stock market in that respect, in that everyone who’s playing (or at least, everyone who would consider voting blue) is betting on what everyone else who’s playing would likely do.

The other argument I tend to see is that “if everybody voted red, everybody would live,” but that’s wholly irrelevant because most people know damn well that many people won’t pick red. (You could argue that this means the people who picked blue are mistaken, and it’s not worth saving people who mistakenly wouldn’t save themselves, but that’s not true either as I’ve already shown why they’re not mistaken. Not everybody picked red because people know that some people will pick blue because they know that some people will pick blue because they know that some people will pick blue, etc. etc. It simply is what it is. (See the earlier comment regarding the beauty of the ouroboros).

For whatever it’s worth.