What am I? Who am I? Why am I?…

Are these questions meaningless pursuits of an emergent illusion, or the doorway to the purpose of life? The fact that I can even wonder is itself absurd. How can I not know who “I” is? How can I seek to “know myself”?

Ultimately, I am nothing; I came from it and will end up in it. I am an insignificant fluctuation; somehow always here and now but also drifting in space and time. At the same time, it’s hard to deny that the universe happens through me. I create it as much as it creates me. It’s all so strange.

How can I be both creator and created? Am I nothing, everything or something in between? Maybe the question of Being (with a capital B) is too much to ask, or its terms too ill-defined, but the absurdity of not knowing who I am is too important to ignore. 

How do we define a point? Because I’ve never seen one, have you? It’s certainly not that drop of ink you put on a paper with a point-ed pen. If you look closer, it’s huge! A swarm of bacteria might be throwing a party on it. In fact, if you can see it, then it’s not a point.

A point is an abstraction. It doesn’t exist in reality; and yet, it’s a surprisingly simple concept to imagine. In fact, you need to infinitely zoom in to see a point; and to do that in time, it will literally take you forever. How can we speak of points and infinities without ever being able to point them out? It must be something so fundamental in how our mind works that we do it so effortlessly.

In the last century, scientists and mathematicians have discovered many ways to combine what we know with what we don’t. We no longer believe that the physical world can be explained and predicted with purely deterministic equations, as Newton and Laplace did. It turns out that we can’t get rid of randomness. Most physical phenomena cannot be measured, modeled and/or predicted exactly. They can only be studied probabilistically.

Continue reading “Quantifying Uncertainty with the PDF Method”

Ideas emerge from the ceaseless storm of bursts in a complex network of cells. At least that’s what many scientists believe. If the world is purely physical, how else would it be? But the relationship between neurons and the abstract things they generate is wholly unknown. How can an infinite imagination with its colorful images and perfect shapes look so different from the squishy matter that creates it? After all, they both share the same space in my skull.

Continue reading “Sentient Ideas”

I love words. They are loaded with meanings. They can unify a whole universe with only three syllables: u.ni.verse. They embody understanding, make it tangible, and seem to create it out of thin air. They paint our reality with crisp colors, organize our experiences with well-defined boundaries, and bring certainty to our anxious hearts. They weave us into giant social organisms that live for millennia to challenge nature at its own definitions. They are bottomless wells that keep flowing with precious gems. Do you remember a time when you discovered a word and you felt like a big portion of the world has revealed itself to you, almost like an epiphany?

Continue reading “Why I write”