Monday, December 10, 2018
"Tetration": when algebra gives more clues as to what generates consciousness
“Tetration” sounds like a horror film for DC Shorts. Actually, it’s another entertaining math tutorial from “The Taylor Series”.
This little film explains why addition and multiplication work so well as operations in group theory when applied to real numbers (and complex). It gets iffier when you get to quaternions, which generate the behavior of elementary sub-particles of baryonic matter and of the forces in nature.
It gets iffier, too, as operations get more complex (exponentiation and then tetration) The commutative (and maybe associate) laws on your middle school algebra tests stop working. That’s troubling for consciousness. (Tetration is not the same thing as titration, like in chemistry quantitative analysis.)
But his building new operations is important, because it could contribute even more to physics, like string theory. You go from math to physics, to chemistry, to life (biology) to generating and recycling individual consciousness. We don’t know once a new occurrence of a consciousness is instantiated and attached to a body (yours, or the bobcat who visits your house for food) whether it exists in some form once you’re gone. If you know you’re dead, you’re immortal. Math doesn’t tell us yet. Nor does math explain group v. individual consciousness. But it may tell us how easily life would arise on alien worlds.