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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »


       For the sake of clarity, let us consider the two widely known, nonsensical scenarios: The first is one that many scientists charge ‘idealist’ philosophers with, although no thinker beyond the dorm room bong level holds this view: All is just a dream and there is no physical world. The second nonsensical scenario is that a physical world “really exists independently out there” and it happens to be the case that consciousness arises in it although it could have conceivably been otherwise, a physical universe just being without consciousness.

Look at a fan rotating its blades. Now look somewhat to the side of it. It seems to rotate slower now. Now shift your gaze slowly back toward the center of the fan. The fan seems to pick up speed. There are not just two appearances of its speed, one fast if I stare at it, and one slow if it is in the periphery of my visual field, but instead the fan seems to pick up speed gradually!

This may surprise, but Ludwig Wittgenstein, for many the greatest philosopher, or anyway the most eminent exponent of analytic philosophy according to Roger Scruton, maintained that music (!) was the most important to him, not formal logic or philosophy. On the other hand, it is known for at least a century, this I take from a mentioning in Bertrand Russell’s “The Analysis of Mind”, that artistic skills, apparently especially that of drawing pictures, suffer when the brain starts using more resources for rational tasks. Similarly, some who lose logic functionality due to stroke start drawing very well.


The very small is very weird; I explained that the last time in Small Is Ugly 1 already with help of the example of water being in the driest of places (Vastness and Fastness of the Small helps Evolution is of course somewhat related). And today, I still do not mean supposed "quantum weirdness", which is not about small stuff.

How is this for some exciting news, straight from the same source as “I Let My Computer Use My Brain” three years ago, but much advanced in the ways artificial intelligence (AI) has integrated itself further so that most anybody can now work with it, or better, play with it and do cutting edge research nevertheless (UPDATE: this is now also featured on the Wolfram website):

     Today is my 43rd birthday. When I was 34 years old, I walked along a narrow river through the city of Nanning in the south of China. I was lonely and depressed, no matter the PhD degree I had recently obtained, my freedom, the beauty all around, the women I could easily befriend wherever.

I came to the conclusion that my life is not worth its suffering, and that it must either change, that I must change, or it is idiotic to go on living. I asked myself: