SAFE Crossroads Podcast #52, SAFE Network Fundamentals, Part 2, with David Irvine and Viv Rajkumar



This one has a great wrap-up of where each point stands, and a frank discussion on network updates. I really appreciated getting to explore this.
Thanks again, @dirvine and @Viv!

SAFE Network Dev Update - February 7, 2019

Commute sorted! :sunglasses: Keep up the great work!


Awesome, I have been looking forward to this episode, since last week! From the last episode I got the same feeling as when I found the youtube Maidsafe Kaiser Report video, when researching new tech in College about 2014. The feeling of, this feels so right, is the same when I heard the last episode as it was back in 2014.


Loved hearing about network restarts! Big three cheers for @Viv for driving us to the finish line! :wink: seriously though, thanks a million.


Yes very good, lots of vision, enough detail and no fisticuffs. Mind you, it sounded like Viv was in India so the long arm of the law would have had to be very long indeed.


Time, the illusion of time, is it just all in our heads?

People’s perception that @dirvine David has an obsession on the illusion of time was touched upon in the podcast.

I just came across this RI lecture


Very cool talk. Thanks for posting @neo


Agree, I am glad folk see this and I am not alone :smiley: :smiley:


Yes I thought so too. A bit hard to follow at times because of his language/accent but very interesting and enlightening.


Does it mean that we’ll have it easier thinking about time on the safe network if we think like Italians rather than Brits? :wink:


Well the Brits already have their time machine (TARDIS) and the Italians have their string strung up from the desk to the seats. So you choose :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Really nice talk :slight_smile:

There’s one little glitch in the argument of the presentation though, from my point of view. Might be that I am seeing it wrong, or that it is lossy compression in play, but:

He argues that we perceive time because we identify that there is an increasing entropy. Another part of the argumentation was that we are bound to perceive physics the way we do, since we evolved at this specific level (i.e. speed of light seems instant to us). But these two arguments are a bit at odds, since entropy is not at all always increasing at every level. It is true that the total entropy is always increasing, but at any arbitrary level it can decrease, at the cost of a larger increase somewhere else.

That is why we can build things. Put things in order. That is a local decrease of entropy, while the total entropy has increased.

And, I would say - which seems to be different from what he said - that it is actually both the increase and decrease that we see daily (i.e. order and chaos coming into realization all the time around us) that give us the perception of progress of time - not only the increase.


I think it’s all in how you (or more importantly, where you) are looking from and to. That’s really the point of relativity, isn’t it? Can the universal perspective be considered this side of infinite or universal consciousness?


I don’t think that’s what he argued. He used entropy to explain how we can make a distinction between the past and future. The only way to tell them apart is by looking at entropy. He used several examples, like writing with ink — the ink gets disordered/dissipated into the paper. Or the watch he slid over the table. If you would record a video of that, and play it backward, you would know it is played backward; thus you know what is the past and what is the future by looking at increasing entropy.

He explains your notion of ‘local entropy’ disappears when you look at the microphysics of the system. It’s another level.


Yes he did use those words and examples to demonstrate (or explain) how increase in entropy is something we percieve in a certain way. But that was words to convey his argument I would say.
Mm, my formulation was a bit inexact. The context has my meaning, but as to put it all into the quoted line:

He argues that we perceive time [the way we do - which is not necessarily a universally correct perception] because we identify that there is an increasing entropy.

(And again, the focus on increasing entropy, which is where there would be a slight glitch according to what I say, I also think is very likely lossy compression, i.e. not every complication gets expressed in a short talk.)

The core part of that quote is actually "[..] we identify that there is an increasing entropy". So what I say, is that it seems to me that is not actually the only thing that gives us our specific perception of time.
(Btw, the ink on the paper is not strictly demonstrating increase in entropy. The unordered ink in the bottle, gets applied on a paper, and words are formed. The ink is becoming ordered (by our application of energy). But at the same time, the dissipation is the result of entropy. It’s not that I don’t think he knows that or got anything about that wrong, I would say it’s just lossy compression.)

The “certain way” that he says that we see time, is as a line of things happening in an ordered sequence, it has a direction. That is how the distinction of past and present manifest. They are not just any distinct things, they are ordered in past and then future.
From what I can tell, he is arguing that this is a result of what we perceive at the specific level we interact at. The example of how we perceive that, focuses on how the microlevel entropy manifests at our level.

It’s actually not so much the physical part, as the philosophical part he is in (in his talk “The Physics and Philosophy of Time”), when talking about how humans perceive time, and why it seems to be in the certain way it is to us here, and how that differs from what seems to be a more universal perception of time (which is then not exactly one thing anymore).

Well, yes this is very much in line with what I am saying. Except that I don’t put the local entropy in quotes. When you look at a fridge, if your system is the compartment within, the entropy is decreasing. If your system is the entire fridge and its surrounding, you’ll see that the entropy is increasing.
If you look at earth, you’ll see plants growing, which could be described as put in order and entropy decreasing. When you look at the solar system, you see that the energy from the sun that gave this increase in order, lead to the increasing entropy in the system.
And so, our level, which can be described as macro or micro depending on perspective (but our definition is primarily that we are between micro and macro), can see different directions of entropy as well. And that is why I mean that we have evolved in an environment shaping our notion of time, both by the identification of things coming into order, as well as disorder.

The video of a clock losing speed as it transfers its energy to the table via friction (surface thermodynamics), would indeed seem unnatural to us if played backwards. Which is what I think is what he intended to say. But increase in entropy, is not always what distinguishes past from future for us.
There is also the thing that increasing order is not always equivalent to entropy decrease, although in statistical thermodynamics (which he is referring to with the example of the colored balls ), that would be quite the case.
I think we are cognitively more used to the surface thermodynamics than the statistical.
In animate thermodynamics, the application of energy can give an increase in order (and the application of energy would lead to entropy in the total system), and depending on what level (or place at same level) you look at it from, you would identify either the increase or the decrease, or both.

When we include us humans and why and how we perceive time, I think it is quite likely that we will involve animate thermodynamics thinking. I just want to provide more context for a specific part of the talk, in a place where compression might have excluded some of it. All in all the ideas resonate very well with me :slight_smile:


Random observation here, which may or may not be relevant to this particular discussion:

Is not entropy itself a manifestation of order, in that it is action according to universal laws of thermodynamics (whether we have complete description of those laws or not)? Without sequence, there can be no conception of cause and effect. Sequence can be perceived at any point of an observer because there can be no observer if nothing is happening, i.e., if there is nothing to observe.

Then matching up those sequences in relation to each other becomes interesting, because they are going to have different interrelationships between any two points of observation, sort of like XOR space. (Infinity viewing itself from infinite points within itself? What does that make any particular observer? Oops, fell of the cliff!)


Very enjoyable video @neo thanks. I’ve had this sense that time was not as we regard it and delved into it from various angles, and he really helps me to crystallise those explorations. I had concluded it was a construct, partly because, as he points out, we can’t imagine a world without it, yet it is ephemeral, illusive, impossible to isolate from everything else. Like trying to catch a shadow.

I decided time either had to be fundamental to the mind, or a construction of the mind in order to make the complexity of the world amenable to reason (our great evolutionary advance). This would, I concluded, explain why the mind cannot ‘see’ time or find where it fits in the model of the world that we inhabit and is constructed by our mind.

This lecture is like a strange jigsaw puzzle, where he takes a picture, separates all the pieces, showing us how each one is actually not what we thought, and then puts them all back together to reveal that all the time there was no picture at all. But instead that picture was something our brains imagined in the patterns made by the different pieces and the wiggly lines separating them. :slight_smile:

I think about the nature of self the same way. I do not think we exist in the way we think or act towards each other. I think the ‘I’ inside me is an idea that includes and assumes its own existence, and to bolster that and make it stronger, is drawn to collect and identify with more and more of the world. Whether ideas, this body, my roles, groups, purposes, country etc. Yet the ‘I’ that pulls these things together is not real in the way it is designed (by evolution) to believe about itself. Not constant, or continuous, immortal etc. Ramana Maharshi called the idea of ‘I’ the first mistake.

I think of my self as a pattern, like the ripples we see on a calm pond, but which includes an idea that it is a self, and then the water, the pond, the impression in the earth that holds the water, depending on circumstances according to the needs of the moment, according to the design of the brain for its evolutionary purpose.

Yet each night as I go to sleep, the surface of the pond settles and the pattern, the idea disappears completely because it is no longer there to see itself reflected by itself. I think this is death. We awake because the water, the pond, the earth is there in the morning and the vibration in them revives the ripples. But after death of the body, there is no longer a pond in which the pattern can be reestablished.

These ideas are like relative truth and absolute truth. The former has no ground, but is what we call reality, and governs the day to day. While absolute truth is not graspable in those terms, is obscured by the world, and only revealed (if that is possible at all) when we set everything aside including the notion of self. That’s what is meant by ‘die before you die’.

I think that is another thing which this lecture is showing us from a different angle, and helped along by the study of physics.


Yes similar, always have in the back of my mind that time is a “measure of change” (ie construct) and not “something”. And Space is another construct from ancient times since (back then) we could not conceive of nothing holding things up in the universe and now we know “space” is not empty even when its a total vacuum. And today we still do not know if “space-time” is fundamental or made up of other fundamental things.

If one accepts that time is a construct then there is no problem with time not being “continuous” but jumps at the smallest amounts some unimaginable tiny amount( 10^-23 or 10^-32 or similar)

Yes that concept feels good so like other things that feel good, we feed it so we feel even “gooder”. But like a lot of things that feel good we need to moderate it otherwise we stop being reasonably social beings. And the ones who suppress the “I” enough in a true fashion are the true hero of social justice and/or humanity/animality.

But I do not subscribe to the idea that we should not have it. If we did then humanity would die off since the desire to have offspring would not be there, no I am creating a new being thats in my image and I can mould it after my self. The instinct for self preservation would not really be there.

Actually there is one theory that we (everybody alive) only do “good” things/deeds because it makes us feel good in some way. Maybe for some its feeding the ego, for others it might be the pay check or reward, and so on.


Do you not dream?
I dream so much sometimes, that I almost see the sleep as a second life. I see so many places, times and people that I in some sense feel more experienced there than here. Not that I’m exactly the same person in all dreams (or even a person, or a full person), but there is something about me that is there in all of them. And many of them keep a sort of correlation, like echoes of some other dimension (a previous dream).
I used to have a habit; before I went to sleep I tried to remember as many dreams as I possibly could, all the weird, wonderful, strange, extraordinary, otherworldly, gloomy, heavenly (and so on and on and on…) dreams I have had. And the memories just kept flowing, the more I remembered the more of them I kept remembering, not that much of each, but a very strong sensation from all of them.
I’ve even had ideas in my dreams that did make sense even as I woke up (one just the other week, I got an idea about something, and it worked.) Also a few that didn’t make sense :slight_smile:
But I really enjoy sleep time, well the dream part of it.


@oetyng yes, I do dream, but not all the time I am asleep. In dreams I’ve experienced a range of ‘I’ from a passive observer to full consciousness (lucid dreaming), and also am somehow aware that I lose all awareness in deep sleep. The latter is a mystery.

All this is speculation I admit, I’m just sharing mine :slight_smile:

I don’t believe there is a truth, for the most part at least, we each have our individual truth.