Born to Do Math 176 – Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Sometimes I Dread, Not the Same for You

In-Sight Publishing

Born to Do Math 176 – Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Sometimes I Dread, Not the Same for You

July 8, 2020

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We were talking about the sameness for everyone.

Rick Rosner: So, yesterday, when we talked, we talked about the philosophical question as to whether the colour red is the same for everybody and “how do you even know?” Also, we talked about the structural flexibility of the universe, where micro-events, micro-interactions, e.g., a single photon is emitted or absorbed probably have very little impact on what the universe knows about itself.

To have a photon that travels one billion billionths of a millimetre in the center of the Sun, the universe doesn’t hold onto interactions happening in the Sun. A gazillion of the interactions happens every second in the center of the Sun. The universe doesn’t have the information to do it. Which means however the universe interacts and defines itself, it means there’s certain flexibility or a looseness based on their not being enough information to completely define its entire history or even the position of every particle/identity of every particle/every interaction.

The universe has no record of which electron is which after the interactions. There’s looseness. That’s similar to everyone having the same colour of red, at least with the same background. Some argued the ancient Greeks didn’t understand the colour blue because it doesn’t show up in a context where you’d expect it to come up. It might be The Odyssey mentioning the wine-dark sea. People think that’s weird when the sea is blue-ish. But it is dark. So, it might not matter. But blue doesn’t show up in Greek literature of certain eras. People have shown in research that various colours show up in various literature of ancient civilizations, which means ancient people were quicker to notice other colours first than others with red as one of the first.

When people come from the same rough background, being born from the 1920s to the year 2000, those people will have similar enough backgrounds. So, when you talk about something being “red,” you know that given the perceptual structures and socio-structures of the brain. People have the same rough idea of red. But everybody’s got a different map of red based on their own individual unique associations. Their personal histories as they learn “red.” Some may have different feelings about red based on the things that happen to them if they have a bloody accident or saw somebody have a bloody accident. I am looking at our bar cart here. I am seeing red labels of Smirnoff Vodka. Maybe, somebody likes red because it reminds them of vodka.

Someone may have different emotional associations with red, but people are going to picture roughly the same colour. In fact, I am sure somebody has done that test giving people a range of colours saying, “List the reddest red,” to see what people consider a deep red. It is probably 10% by wavelength or less. That seems like too much, maybe 3% or 4%. Nobody’s associative net is the same. But we work with the same rough concepts for commonly understood things, as we build up mental representations of these common things. They are never the same two things for two people, but the universe, similarly, can represent what it knows in a gazillion different ways. The same way 200,000,000 people can each have a different associative map of red but all see red.

The same way the universe can see what it sees, and knows what it knows assuming it can know, without having a precise map of the constituent parts that define what it knows. You’ve got these rough things. The universe is shaped by the matter within it. But the overall shape of the universe doesn’t depend on the precise precision of each star within each galaxy. The overall shape is generated by the overall distribution of mass. So, you could switch stars around; there’s an imprecision in the universe, but one that still allows it to perform its information processing and thing-knowing function.

Jacobsen: What is the efficiency, the optimization, of information processing when you have standardized units, quarks? There are interchangeable, but have this gooeyness in the distribution of mass.

Rosner: So, the optimization, we know consciousness is an optimization of some type. We wouldn’t have consciousness without the sharing of information among the different information processing nodes of the brain, if this didn’t help with modelling or predicting the world. At the same time, it is a loose optimization. We have talked about there not being one optimum leaf. You have thousands of different leaf shapes. Compared to eyes, there’s no optimal shape of eyes. Given that, mammals have one type of eyes and bugs have another. But it is a much tighter optimization. Human-mammal type eyes have a much stronger optimal position than leaves because human type eyes have evolved lots of times over the process of evolution of life on our planet. It is a highly optimal structure. Although, it is not the only structure for seeing. It shows up again and again.

So, it really works. Compared to leaves, there is no single strong contenders for best leaf because there is such variety. So, I would harbour a guess that consciousness is that any sufficiently developed and complicated information processing entity is going to gravitate to a structure that includes globally shared information among processing nodes, but, beyond that, there’s no sharp model defining the relationships and the constituents of consciousness. However, when it gets down to the individual Legos, the individual building blocks of consciousness. I think those things are pretty solidly pinned down, the fundamental particles of physics, are pretty close to the same across all possible universes. Unless, the universe is an engineered universe. What do you call the substrate…?

Jacobsen: Oh, the Substrate Independence and the Structural Dependence.

Rosner: So, a sufficiently advanced civilization could simulate a universe of 5 dimensions to set up rules that would let it work, more or less, and have some weird physics with not all the same particles. That would be a simulated universe and would have huge lack of optimality. You’ve wasted all these resources to build a toy universe, a donut-shaped universe, whatever. At some point, in looking back and back and back among the layers, you could imagine a donut-shaped universe being engineered by a civilization living in a simulated 5-dimensional universe… and then you see a natural type universe. One that is the easiest universe to have arisen and exist; those natural type universes – those there’s trouble with that idea, which we can discuss, but not now – have the same type of particles because these are the types of particles that can exist without contradiction. The fundamental particles, when most people think of fundamental particles would only be able to name three of them.

Even when scientists, e.g., biologists or chemists, work with fundamental particles or elementary particles, a chemist is working with, for the most part, electrons and protons and nuclei, and not with muons and gluons and Higgs bosons, and photons. All of the big five that we have talked about too. Those that do most of the work that we rely on or perceive in the macro universe. Protons, neutrons, electrons, photons, and neutrinos, there are other constituent parts that help those things work, but you don’t see their work in the macro world. You barely see neutrinos in the macro world. But anyway, you’ve got these particles that make the macro world work, then you have five of them, basically. But then, you have dozens more that do the microwork that keep the macroparticles functioning in their macro way. If microparticles didn’t hold atomic nuclei together, then you couldn’t have atoms, couldn’t have elements, so the macro world wouldn’t work.

The whole menagerie of fundamental particles has all these deep symmetries under group theory. It is probably that you have these macro particles great for building worlds out of, but those can’t exist without contradiction and a whole underlying structure with deep symmetries or deep resistance to contradiction. That’s the deal. We’re the skin floating on top of a contradiction resistant substrate. Although, not the substrate that you brought up in another session about another hardware world supporting our world.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Founder, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.

For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

  1. American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from
  2. Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from

License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing  by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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