RE: differences with MWI

From: Higgo James <>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 15:56:59 +0100

Thanks for the detailed comment, Steve.
Quick reply:
1. I'm not sure where the mysticism came into it, I'm certainly not a mystic
2. Subjectivity has a lot to do with MWI. If the evrything hypothesis is
true, then nothing is objective.
3. Economics is a very very very emergent phenomenon
4. Yes, the Buddhist concept of enlightenment is like mindlessless. You're
not the first to react to that idea with strong negative emotions.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: SLP []
> Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 1999 3:13 PM
> To: Higgo James
> Cc: ''
> Subject: Re: differences with MWI
> JH says:
> "I think we would live our lives differently if we believed MWI.
> Firstly, our
> philosopy would be more 'Buddhist' as described in
> I could not possibly disagree with anything more than this.
> What MWI tells us is that reality is WHOLLY OBJECTIVE, and rigorously
> deterministic. That some events appear probabilistic is a consequence
> of the fact that we are embedded within the universal wave function and
> not standing "outside" of it at some Archimedean point.
> Subjectivity has nothing to do with MWI, or any other interpretation of
> QM for that matter. It has to do with the way the brain operates, and
> right now we don't have much in the way of understanding. Given the
> size and characteristic timescale of its functional components (neurons
> and subcellular mechanisms within neurons), we can see with
> near-certainty that the brains is basically a classical mechanism.
> Exactly how consciousness is generated is not known, and until we have
> an experimental basis for talk about this, due modesty is required in
> speculating. At least people like Gerald Edelman, Francis Crick,
> Christof Koch, the Churchlands, etc. are trying to create the
> experimental base. Sating that consciousness is computational may seem
> lie the only possibility right now, but someone living in Athens in the
> 4th century B.C. might have thought that Aristotle's then-current ideas
> on physics were the only possible ones. Talk without experimental facts
> is cheap.
> I am forever puzzled why people try to create mysticism out of QM.
> There is nothing whatever mystical about it. Why didn't people a couple
> of centuries ago try to do the same thing with Newtonian mechanics,
> saying that action at a distance implied a mysterious unity of the
> cosmos, confirming ancient religious insights? Were they just more
> sensible?
> Decision theory FOR AN EFFECTIVELY CLASSICAL OBJECT like a human being
> has nothing whatever to do with MWI. Why should you care any more about
> your counterparts in other "branches" of the wave function than you do
> about anyone in the ordinary quasi-classical world? Even thinking this
> way smacks of a not-so-hidden egalitarianism, and reminds me very much
> of the arguments in John Rawls' crackpot boo "A Theory of Justice"
> (Harvard, 1971). Just as with James Higgo's proposal, Rawls preaches
> EXPLICIT and DELIBERATE economic inefficiency in the name of some
> ill-defined "fairness."
> JH says:
> "A full, deep understanding of physics is equivalent in some ways to the
> Buddhist concept of enlightenment. The idea of
> self is relinquished. The very fabric of reality is seen to be
> subjective. The absurdity of attachments becomes clear."
> I say:
> (a) the Buddhist concept of enlightenment is like mindlessness
> (b) a full, deep understanding of physics is QUANTITATIVE and can be
> used to manipulate the world to your benefit; to create incredible and
> marvelous technologies, whereas the Buddhist concept of enlightenment is
> mostly empty words and mere mumbo-jumbo, impotent to reshape matter
> (c) the idea of your "self" is the basic data of existence you have--if
> you relinquish it partially, you become what we call crazy
> (i.e.,psychotic) , and if you relinquish it completely, you become
> effectively dead
> (d) The absurdity of NOT having attachments becomes clear when you think
> about economics, which is the relevant subject area here. Attachments,
> and the desire for more things, drive people to achievement. That's the
> economic basis of civilization.
> Buddhism, like Christianity (and all traditional religions), has done
> nothing in its long history besides acting as an anesthetic.
> Science--hard knowledge of objective reality--is the only thing that
> counts.
> Steve Price, MD
Received on Tue Jul 27 1999 - 08:00:15 PDT

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