Tag: Alan Kay

Hunger for the Limits

Looks like Einstein was right, Euclidean Geometry is sooo 20th century!

Hunger for the Limits

Dear Dylan,

You have now accumulated ten months of experience on Planet Earth. This date coincides closely with the one year anniversary of James Cameron’s solo submarine voyage to the deepest point in the Ocean, the Mariana trench.


I find that event very inspirational.  Going there was an adventure, and now we are learning about new life forms discovered while he was there. Our knowledge about the world has grown because of one solitary, adventurous spirit. As I tell people, if that doesn’t capture your imagination, you don’t have one. Like Cameron, you are going solo, exploring your portion of the world with insatiable curiosity. You started crawling and went straight from there to standing and bipedally teetering around the house in the span of two weeks.  We have had to race ahead of schedule to lock down the stairs and other dangers you have revealed.

This is a great way to comprehend the world; with a curious, adventurous spirit and as much direct experience of it as you can manage.  I hope you will continue in this way and follow the example of scientists and adventurers who are hungry for the limits of things and are always reshaping our understanding of reality.  I will seek to embed this yearning in you as much as possible, and fend from you the slings and arrows of outrageous doctrine, mythology and superstition that abound even today and will try to keep you from adventure and understanding.

It pains me today that there are many who are uncomfortable with adventure, and questioning what we know. Some schools still use textbooks filled with erroneous information. As if people can’t quite get comfortable with the fact that we are learning new versions of truth with the scientific method and accelerating intelligent computing networks. I am not talking about the obvious shameful misinformation about the Earth being 5,000 years old and cave men co-existing with Dinosaurs. I am talking about recent, fundamental shifts in understanding.

We still teach geometry as if the universe was Euclidean, when we have become very certain in the last decade that it is not. We still talk about the physics laws of conservation of energy and mass as if they are some sort of religious gospel when we now know they are not. Prigogine taught us that most systems are dissipative, not in equilibrium. (And I suspect, along with Robert Frenay, that this erroneous model of the universe is why our financial systems collapse under the weight of compound interest every decade)

I think most suffering on planet Earth is merely the result of bad ideas, Dylan. With better ideas, and our rapidly accelerating better knowledge of the nature of the universe we will end disease, custom manufacture human organs when needed,  and generally change this world before colonizing the galaxy.  You will see all of this in your long, extended life.

Keep exploring, young Master Dylan. Stay hungry for the limits of things.  And one mroe thing, follow Alan Kay’s advice. Don’t predict the future. Invent it.

Live Long and Prosper.



Dad and Alan Kay, Marina del Rey 2009

(Thanks to James Cameron, David Reed, Alan Kay and Robert Frenay for inspiring these thoughts)