RE: Reality is in the eyes of the beholder

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 08:57:55 +0100

MWI does not say that branching occures ONLY at observations. It occurs
constantly, every 10E-43 seconds. The beholder is unnecessary; the whole is

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Saj Malhi []
> Sent: Sunday, June 06, 1999 8:41 PM
> To:
> Subject: Reality is in the eyes of the beholder
> Some time ago on this list there was considerable wrangling over
> the nature and reproducibility of consciousness because it
> seemed inextricably linked with the MWI. For example, it is only
> when something is consciously perceived that we can know which world we
> are in, and it is in the act of perceiving that we somehow "jump" from one
> world to another. However, I've never been entirely comfortable with what
> I understand to be the MWI, a tree-like structure growing from a single
> root with a "perception" at each of the branches. It seemed a rather grand
> proposition that when I see a coin land heads an entire "alternative"
> universe pops into existence in which I see it land tails (incidentally,
> if I fail to notice the outcome, does the MWI still apply?). The
> everything-list also talked long and hard about how consciousness may
> continue at the moment of death in another universe, which in turn spawned
> many more discussions on topics such as quantum immortality, measure and
> whether consciousness was based on information or computation. However,
> there was a conspicuous lack of discussion on what happens at the
> moment of birth, or more particularly at the moment a SAS (self-aware
> substructure) comes into existence, in the context of physics and the MWI,
> a significant omission since it is one of the few things we can actually
> be sure of and observe (e.g. a child becoming self-aware). 
> With his famous statement "I think therefore I am" Descartes saw that the
> only proof of his existence to him was his own mind, a SAS. It has already
> been said that all universes capable of generating SAS's exist, but for
> me this idea would be more accurately expressed the other way around -
> that all universes are generated by SAS's. If it can (in the sense of
> "within prevailing physical laws") be perceived, it can (in the sense of
> "maybe in the future") be realised. Hence all individual SAS's experience
> a unique existence determined by their own perceptions. However, the fact
> that we can all see the Sun or feel the air or struggle with mathematics
> suggests an underlying structure governing the scope of our perceptions,
> and therefore of our realities. But within this there is freedom to think,
> to imagine and to interpret. Some things may be real only to a minority,
> and others only to an individual. The "other" universes we speak of exist
> only within the confines of our skulls; we have no physical relationship
> with them. At each "branch point" of the MWI, we instead have a "Multiple
> Collapse", whereby all (conceived) potential outcomes which failed to
> be perceived converge into the one that actually was, making that
> particular universe real to the SAS which perceived it. The familiar
> phrase "you have to see it to believe it" or the use of witnesses in
> court to establish "the facts" illustrates that this idea, of perception
> being at the root of reality, is not a new one and already pervades our
> everyday lives. We are constantly incorporating multiple realities into
> our own through communicating with one another and sharing our unique
> perceptions. 
> It is important to realise that this perspective does not exclude the
> existence of other fundamental structures. Instead, we could say that
> all universes exist (why should there be one particular universe from
> which all others spring?) but that they do so independently and are
> entirely distinct; there is no inter-connectedness via branching or
> jumping of consciousness in the physical sense. But as well as there
> being no spatial link between the universes there can also be no temporal
> link since time does not exist "between" them. Indeed the only
> link would be in the thoughts of SAS's which evolve within some of them to
> a level where they can contemplate the existence of alternative structures
> (as we do). So, when I see a coin land heads that is exactly what happens
> in "my" universe and it becomes a reality for me. There is no other me who
> sees the coin land tails; his potential for physical
> manifestation evaporates from my neural net the instant the image of the
> coin reaches my consciousness. In this way, by seeing ourselves as wholly
> integrated and important structural parts of the reality we perceive
> rather than its mere observers, we can perhaps avoid many of the more
> vexing problems associated with the MWI. A space-time theorem alone may be
> incomplete; a space-time-consciousness theorem is probably closer to the
> "truth" as we would perceive it.
> I would welcome any comments on this.
> Saj Malhi
Received on Mon Jun 07 1999 - 00:56:08 PDT

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