Posts tagged with von neumann algebra

  • M. You live in a society where lovers choose whom to marry based on romance. So you don’t want to give up your right to choose a partner (or no partner at all). But if you actually lived under rules of arranged marriage, you would not want to be forever-bitter about something you can’t change. So you would accept your fate, go with the flow, and learn to love whom you had to.
  • She didn’t want to be pregnant. She couldn’t afford it. She was too young. There was so much else she wanted to do with her life. But once the baby was born, s/he became the joy of her life—and the mother wouldn’t change a thing about her past choices. (P.)
  • You need a vacation. You’ve focussed on work for too long. You plan a grand adventure. You negotiate a year off with your employer. On the plane ride to the coast, somebody asks, “What do you do?” and, without thinking, you give your normal response: “I’m a lawyer.” Unsettled, you arrive at the mooring where you’re scheduled to pick up the rented boat. A week into your trip down the coast, you find that you’ve succeeded in running away from nothing. You’re still alone with your thoughts, and they still have exactly the same consistency. It’s going to be a long voyage, achieving nothing, cleansing nothing, a propos of nothing. At least you’ve got work to look forward to when you return. [[[V.]]]

There is an algebra that describes this. Something like a von Neumann algebra (the logic of quantum measurements).


In the vNA, “measuring” X changes the information that X reports. You measure the Z-spin of an atom, you get the Z-spin information but you’ve affected the atom in measuring.

Similarly, instantiating myself in a different context (a society with different social norms, being somewhere else other than where I am) would change the answers to questions M, V, P (marry, vacation, pregnant).

Self-as-function, with input parameters.

My answer to M(me, where-I-in-fact-grew-up) is that, no, I don’t want arranged marriage. My answer to M′( me, where-I-in-fact-grew-up) is that, no, I wouldn’t want arranged marriage. But different-my′ answer to M′(me′, where-I-might-have-grown-up′)M(me, where-i-in-fact-grew-up). Real-me doesn’t think like different-me, and doesn’t correctly predict different-me′'s feelings.