Re: General Craziness

From: Christopher Maloney <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 20:25:24 -0400

I really enjoyed this post! It's amusing that you are vying
for the title of "worst in the group!"

Devin Harris wrote:

> Jacques Mallah wrote:
> > Chris Maloney - the latest, and worst, addition to our little
> > group.
> I have posted maybe five times. I mainly explain my own personal
> theories. Unlike Chris, I haven't read any of the archived posts.
> None of my posts have fit in with the regular discussions. Remember
> my idea that all worlds branch or converge toward one future.
> Obviously crackpot. How 'bout when I dropped time as a dimension. No
> one has posted a response to anything I have written.
> I have been ignored. I posted ideas about the distant future being
> determined or inevitable, and how that shapes the present, which got
> no direct response.

I read your last post with interest, but then, I'll admit, it did
start to seem a little bit too "out there", so I didn't respond.

> Quantumly speaking, we know the past is not determined until we
> observe it, as is true of the future. There isn't merely one past. So
> we can imagine the wave function of all possible worlds in the past.
> The wave function is very wide first considering the immediate past,
> yet as we look ever deeper into the past, all the many possible
> worlds we can envision merge toward a single beginning, common to all
> paths, the Big Bang.

I'm not sure you can regard the Big Bang as one, single beginning.
Isn't it possible that there was as much variability in it as there
is in the present day universe? The entropy was much lower, but that
has been increasing steadily, so that couldn't be used to justify
your statement that in the recent past, the number of branches was
large, whereas in the distant past it was smaller.

Or could it? Actually, this may be correct. I'm not very clear on
the relationship between entropy and information. Could anyone
recommend a book on this topic?

> All possible worlds begin from or near a common
> single state. Notice how that one inevitable distant past shapes what
> we observe about the past. It shapes our present. It makes the
> background radiation evenly distributed. It shows us one model of the
> past, not many depending upon which direction we look, or on
> different days.

I think the term you're looking for here is "boundary condition".
And I agree with you that it is perfectly valid to look it that
way - that the boundary condition "shapes" the evolution that we

> The common origin of all quantum worlds makes our past consistent and
> contributes to the flow of time being consistent. It radically
> narrows the wave function, as related to what is possible to have
> happened. Now look at the future. What is possible in the immediate
> future is also wide. Consider that the set of all possible futures
> narrows toward a single outcome, a single state, just like the past.

What might that be? The Omega Point? But evidence is mounting
that the universe is open, and that the expansion is accelerating.

> Notice how that single future would shape our world, our present,
> just as the single state in our past shapes our world.

I'm with you here, and again I agree. If you start with an
assumption of some future boundary condition, then it is perfectly
valid to say that it "shapes" our present and our immediate
future. For example (I believe there were discussions on this
early in this lists history) if you start with an assumption of
QTI, and then set up the following experiment with flipping a coin
a number of times:
  Roll 1:
    - if I see tails then I'll be allowed to live
    - if I see heads then I'll be required to flip again
  Roll 2:
    - if it comes up tails I'll be allowed to live
    - if it comes up heads I'll be instantly killed
Then I would expect the probability that I'll see heads the first
flip would be 2/3, not 1/2.

This is the same as in my story, where I expected that the odds
of something going wrong during the preparatory steps to setting
up the device would increase the closer I got.

But it doesn't have to be QTI (FAP). It's certainly true for any
future boundary condition that it would "shape" our present
experiences. The trouble is in determining what that future
boundary condition would be.

> Notice finally
> that if the past only shaped the present, if the future didn't shape
> the present, then what is possible; the wave function, would expand
> radically into chaotic possibilities. Then, there would be no
> rational laws of nature.

I'm not sure I agree with that.

> So anyway, I don't see why Chris gets to be denoted as the worst
> member of this group. This is not fair. I mean, he shared something
> personal but the topic clearly related to quantum immortality,

That's what I was thinking when I wrote it. And, to tell you the
truth, I've been dying (sorry for the pun) to tell someone about
it for years now.

> and
> come on, it was great reading. Damn, I thought it was an excerpt from
> a book or something. It reminded me of Douglas Adams. Seriously
> Chris, I thought it was too polished to be a post. You should
> consider publishing that story, and I am not just saying that to
> redeem my position.


> On the issue of quantum suicide, there are factors to what is
> possible in the branching paths of time that are not being discussed
> in this group and that are simply not known at this time. A line from
> LeGuin, "The truth is that as a man's real power grows and his
> knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower; until at
> last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do..."

I hope that's not true. It also reminds me of Niven's Pak creatures,
who were so smart that they always knew exactly what the best course
of action was. But I tend to think that as we get smarter, the
problems get more difficult, and decisiveness remains elusive.
There's a line from C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce",

    Life is not like a pool but like a tree. It does not move toward
    unity but away from it and the creatures grow further apart as they
    increase in perfection. Good, as it ripens, becomes continually
    more different not only from evil but from other good.

You can substitute "wisdom" for "good", I think.

> Again, the future is shaping the past, so it doesn't matter much what
> course one maneuvers. We cannot escape the future. Eventually we
> collide with the same problems, in this life or whatever follows, so
> we face and eventually solve them. Its part of the process. We each
> are an evolving universe. That's not meant to be positive. Its real.
> I didn't think your story was scary at all. It was real and
> fascinating, sort of in the sense that fact is more fascinating than
> fiction. You see I think already in different terms. If this group is
> centered upon discussing an everything universe, and is going to do
> anything other than regurgitate other peoples science and idea, it
> needs to confront more vividly the issues surrounding timelessness
> and the meaning of an infinite universe.
> Most people respond with fear and avoidance to the suicide option,
> mainly from our common struggle to cope with the meaninglessness that
> creeps into our lives. How does our response change if we factually
> know that the observer exists beyond death?

Beg your pardon? I certainly don't think the observer exists
beyond death. I would substitute something else for the preposition
"beyond", maybe "beside".

> If this group was really
> accomplishing something, it would be a place to exercise the mind in
> different ways of seeing such things as real death, or suicide, from
> the perspectives that result of MWs, or an anthropic universe, an
> observer created reality, etc.
> Here is something I like to think about. There is no place where the
> universe is not. If the observer is indeed a world in itself, then we
> cannot stop existing. Its not a choice we have. Non-existence cannot
> be. What we are, what we become, is ever changing, yet each observer
> experience ends as another begins. That is true of every moment. We
> die in the stillness of each moment and are constantly reborn into
> another.

Well put!

> Now that is deep shit without direct mention of any science. And I
> have spent hours writing my other posts, carefully explaining
> crackpot theories that contradict much of what you guys discuss. I
> don't see why Chris should get all the violent opposition.


> If that doesn't work, let me share other thoughts. I think there
> should be a different title for those such as Einstein, Newton,
> Feynman and Hawking, the explorers and creators of science, and the
> masses that follow claiming also to be scientists, who in fact don't
> relate at all. That's really not so much of an insult to anyone as
> one might think.
> Mainly, I think most in this group need to keep in mind a healthy
> dose of reasonable doubt that we have all the major factors needed to
> understand the shape of many worlds or of an ensemble or everything
> theory. This shouldn't be a discussion place of sharply narrow issues
> yet. Ideally this group needs a monitor that would keep discussions
> civilized, open, and vibrant, to counteract individuals who desire to
> squelch all but their own adherence and discipline.

Well, I still feel bad that I used profanity in my post to Jacques.
I should have sent it to him outside the group.

Chris Maloney
"Knowledge is good"
-- Emil Faber
Received on Mon Jun 21 1999 - 17:28:05 PDT

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