A MicroMuse Conversation

A Dialogue Between Moulton and Flop

Flop dropped Guppy.
The wall has arrived.
Guppy dropped The wall.
Guppy goes home.
Guppy has left.
A curious chipmunk looks you over from the fallen log you're leaning up against.
A gentle breeze riffles your hair playfully.

Flop says "I'm having trouble with my wall"

Moulton says "Absence of Malice is insufficient. Presence of Compassion is also required."

Flop leans back

Moulton regards flop.

Flop says "the last @edit command doesn't seem to work in the quickscratch attribute."

Moulton examines your code...

Moulton says "The syntax of @edit is incorrect."

Moulton says "Oh I see. Indirect reference. Yipes."

Flop says "tut tut."

Moulton says "Indirect Reference is hairy."

Flop says "but it should work......"

Moulton says "In theory Everything Should Work."

Flop says "not everything,"

Moulton says "In practice Almost Nothing Works."

Moulton says "There is a Gap between Theory and Practice."

Moulton says "In practice, there is a bigger Gap between Theory and Practice than there is in theory."

Flop says "yeah but the theory should be sound to start with, programming, is practically all theory."

Moulton says "And not enough Practice."

Flop says "har har"

Moulton says "Emotions are the Instrument Panel on the Dashboard of Life."

Moulton noots flop.

Flop says "but what's the break pedal?"

Moulton says "The Break Pedal? Or the Brake Pedal?"

Flop says "brake pedal?"

Moulton says "The Brake Pedal is the Response to Fear."

Moulton says "Or one of the responses."

Flop says "okay then, what about the windscreen wipers button?"

Moulton says "That is the response to feeling of being awash."

Flop says "thats reallll funnny, what about the heating up thing, air con?"

Moulton says "Response to feeling of being chilled or feeling of being fatigued from heat and humidity."

Flop says "no, in the metaphor, thats what it's for in a car."

Moulton says "Service. Client/Server Model. :)"

Moulton says "Client has Feelings, Car offers Service."

Flop says "okay, I'm lost"

Moulton says "Good. That's a wonderful place to be. Feelings of being Lost."

Moulton says "That's what Maps are for."

Moulton says "Look around for LandMarks. What was the last LandMark you recognized."

Flop says "cars, and metaphors"

Moulton says "OK. Cars and Metaphors. What is our Journey? Where did we start this Journey, and where are we headed?"

Flop says "don't know....!"

Flop is irate

Moulton says "Are we going for a Practice Drive, just to learn how the Instruments on the Car work?"

Flop says "help, I'm stuck with a moon worshiper!"

Moulton is a Moon Worshipper.

Flop says "oh, no."

Moulton says "The Moon in turn Worships the Source of Light."

Flop says "the moon, luna, moon worshiper = lunatics"

Moulton says "Have you ever studied The Process of Enlightenment?"

Flop says "what buddhism?"

Moulton says "That's one way to gain insight into the Process of Enlightenment. You could study Zen Koans."

Moulton says "What is the sound of one band flapping?"

Flop says "or not, and just be yourself. I have read most of Godel, Echer bach."

Moulton says "Have you written your own dialogues yet?"

Moulton wonders if flop has been to the Computer Museum here yet.

Flop says "no I haven't"

Moulton says "Wait... I will go there and then summon you, OK?"

Flop says "kay"

<Sec 1 - Arc 4> Cyberion City Museums
A large, shallow reflecting pool lies before the low-slung Cyberion City Museum. A bridge over the pool leads between dancing fountains to the front entrance of the Museum. You also see a garden path leading to the new Egyptology Museum.
Obvious exits:
<E>gypt Museum <M> <P>ort Star<B>oard <S>pin <A>ntispin

Flop has arrived.

Flop arrives from antispinward.

Moulton says "Museum"

You spin through the revolving glass doors and into the Museum.

Museum Entrance
The Cyberion City Museum welcomes you! In the Computer Museum you will find a one-act play about Alan Turing and computer consciousness. "The Turtling Test" stars Achilles and the Tortoise, who formerly appeared in the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, 'Goedel, Escher, Bach' by Douglas Hofstadter. The Children's wing of the Museum currently features Letters From Children Around the World, culled from the KIDS-91 and KIDS-92 Newsletters, as reprinted on KIDSPHERE (formerly called KIDSNET).
Science and Technology Council Mission Statement(#28724)
Obvious exits:
Computer Museum <CM> Curio Shop <CS> Children's Wing <CW> <Sun>dial Room Out

Flop has arrived.

Flop arrives from Cyberion City Museums.

Moulton says "Computer Museum ..."

Flop goes through the exit marked Computer Museum .

Flop has left.

You head North to explore The World of Computers.

Computer Museum
Welcome to the Computer Museum. We are proud to present "The Turtling Test" by Moulton, a one-act play starring Achilles and the Tortoise. Please make yourself at home. The play will start automatically in a few moments. In case of problems, type 'Reset' to halt the play. To restart the play, go out and come back in. Thank you for your patronage!
The Great Achilles
The Venerable Tortoise
Obvious exits:

Welcome! You're just in time! The show will be starting in 30 seconds.

Moulton takes a comfortable seat.

The Turtling Test, starring Achilles and the Tortoise. The scene is the Computer Museum.

The stage lights come up on Achilles and the Tortoise....

Achilles: Good morning, Mr. T!

Tortoise: Good day, Achilles. What a wonderful day for touring the computer museum.

Achilles: Yes, it's quite amazing to realize how far our computer technology has come since the days of Von Neumann and Turing.

Tortoise: It's interesting that you mention Alan Turing, for I've been doing some biographical research on him. He is a most interesting and enigmatic character.

Achilles: Biographical research? That's a switch. Usually people like to talk about his Turing Test, in which a human judge tries to distinguish which of two individuals is the human and which is the computer, based on their answers to questions posed by the judge over a teletype link. To tell you the truth, I'm getting a little tired of hearing people talk about it so much.

Tortoise: You have a fine memory, my friend, but I'm afraid you'll be disappointed when I tell you that the Turing Test does come up in my work.

Achilles: In that case, don't tell me.

Tortoise: Fair enough. Perhaps you would be interested to know what Alan Turing would have done next if he hadn't died so tragically in his prime.

Achilles: That's an interesting idea, but of course it's impossible to say.

Tortoise: If you mean we'll never know for sure, I would certainly agree. But I have just come up with a way to answer the question anyway.

Achilles: Really?

Tortoise: Really. You see, I have just constructed a model of Alan Turing's brain, based on a careful examination of everything he read, saw, did, or wrote about during his tragic career.

Achilles: Everything?

Tortoise: Well, not quite everything -- just the things I know about from the archives and from his notes and effects. That's why it's just a model and not an exact duplicate of his brain. It would be a perfect model if I could discover everything he ever saw, learned, or discovered.

Achilles: Amazing!

Tortoise: Since Turing had a very logical mind, I merely start with his accumulated knowledge and reason logically to what he would have investigated next. Interestingly, this leads to a possible hypothesis explaining why Turing committed suicide.

Achilles: Fantastic! Let's hear your theory.

Tortoise: A logical next step after devising the Turing Test would be to give the formal definition of a Turing Machine to computer 'A'(which, since it's a computer, happens to be a Turing Machine itself) and ask it to decide if another system (call it machine 'B') is a Turing Machine.

Achilles: I don't get it. What is machine 'A' supposed to do to decide the question?

Tortoise: Why it merely devises a test which only a Turing Machine could pass, such as a computation that a lesser beast would choke on. Then it administers the Test to machine 'B' to see how it handles the challenge. [_mentor] Catspaw wavies. Hihi.

Achilles: Are you sure that a Turing Machine knows how to devise such a test in the first place?

Tortoise: That's a good question. I suppose it depends on how the definition of a Turing Machine is stated. Clearly, a good definition would be one which states or implies a practical way to decide if an arbitrary hunk of matter possesses the property of being a Turing Machine. In this case, it's safe to assume that the problem was well-posed, meaning that the definition was sufficiently complete.

Achilles: So what happened next?

Tortoise: You mean what does my model of Turing's brain suggest as the next logical step?

Achilles: Of course, Mr. T. I quite forgot what level we were operating on.

Tortoise: Next, Machine 'A' would be asked if Machine 'A' itself fit the definition of a Turing Machine!

Achilles: Wow! You mean you can ask a machine to examine its own makeup?

Tortoise: Why not? In fact many modern computers have built-in self diagnostic systems. Why can't a computer devise a diagnostic program to see what kind of computer it is? As long as it's given the definition of a Turing Machine, it can administer the test to itself and see if it passes.

Achilles: Holy Holism! Computers can become self-aware of what they are?!

Tortoise: That would seem to be the case.

Achilles: What happens next?

Tortoise: You tell me.

Achilles: The Turing Machine tries the Turing Test on a human.

Tortoise: Very good. And what is the outcome?

Achilles: The human passes?

Tortoise: Right!

Achilles: So Alan Turing concludes that he's nothing more than a Turing Machine, which makes him so depressed he eventually commits suicide.

Tortoise: Maybe.

Achilles: What else could there be?

Tortoise: Let's go back to your last conclusion. You said, 'Turing concludes that he's nothing more than a Turing Machine.'

Achilles: I don't follow your point.

Tortoise: Suppose Turing wants to prove conclusively that he was something more than 'just a Turing Machine.'

Achilles: I see. He had a Turing Machine in him, but he wanted to know what else he was that was more than just a machine.

Tortoise: Right. So he searched for some way to discover how he differed from a machine in an important way.

Achilles: And he couldn't discover any way?

Tortoise: Not necessarily. He may have known of several ways. For example, he could have tried to fall in love.

Achilles: Why falling in love is the easiest thing in the world.

Tortoise: Not if you try to do it. Then it's impossible!

Achilles: I see your point.

Tortoise: In any event, there is no evidence that Turing ever fell in love, even though he must have known it was possible. Maybe he didn't know that one shouldn't try so hard.

Achilles: So he committed suicide in despair?

Tortoise: Maybe.

Achilles: What else could there be?

Tortoise: The last possibility that comes to mind is that Turing suspected there was something he was overlooking.

Achilles: And what is that?

Tortoise: Could a Turing Machine discover the properties of a Turing Machine without being told?

Achilles: Gee, I don't know. But it could discover the properties of another machine that it could do experiments on.

Tortoise: Would it ever think to do such experiments on itself?

Achilles: I don't know. Does it even know what the word 'itself' points to?

Tortoise: Who would have given it the idea of 'self'?

Achilles: I don't know. It reminds me of Narcissus discovering his reflection in a pool of water and falling in love with himself.

Tortoise: Well, I haven't finished my research yet, but I suspect that a Turing Machine, without outside assistance, could not discover the complete definition of itself, nor would it think to ask itself the question, 'Am I a Turing Machine?' if it were simply given the definition of one as a mathematical abstraction.

Achilles: In other words, if Alan Turing did ask himself the question, 'Am I(Alan Turing) a Turing Machine?' the very act of posing the question proves he isn't one!

Tortoise: That's my conjecture.

Achilles: So he committed suicide to prove he wasn't one, because he didn't realize that he already had all the evidence he needed to prove that he was intellectually more complex than a mere Turing Machine.

Tortoise: Perhaps.

Achilles: Well, I would be most interested to discover the final answer when you complete your research on this most interesting question.

Tortoise: My friend, if we live long enough, we're bound to find the answer.

Achilles: Good day, Mr. T!

Tortoise: Good day, Achilles.

The stage lights dim. Achilles and the Tortoise take their bows. We hope you enjoyed the show!

Moulton smiles at flop.

Flop smiles back, you're a real person aren't you?

Moulton says "Now it's *your* turn to write a dialogue! :)"

Moulton says "After you finish GEB, of course."

Moulton hopes to heaven he is real. As are you, my dear Flop.

Flop says "of course!"

Flop says "I hope to heaven I'm not, then I may live awhile, after death."

Moulton says "Real people can write imaginary dialogues. Imaginary people cannot."

Flop says "yes they can"

Moulton says "Imaginary people can write real dialogues?"

Flop says "yes they can!"

Moulton awaits a demonstration. This should be most enlightening. :)

Flop says "If I was only a figment of gods imagination, I could write a reAL DIALOGUE, NOT AS REAL AS GOD MIND, BUT everythings relative (apart from caps lock.)"

Moulton says "Is a figment of God's Imagination real or imaginary?"

Flop says "real, if gods real, (which he's not)"

Moulton says "Is the Process of Creation real or imaginary?"

Flop says "whichever god wants"

Moulton says "Is the Process of Evolution real or imaginary?"

Flop says "real"

Moulton says "Is the Process of Enlightenment real or imaginary?"

Flop says "give me a tick"

Moulton gives flop a tick.

Flop says "thanks"

Moulton says "You're welcome."

Flop says "my pleasure"

Moulton says "Flop, what is God's Name?"

Flop says "how should I know? god is on another level, incomprehensible to us."

Moulton says "God once told someone -- a human -- his name."

Moulton says "Did you know that?"

Flop says "yes."

Moulton says "At least there is a Story to that effect."

Flop says "abraham?"

Moulton says "In the Story, to whom did God speak, and what Name did he say?"

Flop says "yahweh? or something a bit longer...."

Moulton says "That's the abbreviation of the Name. Do you know the full Name, not abbreviated?"

Flop says "no."

Moulton says "Would you like to know?"

Flop says "kay"

Moulton says "In Exodus 3:14, when Moses hears God's voice, he asks God, "Who are you? What is your Name? Whom shall I tell the people I spoke with?"

Moulton says "And God answers, "Tell them 'Aheyah Asher Aheyah' has sent you."

Moulton says "Do you know any ancient languages, Flop? Do you know what "Aheyah Asher Aheyah" means?"

Flop says "no, I don't know sanskrit hebrew or sumerian, what does it mean?"

Moulton says "Linguists have studied that Name very carefully, to see if they could figure out what it means."

Moulton says "They have come up with several English translations."

Flop says "this is the name of god?"

Moulton nods. This is the Name of God, that God gives to Moses in Exodus 3:14 on Mount Sinai. And this Story was written down by a woman.

Moulton says "Literally, "Aheyah Asher Aheyah" translates to: 'I will be who I will be'"

Moulton says "But that is just the literal translation, not the deeper meaning."

Moulton says "Linguists now think they know what the Name of God really means."

Flop says "yes, I read about that in this book on the omega point, saying how god in effect will bring us all back at the omega point and will be an infinite turing machine."

Moulton says "What do you suppose they say the real meaning is?"

Moulton says "What modern language would we use to say what in those days, Aheyah Asher Aheyah means?"

Flop says "god is omnipresent throughout time, or is the omega point in the big crunch"

Moulton says "Note that God's Name is a Verb."

Moulton says "I will be who I will be."

Moulton says "But what do Linguists say that Name means?"

Flop says "don't know."

Moulton says "Would you like to know?"

Flop says "okay"

Moulton says "Some linguists say it means "The Process of Creation" or "The Process of Evolution" or "The Process of Enlightenment"."

Moulton says "Do you believe any of those Creative Processes really exist?"

Flop says "yes"

Flop says "of course they do!"

Moulton says "So do I. I believe they all exist. I believe we are both products of and participants in the Process of Creation, the Process of Evolution, the Process of Enlightenment."

Flop says "not by god, in humans, I meant"

Moulton says "We are in those processes, and those processes are alive and at work within us."

Moulton says "Or to say it the short way, We are in God, and God is in Us."

Flop says "I'm an atheist"

Moulton says "You just told me you believed in the existence of the Process of Creation, the Process of Evolution, and the Process of Enlightenment."

Moulton says "How can you be an Atheist and believe in the existence of those processes?"

Moulton says "Either you believe in the Process of Creation or you don't."

Flop says "the creation of a work of art..."

Moulton nods. The Creative Process.

Flop says "yup"

Moulton says "If you believe in the Creative Process then you cannot be an Atheist. Theism asserts The Process of Creation is real. The Process of Enlightenment is real. Creativity is real."

Moulton says "That's Theistic Belief."

Flop says "the process of creation, what is that?"

Moulton proposes we study that. Let's study the Big Bang, and Star Formation, Nova and Supernova, Planetary Formation, etc.

Moulton says "Let's study atoms and molecules and chemistry, and biochemistry, and life, and intelligence and wisdom and enlightenment."

Flop says "but that wasn't done by god!"

Moulton says "The Process of Creation didn't do all that?"

Moulton was pretty sure that all of Creation is the product of the Process of Creation.

Flop says "okayyyyyy"

Moulton says "And God's Name is "The Process of Creation". God === The Process of Creation."

Flop says "clever....."

Moulton says "The Process of Creation *did* do all that."

Moulton says "And we helped. :)"

Flop says "we did?"

Moulton says "And now we are in The Learning Process."

Moulton says "Which is part of The Process of Enlightenment."

Flop says "okay okay, I still don't believe though."

Moulton says "And we are definitely helping that Process right now. At least I hope so. :)"

Moulton says "You don't believe we are learning?"

Moulton pouts.

Flop says "I do not believe in GOD."

Moulton says "You don't believe you are in the process of becoming your future self?"

Moulton thinks you must be mistaken. I am certain that you are in fact in the process of creating your future self.

Flop says "no god, I'm an adult."

Moulton really truly does believe that.

Moulton is an adult too. So what?

Flop says "I don't need some metaphysical father."

Moulton says "Are adults forbidden from believing or studying the processes of creation, evolution, or enlightenment?"

Flop says "I don't need a father, I'm grown up, religion should too."

Moulton says "Father? What Father? We are way beyond metaphors. We are talking really hairy concepts now. We are talking about Invisible Processes in Time."

Moulton says "Can you not grok an Invisible Process in SpaceTime?"

Moulton says "Or do we need a metaphor to visualize it?"

Moulton says "Make up your mind, please."

Flop says "I can hack spacetime, I can't grop phasespace thought"

Moulton says "Are we intellecutally advanced enough now to envision Invisible Processes in SpaceTime?"

Moulton says "How about Invisible Processes in Cognition?"

Flop says "I think so."

Moulton says "Like The Process of Enlightenment."

Flop says "okay"

Moulton is getting tired of typing these long names, Process of Creation, Process of Evolution, Process of Enlightenment. My typing fingers grow weary.

Flop says "okay"

Moulton says "We need an abbreviation for those really really long names."

Moulton has an idea for a shorthand name for the longer names.

Flop says "okay"

Moulton proposes we use the pronoun "God" as a shorthand for the real long names.

Flop says "okay"

Moulton says "We can think of God as a cute cartoon character embodying those processes."

Flop says "okay"

Moulton likes having cute little cartoon characters to represent complex processes.

Flop says "okayyyyyyyy"

Moulton says "Makes it a lot easier to talk about it."

Moulton says "Just don't take the cartoon figure literally, OK?"

Moulton poots flop.

Flop says "okay"

Moulton says "Okay. We have a deal then. :)"

Flop says "yup"

Moulton poots flop to cement the deal.

Flop says "done"

Moulton says "Just between you and me, no one else has to know, cuz they aren't smart enough to grok it, when we say "God" we really mean The Process of Creation, The Process of Evolution, the Process of Enlightenmen, the Creative Process in general."

Flop says "kay, I'm easy with that."

Moulton says "Me too. It will save my fingers from wearing out before my time."

Moulton is glad we created a shorthand name.

Flop says "so am I"

Flop says "now what were we talking about?"

Moulton says "Remember, this is Our Secret. :)"

Moulton says "We were talking about Creating Dialogues."

Moulton says "Can Real Minds create Imaginary Dialogues?"

Flop says "yes, but it is a level change"

Moulton says "We are back to envisioning the creation of Imaginary Dialogues."

Flop says "yup"

Moulton wonders if you are now ready to imagine envisioning the creation of an imaginary dialogue.

Flop says "yessssss............."

Moulton hot ziggies!

Flop says "ziggies, hot! yuck"

Moulton got awfully lonely being the only person beside Doug Hofstadter writing Imaginary Dialogues.

Moulton was hoping to meet another Creator of Imaginary Dialogues.

Flop says "so people can write imaginary dialogues, but can't comprehend their own brain."

Moulton says "Mebbe that *is* how we comprehend our own Ygg, by writing Imaginary Dialogues."

Flop says "maybe, I can't even comprehend the back of my hand"

Moulton says "That is how we *apprehend* our own Ygg."

Moulton says "First you have to Apprehend your brain."

Flop says "ygg?"

Moulton says "To Apprehend it, capture it in mid-process in the creation of an Imaginary Dialogue."

Moulton says "Ygg is Norse for Brain. You called me Egg Brain before. Remember?"

Flop says "I remember"

Moulton says "Ygg is Egg is Brain."

Moulton says "Egg Brain means Brain Brain."

Flop says "hmmmm?"

Moulton says "There is an Imaginary Dialogue called Yggdrasil."

Moulton says "It's a Norse Creation Story."

Moulton says "Yggdrasil means Horse Brain."

Flop says "hmm, a better insult I think"

Moulton says "Horse is a metaphor for Journey on the Shaking Road."

Moulton says "The Brain's Journey is a Journey on the Shaking Road."

Flop says "really?"

Moulton nods.

Flop says "what's the story?"

Moulton says "There are many tellings of that Story. Yggdrasil is the Norse version. The Fool's Journey is another. The Chronicles of Narnia is another. The Phantom ToolBooth is another. The Wizard of Oz is another. All the same Story."

Moulton says "The Journey along the Shaking Road, the Yellow Brick Rod."

Moulton says "Road."

Flop says "the brick rod, that would make an interesting maths question!"

Moulton says "And Emotions are the Instrument Panel on the Dashboard of Life."

Moulton says "They tell you how much the Road is Shaking."

Flop says "mine is earthquake proof"

Moulton smiles.

Moulton says "When you get to a Richter 11 Earthquake, don't forget to call my name."

Flop grins

Moulton wants to be there to watch.

Flop says "I won't, I've got a onetrack road."

Moulton is serious. I've never seen a Richter 11. I wanna be there when you handle it.

Moulton heard the Sun had a Richter 11 SunQuake this week.

Flop says "okay then, you probably won't even notice, my instrument panel is usually permanently at zero"

Moulton wasn't there to watch.

Flop says "nor was I"

Moulton noticed some readings lately. Delight 3, Irate 2, Impatience 4, Frustration 2.

Moulton says "Satisfaction 5"

Flop says "those are feelings, not emotions."

Moulton says "Confidence 11"

Moulton says "Pootness 36."

Flop says "confidence 200"

Moulton says "Yggdrasil is about a God named Odin. Also known as Woden. Wednesday is named after him. He also had high confidence."

Moulton says "Yggdrasil is the story of what happened to him."

Flop says "s'nice, what do you know about sumarian culture?"

Moulton says "Not much. You?"

Flop says "nope, I'm gonna look it up"

Moulton says "Research. :)"

Flop says "yup"

Flop has left.