It's easier to shout than it is to sing.
It's easier to obey than it is to think.
It's easier to destroy than it is to create.

I do not seek an easy life.

May you live in interesting times.

Being Human

Life's endlessly interesting. This haphazard zone of my web-site might be accused of philosophy, but that's more grandiose than what I aim to do with it. I've written less here than in other areas; not because it's less important, but because I can't articulate my thoughts on it as fluently. The fragments that exist are:

It seems worth mentioning Arthur Clarke's three laws (far more relevant to the real world than Asimov's):

One of humanity's greatest unsung triumphs has been the defeat of leprosy. Although around a quarter million victims remain, the WHO campaign to eradicate leprosy makes steady progress. Many millions of victims of this ancient scourge have been cured. A 1991 WHO policy to reduce levels of leprosy to below one in ten thousand by 2000 was completed on schedule.

Given that a human brain contains of order 1e11 (a hundred milliards of) neurons, say N of them, suppose the length scale of a typical neuron (they're quite gangly, for cells, so maybe 2 mm isn't too unrealistic) is r times the length scale of the human head (something like 200 mm), say r ≈ 0.01 or so, the fraction m of the total brain-cells within reach of each is about 1/r/r/r; so m.N is still pretty big (still 1e5, a hundred thousand). If each neuron connects to k others, it's got chose(m.N, k) = (m.N)!/k!/(m.N −k)! choices open to it and there are N such neurons; we count each connection twice (once for each of the two neurons connecting at it), so this gives N.(m.N)!/k!/(m.N −k)!/2 possible patterns of interconnection. If k is reasonably small compared to m.N (as seems likely to my guesses) this is of order N.(m.N)k, something like ten11 +5.k, which is going to be pretty huge for even quite modest value of k. That's just the possible patterns of interconnection: each neuron has potentially quite complex state and the brain has chemical signaling going on via other paths than direct neural connections. The number of possible states of a human brain is pretty big.

See also

Fortunately, some other folk are less incoherent.

You raise the blade, you make the change
you re-arrange me 'til I'm sane.

You lock the door and throw away the key –
there's someone in my head, but it's not me.

Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon.

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