Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

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

  • FromJoshua Kronengold <mneme@xxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 10 Mar 2009 13:43:00 -0500
Dale Sheldon writes:
>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 

Um, no.  It's not at all subjective.  You have two rules; one
distinguishes "green" from black/white, the other distinguishes black
from white.

>> 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"?)

Obviously, if you try using this kind of play with simple rules, you
get nonsensical results.  "contains three red pieces" is a simple
rule.  So is "contains more red pieces than flat pieces."

"Contains exactly one upright large pyramid, the rays coming off its edges
splitting the board into four quadrants.  No piece is in more than
one quadrant, each quadrant contains only one color" is not a simple
rule, and would be worth running with a mu rule (as it turns out, I've
guessed it with standard rules and it was fun, but devilish).

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

That's not mu except in the way that nearly all zendo terms are very
close to the opposite of the actual corresponding zen terms.  Mu means
the question is wrong -- neither has the buddha nature nor does not.

>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?

What does that serve?  Can you think of koans that have 6 equally
difficult parts?  Reducto ad absurdium is somewhat limited here, as it
departs from the truth rather than taking my principles to their
logical conclusions.

>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.)

Because there are huge numbers of zendo rules that really are in the
form "there's a rule that decides what koans are interesting, and then
I'm appling a rule to those interesting koans".  Many of these are
from newbie masters...some are from really experienced masters.

>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).

This is missing the point entirely -- obviously, if the master makes a
mistake, the rule should change to fit the original rule and the
existing cases in the simplest way possible.  But I'm not talking
about messups in baby zendo; I'm talking about ways to make truly
difficult rules interesting and playable, rather than painful.

       Joshua Kronengold (mneme@(io.com, labcats.org)) |\      _,,,--,,_  ,)
--^--   "Did you know, if you increment enough, you   /,`.-'`'   -,  ;-;;'
 /\\    get an extra digit?"  "I knew," weeps Six.    |,4-  ) )-,_ ) /\     
/-\\\   "We knew. But we had forgotten."	     '---''(_/--' (_/-'