BlogKinnetic

Thoughts on technology, science, reason, the free markets, politics, and other occasional topics. Please support this blog by visiting our google advertising partners! And remember, as the great William Hague, MP, says, "Only the Conservative Party will keep the pound!"

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Supporting Evidence for P != PSPACE

Abstract



A problem in P (sorting integers) is compared to a problem in PSPACE (John Nash's Hex game), and it is shown that a Turing Machine that is capable of infinite computation in finite time will demonstrate different behavior in the two cases, thereby indicating that P is a separate class from PSPACE.



I - Sorting Integers



If we take a finite integer i, there are i factorial (i!) ways it can be sorted. Thus, for any integer we can list out possible solutions for sorting this integer (from smallest to largest, etc.) in a finite time. If we had an Turing Machine that could go over all integers from 0 to infinity in finite time, this machine could, for every integer, list out all possible sorting combinations for that integer. The end result of this, for each integer up to infinity, would be still a countably infinite set of integers, that is, the solutions (different ways to sort each integer i) can be listed in a countable manner. Hence, P problems are countable, in the sense defined by Georg Cantor in the 19th century. So our Turing Machine can here list out all possible solutions.



II - John Nash's Hex game



The game Hex, invented by John Nash at Princeton (wiki link here) is a game where players try to place pieces on a (depending upon implementation) 14X14 board filled with hexagonal squares. The player that makes a connected path from left to right across the board wins. This has been shown to be PSPACE complete, namely, that for a given player position, it is a PSPACE-hard problem to determine if that player can win. If we think of an infinite Hex board (both along the vertical and horizontal), we can apply the same infinite Turing Machine to list out possible solutions (paths across the board going from left to right), all the way down the board. We could label all hexagonal cells in the neighborhood about a possible path with some convention, say, 1, 0,-1, with 1 meaning a hexogon just forward and above the current cell location, 0 as the hexagon just forward of the current cell location, and -1 as the cell just forward and downward of the current cell location, such that all paths across the board from start position over an infinite number of cells to the end position with numbers like 0,1,-1,0... One could then draw a diagonal swath across a given number of paths, and change some of the labels, making these paths become different paths than they were originally, and, after that, one would have changed the listing of possible paths (solutions) over the infinite hex board. This is nothing but Cantor's diagonalization argument for the real numbers, which are not countable. In other words the list of possible solutions for an infinite Hex board is in this manner not countable (listable), i.e. our Turing Machine cannot here list out all possible solutions.



III - Conclusions



By taking a P problem and showing that the listing of its solutions is countable, and taking a PSPACE problem and showing that the listing of its solutions is not countable, we see, by use of a Turing Machine capable of infinite computation in a finite time, that these problem domains are distinguishable in this manner when one is dealing with the asyomtotic (infinite) case for these problems. This can be argued to be supporting evidence for the proposition that P is separate from PSPACE. One could examine Hamiltonian circuits which are NP-complete and make a similar argument to support distinguishing P from NP. Of course this does nothing to comment upon whether or not PSPACE and NP are separate, but the argument to support separating P from PSPACE could be extended to Hamiltonian circuits to make a further circumstantial argument that P should be separated from NP. In any event, this argument should show the fruitful nature of examining Turing Machines of infinite power when dealing with such problems in complexity theory, which is presently being done by some researchers.



March 19, 2014

Asheville, North Carolina

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Could our universe be a quine?

The Computational Universe hypothesis says (essentially) that the laws of physics can be broken down into computer programs, or, put another way, the workings of the universe can be simulated computationally. More formally, Richard Feynman spent some of the last years of his life researching cellular automata, which was a model of computation developed, by, among others, John Conway, who also is known for surreal numbers theory. I will not here get into the details of cellular automata, except to say that they are mathematically equivalent to Turing Machines, but are easier to work with or to model, sort of like how a projected two dimensional map of the earth is equivalent to a globe, but can be easier to look at. Thus, at root, the computational universe hypothesis essentially states that the universe can be modelled by some kind of computational model such as a cellular automata.



The question I have often had is this: does this hypothesis mean we can sort of envision the universe we live in as sort of acting like one big computer, or, does it merely mean that the laws that define our universe can be enumerated or described by computational methods. The question here is rather a simple one, does the universe in space and time emulate a computer system, or, rather, is it simply that its laws can be described by a computational system. Often have I thought of this question, before dismissing it as one of those sort of questions that cannot be posed lacking sufficient information. After all, as Wittgenstein said, "whereof one cannot speak, one must remain silent."



So it went for some time. The other day, en route back home from a therapy appointment, I had a sudden idea on this matter, which caused me to exclaim aloud the thought I had, much I am sure to the consternation of my fellow bus passengers. :-) Who knows, perhaps I was in a more clearly thinking mood because of my therapy appointment. Whatever the reason, I suddenly had this thought: perhaps our universe is a quine.



I said that aloud, and loudly, I might add. For the non-programmers out there, a quine is a program that emits its own source code as output, and nothing else. For reference here are some examples in the C language of programs that do this - http://www.nyx.net/~gthompso/self_c.txt. For further reference, copied from the same link, here is a simple C program that prints out to the console (command window for you windows types out there) its own source code:



main(){char q=34,n=10,*a="main(){char q=34,n=10,*a=%c%s%c;printf(a,q,a,q,n);}%c";printf(a,q,a,q,n);}



If you compiled that and ran that from your command window, you would get that exact same code as your output. This is an example of a quine. So, to the question of does the universe behave like a computer, or, are its laws describable by computational means, the answer would be yes. In some formal sense, the universe could well be a sort of program that outputs its own code, i.e., a quine.



Here is the wikipedia link on quine type programs for more information - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quine_(computing).



This is a falsifiable hypothesis. One does not get to have the luxury of positing an idea regarding physics without some way of at least proving it incorrect. There is at least one, possibly more, but at least one way in which this is falsifiable. Let's look at the consequences of this and then let's see if we can figure out where it is falsifiable. :-)



Consequences / Predictions:



1) Time / Space are finite, as any computable function, including quine programs, are.



2) Spacetime (time and space taken together) is LaPlacean (deterministic) which thereby entails the Everett - Wheeler quantum multiverse (and by "entails" I mean "necessitates", not "implies", just to be clear).



3) There is a "preferred" temporal reference frame. This violates general relativity but not quantum theory, and is not as controversial as it sounds - it does not mean general relativity is incorrect, but merely that it is not a "final theory", similar to how Newtonian gravity is not "incorrect" but is not as precise as general relativity is certain situations. William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith co-wrote a book arguing for a "tensed" theory of time, with a "preferred" reference frame. I have not myself read it, though come to think of it, I suppose I should, but I merely mention that to say that having a "preferred" temporal reference frame is not a new idea, and, to be clear, I am not right now commenting on the "tensed" theory of time, which is kind of beyond the scope here, but just saying that a preferred reference frame is not a completely unknown concept, albeit a controversial one.



4) In any given "space-like surface" of spacetime (i.e. any given sort of "snapshot" of the universe at a moment of time) there is a sort of "encoding" of the laws of physics that govern the universe as a whole. That is, there is a one-to-one (y = f(x)) type relationship between some kind of "encoding" in a space-like surface and some model of physics, similar to how a differential equation can give a curve on a graph as equal to an infinite addition of some arithmetic series.



Now, at least this first point is falsifiable, at least in principle, because some models of inflation (the supposed rapid expansion of the universe for a few fractions of a second right after its beginning) indicate an infinite universe, in which inflation (and therefore, spacetime) goes on forever, and other models in which inflation ends after a finite time period, and that therefore the universe is finite (collapsing at length in the future to a "big crunch" as it were). I am not an expert here, but I do know that studies of the cosmic background radiation (the left-over radiation from the big bang) can be studied to discern between one model of inflation versus another. It is possible, therefore, that one could, by studying the background radiation, select a finite (or infinite) model of inflation against other models. Thus, this is a falsifiable notion. If infinite inflationary models seem more likely given observation of the cosmic background radiation, that would work against this idea. On the other hand, if finite inflationary models seemed suggested, that would support this idea. Ergo, this hypothesis is falsifiable by the first point above. Also, more and more, the Everett - Wheeler "many worlds" interpretation of quantum physics seems to be confirmed, which would support the second point. So this is not just an issue of "idle speculation" but is something that can at least be commented on by observational science.



This idea is also consistent with the universe being some sort of cellular automata, which Richard Feynman, among others, investigated, though in fairness to my knowledge there has never been sort of a "full court press" in this regard. But I think that issue is worth still looking into. And, indeed, were that the case, it would not be unfair to say that the universe itself could be subject to some sort of "natural selection" laws as Lee Smolin and others have posited in the past, albeit in different forms than the cellular automata framework. That issue is a bit beyond the scope here, but thought I would mention it.



Finally, on a more personal note, this idea kind of came to me while I was thinking of something rather different, but an interesting topic in its own right. If the universe is describable by computational rules, than it makes sense to ask if there are other ones as well, also describable by computational rules. It occurred to me, following a train of thought I am too lazy to get into right now :-) that any such "ensemble" of computational universes would form a set with the cardinality of the real numbers (Cantor's Aleph 1, rather than Aelp Nought, technically). The take-away there is that while a member of such an ensemble would be computational, the ensemble itself would not be. In other words, while any member of such an ensemble could be modelled via a Turing Machine, the entire ensemble itself could not be. Yes, that goes back to the Incompleteness Theorems, etc. So, while I was kind of taking some amusement out of that evident conundrum, I thought again of the basic issue of "in what way" (philosophically or scientifically) a universe in such an ensemble could be said to be "computational" when it kind of suddenly hit me that this question might be mute, if in fact the universe were a quine, i.e., its "description" and its "execution" were one and the same thing, a nice, tidy way out of such a question.



As for more details, such as how to select from one inflationary model versus another, I have to defer to those familiar with inflationary theory, which, coming from the computer science end of the spectrum, is not really my area. However, if we take as a hypothesis that the evolution through time of the universe can be thought of as the running of a quine program, lots of pieces fall into place all at once, as listed above. Our universe may more or less be a program that outputs its own source code, a quine. Personally, though, I will stick to writing quines in C. Far easier than deciphering the encryption of spacetime. :-)

Monday, September 2, 2013

BlogKinnetic: Positing the Sinthome as Curvature Constant for Topology of the Psyche

BlogKinnetic: Positing the Sinthome as Curvature Constant for Topology of the Psyche

Positing the Sinthome as Curvature Constant for Topology of the Psyche

Here I will briefly map out a new model that just popped into my head one day when I was thinking about the RSI (Real-Symbolic-Imaginary) borromean knot and its relationship to the Sinthome. Late in his life, Lacan pictured the psyche to be able to be modelled as a 3 ringed Borromean knot (google that, if one is unfamiliar with that topological construct). Such a knot is one in which if you cut one of the rings in the knot, the entire knot falls apart. They are intermingled together and if one link fails, the entire knot unravels. Laan used this to model how the psyche works, as an interplay between these rings, 1 for the Real, 1 for the Symbolic, and 1 for the Imaginary. I will here only very briefly summarize these concepts and one can certainly google them for more information. The Real is that realm of pre-language, or that which escapes language. The Symbolic relates to language, and specifically creates the unconscious by "carving up the Real" with words. The imaginary is the world of concepts made from words and is essentially where "we" (or "the ego") live so to speak. For instance, the Real of a horse is some direct experience of a horse but with no real understanding as to what a horse is. The Symbolic of the horse is the word "horse" that somehow makes the idea that there is something with "horse-ness" separated, or differentiated from, the undifferentiated and unified Real. The Imaginary of the horse is finally the concept, or picture in one's head of a horse, referred to by the word horse.



Now, here to follow Zizec, there are three ways the Real can "disrupt" this balance of the psychic registers (the RSI). The "symbolic real" is for example is when I see an unexpected word I don't understand - take the following: "The Pferd Alexander rode was named 'Bucephalus'". Now "Pferd" is German for horse, but if I didn't know that, then the sentence becomes confusing. The "imaginary real" is kind of worse, because it is associated with horror. Say I am at a family farm and want to ride one of the cute mares out in the barn, but when I mount it, I find I accidentally have mounted a fierce, untamed stallion that bucks and turns violent, whose eyes seem to be ablaze with fire, etc. My imaginary or conscious idea of "horse" is "thrown off" (pun intended) by the bucking black stallion of nightmare. The "real Real" can kind of go either way, into positive or negative territory, and it relates to the sublime, depending on the context. If I am on a horse, and, unknown to me, Paul Revere has been riding around warning everyone that the British are coming, someone seeing me might think I was one of Paul Revere's riders, and mistake me for one of the revolutionaries, when really I had just been out for an evening ride to get some fresh air. There is "sub-context" I had not intended. To take a positive example of "sub-context" or the "sublime" of something that really happened in history, the King of Denmark in WW II, Christian X, was powerless to stop the Nazis from taking over his much-smaller country, but the Nazis let me keep his titular position, if only to help maintain order. Soon after Denmark was officially part of the Reich, Christian X went out for his customary morning horse ride through what I imagine was a city park of some sort, or, in any event, in a public enough arena where the ordinary citizens of Denmark could see him. The King was wearing a yellow Star of David badge, which the Nazis were forcing the Jewish people to wear, out of solidarity for their plight. Instead of the ordinary, every day sight of Christian X taking a morning ride, there was the added signification by him wearing the Star of David. So, generally the symbolic real is confusing, if not necessarily always negative. The imaginary real for Zizec pretty much (as I understand it anyway) is mostly negative if not downright horrifying. The real Real can go either way, really, depending on context. [Religious awe a la the Ecstasy of St. Theresa whose status in Rome Lacan wrote a lot about may also fall into the category of Zizec's "real Real" but that is beyond the scope of this discussion.]



Lacan developed the idea of "Sinthome" which he added late in his life as a fourth ring in his borromean knot of the (Real-Symbolic-Imaginary). He called this the Sinthome, and that basically was the "main thing" a person did to keep the "knot" intact, or, slightly more technically, to keep out or "deal with" the Real, or at least the negative aspects thereof. His sine-qua-non or main example of this idea of "Sinthome" was the writings of James Joyce which often sound almost non-sensical. I don't myself know much about Joyce, but apparently he had a difficult childhood and generally, like many writers, had "issues", let's say. Lacan's specialty was in psychotics (what today we would call schizophrenics and folks with related illnesses like that) rather than neurotics (what today we would term as people with depression, anxiety, and related issues). Lacan posited that given Joyce's background Joyce very easily could have been a psychotic, but Joyce's writing enabled him to stave this off, to "keep out the Real" to so speak. Joyce's "sinthome" was his writing, the thing, basically, that kept him sane. I have seen at least one article written more recently that suggested Lovecraft (one of my own favorite authors) similarly used his writing as "Sinthome", the thing that "kept him sane", as there is a documented history of mental illness in Lovecraft's family. On a personal note, I occasionally enjoy writing the odd poem here or there, just for my personal amusement, and may post it on my blog now and again, but am not, nor aspire to be, a professional "poet". So one could say maybe that my own Sinthome is writing poetry but I will let my analysts determine that one, ha! :-)



Here I will posit an alternate modeling for Sinthome, not meant as a "better model" per ce, but just an alternative that occurred to me one day. I think my analyst and I had been talking about the "map" so to speak of the psyche, i.e., if that "map" showed "where one was at" on a sort of spectrum between "feeling great" and "being in a crisis" than understanding that "map" could help one better predict if one were nearing a "crisis". So maybe that conversation influenced me. But in any event, I want to now posit the Sinthome not as a 4th ring in the RSI knot, but as kind of a "curvature constant". Let me explain.



I am now going to do what physicists get paid to do, and that is pull a metric, or sort of metric, out of my ass. :-) Let p equal a point in this metric and let p = {R, S, I}, so, in another words each point is an RSI borromean knot. Let's keep it simple and say this metric has only 2 dimensions, the vertical (Y) one meaning passage of time and the horizontal one (X) mean the "map" of a subject's psyche at any given point in time, where each point p is a knot matching some word-concept-real combination (like point 1 could be the RSI of "cat", point 2 could be the RSI of "horse", point 3 could be the RSI of "mother" etc.). Something like this:



...

... (p1, t3) (p2, t3) (p3, t3) ...

... (p1, t2) (p2, t2) (p3, t2) ...

... (p1, t1) (p2, t1) (p3, t1) ...

...



The "up" direction there is the passage of time. The "across" there is the "snapshot" of the psyche at a given slice of time. OK, so where is my sinthome? My sinthome is now going to debut as the constant of curvature of this metric, so, "how curved" a point of the metric is, corresponds to say 1 / _s where "_s" is the "sinthome value" that has the range (0, 1]. Note the parenthesis in from of the 0. That means _s can drop all the way to 0, but the bracket after the 1 means _s can get arbitrarily close to 1, but can never reach it. So, say, _s has a value of 0.5, than 1 / _s, "the amount of curvature" at that point in that slice of time, is 2, just to have a very simple example. So each p is basically associated with a value, 1 / _s, that I can take to be "how much curvature" is there at that point p. As _s gets closer to 1, than 1 / _s is not much more than 1, so if we say having a curvature value of 1 means we have no curvature (something like the flat Euclidean metric from high school), then we have very little curvature. As _s falls close to 0 we get more and more, and if it actually hits 0, then we have infinite curvature, because 1 / 0 is infinity, depending on how one is defining things. To make this clear, the curvature at p1 is:

Curvature(p1) = p1_curvature * (1 / (_s(p1) ) )

The curvature at point p1 is given by 1 over the value of _s at p1 which I define as the Sinthome in a range (0,1]. I say Curvature(p1) = p1_curvature * ( 1 / (_s(p1) ) ) to show that curvature at p1 is not only the result of a low value of _s, but also of an "inherent" curvature at p1. In other words, I could have issues with the word "dog" if I were bitten as a child, so that signifier has a high inherent curvature, but if I have a good way of coping with this (say I have a dog as a pet who is a friend), i.e., a high level of _s, than the total curvature around this point is low, and I don't have too many issues. So curvature here is both "inherent" to the point itself, and is related to the sinthome, _s.



The lower the value of _s, the more curvature. More curvature, means, mathematically, the more geodesics (straight lines on the metric) run into each other, until, at a singularity, where we have infinite curvature all the geodesics in the region run into each other. If we define "geodesics running into each other" as a symptom, than the more curved a point in this metric is, the more symptoms appear, to the point of infinity, or "having a complete meltdown".



For example, I could be an animal lover, and so the _s value around the RSI points associated with "dog" or "cat" could be close to 1, i.e., very little curvature, i.e. few or almost no "issues". But, say I had lost a lot of money on Las Vegas, so the RSI point associated with the signifier "Las Vegas" could have a very low _s value (i.e. to the point of driving me entirely mad), so, in this example, as long as nobody brings up Las Vegas, and talks about animals, than I am fine. But if somebody does mention "Las Vegas" I am driven mad.



So I posit that we can model the Sinthome, not as an additional ring on the borromean knot, but as a kind of constant of curvature on a metric whose points are all borromean knots. I'm not saying this model is "better" per ce than some other model, it is just one I happened to have thought of, so figured I'd write it down. :-)



The task of analysis Lacan described as being a task of "re-knitting" or "quilting" the borromean knot so as to keep the Real from breaking it apart. We see the sinthome is in play here too. Increasing the value of _s, reduces the "curvature" so reducing the symptoms (if we define "symptom" as "intersection of geodesics" on a curved metric). Either by increasing _s (someone's ability to "cope", or by re-framing the borromean knot, can what I am calling curvature be reduced, i.e., number of symptoms be reduced. I am not a professional mathematician so would welcome help to sort of "tighten up" how I am making my definitions. :-) )



As a "real life" example. One patient of Lacan's was a holocaust survivor who related to him about how the Gestapo would barge into people's homes at 5 AM and drag them off to be imprisoned and / or murdered in concentration camps. She relates that when she was talking about the "Gestapo" Lacan leapt out of his chair, came over to her, and gently brushed her cheek with the back of his hand, a gesture of affection whose French word is "geste a peau" or something to that effect. The point is, the French word for this gesture of kindness sounded similar to the word "Gestapo". What was Lacan doing there? He was making it so that when the patient remembered the word "Gestapo" she might also remember "gest a peau" instead, and thus sort of "diffuse" here trauma, what Lacan called "re-quilting" the RSI knot. I don't know if this patient had an obvious "sinthome" or not, but, whether she did or did not, perhaps the recalling of this session was enough to remove her symptoms of trauma, i.e., the recalling of the cure may have prevented the re-emergence of the trauma.



In any event, while I claim no expertise in this admittedly complex area, one point I'd like to make is the RSI topology ideas are not just arm-chair theory. They relate directly to the task of analysis. Adding the sinthome as an additional part of the RSI knot was Lacan's way of including this as an aspect of the psyche. I am not saying anything too different here. All I am saying is that if we embed the RSI knots as points on a sort of metric, and treat the Sinthome as related to the curvature of the metric, this is just another way of thinking about the same thing. Come to think of it, as I write this, I now think this _s I am positing is roughly analogous to tidal curvature (Weyl curvature in general relativity) whereas the "inherent" curvature of an RSI point is analogous to the Riemann curvature, or non-tidal curvature, to borrow again from general relativity. Again, I am not an expert so would welcome input from those with better knowledge of math than I in this regard. The reason I throw that in there, is that symptom generation essentially has two elements: the causes of the symptom originally (the "inherent" curvature, or "break-down" of the RSI knot, as well as the failure of the sinthome to stave off those symptoms, so, again, better precision than here I have imparted is needed, which is why I welcome collaboration here. :-) ) [And, again, I define "symptom" in this model to be "intersection of geodesics" which can be found in either tidal or non-tidal curvature, just to clear that up.]



To shift away from theory, and to remind the reader that analysis, first, last, and always, is not just about interesting theories, but is about helping people, here is the youtube link to the very moving story about that patient I referred to who was a Holocaust survivor, relating her story about Lacan:



Friday, August 30, 2013

Open Letter to President Bashar Al Assad

To President Bashar Al Assad, President of the Republic of Syria



Dear Mr. President,



I write this out of a spirit of friendship from the United States, and from the West. I know your country has suffered terribly because of a horrific civil war that has broken out within your own borders. I cannot pretend to know the suffering you have had to deal with. Currently, U.N. inspectors are looking at the possibility of chemical warfare having been employed during the internal struggle in your country. Mr. President, I know you are an intelligent person, educated, and not a "caricature" as so many in the media would like to portray you as being. I know your wife was born and educated in the United Kingdom. I know you are not the Western caricature of a middle eastern "dictator" but rather are a person who is well educated and faced with a very difficult position, both with internal conflict, and war mongers from other countries seeking to add fuel to an already too-hot fire.



Mr. President, you stand at the intersection between the past and the future. You stand at a point where we can continue endless internal conflicts in the middle east, whether those conflicts be between Iraq and Iran, between Egyptian leaders and its people, etc., etc. Mr. President, I am sure you know that Secretary of State John Kerry has made some historical efforts to get the peace process started up again between the nation of Israel and the people of Palestine, and I am confident that you, as an educated and insightful person, see the great potential that such an effort has, helping to bring an end to a conflict now more than six decades old. I also, just speaking as an American citizen, and not as a diplomat, share with you a profound disappointment, that while Secretary Kerry has been instrumental in helping at long last Israel and the Palestinians to reach a place of peace and harmony, he has at the same time, and very inexplicably, and very paradoxically, been beating the drums of aggression towards your country. I share with you the disappointment and confusion at this sad turn of events.



Mr. President, I also was saddened to see an article recently showing that the Russian navy was sending ships into the Mediterranean Sea. One need hardly be a history expert to know that when both the United States and Russia, in whatever context being on different sides of the chess board, are sending ships into the same area, no good can emerge from that, as we saw tragically in Vietnam, and in so many other contexts. The situation, Mr. President, is not only dire for your country, but for the entire world. It is incumbent upon the more cool headed persons of us to try to calm the situation before it escalates into what President Kennedy might have called, "mankind's final war."



Mr. President, you have every right to object to aggressive posturing from the West, especially from those, like Secretary Kerry, whose ostensible mission is peace, is now attempting to intervene into your internal affairs. Mr. President, not only as an American citizen, but as a citizen of the world, I feel, and forgive my audacity here, but I feel it is incumbent upon some to take the high road, to not play "tit for tat". If everyone played "tit for tat", than, as Shakespeare's Hamlet might say, "who shall escape whipping". I can agree with you Mr. President that Secretary Kerry and some of the West's actions are imprudent and reckless. Mr. President, what I implore of you, for the sake of yourself, your family, your country, and indeed, the world at large, is somebody needs to stop the reckless behavior, however warranted it might seem at a given moment. Mr. President, speaking as an American, I can tell you the vast majority of us do not want war with your country. And we certainly for obvious reasons do not want a confrontation with Russia. This is why, Mr. President, I encourage you to condemn any use of chemical weapons, and do your best to find a peaceful resolution to the internal problems now plaguing your country. I do not pretend, Mr. President, that this is easy, or that I know the details of the epochal struggles you face. I do know, however, Mr. President, that part of leadership is making hard choices. Perhaps the hard choices you face are to try to end the use or alleged use of chemical weapons, no matter who is responsible, and to try to offer an olive branch, however hard that may be, to the restless elements in your country. For, sir, only if you can find a way to reject the path of violence, can other countries learn from your example, and also reject the path of violence, including the United States and Russia.



As John F. Kennedy said, if we cannot now end all our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, we all inhabit the same planet, we all breath the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal. Mr. President, as history is surely the final judge of our deeds, I would implore you to take actions such that history will not blame you for whatever happens next. If you can condemn chemical weapons, and try to negotiate a peace, perhaps, worst case scenario, that peace would not come. But history will see that you did your best to attain it. Mr. President, the American people do not want war, not with you, and certainly not with Russia. If you could condemn the use of chemical weapons and make overtures to your adversaries, however those overtures turn out, than at least history will see you as someone who sought peace, rather than as someone who sought only to retain power.



Mr. President, I will keep you, and your family, and your people, in my prayers. I would request this not as one leader to another, because I am not a leader, but as one human being to another, that you do what you can to avoid a pointless conflict, condemn chemical weapons, and seek a truce, even if that be a hard or futile endeavor. Because those who seek peace, even if they fail, are better remembered by history than those who sought war and succeeded. Mr. President, the past of the middle east is filled with tragic violence. The future could be filled with economic opportunity for all in its borders which would enrich the world.



Mr. President, I would implore you to be one who sought the prosperous future of the middle east, and not its tragic past. I cannot speak for my country. But you can speak for yours. If you reject chemical weapons and try to attain peace, than, no matter what happens, history will have judged you to have done the right thing in difficult circumstances. Mr. President, neither you nor I can predict the future, but both of us can try to live our lives in such a way that no matter what happens, our respective peoples can have a shared tomorow of peace and brotherhood.



Mr. President, the great Persian Poet Omar Khayyam wrote, "So I be written in the book of love. I do not care about the book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will. So I be written in the book of love."



I remain, Sir, your most obedient servant,



Francis Erdman



FrancisErdman@yahoo.com

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About Me

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Sometime engineer, amateur pundit, amateur actor, amateur poet, cosmology and biology enthusiast, aspiring computational complexity theorist, sometime critic, part New Deal Democrat, part Realist, part Empiricist, not above the occasional employment of mythical references for the sake of description in a sort of Ursula Goodenough-esque sort of way, a theological mix between religious naturalism, Humanistic Judaism, and what one might call a Lacan/Zizecian ontological incompletism, politically liberal, socially left, fiscally becoming more left as the days go by, believer in free and fair trade, a "Rent"-head, also a "Wicked"-head, conneisseur of Armani, Louis Vuitton, sushi, fish tacos, lobster, Lovecraft, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, in short, one at home in the modern, ill-at home in the post-modern, and decidedly forlorn in the pre-modern

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My Published Works


Testing Monte Carlo Algorithmic Systems,  A Sticky Minds Original Article  -  www.stickyminds.com  2009

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