This book is a collection of ideas I've had over the past 3 years (2015-2018), trying my best to make sense of the world with my freshly learned analytical abilities after studying in various schools for 15 years and having passed the Ph.D. qualifying exam, which put me in a position where I could finally limit worrying about exams and start worrying about the bigger picture. These are views of a young scientist, or perhaps natural philosopher, as some of the ideas extend beyond the rigid academic framework of 'science', and might be unproven, unprovable, or even impossible to state in any quantitative terms. Yet this collection of ideas has given me a sense of peace, of having some clue of what is going on, of having a mental compass to focus on the underlying reality. Things are not always as they seem - the enemy might have the moral high ground and the action that feels most proper might be destructive when seen objectively. This book will 'fit' well with those of a certain mindset, a way of seeing and interpreting the world that is similar to the one I have, and chances are that even by now those will know that the rest of the book is of interest (I can imagine myself, age 17, stumbling upon this page and knowing that I must read it); to others it may be boring, pointless, subjective, lacking in rigor, or perhaps too fanciful. For you who will continue, reading this book will affect you, changing your thought patterns and view of the world - recognizing this cause and effect structure within yourself, you may find a recursive consistency with the arguments presented as I explore the nature of self and learning, and I believe such consistency is the only indicator of truth we have. For me, writing this book has been a journey in proving to myself just how little I know or can take for granted, and thus an emotional incineration of all the things I held dear. It has led me through depression, isolation, and ostracism, and hasn't given me much of an enlightenment. Amidst this I've found the need to define myself, not just the character traits I think are important but the specific actions that I should take to be the person I say I am. Turning my analytical and experimental abilities on my self, I learned that 'me' - the person I spend all my life with - is not quite who I thought. So this is a book about the world yet it is also an introspection, an explicit display of my thought process and development, a confrontation of the realities of life.
Also available as a PDF file here (1.4 MB, 367 pages).