Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] [Zendo] Another Spock Rule question

  • FromTimothy Hunt <games@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 1 Aug 2011 17:19:37 -0500
On Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 4:26 PM, Jeff Zeitlin
<icehouse@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Mon, 01 Aug 2011 08:53:46 -0400, "Ryan Hackel" <deeplogic@xxxxxxxxxx>

>>Bottom Line: Does a rule that involves spelling or language violate the
>>Spock Rule?
> I hold that it does, because the language that the colors of the
> pyramids are named in is not inherent to the pyramids, their
> relationship to each other, or to the surface.  You and I speak English,
> but what if Spock were to transport that koan to a table in (say)
> Helsinki, where the colors are named in Finnish?  Given that Finns play
> Scrabble in their own language, does the koan still have the
> Buddha-nature?

No, it does not violate the Spock Rule.

Remember this - when a student makes a guess at a rule and that guess
is consistent with the koans on the table, it either matches the
master's rule, or it does not. If it does not, the master is required
to create a new koan consistent with their own rule, but demonstrates
that the students rule-guess in incorrect. If the master is unable to
create such a koan, then the rule that the student guessed is in fact
the rule, and the student has gained enlightenment.  In that case, the
student's guess and the master's rule are functionally equivalent.

Now, in the case of using language, as described, the rule can
*succinctly* be described using the phrase "the first letters of
pyramids in a stack form a valid scrabble word", the rule can *also*
be described by completely enumerating all koans that match the
master's rule. If a student were to list all those koans out, he would
gain enlightenment, because the master would be unable to produce a
koan that did not match the student's rule.

Another example.

If I am playing standard Zendo (4 stashes of 4 colours) and I have a
rule which is "the sum of the pips is even", and the student guesses
"The sum of the pips must be 2, or 4, or 6, or 8, or 10 ...[ here the
student keeps enumerating ]... or 114, or 116, or 118, or 120" then
the student has gained enlightenment.  He has enumerated all possible
circumstances in the game.  I am unable to show him a koan which does
not match (as I cannot show him a koan with 122 pips, because I do not
have enough pieces).  Although we know that in the real world, what
the student says is not the same as "even", it is in Zendo-space
because we cannot create an even number of pips greater than 120.
(Computer programmers ought to be aware of this type of issue when
dealing with computer integers, which are different than mathematical
integers, because they have limits based on the number of bits
available to represent them).