“Informatics” is the term used in the Italian education system in place of “Computer Science”. For one reason or another, I was never in tune with standardized education, however there have been times in school when I felt that I learned something that gave me a new perspective on things. One such moment was when a relatively rogue professor, spent a whole lesson explaining the fundamental importance of information and science of information, and how that encompassed the whole universe.
The concept of information is possibly the most important abstraction that our brain has ever conceived. Every living creature can collect and manipulate information. What sets humans apart is the ability to be self-aware of that ability.
With that self-awareness, together with observation of nature, also comes the ability to conceptualize recursion in the abstract. Recursion adds a dimension to abstraction. This is what allows us to contemplate quantities from the infinitesimally small to the infinitesimally large, both for material and immaterial things. Recursion is indeed embedded in nature (see reproduction), but the ability to use that in the abstract is what makes humans as intelligent as they are.
Now I wonder if there’s a concept that is more profound and fundamental than that of being able to recursively conceptualize/abstract things. Perhaps our brains already would have the plasticity to work on a new plane of thinking, but we’re stuck with what we can conceptualize by extrapolating only what we observe.
This pursuit of new fundamental planes of reasoning may be a necessary step towards answering the bigger questions in nature. The hope is that we may reach it by “bootstrapping” from the current analytical tools that we have, much like we do with mathematics. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what this would look like, because it’s one of those cases where one doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.
Perhaps my view of what’s fundamental reasoning is too much a matter of interpretation, it’s hard to quantify something so abstract. Either way, it’s still something worth considering.