Sup people. Ex fizz, back at it again, trying to understand reality. So as I mentioned a couple posts ago, I’ve been working a bit more on Orchid, because I’m pretty sure it’s the only way. However, in bathing myself repeatedly in the hot, soupy stew that is fundamental mathematics, I’ve been forced to think a bit harder about certain things than I normally would. Like, for instance, “what is information?” Now all you information theory nerds can go wallop some cows for all I care, because typically discussions pertaining to information theory disintegrate into nonsense about entropy and other such jazz. And, allow me to be vulnerable for a sec, I don’t care enough about entropy to have studied it enough to know what the frack information theorists even care about. So maybe I’m just dealing with the same problems as them.
So let’s cast information theorists aside for a moment and return to first principles in these matters. Let me first ask a question: what is information? And now, let me answer it. As best as I can tell, information is a correspondence between the configurations of several (sometimes unrelated) stable systems. I realize that’s not super helpful, so let me give you an example from cave man days, because those are my favorite examples.
Let’s say we have two cave men, Dave and Thnead. Dave and Thnead enjoy being alive, and are therefore wary whenever they are approached by a saber-tooth tiger or an allosaurus. Both of those animals are big red flags to Dave and Thnead and typically spell out a gruesome bloody demise. Let’s say Dave and Thnead keep their best weapons at the back of their cave to protect them from the weather. Now then, Dave and Thnead take turns keeping watch during the night to minimize the chance of gruesome death by wandering saber-tooth tiger or allosaurus.
You know what, Dave and Thnead might as well be gay. How’s that for character building? That helps the analogy because now they have a good reason for wanting each other to stay alive.
This is an egregiously drawn out analogy, but let’s say Dave and Thnead come up with a system. If the boi that is keeping watch during the night sees a mean beasty, then that boi will throw small rocks (the type that float) at the back of the cave to wake the other boi up. Now then, everyone knows that rocks are better than sharp sticks for attacking saber-tooth tigers, and sharp sticks are better than rocks for attacking allosauruses. Because of that, our bois agree to throw one rock to the back of the cave if a long toothed tiger is spotted, and two rocks if a large reptilian fang-lord (allosaurus) is spotted, simply so that our bois are best equipped to fight whichever beasty they may encounter.
Dang that example was way shorter in my head. It’s literally equivalent to “one if by land, two if by sea” but we’ll ignore that for now.
Anyway the whole point of that written charade is to emphasize the correspondence between the number of rocks thrown and the type of beasty strolling by in the night. Even though there doesn’t seem to be any inherent tying the type of beasty to the number of rocks thrown, this system allows information to be passed between our lads.
So then, we get to the question that be-titles this post: what the flip-shack frack is a definition?? You may be wondering why this is important. Well, intellectually endowed reader, the notion of a “definition” is the only reason why the number of rocks thrown to the back of a cave has any correspondence to the nature of the animal that lurks in the darkness. Otherwise, those two systems have absolutely no meaningful connection.
The reason why I care about this is because I’m attempting to determine the extent to which information is fundamental to the universe, and the extent to which information is a human construct. It has become crystal clear to me that in any system within which there exists some notion of forward progressing time, the most fundamental entity is a stable system. The question, then, is whether information as we know it exists on a fundamental level or on the level which is only meaningful to the entities known as humans. And the answer to that question rests on the true nature of a definition.
While I’ve been writing this, I think I’ve stumbled upon something major. A definition is only meaningful if the source of the definition is itself well-defined and perceivable. Ah yes. That’s it. Well I just wrote three pages to answer my own question. I suppose before I wrap this up, I should explain my realization. Definitions are themselves merely characteristics of stable systems. Why does the character sequence “r-e-d” mean anything to you? Because you know that whenever I’m trying to describe an object that’s giving off electromagnetic radiation around 700nm in wavelength, then I will use the character sequence “r-e-d.” Thus even if you aren’t in the room, you now have a clear idea of the nature of the light coming off the object and entering my eyeballs.
So basically definitions and information are just “if, thens.” For example, in the case of our cave men, the following statement describes the stable behavior of one cave man “if [boi] sees allosarus, he will throw two rocks. If [boi] sees tiger, he will throw one rock.” Therefore the presence of a thrown rock immediately yields the other boi information on the nature of the beast outside the cave. Cool!
If you’re wondering why any of this is actually interesting, email me and I’ll do a better job of explaining it. Otherwise, bye bye now!