The Gateway

Tag: Metaphysics

Why? Just why?

by Andy on May.14, 2010, under General

As I’m currently working on designing the interface specification to connect an artificial intelligence to a game engine, I had to think a lot about causality. And damn it, it’s a complex topic! Perhaps the most defining question in our whole life. We all start as children on the backseat of our dad’s car, permanently asking “Why is sky blue?”, “Why is the car driving?” or simply, but not less difficult to answer “Why does it take so long to arrive at the zoo?”. While those questions, or at least most of them, are rather philosophic or scientific, our early days are usually followed by a much less world-shaking period with questions like “Why did she break up with me?” or “Why the hell do I have to learn all that shit for a stupid exam?”. Following that little downtime, we usually start to ask us more general questions again, but they will now depend on our experiences in the past, as our brain will try to answer those nasty “Why”s based on our collected knowledge. Sadly, that also denies many ways of thinking to us. Those we never collected experience for.

Nonetheless, the “Why” accompanies us through our whole life. That’s quite remarkable if you ask me. But what do those “Why” questions really ask for? In the most general case, they ask for a causal relation, trying to identify the trigger of an action we just witnessed or heard of. But why should we want to know? Haha, there it was again. Nope but honestly, we should try to get a feeling for our need to asking the “Why” question, as the “Why of Whys” can teach us much of our way, and the techniques, we tend to use to solve those questions. This knowledge might open our view to new ways of thinking.

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Damn, it’s about time!

by Andy on Apr.30, 2010, under General

Yea, it has been quite some time since the opening of this blog, but life gets busy from time to time..

Time is an interesting concept either way! You always happen to have far to much of it, while having no idea what to do. On the other hand, it’s always short if a deadline comes close. That’s probably not a scientific discovery, but just the result of my bad planning. Either way, time is a very interesting topic we rarely think about, yet it surrounds us ‘all the time’.

The first question that jumps into my mind when thinking about the universe is ‘when did it start?’. What a nasty question! If we consider time being part of our universe (and why shouldn’t we consider that) the question includes ‘when did time start?’. And that’s where the trouble starts! To define a certain point in time (that’s what ‘when did time start?’ should return) we require something to measure it. A clock like in the lower right of your desktop won’t do, as our clocks count time distances from a certain start. We could try to do that backwards.. so lets t_start be the first moment in history, aka the first moment our universe did ever had. Then t_kickoff would be the moment where time started.. the moment before the first moment.. wait a minute!

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