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Dizhechko Semyonovich: on 4/7/17 at 8:11am UTC, wrote Dear Sirs! Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of...

Rene Ahn: on 4/4/17 at 20:23pm UTC, wrote Unfortunately, though, I apparently only got a 2 (in the community vote),...

Rene Ahn: on 4/2/17 at 14:04pm UTC, wrote Thanks, that is very kind of you!

Graham Cookson: on 4/2/17 at 13:02pm UTC, wrote Excellent is a 10 rating. Thank you Graham

Rene Ahn: on 4/1/17 at 23:49pm UTC, wrote Hi Peter, yes these issues are linked, because without initial symmetry...

Peter Jackson: on 4/1/17 at 19:14pm UTC, wrote Dear Rene, Very interesting essay and approach, right on topic and an...

Daniel Rocha: on 3/31/17 at 18:19pm UTC, wrote Dear Rene Ahn, I noticed that you did not answer on my thread, so I...

Yehuda Atai: on 3/28/17 at 15:53pm UTC, wrote Hi Rene A great approach you take in your essay and I tend to agree with...


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Deserdi Chapas: "Hi FQXI Members: We found the courage to asymptotically take one step..." in Alternative Models of...

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The Entropic Price of Building the Perfect Clock: Q&A with Natalia Ares
Experiments investigating the thermodynamics of clocks can teach us about the origin of time's arrow.

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Physicists lay out blueprints for running a 'Wigner's Friend' experiment using an artificial intelligence, built on a quantum computer, as an 'observer.'

Expanding the Mind (Literally): Q&A with Karim Jerbi and Jordan O'Byrne
Using a brain-computer interface to create a consciousness 'add-on' to help test Integrated Information Theory.

Quanthoven's Fifth
A quantum computer composes chart-topping music, programmed by physicists striving to understand consciousness.

The Math of Consciousness: Q&A with Kobi Kremnitzer
A meditating mathematician is developing a theory of conscious experience to help understand the boundary between the quantum and classical world.

January 29, 2023

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: The autocatalysis of meaning: or how intentions may fit within physics by Rene Ahn [refresh]
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Author Rene Ahn wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 16:52 GMT
Essay Abstract

We do not see intentions in nature outside of biology. So we may be able to understand how intentions may arise in nature, and how physical systems fold relevant information about non local circumstances into local processes and structures by studying the way in which biological structures obtain and handle information. We show how, apart from the discretisation introduced at the quantum level, notions like fixed-points, encodings, decodings, reference, autocatalysis, the creation and expansion of boundaries, noise, and the computation of expectation values, all seem to play their role.

Author Bio

René Ahn is a former assistant professor in the Designed Intelligence Group at the Department of Industrial Design at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He has an MSc in physics. He has been employed at Philips Research Laboratories, Tilburg University, and the Institute of Perception Research (IPO) where he worked on subjects like automated deduction, computational semantics, agents, and intelligent interfaces. In 2001 he gained a PhD from the institute of programming research and algorithmics at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He is at present independent and his current interests are in adaptive algorithms and reinforcement learning.

Download Essay PDF File

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Daniel de França Diniz Rocha wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 02:01 GMT
Dear Rene,

I think your essay touched points of view similar to my essay:

I tried to focus on the "primitive oceans", as a system that could process information by autocalasys, where which some systems formed simple chemical clocks. I chose such systems because they are the most primitive thing that I could think of that resembles something that can attribute a meaning (I don't use this a word in my essay), by reacting to external modifications of environment. I try to explain there how to approach the RNA world, as a 1.consequence way to avoid turbulence, as the systems infiltrated alkaline hydrothermal vents piling adenosine, which is linked to molecules related to energy storage or its processsing, like ATP, ADP or CoA, so I think bean RNA was a way to store energy.

You talk about memory, which it seems interesting given that, the phenotype expression, helps conserve it along millions of it, by making some structures geometrically conservative, but selected for great malleability. As complexity grows, the "phenotype memory", passed to encephalitic power, which improved the response of organisms to change. It was a similar revolution just like the appearance of sexual reproduction, or life itself.

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Author Rene Ahn replied on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 02:26 GMT
Dear Daniel,

Thank you very much for your interest, I have just downloaded your Essay, looking forward to reading it, it may take some time for me to respond, it is already getting quite late over here.

Clocks are interesting objects, in a way, I have already seen references to them in various essays, (When I started peeking a little here and there...) and most self replicating systems (SRS) obviously also need some timing mechanisms. Time plays a very important role in the whole story, indeed, a long story, billions of years, hard to compress into 9 pages, I daresay. :-)

You'll hear from me.

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 17:16 GMT
Dear Professor Rene Ahn,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 11:49 GMT
Nice essay Prof Rene Ahn,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent.

1. Living beings may have intentions. Complex living beings may have sophisticated intentions

…………………… You are exactly correct!

2. And humans, especially when they work in teams, have a remarkable ability to imagine highly structured possible futures, to make choices between them, to make...

view entire post

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Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 20, 2017 @ 22:50 GMT
Hi Rene,

I like your essay. One part stood out for me as being interesting and original. "Nature thereby offers us "a grid" of attractor states, and states have a tendency to "snap to the grid"". I like the concept of snapping to the grid.

I summarize your conclusion as "we really do not know about what creates intention". In my essay I say indirectly "we really, really, really, do not know what creates choice".

Take a look at my essay, I think you may enjoy it.

Thanks for your thoughtful essay,

Don Limuti

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Yehuda Atai wrote on Mar. 28, 2017 @ 15:53 GMT
Hi Rene

A great approach you take in your essay and I tend to agree with you. Infect it seems (you write about it and its your methodology), we have a sub strata of natural language of maintaining the unique self organization, from life forms and other forms like energy= mater and vis versa.

In my essay I show first the way we ratifying continuously our self even we change all the time while keeping our perception as unique self. as Socrates, rene etc. And second, I show that it is all in the qualities of the movement attributes. it is all ontological and subjective and that is its-our eminent beauty.

I wonder about your feedback on my essay : "we are together, therefore I am".


Yehuda Atai

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Daniel de França Diniz Rocha wrote on Mar. 31, 2017 @ 18:19 GMT
Dear Rene Ahn,

I noticed that you did not answer on my thread, so I reproduce it here:

Hi Rene! Of course, I am looking for a great constructive feedback!

Yes, there is some sort of relationship with the container first. The container is the entire primitive ocean, or better layers of the ocean with different circulation paths.

The information is merely to stay bellow a certain level or above a certain level. This is too simple, but that's the most basic information life can carry without a system specialized in carrying information, like DNA. I tried to explain in the papaer how these informations could accumulate, that is, where currents would cross, they would mixture. In this case, more layers of control could accumulate.

Note that when currents meet, there is turbulance, so, this would be the first selecting pressure life, as I defined, would suffer. The selection would be, since there is no protection barrier to protect contents, like a cell, more sturd reaction would be selected. In this sense, a more stable reaction would "survive".

So, while currents of the ocean ciculated, this more complex reaction would be selected and spread to other currents. The overall chemichal composition of the oceans would change gradually because of these. There would be inputs from impacts from asteroids, input from volcanoes and so on. But, so, these would be inputs that would disturb the life as I put it, which would force them to gradually accumulate more and more complex reactions, that would further increase the chemistry of the oceans or many of its currents.

Note that deeper in the ocean, there are currents that passes through vents. But these are very turbulent, at a time, some very mechanism would be sturd enough enter one of those and begin to use the organic reactions there.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 19:14 GMT
Dear Rene,

Very interesting essay and approach, right on topic and an enjoyable read (all criteria for a good score!)

Do you think the following two (important I think) matters from your essay may be directly linked?;

"How this fact needs to be understood is one of the most difficult problems in physics, but in the last decades also here a lot of progress has been made" ..AND;

"The only other thing that we need, in order to let it evolve is some random factor that introduces variations in the copying process of the DNA."

I agree them, and suggest they are in my own essay (after identifying an architecture creating informed choice 'decisions' which become 'intentions'. I hope you get a chance to read and comment.

Well done and thank you for yours


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Author Rene Ahn replied on Apr. 1, 2017 @ 23:49 GMT
Hi Peter, yes these issues are linked, because without initial symmetry breaking you cannot have any evolution, so at some basic level you need quantum indeterminacy to break the stalemate, so to say. It depends on what level one wants the to discuss this, if one takes the arrow of time (second law) and "thermal noise" for granted, thermal noise might be sufficient to inform the process, but there is also a deeper level of discussion that needs to explain how such noise can arise in the first place, despite unitarity.

I'll definitely try to read your essay,hopefully tomorrow, I'll let you know. At present I am still mainly reading to get an overview, what I have seen thus far is all very diverse.

I am new here, and was initially very enthusiastic,(I like the topic!) but admit I have been discouraged​ by some of the more childish behaviour that I have witnessed. I didn't expect this, at least not here.

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Graham Walker Cookson wrote on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 13:02 GMT
Excellent is a 10 rating. Thank you Graham

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Author Rene Ahn replied on Apr. 2, 2017 @ 14:04 GMT
Thanks, that is very kind of you!

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Author Rene Ahn replied on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 20:23 GMT
Unfortunately, though, I apparently only got a 2 (in the community vote), instead of a 10, which seems odd.

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 08:11 GMT
Dear Sirs!

Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of Newton returned as the New Cartesian Physic and promises to be a theory of everything. To tell you this good news I use «spam».

New Cartesian Physic based on the identity of space and matter. It showed that the formula of mass-energy equivalence comes from the pressure of the Universe, the flow of force which on the corpuscle is equal to the product of Planck's constant to the speed of light.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential for understanding the world. To show it, I ventured to give "materialistic explanations of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay.

Visit my essay, you will find there the New Cartesian Physic and make a short entry: "I believe that space is a matter" I will answer you in return. Can put me 1.


Dizhechko Boris

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