The problem of reality

September 7, 2017

recursion, noun

 /rɪˈkɜː.ʒən/ /rɪˈkɝː.ʒən/

see: recursion


Recursion is a concept of executing a task by the repeated execution of that very task.

It is a key concept for defining algorithms, for example the calculation of Fibonacci numbers (although there are is a way to calculate the Fibonacci numbers in an explicit way).

Dealing with recursion as a non-programming individual may cause discomfort because of the inherit unfamiliarity with the topic but along with this concept comes something crucial for the human species:

Recursion is an obligatory concept that secures your survival. Without it the human brain could not work the way it does.

This may seem odd at first and you may not recognize it, but your brain utilizes the concept of recursion over and over and over and [...] again.



Be a thought a non abstract object for the following thought experiment:

Think about something, and then think about why you are thinking about this. 

Now you have created an abstract layer of information. (Basically all of our accomplishments are based on this principle).


You use these abstract concepts all the time: talking about your bed, relationships, nations, ethics etc. These concepts are by no means defined by natural laws and therefore just incorporate the already abstract thoughts about cushions, love, familiarity, and stories.


We can live the way we do today, because we all believe in similar stories. We believe in the abstract value of money, in the concept of love and in the rules we set ourselves by means of our history (aka. our ethical and religious code of conducts).


But how could these concepts and ideas be any kind of problem as they are so fundamentally human?

A humans' thinking is always constrained by its' environment. What does that mean?

The society in which you grow up indoctrinates you with its' ideas. You are therefore taught how to think about some things without discovering these views yourself (meaning you are already biased). But this also means, that you most often do not think about stuff that is within your comfort zone.


However, one could argue that this is not a real problem as there are numerous human beings out there, challenging the way we think. This may be true; but consider the following:

You are constrained by your ability to think in ways that were not considered in your language.

(You can for example never describe a feeling the way it is felt. Therefore something very fundamental is missing in the concept of language.)


Abstract concepts like "conscious experience" cannot be described properly because the description would be arbitrarily circular. The classic first case of the Munchhausen trilemma.

It is very difficult to describe a feeling to somebody or something.

We can explain serotonin levels and elevated heart rate, but that's not really how you feel love in the first place.


Since Alan Turing introduced the Turing Machine, we call systems that are capable of executing every possible algorithm 'Turing complete'.

Considering this, who can guarantee that the concept of language is "Turing complete"? What if we cannot even begin to describe complex concepts like reality with the given framework?

Of course we are extending language, but can we guarantee that we are not inherently limited in extending language the way we need it to be?

And therefore: do our inventions like the Turing machine also miss the intrinsic capability of calculating every algorithm as we cannot formulate these?

Mathematics is supposed to be a framework guaranteeing completeness, but even in this field Kurt Gödel has demonstrated incompleteness


These questions are long discussed by philosophers for thousands of years, but the more people reflect upon these concepts, the faster we will get to a solution, eventually changing our understanding of "reality" forever, paving the way for a posthuman era.


All in all, language is an inaccurate and slow concept for data exchange. Computers converse orders of magnitude faster than we do with language. Therefore using technology to exchange thoughts directly without using traditional languages would pave the way towards a more intelligently connected society.*


Enhance your minds...


*For those interested: using technology to enhance the human cognition for more interconnectedness can be referred to as posthuman transhumanism. It incorporates the views of transhumanism for extending the human by technology and the posthuman view of overcoming the current humanist view of the Homo Sapiens as a species (by introducing a more connected version of it).



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