Posts Tagged ‘Geometry’

EMOTION PLANS LOGIC. Want No More Fakery? Tell the Truth! Hurt the Feelings of Fakers!

January 11, 2019

Emotional logic builds geometrical logic. This is a neurological fact. And yes, there are alternative facts, all over, because there are incomplete logics, logic with incomplete universes, all over. Any logic depends upon a universe of facts. Not all universes of facts are complete, far from it. It happens even in physics. Somehow, much vaunted modern physics is missing 95% of the mass-energy: it has no idea whatsoever what Dark Energy and Dark Matter could be made of: a case where major facts are still missing.

Philosophy , once it knows enough science, realizes that, although we don’t know all the details yet, clearly the topology of various substances bathing the brain, with their many dimensions, are what direct neuronal geometry… This, in particular explains why one cannot fight emotions with facts readily. That is like changing grass in the steppe with scissors.

If a child makes a mistake, one doesn’t respect the alternative computation. Instead, one says, pedagogically, that the computation is not correct. Children listen, because they respect teachers and parents (or used to…) So the emotional logic of respect, makes school possible.


Paradoxically, the problem then, maybe that one uses too much rationality to try to bend rationality, confronted to adults who have the wrong emotional logic.


Faced by a lethal religious fanatic, or a climate change denier (for example), the best method may not be to present them with facts and logics they can’t understand, or are unwilling to consider. Instead, one should probably appeal to their emotional logic.


How? One way is to call a cat a cat. Confronted to idiocy, it may be more pedagogical to say it as it is: idiotic. Instead, “Multiculturalism” (and Latour was part of it) insisted that complete idiocy and primitivism, were valuable alternate realities. Now Latour says there is just one reality. Right. However the philosophy known as “French Theory” said the opposite for 60 years….


Want no more fakery? Tell the truth! Hurt the feelings of fakers!

Patrice Ayme



Note 1: The preceding, that emotional machinery is the architect of the geometric logic, explains the observation of John Stuart Mill that ideas don’t work to change systems of mind readily (Discoverer of the Quantum Max Planck said the same a bit later, pointing out that physics progresses one funeral at a time, or something to this effect). Anyway here is Mill: in the Subjection of Women (1869; following an essay by a female feminist in 1851)

“The very words necessary to express the task I have undertaken, show how arduous it is. But it would be a mistake to suppose that the difficulty of the case must lie in the insufficiency or obscurity of the grounds of reason on which my conviction rests. The difficulty is that which exists in all cases in which there is a mass of feeling to be contended against. So long as an opinion is strongly rooted in the feelings, it gains rather than loses in stability by having a preponderating weight of argument against it. For if it were accepted as a result of argument, the refutation of the argument might shake the solidity of the conviction; but when it rests solely on feeling, the worse it fares in argumentative contest, the more persuaded its adherents are that their feeling must have some deeper ground, which the arguments do not reach; and while the feeling remains, it is always throwing up fresh intrenchments of argument to repair any breach made in the old. And there are so many causes tending to make the feelings connected with this subject the most intense and most deeply-rooted of all those which gather round and protect old institutions and customs, that we need not wonder to find them as yet less undermined and loosened than any of the rest by the progress of the great modern spiritual and social transition; nor suppose that the barbarisms to which men cling longest must be less barbarisms than those which they earlier shake off.”


Note 2: This was a comment sent to, and published by, the New York Times regarding “Why Fighting Fake News With the Facts Might Not Be Enough” by Jennifer Szalai. I give an extensive quote below, not because she is such a genius… but because the context she provides unwittingly is telling… Latour, by the way, is from a top plutocratic wine family, wealthy for generations… So his (not really “his”, just the latest parroting) declaration that massive uncontrolled immigration to the Europe is justified, just as a tsunami is justified, because waves come and go, and come back again… is a red herring… Something to look at… while doesn’t look at how Latour and his class became wealthy, the old fashion way, inheriting it…
Jan. 9, 2019

“Alternative facts”: The term manages to be tedious, ridiculous and perilous at once — a real sign of the times. For anyone who doesn’t remember, Kellyanne Conway introduced it in early 2017… serenely chiding an exasperated Chuck Todd for being “overly dramatic” as he repeatedly tried to get her to concede that lying to the American public was bad.

Her phrasing may have been new, but Conway was taking part in what has apparently become a conservative tradition — performing a skepticism so extreme that it makes the ancient Greek skeptics look like babes in the woods. Recall a high-ranking aide in the Bush administration needling a journalist for belonging to “the reality-based community.” A respect for facts, the aide suggested, was ultimately for suckers: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

You might think this kind of postmodernism would appeal to the French anthropologist and philosopher Bruno Latour, who has spent a career studying how knowledge is socially constructed. You would be wrong. Such pretensions to reality-creating grandeur, Latour suggests, amount to little more than a vulgar, self-defeating cynicism.

In “Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime,” Latour argues that climate change is forcing all of us to confront truths that seem hard to reconcile but turn out to be two sides of the same thing: 1) reality exists, whether we like it or not; and 2) our attempts to apprehend it are contingent on our social context. Along with Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall’s “The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread,” Latour’s new book offers a way to think through the seemingly insurmountable impasse carved out by political polarization and fake news.

Latour calls for an entirely new way of understanding the world. He says he wrote “Down to Earth” with a “deliberate bluntness.” He vests a surprising hope in Europe, whose colonial past — or “crimes,” as he puts it — he depicts as inextricable from the migrations it tries to keep out. “Europe has invaded all peoples; all peoples are coming to Europe in their turn,” he writes. “Give and take. There is no way out of this.”

Latour also describes migration as the human embodiment of our “new climatic regime.” Under the old way of thinking, exploited peoples and places were ignored, silenced and stripped of agency; now migrants and the earth itself are both setting out “to recover what belongs to them.”

No doubt some readers will find this to be too much, too philosophical and too French. But maybe it takes a brilliantly mind-bending book like Latour’s to show that so much reality can’t be denied.

Science, Fruit, Tool and Motivation of Philosophy

April 3, 2017

Can philosophy exist on its own? The cognitively challenged think so. See the somewhat dim-witted “Philosophy Tool Kit” in Aeon, by what else, a professional philosopher, somebody taught precisely to teach that “Thinking like a philosopher need not be a strange and arcane art, if you get started with these tricks of the trade… At a time when we are bombarded more than ever with specious claims and spurious inferences, clear thinking provides a much-needed safeguard that we should all strive towards. Philosophers place a premium on certain tools for regimenting our thinking, especially logic and probability theory.

In other words, like everything else, for the dim-witted, philosophy is a trade. Being wise, the Promethean essence of human spirit, is brought down to recipes. Apparently to “regiment” our thinking we have to acknowledge that “trade“. Everything is a “trade“. And why do we “regiment”? Well, according to all too many people paid to propagandize the official version of philosophy, we are in an army, apparently, “regimented” in the triumphing army of trade. Wisdom is a military trade. (The afore quoted “philosopher” comes from Australia, a place which made lots of money with coal and iron sold to China.)

Well… Trade is not the essence of humanity, wisdom is. And wisdom rests on science, knowing what is true. Not what a trade our disciplined regiments are.

(The author in Aeon self-defines as an “analytic philosopher”. “Analytic philosophy” is a branch of philosophy so stupidly arrogant that it thinks nobody else is analytical. Analysis actually means “deconstruction”, something ironic as “analytic philosophers” tend to despise Derrida… Bertrand Russel is often viewed as the father of analytic philosophy, although he thought it was not an activity worth having…)

I don’t esteem Plato very much, but on this one he got it right. Modern philosophers tend to not know modern geometry, because they are lazy dogs.. They prefer to ponder the meaning of “the”…

Accordingly, Plato thought that the first trick, the first tool, the first requirement, of philosophy was to learn “geometry” (which was NON-Euclidean geometry at the time, thus not that simple!). Please remember that Plato was notoriously friendly to tyrants. However, even him did not think philosophy was a regimented trade!

Another interest is that, by being exposed to science and mathematics, the spirit and culture of inquiry, fundamental to the love of wisdom, can be encouraged. Such is the fundamental toolkit of the philosopher.


Most so-called philosophers praise themselves for superior thinking. However human species have unceasingly deliberately perfected what superior thinking is, and provides with, for millions of years. Superior thinking is not a static achievement, a book one can learn by rote. Superior thinking is what humanity does unceasingly more of.

Philo-Sophy, Loving Wisdom, is an abbreviation for the excellence which is truly meant. (Just as an electron is an abbreviation for what is truly meant; Dirac’s meaning of the electron as an abbreviation was different from that of his immediate predecessors.)

Everybody loves wisdom, even cats. Especially cats. But wisdom as cats tend to have it, is different from wisdom, as Homo Sapiens tend to have it.

What’s ought to be truly meant by “philosopher” is someone who loves superior wisdom more than any other love, and has actually achieved that superiority. Cats are not philosophers, because, given a chance, they would rather eat the bearer of superior wisdom (namely Homo Sapiens).

The notions of “philosopher” and the “philosophical method” are distinct. A genuine philosopher will practice the philosophical method, which consists into using whatever it takes to advance wisdom, even poetry and the vaguest analogies. And what is wisdom? Superior understanding of what makes the universe tick.

Thus a towering philosopher will have to be a scientist, mathematician and logician, as Plato felt, and as towering geniuses of the Middle Ages such as Abelard and Buridan were (Buridan proved Aristotle physics wrong, introducing the heliocentric system, most of “Newton’s” laws… and successfully tackled the problem of self-referential statements, circa 1350 CE, amidst plague and war).


The average persons feel that exhibiting tribal appurtenance is the highest form of wisdom, that make them no better than baboons (be they jihadist, attached to Islam, or physicists, anxious to exhibit their quirky love for the local sport team). That does not qualify them as philosophers, because our ancestral baboon equivalents have been doing this for 50 million years, there is nothing superior about it.


Part of wisdom is not to stay a prisoner of the vehicle used to convey it, be it a person, a language, a theory, a sentence or a word. The question is not what wisdom is, but what wisdom means: analyze not the words, but what they are supposed to mean. What the interlocutor meant, and that interlocutor could be nature itself.


Any logic L, and thus, in particular any wisdom W, is relative to a context. Giving a context to that context is going meta. Going meta is not in general unique, and it is always possible, and even easy: pick up an axiom, say A of L, and consider the meta logic made of the union of L and what you get by adjoining non-A to L. This is the scheme to get non-Euclidean geometry, or non-standard arithmetic, or non-standard analysis, or complex analysis from real analysis, or even finite fields.


Nature is a sadistic god. Why not? We know nature is a sadistic god, because we have wisdom. Hyenas don’t have that luxury, condemning what feeds them. Hyenas have to eat the genitals of the uncooperative buffalo first, as hyena heuristics show  that they are delicious, and their absorption diminishes the vigor of the prey. Occasionally, though, a lioness will have the wisdom to protect a young prey animal, as a pet.

Even lions know nature is a sadistic god. But only us can go industrial, building a better god. Hint: it’s not to be obtained by just focusing on the word “the”, and equally puny tricks (cockroaches know tricks too; they don’t belong to superior wisdom, because, however correct, they are too puny).

Human wisdom enables to provide us with the tools to build a less sadistic version of nature. Sadism where we want it. Not where “it” wants it…

Patrice Ayme’



September 2, 2009




Abstract: A few biological observations suggest that describing "genes" with just acid coding for proteins (be it DNA or RNA) comes short.  It would rather seem that a full description of heredity (of the so called "phenotype") shows it arising partly as an inheritance of geometrical elements. The full power of Quantum Physics then allows to entangle its informational content with that of the environment by Quantum computations.

More precisely, the deep nature of the gene is found to be any inheritable geometric structure (organelles are an example). The ability of Quantum computation to create greater complexity in a non local manner allows genes to bring initial conditions that are complexified by the information contained in the global nature of the environment. This turns the biggest mystery of Quantum physics into an explanation of how so much morphogenesis comes from so little local data. 


The initial definition of the concept of "gene" dates from the nineteenth century, shortly after Mendel’s work. The idea was that a gene is defined as any smallest element of hereditability in a living organism.

This is much better than overspecialized definitions having to do with DNA. First of all, some viruses contain no DNA. But if one catches one of these viruses, they will feel very much alive: the SARS virus is an example. So one would have to replace "DNA" by "nucleic acid sequence having a functional effect".

But there are several drawbacks with this. First there is such a small number of "genes" using that nucleic acid definition, that it stretches the imagination towards incredulity that all the inheritable information is contained therein. It’s hubris to decide we know all, when obviously something seems so amiss.

Secondly, division of nuclear DNA is only part of what divides during cell division. Mitochondria (with their own DNA) also divides. So do many organelles, which acquire specific positions during division. For example the Golgi apparatus. The localization of other organelles also seems to indicate specific functions during cell division. In addition, organelle positioning mediated by the actin cytoskeleton is implicated in the inheritance of organelles by the daughter cells. In other words, there is a lot of geometry dividing when cells divide, beyond nuclear acid dividing.

Third, prions have been discovered. Prions are infectious agents that are composed of protein. Such agents have been discovered to propagate by transmitting a misfolded protein state. Of course, some people will declare that the propagation of a "geometrical state" is not the propagation of a "gene". According to the acid definition of "gene", certainly not. But, according to the original, and most general definition, why not?

Fundamentally, life is a form of nanotechnology, itself a form of Quantum Physics. Life is a form of organized Quantum. The Quantum is all about states. Quantum states, OK. But Quantum states are truly geometrical states. Just like the prion.

Conclusion: genes are inheritable geometrical states (in particular, some of them are pieces of nucleic acid states).

One could say: how did we progress here, besides having a more mathematical, more general definition of "gene"?

Well, Quantum states do not just lay in state. Quantum states are geometrical states obtained by mixing particular initial conditions with the geometry of the environment. And as they do so, they do more. That is the core of the dispute between Bohr and Einstein. Bohr believed that one could not detach the apparatus from the experience being conducted. So he introduced an element of non locality that infuriated Einstein. On that particular point, Einstein was wrong, as more and more experiments have definitively demonstrated.

Non locality shows up as a computation. For example, as a deep space, transgalactic photon meets a galaxy, the geometry of the photon state interacts with the geometry of the galaxy, producing gravitational lensing. Thus, from two geometries as initial condition, one gets, through a Quantum computation, a more complex one. Complexity has been Quantum generated. I propose that the complexity of life is generated (in part) through that exact Quantum mechanism.

Gravitational lensing is an observed fact. And, although a Quantum theory of gravity does not exist yet, the facts, as described here, are beyond dispute, at this level of generality (see the note for those who know advanced physics and would object to the gravitation-Quantum conflation just boldly evoked, in a conceptual leap).

Most probably, something of the same sort probably happens during biological morphogenesis. indeed, otherwise, one would have to invent some new facts to dispel reality as it is known to happen, both on the smallest (Quantum) and largest (Transgalactic) scale.

Hence combining geometrical genes with the geometry of the environment through a quantum computation generates the observed complexity of life.

Erwin Schrodinger, the Quantum physicist with the eponymous equation, wrote a short book, "What is life?" in which he carefully considered that a reproducing "aperiodic crystal" ought to be at the core of the genetic storage of life It was a good guess. It was credited by F. Crick, and several other most famous biologists, has having inspired them.

But that was a while ago (1944). Thus, it may have been time to make further informed guesses…


Patrice Ayme



Note 1: I breathed through some physics so advanced above that it may well be false. But, if it false, known physics would have to be modified.

In particular, I gave gravitational lensing as an example of Quantum computation. On the face of it, this is completely silly, since gravitational lensing is purely "classical". But, philosophically, it is fully cogent. Let me explain.

In "general relativity", Einstein’s theory of gravitation, the matter-energy tensor determines the geodesics of space-time. Basically the heftier the mass-energy in a neighborhood, the more space-time is (positively) curved in this neighborhood: geodesics can converge. Photons describe geodesics, so they can converge to a point beyond a galaxy, and, sitting at that point, looking towards it, the galaxy has acted as a giant lens. This is how Einstein’s theory was confirmed by an Eddington expedition to Africa in 1919, as a solar eclipse allowed to observe that sun grazing light indeed deviated in the exact amount (twice that predicted by simple Newtonian gravity).

This is "classical", id est, non Quantum physics. In Quantum physics, though, the trajectory of the photon as it curves graciously around the galaxy, cannot be determined. Saying that the photon follows a geodesics, the mainstay of Einstein’s theory, has no meaning. Instead a mysterious happening a la Bohr is going on. But here the laboratory is the entire neighborhood around a galaxy, something hundreds of thousands of light years across. The Schrodinger cat is not just dead and alive, it has swallowed a galaxy, too. Whatever is going on is hidden, and not described by either Quantum theory or Einstein’s gravity.

The only thing we can say, for sure, is that some form of Quantum computation is going on. And that is what I said. In light of this, viewing biological morphogenesis as a Quantum computation is no more outrageous.

Note 2: I did not mention "non coding" DNA (so called junk DNA). Although it constitutes 95% of the genome, and, although it probably does much, it only adds more acid to the mix. Instead the process above, obtaining the apparition of massive complexity through the Quantum interaction of inherited geometry with the environment, is a completely new explanatory scheme.