Monthly Archives: May 2011

Are we our own psychics?


I’ve known about “Why?” for about 2-3 years now and have heard their song “Fatalist Palmistry” a million times, but it wasn’t until 3 weeks ago that I really focused on a lyric.

• i know a psychic who reads her own palms
and her findings are personal
• she keeps her fists shut tight and she sleeps on her side,
• well maybe she knows something i don’t know.

Ooooh, how interesting! A psychic that can read her own mind. I know what you’re thinking, “You’re stupid, Dan. She can read her mind because it’s hers! Psychics don’t exist, they just take cues from their clients and construct vague yet applicable statements.” I wholeheartedly agree with most of those thoughts.

First of all, I’m not stupid. Second of all, psychics don’t exist. However, what a strange lyric. It seems that we are our very own psychics. We have a window to our own conscious lives. At the very least, we are psychic beings in nominal way. The word “psychic” comes from the greek work for mind or soul.

Could it be that there are psychics? In a certain sense, I think so. The most obvious example is found in those cases when you finish your friend’s sentence. This probably doesn’t seem like a psychic power, but it really is. How is it that you were able to do that? Well, you know a lot about this person. You’ve learned about their lives and many other things. However, I don’t think that loading all this information into a computer would allow it finish your friend’s sentence. What is truly important is how this information is organized. This is where the mind  comes in. It stores certain information in certain areas. Important data at the “top”, less important data at the “bottom”. When you’re with your friend, your mind is in a certain state. A state that is ready primed to respond to this particular person. It becomes aware of your friend’s presence and dispositions.

We are fully-synthesized with ourselves (at least ‘normal’ people are). We know what we have done. We know what we like and dislike. But, as mentioned above, we also have certain information about others’ minds and are able to store that information and cull it when necessary.

So, next time you’re watching TV and see something interesting and you look to your roommate and immediately realize that they are thinking the same thing, be aware that you have read their mind and them yours. You are psychics!

Your Future Trainer

Every once in a while you meet a person that you size up as a person who has a long term plan for themselves. When I watch the video above, Steve Jobs seems like one of those people. This short clip already shows hits of what it is he wanted. He wanted a machine that is there to assist you with all of your mental needs. At the time it wasn’t feasible to make a computation device that we can all carry around, but today we have that power. It is the iPhone that Jobs really wanted to ultimately make. The iPhone is truly the bicycle of the mind.

Computers are very good at one type of thing; computing. Their motherboards are riddled with our logic impressed upon them. If a mechanical computer (not what we use today, however, there are still some very strong connections to these older types) makes a calculation error it’s because the logic gates are not set up correctly. These logic boards are control our devices. We use what we know about nature and have our computers act upon those. For example, the behavior of light has been modeled mathematically. This is good for us because we can now use a computer to correctly and precisely control pixels. Want a white pixel? Have the computer calculate the right frequency of blue-green-red pixels and you got white. You want tan? Same story.

This is great but it’s something that we’ve found is correctly and precisely modeled by math. A lot of things that humans do have not been so correctly modeled yet. (Don’t let this make you think we won’t, I think the information we’re feeding social networks and other places will ultimately lead to some very accurate mathematical “human-models“.) Basically, we’re a tough nut to crack, but we do things that are pretty easy to track mathematically based on some facts about us as individuals. Here comes the Apple iPhone, your Personal Trainer.

One day our iPhones might tell us what to do and when to do it. Is this good? I think it is, but like any other thing, moderation is key. Having a computer tell you when to do something that you are interested in doing may be helpful.

Apple wants your phone to tell you when to go to the gym and what to do when you’re there. It also wants to tell you when to eat and what to eat. You’d have a trainer in pocket. This is a real cool idea. My favorite part about it is that you are able to compete with your friends. Who doesn’t want to compete with friends? Also, who wants to be ostracized by friends? If you say you’re working out and they see you aren’t anywhere close to the gym or that you’ve logged X number of hours but your log says differently… you get my drift.