Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] nullity in Zendo, represent it, or stop allowing it, was "Zendo rules", which it does

  • FromDale Sheldon <dales@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 10 Mar 2009 14:29:12 -0400 (EDT)
On Tue, 10 Mar 2009, Joshua Kronengold wrote:

This is a variant -- three-state Zendo.

IMO, there are a number of rules that are FAR easier in three-state zendo than they are in traditional two-state zendo -- as you can distinguish basic conditions ("all pieces are in a stack", "the koan contains exactly one upright large piece", "the koan contains exactly 3 pieces", etc) from conditions predicated on this (eg, the stack is in roygbiv order (yuch! but still), no piece crosses the diagonal rays extending from the upright large, the pieces are a Set via orientation, color, and size).

All this sounds like it would be incredilby subjective. (What counts as a "prerequisite"?) Whereas a (well-formed) Zendo rule is completely objective.

If you want to play "hot and cold" with your students, tell them to make more guesses (or if they "can't", tell them to call more mondos), and learn how to build _educational_ refutations of their gueses.

Ick, no. Your ground rules should put everything into sets, and if you get something that breaks your initial rules, you should fix them on the fly. But if you have a koan that contains a compound rule one of which is really a base condition for the rest, it's probably more fun to run it in three-state zendo (the signal for 3-state, of course, being that you start with a koan that has the buddha nature, a koan that does not, and a Mu koan).

Okay, so, if you split everything on logical opperators, and you get... what? Half of them? At least one? All but one? Then you get mu? Are adjectives broken off by "ands" (meaning should "large red pyramid" be read "a pyramid exists AND it is large AND it is red"?)

Mu already exists in the game. When you make a guess disproven by an existing koan, that's mu; i.e., "wrong question".

The advantage of three-state zendo is that rules that are arguably too hard in two-state zendo become much more tractable in three-state zendo. (as long as one does not abuse the format to create rules that are too hard in three-state).

Why stop at three? Why not state "there are 6 (or 3 or 10) parts to the rule" and mark each koan with a die for how many parts it meets? Because you're not marking some brand new "mu" state in your examples, you're marking "ammount of correctness". (Besides that, in boolean logic there should be no end-states other than "true" and "false", and despite the zen window dressing, this is still a game founded on logic.)

I say, if you make assumptions in your rule that make truthfullness undecideable (like assuming there would be at least one blue pyramid, and not knowing what to do if there aren't any), it's because you made a poor rule. This nice thing is, your students don't ever have to know you made a mistake: decide what the zero case is, and mark the koan (or if its a guess, either tell the student they win or build the counter example).

Dale Sheldon