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By Colin Low

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I do find it astonishing that there are any hard-core materialists left in the world. All the important stuff seems to exist at the level of puffs of smoke, what Kabbalists call form. ” Well, they are until you start pulling them apart with tweezers and end up with a heap of equations which turn out to be the linguistic expression of an idea. As Einstein said, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible”, that is, capable of being described in some linguistic form.

A computer is nothing more than a source of heat and repair bills unless it has peripheral interfaces and device drivers to interface the world outside the computer to the world “inside” it; add a keyboard and a mouse and a monitor and a printer, install the appropriate driver software, and you have opened the door into another reality. Our own senses have the same characteristic of being a bi-directional interface through which we experience the world, and for this reason the senses correspond to Yesod, and not only the five traditional senses; the “sixth sense” and the “second sight” are given equal status.

Whatever a program is, it seems to exist, like a novel or a song or a story, independently of any particular language. So what is the program, and where is it? I don’t know. We only recognise the existence of programs or stories or song when we express them in some way, by writing or singing. Suppose we write a program down. We could do it with a pencil. We could punch holes in paper. We could plant trees in a pattern in a field. We can line up magnetic domains. We can burn holes in metal foil.

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