In Lieu of a Preface

(Translated from Hebrew)


Socrates, the wisest of men, comes to life and runs across a computer for the first time. Out of curiosity, he starts to play with the buttons and keys that lie in front of him. Suddenly, a screen is illuminated and with every additional key strike, signs or pictures appears on it. Little by little, Socrates discovers the correlation between the keys and the symbols appearing on the screen, slowly unveiling the computer’s operating rules. Alas! Socrates is not satisfied. His philosophical mind demands to penetrate further. He decides to open the magical box and examine its contents. A jumbled assemblage of metal wires, seemingly disordered, is revealed to his eyes. Socrates does not lose hope. Careful investigation of the box’s interior results in the discovery of the fundamental laws that underlie the construction of a computer. Socrates eventually comprehends that there is a basic phenomenon at the core of the computer: an electrical flow that stops and restarts time and again. Equipped with this information, Socrates turns back to the rules he had previously determined and reexamines them. He now adopts a different approach: In the past, Socrates’ conclusions were of an empirical nature and the direction of his investigation was from intricate phenomena and complicated rules to simpler ones. Controversely, he now deduces rules from one another, from simple to complex ones, and thus occasionally discovers a new rule that has previously escaped his eye.


The computer in the parable represents the universe and Socrates symbolizes mankind, who from the time being of settled mind has tried to decipher the secrets of the universe. In the course of these continuous efforts man discovered the laws of science. As more scientific knowledge accumulated, more fundamental laws were discovered - laws that brought close together domains that were considered to be discrete in the past. Consequently, more and more scientists began playing with the idea that all phenomena may be deducted from one basic principle.

This is my book’s point of depature.