Tarot Collectors Forum Home 
Home Search search Menu menu Not logged in - Login | Register
Tarot Collectors Forum > Main Discussion Area > Non Tarot > mathematics behind divination

mathematics behind divination
 Moderated by: tarotcol
New Topic Reply Printer Friendly
 Rating:  Rating
AuthorPost
 Posted: Tue Sep 15th, 2009 06:47 am
  PMQuoteReply
1st Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
I might as well dive into the deep end as a new member.

Has anyone done any research into the mathematics behind divination systems in general?

I'm thinking about such topics as how Chu Spaces and catastrophe theory could lead to a different understanding of how divination systems are constructed. I have a hunch that physics and mathematics can eventually uncover some truths about why divination systems are found all over the world.

I have downloaded some papers on "ethnic mathematics" (if I recall the discipline name correctly), but this seems to be something rather different from what I am looking for.

This has been an on-going puzzle for me for almost 20 years.

Could anyone steer me in the "right" direction?

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2009 12:17 am
  PMQuoteReply
2nd Post
Cordwainer
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 14th, 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 24
Status: 
Offline
I think there's a lot of interesting scientific work that could be done with divination systems. A lot of people think it's not scientific when it is. This is a huge topic- the science behind Tarot and other forms of divination. I can say that personally I was made aware of these issues as the result of my study of Carl Jung's theories- synchronicity, "archaic man", symbols, archetypes, that sort of thing. 

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2009 05:22 am
  PMQuoteReply
3rd Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Thats exactly where I started, with Jung's idea of synchronicity.

Over the past decade, I have been trying to wrap my head around the physics behind the motion of the cards and how the shuffling creates patterns over time. Thats when I discovered Chu Spaces.

Though I am no mathematician, I have developed a simple formula describing the process behind a divination session. I will post the formula as soon as I can find the folder that I put my research ideas and notes in.

One thing I know for sure is that you can map any form of divination session onto a single butterfly-cusp catastrophe diagram quite easily.

The 5 axes of the diagram represent:
a) the readiness of the reader (or querent) to understand the symbols,
b) the readiness of the person for whom the reading is done to understand the interpretation,
c) the motion of the objects used and
d) the timeline for the reading.

The "catastrophe" itself is the actual moment the objects fall or are put into a pattern that can be interpreted.

Some day I may post some of my ideas and diagrams online. I suspect that it will generate a lot of interest to readers of this forum and controversy as well.

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 3rd, 2009 06:20 am
  PMQuoteReply
4th Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
I'm interested.

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Nov 5th, 2009 02:36 am
  PMQuoteReply
5th Post
nicole
Member


Joined: Sun Jan 6th, 2008
Location: Chicagoland, Illinois USA
Posts: 779
Status: 
Offline
I just googled Chu Spaces and my brain exploded.

Back To Top

 Posted: Fri Nov 6th, 2009 07:12 pm
  PMQuoteReply
6th Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
My brain "exploded" as well.

I have the feeling that Chu Spaces may be the "missing link" between mathematics and real-world events in the sense that Chu Spaces describe how events and physical objects move through space and time to influence each other.

That is, if my poor brain understands the concept correctly.

Otherwise, Im barking up the wrong tree.

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 08:54 am
  PMQuoteReply
7th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1239
Status: 
Offline
R Roffel wrote: I have the feeling that Chu Spaces may be the "missing link" between mathematics and real-world events in the sense that Chu Spaces describe how events and physical objects move through space and time to influence each other.

I have studied abstract mathematics. Chu spaces are a generalisation of topological spaces. They thus describe sets with a simple structure. They have application only to abstract mathematics and I doubt whether they have any application to discrete mathematics as their power is to describe a different type of continuity than is found in topological spaces and even more structured spaces such as vector spaces.

It is leading edge abstract mathematics and I cannot see how this can be used in the way you suggest. Beware reading some interpretation of mathematical ideas on some web site. Some people go looking for very obscure ideas that few people can understand and then erect a fantasy interpretation of these as they feel they will not be challenged.

Divination is merely a belief system. Nothing can be proven about it, certainly not using generalisations of topological spaces. People just have to believe in divination on the basis of anecdote, there is no way to formalise or describe this using abstract mathematical structures.


Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 05:29 pm
  PMQuoteReply
8th Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Thanks for your feedback.

Its good to have someone who understands mathematics on this site to clarify things.

I will probably generate a little bit of controversy here with what I say, but that is the nature of discussion on general.

From my research, I have discovered that many systems of divination share similarities to each other. This suggested to me that there may be a process behind shuffling cards, throwing stones and swirling tea leaves which can be described by mathematical equations.

Here are the questions I asked.

Why do divination systems have these similarities?

Why do they almost always use stochastic ("random") events to generate results?

I looked  into chaos theory, catastrophe theory, fractals, topology (something I have had a fascination in since I was a kid), non-linear systems, Hamiltonian space, probability theory and combinatorics to find answers. But still, I felt that something was missing and I believe that the missing parts still may be found.

Chu Spaces, despite their abstruse nature, seemed to me to fit most of the bill.

Perhaps it is because I am not mathematically inclined that I have this feeling. Yet my instinct (a not very scientific process, I admit), knows that these are physical systems and from what I understand of physical systems is that you can plot their motions and components through space and time. How you do it is by developing equations that can do this.

One thing is for certain, though. Divination systems and oracles share something that cannot be disputed. They exploit the ability of the human mind to create meaning out of seemingly meaningless objects, patterns and events. That is the heart of my theory on why divination systems are so ubiquitous.

What I would like to know is whether we can develop more effective tools by employing mathematics to discover how they work purely as physical systems.

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 05:52 pm
  PMQuoteReply
9th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1239
Status: 
Offline
R Roffel wrote:
Chu Spaces, despite their abstruse nature, seemed to me to fit most of the bill.

Perhaps it is because I am not mathematically inclined that I have this feeling. Yet my instinct (a not very scientific process, I admit), knows that these are physical systems and from what I understand of physical systems is that you can plot their motions and components through space and time.


Have fun. I doubt you can get anything out of Chu spaces without spending three years studying topology.  Chu spaces are not physical systems, they are abstract mathematical concepts not easily visualised, as they are generalised toplogical spaces and thus even further removed from our simple visualising abilities.


Divination systems and oracles.... What I would like to know is whether we can develop more effective tools by employing mathematics to discover how they work purely as physical systems
They are based simply on belief and anecdote. Like ghosts, they are not amenable to description within a exact scientific approach. If they were, this would have been done long ago.


Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 06:23 pm
  PMQuoteReply
10th Post
papoon
Member


Joined: Mon Apr 7th, 2008
Location: California USA
Posts: 498
Status: 
Offline
What Adam said. While mathematics can conceivably serve to describe the physical systems of supposed divination techniques (catastrophe theory might even have some possible application there), for understanding "divination" itself, I think psychology would be a more profitable area of research.

I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with the concepts of the Forer Effect, confirmation bias, and subjective validation.

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 09:51 pm
  PMQuoteReply
11th Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Thanks for your reply, Adam.

I have the feeling that you didn't quite get what I am after.

While divination systems have meaning, what I am interested is not how meaning is derived through psychology, for that is a topic for psychologists, but descriptions of how the components of divination system interact with each other in real-time and why most systems use "random" patterns and events to derive meaning from the components.

I just can't quite shake the feeling that there may be something interesting behind the phenomenon of divination, since it appears all over the world in nearly every culture.

The question may very well be instead: "How did all these cultures determine that by throwing or shuffling objects and otherwise creating "chaos", you can derive meanings from these events?"

Is this a question of mechanics and physics or of psychology and neurology?

I'm beginning to wonder...

Back To Top

 Posted: Mon Nov 9th, 2009 09:52 pm
  PMQuoteReply
12th Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Will check these out.

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2009 06:09 am
  PMQuoteReply
13th Post
Cordwainer
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 14th, 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 24
Status: 
Offline
I'm completely in agreement with RR here. I've studied Jungian psychology and physics. Divination is not based on anecdote and belief systems. There's aspects of physics that are incompletely understood- for example, the nature of time.

 I'm not going to go into quantum mechanics on a web forum, though.

Speaking as a "hard" scientist I'd say that psychology is a collection of belief systems, often at odds with one another. For example,  Jungian psychology has been almost ignored in psychology because it's considered unscientific. Freud today is thought of as bunk by a lot of psychologists/psychiatrists. Freud and Jung themselves split over certain beliefs.

If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be research.  
-Einstein


 R Roffel wrote: Thanks for your reply, Adam.

I have the feeling that you didn't quite get what I am after.

While divination systems have meaning, what I am interested is not how meaning is derived through psychology, for that is a topic for psychologists, but descriptions of how the components of divination system interact with each other in real-time and why most systems use "random" patterns and events to derive meaning from the components.

I just can't quite shake the feeling that there may be something interesting behind the phenomenon of divination, since it appears all over the world in nearly every culture.

The question may very well be instead: "How did all these cultures determine that by throwing or shuffling objects and otherwise creating "chaos", you can derive meanings from these events?"

Is this a question of mechanics and physics or of psychology and neurology?

I'm beginning to wonder...

Last edited on Tue Nov 10th, 2009 07:18 am by Cordwainer

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2009 07:06 am
  PMQuoteReply
14th Post
papoon
Member


Joined: Mon Apr 7th, 2008
Location: California USA
Posts: 498
Status: 
Offline
Cordwainer wrote:
I'm completely in agreement with RR here. I've studied Jungian psychology and physics. Divination is not based on anecdote and belief systems. There's aspects of physics that are incompletely understood- for example, the nature of time.
 I'm not going to go into quantum mechanics on a web forum, though.

Speaking as a "hard" scientist I'd say that psychology is a collection of belief systems, often at odds with one another. For example,  Jungian psychology has been almost ignored in psychology because it's considered unscientific. Freud today is thought of as bunk by a lot of psychologists/psychiatrists. Freud and Jung themselves split over certain beliefs.

I guess I don't quite follow the logic of this. You make the perfectly valid observations that some aspects of physics are incompletely understood and that there are competing schools of psychology, and then insert the completely unsupported claim that "Divination is not based on anecdote and belief systems," as if that somehow followed from those other statements. It doesn't.

And as for quantum mechanics somehow being relevant to divination, apart from the outright distortions of quantum theory by the charlatans behind such fictions as What the Bleep... and The Secret, most actual scientists consider quantum mysticism to be pure pseudoscience. The whole Schrodinger's Cat thing, for example, is a mind experiment meant to illuminate some incredibly weird stuff that happens at the sub-atomic level. It (and other principles of quantum mechanics) doesn't extrapolate to the scale at which we live our lives.

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2009 07:15 am
  PMQuoteReply
15th Post
Cordwainer
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 14th, 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 24
Status: 
Offline
Like I said, I don't plan to discuss quantum mechanics on a web forum. But there's work being done on aspects of quantum mechanics by actual scientists that investigates how QM works on the "scale at which we live our lives".  I know some of them.


papoon wrote:


And as for quantum mechanics somehow being relevant to divination, apart from the outright distortions of quantum theory by the charlatans behind such fictions as What the Bleep... and The Secret, most actual scientists consider quantum mysticism to be pure pseudoscience. The whole Schrodinger's Cat thing, for example, is a mind experiment meant to illuminate some incredibly weird stuff that happens at the sub-atomic level. It (and other principles of quantum mechanics) doesn't extrapolate to the scale at which we live our lives.

Last edited on Tue Nov 10th, 2009 07:16 am by Cordwainer

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2009 07:23 am
  PMQuoteReply
16th Post
papoon
Member


Joined: Mon Apr 7th, 2008
Location: California USA
Posts: 498
Status: 
Offline
Cordwainer wrote:
Like I said, I don't plan to discuss quantum mechanics on a web forum. But there's work being done on aspects of quantum mechanics by actual scientists that investigates how QM works on the "scale at which we live our lives".  I know some of them.
Okay, since you've made it clear that you don't want to discuss it here, might you then point me in the direction of some of this research? I'd be genuinely interested in learning something about it.

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2009 08:41 am
  PMQuoteReply
17th Post
Cordwainer
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 14th, 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 24
Status: 
Offline
Are you familiar with Dean Radin's work?

I've tried to put a link through to his books on Amazon, but I can't seem to post a URL on here! Is this some nefarious Admin/moderator plot so that we can't post links, or is there a way to post a link that I'm not seeing here? :f

papoon wrote: Cordwainer wrote:
Like I said, I don't plan to discuss quantum mechanics on a web forum. But there's work being done on aspects of quantum mechanics by actual scientists that investigates how QM works on the "scale at which we live our lives".  I know some of them.
Okay, since you've made it clear that you don't want to discuss it here, might you then point me in the direction of some of this research? I'd be genuinely interested in learning something about it.

Last edited on Tue Nov 10th, 2009 08:45 am by Cordwainer

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2009 09:10 am
  PMQuoteReply
18th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1239
Status: 
Offline
If divination worked even a small degree over chance, then this would have been investigated and explored by exact science. There are so many ways of making serious money from a working divination technique - not least the stock market, gambling, or National lotteries.

Our human minds concern themselves almost all the time with trying to foresee or predict how even trivial situations in our life will evolve, so the idea that there could be some external means of predicting the outcome of situations by throwing dice, drawing  cards, tossing coins etc., does appeal to many people as it beats all the thinking and pondering needed to explore the potential outcome of even a trivial matter in our lives. Just one of my tasks today will be today will be to try to assess whether or not a particular set of tarot designs someone had sent me would sell sufficient copies to recover the cost of publishing them. If I could merely toss a coin and get a exact answer, it would save me much time, however, I would have long gone broke if I ran my business using a divinatory methodology. The only people making money from divination are the diviners, not the users of divined information!

Divination is based on belief. The root ('divinus') of the word shows it comes from a belief that divination revealed the workings of a God who interfered in human affairs. Some people have a psychological need to believe in such things. They are not neutral observers. When such matters are explored as phenomena in a measurable way there are no significant results. If there were then there would be no lack of funds to develop such a technology. The person that proved divination to be an actual real phenomenon would win a Nobel Prize - I can predict that for certain !


Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2009 08:57 pm
  PMQuoteReply
19th Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Hi everyone

My, what a lot of discussion on my first post!

First, I thank everyone who is contributing, especially those who have either a scientific or mathematical background. They add a lot of input and have what it takes to analyse my ideas, no matter how far off base my ideas are.

On to the discussion.

While I agree that most psychological theories tend to look like belief systems, in the manner of religions, there are degrees of belief and also in how psychologists have researched their ideas.

Those psychologists who used large sample bases and devised double blind experiments were and are those whose theories are most credible in the scientific community. What many people generally see are surface glosses of the science behind psychological theories and pop psychology instead of the "real thing".

Quantum effects are practically always effective only at sub-atomic levels, with exponential degradation as scales of distance and mass increase. Yet, there are tantalising hints that microtubules found within neurons may be affected by "large-scale" quantum events, should those events create a "buttrefly effect" for want of a better term.

The idea that we are comprised of not only atoms, but of quantum events and spaces has fascinated me since I first learned about quantum physics years ago.

I really don't feel that if scientists have not investigated a subject in historical times that it invalidates it as a possible area of research. It wasn't until less than 100 years ago that the brain/mind complex became a scientific discipline through psychology, psychiatry and neurology with all of their "sub-ologies".

Adam made an interesting point about divination systems and how stock markets and lotteries could conceivably use one (if I am reading your post correctly).

My response is that they already do use "divination systems" of sorts through mathematical economics, which has been around for a long time. Its just that the economists don't call their predictive models "divination" for obvious reasons.

Has anyone done a test to see if tarot readings or tea-leaves are any more able to predict economic trends than the high-level calculus economists use?

Back To Top

 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2009 04:42 am
  PMQuoteReply
20th Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
Here's my three cents and I hope we can all still be friends.

It seems obvious that humans are pattern-seeking animals by nature and that psychological mechanisms of some sort drive the quest to predict future patterns. This makes perfect sense from an evolutionary standpoint--any creature operating in a fairly diverse and changing environment that can't learn from experience isn't going to survive long.

It's also true that the sciences are notoriously bad at integrating perspectives from outside their own disciplines.

This poses a dilemma for investigating phenomena that fall outside the traditional scope of the disciplines.  On the one hand, high-quality conceptualization and research almost always requires the discipline of those trained within, and monitored by, an established discipline.  On the other hand, scientists, social scientists and historians neglect huge swathes of human experience as "not my job" because questions about those phenomena are not defined as central to their fields. 

Tarot history as well as divination fall between the cracks.  Consequently, when they are studied by specialists, the specialists' perspectives often distort the reality. (Adam has noted this in regard to Jungians' research on alchemy). And when they are studied by dedicated amateurs, the learning curve is too steep, there's no reliable mechanism for separating wheat from chaff, and there's no disciplinary "memory" of prior research (although internet communications does make it easier for such dedicated amateurs to keep in contact).

As for the relationship between abstract mathematics, quantum physics and divination: When I was in grad school, I took a course in the philosophy of science from a professor who thought that quantum mechanics was the only level where he could see evidence of indeterminancy, and he was convinced it was the level at which there was something like "free will" although not what we would normally mean by such a concept.  His grad students were flummoxed, until one of our colleages hypothesized that the professor, a brilliant man but also a jackass, was holding out hope that his life could change as a result of some kind of quantum uncertainty.  Were this professor's ideas negated by the possibility that they arose from some deep personal motivation?  Well, no, but ...

Last edited on Wed Nov 11th, 2009 04:43 am by debra

Back To Top

 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2009 05:08 am
  PMQuoteReply
21st Post
Cordwainer
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 14th, 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 24
Status: 
Offline
One can't equate the stock market with lotteries and gambling. Those are pure chance. However some people have consistently made very serious money correctly predicting the movement of the stock markets. And large stock brokerages actually employ physicists these days. I know one very very lucky investor and one physicist who's been hired by a large trading firm. This one particularly lucky investor has a system that works. Call his technique what you will, he's correctly predicted the future with some huge bets! It's not all insider trading.

AdamMcLean wrote:
If divination worked even a small degree over chance, then this would have been investigated and explored by exact science. There are so many ways of making serious money from a working divination technique - not least the stock market, gambling, or National lotteries.

Last edited on Wed Nov 11th, 2009 05:12 am by Cordwainer

Back To Top

 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2009 10:24 am
  PMQuoteReply
22nd Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1239
Status: 
Offline
I think people are missing my point.

Of course people try and predict the future !

People predict the future by using experience of how things happened in the past. Thus we  build up a body of data about how things have happened in the past and then estimate often using mathematical models to see if we can predict the outcome of some future event. This is verified over time using a scientific methodology. Thus weather forecasting, the application of statistical methods to predict share price movements, and so on. Such predictions work within a measurable margin of error.

This is not divination !

Divination is when one superstitiously uses some device, entirely unconnected with the phenomenon one is trying to predict, i.e. drawing a card, throwing dice, doing the I Ching yarrow twigs. One has to have a belief that this entirely unconnected thing is somehow divining the result of a lottery, a share price movement, and so on. Divinations do not work, nor do they give a measurable margin or error. If they did they would be used by people trying to create predictive statistical models.



Back To Top

 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2009 05:27 pm
  PMQuoteReply
23rd Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
Very interesting, Adam. 

You know, people who read tarot cards (including me) often distinguish between fortune-telling and divination, with the former meaning "predict future events or reveal your destiny" and the latter connoting something like "getting in touch with divinity ie your 'higher self'." The question, from this point of view, is if using the cards is really "entirely unconnected with the phenomenon," given that the phenomenon is:  how a person is living their life. 

This contemporary meaning of "divination" is vague; that's part of the charm and mystery.

Last edited on Wed Nov 11th, 2009 05:29 pm by debra

Back To Top

 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2009 07:27 pm
  PMQuoteReply
24th Post
papoon
Member


Joined: Mon Apr 7th, 2008
Location: California USA
Posts: 498
Status: 
Offline
Talk about synchronicity, todays Dinosaur Comic :

Back To Top

 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2009 10:13 pm
  PMQuoteReply
25th Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Thanks again for all the feedback. The discussion is getting pretty lively.

I will be a "devil's advoacte" with what I have to say, but here goes.

"One has to have a belief that this entirely unconnected thing is somehow divining the result of a lottery, a share price movement, and so on. Divinations do not work, nor do they give a measurable margin or error. If they did they would be used by people trying to create predictive statistical models."

I'm going to get a bit of a rise from Adam (whom I respect for his pioneering work on alchemy) when I say that the current models of economic behaviour (like the stock markets, etc.) use an "entirely unconnected thing" to base their models on. That thing is mathematics, not psychology or direct observation.

What makes their models more favourable is that they have become terribly sophisticated and the players in the game tend to believe that complexity equals accuracy. And statistics are often filtered and manipulated to reinforce belief, which makes even the "dismal science" of economics as prone to what I would call "superstition" as much as any other human endavour.

The prime example of this can be seen in how Marxism-Leninism failed to deliver the goods. Recently, the capitalist financial  markets also failed to predict the degree of economic collapse due to the sub-prime lending fiasco. (I could go on about this, but I will spare you the details.)

I like to refer people to George Brockway's book The End of Economic Man for a more detailed introduction to the subject of how economics can be as wildly inaccurate as the predictions of any back-alley fortune-teller.

Debra made an interesting point when she wrote: "the sciences are notoriously bad at integrating perspectives from outside their own disciplines." It can also be said that academics and scientists alike may be blind to the infinite possibilities of nature. And outsiders sometimes hold the key to understanding.

There is no greater example in the history of science how outsiders can influence the mainstream than that of the patent law clerk who published a paper in 1905 explaining what he called "general relativity" (or was it "special relativity"? I forget which came first).

Since the emergence of the internet, amateurs have posted countless pages on subjects that are near and dear to them. While most amateurs do not have the education required to investigate subjects as an academic would, some surpass even the wildest expectations of the PhDs.

Here's a little known example which will conclude my lengthy post.

Back in the 1970s, long before the internet, a Saskatchewan farm wife began to write to respected ornithologists on the behaviour of common sparrows. She had been observing them for over 20 years and took meticulous notes. Many could not answer her questions. When push came to shove, they collectively agreed at a conference that her knowledge was so good and detailed, that she should be rewarded. And a university did, with an honourary PhD.

Now, my source for this story was a respected biologist at the University of Calgary, Dr. Stephen Hererro, a world expert on the behaviour of grizzly bears. He relayed the story to the students of the ecology class I was attending in the 1980s. It has stuck with me ever since.

That is why I still do my thing with the idea that physical components of divination systems may reveal the workings of our brain/mind complex using physics and mathematics ( to a large degree they can be same thing). It also keeps my brain sharp.

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2009 01:38 am
  PMQuoteReply
26th Post
papoon
Member


Joined: Mon Apr 7th, 2008
Location: California USA
Posts: 498
Status: 
Offline
R Roffel wrote:
I'm going to get a bit of a rise from Adam (whom I respect for his pioneering work on alchemy) when I say that the current models of economic behaviour (like the stock markets, etc.) use an "entirely unconnected thing" to base their models on. That thing is mathematics, not psychology or direct observation.
I simply don't understand this. What sort of mathematics is being used that is "entirely unconnected" from the model of economic behavior it is supposed to be able to predict?

The prime example of this can be seen in how Marxism-Leninism failed to deliver the goods. Recently, the capitalist financial  markets also failed to predict the degree of economic collapse due to the sub-prime lending fiasco.
The prime example of what? The failure of Marxism-Leninism and the sub-prime lending fiasco (and frankly, the meltdown is about a lot more than just sub-prime lending) are about a lot more than just failures of prediction mechanisms. (And a lot of the huge players responsible for the meltdown are once again doing just fine, thank you, so maybe their prediction abilities are not too bad after all.)

I like to refer people to George Brockway's book The End of Economic Man for a more detailed introduction to the subject of how economics can be as wildly inaccurate as the predictions of any back-alley fortune-teller.
This strikes me as something of a non sequitur. The fact that economic predictions "can be as wildly inaccurate as the predictions of any back-alley fortune-teller" doesn't in any way imply any similarity of method or mechanism between the two types of predictions.

It can also be said that academics and scientists alike may be blind to the infinite possibilities of nature.
A lot of things "can be said." And anyway, the inclusion of "may be" renders the statement relatively meaningless.

And outsiders sometimes hold the key to understanding.
And sometimes, they don't.

There is no greater example in the history of science how outsiders can influence the mainstream than that of the patent law clerk who published a paper in 1905 explaining what he called "general relativity"
Oh come on. Einstein may have been working as a patent clerk at the time of his papers, but he had attended the Zurich Polytechnic and graduated in 1900 with a diploma in mathematics and physics, and prior to the papers in 1905 he had already had a paper published in the prestigious Annalen der Physik. Hardly an outsider.

Reading back over this thread, I get the distinct impression that we are all using the same words, but not necessarily assigning them the same meanings.

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2009 10:07 am
  PMQuoteReply
27th Post
AdamMcLean
Member


Joined: Wed Sep 5th, 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 1239
Status: 
Offline
I say that the current models of economic behaviour (like the stock markets, etc.) use an "entirely unconnected thing" to base their models on. That thing is mathematics, not psychology or direct observation.

I don't understand what you are saying. The models used to predict things in the natural sciences  ARE mathematical. What else can they be? They are not models made out of plasticine and sticky tape.

There is no greater example in the history of science how outsiders can influence the mainstream than that of the patent law clerk who published a paper in 1905 explaining what he called "general relativity" (or was it "special relativity"? I forget which came first).
This is nonsense. Einstein was not an outsider to mathematics. His theory of General Relativity relied on using the mathematical theory of tensors (developed in the 1890's). Einstein corresponded with a number of mathematicians to extend the idea of tensors in order to use it to create his description of spacetime. His earlier Special Relativity was in turn based on and extended the work of Lorentz, and was an attempt to accomodate the implications of the  Michelson-Morley experiment.

The media today likes to portray people like Einstein as maveric characters standing outside of the existing conventions, rushing in from left field with some amazing new theory. This romantic nonsense, which is merely a kind of tabloid journalism, is usually the basis for television documentaries which like to portray geniuses in this way. Understanding mathematics and physics is extremely challenging (Einstein himself found tensor mechanics difficult to grasp) so the media often panders to the idea that outsiders can come in and produce new perspectives out of mere inspiration. This probably is intended to make people feel that there is not much distance between themselves and such maverics as the popular media present to us. It is, however, a Disney fantasy.



Last edited on Thu Nov 12th, 2009 10:07 am by AdamMcLean

Back To Top

 Posted: Thu Nov 12th, 2009 10:42 am
  PMQuoteReply
28th Post
Cordwainer
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 14th, 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 24
Status: 
Offline
Undertanding a lot of things is extremely challenging. Ever tried to fix a Volvo?:gi

Let me know when you patent something like fuel-injection. Or intermittent windshield wipers- the story of the guy who invented those is interesting.

What we see as easy things to fix now were at one point considered extremely challenging.

Nowadays we don't expect amateurs to come out of left field and make that many stunning contributions to physics. Or patent clerks.

Understanding some Disney fantasies is challenging. There are academics who make a living from understanding children's books. Who understands the popular media?

Intuition, mere inspiration, genius- who understands that?



AdamMcLean wrote:
Understanding mathematics and physics is extremely challenging (Einstein himself found tensor mechanics difficult to grasp) so the media often panders to the idea that outsiders can come in and produce new perspectives out of mere inspiration. This probably is intended to make people feel that there is not much distance between themselves and such maverics as the popular media present to us. It is, however, a Disney fantasy.


Last edited on Thu Nov 12th, 2009 12:14 pm by Cordwainer

Back To Top

 Posted: Sat Nov 14th, 2009 02:23 am
  PMQuoteReply
29th Post
Cordwainer
Member
 

Joined: Fri Aug 14th, 2009
Location: Maryland USA
Posts: 24
Status: 
Offline
I have a theory regarding Einstein that does downplay inspiration and also includes the popular media. So I do hear where Adam is coming from, and perhaps dismissed him too quickly!  I know you're dying to hear my theory :clso here it is-

The brain is like a muscle insofar as it develops with use. Einstein was in a milieu where he used his brain a lot. By the time he was ten he had read Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Euclid’s Elements.  With friends he met in Bern, Einstein formed a weekly discussion club on science and philosophy, which he jokingly named "The Olympia Academy." Much of his work at the patent office related to questions about electrical-mechanical synchronization of time.  

Also, there was no popular media as we know it then so his brain wasn't made flabby. Popular media might be the equivalent of a Mickey D's cheeseburger as far as brain muscle is concerned.

So I would have to agree that inspiration has been somewhat overly emphasized.

Last edited on Sat Nov 14th, 2009 10:30 am by Cordwainer

Back To Top

 Posted: Tue Nov 17th, 2009 06:02 am
  PMQuoteReply
30th Post
debra
Member


Joined: Sun Sep 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 1115
Status: 
Offline
Cordwainer wrote:
Einstein was in a milieu where he used his brain a lot. By the time he was ten he had read Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Euclid’s Elements.  With friends he met in Bern, Einstein formed a weekly discussion club on science and philosophy, which he jokingly named "The Olympia Academy." Much of his work at the patent office related to questions about electrical-mechanical synchronization of time.  

 
Good grief why didn't I know this?  I've been satisfied with the "patent clerk" summary of the story my whole adult life?  Talk about flabby brains.  Thanks, Cordwainer.

Back To Top

 Posted: Fri Dec 18th, 2009 06:38 pm
  PMQuoteReply
31st Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
A scientist examined Einstein's preserved brain during the 90s and discovered that the area where people process mathematics was around 4 times larger than normal. The area for social processing that sits next to it was reduced by a considerable amount.

While I can't remember the source or who the scientist was, the article struck me as going a long way in explaining how he could revolutionize physics on the one hand and how he could also be a bit socially awkward on the other.

Back To Top

 Posted: Fri Dec 18th, 2009 06:59 pm
  PMQuoteReply
32nd Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Back again with another post.

I have been mulling over the comments on my original discussion and have come to the conclusion that perhaps my premises were flawed from the beginning.

The fact that most divination systems use chance tells me that what the systems are attempting is mimicry of the randomness of the natural world. More specifically, they mimic unexpected oracles.

I define oracles as natural events, like the flight of birds, cloud formations and even the fall of entrails (not that I like that method) which can convey meanings beyond what would normally be seen by average observers. The meanings usually relate to the fate of people, tribes or nations. Only people who are predisposed to find those meanings are able to see the events as oracles. Other observers will not.

How people create divination systems is what I was trying to discover and I thought that perhaps a mathematical model would be better able to understand divination from a more scientific perspective. Adding physics to the mix was probably not such a good idea. Psychology is more suited for this type of analysis.

Yet divination systems use physical objects and the motion of these objects can be plotted and determined using physics. That is what threw me off investigating the creativity behind them.

Back to the pyschology texts.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this discussion. I trust that it will continue to stir people's minds into the possibilities that it presents.

Safe and happy holidays to all.

Back To Top

 Posted: Fri Dec 18th, 2009 07:14 pm
  PMQuoteReply
33rd Post
papoon
Member


Joined: Mon Apr 7th, 2008
Location: California USA
Posts: 498
Status: 
Offline
R Roffel wrote:
A scientist examined Einstein's preserved brain during the 90s and discovered that the area where people process mathematics was around 4 times larger than normal. The area for social processing that sits next to it was reduced by a considerable amount.

Not really. Here's the actual story.

Back To Top

 Posted: Sat Dec 19th, 2009 07:29 pm
  PMQuoteReply
34th Post
R Roffel
Member
 

Joined: Tue Sep 15th, 2009
Location:  
Posts: 27
Status: 
Offline
Thanks for the link.

Correction: In my last bit of discussion on the math behind divination, I erroneously used "oracle" when I should have used "omen". They are two enitrely different things altogether.

Have a super holiday season.

Back To Top


 Current time is 08:56 pm

Tarot Collectors Forum > Main Discussion Area > Non Tarot > mathematics behind divination
Top



UltraBB 1.17 Copyright © 2007-2011 Data 1 Systems