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Alexey/Lev Burov: on 2/28/17 at 1:12am UTC, wrote Dear Stefan, Reading your essay gave me the highest reward in this...

Bala Subramanian: on 2/27/17 at 13:15pm UTC, wrote Dear Stephan, In addition to my earlier comment, I came across this...

Bala Subramanian: on 2/26/17 at 11:45am UTC, wrote Dear Stefan, " If i can kill somebody and there are no real consequences...

Stefan Weckbach: on 2/24/17 at 21:03pm UTC, wrote Dear Bala R Subramanian, thanks for reading and commenting. “Kurt...

Stefan Weckbach: on 2/24/17 at 20:56pm UTC, wrote Dear Eckard, thanks for your reply. The peace you spoke of cannot be...

Bala Subramanian: on 2/23/17 at 21:40pm UTC, wrote Dear Stefan, Thanks for an interesting article and the discussions in this...

Eckard Blumschein: on 2/23/17 at 17:38pm UTC, wrote Dear Stefan, I recommend to you an attached figure provided by Wudu from...

Stefan Weckbach: on 2/22/17 at 20:09pm UTC, wrote Dear Eckard Blumschein, good questions. Firstly, i am not convinced that...


Jose Koshy: "James Putnam, What do you mean by the acceleration of light? Do you mean..." in Alternative Models of...

Jose Koshy: "Steven, Because we are not sitting face to face, I may not be replying..." in Alternative Models of...

Algernon kk: "Steve Agnew is a legend for doing that. A lot of people at online resume..." in Weinberg: Why quantum...

Mohan rao: "Voot app free download Flash Recovery" in Time in Physics & Entropy...

Mohan rao: "My partner and I stumbled over here different website and thought I might..." in Time in Physics & Entropy...

Gary Simpson: "Ted, BTW, it is the community vote that matters ... not the public vote...." in FQXi Essay Contest 2016:...

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February 28, 2017

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: In Search of The Meaning of Meaning by Stefan Weckbach [refresh]
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This essay's rating: Community = 6.1; Public = 5.3

Author Stefan Weckbach wrote on Jan. 18, 2017 @ 21:40 GMT
Essay Abstract

There is no reason to think that mankind has already explored all the mysteries of nature. One such mystery is the dichotomy between mind and matter. It is argued that science should take terms like goals, intentions and meaning more seriously, because it could turn out that these concepts play a more crucial role within the grand scheme of things than science has thought of until now.

Author Bio

The author's main scientific interests are mathematical undecidability, algorithmic information theory, questions concerning consciousness, human free will and logics. Additionally he is interested in various interpretational questions about quantum mechanics.

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Stephen I. Ternyik wrote on Jan. 22, 2017 @ 10:54 GMT
It is a real pleasure to read your research article from time to time Mr.Weckbach; the essay is among my preferred favorites. The search for the meaning of meaning or a physics of consciousness belongs to the intersection of science and religion, that is for me personally humanity's level about the knowledge of an eternal and creative upper force, i.e. the existence of space and time has a 'higher' purpose, in terms of 'altruistic' science as the opposite to intellectual egotism. In any case, true meaning waits to be discovered.Best: s.ternyik

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Jan. 22, 2017 @ 12:32 GMT
Thank you Stephen for reading and commenting and for the positive feedback. If someone can benefit from what i wrote, then i am really happy and have achieved one of my goals in writing an essay at all. Another goal is to make people sensitive to some possible prejudices they might have about what science can achieve and what it can't. Science has 'evolved' nearly to the degree that it is considered by many people today as a kind of religion (that does not allow other religions to exist besides of it). Science and religion have both their limits, but i am convinced that if there is a higher purpose (and i believe there is), this purpose encompasses that human beings are able to find broad hints of it in many areas.

Best wishes

Stefan Weckbach

Jose P. Koshy wrote on Jan. 28, 2017 @ 17:26 GMT
Stefan Weckbach,

I read your essay; it appears that you are a believer. It is good; it will help you in harsh times. I will call you a lucky man.

Quoting you,"If there is goal-oriented ... should have its roots in a more knowing and more potent conscious agent". Then logic requires that you explain how the "more knowing and more potent conscious agent" got the knowledge and consciousness; it may require a still more potent conscious agent, and so on. Then why should you limit it to just two levels? So I think it would be better to stop with just one level by stating that 'there may be a goal oriented behavior in the universe'.

Healing is done by the body itself; medication just helps the body to cure by itself. If the body loses its healing power, no amount of medicine will work. Belief has the power of both healing and aggravating, even if the belief is totally false. As long as the belief does not aggravate your condition, but provides you with some healing effect, it is good, even if it a false belief. So it is practically good to believe in a 'more potent conscious agent' who protects us.

Near death experience is a hallucination created when you feel that something abnormal is happening to your body. Interpretation of near death experience is just like interpretation of dreams; it has nothing to do with "a more potent conscious agent" if any.

Jose P Koshy

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Jan. 29, 2017 @ 08:31 GMT
Dear Jose, thank you for reading my essay an commenting on it. I respect your considerations, although i do not automatically share them.

Let me explain why i do not automatically share them.

I don’t think that logics necessarily does require an explanation of the existence of ‘the more potent conscious agent’. The reason is twofold. Firstly, if time and space are not fundamental, logics requires the assumption that there should be a realm beyond space and time. In your essay, you take space and time as fundamental. If true, then logics would require one to ask what created the ‘more potent conscious agent’ in time. But since your framework is causally closed hermetically, this question does not make sense, along with the assumption that a ‘God’ could be possible or would be needed as an explanation of all the questions that can be posed by conscious beings.

Secondly, whether or not space and time are fundamental, one has to presuppose certain assumptions to be given. In your essay, this is an enternally pulsating universe. In my opinion, logics does require an explanation of how an uncaused eternal universe shoule come into being, since the framework within your assumed universe deals explicitly only with physical causes and effects in time. Even if one assumes space and time as not fundamental, logic would require to explain how the abstract mechanisms came into being that facilitated space and time.

In the case of assuming ‘God’ to be existent and space and time are not fundamental (as i do), one is logically forced to assume that ‘God’ is an eternal fact (there would be no need to install a ‘much more potent conscious agent’ to explain what brought ‘God’ into existence, because God is considered by me as beyond physical time) same as you assume that a pulsating universe is an eternal fact, or some quantum physicists assume that the rules of quantum mechanics are an abstract eternal fact.

In ALL scenarios i mentioned, one thing surely remaines unexplained, namely how it can be that there exists logics at all to come to some meaningful – and sometimes even true – conclusions about the world. By meaningful, i also mean that logics is able to facilitate consistent relationships at all, independent of wether they meet reality at all or not. Additionally, in ALL scenarios i mentioned, the possible assumptions or conclusions cannot be proven or falsified rigourosly. All our tools, including logics, are not sufficient to enable the provability of such assumptions.

In a strictly deterministic, physically closed universe, healing is a matter of certain physical properties interacting with each other according to some (mathematical) governing laws. Beliefs would have no causal powers. But i see no logical reason to believe the possibility that physicalism is all there is.

Jose P. Koshy wrote on Jan. 29, 2017 @ 14:13 GMT
Stefan Weckbach,

Quoting you, "one is logically forced to assume that ‘God’ is an eternal fact". Yes, I agree with you, it is an assumption that can neither be proven nor falsified.

As I pointed out in the thread you started in my essay, freewill is possible only in a deterministic world; similarly, belief can have causal powers only in a determinitisc world. In a random world, things happen arbitrarily. (It is to be noted that this explanation depends on how we define determinism and randomness).

Jose P koshy

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on Feb. 10, 2017 @ 06:26 GMT
Stefan Weckbach,

We first met with my 2009 essay on consciousness, and we seemed simpatico then. I find your current essay power packed and fail understand why it has seen so little action. Perhaps because you began by noting that "it seems to be impossible to talk about goals, intentions and meaning without some kind of reference to human experience", whereas many authors have the goal of showing consciousness to emerge mechanistically. [My own essay considers experience the predominant aspect.]

You clearly state a conclusion I too have arrived at: "a strictly deterministic [no 'will'] evolution ... leaves no room for the subject to change the course of events in any way." Therefore 'awareness' has no value, since it cannot act, hence no Darwinian worth, and would not be selected for. For me that disposes of the will question, in favor of will.

And you make the most convincing argument I've come across against 'mindless math' producing anything. It is so powerful that I quote you in my essay [thank you]. You point out that from Godel we conclude that "relatively simple mathematical systems, although they are consistent, must remain incomplete" but the mathematical system cannot itself formalize this conclusion! This is a killer argument against "the complete formalizability of all that exists." It seems inescapable that "there is more to existence than mathematical structures ever can deliver."

With these two examples of inescapable logic you have in essence answered key questions that this essay contest is searching for. Congratulations. I think you need more visibility.

Best regards,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 11, 2017 @ 10:23 GMT
Dear Edwin Eugene Klingman,

thank you for reading and commenting and for the positive feedback.

This year’s essay topic is quite difficult to tackle and i am glad that you appreciate my attempts. Some researchers on the origins of consciousness (and free will) have changed their attempts to tackle the problem by starting from the phenomenological properties of consciousness (e.g. Tononi or Donald Hoffman) instead of starting by reducing it via material correlations.

The underlying lines of reasoning for them are, i think, that we know today that reality is (or at least in a scientific framework should be) a consistent whole. Consciousness therefore isn’t anymore handled as just an ‘epiphenomenon’, a kind of accident, by these researchers, but as a significant part of reality; the latter seems natural to me due to the fact that without consciousness, no science would be possible and the term ‘consistent’ would have no objective meaning; without consciousness, consistence or inconsistence would be both meaningless terms, because such ‘terms’ simply wouldn’t exist. So the fact that they do exist together with consciousness should be not pushed aside to easily.

I think Gödel’s results are somewhat underrated when it comes to questions that try to tackle problems at the borders of our logic and our understanding. The mind-body problem is just such a problem. It remains unresolved for what i think is due to the difficulty to unify an assumed physically closed worldview (consisting of only deterministic necessities) with an open worldview (mainly the ability of consciousness to ‘imagine’ counterfactual things or to imagine things that can’t be proven to be counterfactual in nature or not).

I think if we take logics seriously and not as another cosmic ‘accident’ in the grand scheme of existence, then we are forced to assume our universe to be the result of a meaningful event in the past - if one believes there was a big bang at all. Besides the latter, even an eternal physical universe should not rule out realms beyond space and time, realms where logics itself has its origins. For me, logics – like Gödel’s results – indicates that there must be such a realm. Even if one assumes that all that exists did come into existence via an ‘accident’, or out of literally ‘nothing’, this ‘nothing’ nonetheless must have at least one well defined property, namely the possibility to produce ‘something’. If this logical reasoning holds true (and i think it does), then ‘nothing’ as the origin of everything is a misnomer – it is bound to a kind of logic in the first place to produce something at all, namely the logic that it is possible at all. Otherwise we are wandering in a kind of magical world.

I will take a look at your essay!

Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Feb. 10, 2017 @ 16:24 GMT

You write between pages 2 and 3:

The picture described here implies that the physical universe as a whole is an open system and that conscious beings are too.

My essay is about the requirement for an open universe for there to exist consciousness. I largely argue for an open universe according to quantum entanglements. Your essay then proceeds to talk about Godel's theorem, where I in turn discuss Malament-Hogarth spacetimes that serve as a hyper-turing machine. My essay looks at this issue from a somewhat different angle.

It has been a sideline question for me for a long time as to what role Godel's theorem plays in physics. I tend to think it has a role in the measurement problem. If we think of a measurement as a quantum system being coupled to a larger quantum system that as a whole is performing at least partially a self-measurement this is a self-referential loop. Maybe the inability to understand quantum measurement from the foundations of quantum mechanics is because of axiomatic incompleteness of quantum logico- algebraic system. This is also connected with black holes as well, where the apparent loss of entanglement according to a local observer is similar to a measurement.

I think the universe is in some sense set up as an open system to permit the probability for conscious entities. I don't go into great depth on the nature of consciousness, though as with you I think it is emergent from self-referential incompleteness. I do however, think consciousness is more approximately self-referential, which is what cuts it off from infinite regressions.

I will give your essay a score of 9. I reduce it 1 point because the mention of near death experiences and such testimonies does not seem right. However, over all your essay was great!

Cheers LC

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 11, 2017 @ 10:33 GMT
Dear Lawrence B. Crowell,

thank you for reading and commenting and for your scoring.

I read your essay a few days ago but have to re-read it to fully capture it.

I think Gödel’s results, as simple as they appear on first sight, are a profound result about the structure of reality. I think you are on the right track by handling reality as an open ‘system’. And yes, entanglement seems to play a crucial role in this by measuring subsystems and thereby turing their possibilities into consistencies, thereby procuding new entanglement. So one could say this is a kind of evolving process, a process seemingly not determined to the last detail. Otherwise Darwinian evolution, or to say it better, selection processes wouldn’t make any sense in nature.

You mentioned another important area, namely the measurement problem, or stated differently, the axiomatic basis of quantum mechanics. Here i think, and i have the impression that you do also, that Gödel’s results are somewhat related to it. The crucial point here for me is, that to find natural axioms to complete some formal systems is not at all a simple task because one always has to differenciate between a necessity and a possibility. How can a mathematician unevocally know that a certain axiom is necessary instead of simply only possible? This problem is tied to the ‘problem’ that we live in a seemingly contingent world where things happen which cannot be explained by mere mechanical terms. For example the fact that Kennedy was shot – was this inevitable due to some laws of physics / nature or not? Surely it was possible to happen (otherwise it did not happen), but was it also *necessary* in the sense that it could not have been avoided by any action in the universe?

The problem of contingence plays a similar role when one tries to completely axiomatize a formal system. I suspect that some claims about the validity of Gödel’s results (by questioning some of his used axioms in his proofs) stems from the dichotomy between a necessity and a possibility.

I too think that consciousness is only approximately self-referential. In my opinion it surely has some elements of self-referentiality, but i wouldn’t reduce it just to the property of self-referentiality. There must be some other properties of consciousness that make a difference between a mere description, a representation of reality in a conscious mind, and the qualia of it. Representation and mere data processing doesn’t do the job, i think. Consciousness seems to have the ability to simply be aware of some reality without judging or interpreting it. It then is in a state to be aware of the existence of something, simply as it appears to this consciousness. How qualia does fit in there, i do not really know for sure. I suspect that the real meaning of our qualia (e.g. the subjective feeling of seing red) do reside beyond spacetime in a realm where the answers to the question about the objective meaning of existence also resides.

I didn’t fully grasp what you meant by a ‘hyper-turing machine’. What is the difference of this machine to a UTM?

I will re-read your essay and try to comment on your essay page.

Lawrence B. Crowell replied on Feb. 11, 2017 @ 21:35 GMT
It may have come to your notice that mention of Gödel's theorem in physics circles brings up pretty negative reactions and comments. I can in part see why that is the case. Gödel's theorem has some rather negative implications for the ability to do physics. It also has not had the impact on mathematics that Godel himself thought it might.

The idea that quantum measurement problems were...

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Avtar Singh wrote on Feb. 10, 2017 @ 23:41 GMT
Dear Stefan:

Enjoyed reading your excellent essay. You have pointed out two key insights that could lead to the development of an integrated scientific model as presented in my paper - "FROM LAWS TO AIMS & INTENTIONS - A UNIVERSAL MODEL INTEGRATING MATTER, MIND, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND PURPOSE."

The first insight is that the universe is alive and conscious as you say- "If there is...

view entire post

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 12, 2017 @ 07:27 GMT
Dear Avtar Singh,

thank you for reading and commenting and for your positive feedback.

I read your essay and left a comment on your page

Best regards,

Stefan Weckbach

Avtar Singh replied on Feb. 13, 2017 @ 22:12 GMT
Dear Stefan Weckbach

Thank you very much for reading my paper as well as your kind comments.

I would appreciate it very much if you could please rate my paper.

Best Regards


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Member George F. R. Ellis wrote on Feb. 12, 2017 @ 06:01 GMT
Nice essay. You are getting at a key problem with much modern day thought. Well done.

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 12, 2017 @ 07:30 GMT
Dear George Ellis,

thank you for having read my essay and for your positive feedback!

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Feb. 12, 2017 @ 22:17 GMT
Dear Stefan Weckbach,

Thank you for excellent essay….

In your reply to Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Feb. 10, You also accepted you think it is an open universe.

In an open universe all the radiation emitted from Stars, Galaxies goes out of universe at the velocity of light. In your opinion where that radiation goes, will that not be a part of the universe …?



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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 13, 2017 @ 18:09 GMT
Dear Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta,

thank you for reading and commenting and for your question.

Due to current physical theories, radiation that was produced in 3D space, remains in 3D space. Thhis should be the case whether space is infinite or finite. In the latter case, there are hindsights that the universe began as a 'big bang', space and time did emerge from some other process. Space expands in the far field of the universe with v > c, so that no light does ever reach a point where space does end.

By 'open' i mean not the case that space does end 'somewhere' far out at the borders of our universe, but i mean that it is interwoven within another dimension, different from space and time. Again, hindsights are there for this in form of spontaneous particle creation / annihilation and the energy / time uncertainty relation. So, with 'open' it is meant another dimension, indicated by quantum mechanical processes measureable in our universe; the latter seems to be open in the sense that what we think as our universe isn't causally closed, but open. Surely, the latter also indicates that it is an open question what rules reside in this other dimension. Personally, i think these rules should have something to do with life, consciousness and intentionality.

Anonymous replied on Feb. 13, 2017 @ 19:20 GMT
Hi Stefan,

I enjoyed reading your essay - I think you are getting at something important. I intend to read it a few more times.

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta replied on Feb. 20, 2017 @ 23:18 GMT
Thank you Stefan,

Your words… “..By 'open' i mean not the case that space does end 'somewhere' far out at the borders of our universe, but i mean that it is interwoven within another dimension, different from space and time. Again, hindsights are there for this in form of spontaneous particle creation / annihilation and the energy / time uncertainty relation. So, with 'open' it is meant another dimension, indicated by quantum mechanical processes measureable in our universe”… are good explanation.

Why do you want to use imaginary dimensions? Three space dimensions and one time dimension are sufficient to explain all the anomalies………..

Please use Dynamic Universe Model, no imagination…

……….No Isotropy; No Homogeneity; No Space-time continuum; Non-uniform density of matter(Universe is lumpy); No singularities; No collisions between bodies; No Blackholes; No warm holes; No Bigbang; No repulsion between distant Galaxies; Non-empty Universe; No imaginary or negative time axis; No imaginary X, Y, Z axes; No differential and Integral Equations mathematically; No General Relativity and Model does not reduce to General Relativity on any condition; No Creation of matter like Bigbang or steady-state models; No many mini Bigbangs; No Missing Mass; No Dark matter; No Dark energy; No Bigbang generated CMB detected; No Multi-verses etc.

I got many results published…

Have a look at:

Best Regards


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Yehuda Atai wrote on Feb. 16, 2017 @ 15:29 GMT
Dear Stefan

Thanks for your article that debates around the possibilities of meaning base information. From my observation the space is full of relations between 2 or more existents and the relation itself hold the potential action for each existent in he relation. Meaning based information exists when there is a possibility for at least one action to the relating Existants. If there is no potential for at least one action (conscious or unconscious) there is no relations between the existents. Causality works as a special case in the finitude life of the phenomenon. Causality does not evolve the phenomena in general. Therefore, reality is contingent and possible, and not predetermined. The forces of nature that we know works within the framework of the Phenomena but they are special cases where the relationship hold only one (even statistically) possible outcome. The selection of potential action from a range of potentials by a self organization depends on the actual State of the self organization and the attributes it has for its movements. I claim that a movement are not only the 3-4 measurable attributes we used in physics but rather 20 attributes that allow the self organization to be unique in its existence whether it is a grain of sand or a human being.

Thanks again since I use the term of Operating meaning in my book: "generators theory", and I claim that the space is a composite of these natural language of operating meanings.

Here, at FQXi contest, I wrote an article about the attributes of the movement without getting into the space of Operating Meaning. The essay name is: "we are together, therefore I am".


yehuda atai

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 07:02 GMT
Dear Yehuda Atai,

thank you for reading and commenting.

You mention that causality does not evolve the phenomena in general. I think you are right about this, otherwise one would end up with a picture i described in my essay. The question though is how unphysical causes are connected to physical stuff. Movement is important insofar as it indicates activity, even on the quantum level. Activity also seems to be an attribute of consciousness, although there are also states of consciousness where the latter seems to be totally passive.

I’ll take a look at your essay.

Peter Jackson wrote on Feb. 16, 2017 @ 15:56 GMT

Nicely written essay with some good, pertinent and interesting points well put. But before discussing content; the one part \I stumbled over- did you really mean; "circumscribed' as different.." and I'm no sure 'energetical' is actually a word!? I think I knew what you meant anyway as circumscribed may suggest 'enclosed together' while also different.

On content, I found agreement with most, indeed our essays do have various commonalities. I agree; "The question arises in which sense nature should not be fully formalizable" but I suggest a rather more defined answer- which links to your interest in; interpretational questions about quantum mechanics I think and hope you may very much like and agree with my essay and will comment on it.

One thing I'm not sure you really meant, and that my essay may show might now be challengable; "..couldn’t deliver a coherent understanding of how goals and intentions can exist in a mindless physical universe." Do you suggest minds are not part of the universe? or did you really mean mindless mathematics?

Thanks for a high quality essay anyway.


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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 07:08 GMT
Dear Peter,

thank you for reading and commenting.

You catched up with a version of my essay which i did alter in some details (accidentally FQXi uploaded the older version the first couple of days after posting the new one for eligibility) For a dualistic view of mind and matter, one needs two ingredients. First, one needs some commonalities and second, one needs some differences. I identify ‘activity’ as a commonality, i circumscribe it in physical terms as energetical vibrational patterns. I could have left out the term ‘energetical’, because ‘vibrational’ indicates activity, too. I define ‘energy’ as the potential to transform a potentiality into a factuality. This means that the world isn’t fully determined by mechanical causes and effects. I stumbled over an interesting approach to systematizise these lines of thought in physical terms by a researcher named Joachim Keppler. The reference to his work can be found in Avtar Singh’s essay, if you are interested in it.

With mindless universe i mean the widespread belief that the universe came into existence (or forever existed) without a higher purpose and our minds and insights into nature’s lawfullness are somewhat just an accident, a random fluctuation. I do not belief this scenario, but naturally it is hard to disprove it rigorously.

Thank you for your kind words and best wishes for your own attempt in the contest!

Steve Dufourny wrote on Feb. 16, 2017 @ 17:09 GMT
Hello Mr Weckbach,

Congratulations for your relevant general reasoning.I liked how you have interpreted the origin of consciousness in comparating two main systems, tha main entropical cause God or the accidental logic appearing of this consciousness.It was a relevant reading.Personaly I have inserted in my model of spherisation, God with logic also.I need this infinite potential to encircle better the kinetic distribution of energy and motions.The codes and informations of evolution are a reality,like if all was coded and followed the quiet harmonical road of encodings and increasing mass.The consciousness for me is a result of evolution.Our brains are fascinating like results of evolution.We continue at each instant to encode informations, spheronic(gravitation)and photonic.I ask me if a number of matter,of particles is necessary for this consciousness,like in the brains,is it just correlated with biology?the real ask is there in fact ? If the consciousness is gravitationa and that electromagnetism is just a fuel for interactions, si it becomes intriguing considering the mind body soul problem.Ithe biology is necessary or not ?That is the question,how can we understand better what is this consciousness.It is not easy in fact.Personaly I beleive that an AI is possible but not a consciousness correlated with our gravitational soul in fact.It is a subtil difference.But of course we arrive at a philosophical interpretation and how we must interpret this infinite consciousness,entropy,this eternity fractalising in fact this infnite potential and creating lifes, with matter energy evolution on this entropical irreversible Arrow of time in fact, gravitationally and electromagnetically speaking.It is not easy in fact all this puzzle.We search to understand the words, the music, the laws, the codes and informations of this infinity simply.So simple this generality, so complex these détails ....I am wishing you all the best Mr Weckbach in this contest.Best from Belgioum

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 07:14 GMT
Dear Steve,

thank you very much for reading and commenting.

I hope you are well and i am happy that you participate in the discussions on FQXi. Yes, i too argue for a higher purpose of existence and i think spacetime isn’t all there is, same with physical systems. This does not imply that God is a nonphysical ‘system’, although i define the term God to be surely a nonphysical entity by the very means of its definition and of the definition of consciousness. I wished you would elaborate your model into an essay, so we could discuss commonalities and differences better. I think that spheres are important, they are not only archetypical forms, but for me, they also have archetypical content. For example the number Pi, defined as the ratio between the circumference and the diameter of a sphere nicely combines linear and circular features, leading to a number sequence which is statistically normal (random), but at the same time precisely calculatable. I do not think that the digit before the decimal point is ‘random’, the ‘3.’ is in my opinion an expression of the intricate link of a unity and its possibility to split it in two seemingly symmetrical parts by the diameter. Nonetheless the circle remains a unity, a unity with two complementary parts of it, resulting in a threesome composition. Think of the many threesome collections in nature: 3 spatial dimensions, 3 qualities of time (past, present, future), 3 classical states of matter, 3 generations of fermions, 3 components of atoms (electrons, neutrons, positrons), 3 color charges of gluons, 3 sentential connectives of propositional logics (not, or, and), 3 categories of classical metamathematics (completeness, consistence, decidability).

Wish you some further exciting readings of the essays and may the relevant solutions and insights come to you as a surprise and a gift!

Steve Dufourny replied on Feb. 18, 2017 @ 14:06 GMT
You are Welcome Mr Weckbach,

and I am thanking you also.I am a little better since the problems in belgium and death of my mom.I was very weak psychologically speaking.I try to evolve.

About phsycis,your line of reasoning is general and relevant.I love indeed to read this contest.The essays this year are very relevant.It is a real pleasure because I learn in the same...

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Feb. 21, 2017 @ 08:44 GMT

When I was a child, the church told me that science cannot prove or disprove God. May I ask you what consequences are to be derived? When the pope was asked for his opinion concerning uncontrolled limitless growth of population, he just expressed his hope for responsible parentship. Do people, who voted for Trump and Brexit, need to understand your message that the enigma of endless space can be resolved by believing in an additional dimension, a modern sort of heaven outside the sky?

I respect your attitude although mine is different.


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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 22, 2017 @ 20:09 GMT
Dear Eckard Blumschein,

good questions. Firstly, i am not convinced that the pope is an authority choosen by God. Secondly, i think that believing in God is not the point, but acting as if he would exist. Surely, for me, i claim that such an entity does exist, but it should make a difference then how i impart my values. We all know that acting according to the golden rule could make the world a better place. This is also a message from near-death experiencers. Another message is ‘learning’, respectively ‘education’. Overpopulation is a problem, indeed. I do not know in detail the reasons why there are so many people on the planet, it may have to do with the lack of prevention of pregnancy, but there are surely other reasons as well like having offspring which can fend for oneself if one gets old. If it is also due to some statements of popes, then I would say they are wrong with it.

Back to education. We live in a system (at least in the western world) where a person is evaluated by his/her manpower and/or his/her money. The system has accumulated gigantic amounts of wealth in very few person’s accounts – by all sorts of trickery. There’s a famous saying in the banking scence that goes ‘you will hold them dense, i will hold them poor’. Our educational systems, our advertising, our addictions of consumption, our fear to be excluded when we don’t please the mainstream and its ‘Zeitgeist’ makes us prisoners and are the tools by which a few individuals make most people dense and poor. Maybe these people are those who voted for Trump and the Brexit, but not necessarily. Look, we have 2017 now, the financial crisis began 2007. What has the world learned from it? Does a majority of people even know that there are 700 Billion dollar on CDO contracts out there? Don’t blame God or the non-existence of God for all this, humanity has overslept to invest in true education. By the latter i don’t mean education for some job, but education of the heart. In the western hemisphere, people go to work and then amuse themselves, a majority without ever thinking about philosophical or religious things, about how it is that they are here and where they probably go when they die.

There are no easy answers to these questions, but i think every human being should have thought about it once in a lifetime and should have searched for an answer without being biased by modern science. Who does regularily read books which are concerned with those questions? I would assume that most people are occupied with the trash on their handies or with cheap trash at the TV. Therefore i do not expect the majority of people to even understand what i have written in my essay or that they know of Gödel or some interpretations of quantum mechanics or about modern cosmology. But this isn’t a tragedy. The Tragedy is that modern science behaves like it is almighty. That’s the picture purported by science itself and by several magazines and tons of books – and most people believe it *without thinking for themselves*. They believe that science can know (or indeed does already know) all things and solve all problems. Think for yourself whether or not science can solve all problems. Personally, i think believing this would be extraordinarily naïve. Not until it is too late people will recognize that they believed in a false God, in an idol, and to be honest to you, there are so many false Gods out there, from money, science, fame, to personal potency. We live in an age of abuse, everybody misuses everybody (under the cloak of political correctness) and it is no wonder for me that individuals like Trump or others gain influence. As long as science does communicate that it has all the ultimate answers (although it doesn’t have them), you will see the ever same scenario of seducers giving the dense audience what it wants to hear / to read.

Dear Eckard Blumschein, i critizise science for its omnipotent behaviour, but the latter isn’t exclusively reserved for science, but an attribute of mankind in general. I know that some people do not like what they read here, but should i renounce my values just for some guys giving me some more points for my essay? I would be no better than the dense people i spoke of. Recognition of what i wrote will come or don’t come, and i do not expect it to come easy, for it is not the short success, but remaining values i search for. If you want people that have voted or not voted for Trump to be more intelligent, you should always admit the truth and the truth is that we both do not know if a God does indeed exist. It is a matter of belief, personal experience and of believing that certain aspects of science and other phenomenologies support such a worldview. So for people which lack the experience i spoke of in the last sentence: do not claim what you don’t know for sure and the world will be a slightly less confused place. Maybe it is too late to turn mankind into an overall intelligent community, but if true, this has nothing to do with God, it is then our fault. Therefore we as intelligent beings should begin here and now, every day. This is the minimum of what can be expected from people who are termed by FQXi as top thinkers in foundational questions.

Eckard Blumschein replied on Feb. 23, 2017 @ 17:38 GMT
Dear Stefan,

I recommend to you an attached figure provided by Wudu from Ethiopia, a region that will again suffer from hunger which was so far a mechanism as to stabilize the density of population. I don't doubt that we will manage to help and stabilize further growth. As A. Kastner famously said, we will manage it. She also said, the chances are so much in excess of the risks, we must only realize and exploit them (my poor translation from German).

Well, I understand, you are feeling soul who suspects all voters for Trump and Brexit to be dense. Warning about nationalism myself too, in particular about Wahibism, I hope for locally and globally more reasonable steps of evolution.

Is it reasonable to feel great by inviting all poor people in Africa and Asia, come to Europe as to live better and in peace? Or might it nurture an irresponsible illusion without stopping their way into horrible megacities?

My message is not welcome: Reasoning demands that menkind lives up to its responsibility. Otherwise the destruction of environment will rapidly get worse. From an unbiased by tradition human perspective, human rights are insufficient.

Let's hope and act together,


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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 24, 2017 @ 20:56 GMT
Dear Eckard,

thanks for your reply. The peace you spoke of cannot be achieved, if there are aggressors. If they hit you once, they will hit you twice. Therefore the question about it being resonable to invite poor people coming to Europe will not be a peaceful adventure in the long run. The motivations and reasons for these people are as different as ours to vote for or against Trump i would think. Some hope for a job, some for more food, some for more money without a job, some for peace and maybe some for an adventure and for bringing terrorism to Europe. The same i think holds for voting for or against someone like the president of America – there are many motivations involved in the majority which has formed the voting result recently. Last but not least different candidates can have very different motivations to become the worlds most powerful person (besides some advisers of the president and some military commanders).

The more divided our societies become, the more different reasons accumulate into one and the same voting result i would suspect. But you are right, nationalism is a danger these days, months and years, and i think it becomes more dangerous as our societies get more divided. As more and more people live on this planet, the question of distribution and allocation of natural resources and money becomes more and more virulent. Yes, i think here guys like Daniel Dennett and his memes come to the point, virulent behaviour and thinking patterns can distribute over a whole population and poison it, if misdistribution goes further on.

The question also is, who are the aggresssors, or formulated otherwise, are there aggressors at all in the world? Who is the aggressor in Syria, for example? I think there is more than one aggressor in this conflict, all fighting against each other for some profitable outcome of this war for their interests. If Europe slips into another financial or economical crisis, there will be also more aggressions between european countries. In this sense, many aspects are connected with many other aspects and this makes the whole case of global peace so difficult, so complex. Your message is welcome by me, but it will not alter the course of events unfolding in the next, say, decade. Humanity does only learn in small steps, if ever, and only by global suffering i suspect. This seems to me to be an unbiased view of the human psychology if it is fully attached to hedonism - as is the case for many people, in my opinion. I cannot say what Trump is planing in the future or has already planed for his country / the world. Therefore it is very difficult for me to estimate what his actions will bring us. It seems like he is an impulsively acting person, supporting the financial complex and his own country rather than global peace. I also agree that human rights are insufficient, the same with the rights of some nations (like for example iraq, which was destroyed and radicalized by the Bush family and Albright). I have now written too much political opinions to win the contest, but my words are conserved by the internet for whoever wants to reflect them again in the future!

Bala R Subramanian wrote on Feb. 23, 2017 @ 21:40 GMT
Dear Stefan,

Thanks for an interesting article and the discussions in this community page about those concerns and topics. My own take on the question of determinism and non-determinism is that they both end up being one and the same for all practical purposes. Let me explain: One can say, birth and death are determined but the life in between those two determinations might still be undetermined. With regard to the consciousness and your own search of the meaning of meaning, my sense is that; between the self and the super-self (God/Creator) there are one or more societies and societal-consciousness(es), which not only provide goals and intentions,but many other frames of references to explore dimensions that are beyond the space and the time.Far from being mindless, in that sense, mathematics and computations provide a way to unify intuitions with the all the rest. Kurt Godel's incompleteness theorems can be concurrently consistent, complete and be both open and closed. The essential truth of the quantum mechanics is that; everything is dynamic and in constant transition from state-to-state following the natural laws as described here:
id=A93EB2435BBCDE67!380&app=PowerPoint I am curious as to how you would react?

Would you agree there might be a science of societal-mechanics? as described here:

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Author Stefan Weckbach replied on Feb. 24, 2017 @ 21:03 GMT
Dear Bala R Subramanian,

thanks for reading and commenting.

“Kurt Godel's incompleteness theorems can be concurrently consistent, complete and be both open and closed”

Yes, but only in the modus of non-dual thinking. Remember that near-death experiences tell us that in the more pleasant realms, one part of duality has vanished (of course the bad part). But there are also experiences which tell us that the ‘same’ can be true for a realm where the other part (the good part) has totally vanished. Heavenly realms may have multiple layers, yes, and consistenly, the hellish realms too (as also delivered by some near-death experiencers). The reason that in the heavenly realms there are no open questions which all lead to self-referential answers (like those we discuss here at FQXi) is that one part of duality simply vanishes and therefore all paradoxons do vanish. All is crystal clear. The same is true for the more hellish realms – you realize that you are (for whatever reasons) caught up in an existential realm that is completely distinct from God’s realms. There are so many aspects of near-death experiences to interpret and discuss and surely every spiritual tradition does it different. The problem here is that such experiences do not deliver the one distinct interpretation that suffices all the different expectations of different religious / spiritual traditions. They all are a matter of belief.

Therefore i am not in a position to comment on societal mechanics or other systematizations. I only observe society, psychology and the different values of people and ask where these different patterns could lead in the end globally. As i outlined to Eckard in my comment above, i am rather sceptical of an interpretation which guarantees every soul a pleasant place in the heavenly realms after death. I follow Eckard’s words that reasoning demands that menkind lives up to its responsibility and don’t see life as a kind of cosmic game or something one reincarnates into again and again. But this is only my personal opinion.

Surely for all practical purposes, the quest for determinism or indeterminism is void of any help. Nobody does believe 24 hours a day that he/she has no free will. Nobody does believe 24 hours a day that solipsism is true. But when making a difficult decision, by thinking humans do not have free will, one can defend every irrational / immoral intention. The same is true in my opinon for the concept of reincarnation or the multiverse interpretation. Let the majority of mankind believe in such concepts and i would assume that morality would vanish dramatically. If i can kill somebody and there are no real consequences (besides maybe that in my next life i am killed also by a person), this would in my opinion demand a chain of killing events, what does not seem to me to be a consistent explanation of human consciousness and some overall purpose of existence. I therefore think that consequences and responsibility come into play in a different, much more serious way – as is indicated by the fact that there is no universal interpretation of near-death experiences, a kind of undeniable accredited ‘true’ interpretation. You have to choose. Of course i do not say that you believe in one or the other, because i cannot know and i don't want to teach someone due to my own beliefs. So please do not take my lines of reasonings personally.

Best wishes

Stefan Weckbach

Bala R Subramanian replied on Feb. 26, 2017 @ 11:45 GMT
Dear Stefan,

" If i can kill somebody and there are no real consequences (besides maybe that in my next life i am killed also by a person), this would in my opinion demand a chain of killing events, what does not seem to me to be a consistent explanation of human consciousness and some overall purpose of existence." - Isn't the 21st century war mongering and killing proof enough of such individual and societal-consciousnesses?

As to "some overall purpose of existence"- at least one spiritual and historical fact seems to suggest this:

ks for reading and responding to my comments and questions,

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Bala R Subramanian replied on Feb. 27, 2017 @ 13:15 GMT
Dear Stephan,

In addition to my earlier comment, I came across this talk that might help explain your concerns about the near death experiences:
erful_stroke_of_insight ; I believe the parallel and the serial processing of information happens socially as well. We as individuals behave as parallel processors of information and interact with one another both in serial and in parallel modes. It is these complex relationships that some time bring about the dualism Vs the oneness phenomena. I am convinced it is just a matter of time before we will arrive at all the answers we have been seeking.

Thanks for both your time and posts.

Bala R Subramanian

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Alexey/Lev Burov wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 01:12 GMT
Dear Stefan,

Reading your essay gave me the highest reward in this contest!

I appreciate your both clear and deep thinking about the topic of this contest, so nicely captured by the title of your essay. I am giving you the highest score, and I have a question for you. You write, “This force of ‘intentionality’ must be thought of as not being able to receive a physical back-reaction from the material world”. How do you see the relation of this fundamental ‘intentionality’ to the laws of nature? Do you share the theistic or pan-psychistic answer? Your comments to our essay would be greatly appreciated.


Alexey Burov.

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