jordan on (limiting) scale of possibility

nov 2021 – 37 min video – jordan (green)hall – Conversation with Matthew Pirkowski @MattPirkowski


j: point of proof of work is that there is something necessary/crucial about the binding of the info layer to the energetic layer.. more that just game theory and incentive structures it’s actually something deeper than that which is the substrate that makes this particular thing.. stable/integral.. have enough integrity to do the rest of the stuff on top of it

yeah.. that.. and we’re missing it.. by saying.. deeper … but then staying on the surface.. ie:

we need to let go of any form of m\a\p.. or we’ll always be spinning our wheels in tragedy of the non common.. we’ll always be running out of energy

1 min – j: the inquiry that got me here is i was trying to determine what *kinds of primitives are necessary for a stav/bel (?) of volvable.. what i’m calling a self-org-collective-intell (soci).. and this particular one is the **most difficult to get my head around.. and also in many ways the ***most important..

*huge.. if we could just get back/to that.. if we could just see org-ing around legit needs as enough..

**maybe quit trying to intellect .. get your head around.. everything..

***mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh

2 min – m: you landed on integrity.. i think stability also has a lot to do with it.. how i’m trying to approach this question of binding thru.. also has a lot to do w thinking about possibility space and sub spaces w in possibility space that are either accessible or inaccessible.. depending on whether a given soci.. soci as the loci of possibility navigation..t

nah.. we need to let go of the intellect ness if we want legit possibilty

rather.. we need to listen deeper to itch-in-the-soul ness.. otherwise.. will always be dealing with finite set of choices

tweet via matt i found after listening to this convo..

@jgreenhall @cometaj2 @ReidGower @EricRWeinstein I’m not trying to fully escape the linguistic closure.

More trying to get outside semantic closures associated w/ modes of thought that map intuitively to analytic (outside-in) percepts, in favor of grammar that biases toward intuitions of emergent, inside-out, open processes.

Original Tweet:

so tweeting ‘soci as the loci of possibility’ along with:

need a deeper loci.. ie: not about intellect ness.. and perhaps for ‘a grammar that biases toward intuitions of emergent, inside out open processes’: idiosyncratic jargon

3 min – m: in the sense that what we’re talking about w soci is how are we collectively navigating possibility space such that we are opening adjacent possibility profiles that are preferable to other externality profiles of possibility spaces of subspaces w/in possibility space that could be .. this is where i’m trying to come up w better grammar than what many philosophers call generals.. overloaded term.. military or general principal? .. looking for better term to point to certain types of processes that themselves tend to recur across diff scales of multi scale emergent system and that share isomorphically or share properties/transformations that are orthogonal from the material that they’re made of.. so.. i’m searching for better grammar around these ideas..

gillis on small scale ness.. need something that goes w all the scales..


that deep – ie: org around legit needs

5 min – m: but to bring it more concretely to what we’re talking about here.. i would make the claim that something like proof of work are similar to other types of potential in possibility space others: clock, ribosome, computer… acting negentropically.. that has certain set of novel emergence properties that open a new space and stabilize a new space of experimentation and yet depend on certain axiomatic bindings to these spaces of energy/info.. subject to min necessary info required to perform these irreversible computations or to take a state of high entropy and linearize it or reduce it’s entropy

why?.. let go

carhart-harris entropy law et al

7 min – m: so they actually use it in the origin of life.. the ribosome.. in terms of efficiency of computations.. then goes into all these ‘times more efficient ness’ .. determines size of cells that can even accommodate this kind of enclosure to begin with.. otherwise couldn’t even have the complexity emerge in that space..


8 min – m: so there’s this very interesting relationship between this energy efficiency of any system that is attempting to create a coherent linear output.. something like bitcoin.. taking many pieces of info.. synthesizing them via a provable utilization of energy in computation to then create a linear output of blocks that also decide what kind of analogistic protein should be put out there or made permanent on that blockchain

m: so we end up in this space where we start seeing the proof of work mech as analogous to these other mechs that various evolutionary (?) have converged on in terms of creating a high efficiency.. although.. certainly an energetically demanding form of providing a point of coherence for emergent systems to gather around and use the outputs of in their novel experimentation w these new components of a new/novel creative/possibility space.. so i think proof of work provide that stable gateway and possibility space in the domain of social coordination as this fundamental opening/portal to that possibility space.. in which other dynamics are able to experiment purely/largely self referential closures to see that they combine to in a way that retains its connection to the external energetic/info frame of ref.. retains its drift resistance on the adaptive landscape such that it doesn’t go entirely off into spaces that are existentially threatening

trying to maintain this kind of control.. is what’s existentially threatening..

10 min – m: so i don’t know how coherent that was.. i’m trying to articulate that more formally in some of the stuff i’m writing about (earlier said.. writing paper to make it for wider audience)


j: not coherent enough.. but we’re dealing w something.. trying to figure it out.. so the way i interpreted that.. 1\ i want to click on the specifics on what’s going on the landauer bound.. what’s really going on there.. can we do the mech independent characteristics that show up in multiple diff instantiations and id the actual abstraction of what’s actually happening there

nah.. the thinking we have to id it.. to click on the specifics of it.. are what’s keeping us from it (from the dance)

j: 2\ precisely this point about the distinction between pow (proof of work) and this notion of binding.. in comparison to proof of stake .. what proof of stake is binding to and the drift notion.. the visual image i have

11 min – j: in a very naive fashion one of the critiques of pow is that it is called.. bad for the world.. energetically expensive.. and the point of this convo is to say actually the exact opp.. that it’s commingling this new domain with the world.. it’s actually the way we prevent the noosphere from collapsing/destabilizing.. (m: or parasitizing itself.. ).. exactly.. and we’re talking about this at a level of specificity precision that has to be done in places like geometry and maths

oi.. of course.. let’s enclose it all w that

lit & num as colonialism

12 min – j: if i wanted to bind.. it’s funny.. we can actually use a diff metaphorical language.. if i knew i was about to invoke an extremely powerful genie and i needed to bind it to my will so that it did not destroy the world that i was bringing it into.. i would need to build a very very strong binding.. and i’m not going to build that binding by just waving my hands at it.. so the proposition is that there’s something we’re discovering.. the point is more discovering than inventing.. we’re discovering something in the landauer bound and its mech invariance that is the material out of which the proper binding between this emergent environ is and the sub-straight.. upon which it operates and of which we are a part..

actually.. what we need to do is uncover.. what’s already there.. something 8b souls already crave..

again.. otherwise.. just spinning our wheels.. sucking our energies.. in that same song

13 min – m: the mech independent aspect relates directly to this apparently recurring pattern in which .. well let’s reverse.. i think it’d be better to take your points in turn and go back to more concretely specifying what we were talking about w this lower bound.. *this landauer bound.. in terms of this minimal energy required to take a high entropy/disordered state and output more ordered state.. via **some sort of transformation

exactly .. *off point.. exactly what we’ve been doing forever.. we need to let go of that.. hard won order ness

**aka some sort of control/manip/coercion

Landauer’s principle is a physical principle pertaining to the lower theoretical limit of energy consumption of computation. It holds that “any logically irreversible manipulation of information, such as the erasure of a bit or the merging of two computation paths, must be accompanied by a corresponding entropy increase in non-information-bearing degrees of freedom of the information-processing apparatus or its environment”

Another way of phrasing Landauer’s principle is that if an observer loses information about a physical system, the observer loses the ability to extract work from that system.

ha.. yeah that.. we need to let go of computation/pow/work.. any form of m\a\p.. otherwise.. we’re erasing ourselves..

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

m: the types of processes we’re talking about are connected to almost everything.. because we are an emergent product of them.. they’re connected to almost everything in our environ because they’re that deep

yeah to that deep.. but don’t expect to grok the mechanics/specifics of it

ie: graeber unpredictability/surprise law.. and gillis on small scale ness and undisturbed ecosystem.. and .. et al

m: in a way it’s the same process that we undergo when we build any tool out of materials that were distributed throughout the earth’s surface.. and then they have to be assembled into a specific structure.. and then that specific structure then provides/enables and adjacent possible domain of utility

oi.. let go of it man.. or you won’t see the depth of which you speak.. we won’t be able to dance the dance if we keep thinking we have to be able to name the colour of it

14 min – j: wow.. this is actually the underlying basis of the thing we might call technology

oi.. let go

again.. mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh

what we need is tech as it could be.. not about specificity et al.. in order to have utility et al.. in order to control/measure.. et al.. it’s about undoing our hierarchical listening

m: it has a lot to do w the fundamental limits.. the lower bounds with respect to how much energy is required act against entropy in any sort of stable negentropic system

oh man.. energy suck via talking about energy suck ness

j: can we make it concrete.. let’s just talk about what’s happening in a ribosome

m: so ribosome itself is a series of evolved structures .. multiple layers emerged in terms of its function.. but as the central dogma in biology has it now.. dna is translated into mrna.. the mrna meets up w a ribosome so that the transfer rna attached to other amino acids that are floating around stocastically.. meet up w whatever code is currently locked into that ribosome via the mrna and then basically if there’s a pattern match there then able to write that particular code on.. copy it.. so you’re basically .. that ribosome is sampling.. it’s able to bind this structure of info.. this script.. w the mechanistic capacity to select from possibility space of all this stocastic potential around it.. concretely put out a new copy of this structure at one order of structure mag higher.. namely at the protein level as opposed to the info level via the combo of energy and info

all blah blah if data not legit.. ie if data is from whales in sea world

energy suck


16 min – j: hold on.. so what we have here is a transformation from the info layer to the material/functional layer.. and we have it being in the context of a negentropic function pulling stocastic resource into that environ

oi.. we have no idea what our resources/potential is.. we keep insisting and obsessing that they are some finite set of choices

m: locally negentropic.. we don’t need the 2nd law.. and this is why it’s so important as well.. and maybe we can touch on this w convos later.. this is where you get into dissonance w ideologies that wish for humanity to escape the 2nd law permanently in some way and not have to worry about in/out puts or have purely cyclical/closed relations to energy and material.. when.. *as far as we can tell.. in our best empirical understanding of the world.. we can’t ever escape that.. so the best we can do reduce the externalities in terms of where that pure energy is coming from or going to .. i know we’re jumping several scales up here to the more socio econ scale but the claim for pow as an ethical binding is that it allows for a much cleaner or much less noisy binding to what you might call the circumscription of our complex system as a thermodynamic entity

oh man.. so loaded.. ie: *this is how we think we understand/control sea world

The second law of thermodynamics establishes the concept of entropy as a physical property of a thermodynamic system. Entropy predicts the direction of spontaneous processes, and determines whether they are irreversible or impossible despite obeying the requirement of conservation of energy as expressed in the first law of thermodynamics. The second law may be formulated by the observation that the entropy of isolated systems left to spontaneous evolution cannot decrease, as they always arrive at a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, where the entropy is highest. If all processes in the system are reversible, the entropy is constant. An increase in entropy accounts for the irreversibility of natural processes, often referred to in the concept of the arrow of time.

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity  .. simultaneous fittingness..  everyone in sync..

18 min – m: you can say ok.. bitcoin can be used as this *computational membrane to show us where the externality bounds.. how inefficient we’re being.. compared to how efficient we could be if we were using all that energy we were taking in to whatever **econ systems we’re talking about and wasting as little as possible.. ***in the translation of energy and info into useful/stable function

*oi.. of math and men .. the death of us.. we need to let go of any form of m\a\p

**oikos (the economy our souls crave).. ‘i should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.’ – gaston bachelard, the poetics of space

***let go

m: and we don’t have a good way of doing that right now.. we trust people to give us stories that tell us we’re using energy correctly or that we’re not being wasteful.. but often times those stories are highly corruptible.. or highly subject to capture or local incentives.. and we don’t have any absolute reference frame of trust.. and so in some ways i think we’re sublimating this ability to.. we’re slowly developing the ability to trust that there can be something we call an objective ref point to efficiency.. our utility of interaction w energy.. and that it’s worth spending some energy to bring a system into existence that allows us to.. if not fully escape.. at least hedge strongly against many of the modes of failure/corruption when it comes to trying to articulate this at the political level.. ideologically or .. the property of connecting directly to external physical frame of ref thermodynamically

19 min – j: how does proof of stake.. as it begins to evolve.. what does it end up binding to

20 min – we’re trying to create intentionally auto catalytic spaces.. spaces that are intentionally closed.. in that their legitimacy derives from their ability to convince a certain subset of people to buy into the closed cycles of processes that keep that system humming/stable.. but then those systems then need to go thru an adaptive landscape of deciding whether or not they’re going to remain valid thru the lens of actual functional utility.. most don’t.. and this is why in the ico’s we see huge amounts of those entities die.. huge amounts of parasites… the way i see it is.. by defn proof of stake has to be self referentially root strapped because by defn they’re not going to try to make a claim to connect anything that is out side their own perspective of reality.. they rely on the fact that another system is doing that for them.. and even though they don’t built upon that directly w code.. the fact that that connection does exist in the ecology means that entire ecology actually has a convergent logic.. a selective mech.. whereas if it didn’t have that proof of work attractor at the center of everything.. it would be a purely divergent set of explorations on the adaptive landscape and i think it would be too diffuse for meaningful coherent evolution.. it would almost become pure solitism.. there’s always that tendency.. everyone wants to create their own world.. every one of these networks wants to be their own reality.. they’re vying for the substrate of econ perception of value itself and they want to sort of ideally be the frame of ref which everyone looks thru at the world.. but whenever you create such a strong incentive what you get is actual fragmentation not coherence.. so then thrown back into the question of what is the necessity that enables the idea of objectivity to be an idea that people find valid.. and to me.. seems like the deepest concepts we can appeal to are energy/info and if you can create a sort of clock that people can agree that those ticks are valid.. that enables this whole new possibility space.. in the way physical clocks enabled a whole new coordination space in humanity’s history.. we don’t really even think about that.. but none of this would be possible w/o clocks to begin with.. or the way that ribosomes enabled a new possibility space in that domain

yeah.. let’s go there.. something that’s already on each heart.. so just an uncovering.. no training/prep/papers needed to persuade or incentivize..

23 min – j: slow down slow down.. clock is good.. really interesting because problem of proof of stake is a relatively novel problem.. so the analogous problem is all forms of narrative/institutional-construct/checks-balances.. anything where you’re trying to do a design that’s happening w/in the social/narrative/info layer

24 min – m: and just as a fun little aside there.. you think.. what emerges when you talk to somebody if you have a faith based perspective on the world.. and you argue w them about the fundamental text and you say.. what is that pointing to outside of itself.. it’s not pointing to anything outside of itself.. it says so in the book.. because it says the book is the axiom.. there doesn’t need to be any external reference.. so that analogy holds pretty deeply in that space

j: exactly.. and so the point of the clock.. man.. seems like there’s something about this that is not just a little bit profound.. is precisely the relationship between the nature of the transformation between energy and info.. that’s the question .. what does it even mean for energy/info to be in relationship

25 min – m: yeah.. and it’s fascinating in that sense that .. to think of the shannon defn of entropy and info entropy as surprise.. so info quantity as what is surprising.. and in that relationship it would be like.. the fundamental (proof of work) chain it’s encoding.. that which humanity find surprising enough or of sufficient info value to spend the requisite energy to put on that centralized coherence mech

graeber unpredictability/surprise law

m: because i don’t see bitcoin as decentralizing necessarily.. it’s *decentralizing w/in the present modes of centralization.. but it’s actually meta centralizing w respect to the entire possibility space of proof of work and proof of stake.. because proof of stake is going to be much more decentralized in terms of exploration of possibility space.. but the pow tie to reality provides that home base to check in with the underlying frame of ref to **make sure we’re not drifting as a species in terms of creating a totally solid system frame of ref that might even be quite stable for some period of time.. but if you lose touch w energy/info.. i mean even if we created a perfect membrane.. moved all of humanity inside it so didn’t have to worry about the external relationship to energy/info in the universe.. then just stayed inside and didn’t look outward at any other point.. it’s quite obvious that’s like going on a hike and trying to idealize that as the world changes around you.. you’re going to retain your capacity to stay on track (via map) .. just because that’s what the representation of the world at one point in time told you.. you’re assuming the map is reality is the territory.. and you’re assuming that the territory doesn’t actually evolve.. both of which i would say are ***invalid assumptions..

*yeah that.. which is what i think this convo is doing as well.. ie: decentralizing w/in present modes of centralization.. aka: sea world .. full of non legit data/info and no surprise

**yeah.. that’s sea world ness.. that’s what we’ve already done

***as are these ongoing assumptions ie: pow, entropy bad, info good, et al

27 min – j: the idea is like.. checking in on the degree to which we’re still in the same universe

which we aren’t .. haven’t been.. so no data/info to date is legit.. it’s like data from whales in sea world..

m: yep and it’s this crazy tension.. it’s almost the core defn of the epistem we’re navigating into postmodernity.. the sense that.. how do we navigate a world where we simultaneously acknowledge that perspectives are fundamental.. the divergence of perspective is a fundamental aspect of consciousness.. while also retaining the notion that the concept of *an objective frame of ref proves a necessary coordinating mech.. regardless of whether you believe it to be transcendentally real or not.. it is functionally and **pragmatically useful in a deep sense..

*yeah.. let’s do that ie: org around legit needs

**not sure this is a thing – that use is deep enough

28 min – j: yeah.. and not just useful obligatory

oh my.. i thought there might be a glimmer of .. ‘deeper than useful’.. obligatory.. oh my.. oh my.. same song guys.. having to be in control.. let go.. dang

j: you know the existence of elephant separate from the perspectives of the blind men is necessary for that story to land

m: yeah.. the fact that they even believe they can communicate coherently w the other entities submitting perceptions to them about the thing in question that they’re touching..

j: exactly.. exactly..

oi.. sounds like what’s going on here as well.. no?

m: if i was purely self cystic (?).. i’d be like.. oh.. i’m just hearing voices in my head that are saying they are touching something else but that’s not in line w what i’m feeling so why take it serious

j: there could be no possibility other than that if you’re purely self cystic (?).. which today.. you’d probably be told was a lie.. you’d be challenged very quickly and you’d collapse

29 min – j: something interesting also.. i heard you say.. about the notion of there being almost an as above so below.. that the natural evolutionary dynamic intrinsically driven by the desire for most efficient form of pow actually gives us a .. is effectively the clock tick or the metric bound of the relationship between culture and nature.. did that make any sense.. i think it didn’t

30 min – no .. i think it does.. i think it’s the same .. to the extent we’re using the word nature to point to that which is outside.. those aspects of emergent reality that gave rise to us but is not of us

? there goes our interconnectedness.. so i think deep flaw there

m: and we’re talking about culture as that which combines what gave rise to us and that which is of us then we are talking once again about this exact question.. because you could actually look at us as one of the pow mechs (laughs) of the evolutionary process

j: oooh.. yes.. that’s it.. that’s exactly it/right.. we are .. that’s what we are .. we’re a pow mech in this process.. f**

oh my.. pow is actually a fitting acronym.. ha..

31 min – j: ok.. now.. so the interesting thing just to make clear.. there’s an intrinsic decoupling between the specifics of a particular pow network and the fact of pow as a necessary binding.. for ie: i think it is correct.. it is certainly my assertion that the way the particular bitcoin network was produced and the way that it operates.. at least as far as i can tell.. fails.. in a very short finite time.. because of the evaporation characteristic of finite tokens into a very very small .. too little surface area of the collective intell is actually able to be deployed in the signaling network defined by that particular protocol.. too much info(?)

oh my

32 min – m: that’s a sort of argument by way of limitations to compression.. to present capacity.. if you’re saying.. that to the extent that we do create a centralizing structure as this mech of coherence that if it has a limit on the amount of info that it itself can hold.. or rep at any given tick.. at some point.. that info and its limitations in terms of amt of limitation we can compress into that fundamental centralized thread of coherence.. might be an insufficient tether to all of the other necessary dynamics that are attempting to coordinate around it

33 min – j: yes.. that’s a very nice way of saying it

m: i definitely agree that it could/would in eventuality become (?).. and this relates to kauffman’s ideas of econ webs as well.. ie: any node as econ like a bike.. and look at edges of utilization of that thing.. like one could be riding it to work/fast/slow/up/down.. the more uses you get creates a kind of pull on that node that is the genesis of specialization. . more uses on node create a sort of fragmentary tension that then is the driver of specialization as node specializes into roadbike.. citybike.. electricbike.. whatever

34 min – j: you’ve got 3 moves 1\ flux of energy that moves in thru the diff connection points into the node 2\ flux of energy then generates a capacity for searching the adj possible around that node for more efficient instantiations at the particular node 3\ and if there is a discovery of one that one then pops out.. this is evolution.. there’s a dynamic feedback loop .. where the more a particular organism achieves a dominance.. ah.. so this is the forking dynamic.. so this is why the forking dynamic operates the way it does.. exactly

35 min – m: forking and layering.. it’s like simultaneously .. like in bio terms.. it’s like genetic forking in terms of mutation but also epigenetic layering in terms of compression .. or like layering of functionality

j: yes.. hell .. (laughs) so this is .. it’s such an interesting experience to be in a place where i can almost understand this.. (laughs)

oi – red flag.. got the math down.. the computation.. the vocab.. in the nice little pkg.. whalespeak

m: isn’t it weird.. i mean it’s.. it feels in some ways it’s so deep we almost shouldn’t be able to grasp it.. and yet touching it does.. yeah.. whenever i feel like i get a glimpse of it.. i’m kind of in awe that we’re actually doing this as a species..

36 min – j: have you had any convos w stuart kauffman.. seems we should figure out a way to make that happen

m: that’d be good.. i think the origins of order is right up there w the origin of species


j: yeah.. i agree.. i definitely am tired.. that was great