Date: February 21, 2010 3:19:07 AM EST
Subject: Just ideas
Dear Xin Wei.
Just to show my good will to contribute whatever is in the range of
my capabilities, I send you a thumbnail sketch of what ideas rushed
into my mind mulling over space and memory.
One additional topic has occupied my mind now for a while, it is the
architectural psychology of the virtual space. I think, that the architecture
of the virtual space has somehow to be derived from the proved and
familiar architecture of the real sensumotory space. Even though everything
seems possible in the virtual world, this ist not what we are looking for.
There have to be certain limitations and restrictions that give us foothold.
Please dont nail me down on my today suggestions, tomorrow I may have
quite different hopefully better odd ideas.
With warm regards.
Maybe you can make use of some of the wild thoughts that have popped up in my mind in the wakes of our short conversation.
First and foremost, according to my theory (or psychology) we do not have a memory, but we are a memory. Memory, in other words is an aspect of mentality or even more radically of everything. This reminds me of Alan Turing´s idea (and machine) with the difference, that the machine itself is an aspect of the machine and so is logic.
Many years ago, we tried to illustrate this weird idea by means of a rather primitive computer program called NESSI. The illustration was nice, and I think quite innovative, but we had to fight the same difficulties as with written words: you cannot relieve the reader of thinking himself. Watching the animated pictures may yield more insight than reading words, but it is not self explaning at all. You still have to talk a lot. (Now Nessi is not explaning anything, since she is running much too fast and no one has bothered to slow her down and make her run under windows).
Remarkable I think regarding NESSI was her fundamentally statistical nature. She is something like „living statistics“ or a „statistical theory of everything“. Even of me and myself but nota bene not only as an individual but as my community as well („in one“).
This idea seems rather radical at least at the first glance. I am used to be blamed as a solipsist. Maybe I am, but not in the logical, traditional sense. This is where poretic thinking becomes mandatory. Poretic thinking is the thinking of the famous baron of Muenchhausen, the guy who managed to haul himself (and his horse) out of the swamp by pulling his hair. I prefer the metapher that poretic thinking means jumping over your own shadow.
The theory is in some sense a mathematical one, but the sense is queer, namely poretic.
The poretic thinker loves the circle (and the straight way), he is poretic and scientific in one.
Ok, this is where I start, calculable and uncalculable at the same time, or say always more and less calculable, but nevertheless reliable. Thinking about space and memory causes me to ask: what do you mean by space? Are you talking about the sensumotory space, the visual space or some mathematical, abstract space? What do you mean by „memory“? How would you operationalise memory i.e. by reproduction or by shifting of predilection or....?
In the course of our experiments we have more and more developped a bias towards using temporal patterns as „memory contents“. As I do not know precisely enough in what direction you are thinking, I would like to (experimentally) concieve of an experiment memorising temporal preferentially acoustic patterns like sounds or rhythms in different locations in the acoustic space and have them reconstructed after a certain span of time.
I am quite aware that you might rather be thinking of something (very) different, but my suggestion could then serve as a test-item, directing my considerations elsewhere. For instance, you might be thinking of architectural space and people losing and findig their way. You might as well have some kind of virtual space in mind, or virtual architecture.
From time to time I have discussions with my younger son Elian, me trying to convince him of some spatial concept for databases. (Not the usual tree-structure, but some kind of a growing urban environment, starting with a city map and ending up in a kitchen shelf). The interplay of the human mind (and memory) and the computer-memory is a topic, that has fascinated me for decades.
At the moment, I am waiting for input from you. I would be happy, if my peculiar sometimes al little bit strange way of thinking could be helpful to you.
With warm regards.