© 2017 by Viktor Winschel

Darth Vader, Du bist voll die doofe Gurke.

Maxim Winschel

If quantum physics is weird because the observer changes the subject then how weird is social science where the subject also changes the observer.

Viktor Winschel

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.

Alan Perlis

People say I'm controversial. But the most controversial thing is that I've always kept going.


The only true voyage, the only bath in the Fountain of Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees, that each of them is; and this we do [with great artists]; with artists like these we do really fly from star to star.

Marcel Proust


Was ist ein Einbruch in eine Bank gegen die Gründung einer Bank?

Mackie Messer


Each of these algebras is more powerful than the last, but the general concept here will remain the same: we abstract out a common pattern, make certain it follows some laws, give it an awesome name, and wonder how we ever lived without it.

Haskell programming, from first principles

Nichts ist drinnen, nichts ist draussen, den was innen ist, ist aussen.

J.W.v. Goethe

Man fliegt immer nur so weit, wie man im Kopf schon ist.

Jens Weißflog, ski jumper

What is Life? Life is the self-replication of information. Information about what? Information about how to self-replicate. Ooooom

Nothing clears one's mind more than the prospect of being hanged in the morning.

Oscar Wilde

Die gefährlichste Weltanschauung ist die Weltanschauung der Leute, welche die Welt nie angeschaut haben.

Alexander von Humboldt

If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.

Larry Page Interview 2013

It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that. Godfrey Harold Hardy

Das Minority game ist die Ratio des Punkers, des uniformierten Nonkonformisten, des autonomen Blocks, der in Fuck Rules die perfekte Regel gefunden hat.

Punker, haste ma ne mack ej

Nur wer das Unmögliche will, wird das Potential des Möglichen ausschöpfen.

Who said that, clever?

Case by case, we find that conformity is the easy way, and the path to privilege and prestige.

Noam Chomsky

The absolute truth is that in science there is no absolute truth.

There are only 10 types of people, those that do understand binary and those that don't. There are only 10 types of people, those that do understand ternary, those that don't and those who take it for binary.


Solange ich leb, muss ich damit rechnen, dass ich weiterleb.

As long as I'm alive, I must expect to live on.

Karl Valentin

Körper, Ich und Welt sind nur Konstrukte unseres Gehirns“, sagt Gerhard Roth. “Und solche Konstrukte sind labil.” Fallen nur einige Zentren im Gehirn aus, können sie schnell zusammenbrechen - wie bei einer NTE [Nahtoderfahrung]. Ob das dann eine tiefere Bedeutung hat, sei eine andere Frage.

Till Hein, Spiegel Online

To understand recursion one needs to understand recursion.


What, then, is economics? We can now define it as the “science of passionate interests.” No, everything in economics is irrational, everything in economics is, we might say, extra-economic (in the everyday sense of the word).

Bruno Latour, Vincent Antonin Lepinay - The Science of Passionate Interests: An Introduction to Gabriel Tarde's Economic Anthropology

Before its release, some of the smartest people in tech predicted that the Segway would change the world. And even when the world joined in a collective “Huh?” when the much-hyped secret Ginger project was revealed to be a gyro-balanced scooter, the idea still kind of made sense. If we were all riding around on Segways now, cities would probably be better places to live compared to the car-infested streets we still endure. But that transformation hasn’t happened. And it won’t. Why? Because Segways are lame. They’re too rational. They fail to acknowledge all the irrational reasons people love their cars.

Markus Wohlsen, Wired

Mother, what is the meaning of the word ‘curious’?

Henk Barendregt, Reflection and its use

The category theoretical approach is the galactical augmentation of the usual local and global approach.

John L. Kelley, General Topology

We should, in effect, start from what we cannot explain rather than what we think we can.

Bill Hillier, Cities as movement economies

To iterate is human, to recurse divine.

L. Peter Deutsch

The human mind is the design that designs itself - and continually redesigns itself.

D.N. Perkins

The difference between design and research seems to be a question of new versus good. Design doesn't have to be new, but it has to be good. Research doesn't have to be good, but it has to be new. I think these two paths converge at the top: the best design surpasses its predecessors by using new ideas, and the best research solves problems that are not only new, but actually worth solving. So ultimately we're aiming for the same destination, just approaching it from different directions.


Interviewer: I want to start with a very basic question. At the beginning of AI, people were extremely optimistic about the field's progress, but it hasn't turned out that way. Why has it been so difficult? If you ask neuroscientists why understanding the brain is so difficult, they give you very intellectually unsatisfying answers, like that the brain has billions of cells, and we can't record from all of them, and so on.

Chomsky: There's something to that. If you take a look at the progress of science, the sciences are kind of a continuum, but they're broken up into fields. The greatest progress is in the sciences that study the simplest systems. So take, say physics – greatest progress there. But one of the reasons is that the physicists have an advantage that no other branch of sciences has. If something gets too complicated, they hand it to someone else.

Interviewer: Like the chemists?

Chomsky: If a molecule is too big, you give it to the chemists. The chemists, for them, if the molecule is too big or the system gets too big, you give it to the biologists. And if it gets too big for them, they give it to the psychologists, and finally it ends up in the hands of the literary critic, and so on. So what the neuroscientists are saying is not completely false.

Without mathematics we cannot penetrate deeply into philosophy. Without philosophy we cannot penetrate deeply into mathematics. Without both we cannot penetrate deeply into anything.


Es ist auch herzzerreißend, wenn man eure Dichter, eure Künstler sieht, und alle, die den Genius noch achten, die das Schöne lieben und es pflegen. Die Guten! Sie leben in der Welt, wie Fremdlinge im eigenen Hauße, sie sind so recht, wie der Dulder Ulyß, da er in Bettlergestalt an seiner Thüre saß, indes die unverschämten Freier im Saale lärmten und fragten, wer hat uns den Landläufer gebracht?

Hölderlin, Hyperion, vorletzter Brief

To arrive at the simplest truth, as Newton knew and practiced, requires years of contemplation. Not activity. Not reasoning. Not calculating. Not busy behavior of any kind. Not reading. Not talking. Not making an effort. Not thinking. Simply bearing in mind what it is one needs to know. And yet those with the courage to tread this path to real discovery are not only offered practically no guidance on how to do so, they are actively discouraged and have to set about it in secret, pretending meanwhile to be diligently engaged in the frantic diversions and to conform with the deadening personal opinions which are continually being thrust upon them.

George Spencer-Brown

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.

Jorge Luis Borges

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Alles ändert sich. Datt is so und datt bleibt so.

Everything changes - it had always been like that and will always remain this way.

Tatort, 23.9.2012

… if you give a person an undecidable problem, then the answer that he gives you is a description of himself. And so, by working on hard and undecidable problems we go deeply into the discovery of who we really are.

Heinz von Foerster, cited in Louis Kaufman

It seems to me that the basic reason why the theory of games with incomplete information has made so little progress so far lies in the fact that these games give rise, or at least appear to give rise, to an infinite regress in reciprocal expectations on the part of the players.

John Harsanyi, Games with Incomplete Information Played by “Bayesian” Players

The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do.

John Stuart Mill

Non-historical systems, which are of greatest interest in dynamic economics, do not involve time explicitely and therefore omit the last t in equation (1) [f(y(t+n),…,y(t),…,y(t-m),t)].

Paul A. Samuelson, Appendix B, Foundations of Economic Analysis

Philosophy may be ignored but not escaped; and those who most ignore least escape.

David Hawkins

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

George Bernhard Shaw

Lambda calculus saved my life.

Anonymous semanticist

If in this book [The Open Society and its Enemies] harsh words are spoken about some of the greatest among the intellectual leaders of mankind, my motive is not, I hope, to belittle them. It springs rather from my conviction that, if our civilization is to survive, we must break with the habit of deference to great men.

Karl Popper

Poorly stated problems lead to boring, irrelevant results. This elevates the formulation of conjectures to the rank of research results. Conjecturing became an art in the hands of the late Paul Erdos, who formulated more conjectures than perhaps all mathematicians before him put together. He considered his conjectures as part of his mathematical oeuvre as much as his theorems. One of my most prized memories is the following comment from him: “I never envied a theorem from anybody; but I envy you for this conjecture.”

Laszlo Lovasz

Every good scientist is a killer. He kills old knowledge.

Sergej Zimow

You can make enough money to not need things, or you can just not need things.

Gilad Elbaz

I can always hire mathematicians, but they can not hire me.

Thomas Edison

One can best appreciate, from a study of living things, how primitive physics still is.

Albert Einstein, in a letter to Leo Szilard

Things used to be much better - the future as well.

Karl Valentin, a bavarian comedian

If people say you’re not crazy, that means you’re not thinking far out enough.

Anant Agarwal, Director of CSAIL

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein

If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.

Albert Einstein

Nichts kann einen Menschen so zermürben wie das Gefühl, dass in ihm eine Wahrheit lodert, die von allen anderen verleugnet wird.

Philip Roth, The Great American Novel

A decision theorist from Columbia University was struggling whether to accept an offer from a rival university or to stay. His collegue took him aside and said: “Just maximize your expected utility - you always write about doing this.” Exasperated, the decision theorist responded, “Come on, this is serious.”

In Gigerenzer, Rationality for Mortals

Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: It's completely impossible. It's possible, but it's not worth doing. I said it was a good idea all along.

Arthur C. Clarke

The success of a revolution has four stages: first they ignore you, than they make you ridiculous, than they fight you and than you win.


Es war ein Denken, das damals lästig war, sich später radikalisierte und inzwischen triumphiert.

Ich behaupte aber, daß in jeder besonderen Naturlehre nur so viel eigentliche Wissenschaft angetroffen werden könne, als darin Mathematik anzutreffen ist.

Immanuel Kant: Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Naturwissenschaft, A VIII - (1786)

The scientist does not so much seek descriptions of the changeless as changeless description of the changing.

G. Spencer-Brown

Es ist normal, in unnormalen Lebenssituationen unnormal zu reagieren. (It is normal to react abnormally in abnormal situations.)

Susanne Preusker

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Eldridge Cleaver

Arendts Zitat macht deutlich, worum es Heidegger in der Philosophie ging: Das Denken selbst ist schon Vollzug, ist Praxis, und es geht weniger darum, Antworten auf Fragen zu liefern, denn vielmehr das Fragen selbst wach zu halten.

Lehre die Sehnsucht nach dem Meer statt Boote zu bauen.

nach Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Die 'invisible hand' hatte, schon im 17. Jahrhundert, eine Fortschrittsgarantie symbolisiert. Nachdem sie zunehmend unter Arthrose zu leiden begann, übernahm das Desiderat des wirtschaftlichen Wachstums selbst diese Funktion. Man gab die Annahme einer Mengenkonstanz auf, um durch die Art der Allokation ein Mengenwachstum zu produzieren und zugleich diejenigen, die dabei zu kurz kommen, abfinden zu können. Den Politikern und der öffentlichen Meinung wird folglich suggeriert, Wirtschaftswachstum sei notwendig, sei eine Bedingung gesellschaftlicher Stabilität. - Das ist sicher eine sehr eindrucksvolle und nicht unrealistische Entparadoxierung des Systems, die mit zeitlicher Asymmetrie spekuliert. Dennoch könnte man sich, und sei es nur vorsorglich, um andere Möglichkeiten kümmern für den Fall, dass diese ausfällt wegen ihrer 'externen Kosten' oder ihrer ökologischen Folgen.

Luhmann, Die Wirtschaft der Gesellschaft, Kap. 3.IV

Es zeigt sich, dass in den fortgeschrittensten Phasen der Idiotie, der Ideenmangel mit Ideologieüberschuss kompensiert wird. It seems that in the advanced stages of stupidity, lack of ideas is compensated for by an excess of ideologies.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon in Das Spiel des Engels (El Juego del Angel)

Some people think Wheeler’s gotten crazy in his later years, but he’s always been crazy. Richard Feynman

In any field find the strangest thing and then explore it.

John Wheeler

Abstract, Abstract,

Abstract Edsger Djikstra

Wir werden in der Lage sein, uns von vielen jener pseudomoralischen Prinzipien zu befreien, die uns über 200 Jahre hinweg gequält haben und mit denen wir einige der widerlichsten menschlichen Qualitäten überschwänglich in den Rang der höchsten Tugenden erhoben haben. Wir werden in der Lage sein, uns zu erlauben, den Wert des Geldmotivs richtig einzuschätzen. Die Liebe zu Geld als Besitz – im Gegensatz zur Liebe zu Geld als ein Weg zu den Freuden und Realitäten des Lebens – wird als das erkannt werden, was es ist: eine einigermaßen abscheuliche Morbidität, eine dieser halb kriminellen, halb krankhaften Neigungen, die man mit einem Schaudern den Händen von Spezialisten auf dem Gebiet der Geisteskrankheiten übergibt.

John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, 1930

Das wachsende Interesse an der Schaffung einer supranationalen Regierung stellt, wie ich glaube, die größte Hoffnung der Menschheit dar. Ich bin überzeugt, dass die Menschheit sich erst dann aus dem Dunkel der Verzweiflung herausfinden wird, wenn Menschen überall sich auf derselben Basis treffen – das heißt als Verbündete im Kampf für ein universelles Gesetz. Ich bin zutiefst davon überzeugt, dass das gegenwärtige System souveräner Nationen Barbarei, Krieg und Unmenschlichkeit nach sich ziehen muss und dass nur ein Weltrecht zu einer zivilisierten, friedlichen Menschheit führen wird.

Albert Einstein, Rede vom 12. Mai 1947

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood?

Ralph W. Emerson

Authority is the enemy of true science.

Albert Einstein

Ideas do not have to be correct in order to be good, it is only necessary that, if they fail, they do so in an interesting way.

Robert Rosen

If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.J.v.Neumann

The biggest fish in the river gets that way by never being caught.

Jenny, the witch, in Tim Burton's Big Fish

… by the aid of symbolism, we can make transitions in reasoning almost mechanically by the eye, which otherwise would call into play the higher faculties of the brain. … Civilisation advances by extending the number of important operations which can be performed without thinking about them.

A.N. Whitehead

When you have a good language to talk about things you can get further with the thought you are trying to have.

Eugenia Cheng (in a radio interview)

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it. Voltaire

You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.

Pablo Picasso

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?

Albert Einstein

… one of the most striking features of recent discussions in the history and philosophy of science is the realization that events and developments … occurred only because some thinkers either decided not to be bound by certain “obvious” methodological rules, or because they unwittingly broke them. This liberal practice, I repeat, is not just a fact of the history of science. It is both reasonable and absolutely necessary for the growth of knowledge. More specifically, one can show the following: given any rule, however “fundamental” or “necessary” for science, there are always circumstances when it is advisable not only to ignore the rule, but to adopt its opposite.

Paul Feyerabend

The discipline of colleges and universities is in general contrived, not for the benefit of the students, but for the interest, or more properly speaking, for the ease of the masters. Its object is, in all cases, to maintain the authority of the master, and whether he neglects or performs his duty, to oblige the students in all cases to behave toward him as if he performed it with the greatest diligence and ability.

Adam Smith

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.

John Galbraith

People who think they are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who actually do.

Jack Kerouac

Die Grenzen meiner Sprache sind die Grenzen meiner Welt.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound is couched underneath. J.Swift

Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.

Abelson & Sussman

Don't worry about what anybody else is going to do. The best way to predict the future is to invent it.

Alan Kay

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.

Albert Einstein

We're even wrong about which mistakes we're making.

Carl Winfeld

The key to performance is elegance, not battalions of special cases.

Jon Bentley and Doug McIlroy

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Mark Twain