Saturday, May 11, 2013

What is a ?

Duality is a dynamic found in the Universe.  High School physics students are often first introduced to one of the more prominent forms of duality when studying the wave-particle phenomena.

The title of this post taps into that dynamic by declaring that the interrogative pronoun 'What' is a 'query' and recursively posits a 'question'.

Having established that the Universe engages in the phenomena of thinking, it's worth exploring the nature of a 'query' itself.

Ascribing neural network processing patterns to all mental processes is the basis of the study of neural correlates.   As a psychological dynamic, all queries have a neural correlate.  The neural network's elemental component is the neuron.  It operates under a stimulus threshold dynamic; 'firing' in response to stimuli that meet its firing threshold.

A query then is a network of neurons stimulated to a threshold level in preparation for further processing; the firing of another network of neurons that  may, or may not, result in the complete neural network state of query answer.  Resolution and non-resolution states in turn (recursively) contribute to threshold stimulus for another questioning state.

Which leads to the question: How is a question distinguished from an answer?   Mathematics and Duality provide the proper 'perspective'.  Mathematics informs us that 0 (zero) is the 'answer' to an infinite number of equations (1-1, 1*0, e^(pi * i) + 1, ...).  Mathematically stated, 0 = 1-1 = 1*0 = e^(pi *i) + 1 ...  Like the wave-particle phenomena, both sides of the equation are...equal.

Parenthetically, 0 (nothing) is theorized by some cosmologist to be the origin of the 'something' we experience.  See: A Universe from Nothing , Zero-energy Universe and The Bridge from Nowhere for insights into the nothing/something duality.

Similarly, a given neural correlate can be BOTH a 'question' and an 'answer'.  For waves-particles, questions-answers, nothing-something it literally depends on perspective...a property of the neural network itself pondering the question.  This recursive/reflective dynamic itself has a neural correlate.

Neurons are not the only entities in the Universe that operate with a stimulus threshold-response dynamic.  In his book Programming the Universe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Seth Loyd argues that every atom in the Universe is involved in non-stop computation.  "You can think of atoms as carrying bits of information, or you can think of bits of information as carrying atoms. You can't separate the two."  (Dualism?)

Like the brain's neurons, atoms (and subatomic particles) are being stimulated to a threshold and recursively 'firing'...answering the Universal '?'.
Related: Scientists Identify Emotions Based On Brain Activity

The following is an homage to the late philosopher Denis Dutton, who rightfully argued that artistry is an evolutionary adaptive trait
A wild and cunning seahorse, , named Query
Of neural nets she was quite leery

I coaxed her out of the Depths of Eerie
Into the shoals of the Bay of Theory

She put up a fuss that left her bleary
To say nothing of the netter; very weary

No longer dreary, but oh so cheery,
Query is now my little deary


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