Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Would I fish if fish had face?

Yesterday evening I was contacted by a friend. During the phone discussion he told me that during the flight some finnish physicist had started to talk with him. During the discussion my friend had mentioned my name and to his surprise had received a very strong negative reaction.

My friend who knows me personally of course wondered why this. It had become clear that mentioning my name touches very sensitive emotional nerves. Is there some reason? Does the mentioning of my name induce the same kind of weird aggression in all my finnish colleagues? I told as my impression that this negative attitude characterizes most of the collective. I also proposed that it might reflect the characteristic socio-pathology of the finnish society which one might refer to as "misunderstood equality". It is very difficult for us in Finland to tolerate the feeling that one of us, just one of these ordinary Finnish people, might possibly have done something that might possibly distinguish him or her among other Finns some day. It is easy to find historical reasons why for this syndrome.

I however felt that this explanation was not all of it. During the night I saw a strange dream which gave a hint about the deeper psychology. I was fishing (not my hobbies during day-time!). Strangely, half of the fish was out of the water. It had taken the bait to its mouth and was just about to swallow it. There was however something that disturbed me. The "face" of fish was very clever, I might say even human. It was clear to me that the fish would feel horror and pain if it were to swallow the bait. I woke up and decided that I would not continue my dream hobby if it depends on me.

When I began to ponder about this, I realized the connection with the phone discussion. What made the situation so unpleasant was that I saw the "face" of the fish and its ability to suffer. I also felt that in the dream I was both the fisher and fish whereas in this something that we are used to call reality my colleagues were the fisher and I was the fish. The dream clearly wanted me to imagine what it is to be in the position of my colleagues and think what they have felt during these 28 years. I have of course done this many times in my attempts to understand but not in this context.

During years I have repeatedly encountered two obvious but strange things which dream expressed symbolically. First of all, most colleagues have avoided personal contact with me to the extent that the situation has often reached comic proportions. On the other hand, colleagues have wanted to label me to be something so weird that it simply cannot belong to the same species. During first years I was labelled as a kind of idiot savant lacking all forms of intelligence and even the ability to feel insults (sic!).

Later the idea about some kind of psychopath was added to the repertoire of my psychopathologies. I got a very concrete demonstration about this as I visited Kazan for more than decade ago. One of young professors who had just labelled my work as a pure rubbish in an official statement had allowed the locals to understand that I am more or less a complete psychopath who has cold-heartedly rejected his family (I had divorced at that time).

In light of the dream I find it easy to understand these strange and cruel behaviors of the community towards individual. Dehumanization is the only possible justification for the cruel behavior of the collective against individual and saves individuals from feeling directly how unethical it is. But dehumanization is possible only if you do not see the victim. If you see that the victim is intelligent living creature able to suffer, you cannot continue. You wake up, as I did from my dream. Without the refusal from personal contacts these people could not continue their dreaming.

Net age has made this painful conflict even more difficult since it provided me with communication channels making even more obvious that I am an intelligent human being and even theoretical physicist. 15 books on home page and name in Wikipedia in category "Physicists" makes it very difficult to seriously continue believing that I am a miserable crackpot. It is clear than I can write. Probably also my ability talk would become manifest if some academic instance in Finland would invite me to tell about my work. I can express myself also in my blog, and anyone can become convinced that the label of a mentally retarded psychopath is not from this world.

My belief is that the reason why this situation has reached the verge of collective madness is that for a collective it is extremely difficult to admit that the path once light-heartedly chosen is wrong. Even if it becomes obvious that something horribly wrong and cruel is being done. As perfectly normal and benevolent individuals these people certainly feel that they are doing something very bad and have probably sometimes experienced that I have become a fish with human face crying like a mad for pain and even more horrible, refuses to die. This kind of unresolved psychological conflict must be very painful as it continues. For myself, I have been done my best to not evoke these feelings in my colleagues as anyone in this kind of position is biologically programmed to do (Stockholm syndrome, not that one;-)!)

My story is of course a rather tame version about what happens everywhere around the world all the time. There is however something very special in the community of theoretical physics. There is a horrible competition and the situation is not improved by the fact that community resembles in many respects primitive communities dominated by archaic myth figures (Newton, Einstein,...). There is something very primitive in that these persons are given a status of God and that individual who just dares to think aloud, can be professionally destroyed by dooming him to be a sufferer of Einstein syndrome.

If each of us had the social maturity of sixty years old at age of twenty, I would not be writing this. At the first pole of the problem is the self-centeredness of young person and his poor ability to put himself in the shoes of another human being. At the other pole is the desire for the social acceptance and our very poor ability to resist social pressures. No institutional reform can serve as a fast miracle cure since each individual must start from scratch his personal social evolution. Cultural evolution is needed. Although this evolution have been very fast and perhaps exponential in biological time scale it is desperately slow when you taken human lifetime as a time unit.

There are however flashes of light from darkness now and then. Just few days ago I experienced something historic. The number of those finnish colleagues, who have contacted me during these years on their own initiative, can be counted using the fingers of single hand, actually single finger is enough! Now I must add to my counting system second finger;-). A colleague, who has already resigned, sent me an email and asked my opinion about something as a theoretical physicist. My opinion! As a theoretical physicist!! I was totally embarrassed about my own happiness and had to work hard to calm down myself!

P.S. I have two especially active net-enemies in Finland: Lauri Gröhn and "Optimistx". Both of these fellows have an attitude to truth which brings in my mind the notion of "creative book-keeping". It is frightening to see how deep hatred my thoughts generate in these fellows. Finnish readers can find my comments about these skeptic militants in finish here.


Kea said...

Thanks for sharing this with us, Matti! Having received much the same treatment myself, I know how you feel.

It is very difficult for us in Finland to tolerate the feeling that one of us, just one of these ordinary Finnish people, might possibly have done something that might possibly distinguish him or her among other Finns some day.

LOL! That is sooo Australian. We call it the Tall Poppy Syndrome because the tall poppies get cut down to match the height of the others.

Good luck with your new friend.

Matti Pitkänen said...

Might be that this syndrome plagues young societies.

Institutional violence which I have had a rare kind of opportunity to study as a unique combination of researcher and laboratory animal (perhaps I should acknowledge my colleagues here for a generous help in experimentation:-)), is more universal.

Despite all this pain and sometimes also horror I would not give away these years. They have opened me a rather realistic view to the social reality behind polite gestures.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 25 07

I figured they would start to come around in time. Pretty soon, you will get more calls from people asking you about physics topics. Get ready for the onslaught. Have a great week:)

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 25 07

Oh, here is another question for you? How do ditopological manifolds fit into TGD? See my top post for some thoughts on them. Thanks.

Matti Pitkänen said...

Dear Mahndisa,

If I guess correctly "di-topological" means giving a manifold two different topologies simultaneously.

In TGD framework genuine real and *effective* p-adic topology appear as simultaneous topologies of real space-time sheet. p-Adic topology makes however sense only in some length scale range not infinitesimally.

In another sense di-topology could be defined as a pair of topologies associated with the pair formed by real partonic 2-surface and corresponding p-adic 2-surface having a lot of common rational (or more generally algebraic) points as their intersection. This intersection would define the partonic 2-surface from the observational point of view since the definition S-matrix involves only data about these points.

Interestingly, this discretization can contain all the data needed in the category consisting of partonic 2-surfaces defined by rational functions with rational coefficients. This world of classical worlds would be discrete! One might perhaps say that di-topological partonic surface corresponds to a pair of different completions of discrete partonic 2-surface.


Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 25 07

Matti: You didn't read my note! That is not the definition of a ditopological manifold;) A ditopological manifold is a manifold that has a partial ordering relation associated to it. Do partonic surfaces have partial time ordering relations?

Matti Pitkänen said...

Dea Kea,

I am sorry. I read. Ditopological was a natural guess. I remember that I have read something written by you about this. Sorry, I was totally absorbed in writing posting about gravitational radiation in TGD and did not have time to check.

In the formulation of quantum TGD future and past light cones of the imbedding space are in a key role. This brings time ordering as partial time order inside the cone and induces similar ordering at the level of partonic 3-surfaces.

Physically the two different time orientations corresponds to matter with positive energies and phase conjugate matter with negative energies. Phase conjugate laser light would correspond to the nonstandard time orientation.

For instance, second law of thermodynamics holds true but in a reversed direction of geometric time (important to distinguish this from subjective/ experienced time defined as a sequence of quantum jumps). The growth of entropy looks like its reduction from the point of view of standard observer. This property of phase conjugate light is used routinely to correct errors in signalling.

This allows also to understand mysterious looking behaviors of living matter. Self assembly of tobacco mosaic virus is a really fascinating example of this.


Kea said...

Mahndisa, here is a link to some categorical ideas on ditopologies. I've come across such things while studying lattice theory and thinking about quantum generalisations.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 27 07

Thanks for the link Kea. I came across that article but it is expensive so I have been using other links to explore these ideas. I was just curious to see how that notion fit into TGD. Certainly the connexion between ditopological manifolds, category theory and ultrametric spaces is coming more to the forefront every day. Buzz word; check out the works of Fionn Murtagh. He is awesome!

Anonymous said...

"...I was totally embarrassed about my own happiness and had to work hard to calm down myself!"

with due respect,
Your situation, Matti, is something like Russian mystic Madam Blavatsky in the late 1800's.

What do you thinking about The Secret Doctrine by Blavatsky?
We know that Einstein read those books.


Matti Pitkänen said...

My serious interest in consciousness theorizing was raised by a long-lasting "Big Experience", which made it clear that our neuroscientific view about consciousness is fundamentally wrong, or actually not even wrong, simply insane;-).

I am however skeptic about concrete attempts to interpret experiences in altered states of consciousness as scientific facts since all these reports are metaphoric verbalizations restricted by the backgrounds of both experiencer. The background of interpreter brings in additional fuzziness.

I have not read the book of Blavatsky but I have been developing a quantum theory of consciousness and I have done a considerable amount of work in order to understand remote mental interactions. Remote mental interactions are everydaily routine in TGD based brain model where "magnetic body" of astrophysical size is what uses brain and body as motor instrument and sensory receptor. The communications between magnetic body and brain use same mechanisms which would be used in remote mental interactions such as telepathy. For instance, Libet's findings provide support for the notion of magnetic body as does also the successful model of EEG.

The problem (not actually mine but of science community;-)) is extremely narrow-minded scientific culture. Sad to say, but much of theoretical physics, in particular so called unified theory building, has degenerated to arrogant dogmatism which produces mathematical methology but no physics.

Planck length scale reductionism means that theoreticians take the existing experimental physics just dirty low energy phenomology. These people could not be less interested on biology, which is regarded nothing but complexity.

When theoretician realizes that the reductionistic dogma and the belief that quantum effects are important only in molecular length scales and below are deadly wrong, flood gates of anomalies from cosmology to biology to particle physics suddenly become available and theoretician realizes living in paradise!

It is really a pity that such a collective stupidity dominates entire field of science during information age when such richness of highly refined data is available to open minded theoretician.