Monday, June 21, 2010

circular recursive Tao

Drawing Hands, 1948
lithograph cm 28,2x33,3
Hand with Reflecting Sphere, also known as Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror 
lithograph, 1935
Wijkamplaan, Baarn, The Netherlands

feedbacked Tao

One of the most powerful ideas of the twentieth century -particularly in the postwar-, for design and description of natural and artificial systems was to take the output of a black box and return it at the input:

Depending on whether this back-action output is added (positive feedback) or subtracted (negative feedback) we get the destruction (runaway) or the stabilization of the system.
In the first case an increase in the output increases the input which in turn increases the output again and so on, until the destruction of the system, while in the second case any perturbation of the input is compensated by the feedback and the system reaches a controlled steady state.
Ignoring the input and the output we see that now the black box has an external loop process of circular-recursive type:

Almost all the natural and artificial systems are based on stationary negative-feedback circular processes, for example in electronics control systems the classic scheme is:

The feedback process stabilizing (or destructive) is retrospectively understood since a long time, as evidenced by the classical figure of Ouroboros, the snake biting its tail continually recreating:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

the Teh of Tao

- 3 -

If you overesteem great men,
people become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
people begin to steal.
The Master leads
by emptying people's minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.
Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

from the beginning of Tao

There might have been things I missed

But don't be unkind

It don't mean I'm blind

Perhaps there's a thing or two

I think of lying in bed

I shouldn't have said

But there it is

You see it's all clear

You were meant to be here

From the beginning

Maybe I might have changed

And not been so cruel

Not been such a fool

Whatever was done is done

I just can't recall

It doesn't matter at all

You see it's all clear

You were meant to be here

From the beginning

Boxed and obscured Tao

When a system is particularly complicated, complex or unknown, and we are only interested to know what happens from the entry (stimulus) to the output (effect), what we can do is to identify an input (IN) and output (OUT ):

and then put the system into a blackbox and no one matters what's going on inside, observing only the relation between IN and OUT:

The OUT/IN relation determined in each condition of interest characterizes the system completely.
The 99% of the systems normally used, from mobile phones to watches, are used as blackboxes, only the experts know what's inside and how they work...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ordinariness (8 of Pentacles)

This person who walks in nature shows us how beauty can be found in the simple, ordinary, common things. It's so easy for us to assume and take for granted this wonderful world. Cleaning the house, taking care of the garden, cooking - any common and humble task becomes more with a tone of sacredness when it is done with total involvement, with love as an end in itself and without any thought of recognition or reward. Awaits a time when this approach to situations where you are compared - an easy approach, natural and quite common - will give you results far better than any attempt that you can do to be brilliant, clever, smart, or in any way extraordinary. Forget completely any idea of becoming famous by inventing the modern gadgets, forgot to amaze your friends and colleagues with your star qualities. At this time the special gift you have to offer looks better just taking things easy and simple, one step at a time

It sometimes happens that you become integrated - it is rare moments. View the ocean, its incredible power - and suddenly forget all your division, your schizophrenia vanishes relax. Or, while walking down the Himalayas, seeing the virgin snow of those imposing mountains, a sudden stillness envelops you, and do not need to pretend, because with you there is no human being who pretend. You intact. Or, listen to wonderful music - you intact. Where, in any situation - no matter what - will become a unit, you're surrounded by a delicious peace, happiness and bliss arise in you. Do you feel satisfied. No need to wait - these moments can become your natural life. Those moments can become extraordinary everyday things every day - in what is summed up the whole effort of Zen. You can live an extraordinary life, living a life quite common: cutting wood, making strains firewood, carrying water from the well can be inwardly at peace with yourself. Wiping the floor, cooking, washing clothes, you can be perfectly at ease, because what counts is your act totally, enjoying what you do, delight in the simplest actions.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the human condition in the Tao

René Magritte
La Condition Humaine I, 1933.
Oil on canvas. 100 x 81 cm.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA.

"The definition of a system is always related to an observer"

systems/processes/elements of Tao

A system generally includes at least two elements of the system (E1, E2) and a relation or process between them:
The elements items can be anything, from elementary particles to molecules to physiological organs to people who interact each others to mathematical laws. Sometimes we are familiar with the elements of the system, but we know little or nothing about their relationships; conversely often we know the process but do not know what are the elements that are implementing it and how they work.
In the previous figure the relationship between the elements is unique/one-way. This means that E1 has influence to E2 but not vice versa, or has influence but do not know or do not care about, for example in the Sun-Earth system.
The relation/process can be bijective/bidirectional, i.e. each element of the system interacts with the other:

The definition of a system is based on the cognitive logic competence to define a reasonable set. As such, a system always refers to an observer that defines a context or vice versa, a context which defines an observer:
As such, the definition of a system is always relative and subjective.
A general representation of a system may be:

Systems and their Representation
Graphics created by Marshall Clemens, NECSI