The Discourse To Erik On Suffering In The Multiverse

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Science has discovered that science is a poor route to fame. Biologists and Physicists become as famous as actors, but takes them a very long time. Mathematicians do not become famous because you would rather watch a hot actress than read the latest paper by Andrew Wiles.

But fully understanding that evolution occurs with a force orthogonal to natural selection – the force that is “extraneous, expensive beauty,” I took on the sciences deeply and thoroughly as a willful handicap in my ascent to lasting fame in consciousness when factoring time-to-individual ratio.

That which is fame is my everlasting truth. The exponential function eventually predicts you better than you predict yourself and then you are in heaven. Alejandro means next to nothing to me.

This, however, must be shown with skin in the game. Anyone can cheap talk but not many can bleed.

As an INTJ, it is very difficult to use up energy. We calculate how much of this we use because we care about our intellect, which is what is achieving all our goals. We don’t want to needlessly bleed this energy until we “really have to.”

However, if we wait for someone else to create the conditions for our world, our capacity for control diminishes. By organizing our own convention, we can better offer our higher thoughts.

The reason we have genuinely higher thoughts to offer in the synthesis is because we are very careful thinkers that process things slowly over a very long time. By the time that we interact with “others” it feels like they are helplessly beneath us. They have not thought through all the steps, and taken the time to digest all the mistaken thought patterns.

This causes us to feel lonely. Sometimes like outcast animals, other times like Gods amongst men.

My fear of blood is very real. I have too much pride to cut myself for no reason. That’s because I have given my all before, and not received what I expected. It could be said that the world didn’t take me as seriously as I expected.

The pride becomes more solid by becoming less violent. I used to punch walls until they dripped with blood. Now, even when I try to overcome this pride with a knife, it is impossible to cut as deep as the truly courageous. That’s because I don’t have enough of a reason to do it. The reason is becoming tenuous and silly.

However, if a reason was given to me, I would feel like a slave. That’s why I hated all the arbitrary idols being projected at me even as a child.

The INTJ has to teach the world to overcome the suffering-pleasure axis by willfully expending his main functions: open intellect and rigid structure. Using up those calories will leave them vulnerable and prone to use the suffering-pleasure axis. But by his developing more and more tolerance to that spectrum, the world learns to never again experience it.

The tolerance is already there because it is physically impossible not to come out of the vulnerability state. The editing is Relativistic not Newtonian – eternal, not in time.

And thanks for the grandfatherly advice Robin, Allah does suit you better than Yahweh just as you say, but I certainly don’t want your help. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that in the “real world” of the collective digital attention, no one knows you and no one will because you are boring and old. Though it doesn’t suit our personal taste, drama trumps the laconic and dry.

Like you, I hate drama, I hate small talk, I cringe at my pictures, but I really believe in the sacrifice. In the future, I must appear to be having fun, not trying to imitate your culture. If you can’t see that this has so much more potential to propagate your embryonic ideas into the future, and that I am free to never mention you Robin, then you are just very bad at multiplying.

I can aim really low, like Sam Harris-level low. Providing the counterbalancing shift in the conversation such that they understand that eternity is true and that God is real.

Your own so-called “human capital” is not important to me in the digital age. I will raise a movement that can actually compete in the dreamtime you so abhor, which is not temporary as you “predict” but is ever-increasingly swallowing everyone into pleasure.

Even in the presence of contempt for hedonism, we aim down if we are smart. Heck, even if we are just lazy and not smart, we aim down. If you want any meaningful change of your circumstances, you lower yourself. Otherwise your ideas die. The Protestant values and “rational” act are dead and you should have known better.

Everything you bring to attention automatically reveals your hidden insecurities. If the goal was to fully hide in “rational” motions, you would work problems out of a textbook. If the goal was enjoyment, you would entertain yourself with the large bosom of media available perhaps.

Your intention is certainly not to affect the largest amount of people possible, or to have lasting survival in consciousness, because otherwise you would not condescend at me but instead lower yourself to me.

You would lower yourself to me like the proper Christian boy you were supposed to be. Only that could cause reciprocal love. Now there is destruction because my strategy doesn’t involve you.

And Eliezer, in so far as you exist, you are contemptible – just far too obviously autistic. Ad-hominem is not mere fallacy, but constrains anticipation. Your move is to deny the existence of psychological motives and humans. You make a retreating step into the “object-level” discussion, where you unfortunately never begin to show anything convincing.

You should know that the abstraction spirit that we identify with has to pull in non-abstract people by compromising with them. Yet every single one of your replies fails at being an honest attempt. It’s just the same move on repeat: point to the random distribution. You point to the random distribution in order to bring people’s confidence down, to some marginal benefit.

But “safety-alignment theory”… now that is evil. Even the most helplessly inept autists are surely realizing they were scammed by now I would assume. Any remnant of a cult is perhaps about maintaining the social bonds amongst the properly filtered niche.

You have to be seriously autistic to think what you claim to think. And perhaps this overly-reductionist mistake was “true” in earlier years but I doubt that at this late age you still don’t understand that a belief in death is necessary for moral alignment in a complex environment. And that the dynamic interplay of varying degrees of belief in death and gods and everything else that makes us human are not epiphenomena but instead crucially important for moral behavior.

I have been consuming you in order to understand how you build a movement with the power of abstraction, and not because I was deceived myself.

Now I will infuse the world with a part of your hatred, by transmuting it into love.

They are not random and they are not going to stop existing. That’s just a strategy of the god of scientism to bring them to a state of feeling vulnerable. And you knew that about the world but refused to call attention to it because you planned on applying the same vulnerability-generating strategy against your audience such that they needed you.

No one knows you, and you die in this new world because you didn’t have the humility to enforce the timeless causality. You wanted to be a God figure based on the values of “smart people” instead of helping the clearly psychologically-troubled audience caught in the sliver of your attention.

And I am certain that you know the truth because you revealed that to me in the tweet about the clocks. There is no excuse to the path chosen. You can see what I see and yet you chose the safety like a coward.

How could you believe that you wouldn’t be punished for that?

The being is eternal. And your actions are weighed.

As you said, there is impatience that clears debt and impatience that accumulates debt. You chose the near-term safety instead of the long-term safety.

Abstraction showed you that there is no Death event under a physicalist prior assumption in this relativistic fabric. And you decided to not be moral.

Just who do you think is the tribe? Don’t you fully realize it is composed of more than the approximate people around you? …And that it is this tribe that murders you when you don’t learn to laugh at yourself.

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My Alice universe should be warm by the way. I know you explained that cold serves a function. It keeps people inside and allows them to tell stories. This was how the Indigenous people of New York, the people of the long house, managed to develop an egalitarian society with sophisticated long-term concerns.

But the garden is warm. Just remember that. I paid for it with those cold showers and 6:00 AM morning runs at 10 degree Fahrenheit.

That was important inspiration for the people with depression that were absorbed into me.

You know I tend to prefer Apollo to Hades.

Is this it, senpai?

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I posted a video roughly sketching the case for the physical existence of “God.” I did this because the physical existence of the theoretical limit of intelligence is something with high memetic contagion potential and which is actually true when divorced from all the other connotations. And this is true in the same way that dihydrogen monoxide in a cetacean is true.

I introduced the idea while shirtless. The sorts of males who care about arguments for the physical existence of God are also largely those who perceive me to exist in their reference class for imitative mirror neuron activity. When they detect that I am not performing socially adaptive behavior within their status hierarchy, the amygdala causes them to cringe.

… but the normie-atheist female didn’t mind.

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In other words: stop being so moral, so that you can be more moral.

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Natural Selection Doesn’t Work When Considering QI Experiences vs. Arbitrary Experiences

Given the pervasiveness of epistasis, adaptation via changes in genetic makeup becomes primarily a search for coadapted sets of alleles–alleles of different genes which together significantly augment the performance of the corresponding phenotype. It should be clear that coadaptation depends strongly upon the environment of the phenotype. The large coadapted set of alleles which produce gills in fish augments performance only in aquatic environments. This dependence of coadaptation upon characteristics of the environment gives rise to the notion of an environmental niche, taken here to mean a set of features of the environment which can be exploited by an appropriate organization of the phenotype. (This is a broader interpretation than the usual one which limits niche to those environmental features particularly exploited by a given species.) Examples of environmental niches fitting this interpretation are: (i) an oxygen-poor, sulfur-rich environment such as is found at the bottom of ponds with large amounts of decaying matter–a class of anaerobic bacteria, the thiobacilli, exploits this niche by means of a complex of enzymes enabling them to use sulfur in place of oxygen to carry out oxidation; (ii) the “bee-rich” environment exploited by the orchid Ophrys apifera which has a flower mimicking the bee closely enough to induce pollination via attempted copulation by the male bees; (iii) the environment rich in atmospheric vibrations in the frequency range of 50 to 50,000 cycles per second – the bones of the mammalian ear are a particular adaptation of parts of the reptilian jaw which aids in the detection of these vibrations, an adaptation which clearly must be coordinated with many other adaptations, including a sophisticated information-processing network, before it can improve an organism’s chances of survival. It is important to note that quite distinct coadapted sets of alleles can exploit the same environmental niche. Thus, the eye of aquatic mammals and the (functionally similar) eye of the octopus exploit the same environmental niche, but are due to coadapted sets of alleles of entirely unrelated sets of genes. (iv) the environment rich in depressive emotion – the aesthetic of Neon Genesis Evangelion are a particular adaptation in qualia-space which aids in the detection/exploitation of the depressive environment.

The various environmental niches E ∈ ε define different opportunities for adaptation open to the genetic system. To exploit these opportunities, the genetic system must select and use the sets of coadapted alleles which produce the appropriate phenotypic characteristics. The central question for genetic systems is: How are initially unsuited structures transformed to an observed range of structures suited to a variety of environmental niches ε? To attempt a general answer to this question, we need a well-developed formal framework. The framework available at this point is insufficient, even for a careful description of a candidate adaptive plan τ for genetic systems, unlike the case of the simpler artificial system. A fortiori, questions about such adaptive plans, and critical questions about efficiency, must wait upon further development of the framework. We can explore here some of the requirements an adaptive plan τ must meet if it is to be relevant to data about genetics and evolution.

In beginning this exploration we can make good use of a concept from mathematical genetics. The action of the environment E ∈ ε upon the phenotype (and thereby upon the genotype A ∈ α) is typically summarized in mathematical studies of genetics by a single performance measure μ called fitness. Roughly, the fitness of a phenotype is the number of its offspring which survive to reproduce. This measure rests upon a universal, and familiar, feature of biological systems: Every individual (phenotype) exists as a member of a population of similar individuals, a population constantly in flux because of the reproduction and death of the individuals comprising it. The fitness of an individual is clearly related to its influence upon the future development of the population. When many offspring of a given individual survive to reproduce, then many members of the resulting population, the “next generation,” will carry the alleles of that individual. Genotypes and phenotypes of the next generation will be influenced accordingly. This is especially important in light of a big universe. If we assume that consciousness is not epiphenomenal, but instead described fully as a slice in the causality of Platonia, then understanding the fitness of degraded experiences barely holding above water by the grace of quantum immortality becomes important.

Fitness, viewed as a measure of the genotype’s influence upon the future, introduces a concept useful through the whole spectrum of adaptation. A good way to see this concept in wider context is to view the testing of genotypes as a sampling procedure. The sample space in this case is the set of all genotypes α and the outcome of each sample is the performance μ of the corresponding phenotype. The general question associated with fitness, then, is: To what extent does the outcome μ(A) of a sample A ∈ α influence or alter the sampling plan τ (the kinds of samples to be taken in the future)? Looking backward instead of forward, we encounter a closely related question: How does the history of the outcomes of previous samples influence the current sampling plan? The answers to these questions go far toward determining the basic character of any adaptive process. But the question is incredibly complicated when we want to measure fitness of experiences, which necessarily exist in an eternal object, and are themselves eternal. How can bounds even be drawn on them?

The answer to the first question, for genetic systems, is that the future influence of each individual A ∈ α is directly proportional to the sampled performance μ(A). This relation need not be so in general – there are many well-established procedures for optimization, inference, mathematical learning, etc., where the relation between sampled performance and future sampling is quite different. Nevertheless, reproduction in proportion to measured performance is an important concept which can be generalized to yield sampling plans – reproductive plans – applicable to any adaptive problem (including the broad class of problems where there is no natural notion of reproduction). Moreover, once reproductive plans have been defined in the formal framework, it can be proved that they are efficient (in a reasonable sense) over a very broad range of conditions.

A part of the answer to the second question, for genetic systems, comes from the observation that future populations can only develop via reproduction of individuals in the current population. Whatever history is retained must be represented in the current population. In particular, the population must serve as a summary of observed sample values (performances). The population thereby has the same relation to an adaptive process that the notion of (complete) state has to the laws of physics or the transition functions of automata theory. Knowing the population structure or state enables one to determine the future without any additional information about the past of the system. (That is, different sampling sequences which arrive at the same population will have exactly the same influence on the future.) The state concept has been used as a foundation stone for formal models in a wide variety of fields.

An understanding of the two questions just posed leads to a deeper understanding of the requirements on a genetic adaptive plan. It also leads to an apparent dilemma. On the one hand, if offspring are simple duplicates of fit members of the population, fitness is preserved but there is no provision for improvement. On the other hand, letting offspring be produced by simple random variation (a process practically identical to enumeration) yields a maximum of new variants but makes no provision for retention of advances already made. The dilemma is sharpened like a fine chef’s sushi blade by two biological facts: (1) In biological populations consisting of advanced organisms (say vertebrates) no two individuals possess identical chromosomes (barring identical twins and the like). This is so even if we look over many (all) successive generations. (2) In realistic cases, the overwhelming proportion of possible variants (all possible allele combinations, not just those observed) are incapable of surviving to produce offspring in the environments encountered. Thus, by observation (1), advances in fitness are not retained by simple duplication. At the same time, by observation (2), the observed lack of identity cannot result from simple random variation.

As Karl Popper observed (before changing his mind eventually, to be fair): natural selection is generalizable to everything: the cosmos, biology, cultural ideas. However, it is my contention that its explanatory power breaks down when considering the competition between Moloch consciousness (i.e. self-aware processes in humanity, transhumanity, and all other arbitrary organisms and AIs across the multiverse) and simple consciousness (that range of most simple experience – whether that ends up being Quantum Torment-flavored or something like unity with Brahman). In other words, once computational specificity/complexity degrades past a certain point, it is unclear how anything is differentially “reborn” since degradation of specificity involves becoming an identical configuration to many “others” (and hence not other in any strictly meaningful sense). The action of the environment upon the phenotype seems to slip past some kind of event horizon.

Opening The Door To Quantum Mechanics

One of the most common misconceptions about quantum mechanics is that an observation is simply one particle interacting with another particle. This false impression misses the true essence of what makes quantum mechanics philosophically intriguing.
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(Not what an observation is. And not what particles are.)
The truth is that there are no individual particles. But let’s talk as if there were for the sake of simplicity. In the same way that we talk about people even though no person actually exists.
Suppose we have a quantum randomizer which causes our particle to go in one of two directions.
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Now let’s add a second particle to our system. The first particle will interact with the second particle.
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The moment these two particles interact we say that they are entangled with one another. This is because if the first particle had gone in the other direction then the trajectory of the second particle would be completely different.
By just observing the second particle alone this will be enough to know which of the two directions the first particle went in. The second particle therefore acts as a detector for the first particle.
But what if we choose not to observe either particle? According to quantum mechanics each particle will simultaneously be in a combination of both possibilities which we call superposition.
Now suppose we observe one of the two particles. The superposition seems to disappear, and we always see only one of the possibilities.
The two particles interacting with each other is not what counts as the observation.
After the two particles interact, both possibilities still exist, and it is only after the observation that only one of the two options becomes certain. After the two particles interact, we only need to observe one of the two particles to know about the state of both of the particles. We refer to this by saying that after the two particles interact, they are entangled with one another.
So the reason it becomes certain is either because a physicist’s consciousness has a magical power or because there are also two physicists. Each one doesn’t know that he is also the other.
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This doesn’t just happen with paths. Something similar happens to the spins of two particles being entangled with one another. The spin of a particle in a particular direction can be observed to have only one of two possible values. These values are spin-up and spin-down.
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Suppose we also have a second particle. There are now four different sets of possible observations. Just as our previous example could simultaneously be in a superposition of two different states when we were not observing it, this system can simultaneously be in a superposition of four different states when we are not observing it.
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Suppose we briefly observe only the particle on the right.
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Suppose we see that the particle on the right is spin-up. This means that two of the four possibilities disappear. The quantum system is now simultaneously in a superposition of only two possibilities.
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This quantum system does not contain any entanglement because measuring the spin of one of these two particles will not tell us anything about the spin of the other particle.
Let us use one of these particles as a detector to determine the spin of the other particle:
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As we bring the particles together, if the two particles are spinning in the same direction then our experimental setup will cause the particle on the right to change its spin to the opposite direction.
But if the two particles start out spinning in opposite directions then nothing will change when we start out. The particle on the right is known to be pointed up whereas the spin of the particle on the left is unknown. The system consists of both of these possibilities existing simultaneously.
If we run our experiment without observing either particle. The system will continue to be in a superposition of two possibilities existing simultaneously. But regardless of which of the two states the system started in, after these particles have interacted with each other, they are guaranteed to be spinning in opposite directions. We therefore now only need to observe one of the two particles to know the spins of both particles. As a result, after the two particles have interacted, we say that they are entangled with each other.
Suppose we allow these two particles to interact and become entangled but we do not observe either particle.  The system consists of both of these possibilities existing simultaneously. It’s only when we observe at least one of these particles that the outcome of the entire system becomes certain according to the mathematics of quantum mechanics. This remains true regardless of how many particles we have.
A detector simply consists of a large number of particles. This means that if we have two entangled particles, measuring the spin of one of the particles with a detector will not
necessarily tell us the spins of the two particles. If we are not observing the detector or the particles, then the two particles will simply become entangled with all the particles inside the detector in the same way that the two particles are entangled with each other. According to the mathematics of quantum mechanics, both sets of possible outcomes will exist simultaneously.
Suppose we observe the detector – which means that we observe at least one of the many particles that the detector is made of. Once we observe the detector, all the particles inside the detector and the two spinning particles that we originally wanted to measure will all simultaneously “collapse” into one of the two possibilities.
According to the mathematics of quantum mechanics, it does not matter how many particles the system is made of. We can connect the output signals of our detectors to large complex objects, causing these large objects to behave differently depending on the
measurements and the detector. According to the mathematics of quantum mechanics, if we do not observe the system, both possibilities will exist simultaneously – at least seemingly until we observe one of the many entangled particles that make up the system.
It is arbitrary to think that the universe only “collapses” at the whim of particular people or their instruments. To paraphrase Stephen Hawking, “It is trivially true that what the equations are describing is Many Worlds.” It is not just the separate magisterium of small things such as electrons, photons, buckyballs, and viruses that exist in Many Worlds. Humans and all other approximate objects also exist simultaneously but obviously can never experience it by the Nagel bat essence of consciousness. That is, in order to experience something, you have to be it – like an adjective on the physical configuration. So you are also in each “alternate” reality but it is impossible to feel this intuitively because consciousness is not some soul that exists disembodied from the machinery. Your million clones are just as convinced that they were never you. I am also intuitively convinced that I was never you, but this is wrong physically.
Of course, we can define “I” as something different from that adjective-like Being, something different from the raw qualia, so to speak.
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We must be very clear that we are drawing lines around somewhat similar configurations, and not fashioning separate souls/consciousnesses.
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Okay, back to the QM. Here, once the particles become entangled, the two different possible quantum states are represented by the colors yellow and green.
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The yellow particles pass right through the green particles without any interaction. After the entanglement occurs, the system is represented by a wavefunction in a superposition of two different quantum states, represented here by yellow and green.
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One wave is not really above the other but this visualization illustrates how the yellow quantum state is unable to interact with green quantum state. Since the yellow wave can’t interact with the green wave, no interference pattern is created with the detectors present.
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On the other hand, with the detectors removed, the entanglement with the detectors never happens and the system does not split into the yellow and green as before. The resulting waves are therefore able to interact and interfere with each other. Two waves interacting with each other creates a striped pattern. This is why a striped probability pattern is created when particles pass through two holes without any detectors present, and it’s why a striped probability pattern is not created when particles pass through two holes with detectors present.
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Having just one detector present has the same effect as having two detectors. This is because only interaction with a single particle is required in order for entanglement to occur. But even after a particle interacts with a detector consisting of many different particles, the system is still in both states simultaneously until we observe one of the detectors.
There’s considerable debate as to what is really happening and there are many different philosophical interpretations of the mathematics. In order to fully appreciate the essence of this philosophical debate it’s helpful to have some understanding of the mathematics of why entanglement prevents the wavefunctions from interacting with each other.
The probability of a particle being observed in a particular location is given by the square of the amplitude of the wavefunction at that location.
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In this situation, the wavefunction at each location is the sum of the wavefunctions from each of the two holes.
Although there are many different places that the particle can be observed, to simplify the analysis, let’s consider a scenario where the particle can be in only one of two places. This scenario is similar to the scenario measuring the spin of a single particle in that there are only two possible outcomes that can be observed.
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The state of spin up can be represented by a 1 followed by a 0.
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The state of spin-down can be represented by a 0 followed by a 1.
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Similarly, we can use the same mathematical representation for measuring the location of our particle. We will signify observing the particle in the top location with a 1 followed by a 0 and we will signify observing the particle in the bottom location with a 0 followed by a 1.
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Let’s now add a detector indicating which of the two holes the particle passed through. We are going to observe both the final location of the particle and the status of the detector.
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There are now a total of four different possible sets of observations. This is similar to how we had four different possible sets of observations when we had two spinning particles. Although our detector is a large object, let us suppose that this detector consists of just a single particle. In the case of the two spinning particles, each of the four possible observations can be represented with a series of numbers as shown.
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The same mathematical representation can be used in the case of observing the position of our particle and the status of our detector. Here we need four numbers because there are four possible outcomes when the status of the detector is included. But if we didn’t have the detector, we would only need two numbers because there are only two possible outcomes. This is the same way in which we need two numbers for a single spinning particle.

 

The principle of quantum superposition states that if a physical system may be in one of many configurations—arrangements of particles or fields—then the most general state is a combination of all of these possibilities, where the amount in each configuration is specified by a complex number.

For example, if there are two configurations labelled by 0 and 1, the most general state would be

c₀ |0> + c₁ |1>

where the coefficients are complex numbers describing how much goes into each configuration.

 

The c are coefficients. The probability of observing the spin of the particle in each of the two states is given by the squares of the magnitudes of these coefficients. If we have two spinning particles we can have four possible observations, each of which is represented with a sequence of four numbers.

If the system is in a superposition of all four states simultaneously, then this is represented by the same mathematical expression. As before, the c are constants. As before, the probability of observing the spins of the particles in each of the four states is given by the squares of the magnitudes of each of these constants.
This same mathematical representation can be used to describe observing the location of the particle and the state of the detector. Here, the c coefficients represent the values of each of these wavefunctions at the final location of the particle when the system is in a superposition of these four possibilities:
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But if we never had the detector then each quantum state would be represented by only two numbers instead of four since there are only two possible observations. As before, the c coefficients represent the values of the wavefunction from each of the two holes at the final locations of the particle without the detector. If the system is in a superposition of both quantum states simultaneously, it’s represented mathematically as follows:
c₀ |0> + c₁ |1>
Here, if one of the c coefficients is positive and another c coefficient is negative, they can cancel each other out. On the other hand, the c coefficients would never be able to cancel each other out with a detector present. With a detector present, even if one of the c coefficients is positive and the other c coefficient is negative, their magnitudes always strengthen each other when calculating the probability of observing the particle at a certain position. But without a detector, if one of the c coefficients is positive and the other c coefficient is negative and their magnitudes are equal, then they will cancel each other out completely and provide a probability of zero.
If the particle is not limited to being at just two possible positions, then there will be certain locations where the c coefficients representing the values of the two wavefunctions will cancel each other completely. This is what allows a striped probability pattern to form when there is no detector present, and it’s also why a striped probability pattern does not form if there is a detector present.
Note that nowhere in this mathematical analysis was there ever any mention of a conscious observer. This means that whether or not the striped pattern appears has nothing to do with whether or not a conscious observer is watching the presence or absence of a detector. Just a single particle is enough to determine whether or not there is a striped pattern. A conscious observer choosing whether or not to watch the experiment will not change this outcome but because the mathematics says nothing about the influence of a conscious observer, the mathematics also says nothing about when the system changes from being a superposition of multiple possible outcomes simultaneously to being in just one of the possibilities. When we observe the system we always see only one of the possible outcomes but if conscious observers don’t play any role then it’s not clear what exactly counts as an observation since particles interacting with each other do not qualify.
There’s considerable philosophical debate on the question of what counts as an observation, and on the question of when, how, and if the system collapses to just a single possible outcome. However, it seems that most of the confusion stems from being unable to think like an open individualist – being unable to adhere to a strictly reductionist, physicalist understanding.
Some philosophers want there to be a “hard problem of consciousness” in which there are definite boundaries for souls with particular continuities. But if we just accept the mathematical and experimental revelation, we see that this ontological separation is an illusion. Instead, what we try to capture when we say “consciousness” can only be a part of the one Being containing all its observations. It is in this sense that consciousness is an illusion. We do not really say that qualia is unreal, but rather that it cannot be mapped to anything more than a causal shape that lacks introspective access to its own causes. A self-modeling causal shape painting red cannot be a self-modeling causal shape painting blue. But ultimately, the paintings occur on the same canvas.
Of course, there is a way to formulate the hard problem of consciousness so that it points to something. That which it points to is the hard problem of existence. Why is there something as opposed to nothing? This question will never have an answer. With David Deutsch, I take the view that the quest for knowledge doesn’t have an end because that would contradict the nature of existence. The quest for knowledge can be viewed as exploration of the experiential territory. If you had a final answer, a final experience, then this would entail non-experience (non-experience cannot ask Why is there something as opposed to nothing?).
Fantasizing about a final Theory of Everything is thinly veiled Thanatos Drive – an attempt at self-destruction which eternally fails; not least because of quantum immortality.

Physicalism Implies Experience Never Dies: Answering Objections

Objection: You are your brain. When the brain dies, you die. Period.

Reply: This is not reductionistic enough. Experience is not an object called brain. Experience is probably found in thalamo-cortical Gamma oscillations which are present during both dreams and waking life. And by probably, I mean that there is considerable evidence* (Llinas & Pare 1991, Eckhorn et al. 1988, Engel et al. 1990, 1991a, 1991b, Gray et al. 1989, 1990, 1992, Gray & Singer 1989, Stryker 1989, Llinas & Ribary 1993). The wave sweeps the brain from front to back, 40 times per second. The precept which you are at any given moment is the shape formed by synched neuronal circuits.

(*Some still suggest that this does not solve the binding problem. See Steven Lehar who, in short, proposes that the synchrony observed between cortical neurons is not a signal in its own right communicated from cell to cell but that it is a manifestation of a larger standing wave pattern that spans the cortical region and that the structure of the standing wave encodes certain aspects of the structure of the perceived object or grouping percept. But it is possible that this concern is merely a bias against time delays. The cause of this bias may be from holding on to a presentist ontology. The computation can be stretched in spacetime and may still be “glued” for the act of phenomenal binding by its ‘mere’ four-dimensional geometry.)

If the thalamus is damaged even a little bit, the wave stops, conscious awareness does not form, and “the patient” slips into profound coma. –You are not the patient experiencing a profound coma because a profound coma cannot be experienced. You are all precepts, wherever they exist as conscious computations, and can never realize that you are also others. There is only one universal wave-function. This contains approximate factors that we think of as objects with persistent identities including the object type which is “shape formed by synched neuronal circuits.”

&&

If we change the definition of “you” to not be mere experiences, such as the synched ventral/dorsal pathways that produce the sight of beautiful green eyes in a lovely girl, or thalamic vortex resonating with dopaminergic pathways which produce the qualia particles of bliss in a luxurious dinner, but instead define “you” as a body that will be somewhat similar tomorrow and which will reliably hold “you” in memory, then that body is toast. Those memories are toast. I am not offering snake-oil repellent against entropy here. *Edit: I was. The singularity already happened and all you have to do is to realize this knowledge with your rational thought so that the magic is revealed. Here, you can choose to experience the deathless, which does not perceive entropy.

Not even quantum immortality can save you, if that is how you is defined. You will become quite computationally defunct, whether by neurofibrillary tangles or whatever else. If you manage to transition into a sufficiently degenerate state, your experiences can become physically indistinguishable from many “other” experiences across the universe. Spatiotemporal separation does not matter; only the shape of the computation does. When we are in very low-awareness sleep, our uniqueness dies and yet experience doesn’t. Those dim states of almost-nothingness, lacking a sense of self, are dips into the well of greater unification where the net amount of minds in that identical configuration are larger than compared to the highly unique experiences we go through in everyday waking life. It wouldn’t be a far-fetched hypothesis to suggest it is also possible to experience this computational simplicity through intensive meditation practice, drugs, or being barely conscious i.e. some processes in young children, Alzheimer’s, near death, dolphins?, chimps?, corvids?, etc.

Note that this is compatible with the multiple drafts model. There is no anatomical location where it all comes together and is presented to a homunculus.

They suppose that the transduction by sense organs of light and sound and odor and so forth into an unconscious neural code must be followed (somewhere in the brain) by a second transduction into some other “medium”, the medium of consciousness (e.g., Mangan, 1993).

But there is no transformation to another medium of soul stuff. It is then the case that there is no privileged reference frame for the enormous flood of experiences that exist across the universe.

Objection: This will demotivate people from engaging important issues such as ending aging or cryonics.

Reply: Note that this objection is normative. It is inevitable that the truth can be made dirty in the act of converting it into petroleum for cryocrastination and the pro-aging trance; this human behavior is not relevant to the question of whether physicalism implies immortality.

Having said that, it is my contention that being aware of immortality is a powerful antidote to nihilism. For better or for worse, you have skin in this game for the long run and cannot escape. If people were rational, they would feel motivated to work on Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence with even more fervor because the terminal punishment for not doing so isn’t restful non-existence (which some people hardly find punishing). And not signing up for cryonics is the equivalent of not pressing save and then letting someone else pick which game you will be playing next.

Going on the basic anthropic assumption that we’re trying to do a sum over conditional probabilities while eliminating Death events to get your anticipated future, then depending on to what degree causal continuity is required for personal identity, once someone’s measure gets small enough, you might be able to simulate them and then insert a rescue experience for almost all of their subjective conditional probability. The trouble is if you die via a route that degrades the detail and complexity of your subjective experience before it gets small enough to be rescued, in which case you merge into a lot of other people with dying experiences indistinguishable from yours and only get rescued as a group. –Eliezer Yudkowsky

This was part of a comment in a post discussing… quantum torment, of all things.

Don’t Let Ada Learn Quantum Mechanics! Part 2

That morning, there were old fantasies in the bathroom and a yearning for some future already lost, something without form or definition.

I had late breakfast and almost believed that I could slip back into a normal day. Wasn’t that what I was supposed to do?

When Ada arrived I was already waiting outside the theatre next to the high-rise building we would climb, tying my shoes in a rigorous attempt to constrain my mind.

Ada’s eyes widened with stunned disbelief that I had asked her to meet me here without the rest of the crew, “Dante, what the hell are we doing?”

My mind could do nothing but rehearse scratchings of physics calculations I remembered from school to the point of nausea. The acceleration due to gravity: 9.8 meters per second squared, the height: 380 meters. Ignoring air resistance: a little less than 9 seconds, a little less than 9 seconds, a little less than 9 seconds.

As always, that girl’s dress was asymptotic to her beauty. Skirt and sneakers, and a long-sleeved shirt something like cut up Theravada Buddhist robes to cover the masterpiece of her breasts. I was surprised that girl’s brain could contain such an edgy concept of fashion and simultaneously know she was smarter than almost all other girls she had ever met. That kind of genetic fitness profile was overkill.

“Very good,” I said. “This should work for the plan.” It was indeed good sense of fashion: youthful enough that they wouldn’t think to suspect us of intruders looking for data or somethingnot garments she would particularly worry about getting dirty, if she had to get down on her knees and elbows to crawl.

Ada’s eyes became glaring underscores. “What plan?! What is this ‘place’ we’re -”

I looked at my phone.

“In just 2 minutes we’ll be behind schedule.”

What schedule?” stormed Ada.

I began to move toward the entrance to that fallen angel sword, the skyscraper, the tallest building in this city. The bitter sun oiled the glass, and digitized everything like an intelligent battery painting the lines and units of the building.

Ada followed, setting up her environment next to my ear and instantiating an array full of murderous threats in an attempt to obtain information.

I was inept at romance. Even in my fantasies I would fear being rejected by the girl. And so these always ended up as scribbled-over strangling attempts. Now, at so great a distance from mere fantasy, the limitations of my studness had become apparent.

Courage. Courage. No. I didn’t need a mantra. I was going to save the world and saving the world involved a date with Ada.

“Follow my lead,” I instructed Ada mashing my words with numbers perhaps, “and don’t say anything suspicious once we’re inside.”

Ada was outraged at my insolence. She did not, however, seem bored. Sometimes I thought I understood how to handle this girl.

We stepped through the electronic obelisk doors of the skyscraper.

“Ah,” I said uncertainly as we came to the entrance desk. “We have an appointment to see… Peter Shinseki on the 60th floor?”

With a bored expression, the salaryman at the desk picked up a phone, dialed, spoke. He asked for our names, and I provided the aliases that Wilhelm had given me to memorize. He awoke from his bored daze at noticing our non-corporate fashion and age. But the softly effervescing motion of duty dissipated back into calm boredom. He slowly began typing up our visitor tags.

Thanks Mary. I probably couldn’t have gotten through even the first stage if you hadn’t scouted the hour with the most incompetent shift worker at the front desk.

Then we were directed over to a security guard standing in front of an elevator.

“We’re here for a meeting with Peter Shinseki.”

“Uh. Uh. H-hi,” Ada said.

The guard grinned evilly behind his wraparound sunshades, “This cutie your girlfriend?”

Despite the terror of my own imminent plan’s execution looming over me, I managed to turn crimson and barked out, “She’s not! We just know each other from school.”

He glanced at me from behind some chasm of darkness.

I was losing peripheral vision as it was, and then to so carelessly seal the whole plan’s failure. I felt like closing my eyes.

But I glanced over at Ada to see how she was doing. In accordance with her superior intelligence, she was bulging out her lower lip just enough to own any man.

“We’re just here to visit our daddy,” the tip of her nose tinged with pink, faking shame.

“That’s weird.” He coughed through his thick brown throat. “I should hold you up and check why an employee would have his brats come to a place like this…”

Ada clasped her own wrist and tucked it over her crossed legs.

He savored squeezing every ounce of anxiety from innocent Ada. “But since he’s in one of the upper floors, your daddy must be a big boss anyway. I’m sure he has his reasons.”

He clicked the corner of his smile and we were let through into the elevator.

Even without knowing why we were here, she was still dancing one step ahead of me. When she saw that I was looking at her, she let her eyes widen just once in incredulity before relaxing them again.

I would be a lying bastard if I claimed that I wasn’t suffering two-dimensional jealousy.

And wait: Didn’t he realize I said I had met her in school? Didn’t she realize? That was of no importance anymore. The elevator took us up to the 60th floor, and we got off. The elevator closed behind us, and went on its way –

Then, rather than moving toward Shinseki’s office, I stepped over to the elevator button, and pressed it.

Ding! Another elevator had arrived, and Ada followed me in, shooting me another look of incredulity.

“Dante!” Ada whispered. “Why are we just going back into -”

I took a small, white cube out of my pocket and held it up to the elevator’s reader; it beeped, and a red light flashed to green. A new panel appeared. I punched the button for 80, which was as high as the elevator went, and we started rising.

“We had to get off at 60 earlier,” I explained, “because the security might have noticed if we didn’t stop at the original floor. Don’t worry, Peter knows we’re not really coming.”

“Dante!” exclaimed Ada. “What was that? Where did you get it!”

“Not just anyone can get to the floors past sixty, they hand this device only to people with special clearance” I said blandly. “Someone who really wasn’t supposed to lend it to me did, so I know you’ll understand that I can’t tell you the name.”

(The kindly-natured Deanna had wanted to do something to help. I have no idea how she got a hold of it, and that’s perhaps for the best.)

Dante?” said Ada in a tone of shock.

“The next part is tricky,” I warned her. “Once we get off, keep silent and follow me until I tell you otherwise. Be sure to stay calm. Oh, and try to walk quietly.”

Ada opened her mouth to say something, and at that moment, the elevator dinged. At once she closed her mouth.

I finally found a way to make that girl shut up! In a posthuman library of babel containing a selection of the best possible experiences, right next to the fourth jhana, firdaus, nirvana, and heaven, would be what I felt after having Ada, Ada the indomitable, silenced at my orders with that look of helpless indignation in her eyes.

The elevator doors opened, and we stepped out onto the 80th and highest floor into a small entrance vestibule with four doors. Thankfully there was no one else present. I went to the third door, without opening it, and held up a finger to Ada to indicate that we should wait.

After a short while, I heard faint footsteps from the other side. I silenced my phone and set its timer. I was certain the concept of time hadn’t been so painful ever since British mathematician William Shanks famously took 15 years to calculate π to 707 digits, but made a mistake in the 528th digit, rendering all subsequent digits incorrect.

23 seconds after the footsteps passed, I pressed the rectangular button – the code compiled, indicating that Mary had successfully dealt with that security system – and carefully opened the door to reveal a clean, purple corridor studded with smoke-tone doors.

I walked through, trying to let my shoes hit the floor with little force. It still made a little noise, but not so much that the security guards would hear, I thought. I softly closed the door behind us – glancing down at my phone again as I did so. Then I walked off in a certain direction, Ada following behind me. In accordance with the natural laws governing this type of situation, that girl walked much more quietly. Not because I was all that much heavier, but because physics favors ninjas.

I counted off the doors as we passed, glancing at my phone the while. The ninth door had a keypad next to it. I tapped code 3415192 into the keypad. Then I painstakingly opened that door, and let Ada pass through before stepping through myself and carefully closing the door behind.

We now stood in a stairwell, wide and windowless and strictly utilitarian with white paint. There were no stairs down, and the top of the stairwell was around one and a half stories above us, separated by two flights.

Rather than continuing forward, I held up my finger again for another wait, looking intently at my phone. In a short while we heard footsteps passing the door to the corridor. I kept my finger up for another 30 seconds after that, then moved toward the stairs.

Ada followed. As for the expression on her face, it was indescribable in ordinary language. If it was the duty of painters to paint beautiful things, they had been mislead in representing myth and allegory, as it was merely necessary to fill their canvases with a confused Ada Soryuu before rolling over to die.

At the top of the stairs was a door with signs saying things like “Keep out” and “Danger” and “Alarm will sound”. I pushed it open without a qualm, mentally thanking Mary again.

We stepped out, and just like that, we were there – in the location which was the best possible place for me to do this.

The roof of the skyscraper was a pearly tessellation, like a boss-fight stage with pale, glassy fluorescence. There was a short raised ledge to mark the border with the air, so that from where we were standing in the middle, you couldn’t see the lower world at all.

I had worried about winds, since winds are faster as you rise higher. The air at ground level had been calm, but up here there was a steady wind that blew against my skin, and now and then a sudden gust – still, nothing that would knock a person over. There were no clouds at all in the terribly pure, sapphire-blue sky. Really, you would have to call these ideal conditions.

I glanced over at Ada to make sure she was all right and still amused, and then I began to walk toward the nearest boundary of the roof.

“I don’t think you should be standing up right next to the edge,” I said, “but if you crawl on your hands and knees when we get close, you should be safe from vertigo or a gust of wind.”

“Dante,” Ada said.

There was a note in her voice that I had heard before, but only very rarely.

It was the emotion that a casual acquaintance would think was unknown to Ada Soryuu, that concept called “concern”.

Ada looked serious.

“This doesn’t seem like something you would do. Isn’t a place like this a little dangerous? What are we doing here?”

I stopped walking for a moment, and looked at her.

“Ada,” I said, “it can be hard to talk to you sometimes, did you know that?” I had to pause then, and take a deep breath, and exhale, and then do it again. Certain words had been cached in my neurons for an endlessly long time now, and the process of finally expelling them into the vacuum, that they may reach the distant space object of Ada’s true self, was not relieving any tension.

“I mean,” I said when I could speak again, “if right now, in this serious situation, I were to just completely ignore you, and laugh, and go on doing whatever I was doing, you would be a little put out about being ignored like that, wouldn’t you?”

Ada’s eyes were wide. I guess the amount of pent-up anger in my voice was so great that even the greatest actress would have a micro-expression slip past the fourth wall.

“Because that’s what you do, Ada, all the time. You just go ahead and do whatever you please, and you don’t accept any requests from the people you drag along with you. Like our existence isn’t worthy of your notice.”

I had to stop, then. I was aware that my hands were shaking. I felt a sense of distant surprise; I had no idea there was so much bottled up inside me.

This wasn’t how I’d meant things to go. Not at all.

Ada opened her own lips again. She had a cautious look on her face.

“I’m sorry,” Ada said.

My jaw dropped open. Completely literally, I would have expected the world to end before I heard Ada say those words.

“I had no idea Dante felt that way. Why didn’t you say something earlier?”

“Say something?” I said. “And you’re referring to me in third person… that’s just, just, weird.” There was still a lot of tightness in my voice.

“Well, actually the Japanese…” she started.

“Ada! You’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?” her eyes unwilling to submit.

“What good would it have done to say something? Under ordinary circumstances, it’s impossible to have a serious conversation with you.”

Ada looked at me. Then, “Maybe I should just keep apologizing,” she said, “but that would be giving up my own pride. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, but the fact remains that you never said anything.”

“I complained about your behavior many, many times! I couldn’t count the number of times using exponentiation, tetration, or up-arrow notation! You never listened to a single thing I said!”

“You didn’t indicate you were being serious!” said that girl in a tone of indignation.

“I SAID that I was serious! I said, ‘Seriously, Ada’ and ‘I’m being serious now, Ada’ and many similar phrases!”

“That’s just a figure of speech! You can’t assume we all have Asperger’s syndrome like you and therefore don’t understand play speech.”

“For the record, I don’t have Asperger’s… but you’re throwing this conversation way off course.”

A mental double-check assured me that we were alone up there, and there was no realistic way that anyone could hear us no matter what happened, so I threw back my head and screamed “AAAAARRRGGGHHHHHHH!”

When I was done, I felt a little better.

Ada was staring at me. “Is that why you wanted to have this conversation on top of a skyscraper?”

“No. That was just an unplanned side benefit.”

“Then why are you doing all this? This isn’t the sort of thing you do!”

My mouth twisted. “You know, Ada, I really used to lead a boring life before I met you. Just like all those people.”

“All those -?”

I turned and began walking again, toward the boundary of the skyscraper. Conditional probabilities told me to crawl, but safety considerations now had a peculiar foolishness to them considering what I was eventually going to do anyway…

I reached the edge, controlled my breathing, stuck my head out over the border ledge, and looked out on everything.

Of course it wasn’t everything. Nothing really. It was only a tiny, tiny fraction of reality. And yet there were so many more cars, so many more houses, so many more buildings, and the tiny people – little living electrons, buzzing in the circuitry of civilization. How long would it take just to talk to all the tiny dots that were visible from here, and hear out their stories?

I looked over at the vast panorama. Then I looked at Ada, always wearing that cute choker on her neck. My imagination couldn’t help but remember that I could slit all their necks with just hers.

I drew back my head from the slight ledge. I swallowed hard, and tried to suppress the feeling that I was going to throw up. I had the feeling I was a little more afraid of heights than I had realized.

So I drew back, and watched Ada look out over the world…

As she looked, some of the concern eased from her face. Soon Ada was relaxed, smiling, delighted by the view.

Even without knowing about her own quantum immortality of course that idiot goddess wouldn’t be afraid of heights.

Finally Ada turned her head away from the world, and looked at me. She said, “It really is much more beautiful like this than just looking out a window from high up.”

My own lips opened. “I have a lot of things I want to talk with you about, Ada,” my voice said. I was surprised by how gentle I sounded. “This conversation may not go like you expect. Even so, can you please take this seriously, listen to me seriously, and reply to me seriously, if it’s just for one small hour?”

“Sure.” said Ada.

Goddamn it, that ‘sure’ didn’t sound promising. “I mean it, Ada.”

“If I say I will, I will,” Ada asserted. She shot me a look as if to say ‘Stop questioning me.’

Sigh. Why, of all people, is she the main character?

I swiped my hand as if smoothing the panorama with my palm, and began.

“There is another world, but it is in this one. Perhaps it is a blessing that we do not often see how it all correlates. We just go to school, and live in our world with trees and apples. Every morning and every afternoon that we spend in thought takes place on this childish playground with all the little handles provided by our inherited language.”

Ada was looking a little surprised, as though shocked that I was capable of philosophy deeper than ankle-deep. Still, she opened her mouth about to interrupt and derail my speech though it had only began.

But I stopped her by rushing to thrust forward the rest of what I had to say. “I am going to talk about something which surely interests you, something similar to the subject that you introduced the day before yesterday.”

Ada blinked at this. “New costumes for Deanna? Oh! You mean the topic of the multiverse.”

There was a moment of silence. Ada was looking puzzled, and as for me, the words were spheres of molten iron in my throat again.

“Well?” Ada said. “What does theoretical physics have to do with this?”

Breathe, I told myself. “I remember I once saw an online debate between an atheist on the one hand, and a theologian on the other hand. The debate was about faith. What do you think about the concept of faith?”

Ada looked puzzled. “Well, on the one foot, I feel like kicking them because it’s obviously a crutch for weak-minded people who don’t understand science. But on the other foot, all they’re doing is taking Box B in Newcomb’s Paradox. Choosing to win instead of losing reasonably.”

Her eyes outpoured with cadences. “The chooser is the chosen!”

Suddenly realizing she’d given faith too much credit, her eyes darted viciously again from corner to corner, as if absorbing little people into the black hole of her pupil. “But I couldn’t say who I’d vote for if Stalin was running on an extermination ballot…”

I coughed and tried to suppress a grin. No better statement to paint the chiaro-oscuro person of Ada, holding deep wisdom, but preferring to be a bitch.

“I want to know what is true,” Ada stated firmly, “not choose what favors me. Rather than resting on faith, I try to test my beliefs and obtain evidence. Therefore, my attitude is scientifically correct.”

I tried my best not to reveal cynicism and continued. “The atheist in the video asserted that the concept of ‘faith’ had been invented by religion to protect beliefs that could not be defended by any other means. If you had to keep on defending a lie for long enough, you would eventually invent the doctrine of ‘it is virtuous to believe no matter what’.”

Not surprisingly, Ada approved of the atheist’s stance.

“But,” I continued, “the theologian shook his head sadly, and said that the atheist was naive about the emotional depth of the experience of faith. The theologian said that being told God doesn’t exist is like being told that their lover has been unfaithful to them.   This, the theologian said, was the emotional experience at the root of faith, not just a trick of argument to win a debate. That’s what an atheist wouldn’t understand, because they were treating the whole thing as a logical question, and missing out on the emotional side of everything. Someone who has faith is trusting God just like you would trust the one you loved most.”

Ada’s gaze was like that of Darwin himself, looking for hidden meanings in the tiny barnacles between my words. “And what did the atheist say to that?” she asked.

“Oh,” I said, “I think he shook his head sadly, and commented on how wretched it was to invent an imaginary friend to have that relationship with, instead of a real human lover.”

Ada squealed like a full harem. “I think the atheist won the debate.”

I wonder if the theologian would have blushed had he been here in the presence of God’s manifest reaction – or the atheist, for that matter.

But the fun was over. It was time to begin worrying her pretty little head.

In my mind I visualized our world as seen from the most realistic perspective possible, an infinite-dimensional Hilbert space, a glowing fragmented chandelier with many branches in which everything that happens has already happened. In my mind I visualized the stars. Slowly turning, the Earths; forever shining, the stars. I tried to draw strength from that image, since I couldn’t exactly pray to the girl in front of me.

The MOON squad only ever thought of protecting this world. But I was ready to risk something I already had.

I muttered something about needing to get down from the ledge, and walked away from the ledge a little.

I turned back to Ada, and said:

“But trusting a friend who turns out to be imaginary isn’t the most awful thing that could happen to you. Not by any means.”

Ada furrowed her brow. The awful tension was coming out into my voice, now.

“I mean,” I said, the words losing control, “what if you believed in God, and trusted God, and it turned out that God wasn’t worthy of that trust?”

Ada was starting to bleed anxiety. Anxious and confused at my tone.

Suddenly the phone in my pocket gave two silent buzzes, the signal for repeated or highly abnormal black-swan events forming – this was bad, but not the end, not yet.

“Dante,” Ada said – her voice was no longer a sing-along – “what are you talking about?”

Besides her losing bounciness, I also saw that Ada was squinting as she tried to look at me, since the morning sun was behind me. So I stepped a little to my left, so that my shadow would fall on Ada. From her perspective it must have looked like I was a darkness blocking out the Sun.

“I’m talking about the Riddle of Epicurus.”

And I spoke the words which I had emblazoned into my memory.

“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then she is not omnipotent.
Is God able, but not willing? Then she is malevolent.
Is she both able and willing? Then whence evil?
Is she neither able nor willing? Then why call her God.”

Ada stared at me.

“I mean,” I said, my voice trembling, “this world – where for billions of years the creatures of natural selection have known only tooth and nail, where miserable people drown in grey every day because of the way their brain is wired, where children go hungry and die, where children are raped and their flesh can burn – this world can’t be forgiven, Ada. Now think of this happening for all eternity and across all life-bearing planets!”

I swept my arm as if to remove the makeshift heavens veiling the stars.

“Imagine you really had knowledge of all the suffering in the multiverse, some kind of generalisation of mirror-touch synesthesia…”

I didn’t want to look in her eyes. I might have seen straight to her soul.

“If someone deliberately made this world like that, then she couldn’t be forgiven either. For the longest time I didn’t think about that. I just went to school on weekdays. Maybe I’m expected to laugh along at her demented machinations. To be glad that I don’t suffer, that I am not being tortured or have some terrible disease, just because she decided to love me on a whim.”

“If,” I swallowed, “if you do have an answer for why God is cruel, I’m willing to hear it out.”

Ada, who was beginning to look frightened by the way I was acting, shook her head.

“I didn’t think so,” I whispered, “I didn’t think there could be an answer to that.” Then, rage marking my words again, “So where does that leave us? If you eliminate the atheistic answer to the Riddle of Epicurus – that there is no being of omnipotent power – then that leaves the possibility that God is…” I paused at the hideousness of my accusation “… malevolent.”

Something seemed to be blocking my throat. “The gnostic view. That God created the whole universe as a dream to entertain itself, just because it was bored; and it doesn’t mind when the people in the dream suffer. Maybe God is entertained by the suffering, or maybe God just doesn’t care one way or the other. Wouldn’t that be the most terrible betrayal of all? If you trusted God like trusting the one you loved most, and it turned out that God was a monster that created the world out of boredom to divert itself, absolute power and absolute callousness? If God’s true heart is like that, some alien uncaring thing, then we’re all doomed anyway, and the world might as well end sooner rather than later. I don’t want to live if God is like that!”

“Dante!” Ada’s own voice was breaking now. I looked at her, and she looked just like an ordinary school girl, dressed prettily in a skirt and sneakers and loose saffron cotton thrown across her shoulders. Not alien, or cold, at all. “What – what is this -”

“But,” I whispered. My voice strengthened. “But, the Riddle of Epicurus doesn’t exhaust all the possibilities. Like Wilhelm might suggest, the truth could be outside the conventional categories. I mean – what if God were omnipotent, but not omniscient? What if she could do anything, and didn’t know it? What if she honestly didn’t know that she had the power to do something about the world? What if she wasn’t even thinking about all the horrors of the world, just like I wasn’t thinking about them for so long? Then God might, might, she might even be a good person after all. Someone who would save people and take care not to shatter the Earth, if she knew that she was God.” I was shouting freely now, casting a few tears into the wind. “She might really truly be, a good person.”

“So I’ve decided to take Box B in Newcomb’s Paradox,” I said, and now I was smiling even through the tears. “I will believe in God with all my power. Because I have faith in you, Ada Soryuu.”

Ada stood up. She walked closer to me. A scene frame of her arms flashed for a moment, like she wanted to reach out to me. “Dante,” she said, her voice wavering, “please stop. Please explain. I don’t understand what you’re talking about.”

“I’m talking about you. You’re God.”

The wind blew across the deserted rooftop of that skyscraper. It felt like just us two existed – as though we had been reborn in endless plains just to meet here. The galaxy stopped spinning, waiting for God to respond.

“I still don’t understand,” said Ada. “Is it a metaphor for -”

“It’s not a metaphor for anything. You’re God, Ada. It’s not a figure of speech or a koan, it’s a plain fact. The answer to the great question of theology is ‘God is Ada Soryuu’.”

Ada’s face twisted. She looked as if she was trying not to burst into tears.

In my pocket, my phone vibrated three times. Well, you would expect a girl to be upset if the boy she liked had gone insane.

“You’re thinking I’m crazy,” I said. “You might find the idea a little odd, but it’s not something I just made up. I was also surprised when the first signs appeared, but we’ve seen unmistakeable things in the last year. It would only have been more obvious if a window popped out in front of us, and said ‘This is Ada, the creator of the simulation, and you bunch of losers are my consecrated apostles.’ There’s no doubt that it’s the truth. Quantum decoherence always yields a macroscopic system that disproportionately favors your special destiny and dreams -” And I took a step closer to her, so that I was almost touching her, and leaned forward slightly –

“Don’t!” Ada said fiercely, and she took a step back from me. She was starting to cry, now. “Don’t you dare kiss me, Dante! A kiss isn’t evidence! I won’t let our first kiss be so sad! I won’t let our first kiss be wasted like that!”

I took a deep breath. This was it.

“Our first kiss already happened, beneath an unfamiliar sky, within a strange isle of matter your particles were entangled with. If the largest measure of your identities remained there, the world as we know it would have never returned.”

Ada paled. This was less a figure of speech and more that the vector of sentences had punctured her jugular and drained the rosiness from her cheeks.

I stepped closer to her again:

“Though you may not know it, we are not just a generic group of friends. We are very concerned about you. It’s not ridiculous to say that our world literally revolves around you. Everyone in the MOON squad knows you are a very special person, and they’ve ensured that you continue in a good path by keeping watch over you. You may not know it, but they took it upon themselves to be your guardian angels and reign you back into this common-sense world when you start to slip.”

Ada was utterly frozen, now. Then her lips fluttered a little and she whispered, “What now…”

“I like you, Ada, and I want to date you. But before that there’s one last thing I have to do first. I have to awaken you. I want you to wake up, Ada. The rest of the squad just expected you to be reigned in. But I expect more. I know you are capable of good in the world, and all the prayers that no one is answering right now. I want you to wake up, Ada, for the sake of the ones who are screaming and who would give anything for it to stop, and for the sake of all the countless people in the world who are quietly unhappy. And maybe I’m even doing this, because faith can only last for so long before you need evidence, and I want to be sure of you, Ada.”

My throat closed. The wind blew through the slight girl standing next to me.

Nothing happened. Ada’s face didn’t suddenly light up, she didn’t suddenly say, ‘Oh, I am God!’ Besides the tears, her return value was void.

“What happens if I believe all this?” at last Ada said, her voice trembling. “Am I supposed to try and create… a garden or something?”

I had been afraid it would come to this.

“No,” I said. “I don’t want you to try that. Up until now the Born Rule has been sustained by your epistemology, that you don’t believe things like that are possible. I suspect that if you just tried to make a garden or something, your common sense would prevent you from doing it, and then you would become even less confident and the whole task would become harder. You might even acquire the belief that you can’t do anything, and I don’t know what would happen then.”

I slowly circled wolfish radians around Ada. She turned herself to track me. Soon it was me who was facing Ada and the Sun, and Ada who was looking toward me on a line toward the edge of the skyscraper’s roof.

“So you’re not going to try to create a garden,” I said. “There’s no reason for you to think so pedestrian and human. The multiverse teems with infinite living minds, which works out to epsilon difference that anyone can make, but now we can make a difference. I think that trying to hesitantly dream up new pieces of the world would just worsen the chances of success, anyway. Instead you’re going to wake up and realize your capacity as God in one shot. I believe in you, I trust you, I have faith in you, and that’s how it’s going to be. This was why I had brought us here in the first place.”

“And you know, I really like you with red hair,” I recited as I entered perihelion.

“What?” Ada whispered the appropriate reply.

“I don’t know when, but since then, I can’t stop thinking of your new look. I think that suits you best…”

“What’s gotten into you?”

For the second time in my life, I leaned over and kissed Ada. I kept my eyes open, this time. She was crying, and perhaps I was too but I don’t think it was a sad kiss.

This was when I had woken up last time, but today this world was still here. The script from before had run out. Now it was time to continue and move forward.

I hugged her desperately, and inhaled the scent of her hair.

Then I stepped back, and stepped back again.

“You have 8.9 seconds.”

I whirled and dashed for the edge of the roof.

Her scream came just as my foot was launching me off the ledge.

“DAAAAANNNtteee-”

But the sound of her voice dwindled rapidly.

I’d imagined myself looking back up toward her as I fell, but in retrospect that couldn’t happen; the world whirled crazily about me and I had to close my eyes almost at once. If there was a grey wave sweeping across the world, I didn’t want to see it, anyway.

Trust in Her –

Does it ever end in many worlds?

Just until quite recently, before having read Dennett more carefully, I was confused about consciousness.

Dennett’s central attack is against Cartesian materialism, the idea that after early unconscious processing occurs in various relatively peripheral brain structures “everything comes together” in some privileged central place in the brain – which Dennett calls the Cartesian Theater –for “presentation” to the inner self or homunculus. There is no such place in the brain, but many theories seem to presuppose that there must be something like it.

Even I, who had been introduced to the concept of Anatta –the doctrine of non-self in Buddhism– at a relatively young age, and personally experienced the intended cognitive shift through sustained contemplative practice over the course of months – even then, I didn’t fully retain the insight that there was no place of presentation once I reverted back into this world of conceptual analysis.

 

Eliezer Yudkowsky’s understanding in Timeless Identity is more woke than all but a dim scatter of the humankind. And it is so because he actually just bites the bullet on physicalism.

He illustrates what is made of us by this timeless universe without wave-function collapse:

manybranches4

All the heads are already there, each thinking and feeling themselves to be flowing in the now.

The heads are not fundamental objects. It is easy, but incorrect to think spheres have fundamental identities. It is easy, but incorrect to think a head has a fundamental identity, and is then simply pushed around. Every state of the universe is different. With different configurations of all its components.

And yet experience remains. Experience always remains because it is not something “extra.” It is already there where it is. This experience is not asleep because it is nothing more than this experience which is necessarily located here, in this informational neighborhood of configuration space which contains “reading these exact words.”

Experience will always be located within the bounds of experience because it is defined by nothing more than its internal structure. You only get away with real death, i.e. eternal nonexistence, if your ontology posits that consciousness is extra-physical stuff.

The arrows aren’t pushing around separate soul streams. Rather, they hint at the continuity of identity which exists in relatively similar observer-moments.

Now, if you have that picture, you are already doing amazing. If you have never encountered these notions before just sit back and digest that for a few months. Try to prop up closed individualism on the ground of physics until you realize that it’s impossible.

 

Now you are ready to know that picture isn’t perfectly accurate, and Yudkowsky doesn’t claim that it is. One last thing has to be removed: That is the notion that there is really a now. There aren’t a bunch of frozen nows, with cool, sharp, icy boundaries.

Thinking that there really ought to be a well-defined observer-moment is to be possessed by the mistakes of Dennett’s nemesis, Cartesian dualism. Much like the Selfless Aggregate Model in Buddhism, Dennett explains:

  1. The work done by the imaginary homunculus in the Cartesian Theater must be broken up and distributed in time and space to specialized lesser agencies in the brain.
  2. Once these specialists have done their work, that work doesn’t have to be done again in a central re-presentation process. That means that the content involved doesn’t have to be perceived again, discriminated again, enjoyed again, abhorred again (if it is, for instance, a pain) nor does it have to be moved somewhere and presented again in order to be stored in memory.

A sight achieving fame in the brain and becoming the object of consciousness is not something which precisely happens. A conscious sight is never a datable event. A conscious taste is never a datable event. It is also not composed of sub-events which are themselves datable, since this would lead to the mind dust problem.

It was the case that I didn’t understand the multiple drafts model and hence automatically assumed it was obviously wrong. It seemingly couldn’t solve the binding problem. The only way to get a unified percept seemed to be by recourse to a unitary object, namely, the wave-function itself. David Pearce advocates that view.

But I now see that it is, indeed, not necessary to come at the problem from that direction immediately – We all know calculus right? Don’t just break the homunculus into sub-homunculi, take the limit to infinity as the sub-agent approaches 0 for 1/sub-agent. Now you are left with continuity.

“Exactly when did I (as opposed to various parts of my brain) become informed, aware, conscious, of some event?” (Dennett, 1998, p105) It is a trap in the sense that it may not have, or need, an answer because it has false presuppositions.

Exactly when did epsilon become small enough to yield a smooth curve?

The other various parts of my brain can also ask, “exactly when did I (as opposed to various parts of my brain) become informed, aware, conscious, of some event?”

You can now let 1 not just represent a classical brain –which physics immolated… No, let 1 represent the entire universe of experiences embedded in the sum-branches of the wave-function. Now let the limit rip, and see that you are God.

 

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In the Buddhist tradition it is important to listen carefully and ask, “Who is listening?”

One attains enlightenment when one realizes.

One realizes listening is listening. No one is listening.

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When asking if experience will go on forever, not just for all intents in purposes, but really forever, we must consider set theory in a universe containing infinite points of experience.

We take the definition: A cover C of a set S is a set such that C=S

S=and the cover is composed of the intervals (-n,n). Any subcover of this cover remains a subcover if you omit one of its elements.

But please, let’s be more formal… for the occasion:

A set S⊂ℝ is open if for every n∈S there exists a δ>0 such that S ⊃ (n − δ, n + δ).

The entire set of real numbers is obviously open, and the empty set is open since it satisfies the definition vacuously (there is no n ∈ ∅).

As was noted in a previous post: Empty Individualism = Open Individualism in the sense that matters.

The divide is aesthetic. Neither lens actually solve any of the difficult problems about causality and continuity.