Go to Pi


*Go to Pi*

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Nick Burrows    (2007-03-21)
*Go to Pi*

The film Pi is about a mathmetician who is using chaos theory to find a pattern within the stock market. His obsession leads him to observe the mathematical structures underpinning the whole of nature - eg spiral shells.
He visits his old maths teacher. They play Go together. The teacher explains that the ancient chinese saw the Go board as representing the whole universe, and so Go is used as a metaphor to understand chaos theory.
Starting with a very simple set of rules structures of untold complexity can form, systems such as the weather are so complex that they appear to be 'chaotic' or random. Go shows us that although it is too complex to see a game to its end, or understand the whole structure, there is logic or order within the chaos. It is just beyond our humble human limitations to understand it fully.
Go and chess intrigue us because in revealing the hidden truth within a chaotic structure, we are understanding a wider truth of order behind ALL phenomenon in the universe. Peace.

Don Groves    (2007-03-21 01:44:57)

Interesting questions in there, Nick. Does order exist within the chaos or does the rational part of our mind impose it so that we can think rationally? Is order inherent in the empty goban?

Nick Burrows    (2007-03-21 01:59:01)

Chaos theory shows patterns in such diverse matters as, weather patterns, taps dripping, rise and fall of the nile, market forces etc. Unexpected order appears in all observable phenomena. these patterns are represented visually through fractals.

Don Groves    (2007-03-21 02:24:38)
chaos and order

Yes, I'm familiar with chaos theory and fractals but are not these examples of how our rational minds (and our mathematics) impose order on whatever we see?

Nick Burrows    (2007-03-21 03:30:05)

I believe life has meaning and that the universe follows an anthropic principle, in that it is within the nature of matter to organise itself and evolve into more complex structures. All forms of life are complex organised structures that have arisen out of 'chaos'. <tr> Our minds are the only tool we have to gain an understanding of these structural facts. So we can't seperate ourselves from the 'rational' to be truly objective, but we are here nonetheless. Although if a tree falls when nobody is around, does it make a sound? Is there any reality outside of human consciousness? <tr> which other games stimulate conversations such as this!?

Don Groves    (2007-03-21 05:19:26)
chaos and order

Nick, no other game stimulates me to these thoughts and conversations but then I haven't played them all ;-) Yes, the falling tree does make a sound in the absence of humans -- it may startle a deer for example. Clearly *we* can never know anything outside of human consciousness but to imply that nothing else can exist outside of our consciousness is a bit too anthropic for me ;-)

Nick Burrows    (2007-03-21 05:51:48)

I was attempting to illustrate that there actually is order/structure/reality that is external to human beings, that we can but glimpse at and partially understand through the medium of thought. Our only means to understand it is through thought, but that doesn't mean that what we are percieving isnt something real and of value.
a belief in no reality outside of human consciousness is a contrary viewpoint, and weakens the idea of an external reality. Too anthropic for me also. Apologies for my clumsy ramblings, just following the dialectic out loud. Bring on the games!!

Don Groves    (2007-03-21 06:31:14)
Anthroporph... what you said.

Einstein said the universe is like a finely-crafted watch that cannot be opened and that we poor watchmakers can only try to deduce its inner workings by examining the outside. I would only add that must be able to laugh at our feeble attempts to do so. As you say, bring on the games!