Simplicity via Abstraction

John Baez, physicist and mathematician at the University of California at Riverside, from 1993-2010 wrote and shared a series of articles titled "This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics" (he still blogs at "Azimuth"). Discussing set theory and category theory and tiptoeing toward the meta, in 1996 he noted:

If we think of the universe as passing through the course of history from simplicity to complexity, from neutrinos to nematodes to humans, it's natural to wonder what's at the bottom, where things get very simple, where physics blurs into pure logic.... far from the "spires of form". Ironically, even the simplest things may be hard to understand, because they are so abstract.

Let's begin with the world of sets. ...

... and then it gets much more meta!

(cf. Do Meta (1999-05-08), On Somethingness (2000-01-17), No Concepts At All (2001-02-22), Key to the Treasure (2004-04-23), Approved Methods (2005-11-12), O (2012-12-24), Metacognitive Banter (2014-02-04), ...) - ^z - 2016-01-07