What is a Variable?

serenesam

Registered Senior Member
The dictionary defines variable as an element, feature, or factor that is liable to vary or change or a quantity that during a calculation is assumed to vary or be capable of varying in value. Anybody who has taken a basic statistics course probably heard of independent variables, dependent variables, confounding variables, and extraneous variables. I am present to argue that a variable can be literally anything and/or everything. Many people present in planet Earth seem to have a very narrow-minded view of things and they see things in a very linear fashion hardly ever realizing the multifaceted almost holographic systems among systems. The interaction between variables is not just a one-way linear street. Variables influence other variables and variables are influenced by other variables. I remember how several years ago, I used to use the term factor a lot in many of my thinking when I am sitting in my room engaged in deep introspection. The dictionary defines factor as a circumstance, fact, or influence that contributes to a result or outcome. Thus, a factor is inclusive of a variable. One can view variables from a micro-level of even the tiniest circumstance, fact, particle, or thing or one can view them from a macro-level of giant constructs. The Universe can also be one variable. I would even argue that mysterious circumstances are also a variable or a set of variables. Just because one does not know what it is does not mean that such variable(s) do not exist. One can designate the label of unknown variable(s) or mysterious variable(s).

People may have heard the notion that correlation does not equal causation. While this may be hammered into people’s head in a university course, I am surprised to see how so many people fail to understand this fundamental rule. For example, in Internet forums, some people assume that a particular statement might have to do with them or that another statement made in another thread has some kind of implied meaning as a response to another statement made in yet another thread. I am amazed to see some people draw such connections. Just because two declarative statements made in separate threads seem related, does not mean that they have a direct cause and effect relationship. Remember that X can cause Y, Y can cause X, or Z may cause either X or Y. You can also have infinite other variables causing either X or Y or both.

We are usually taught that something is designated as the independent variable and something else is designated as the dependent variable. We are taught that the independent variable is going to have an effect on the dependent variable. I am surprised that hardly anyone takes the time to perhaps reverse the designation of both the independent variable and the dependent variable. My thread “Is It Really Self-Esteem or Contingent Upon External Stimuli” (http://www.sciforums.com/showthread...lf-Esteem-or-Contingent-Upon-External-Stimuli) explains all of this well giving some real life examples. I want to go a bit beyond my own comfort zone in saying that things are constantly changing, circumstances are constantly changing, facts are constantly changing, and hence, variables are constantly changing and so a particular independent variable can become a dependent variable and a former dependent variable can become an independent variable. A particular former independent variable can now be at the mercy of yet another independent variable. You can also have a situation in which the dependent variable still remains as the dependent variable except that the former independent variable that might have had a relationship to it is now also the dependent variable. You can have all kinds of changing independent and/or dependent variable relationships.

So as one can see, variables can literally be anything and/or everything. I would even go as far as to rewrite the dictionary’s definition of what a variable is from an element, feature, or factor that is liable to vary or change or a quantity that during a calculation is assumed to vary or be capable of varying in value to a thing or set of things which can influence other things and/or be influence by other thing(s). So no, I am not talking in figurative speech, metaphors, or connotations but rather in denotation. I feel that the word thing has a much broader definition encompassing everything (hence, the word thing in the word everything). While the dictionary may have a limited way of defining the word thing, I would suspect the precise number of definitions could go on for infinity.

Let’s just say for the sake that there might be something that isn’t a variable. The thesaurus says it is a constant.

If a constant (my grand construct theory of non-change - http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?105919-Change-as-a-Concept) is placed adjacent to a variable or a set of variables (all the changing agents), then a variable or set of variables is a function of the constant. This translates to the constant superseding the variables. The end-result really shows a greater significance and magnitude of the constant in relation to the adjacent variables.

In the same way that non-freewill is a constant (another grand construct theory of non-change or a state of affairs that does not change) is a placed adjacent to the oppositional viewpoint of freewill (which may be defined as one variable because it is in persistent change as well as the wide range of variation in choices and/or options). This too translates to the constant having more power and strength because although it may appear that freewill exists, it is essentially an illusion. The variety of choices as well as the changing agents involved really are just a function of the constant non-freewill construct.

With all that said, therefore, in this case, a function cannot be defined as a variable because it is a constant (which as the thesaurus pointed out is the opposite of a variable). The question of intention has yet to be discovered because one can give examples of a function being a variable and a function being a constant. There may or may not be a purpose to a function but the paradoxical nature of function(s) is as is and exists as well as it cannot be denied to not exist.

The dictionary also defines a variable as an adjective of being not consistent or having a fixed pattern. The particular definition in my original post was defined as a noun. In truth, practically everything does not have a state of consistency or having a fixed pattern. A chair and a table will wear out as it is not in the exact same state as you first bought it. Even that which appear to be constant may fluctuate back and forth, up and down, and high and low. Human beings are subject to change and variation as they age physically and biologically. People’s thought processes usually vary and change too. So if you look at the definition of a variable as an adjective, both a constant and a function is a variable. If you look at the definition of a variable as simply just a noun, then almost everything is a variable with the exception of grand non-changing constant constructs. Nevertheless, the adjective definition of a variable in the dictionary is denoted as the first definition and the noun definition of a variable follows thereafter. I would suspect importance or purity of definition is correlated with number sequence with the primary definition as the best described definition.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/variable?s=t

Or do we want to debate the value of both the adjective and noun definitions of a variable?

I would like to add some spiritual tone to all of this. God is perfect and omniscient. Therefore, God is a constant. God is variety and somewhat unpredictable. Therefore, God is a variable. While the later does demonstrate tremendous power, the former is most certainly more powerful than the later.

That is, of course, if a Creator separate from you, me, and everything else exists.

If in the case that an outside Creator does not exist and we are seeing all of this in the viewpoint as if we are all individual sparks of the Creator, individually speaking, I can only see each of us as a variable (because a human being is subject to change, flaws, and variety as discussed previously). Collectively speaking, I can also only see us as one giant variable (the variety of the group mind). It is simply a misconception to assume that the collective consciousness is a constant because it is definitely not perfect and not omniscient. In fact, one may even argue that the “group mind” is more susceptible to flaws and imperfections.

That is, of course, if you do not believe in an outside Creator, you only see everything as the Creator.

So do we value individualism or collectivism? Do we value the ability to think freely or do we want our thoughts dictated by the group?

Sorry, but I haven't the slightest idea what your point is here. Is there a point?

Sorry, but I haven't the slightest idea what your point is here. Is there a point?

Yeah, that variables influence each other and are influenced by each other.

So do we value individualism or collectivism? Do we value the ability to think freely or do we want our thoughts dictated by the group?

In a democracy it would be decided by the majority. There would be voting about matters that affected both each of us and all of us.

I would like to add some spiritual tone to all of this. God is perfect and omniscient. Therefore, God is a constant. God is variety and somewhat unpredictable. Therefore, God is a variable. While the later does demonstrate tremendous power, the former is most certainly more powerful than the later.

Possibly this is of value to your meditations.

"Within an ocean of infinite variables it only takes one absolute constant to bring about order from the chaos and yet retain infinite diversity"

"......To retain individuality with a collective"
"As with the universe of chaos, it is the same with people. It only takes one and only one universal constant to bring about order, yet retain the greatest degree of freedom possible"

"With out that constant the universe would have no physical laws, no evolution, no useful existence and humanity would not even be a possibility let alone an actuality."

Have you looked into Chaos Theory beyond this wiki article? As most of what you are talking about "seems" to refer almost directly to the underlying philosophy behind this theory and this wiki article whilst ok, fails to describe the fundamental importance of what you are referring to. IMO

Simply put: if you have variables:
a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k,a1,b1,c1,d1 ....and so on to infinity and;

If those variables are all dependent on each other, how is order possible if there is no "Absolute" constant? What is it that makes those variables inter-dependent in the first place?

"the difference between "scambled egg [chaos]" and "egg on toast" [ order]"

Within the context of “My Theory of the Cosmos of All That Is” – (http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?105944-My-Theory-of-the-Cosmos-of-All-That-Is), the Primary Existence with Its separate mysterious unique consciousness may send out hidden complex systems that have small tweaks, which may result in strikingly great consequences in which the Secondary Existence (You, Me, and the Everything Else or Collective Consciousness) cannot fathom (to put it in the context of chaos theory that you just mentioned). While I understand that such acts may break the very definition of a constant, it does not because of the very “perfect” nature of the Primary Existence in knowing what is the best course of action. So yes, it is contradictory but its tremendous power is demonstrated.

A person may decide to do a reading with a psychic and find out that virtually all the future predictions were wrong. Yet at the same time, find out that the psychic was correct about everything in the past and present. This is a great example as to how the Secondary Existence (the psychic, spirit guide, and even angels) cannot be as Omniscient as the Primary Existence. Omniscience is the very reflection of a constant. That which reflects the Secondary Existence (like you, me, sprit guides, etc.) are all prone to flaws because of their flawed consciousness that is rooted in variation, hence, the word variable.

Your notion that every single variable is dependent upon all other variables might not be entirely correct too. Within the context of “My Theory of the Cosmos of All That Is,” the Primary Existence does not need to depend on the Secondary Existence. Secondary Existence can collapse yet Primary Existence can remain perfectly intact. Analogously speaking, I believe I heard some psychic say that physical realms here on Earth may collapse but the spirit realms would remain intact. The physical realm is dependent upon the spirit realm but not vice versa. Just for clarification purposes, I am not saying all variables are dependent upon each other, I am saying that they may depend upon each other. We must go back to fundamental rule I am so surprised that a lot of people seem to miss which is that correlation does not equal causation. Although a certain variable may appear to have a relationship with another variable, there may not be a direct link.

If on the other hand, we want to assume that there is no Primary Existence and that Secondary Existence is all to it, then you might have mentioned some great points. It is only then in which I could see that all the variables would be dependent upon each other. "Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us."— Neil deGrasse Tyson. This dependence is also how order is maintained. For a person to harm another is no different than harming the self. Order takes on a more intuitive format. Constants would of course continue to exist but they come only in the form of non-organic grand constructs. Other than that, they would remain a great mystery to us.

Yeah, that variables influence each other and are influenced by each other.

You mean like \$\$PV = nRT\$\$.

I agree, not sure what the god stuff had to do with it though...

Within the context of “My Theory of the Cosmos of All That Is” – (http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?105944-My-Theory-of-the-Cosmos-of-All-That-Is), the Primary Existence with Its separate mysterious unique consciousness may send out hidden complex systems that have small tweaks, which may result in strikingly great consequences in which the Secondary Existence (You, Me, and the Everything Else or Collective Consciousness) cannot fathom (to put it in the context of chaos theory that you just mentioned). While I understand that such acts may break the very definition of a constant, it does not because of the very “perfect” nature of the Primary Existence in knowing what is the best course of action. So yes, it is contradictory but its tremendous power is demonstrated.

That is not a theory that is a musing.

A person may decide to do a reading with a psychic and find out that virtually all the future predictions were wrong. Yet at the same time, find out that the psychic was correct about everything in the past and present. This is a great example as to how the Secondary Existence (the psychic, spirit guide, and even angels) cannot be as Omniscient as the Primary Existence. Omniscience is the very reflection of a constant. That which reflects the Secondary Existence (like you, me, sprit guides, etc.) are all prone to flaws because of their flawed consciousness that is rooted in variation, hence, the word variable.

No, that is a great example of cold reading - which gives the illusion of something supernatural.

Your notion that every single variable is dependent upon all other variables might not be entirely correct too. Within the context of “My Theory of the Cosmos of All That Is,” the Primary Existence does not need to depend on the Secondary Existence. Secondary Existence can collapse yet Primary Existence can remain perfectly intact. Analogously speaking, I believe I heard some psychic say that physical realms here on Earth may collapse but the spirit realms would remain intact. The physical realm is dependent upon the spirit realm but not vice versa. Just for clarification purposes, I am not saying all variables are dependent upon each other, I am saying that they may depend upon each other. We must go back to fundamental rule I am so surprised that a lot of people seem to miss which is that correlation does not equal causation. Although a certain variable may appear to have a relationship with another variable, there may not be a direct link.

If on the other hand, we want to assume that there is no Primary Existence and that Secondary Existence is all to it, then you might have mentioned some great points. It is only then in which I could see that all the variables would be dependent upon each other. "Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us."— Neil deGrasse Tyson. This dependence is also how order is maintained. For a person to harm another is no different than harming the self. Order takes on a more intuitive format. Constants would of course continue to exist but they come only in the form of non-organic grand constructs. Other than that, they would remain a great mystery to us.

Word salad but that is fine because we are in the salad bar section.

Word salad but that is fine because we are in the salad bar section.
That is exactly why I make sure my posts are in the right section so the Mods won't have to move it.

@serenesam
It is only then in which I could see that all the variables would be dependent upon each other. "Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us."— Neil deGrasse Tyson. This dependence is also how order is maintained. For a person to harm another is no different than harming the self. Order takes on a more intuitive format. Constants would of course continue to exist but they come only in the form of non-organic grand constructs. Other than that, they would remain a great mystery to us.

Well I tend to feel that it is quite intuitive to realise that all substance in this universe share the same universal constant. That constant in "pseudo material" terms, being Gravity.

Now walking into a bar with a crowd of mixed people one can conclude that indeed we all share a common "constant", that indeed we all are connected via that constant, and for those who have the dread of intense loneliness and isolation staring them in the face, the idea that, regardless of circumstance, we ARE indeed part of a universal collective even if only by something supposedly** benign and neutral as the source of gravity can indeed put "smile" on some bodies face.

** As demonstrated with QED's quantum entanglement, information can indeed be transmitted via the entanglement processes. Are we not talking about "variables" that are entangled?
The universal constant of Gravity is not obligated to being only a "non-information" carrying mechanism.

In scientific terms we as living entities are not able to avoid the nature of gravity no more than a star, rock or a beer glass can.

There is no reason at all in my opinion why science can not call it Gravity and religiously inclined folk can not call it God, both are attractive, all persuasive and a part of human nature since time began any way.

Gravity itself could be considered as analogous with God's love. Unconditional, neutral and all pervasive...If one wished to stretch the boundaries a little.

As all things share a pin point center of Gravity it is not hard to extend that to claim that it is the exact same source of the center of gravity for all things. [and so on]

"Imagines a universe with out the all persuasive and omnipresent gravity"

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@serenesam

Well I tend to feel that it is quite intuitive to realise that all substance in this universe share the same universal constant. That constant in "pseudo material" terms, being Gravity.

Now walking into a bar with a crowd of mixed people one can conclude that indeed we all share a common "constant", that indeed we all are connected via that constant, and for those who have the dread of intense loneliness and isolation staring them in the face, the idea that, regardless of circumstance, we ARE indeed part of a universal collective even if only by something supposedly** benign and neutral as the source of gravity can indeed put "smile" on some bodies face.

** As demonstrated with QED's quantum entanglement, information can indeed be transmitted via the entanglement processes. Are we not talking about "variables" that are entangled?
The universal constant of Gravity is not obligated to being only a "non-information" carrying mechanism.

In scientific terms we as living entities are not able to avoid the nature of gravity no more than a star, rock or a beer glass can.

There is no reason at all in my opinion why science can not call it Gravity and religiously inclined folk can not call it God, both are attractive, all persuasive and a part of human nature since time began any way.

Gravity itself could be considered as analogous with God's love. Unconditional, neutral and all pervasive...If one wished to stretch the boundaries a little.

As all things share a pin point center of Gravity it is not hard to extend that to claim that it is the exact same source of the center of gravity for all things. [and so on]

"Imagines a universe with out the all persuasive and omnipresent gravity"

I have to wonder though, whether or not there is a limit to the space of the Universe. After all, the Universe is a very big place to the point where I don't know if anybody can truly calculate the precise size in measurement. And if there is a limit, would there be anything outside of it?

I have to wonder though, whether or not there is a limit to the space of the Universe. After all, the Universe is a very big place to the point where I don't know if anybody can truly calculate the precise size in measurement. And if there is a limit, would there be anything outside of it?

...hmmm... just another dependent variable perhaps?

...hmmm... just another dependent variable perhaps?

...hmmmmm.....I don't know, I see a more Independent Variable/Constant.

What I was trying to suggest is that the "size" of the universe [variable 1] is dependent on what mass it contains [variable 2] and how that mass is dispersed [variable 3]
If the universe contained no mass it would have zero size [ dimension ] so size and substance are relative and dependent variables. IMO

What I was trying to suggest is that the "size" of the universe [variable 1] is dependent on what mass it contains [variable 2] and how that mass is dispersed [variable 3]
If the universe contained no mass it would have zero size [ dimension ] so size and substance are relative and dependent variables. IMO

Oh, I understood that. What I was referring to was not really science (my own personal perception).