The Occam Extreme

December 19, 2011

You are more than a scientist. You are an Occamist.

Your favorite two words are “What if”.

You were the only student in class who found Einstein’s General Relativity exhilarating.

You favor the simpler explanation, all else being equal or not. You have promoted parsimony from heuristic, to hammer.

You spent an entire weekend listing the major outstanding physics problems, and asking what they had in common, and forgetting to eat.

You cringe when “many worlds” are used to explain the one world we know about.

You chew your own assumptions. What does “simple” mean? You devour pages of Solomonoff, Kolmogorov, Zuse, Fredkin, Schmidhuber. You are pleased but unsatisfied.

You think about thought. What does “probable” mean? Probable to whom? Is “certain” the same as “true”?

You obsess over complexity arising from simplicity. You wander out to stare at the starry sky. The Standard Model of all this fits on a page. A theory, an explanation, is just a generator, with some random initial conditions. But a generator of what? Is existence just truth without the arbiter?

You notice that simplicity to complexity is just a ratio of information amounts, and seek to minimize it. You pursue the zero. What kind of theory requires less than a bit of information to describe?

It occurs to you that at the limit, a guaranteed process, indeed the only guaranteed process, operating on complete randomness, generates everything.

You have elevated the Razor from instrument, to religion.

You have glimpsed the Occam Extreme.