Life 2.0?

Are you fascinated by how you can translate thoughts to vibrations in your vocal cords that in turn produces pressure variations in the air? Variations that are isotropic and spread in three dimensions while losing intensity proportional to one over time squared. If someone is close enough to you the information, in the form of moving molecule density patterns, can be unconsciously transformed into charge anomalies in that person’s nervous system. When the electrical impulses reach the brain, the information can be converted in the meaning. Meaning in this sense is just a person’s additional nerve cell connections produced to alter the understanding of other packages of information processed by the brain. A different understanding of the world will make you react differently on it. A puddle of water will also react on the world depending on the information given to it. So, how are we different from a puddle of water you may ask? You can certainly say that a puddle is an entity, and it can lose some of its molecules and perhaps gain others, just like an animal. But, its reactions are not at all in line with self-conservation which in my view is what separates living from none living things.

I believe life is an accident; it doesn’t need to exist, but when it comes to existence it will by definition stay that way. Life in my opinion is an entity that stores information about it-self and will interact with the environment in order to conserve that information. Since everything decomposes, the information will soon be lost if the entity doesn’t have the ability to copy it-self and store the information about it in the new copy. For sure, it is possible for an entity to contain the information about it and only replace its parts, but soon or later an accident will wipe out the whole entity. The later is a behavior that doesn’t conserve the information about it-self very well and should maybe not be considered as life. Life probably arose when an entity and its information, which we can call an organism, was conserved to such extent so that the copy also had the ability to copy it-self. As the organisms copied them self, information was inevitably distorted in some copies. Did the change of blueprint make a new form of life or a none-living entity? Well, it did both for sure, but only the living things prevailed. The natural continuation on this is that the organism evolved towards entities that had better chances of passing on its information.

After some time, the organisms became expert at passing on information, but the resources for making copies of them-self where almost used up and had to be shared among all the new individuals. If an offspring got a blueprint that made it a little more likely to drift away from the crowded areas it would definitely be more likely to survive. You can think of countless other properties that will give a branch of life an advantage in terms of finding resources necessary for reproduction. If one branch of life differs from another to a certain degree we say that they represent two different species. An organism could either evolve to make use of new types of resources or acquire the ability to move and detect resources elsewhere. Maybe this was how plants and animals got separated in the tree of life. In the later, motion and fast reaction to the world played an important role which lead to the evolution of sensory organs. The sensory organs must be able to take in information and use that information to move in some way. At first, simple chemical relations between input and output was made. But in order to have complex reactions, which optimized the search for resources, life eventually evolved a process center. We call this a brain and it gives an organism the ability to store earlier sensory information and use it later in connection to current input to form an output best suited for finding resources. Life doesn’t have to evolve to form larger brains but it did in some branches of life, so it must have been to some advantage. We are in the branch that took the brain
advantage seriously.

Our body process sensory information and influence our behavior more than we understand; this is probably because understanding hasn’t been around long enough. Some argue that only humans understand which would make this phenomenon a few million years old. Life has existed a thousand times longer on earth, so it’s not strange that we haven’t figured out how we work yet. Nevertheless, it is astonishing that we understand so much that we do. I think most understanding is based on knowledge, and since knowledge from earlier generations is passed on to their offspring, the amount of understanding accumulates over time. Our understanding evolves and is almost like life-form using the human brain as its vessel and the more you understand the more you want to tell, so it is a good survivor. Different branches of understanding or beliefs compete against each other and evolve on their own until one branch gains enough confidence to form a paradigm. In turn it knocks out most of the other belief systems and continues to evolve now in the minds of many more and at a higher rate. Could this be a hidden form of life that when fed with truths takes good care of us and when given lies ruins us.


What is Beauty?

You have probably heard that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I would argue that there is more to this than what meet the eye.  What meets your tongue could be consider beauty – why should beauty be restricted to those who can see? It is an overall experience you get when you perceive something you feel comfortable with. It might be a smell, taste, touch, sound or a view. It could obviously be a combination of them as well. Why do we perceive some sensations as beautiful and not others? How can we distinguish the feeling of experiencing something beautiful with the feeling of being attracted to, or enjoying something for that matter? Let me tell you about my thoughts on one type of experience which I feel is as close as it gets to what we think of when we hear the word beautiful.

When the physical fields around us are projected on our sensory organs, electro chemical signal are sent to the brain. With other words, only a small part of the information carried in the field reaches us. The brain has evolved to only take in the information that we can use to get a survival advantage. However, we need to but that information in to content in order for it to mean anything. We need to map the information in to something you have experienced before. One can say that the brain creates a mental model of reality from memory and whatever we perceive at the moment has to be fitted in to that model.

Beauty in my view is the experience we get if the newly required information fits well with our mental model. So what is beautiful for you depends on your earlier experiences and on how you create your mental model. To make a mental model of reality the brain uses as little energy as possible, so it will not generate an exact representation of what’s out there. It will rather take in the most important features and generate the spaces in between. If for example you look at a face which is roughly mirror symmetric, the brain will use information from the right side of the face to fill some features on the left side. The more symmetric your experience is, the less information is needed to recreate that experience resulting in less energy usage in the brain.

So, the brain uses symmetry when it creates its mental model of the world. This means that symmetric things will fit better in to that mental model, which is why we perceive symmetric experiences as more beautiful. The more we experience the same thing the more accurate our mental model of that thing will become. This is why young people find beauty in people that are similar to their parents. Their mental model for faces is mostly made up of these faces. We also find beauty in songs that are rhythmical. We expect the beat of a song to continue with the same pace. When the beat then fits that model it feels nice. Wine or bear might not taste special in the beginning, but eventually we will build up a mental model of those drinks. When we get a drink that matches that model it is pleasurable. We might on the other hand be really sensitive to small deviations, now when our model is so precise.

Humans are driven by emotions. It gives us direct feedback which in a group would improve cooperation in many cases. The feeling of perceiving beauty is this positive feedback for creating accurate mental models which clearly must be preferable. But as with everything, there is always a tradeoff between accuracy and effort. Evolution has once again driven us as a species to that perfect balance. If only we could learn from Mother Nature and push our society towards some perfect balance!


My view of life

I think life is about getting better at what you enjoy and try to make you doings valuable for others. It is about understanding what you can do and what you can’t.

I want to get a grip of who I am, where I came from and what I am capable of creating. I want to challenge my ideas in order to learn.

Then I want to create what I thought was impossible and do what I feared I could never do.

I am genetically programmed to preserve my genes. It happens though that most of my genes are shared by other humans and consequently I inherited altruism. It feels good to help others and more so to help those that share a larger portion of your genes. But this is not the only reason for adopting altruism.

To find out what I can do and to learn something new we are helplessly dependent on others. Of those that have been but also on those who are. You see, not even the most knowledgeable person knows how to make a simple pencil. One needs to know how to mind the metals for the eraser holder while learning how to harvest the rubber and process it into erasers. Especially if at the same time, one needs to know how to extract and construct the graphite, wood and yellow paint needed to make the pencil. So, in order to create we need each other. In order to know we need each other. In order to grow we need each other.

Why blogging?

I started blogging since I think it is a great way to learn to write. It is also a way to spread my thoughts and test them. I am curious on the responses and hope to develop ideas based on these! Any critics is more then welcome, I would love to learn from you!

Blogging or writing is also a way to challenge an idea. Many times I have had thoughts that appear clear at first but becomes fuzzy when written down. This can depend on the fact that language is discrete but ideas less so. The idea may fall in between the grid of the language that you are trying to describe the idea with.

About me…

Finally I started my own blog!

You can guess what my name is! I work in Stockholm as a PhD student and I have a master’s degree in physics and engineering.

In this blog I will try to share my thoughts on education, language and other philosophies. If you don’t agree with something I write, don’t hesitate to comment. I would love you to oppose my thoughts, that is why I am here. I want to teach but just as much I want to learn. Even without you I can learn from writing down my thoughts.

With this said, who am I? well, I can start by telling you where I am from.

I am from Gotland, you know it if you are a swede, if not – Google it. More precisely its southern parts, where I grew up with three siblings and two parents that right now celebrates 30 years of marriage. I was bullied some in school, but not enough to break me. It rather strengthen me, but then again, what do I know. I left at the age of 16 to stay at a boarding school in Sigtuna.

I have always loved math and finished the math curriculum earlier then most. I think I finished the ”gymnasium” math courses in the first year and commuted to Uppsala to continue on higher level math. I got through one or two courses but sports took over and I math become a hobby instead of a course. I did well in school and in the last year I won an award for producing the best math-text by secondary school students. I got a diploma for participating and I remember that I complained about the fact that it didn’t say anywhere on the diploma that I actually won the competition.

I just want to tell my story once. Patience!

After graduating from Sigtuna I spent two month travelling in the US and 8 month working in a company that almost did not pay me . I believed in the company, so I stayed, believing that the money would come. Well it did, but I could have gotten more from working at McDonald’s. During this time manage to play volleyball as well as injure my knee. I had a surgery and became better. In the fall 2007 I started the engineering physics program at KTH, continued playing volleyball and injured my self again. I worked hard both in school for good grades and in the gym to rehabilitate. I persisted and eventually I got back, not to volleyball but to beach volleyball.

I graduated from KTH in 2013 with 4.6 in average grades and at that time I was playing beachvolley at the elite level in Sweden.

Currently I do research in physics in relation to strongly correlated systems. Part of my work is to tutor in physics.

Okay, now you have heard enough. See you soon!