John von Neumann spoke five languages and knew dirty limericks in all of them. His colleagues, famous thinkers in their own right, all agreed that the operations of Johnny’s mind were too deep and far too fast to be entirely human. He was one of history’s most brilliant physicists, logicians, and mathematicians, as well as the software genius who invented the first electronic digital computer.
John von Neumann was the center of the group who created the “stored program” concept that made truly powerful computers possible, and he specified a template that is still used to design almost all computers–the “von Neumann architecture.” When he died, the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Air Force, and Navy and the Joint Chiefs of staff were all gathered around his bed, attentive to his last gasps of technical and policy advice.
-_Tools For Thought_ by Howard Rheingold
“Von Neumman’s catastrophe of the infinite regress”
A mathematical demonstration by John Von Neumann, showing that any attempt to remove uncertainty from the quantum realm by introducing a second order of instruments to monitor the first order will still contain uncertainty, leading to a third order of instruments, a fourh, etc., to infinity … or to a decision by the observer that we can bear the remaining amount of uncertainty.
–Robert Anton Wilson – _The Illuminati Papers
It’s very interesting that in a book called _Scientific Perspectives on Extraterrestrial Communication_ by Cyril Ponnamperuma, there is an article by R.N. Bracewell, an astrophysicist, who talks about the logic of searches for intelligent life. He concludes that no matter what kind of life form you are, no matter what kind of technology you have, if you are seriously going to search space by physically sending probes from one star to another, then the only strategy that would work would be what is called a von Neumann machine, meaning a machine that can reproduce itself. Four of these machines are sent out in four opposed directions from a parent star. At a certain distance from the parent star, each machine replicates, giving eight machines. At double that distance, they replicate again, giving sixteen machines, and so on. The notion is that only by this process of replication can all bets be covered. And then what you do is send an initial contact message that says, ‘We are searching the galaxy for intelligence by an exhaustive means. If you read this message, please call the following, toll-free number and we will initiate contact.’ Only in this way could you hope to have contact with all the habitable worlds in the galaxy. This scenario makes clear that it may be very important to understand what the message is that the mushroom conveys.”
– Terence Mckenna – _Archaic Revival_
- connection to Montauk, Philadelphia Experiment, Nikola Tesla, The Manhattan Project
- facilitator of ENIAC
- “von neumann machines” as diaspora mechanisms
- co-founder of the modern science of game theory
- one of the founders of operational research
- active participator in the invention of quantum physics
- one of the first scientists since Turing that examined the relationship between code-making and biological reproduction
- fluent in five or six languages by 10 years of age
John von Neumann and other physicists came to the conclusion that “consciousness can be the only agency responsible for the collapse of the wave function.” For that reason, many scientists that accept the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation subscribe the belief that “the mind, by collapsing the wave function, creates what we observe, from moment to moment.”
– Steve Mizrach aka Seeker1
To someone who had been at Alamogordo and the Moore School, it would not have been too farfetched to believe that the next intellectual conquest might bring the secret of physical immortality within reach. Certainly he would never know whether he could truly resolve the most awesome of nature’s mysteries until he set his mind to decoding the secret of life. And that he did. Characteristically, von Neumann focused on the aspect of the mystery of life that appealed to his dearest instincts and most powerful capacities–the pure, logical, mathematical underpinnings of nature’s code. He was particularly interested in the logical properties of the theoretical devices known as automata, of which Turing’s machine was an example.
Von Neumann was especially drawn to the idea of self-reproducing automata–mathematical patterns in space and time that had the property of being able to reproduce themselves. He was able to draw on his knowledge of computers, his growing understanding of neurophysiology and biology, and make particularly good use of his deep understanding of logic, because he saw self-replicating automata as essentially logical beasts. The way the task was accomplished by living organism of the type found on earth was only one way it could be done. In principle, the task could be done by a machine that could follow a plan, because the plan, and not the mechanism that carried it out, was a part of the system with the special, heretofore mysterious property that distinguished life from nonliving matter.
Howard Rheingold – _Tools For Thought_