X-Message-Number: 21690
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 09:03:57 EDT
Subject: elegance

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If I understand him correctly, Mike Perry thinks the (probable?) discreteness 
of physical phenomena implies or suggests the basically symbolic character of 
reality, with only relationships between discrete quantities having 

I'm not sure I understand this. If it were true, it would seem to suggest 
that only one kind of "thing," plus one kind of relationship, is needed for 
as rich a universe as could be imagined. The "thing" could be a symbol or 
pair of symbols such as 0/1, and the relationship could be 
predecessor/successor. (The possibility of an artificial language along lines 
previously discussed fits in here, only in the ultimate concept the 
"language" is not a representation but is reality itself.) 

But what we think we observe isn't like this. We seem to observe several 
distinct kinds of things (elementary particles) and more than one kind of 
relationship (space and time dimensions). If the universe chose to manifest 
itself in a more elaborate way than necessary, we lose elegance. Of course, 
it is possible that the universe is not interested in our ideas of elegance.

Robert Ettinger


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