Thursday, July 02, 2009

Hidden agenda.

When I was 15, I learned about the Game of Life invented by John Horton Conway.

The idea immediately fascinated me. I used to calculate generations of life game on a graph sheet while I was attending the school classes. From these early days, I was somebody who could not sit still just listening to what people said. I was wont to do this or that with my hand, while attending to the speech at the same time. For some enthusiastic months in my teens calculating generations of the Game of Life on a graph sheet was the thing to do.

Daniel Dennett discusses the Game of Life in his book "Freedom evolves". The point is that there could be a great degree of separation between the basic laws of temporal evolution and the phenomenology of what emerges as a result.

It has been shown that you can build a universal Turing machine in the world defined by the Game of Life algorithm. With proper mappings, complex life forms like ourselves could inhabit the universe of the Game of Life.

I am sure that the great distance between cause and effect exists as a hidden agenda in our own life. The intricate relation between the initial conditions and what result in the Game of Life teaches us a lesson. You should not be too serious about the supposed "objectives" in life. You are well advised not to base your actions entirely on explicit objectives. At least you must never take it too literally.

You know, nature can hide the true agenda in a very clever way, like in the Game of Life.



Initial conditions for the Glider Gun.

2 comments:

Utako said...

It might be believed that we should be rewarded for our efforts to objectives. While we have the habit of saying, " Better luck next time."

This blog recalls the flavor of unintended fruits. Actually, many mistakes and the strategy don't exactly lead me successful. On the other hand, innocent enthusiasm sometimes brings me joy and effect on many things. I wonder what this means.

JAR said...

I think it is interesting that you say “You are well advised not to base your actions entirely on explicit objectives.”, because I see the objectives as the only thing one could use to base their future actions on. As a youngster, someone once told me that my life was comparable to a rocket because the things one does as a child helps to prepare them to complete their future dreams. Just like before a rocket is launched one must place it at the correct angle such that it can reach it's desired trajectory. If life could be explained by a set of probabilistic differential equations the input conditions would be childhood factors (parents, location, etc) and the output would be current life, with the desire that life will eventually equal their objectives. It seems plausible that life could be described in this way (life insurance policies are based off of similar methods), so it would make sense to base all future actions/decisions by comparing current life outputs with their objectives.

It is funny that this idea came up, I had a similar conversation with a friend a week ago...it is interesting how everyone looks at life a little differently.