Short Interview with William Shockley (1969)

Dr. Shockley invented the transistor design that wound up in mass produced electronics in December, 1947. Quite worth the ~7 minutes to take a look:

Notably he speculates on flat screen displays as an off-hand remark, in 1969! Those folks at Bell Labs were a generation ahead of their time.

Do Bacteria make decisions?

Every now and then I come across a great Quora post.

This one contains a great answer to a somewhat esoteric topic, that of bacteria motion. It’s worth a read.

https://qr.ae/pGFRbo

The short answer is yes, if you define decision making for bacteria as reliably selecting, out of various alternatives, one committed trajectory.

Interesting Buddhist terminology – applicable to modern thought?

With my handy dandy Buddhist dictionary I’ve discovered a few interesting words that succinctly describe quite complex ideas. Here’s an example of one such word with a useful english description:

abhūtaparikalpa

Chinese : xuwang fenbie; Japanese: komō funbetsu; Korean: hŏmang punbyŏl, Sinograph: 妄分別

In Sanskrit, “false imagining” or “construction of what is unreal”; a pivotal Yogācāra term describing the tendency of the dependent (PARATANTRA) nature (SVABHĀVA) to project false constructions of a reality that is bifurcated between self and others. Sentient beings mistakenly assume that what has been constructed through consciousness has a static, unchanging reality. This process inserts into the perceptual process an imaginary bifurcation (VIKALPA) between perceiving subject (grāhaka) and perceived object (grāhya) (see GRĀHYAGRĀHAKAVIKALPA), which is the basis for a continued proliferation of such mental constructions. This subject–object dichotomy is then projected onto all sensory experience, resulting in the imagined (PARIKALPITA) nature (svabhāva). By relying on these false imaginings to construct our sense of what is real, we inevitably subject ourselves to continued suffering (DUḤKHA) within the cycle of birth-and-death (SAṂSĀRA). The term figures prominently in MAITREYNĀTHA’s MADHYĀNTAVIBHĀGA (“Separating the Middle from the Extremes”) and VASUBANDHU’s commentary on the treatise, the Madhyāntavibhāgabhāṣya.

Note that all the sanskrit terms have been transliterated.

It’s easily imaginable that there is great potential value for usage of these terms for discussing complex philosophical ideas. The sophistication of the core ideas of Buddhism is also noticeable when fully elaborated like this, in comparison to the simpler allegorical versions presented in popular culture for Buddhism and other religions.

Here’s the cleaned up description:

abhūtaparikalpa, 妄分別

In Sanskrit, “false imagining” or “construction of what is unreal”; a pivotal Yogācāra term describing the tendency of the dependent nature to project false constructions of a reality that is bifurcated between self and others. Sentient beings mistakenly assume that what has been constructed through consciousness has a static, unchanging reality. This process inserts into the perceptual process an imaginary bifurcation between perceiving subject and perceived object, which is the basis for a continued proliferation of such mental constructions. This subject–object dichotomy is then projected onto all sensory experience, resulting in the imagined nature. By relying on these false imaginings to construct our sense of what is real, we inevitably subject ourselves to continued suffering within the cycle of birth-and-death. The term figures prominently in“Separating the Middle from the Extremes” and VASUBANDHU’s commentary on the treatise, the Madhyāntavibhāgabhāṣya.