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(Philosophy) Egyptian Magic and Theory of Computation

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This post is a philosophical one discussing the essential motives of the theories underpinning Egyptian magic and how it relates to our modernized concepts of computation.




Egyptians had the belief that things called "words of power"*1 existed.  People who knew these words of power invoked them to do crazy things apparently like parting water into blocks and stacking the blocks to search for things beneath the water; rejoining animals and man's heads when they had become detached from their bodies etc. But the essential concept was these collections of words that when said caused certain effects.

Essentially this means that using language you could invoke properties of the universe and use them like a mechanism to do you your bidding. This is sounds fantastical and mystical of course - we today know assumedly no such "words of power"; we cannot say things with our mouths that have any of the effects the Egyptians describe in their scrolls.

But we do have this al…

What is computation? An introduction for humans

It occurs to me that in this age ruled by computers many people do not know what computation is.

If you feel you know what makes a computer "compute" you must be able to describe it no? What renders a lifeless collection of transistors and voltages into a working all emulating computer? If you cannot answer then your entire understanding of computers is completely spiritual and religious in my view - an entire practice of assuming (its not wrong its just not provably correct)! A simple experiment I always play on my non-Computer Scientist friends (perhaps very cruelly lol) is to ask them how a computer manages to check if two numbers are equal? "How do you write or design a machine that computes equality? Does it just magically calculate it as equal? How does it "weight" the numbers? Well how does it know the weights are the same?"

This illusively counter intuitive question brings to light the very underpinning of all logic on computers: equality and of …