If a fractal location is never rendered - does it exist?

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Offline Fraktalist

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« on: January 22, 2019, 02:57:40 PM »
I had a discussion where this quote came up:

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_a_tree_falls_in_a_forest

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Can something exist without being perceived? e.g. "is sound only sound if a person hears it?" The most immediate philosophical topic that the riddle introduces involves the existence of the tree (and the sound it produces) outside of human perception. If no one is around to see, hear, touch or smell the tree, how could it be said to exist? What is it to say that it exists when such an existence is unknown?

And it made me wonder:
What about all those unrendered locations in the Mandelbrot-Set (or other fractals)?
Do they exist? HAve they existed since the beginning of our universe?

And ultimately: Are we the render of a very specific location in the fractal universe and do all those locations we will never be able to reach (speed of light) actually exist or matter?


Offline hobold

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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2019, 03:05:45 PM »
I think this is only a special case of an older question posed to mathematicians: is mathematics discovered or is it designed? If the former, then it always existed. If the latter, then it didn't always exist but was created at some point in time.

I don't have anything decisive to add other than remark that a lot hinges on the definition of the word "exist".

Offline FractalDave

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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2019, 11:40:26 AM »
I don't have anything decisive to add other than remark that a lot hinges on the definition of the word "exist".

And in the absolute sense it's impossible to definitively prove that anything actually exists other than oneself - or further, one's own thoughts......I know that I at least think that I'm typing this......
The meaning and purpose of life is to give life purpose and meaning.

Offline RedshiftRider

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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2019, 05:07:22 PM »
If were were to look at it from natural phenomena I would say it does. The laws of physics allow specific thing to occur but some only under specific circumstances. If it is observed is a completely different question and even if it does not occur naturally the laws may still be able to shape synthetic instances. The rules would still be there to allow something to happen, even if that specific thing does not occur.

Robbert Dijkgraaf did a talk on this once, about symmetry specifically. Unfortunately he forgot about fractals. :fp:

Edit: this might be relevant
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH-z9gE2uGY
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 09:02:05 PM by RedshiftRider »

Offline ThunderboltPagoda

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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2019, 11:52:47 PM »
I think this is only a special case of an older question posed to mathematicians: is mathematics discovered or is it designed? If the former, then it always existed. If the latter, then it didn't always exist but was created at some point in time.

These are the positions known as Platonism and Formalism.

Offline reallybigname

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« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2019, 03:50:15 AM »
Seeing is creation. There is no difference between the two. They are both part of a whole. You are part of a quantum chain of interaction with whatever fractal you're rendering. The fact that others have rendered the same formula as you have is also a part of that chain, which is why we can objectively render the same image.  But, go to a place where the noise is high and the certainty is low, and you can create your own subdomain within that chain.

At least, that's the way I see it. :p

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Offline chronologicaldot

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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2019, 10:04:55 PM »
Old topic, but a good question.

I would say we could distinguish between exist and non-exist like active and potential. Certainly it has the potential to be, but it is not. Therefore, those "undiscovered" areas of fractals do not exist even though they have the potential to exist.

Analogously, the works of Van Gogh did not exist until Van Gogh created them. Yes, they had the potential to exist before, but they did not. Likewise, the works of future artists do not exist yet, and we cannot count them as existing until they are.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Technically, no. It makes the air vibrate, yes, but sound is a sensation actualized within the human consciousness.
There are no bad fractal parameters. There are simply those that haven't been tweaked enough.

Offline Fraktalist

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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2019, 12:26:11 AM »
I would say we could distinguish between exist and non-exist like active and potential. Certainly it has the potential to be, but it is not. Therefore, those "undiscovered" areas of fractals do not exist even though they have the potential to exist.

Analogously, the works of Van Gogh did not exist until Van Gogh created them. Yes, they had the potential to exist before, but they did not. Likewise, the works of future artists do not exist yet, and we cannot count them as existing until they are.

I really like the van Gogh example and the term "potential" for this. well put, I think I agree.

Edit: Actually this is another great point for my already long collection of similarities between our cosmos and fractals. Added. :)
« Last Edit: July 30, 2019, 09:28:02 AM by Fraktalist »

Offline reallybigname

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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2019, 02:23:33 AM »
Analogously, the works of Van Gogh did not exist until Van Gogh created them. Yes, they had the potential to exist before, but they did not. Likewise, the works of future artists do not exist yet, and we cannot count them as existing until they are.

In the case of sculpture, it can be said that the sculpture always existed inside the block of marble, and the excess just needed to be removed to reveal the sculpture. Van Gogh's work was additive, whereas sculpture is subtractive.

However, I posit that time doesn't have a direction, so the distinction between additive and subtractive manufacturing is mostly which was we look at it.  There is no "arrow of time". All equations work the same forwards or backwards. We just seem to experience time in one direction.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Technically, no. It makes the air vibrate, yes, but sound is a sensation actualized within the human consciousness.

I think that your interpretation misses the premise of that thought experiment.  And, I have to also point out that "sensation actualized within the human consciousness" is a phrase that could apply to any experience of any kind, of anything.  You say that "technically, no. It makes the air vibrate". But, it doesn't. And, you can't prove that it does. Because, if you put a detector there, then it wouldn't fit the criteria of "no one hears it'. The detector would hear it. That is the thought experiment.

Offline hobold

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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2019, 06:50:13 AM »
In the case of sculpture, it can be said that the sculpture always existed inside the block of marble, and the excess just needed to be removed to reveal the sculpture. Van Gogh's work was additive, whereas sculpture is subtractive.
Let me offer a different perspective. In both painting and sculpting, the artist is adding information.
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However, I posit that time doesn't have a direction, so the distinction between additive and subtractive manufacturing is mostly which was we look at it.  There is no "arrow of time". All equations work the same forwards or backwards. We just seem to experience time in one direction.
"Entropy always increases"; this is only a heuristic law of nature, but it does seem to break the perfect symmetry of temporal directions.

In other words, information is what the two arts have in common, and information is what causes the universe to have a known, immutable, past as well as an unknown future full of potential.


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