September 29, 2021

Time Capsule

Time Capsule

A friend told me that they read The Nihilism Algorithm and that it had been stewing in their head for a few days. Because I have an awful memory, I had no recollection of anything I said in that post, so I reread it and was astonished at my own brilliance and wit. "How fortunate I was to have captured those thoughts in an engaging manner such that there is something of a time capsule I can return to at any future point!" I thought.

Let this be another time capsule.

But, before I get to packing things into this capsule, let me remind you that, as I have noted prior, I am astutely aware that I am sending these very keystrokes into a void of eternal obscurity. This very reflection fills me — perhaps strangely — with something akin to pride; I have no expectations and thus no delusions that anything will come from this blog. And yet, in the introduction of this very post, I seem to have broken my prior-stated rule of not referring to the comments of others in response to my own posts — that is because I have forgotten that now clearly overzealous rule. My poor memory, need I remind you, was implicitly the reason for these posts: to leave artifacts that I can use to later jog memories I cannot recall on my own.

I suppose, objectively, the last few months have been double-plus-ungood. I have a heart condition now. My mother never told me that she had a heart condition when she was 19 until around 23; so, not knowing this, I freaked out when I woke up with what was later diagnosed as Atrial Fibrillation with Rapid Ventricular Response. Test results from a genetic test shows rs3903239(C;C). Thanks, Mom. (I've been having more and more heart-related episodes since then and have had a loop monitor implanted. My future — if there even is one — likely holds an ablation.)

It hasn't all been bad. I moved! I gave my car to my mother because my condo does not have parking. That's not a very equitable trade, is it?: awful genes for a one-of-a-kind car? (I just realized I never posted anything about my super-duper cool car here! Oh, well.) My new place is about twice the size of the last one. Maybe once I finally get fully unpacked and setup things how I like with more artwork I plan on creating, I'll document it with a blog post. For now, me sayin' my new place is super-duper cool will have to suffice.

When I'm not hyper-aware of my pulse and paranoid of another heart episode or (even worse) stroke, most of my time is spent working. Outside of work, I've found myself getting back into more and more abstract/higher mathematics (I say "back" because there was a solid month right after the move and diagnosis of AFib where I stopped reading in my spare time entirely and just watched Star Trek (ToS & TNG); I still haven't unpacked all my books yet). I've also been listening to a lot of talks on quantum mechanics (mostly on a philosophical level lately since I've already listened to most of the Feynman lectures and other somewhat technical talks — so more foundational stuff nowadays dealing with things like the principle of statisical invariance and the like), post-quantum cryptography (I "attended" the Third PQC Standardization Conference, which, in COVID-times, doesn't mean much — the future of cryptography is fairly grim, IMO, especially if IonQ's roadmap can be believed), and on philosophy (again, mostly foundational stuff here, too, dealing with ontological and epistemological issues — a lot of this is over-lapping with the quantum mechanics talks — but I have also been putting a great deal of focus on the foundations of mathematics (Wittgenstein's conception of the foundations, particularly)).

I still have that philosophical project on the back-burner I hinted at in my last post (what do you think all the foundational stuff I've been researchin' is for?). The main difficultly in that project is where to begin in the articulation! I pretty much have a complete philsophical system in my head that does exactly what I wanted it to do. I don't want it in its articulated form to be something someone could simply write off as circular! The more I think about it, there doesn't seem to be any good way to start articulating it at all.

In fact, it's at this point in earlier drafts of this very post in which I ventured to illustrate the difficulty of articulating what I've been thinking about by actually attempting to articulate all the messy and admittedly inconsistent philosophical musings that have been multiplying in my gargantuan and graceful head. For reference, I started this very blog post originally in May or so (about a month after my AFib diagnosis). Now, I've revisted it many times, and I always get to this point and end up working on that impossible-to-satisfactorialy-articulate project. Then, of course, I get side tracked after spending a couple of weeks writing nonsense. This has happened enough times that, after enough attempts (and if my heart condition doesn't outright randomly kill me before I get the chance), I at least think I know now how I would like to format/arrange what I've been working on.

Wittgenstein is often credited with inventing truth tables. If you've ever worked with what is conventionally called Boolean logic (George Boole's actual own algebra was a little different and had important things like uninterpretable terms), then you will know how good and simple an invention they are. Truth tables, though, I think are not Wittgenstein's greatest information-representing-related invention; he should be credited with the ultimate form for presenting and arranging information/ideas/thoughts: the nested form he used in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. It's only with relatively modern technology can the format be easily traversible (as it is here): the entire work really consists of seven propositions — from each one, the reader can drill-down into extensive elaborations and comments. Wittgenstein's hierarchical/numerical representation is a really good way of formatting complex elaborations of ideas, from a writer's perspective, at least (actually reading the Tractatus in its entirety is immensely painful, I know). I've written a python script that allows for that kind of formatting to be done in Markdown (I may extend it to LaTeX in the future) that I might later use.

For now, I'm not going to attempt again here what has repeatedly proved to be impossible for me and instead bring this post to an end (so that it actually gets published). I hope when I'm revisting this post in the future that I can look upon my current heart problems with relief (and maybe even a completely articulated philosophical system with satisfaction). I also hope that I have a future to do so at all. But if not, that's cool, too, I guess.