Bootstrapping in a Way You Will Not Believe

Bootstrapping is an odd concept. From Wikipedia

The term appears to have originated in the early 19th century United States (particularly in the phrase “pull oneself over a fence by one’s bootstraps”), to mean an absurdly impossible action, an adynaton.

Errr … adynation?

Adynaton (plural adynata) is a figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to insinuate a complete impossibility

Bulgarians apparently like this adynation ” X will happen when clogs blossom.” And “X will happen when a pig in yellow slippers climbs a pear tree.” Germans like to think in terms of when pigs will fly. Latvians think in terms of when an owl’s tail will bloom. Malaysians think in terms of crows flying upside down. And of course, in English, we hear “… when hell freezes over”.

So bootstrapping is technically an impossibility. Unless you are Baron von Munchausen, you cannot pull yourself over a fence by pulling on your boot straps. And yet, we use the phrase as if it were possible. Interesting.

And more strange, there is a bootstrapping theory in physics that seeks to explain universal laws of reality.  This is all “explained ” in the linked article from Wired Magazine. I read it and understood not a word. It ends this way

It’s far from clear whether our own universe holographically emerges from a conformal field theory in the way that AdS universes do, or if this is even the right way to think about it. The hope is that, by bootstrapping their way around the unifying geometric structure of possible physical realities, physicists will get a better sense of where our universe fits in the grand scheme of things — and what that grand scheme is. Polyakov is buoyed by the recent discoveries about the geometry of the theory space. “There are a lot of miracles happening,” he said. “And probably, we will know why.”

Err … did you get that?


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