Saturday, June 16, 2018

What is a pattern?

What is a pattern? Here is my definition:
A pattern is a consistent recurring phenomenon
I believe that reality is filled with many patterns, some of which are observed while others are unnoticed. I also believe that a pattern doesn't need to be observed to exist. As human beings, we automatically search for recurring concepts to help us understand reality. Knowing patterns is essential for many diverse applications.

I believe that pattern recognition is one of the major goals of knowledge. For example, the equation, E=MC^2 is a pattern that was first observed by Albert Einstein. This is a phenomenon that is consistent throughout all reality (as far as we know). Another example is the phenomenon that it takes about 365 days for the Earth to rotate around the sun. This pattern occurs without fail otherwise the seasons on Earth would be distorted.

What about a set of tiles making a pattern? I believe this works for my definition if you consider the process of tile creation and tile placement as a phenomenon. The moment that a tile is placed out of order, the pattern is broken.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

What is understanding?

What is understanding? Here is my definition:
Understanding is the condition of knowing the explanation of a phenomena or having competent knowledge in something
I believe that the definition of 'understanding' is somewhat of an enigma. We use the word 'understanding' all the time in our daily lives, but it's difficult to formulate a definition that includes all the ways we use it. I believe this is a difficult question because 'understanding' has actually two separate meanings.

The first meaning of understanding has to do with the explanation of a phenomena. For example, to have understanding of a cloud is know the reasons why it floats, why it's white, what it's made out of, etc. A caveman who sees a cloud will not understand this phenomena because they will not have an explanation for what they are witnessing.

The second meaning has to do with competence. For example, to understand Spanish means to be able to be able to read books written in Spanish. This has nothing to do with an explanation of Spanish. Here is another example: to understand the rules of baseball is to know what is going on in a baseball game. Somebody who doesn't understand the rules of baseball will be confused watching baseball. This has nothing to do with the explanation of why baseball rules were invented a certain way.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

What is memory?

What is memory? Here is my definition:
Memory is the faculty for storing conscious information in the mind
I like to think of memory and subconscious as opposite sides on a continuum. Memory is the established information while the subconscious is not established. There is not a strict line between memory and the subconscious. For example, as time passes knowledge about past events becomes less clear and we might remember fewer details. This transition out of memory is a very gradual. There is not a clear moment when a piece of information becomes subconscious.

I believe we establish information in two main ways: in our memory or in written form. Using our memory, we can access and store a large amount of knowledge. At any given moment, we can look into our mind and grab a piece of information to help us operate in reality. The other method of storing knowledge is to write it down in physical reality. This includes books, handwritten notes and computer data.

I think that language is useful for both methods. Of course language is necessary for written knowledge, but i also think it helps for memory. I believe that language makes our thoughts clear. Of course we can't describe every sense we encounter, but the mere attempt to put these things into words helps establish them in our memory.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

What is intuition?

What is intuition? Here is my definition:
Intuition is the ability to form beliefs without explicit reasons
I believe that intuition and reason are opposite sides on a continuum. Intuition uses vague reasons while reason uses explicit reasons. In this regard, I believe that there is not a clear line between intuition and reason.

Making the distinction even more blurry, I believe that all reason relies on intuition. For example, imagine yourself deciding what type of house to buy. You can have explicit reasons about what type of house you want, but when it comes to deciding which home to finally buy, you must weigh competing reasons. This weighing of reasons is ultimately an intuitive process.

I also believe that logic relies on intuition. For example, here is a basic logical argument:
  1. All humans are mortal
  2. Socrates is a human
  3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal
How does this logic rely on intuition? We have to intuitively accept that the two premises are true. Yes, every human that has ever existed is mortal, but that doesn't prove that all humans are mortal. This is the same idea that just because every swan we see is white, it doesn't prove that all swans are white. We have to intuitively accept that the evidence is overwhelming enough.

I also believe that mathematics relies on intuition. For example, take the question 8 + 6 = __ ? To demonstrate this question, we can take eight apples and add six apples and count the total. The problem comes when we are counting. Ultimately, we have to intuitively believe that we have correctly counted the total.

What is consciousness?

What is consciousness? Here is my definition:
Consciousness is a non-physical being that perceives
I believe the consciousness is non-physical. When we open up the brain and do neurological research, there is nothing in the brain that explains consciousness. You could say that consciousness is merely atoms and chemicals, but I would say this is not an explanation at all. There is nothing about chemicals that explains how it we are awake in reality. I believe that after billions of dollars on research, neuroscience has not even made the first step towards explaining consciousness. For that reason, I believe that consciousness will not be found in the physical world.

Another important aspect of consciousness is that there is a being. I believe that behind every consciousness there is an individual. This is the individual who experiences the world and makes decisions.

What is a word?

What is a word? Here is my definition:
A word is a linguistic representation of a concept
I believe that words are portable concepts. For example, think of the word 'wall'. To establish the word 'wall', we can point to multiple examples of walls and say 'wall'. It's also important to point to objects that are similar to a wall but are not a wall and say 'not wall'. After this process, the word 'wall' becomes an established tool to convey the concept of wall. Saying the word 'wall' is much easier than pointing to the concept it represents.

The other common way to establish a word is to provide a definition. A definition is a statement of the meaning of a word. This method is only possible once we have already established a large variety of words.

I believe that words are necessary for us to express complex ideas. Complex ideas are usually the combination of multiple concepts. We could point at multiple things but this would unclear. Words enable us to skip the step of pointing, allowing us to express a complex idea much easier.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

What is a sense?

What is a sense? Here is my definition:
A sense is a faculty that perceive
I believe that senses constitute the entirety of conscious experience. Everything in our conscious reality is received through a sense. I believe this also includes sensing our thoughts and feelings. For example, imagine you are nervous for a presentation and you have many thoughts racing through your head. In this situation, you can become aware of your racing thoughts. This is a sense that allows you perceive your thoughts.

The only exception is knowledge of your being. You do not need a sense to know that our being exists. This is the only knowledge that cannot be an illusion.

I also believe that machines can have senses. For example, light bulbs can have motion sensors to turn on when somebody enters the room. I believe this qualifies as a sense. In this regard, unconscious objects can have senses.