It's a nice read but I doubt that the idea delivers what it promises. I think one could downsize the idea to: if you learn one topic deeply you (probably) touch surrounding topics. That does not sound as elegant and holistic as in the article but is IMO closer to the truth. I would call it a huge exaggeration to say I've learned things about the world when in reality I just became a really good software engineer that knows how to interact with OSS communities.

These ideas are repeated often and I lean more to the specificity side of things: you only get good at what you learn/train. You won't become better at decision maker by learning chess/poker, you won't (or just become a slightly better) endurance swimmer by becoming a good runner, you won't understand human psychology by getting good at coding.

I remember a talk of top-notch mathematics where they were asked about related mathematical topics and most of them would just answer something like: "I just try to understand my field of mathematics well, I can't say much about something else". This was the discussion from the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics 2015:

This theory was proposed by neuroscientist Karl Pribram in "Languages of the Brain":, probably 1971
Nice thoughts. I think the fictional writer example is the clearest example, as a writer creates worlds within the real world.

Maybe this is could be more about information compression? The author notes that the sliver of the "hologram" doesn't necessarily contain the whole, but it's an interesting idea. If you choose a topic, there are minor aspects of much larger ideas. You then have to decompress as you learn more about the context of the information. Like in the fictional writer example, you move outward from the focus and learn more about say the history of when the writing was completed. There will be elements of that context in the writing, but clearly not as much, because the information density of the fictional work is clearly smaller and cannot contain the entire context.

Now I wonder how holograms and compression are related...

The world is fractal. The closer in you zoom, the more detail you see, possibly to an infinite level. So, yes, you can certainly learn a lot about everything, if you learn everything about something.
> And once you’ve acquired enough background information, you’ll learn even more through direct studying of his works. Each work you study, each novel for example, contains an entire fictional Universe with its logic and laws, and the characters of the novel are subject to all of them. Each such fictional universe is in some way an imperfect reflection of our own real universe, and so learning about how the fictional world functions in a novel, will tell us quite a bit about our real world.

Which is of course what LLMs depend on.

There is an entire science yet to be formalized in this essay. When the author begins to backtrack on their thesis, and then says:

> I don’t actually believe this to be a universally applicable principle, as there are lots of exceptions, but I feel that there is “something” about it that deserves our attention.

That "something" is identifying where our current sciences, our language, and our intellectual curiosities have not formalized investigation. The mere fact that this observation has no name that can be commonly referenced is the clearest indicator it's an overlooked aspect of living a life.

I wonder if these ideas are not formalized already, some philosophical school of thought labeling this with some too many syllable name. I also wonder if the Dunning–Kruger crowd's work touches on this aspect.

If there’s holistic detectives and assassins, this does indeed suggest the existence of holistic teachers and students :)
This seems highly speculative to me. Is there any research that suggests what is being described is true?
I've thought along these lines myself and wished that we could make more use of it because many times you only realize the pattern you just solved was actually a variation of some other pattern from another field after the fact.
The more I learn about one thing, the more my brain connects other things together
As the old saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome.”
Fantastic article, thank you.
Wow. Great ideas.
Yeah go ahead and explain how learning Mandarin teaches you about Quantum Mechanics or how learning Music Theory helps you bake cakes. Cute idea that falls apart under casual inspection.
" Everything is deeply intertwingled. In an important sense there are no "subjects" at all; there is only all knowledge, since the cross-connections among the myriad topics of this world simply cannot be divided up neatly."

-- Theodor Holm Nelson

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