Monday, July 27, 2009

Can We Read the Message

I refere to the above link on Astronomy Picture of the Day on July 12. 2009 called A Cosmic Call to Nearby Stars. I find that we can link to this on blog pages a welcome thing because I have followed that site almost from its beginning.

From far back I recall movies at the dawn of science fiction as the genre. The Man from Planet X. The question was how would we communicate with others from outer space. My father who had taken us to the drive in, and there was another movie on how humans changed after fallout from a nuclear war, explained that we would understand each other by mathematics as a shared universal language. That way we would know it was not just a matter of stray but intelligence behind some radio signal. Indeed, being a radioman in the navy as we listened on the shortwave for Sputnik to go over and his teaching me to turn the shortwave into a transmitter he advised me that to test it I should never send a signal in a pattern but only a random keying.

Lately I have questioned the philosophy behind this as well as the science of it all and want to express some general concerns. After all in dialog on that forum after three years or so which I can measure as the time I myself was in the service or how long it would take to get the BS degree or a first term for the president to measure the time- the cycle repeats for me for decades waiting for some form of credentials or admissions. However this does not stop me in the long ongoing enquirey and work. Such work is an island of stability, a core against the winds of encounters that try to make sense of this world. We all seem to have these paradoxes and paths of being and learning in this reality if we but try to observe our fellow humans and decode what may be their experience and intentions if any. We converge to our humanity as much as to our shared methods of science and technology while the evolving.

There are many stray signals in the world and it is arguable that such a signal recieved by us such as the one in the apod website could be explained, if in sufficient detail and expertise or philoosphy, as an obviously glitch rather than an artifact of intelligence- perhaps a star and a few arrangements of forces and atoms mimics what we think is unique as our human centered intellect. How do we read the message as one that contains information as evidence of intellect?

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What we see in this box or panel is a statement by simple patterns of the laws of arithmetic (earlier ones showed our DNA but who is to say this is distinguishible and not a unified pattern in a world that is lost in the pattern of a unified physics of possible forms?) The border around the objects is there so if there is a lost of some of the signals a reader may match the parts like a puzzle as if it is a click map (which in the internet the example is) or a sort of matrix grounding.

The symbols establish the idea of symmetry or equality between equations and the numbers are so many dots and are also represented in binary (not pi as in the movie which certainly could arrise by statistical and not just geometrical methods) but a list then of the prime numbers comes at the end of the rules involved.

But I can imagine other matrices or pattern arrangements of which what is conveyed in the picture might not be understood and make no sense to those who count and see the world from some alternative system. A higher intellect might be able to read both systems and distain those who are blind to such a more general arithmetic, perhaps. Other than dating our knowing what can we tell each other beyond what it the possible states of physics and the universe anyway that we at least potentially seem to be able to already know?

It is not like we completely understand say prime numbers- it could be we are sending a partial theory as well as that the others also have the same universal problems maybe unsolvable. To solve some of these and a message to show how would perhaps advance our scientific knowledge and culture. Clearly the dull message is an exciting one that conveys our state of culture and intelligence. Yet, there is not guarentee any culture wants to be changed or evolve higher or differently. Where there seems to be no precidence for a unified higher theory the first effect as evidence of such a possibility is that we are not understood- or from their view make no sense. Of course the proof is in the details if one allows the evidence but some think they are justiied with wrong theories and some that such alternative views are wrong.

It is hard enough within my own continuum of thought to weigh these subtile things which after all can be argued as mere mechanism and not some consciousness as a sort of emergent quality but to understand the significance of quasics and the inadequacy of our existing computations without something like the detail of a quasic view of physics and mathematics is almost impossible for those who want in the name of survival to establish their part in a world they make- as always the stuggle in civilization and our seats of learning is to have control of the agenda of our on evolution and where there is order a scaffoling or veto of new mutations of hopeul future humans.

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In the social networks lately there are polls on the recently former governor of Alaska, Miss Drill, Drill, Drill... at a time when some oil barrons say it would not make a dint and solve the problem. She brings up the value of free speech and says she is exercising it and yet chastises the media for not telling the truth. She praises our new crop of veterans as if the culture engineered a new bloc of voters. Yet in free speach the yahoo news reports the psychological of our soldiers in Iraq (the effete liberal university types always reneg and fear the its veterans and maybe if we believe the yahoo article with good reason. For they paint our solders who are there for the need or addiction to foreign oil as when attacked they lash out at civilians and everything that moves in sight- collateral damage? Then coming home become sucidal as the incidences of murder in their hearts break forth. But is there no need for soldiers? There is always a begrudged need like in the Art of War in Chinese literature despite the distain by the social academics for war as art if we are to face the pressures of some "barbarians".

It is absurd in our popularity contests and deals of immunity and power (after all the Chou who did the fighting for the Sung eventually and in isolation at the frontier dethroned that dynasty) that we offer to our people the presidents- best person for the job said the founding fathers- that we do. Perhaps after the fall of the Soviet empire and the decaying state the Russians are in that this is a forerunner to what the USA will become no matter how gray goo the diversity of our new population that would help us last a little longer than a closed regime. Such messages of how we are to get along in this world of civiliazations and clashing cultures have abandoned our search or enquiry as reasoning as well as the vague charge we have lost our virtues. Let us not make our holy religions matters of shallow cults that missread the messages from the stars and angels. Life can be less interesting times and peaceful just the living, sustaining, post economic in the weather if we also strive to soberly weigh the evidences of our growing reasoning and pehaps justify what purposes we think we have to put forth and defend. All states are in this sense abstractions and not something to which we owe our fundamental right to existence.

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