Re: Changing the past by forgetting

From: rmiller <>
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 2009 20:42:31 -0500

At 06:20 PM 3/15/2009, George Levy wrote:
>I agree with Anna. In addition, it all depends on where you define
>the boundary of the self. Just the brain? Brain + body? Brain + body
>+ immediate surrounding (prescription glasses being worn, automobile
>being driven, binoculars or computer being used) ? Brain + body +
>Whole causally connected universe (CCU)?
>There are good arguable reasons for including the CCU as part of the
>self. Forgetting would then mean resetting the CCU to the last
>"remembered" state. In this case we have an identity relationship
>between the self and the universe it inhabits. Resetting the self is
>the same as resetting the universe. No more problem or paradox
>associated with forgetting!

Helmut Schmidt's "retrocausation" (actually a sophisticated delayed
choice) experiments suggested that causation might be associated with
many-worlds---that is, it might be possible to choose a past that
will lead to a present state of a Causally Connected Universe. If
different pasts can be associated with equivalent behavioral sets in
the present then it would be impossible to differentiate the specific
world lines that led to the present behavioral set. If one's present
behavioral state is a sum of histories over time, then one could
focus on a particular history (say, one without dinosaurs) to subtly
alter the present CCU, but if the difference can't be consciously
detected, then (a la Copenhagen theory) then it would be irrelevent.

As for memory being reconstructive, the fact is we really don't know
much about it at all. If time doesn't exist except as a bundle of
world lines, memory might involve "sampling" a section of the
preceding bundle. In that view we create our own particular
CCU. Wrong about past events? Maybe you sampled the wrong world line.

R. Miller

>A. Wolf wrote:
>>>Thanks! This is like undoing historical events. If you forget about the
>>>fact that dinosaurs ever lived on Earth and there is an alternative
>>>that led to your existence in the multiverse, and you do the memory
>>>also in sectors were dinosaurs never lived, you have some nonzero
>>>probability of finding yourself on an Earth were the dinosaurs never
>>The problem I'm having with this line of reasoning is that "memory" isn't a
>>fixed physical object. Memory is reconstructive, and depends upon emotional
>>triggers both at the time when the memory was encoded and at the time when
>>it re-examined in the conscious mind. No memories are particularly
>>Most of the time, I'm not aware that dinosaurs existed because I'm not
>>thinking about it, or any other part of Earth's history, for that
>>matter...but I don't seem to have the experience that my environment is
>>impoverished of history altogether just because I hadn't been thinking hard
>>enough about it. As another example, people who have false recovered
>>memories through psychotherapy invariably end up unable to confirm them when
>>they look for facts to back up their new memories, and that happens in my
>>universe even though I personally don't have any information to confirm or
>>deny their memories.
>>In other words, I don't see why forgetting something is any more likely to
>>change events than simply being wrong about having the memory in the first
>>place, the latter of which happens constantly. If you want to argue about
>>what nonzero probability implies, you'd have a hard time showing that
>>anything non-contradictory at all has a nonzero probability of being true.
>>>Because of the entanglement, I don't think you can, in general, reverse
>>>the spin
>>>state of the particle without reversing what is known about it by "the
>>>rest of
>>>the world".
>>The rest of the world? What's that?
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Received on Sun Mar 15 2009 - 21:42:45 PDT

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