We all live in a digital world. We communicate via phone, text, e-mail, skype and various social media platforms. We share pictures, private information, private documents, both personally, professionally and institutionally over this digital world. This data is sensitive and often proprietary. It can be sensitive and so we want to keep it discrete and secret. It is important that when people communicate by e-mail or text on their smart phone that the information being shared is kept solely between the parties involved.
With this need in mind we have the concept of encryption. From war strategies to confidential corporate data to sharing a personal story, we want to maintain privacy and we do this, digitally, through encryption. Encryption involves altering information (which comes in the form of symbols (syntax/language/etc)) in such a way that the information is not obvious. The person intended to receive the information is made aware of this relation between the true information and the encryption of it. There are obviously many ways of encoding/encrypting a message.
I am faced with a question. Methods of encryption are made, and they are decoded/cracked/solved. From this, new methods of encryption are developed. With this in mind, I am curious if it is possible for there to exist a method of encryption such that it would be necessarily impossible to crack/decode without knowledge of the encryption method? Is there a proof that would claim that it is impossible for such a method of encryption to exist?
If such a proof exists, one that would show that it is impossible to create an uncrackable code, and thus there is no possibility for the existence of a perfect method of encryption, then that would mean, necessarily, that all information in existence can be made aware of, can be known. It would mean that it is possible to know the meaning of all information in existence.
This would necessarily follow since there would be no possible way for information that is “out there” in the world/universe to be encoded in such a way that it could not be perceived, no matter how convoluted and complex that information might be encoded. That is, if there does in fact exist information in the universe, it cannot be encrypted perfectly, and so necessarily, it is possible to be made aware of that information.
If this is true then there are very meaningful consequences to be considered.
There are views and interpretations that put information as the structure of the universe, of reality. Information is the word or concept for what is conveyed by something. Information is meaning in that sense, since meaning is what is conveyed by something. This something could be symbols, objects, events, series of events, relations, physical objects, phenomena, sense data, etc, etc… essentially, experience of the phenomenal world. Everything is information.
An atom is information. You cannot know an atom and not know that it is an atom of something. You cannot know an atom and not know that it is composed of subatomic particles. If you do not know those things about the atom then you cannot truly say you know the atom, since those concepts are contained within the concept of ‘atom’. You might know that there exists a word ‘atom’, and you might have a rough idea of what an atom is, but that isn’t truly knowing an atom. To know what an atom is, is to know the concepts contained within ‘atom’.
Likewise, you cannot know what is happening in a sporting event without knowing the sport and rules and relations they all play to one another. You cannot know what is happening in a chess game without knowing the rules of chess, the pieces, how they relate to each other, the structure of a game, the possible moves, etc. So a move in chess is information. It contains and conveys something: meaning. The same is true of a kiss, of seeing the sun rise, of seeing a brand image, of a smell, of a visual field, of the sense data one would call ‘heat’, of a certain sound, etc. Everything is information.
What is interesting about lots of our information is that they are social constructs. Seeing a man with a football run across a painted line on a grass field allows me to perceive a “touchdown”. “Touchdown” was the information conveyed to me when certain events, objects and phenomena were perceived. But a “touchdown” is a social construct. It isn’t something that can be measured using physical methods of science. There is nothing in crossing a line on grass with a football that intrinsically, out there in the universe, constitutes a “touchdown”. If it did then all cultures, all humans would naturally know what a touchdown was when they saw it. It wouldn’t need to be explained. Rather, we see certain events and under certain circumstances we impose onto reality the concept of “touchdown”, which is something we learn that is associated with a specific set of criteria (man + football + crossing a painted line +…..). The same is true of so many concepts, (in fact, all) from marriage, gender roles, what constitutes a date or friendship, what a proper meal is, what is healthy, what the function of biological processes are, what is an economy, money, social norms… the list goes on and on. We agree, and disagree, on what constitutes life (is a bacteria alive? is a virus? is a 2 month fetus? is the planet? is the universe? is a protein?). We even have to agree what constitutes a mountain. That is a concept upheld by our own definitions. The same is true with what an ocean vs sea is. Where does the mountain end? Can a line of demarcation be drawn at an exact set of atoms, objectively, of where any given mountain begins and ends? Of course not. The same is true for where an ocean ends and a sea begins. That distinction doesn’t exist “out there”, objectively, in nature, rather it is a convention we hold and impose on reality, and our thinking so makes it “true”.
A touchdown is a touchdown by convention, yes, but it in order for the information/meaning “touchdown” to be conveyed a certain logical structure has to be satisfied. The elements that make a touchdown a touchdown have to be present, and have to be consistent with what constitutes a touchdown. A logical structure still has to be satisfied, even if that logical structure is also held in convention. For example, it would be hard to imagine the meaning/information conveyed in a man from a football team carrying a football into an end zone as a marriage. Perhaps it is possible, but I cannot see it being the case where even if people all agreed that set of criteria constitutes a wedding, that it would make it so. I think this way because the concept of “wedding” has a different logical structure than a man carrying a football into an end zone. We also couldn’t say that the football player “died”. Essentially, what I am trying to communicate is that we can’t impose just any belief/concept/truth to any (set of) syntax/symbols/objects/relationships/etc. It must still fit a logical structure in order to be satisfied, because that logical structure is also a convention and is involved in holding the conventional concepts as true.
This is related to information and information encryption because anything, any syntax, any object, any symbol, literally anything at all (even the relationships between syntax/objects/symbols, and the relationships between those relationships, ad infinitum) can be and is given meaning, can and does convey a meaning. This can be done because any mind, any culture, any person, any conscious being can impose onto that object/syntax/symbol/relation/etc any meaning whatsoever, as long as it follows a consistent, coherent and cogent logical structure (which itself is information/meaning that is held in convention). In doing so, that object/syntax/symbol/relation/etc will now carry that meaning and information in the future. If this is true, that any symbol/syntax/object/relation/etc (i.e. anything at all) can carry any possible form of meaning/information (as long as it follows a coherent, consistent, cogent logical structure), and if it is true that any and all information in existence can possibly be observed (no matter how complex the form the information is encoded/encrypted), I contend, with these two truth statements together, that any and every logically coherent/cogent/consistently structured word view will have the ability at arriving at any and all information/meaning that can and does exist. Essentially, what this means and can be interpreted as, is that any logically consistent/cogent/coherently structured system/world view can arrive at all the same information/meaning (i.e. truth statements) as any other logically consistent/cogent/coherently structured system/world view. As long as there are no contradictions in a world view, it will arrive at the same truths, just in different ways, from other non-self-contradicting systems/world views. More plainly, all non-self-contradicting world views are allegories/metaphors/analogies of the each others, since they all arrive at the same truth. Whether it is a religious, mystical, logical, scientific, personal world view, as long as it is consistent within itself, any and all world views will come to the same information, the same meanings, the same self-imposed truths.
All is allegory.
In a different light, if we are to assume that there does in fact exist a truly objective reality/universe, then that universe/reality can be knowable, as it is information that makes it objective, since “objective” is a predicate that describes something (i.e. something that is being described as objective), and the thing that it describes is a truth statement, which is information/meaning. So, if there does exist an objective universe, then it should be possible to come to determine the information that makes it objective (this being considered the laws of physics and the pursuit of science). Though, as I have written previously, I have doubts and think that the objective/subjective dichotomy of events/reality/universe/nature is a problematic duality that is either incomplete, false or meaningless. But this warrants more attention.
But all of this rests on the possibility/impossibility to perfectly encode information such that it would be impossible to be cracked. This will require more investigation!
(Note: Of course, it is possible for someone to think that a man carrying a football to an end zone is in fact a marriage, but that would be logically inconsistent, assuming all other world views/concepts were the same. The importance of the non-contradictory world view is something akin to working 95% done through a sudoku puzzle and realizing you have two 8’s in a row. Somewhere you made a deduction that was wrong (i.e. not necessarily true).The entire system, the entire puzzle is wrong(it contradicts itself), and can only be corrected if all the false assertions can be traced back to the first wrong deduction. But, this isn’t always possible in sudoku, as also it is for real life. In such a case we might call such a person with a contradictory world view to be wrong, crazy, insane, odd, etc. No matter the label we apply to that person, their world view can’t be taken seriously if it is not coherent/cogent/consistent within itself.)