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What Is “Fundamental”
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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American


How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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Is Reality Digital or Analog?
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Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

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Dizhechko Semyonovich: on 4/7/17 at 3:41am UTC, wrote Dear Sirs! Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 3/17/17 at 7:29am UTC, wrote Nice essay James, I want you to ask you to please have a look at my...

Joe Fisher: on 3/15/17 at 16:22pm UTC, wrote Dear Dr. Kevin James, Please excuse me for I have no intention of...

Kevin James: on 3/13/17 at 1:02am UTC, wrote Peter, thank you for your comments. After reading your essay I would beg to...

Peter Jackson: on 3/12/17 at 21:35pm UTC, wrote Kevin, I cannot but agree that far too habitually; "we give artifacts...

Kevin James: on 3/10/17 at 16:39pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract This is a narrative, to be sure, for those who are...


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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.

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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: Alt-Radical Islam: A Critical Ontology by Kevin James [refresh]
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Author Kevin James wrote on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 16:39 GMT
Essay Abstract

This is a narrative, to be sure, for those who are certain of the unseen intensities that shape law, aim, and intention. Laws coalesce around intuition then reason, so to regard the fruits of sense and thought as mindless lose sight of the root and branch of arboreal knowledge; the differential relations of mathemes precede the language of algorithms. Similarly, the dualism inherent in habitual practices of religion lack traction for a critical ontology of thought to subsume the metastasizing oncology of tribalism and violence that threaten our world. So unlike Radical Muslims who kill innocents for a past that never was and a future never to pass, Alt-Radical Muslims serve the sanctity of life that each moment exercises its universal power. In contrast to alt-right facts that weld world view to fantasy, sober drunkards imbibe the endless draught of Absolute Being’s non-identity to itself, an open totality of the differences in kind that originate and recreate the worlds of law, aim and intention. I begin by framing my radical introspection as a Muslim FDNY responder against the events of 9/11. From there I wander between epiphany and doubt, all in the shadow of radical finitude that render teleological goals meaningless. Indeed, it was in nihilism that I recognized an old foe in the FQXi theme, of alienated mindless laws little different from an arbitrary supreme lawmaker. I haven’t figured out my ending yet, and doubt I should or even could in a meaningful way for your story. I am indebted to Muhammad Asad’s translation and commentary on the Quran, Prophetic traditions (hadith), and numerous profound thinkers such as Gilles Deleuze and Mahmoud Taha.

Author Bio

The author is a former firefighter and supervising fire marshal with the New York City Fire Department who responded from home to ground zero on 9/11. He was one of several Muslim Americans profiled in the PBS Documentary Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet. After retiring from the FDNY in 2002 he was accepted into the Revson Fellows at Columbia University and later graduated from Columbia Law School as a Stone Scholar. He interned with the Center for Constitutional Rights as an Ella Baker Fellow in 2005 where he assisted the Vulcan Society with fighting racial discrimination in the FDNY.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 12, 2017 @ 21:35 GMT

I cannot but agree that far too habitually;

"we give artifacts of the mind a life of their own be they expressed as law, aim, and intention; religion, teleology, and God’s will."

(preceded by);

"...until we can step outside of ourselves and experience the self-awareness of the ‘other’ of our self, we remain captives within the gravitational pull of solipsism. So long as we lack the capacity to enact our highest values by serving humanity; until we cherish the genesis of differences between us...

I know nothing of Islam, but it seems clear to me that whatever beliefs or religion any man follows we habitually make the mistake of using embedded 'pattern match' thinking and not stepping back from or ;'outside of' ourselves to allow better overview and understanding of the universe.

OK maybe your essay wasn't really on topic or what was 'expected' by most but I appreciated it's interesting, quite different and valuable perspective. Don't worry about the '1' score. Mine has has 6 of them! That just demonstrates mankinds failings.

Best wishes


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Author Kevin James replied on Mar. 13, 2017 @ 01:02 GMT
Peter, thank you for your comments. After reading your essay I would beg to disagree: to the extent that Islam can best be characterized as a human faculty of intuition and reason, I would say that you are quite knowledgeable about Islam.

One of my 'goals' in submitting Alt-Radical Islam was to reframe its foreign feel to a familiar, inherently human attribute. I noticed that one of your commenters mentioned Edmund Husserl, whose notion of natural attitude seems to comport with Prophet Muhammad's characterization of Islam as one's natural disposition (Fitrah).

The ratings are secondary to just being able to participate and share ideas in the forum. After reading your comment I was struck by the beauty of FQXi enterprise on the whole. We are not much different from the chattering avian creatures who sought the fabled Simorgh in Attar's Conference of the Birds. Just as the being they sought consisted of the shadow they cast on the ground below when they flew in formation, so too our singular perspectives that coalesce around life's great paradoxes.

Good luck with your essay and future writings.

Kevin James

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 15, 2017 @ 16:22 GMT
Dear Dr. Kevin James,

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. 17, 2017 @ 07:29 GMT
Nice essay James,

I want you to ask you to please have a look at my essay, where ……………reproduction of Galaxies in the Universe is described. Dynamic Universe Model is another mathematical model for Universe. Its mathematics show that the movement of masses will be having a purpose or goal, Different Galaxies will be born and die (quench) etc…just have a look at my essay…...

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Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 03:41 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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