Re: virus: Absolute Truth

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Wed, 22 May 1996 13:54:13 -0700

C. David Noziglia wrote:
>Richard Brodie wrote:
>> It's comforting to hold beliefs in things like Absolute Truth, God,
>> Karma, and so on. But as a practical matter I'd rather program myself
>> with more useful memes.

>My reply is: I do not wish to place upon any future
>generation of mankind the terrible burden or punishment of being able
>to at some point declare that they have found the "truth," and that
>there is therefore nothing more left to explain or understand.

It seems as "comforting" as a belief in God. What if someone said:
"I do not wish to place upon any future generation of mankind the terrible
burden or punishment of being able to at some point declare that there is no
God" ? It sound very emotional. It is a good "push button" meme. On
planet TeTa wishes and emotions are kept separate from reasoning.

>I don't think that we will ever be able to totally explain all physical
>systems in a deterministic manner that will totally satisfy everyone. To
>me, the very idea is repugnant! But that doesn't mean that quantum
>mechanics is not better and more successful than classical mechanics. I
>relish the idea that the human race will spend the next several million
>years -- if we allow ourselves the chance -- continually refining and
>overturning our ideas, in a neverending quest for a final understanding
>we know we'll never achieve, but the quest for which we know is its
>own greatest reward. I also have some faith that the result of that quest
>will be a "better" understanding of ourselves and the universe. And I also
>understand that saying that we will one day have a better or different under-
>standing of physics or sociology does not make our present ideas wrong.

I also hope that life in several million years from now will not be boring
and there will still be some work to do (Second thought: why would I care
about it? Isn't it just Richars's "save the children" push button meme?).

This seems to be a good model: the "pi" number is approximately 3.14. We
can get better and better approximations of it, but we *know* we will
*never* be able to find all the numbers! Great. It does not mean that pi
does not exist.

On the other hand we may be able to find (and even easily memorize since
they are all 3's) any number of 1/3 = .333333... And still never reach the
exact value with decimals.

The truth may be one way or the other. In any case we may prove one day
that we are not able to reach it fully. But "pi' and 1/3 do exist.

It may also happen that truth is 47. I think it is not likely, but wanting
life to be more interesting is not a reason to assume we will never find the
exact truth (On TeTa we believe we will not). In the worst case in millions
of years life will become boring and maybe it will cease to exist. So what?

>Don't you think that makes some sense?

I do.

>If you think it does, thank you, and stop using terms like "absolute

Amazing. I did stop using the term! I even write truth with lowercase! I
like this person -- he said "thank you", didn't he? I instantly follow his
orders, even as ridiculous as they are. What a powerful meme!

Tad Niwinski from TeTa where people grow
There is no Absolute Truth, although we are getting closer and closer to IT.
(Isn't it a good quote, I've just invented it!)