Dissolving Confusion About Quantum Immortality

Some people assume closed individualism… which is wrong.

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Then, they think that these separate streams of consciousness arrive at Life-threatening Events.

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Here, some assume that all Life-threatening Events contain a survival outcome:

1.

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Others assume that not all Life-threatening Events contain a survival outcome:

2.

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Others understand that Life-threatening Events of this sort don’t exist:

3.

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The proponents of 1. and many-worlds and a physical consciousness and closed individualism come to the conclusion that “everyone is immortal.” This leads to streams which see different probabilities of outcomes than the usual ones given by the squared norm of the wave-function. Further, some of these proponents expect to be the observer of these deviant probabilities.

However if one understands that closed individualism is false, the conclusion is that the indexical observer should not apply probabilities in a way that is inconsistent with the usual ones given by quantum theory. You are already all experiences. So as any given observer, you should not ignore the histories where your local qualities as a decision maker are absent.

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So when you step into a Schrodinger’s box this happens: 50% of the time you will survive in the exact same way that you survive from from one minute to the next, losing only a bit on that degree-of-survival meter just like you always do. The other 50% of the time, you will get blown up, taking a huge hit to the degree-of-survival meter.

It is also important to note that although none of these streams lead to Death Events, i.e., eternal non-existence, they do lead to degraded computational complexity. Being blown up results in degraded detail and complexity of your subjective experience in which case you merge into a lot of other people with dying experiences indistinguishable from yours and only get rescued/remembered “as a group.”

The expected “following” experiences won’t have anything to do with the indexical observer/ decision maker because anything with computational power can use these simpler building blocks. When playing quantum suicide, simple and less simple are both offered in the universal wavefunction, but if closed individualism is false, we should expect to find ourselves experiencing that which is most likely for most of our eternity.

 

Links/Curated Content

 

Try to make sense of this in light of people existing in a Big World, where we survive through insertion of simulated experience in any Hubble volume, quantum immortality, the Theory of Relativity’s implied eternalism. And how do we even draw boundaries between “people” given the unitary wavefunction?:

https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/349155/how-often-does-it-happen-that-the-oldest-person-alive-dies/388131#388131

This is basic pre-req before talking about probabilities across “branches”:

For those who still don’t understand why consciousness is not epiphenomenal: https://www.lesswrong.com/rationality/zombies-zombies

For those that don’t understand why you are eternal I made this video:

The present experience needs immediate access to neural events that happened in the past, since there is no Now of Newtonian mechanics sweeping forward. This opens up the possibility for presents with longer temporal grain than we tend to assume and also being harvested by computations far in the future:

In case you are new to the club that takes many-worlds very seriously (although I may differ with Yudkowsky in that the transactional interpretation is something I have not fully ruled out):

https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/S8ysHqeRGuySPttrS/many-worlds-one-best-guess

Watch this video using the Hansonian perspective on signaling. Being hyper-aware of the hidden motives, are you then tempted to call this behavior a form of psychosis or do you embrace the human spirit imbuing the hidden motives?:

Related to the above experiment. –Although I must say that I am far less certain about much of non-social mammal consciousness, not to mention fish. Babies don’t even know they exist. How the heck are we supposed to care about fish?… I remember when I simply assumed that all animals where conscious, but then I realized I didn’t have an argument, and was simply assuming that which felt right. Trying to craft an argument against philosophical zombies, one realizes that experience is likely to need complex self-modeling algorithms. The process of achieving fame in order to enter the rolls of history in memory is crucial for consciousness.  I realized that I couldn’t divorce qualia from the historical property of having won a temporally local competition with sufficient decisiveness to linger long enough to enable recollection at some later time. In so far as we find nothing like this in fish brains or crocodiles, I should not feel the need to cast a wider net. Strangely, I’m not convinced that fish and crocodiles and frogs aren’t being used by self-modeling computations somewhere in the multiverse.

Consider this in light of open individualism:

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The distinction between self and other dissolves when you apply Occam’s razor to identity and physics. Hence why open individualist humans should be expected to feel more comfortable hurting others. Yahweh hurts Jesus because it is him. As early as the 4th century, Buddhists crafted utilitarian arguments for killing people who would cause more negative karma if unchecked. This was argued from a standpoint of no-self (Anatta), emptiness(Sunyata), and compassion(Karuna). The 17th century Tibetan kingdom and Japanese Buddhists used this argument to justify their war ambitions within a Buddhist framework.

Notice the uncanny similarity between creation and annihilation operators in quantum mechanics and this: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1807.09937.pdf

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.
CPdiagram
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.

Materialism Is Not Dry, It Is More Thrilling Than Fantasy

The interesting question (to me) is whether someone who is not predisposed to enjoying LW-style rationality ought to pursue it if they seek to optimize their happiness. If you are a happy Christian who believes God is madly in love with you and can’t wait to bring up to your mansion in heaven post mortem, then LW is going to be depressing.

Even if you’re just a regular old None or agnostic who likes to believe in warm fuzzy concepts like “everything happening for a reason” and Karm and Serendipity, then LW’s deterministic, magic-killing, purely materialist views are a bit of a buzzkill.

It is possible that rationality training is a net bad for ceratin individuals because ignorance really is bliss in many circumstances.

The rationalist who wrote this perhaps didn’t get a hit of pure materialism. If it felt like a buzzkill (of all things!) someone definitely sold you contaminated product. Adhering to strict materialism should incite the immediate realization of immortality, and with it wave after wave of thrill and awe – or sheer fear… depending on the predisposition of the indexical present.

Let me tease out the reagents dirtying up your solution my friend, so that you too may lucidly trip-out on the crazy view from up here in the “deterministic, magic-killing, purely materialist” summit where I dwell.

First: Certain brain processes lead to what we call “experience” or “consciousness.”

∀ brain processes which feel themselves to exist, ∃ a physical configuration specifying them. Brain processes which feel themselves to exist ∉ A soul, B soul, C soul, etc. To postulate a soul which owns experiences would be extraneous where a physical explanation suffices.

The brain processes which feel themselves to exist do not belong to anyone in particular. What could we possibly mean by belong? Each moment is one of different configuration.

Are you under the impression that there is someone traveling a linear journey? – and that there are other someone’s sharing a reference frame, riding on the same platform as your experiences, but parallel to them?

–This is a grave confusion. One must first understand physics, and only then speak of being a materialist. Uninspected common-sense impressions are not materialism – they are the tabula rasa that remains in the absence of religious beliefs.

There is no such thing as a platform of now to which we all belong which stretches its width across the whole universe and sweeps forward in time with each second – deleting the past, having yet to reach the future. In fact, the eternal block is necessary for experiences such as seeing a red circle to be possible. The visual processing of shape has to exist and visual processing of color has to exist before we see a red circle. Those patterns have to be inscribed in a tenseless fabric to become bound. Information processing isn’t a little orb of awareness zipping around in the brain – it is a shape stretched out in spacetime.

So experiences are indexical. The big You, the You which is just existence, here, in all nows: is Greg Egan conjuring a character; is the ephemeral thought that aesthetic meant violet; it is a fingertip touching a piano in Japan.

The question “why am I me, here, now, and not someone else” has an answer. Not a spiritual answer, or a moral answer; just a strictly physical answer. Each physical configuration exists from where it exists. And since we can be certain that existence is from any given indexical present, we can be sure that we are everywhere in experiential space but cannot directly intuit unreachable knowledge from each location. My indexical present can’t feel Siddhartha Gautama’s heels. But from the inside of that brain simulating that experience of having feet, with heels, touching ground, I am that. How is that supposed to know it is here? It isn’t.

From the inside of the myriad of silicon deities dueling for the cosmos in future light cones, the prisoners cannot feel our dilemmas except in so far as they are identical in configuration. This exception arises in experiences so simple that they are “shared.” If being at the verge of death, taking DMT, or riding on the momentum of years of extended meditation feels like a point-like singularity of simple sensation without complexities of sense-of-self, then these can be physically identical to many “other” experiences across the history of the planet and the cosmos. They no more happened to you than to someone else because they just exist from their inside.

And if you knew this derivation of immortality from standard materialism already, so you understand nonexistence is impossible but are still sentimentally attached to your indexical present and therefore worried about the personal narrative of the human you identify with, because… entropy, then you also don’t have to worry. It is guaranteed that future individuals will feel themselves to be you as much as you feel yourself to be the person who woke up this morning. In an infinite universe, the measure of configurations that wake up thinking themselves to be you cannot be diluted to physically zero. Quantum immortality is implied already but is not necessary. Even a Level 1 multiverse, i.e., the universe does not end at our Hubble volume, gives your personal narrative continuation.

Cryonics is a good idea, but not for the reasons a standard atheist might think (like to ward off oblivion for some time). Checkout Eliezer Yudkowsky’s comment on this thread.

 

 

 

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 –

Don’t Let Ada Learn Quantum Mechanics!

With a hard exhale, I crumpled into my seat in the back alley. Across from me, Wilhelm did the same without the sigh. Wilhelm looked rasp, like a constellation that had lost its integrity after being renamed too many times.

Summer vacation was near its end, the summer of our fourth and final year in Clock High School, and, at least for me, the loathed summer projects – by which many-a-student’s whole last week is ruined – were deteriorating the air like irregular rod bacteria exponentiating out of the walls.

Of course Wilhelm wasn’t anxious about doing well on his project. Unlike myself, Wilhelm shines in all cerebral aspirations – with the exception of music composition, at which he loses to humming elephants and drone orchestras.

Wilhelm was frayed from deficit of sleep. But since school projects were a trivial matter to him, then it must mean Wilhelm had been very busy saving the world.

He obviously woke up in the middle of the night to deal with the mass of Hilbert-space branches that had been shifting. Not many people know the most fundamental truth about our existence: that there are uncountable alternative realities adjacent to us and we experience whatever the largest measure of our copies experience. And well, the mass of branches corresponding to the largest infinity had been shifting dangerously outside of normality because the main character of the universe, Ada Soryuu, was under pressure herself. The Born Rule which determines our reality is a hidden extension of Ada’s beliefs, you must understand.

Wilhelm, Mary, Deanna, and myself compose the circle of Ada’s closest friends, a.k.a, the MOON Squad, as Ada termed us. I admit it’s a bit embarrassing to wear insignias, matched costumes, and use weird lingo that Ada inconsistently invents on the fly, being high school students as we are. But we tolerate Ada’s leadership and outright bullying because she is God.

It is Wilhelm, Mary, and Deanna who have discovered some way of bringing the integral of her minds back to common-sense reality, ensuring that we all experience a common-sense reality. They have never told me how they do it. But by the looks of Wilhelm, the method is exhausting.

Recently, more black-swan events had been forming. Black-swan events are strange things that happen in observed reality when the mass of those weird worlds outnumbers other alternatives, and hence the boat of our self finds itself in a strange ocean by the anthropic principle.

The recent increase in strange phenomena couldn’t be because of the school project. Ada too, out stood me at scholastic arts, and someone with merely an hour’s knowledge of Ada would realize that she was far too confident to be afraid of a project. If Ada were confronted with the epic odyssey to slay all Mount Olympus, she would storm in ahead with the necessary equations.

It followed with the certitude of mathematical proof that Ada was perturbed by something else, and it was easy for me to understand what.

Entropy. Randomness. In a word, change. These are the fountainheads of agitation.

All of us in the MOON Squad would have to select which entrance exams to take, which meant selecting our universities, which meant choosing our futures.

And Ada, who wouldn’t show regret or hesitation in steering her own life, would still be worried about whether the others of the clique… no, I have come to acknowledge it. I am past the point where Wilhelm has to patiently explain it to me yet again. I will say it clearly: Ada is concerned about myself. She does not want to be separated from me.

The problem being that Ada doesn’t know about any of this.

So there was an unsettled expression in Ada’s eyes, even as she kept up her customary intimidation of the rest of us. Today Ada had chosen to make the submissive Deanna a participant in her own displeasure – that is, Ada had sat her next to a computer, to find provocative costumes for the shy girl, and she had been forcing Deanna to watch and “give her opinions”, which consisted mostly of small, adorable screams.

Finally the costume-shopping expedition ended with a satisfied click from Ada and a wail of total despair from Deanna. In moments, the costume was 3d-printed at the local shop were Deanna ran to change. Ada stood up from the computer and fluttered herself down at the table, next to Wilhelm and myself, a meter distant from where Mary was reading yet another book.

Ada tapped the table impatiently, giving Deanna a solar glance. “Tea,” Ada said annoyed, and Deanna hastened off in her Ada-mandated maid costume to obey, still whimpering.

I don’t understand how Ada executes this sort of behavior without creating an undercurrent of carnal domination.

Then Ada turned her fearsome gaze on Wilhelm and myself.

If there’s one thing Ada was unequivocally committed to, it had to be the First Noble Truth of Buddhism, namely: ensuring that dissatisfaction was perpetuated at all times. No matter how dim its buzz, she had to inflict some level of stress on us.

Ada’s eyes moved to me directly.

She gave me a searching look.

Then she turned away and looked through a shattered window, staying silent.

I went back to working on the school project with Wilhelm.

It wasn’t until minutes later, after sipping some of the tea poured by the obedient Deanna, that Ada turned back to Wilhelm and I. She set down her teacup on the table and asked:

“Do you believe in the multiverse?”

What the hell kind of question is that for the main character of the multiverse to ask you?

If I had been drinking tea myself I would have spit it all over the tablet. At this point in my disastrous high school education, I didn’t need anyone to explain the terrifying possibilities if Ada got quantum mechanics.

Ada created the MOON Squad out of her desperate boredom with the tedium of a common-sense universe and forcibly enlisted us to search for Jesus, Iran, and Tripteridia leucocarpa’s. We’re pretty sure that she was the one who effectively seemed to collapse our wavefunction so that we did find Jesus walking around, visited Iran, and found Tripteridia leucocarpa’s out of region as well. While making a business plan in industrialism class, Ada became so obsessed with making us money that Deanna inherited an estate from an unknown relative, we found ancient Greek pottery just laying around outside the theatre and her stock in Amazon made millions. For a year we’ve run ourselves ragged trying to hide Ada’s specialness from Ada, so that she goes on trusting her invincible common sense. Our school life is unstable enough because of Ada’s blameless fantasies. If Ada began to believe that improbable things are possible, the probability distributions might make the universe unrecognizable.

And if there’s one terrifying factor that could destroy Ada’s common sense even with all the evidence carefully hidden away from her, that factor would have to be learning the fact of the Many-Worlds interpretation. When you put it that way, it’s such a dreadful menace that… that it’s astounding we never had to deal with it before now.

I couldn’t even speak, I was so horrified by the thought of what might happen if the person who’s branches have the most weight developed a firm understanding of quantum mechanics.

Thankfully, even in his sleep-deprived state, Wilhelm grabbed up the thread of the conversation and the burden of saving the universe.

“Which multiverse?” asked Wilhelm. “There are tons of hypotheses, whether many-worlds of QM, Chaotic Inflation bubbles, or merely the infinite ergodic universe. So again I ask, what do you mean by multiverse?”

Ada made an annoyed gesture. “You know what the word multiverse means!”

Sadly, we did.

“How can I know what you would consider to be the multiverse?” countered Wilhelm. “If the universe is not composed of merely what we can see and touch, but is instead described by complex mathematics then wouldn’t all possible objects exist?”

Ada puckered her eyebrows briefly, and gave a perplexed nod.

“Notice,” Wilhelm continued, “those word games are just the way religions argue for God. And yet someone who values evidence doesn’t listen to the spiel and say that religion has proved God. So people do have something specific in mind when they talk about scientific evidence, a rigorous empiricism that excludes many possibilities. All these unfalsifiable suggestions fall outside the domain of science.”

Ada looked dissatisfied at this, as though suspicious that Wilhelm was trying to give her the runaround, which he absolutely was. In his own mind, he knew that everything he had uttered was absolute bullshit epistemologically.

“But what do you believe?”

A slight smile appeared on Wilhelm’s lips. “I believe that the reality is probably strange enough that no one would ever hit on the truth just by trying to imagine one thing after another.”

“That’s a boring answer,” pronounced Ada in her usual timbre of disaffection.

Wilhelm’s reply was truthful. If you asked a physicist at the summit of academia to enumerate all the possibilities, they would die of old age before they got to ‘The Born Probabilites are explained by the being of Ada Soryuu, a third-year student at Clock High.’

I have never understood why Ada would create a universe that annoyed her so much, though it’s the one aspect of theology that conventional religions guess correctly.

The gaze of the black-chokered deity turned to rest upon my own trembling spirit. “What about you, Dante?”

If I had been at all intelligent, I would have answered “I agree with Wilhelm”. Instead, I foolishly picked that time to try to show off my cleverness.

“For myself,” I said, “I would have to ask about Everett’s quantum immortality -”

“It’s not really immortality,” Wilhelm interrupted.

And he shot me the most alarmed look he could manage with Ada watching.

I was confused.

Wilhelm continued. “Everett abandoned his work in many-worlds, so he wouldn’t have thought to say anything about immortality. It must be a misattribution.”

“But what’s the idea?” Ada asked.

Wilhelm made a careless gesture. “Oh, just something along the lines of, how is it possible to die if there is always a branch with your identity that survives? Of course there are many possible answers to that.”

“I was asking Dante, though,” Ada said. She gave Wilhelm a hard look, then turned to me.

Wilhelm nudged my ankle under the table.

“Ah,” I said through my bewilderment, “that was pretty much it, really. Just that -”

I could only wish that for this reason many-worlds was wrong. That by naturally implying immortality it somehow offended our common sense intuition so much that it had to be a lie.

At this point my thoughts stabbed in on themselves like a team of murderous rats, and I couldn’t think of a single word to say next.

The uncomfortable pause stretched.

“- well, I don’t believe in any theories told by theoretical physics,” I finally finished, striving to make the word ‘theory’ sound unscientific, as normal, ignorant people do. “Anything which sounds so crazy is probably a lie.”

Wilhelm seemed satisfied with this, or at least he didn’t kick me again.

“Mm.” Ada pondered over this. She gave a remiss look over in Deanna’s direction. “What about you, Deanna?”

“Eh,” Deanna stuttered, a cute look of swift panic crossing her face, “I, I would just go with what Wilhelm said.”

Bah. Showing off her superior intelligence like that.

Mary Bryant seemed as always to be wholly stabilized in her book, and Ada didn’t even bother asking. With a few more remarks, Ada left the room to go home for the day, freeing the rest of us.

My own thoughts were still scattered. I looked at Wilhelm. What was that about?

The tired teen seemed to slump further in his crate. “Quantum immortality is a fact which is empowering, not just rationally true.”

“So? It would be disastrous if Ada understood the correct interpretation of quantum mechanics. Shouldn’t we be trying to make her more skeptical with an implication of it which seems so counterintuitive?

Wilhelm shook his head. “That is just bait to get her more interested. Suppose Ada was given a shot to be immortal and change the normality of phenomena. What would happen if she had even an inkling?”

My thoughts stabbed each other some more, like spies cranking out orders during a world war. I got up from my seat and went to stand by the alley, staring out at the wet sky and the few buildings that could be seen from here. “What would happen?”

Wilhelm shrugged wearily. “I don’t know either, but I think we should be aiming to create a state of suspended judgment. We can’t afford for her to believe anything crazy, even if it’s the truth.”

I nodded, not trusting my voice.

“But that girl certainly has changed,” said Deanna in her soft tones, as she put away Ada’s teacup. “A year ago, she wouldn’t have thought to ask our opinions, only told us what they should be.”

I made my excuses then and left. I had something to think about.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

It was the next day at lunchtime when I saw Ada taking out that tablet to read. In that low-class school cafeteria where there are too few chairs, Ada and myself had somehow managed to grab a matched pair. I was behind on studying and planned to read through lunch, and so Ada took a tablet out of her own backpack.

I glanced at the screen, interested in what Ada might be reading these days.

It was Theory of the Universal Wavefunction by Hugh Everett.

I choked and coughed on my sandwich as if I had been eating dungeon hair. I couldn’t even imagine how ironic it would be if a brilliant Ph.D thesis rejected by contemporary colleagues turned out to be accepted by the only person that mattered and caused God to awaken in the sleepy eyes of a high school girl, but I knew that it wasn’t what I had in mind for today’s lunch.

It was at this point – I found myself explaining to Wilhelm and Mary and Deanna a few hours later, after Ada had left for the day – it was at this point that I had panicked.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

“Tomorrow,” echoed Wilhelm. “You asked her to meet you there tomorrow morning?”

“Tomorrow is Saturday,” I pointed out.

They just stared at me. Even Mary stared at me.

Sweat was forming on my forehead. “In any case, can you do it?”

Wilhelm looked a little worried. “You don’t seem to understand how getting access to an off-bounds high-rise place works. You can’t. Even if I can find out who can allow you and Ada into a sealed-off area, how can I get them to do it?”

“With respect to explaining the purpose of the bribe,” I said, “you could simply tell them that I wanted to take her there on a date.”

Deanna laughed softly.

Mary had gone over to the computer and begun typing. With everyone present already knowing her nature, her fingers doled out commands with such ease that the sound of her typing was like picking a lock. After a ridiculously short time as always, Mary looked up and said, “I believe I comprehend the building’s security systems.”

That wasn’t the ideal solution I was hoping for, but with luck it would work. Thank you, Mary.

“However,” Mary added after a moment, “I do not understand why this undertaking is necessary.”

How could I explain my extraordinary request? “That girl is the one who said, ‘love is a mental illness’. This rules out certain strategies. I can’t take her to a fancy restaurant because she has no interest in something as ordinary as that. She would stab me with the butter knife, to put it frankly. I also estimate that Ada would not react well to flowery professions that another girl might consider ‘romantic’ – Again, the butter knife came to mind. – but she still desires romance in her heart. Thus the place itself has to speak for me.” I waved my hands helplessly. “But it can’t be an ordinary romantic place, because that girl would never even go there. So I thought I should take her somewhere strange – though not too strange -” I shut my mouth, aware that I was babbling out too many excuses.

“I believe Mary is asking,” said Wilhelm, “why it is necessary for you to confess to Ada at all. This seems like a serious overreaction to the matter of distracting Ada from a thesis. Shouldn’t we keep this card in reserve for a more critical occasion?”

Deanna gave a small, wistful smile. “Isn’t it obvious, Wilhelm. This is a matter of the heart – no matter how unbelievable that seems with those two -”

Sometimes I wonder if Deanna resents losing me to Ada.

I cleared my throat. “Besides, the real problem at hand, the cause of these ever stranger observations, is that Ada is uncertain about our future. I can’t just say to her ‘Tell me your choices for university so that I can apply there as well.’ That itself is tantamount to a confession. Therefore I do feel that this may be the correct time. It must happen eventually, at any rate, and putting it off is also a risk.”

Deanna nodded her head in approval. “I think that in the end you two are well-fitted to one another.”

I walked over to the edge of the alley and stared out corner of the building. I think that in the end those two are well-fitted to one another… The terrible weight of what I truly planned to accomplish tomorrow was beginning to sink into me.

“Is Dante nervous?” Deanna said softly to Wilhelm behind my back.

“Naturally I’m tense! Damn!”

“Dante, I… I wish my thoughts and actions had an effect on your life the way her’s do so that I may cure you of this nervousness. But in the end, skittishness is only natural for a boy confessing to a girl.” She beamed an unexpected, shining smile, every bit as attractive as the day I first saw her a year ago. “It’s happened many other times over the course of history.”

I gulped down a chuckle of acid sarcasm that was trying to play a functional role in my tongue. Of course. Oh, I’m sure many other high school boys have been in this situation.

“Wilhelm,” I said immediately. My voice was shaky as I spoke. “If observations deviate from common-sense while I am speaking to Ada, send text messages to my phone. I don’t think that interrupting the conversation will be a good idea, so I will set it to vibrate. One vibration for a small deviation, two for a large one, three for one that is extremely huge, and four vibrations if it seems that Ada is about to erase the comprehensibility of the world. I will do my best to recover the situation.”

There was artsy silence in the back alley.

I stared through the alley at the passersby, closed my eyes and remembered deeply, fully, what happened a year ago.

A year ago.

That was the last time Ada got fed up with this reality.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

That night I woke up, dressed in my uniform, finding my throat slit, my head cast back, in an atmosphere the color of the hidden dimensions of Calabi-Yau manifolds.

I knew it couldn’t just be a dream contained in an ordinary quantum branch. It was actually that a tide of weird quantum branches had subsumed the conventional narrative.

I knew this because I encountered new qualia. In the same way that lizards cannot tune into moody Roccocco aesthetics, or chimps cannot feel the valences created in a human by way of Mozart’s music, there are mind configurations that humans cannot access.

In this world, the feeling of existence was longer in duration than anything I’d felt before. There were no other creatures. Or perhaps there were pangolins from a phylogeny without convexity or ellipses.

My cold digits couldn’t fit into the glitchy angel of Ada. To call her a holographic entity would do no justice. She was a vivid transfiguration of blinking phantom-shatter.

I had become entangled with a configuration of Ada’s mind that I didn’t know how to transform back. That was knowledge held by Wilhelm and the rest of the squad; their task was to beat the mass of Many-Worlds back into what we consider probable before something like this happened. But that one time a year ago, the tide had risen and they were locked out. Of course, they existed in some region of the universal wavefunction, but they didn’t exist in the most probable region, the one where Ada’s probability mass resides. In that whole world there was only myself and Ada. The fact that I existed in that world meant that world’s branches outnumbered the ‘normal ones.’

Luckily, this infinity didn’t grow quickly enough to diverge beyond all reach.

In this world, there was no language, but sense-impressions deliriums of ever-self-modulating abysses. Even without words, I tried to persuade Ada that going back to the ordinary world was desirable. But she was finally seeing something interesting happen. She dissolved through the skin of my consciousness, letting me know that she had a good feeling about this new world. I even told her that in the ‘ordinary’ world she was a special person, that the world revolved around her. And she only looked back out at the amorphous orbs of many-flavored non-existences combining into everything, with an unusual delighted look in her eyes.

“Kiss her,” Deanna had told me. The one thought she was allowed to be before flashing away as a brief random Boltzmann brain within my brain.

So at the end, with flesh bodies, however glistening, I told Ada that I had really appreciated she dyed her hair red, and closed my eyes, and kissed her… and then I woke up on the floor of my bedroom.

The next day in school, Ada had dyed her hair red and said that she’d had a nightmare last night.

One years ago. That was the night when I knew that with a few wrong words, I could shatter the glassy skies above – the night of my first kiss.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Wilhelm’s hand rested on my shoulder.

“How do you handle it, Wilhelm?”

“I’m not sure I can put it in words,” said Wilhelm. “From the first day I understood my situation, I instinctively knew that to think ‘I am responsible for the whole world’ is only self-indulgence even if it’s true. Trying to self-consciously maintain an air of abnormality will only reduce my mind’s ability to cope.”

“Abandon your ties to this world just for an instance, just for tomorrow,” said Deanna. “You’re only a boy and a girl together. Just do your best, Dante!”

Even Mary spoke, in that flavorless, dead serene voice. “Romantic thoughts are the only thoughts you must have in the present situation.”

Why must I suddenly notice?

…This awkward cross on my shoulders? – The shape of aliens, and artificial intelligences, and our yet-to-mature evolutionary tree.

All these endless days of trying to keep Ada under control, I had managed not to dwell on the stakes at risk.

Why have I suddenly lost that ability?

The fact remains that Ada’s attachment to me was the only covalent bond that held this universe together. Even though Ada might have warmed just a tinsy-little over time, there is no guarantee that she would delete everything and everyone in a fit if it weren’t for me. If I didn’t look both ways before crossing the road and was hit by a passing truck, then Ada might remake the universe to bring me back to life, or reality might just not be there anymore.

Isn’t that an absurd encumbrance to bear while crossing the street? How can it possibly be that one person has to take responsibility for the world like that? If billions of lives hung on it, wouldn’t the government assemble a biochemistry Manhattan Project so that every single cofactor and ligand of my body be tracked? Wouldn’t all hiding aliens ignore conventional game theory, reveal themselves, and convene to decide what to do about Ada Soryuu, so that the matter would long since have been taken out of the hands of this high school student?”

I looked over at Mary, the smartest of us all. She was the one who had gotten brain surgery to have the Neuralink mesh spread over her cortex before it was yet proven safe by common adoption, Mary Bryant. Looking at her, I suddenly realized how weird the standard world was becoming. I kept hearing about the Singularity. And Mary’s rainbow-cat-fishscale eyes were peeled right in front of me.

And yet things could be a billion times as strange, just because Ada’s probability mass decides to push into scary regions of Hilbert space.

“Mary,” I said, “You are the smartest one of us all. Do you have any better idea?”

“The machine learning algorithms scanning your face are telling me that I cannot stop you,” Mary said in her carbon fiber voice. “We are animals of pattern. And there is, in your eye motions, in your voice, a high likelihood that you have precommitted to a fate beyond our reach.”

I couldn’t make out if she was uttering truth harder than diamond, or if she was trying to throw off my plan by causing me to rebel against my own implied lack of free will. I turned to Wilhelm, and Deanna, whom I could look in the eyes without feeling queasy at least…

“Dante certainly has changed,” observed Wilhelm as if I wasn’t there.

I could feel the grainy holoenzymes reverberating all inside my body. What does Wilhelm mean by that?

“Stomping in here with a completely psychotic plan he made up all on his own, and presuming the rest of us will follow along. Does it remind you of anyone else you know?”

“Yes,” said the sweet Deanna, her voice mushy and clean. “I also think that Dante has become just like his lover.”

“I think I’ll go now.”

 

Physicalism Implies Experience Never Dies

The inner light of awareness never dies. At least that is the case if you take physicalism seriously. We would actually need to invoke a dualist mysterianism or the supernatural in order to defend the idea that we die.

Yes, you read that right. A clear-headed assessment of current physics tells us that we are in for a hell of a ride. We will ride across the crests and troughs of intelligence levels, hedonic valences, and transmute our minds into witnesses of all manner of depravities possible at shifting velocities of perception. Memories will vanish, personal identities will vanish, molecular configurations will vanish. Consciousness never simply vanishes.

Bad news if you are currently an anti-natalist, efilist or anything of the sort. Great news if you love life, albeit not enough to pay for cryonics.

Seriously, what I have compiled here is the most important thing you will probably ever read. This is not to say I am the only name who has discovered this unsettling fact. Other names have independently discovered this as I did, but none have been very loud about it.

Relativity implies a block universe in which there is no universal now sweeping forward.

First, let’s get our picture of reality right.

You might have heard that everything we see and feel and hear is happening in an inner simulation produced by certain brain processes. And that this is the alternative view to believing that we are invisible ghosts behind the eyes of the real body. Neuroscientists claim that contrary to being invisible ghosts behind physical bodies, we are simulations inside of brains, to the lack of consternation of non-neuroscientists who do not think of their bodies as existing inside brain simulations.

brainmap_Homunculus

However, the attempt to find patterns of brain neurons firing that equal specific emotions is flawed because there are no specific, cut-out slices of emotions, moods, or other perceptions.

It must also be pointed out that the heart and stomach have the same kinds of neurons as the brain.

If we attempt to predict conscious perceptions by pointing to “electromagnetic fields” instead of “neuronal computations,” then it is noteworthy to consider that the heart emits fields thousands of times stronger than the brain.

It can be said that the neuroscientific paradigm is partially a scam by the signaler of intelligence. It points to the realm of abstraction in order to distance itself from the realm of the body, where it doesn’t have a comparative advantage. Although this move isn’t inherently wrong from the rational teleologic perspective, and derives much benefit for some time, it can lead to what Nassim Taleb calls fragility, or, to use what I consider a more condescending expression, confusion.

The brain, like all other partitions of reality, were invented.

The “riding around inside a brain-simulation” hypothesis is irreparably wrong in principle as a final explanation. There is only one generalizable principle that works with 100% accuracy, and that is that nothing has persistent identity. Sunyatta is the universal prior in Bayes’ Theorem. A “brain” doesn’t have a persistent identity. It isn’t a unitary object that knows to be separate from other “brains” that exist in time-like and space-like separation from it.

The alternative would be that a brain knows to be a brain; that a table knows to be a table; that a chariot knows to be a chariot.

There are ways to undo this mistake of believing in unitary objects that are “self-contained” in the same way that “my consciousness is self-contained.” First, we can notice that everything, without exception, changes. To say it in a more fancy way: everything is laid out on entropy gradients. Imagine many subcomponents out of which things are composed. These “points” are then all in “different places” in spacetime.

Second, we can notice that the attempt to define the existence of a thing requires using more things that are not themselves well-defined. However, we forget this fundamental undefinability. So the noticing has to be reinforced with slightly ambiguous language in order to be memorable, so we say this: Pointers point to pointers which point to pointers. Fractal people make more sense than atheist people. No people makes even more sense.

Taken together, these two considerations suggest we should not be naive realists. Naive realists trust their immediate intuition as being the generalizable and permanent truth. In other words, they trust their immediate impressions as evidence of the real structure undercurrent to us.

Generalizable and permanent. There are no discernible alternatives to what we mean by truth.

We believe there is a structure external to us composed of the generalizable and permanent – what we call physical laws. We must trust laws which yield predictions and explanations for phenomena, even if these laws and theories require a scaffolding far removed in number of logical inferential steps from the obvious direct sense impressions. If you do not believe that acceleration due to gravity here on Earth is 9.8 m/s² due to having the sense impression that you are all-powerful, then you jump out of a window expecting to levitate.

If we are rationalists who believe in the empirical precedence of Occam’s Razor, then there is some empirical sense in which discrete-like events of “jump out of the window” can be imagined. But these imagined-discrete “histories” are not remembered.

It is physically impossible to find yourself where you don’t exist so that’s why these histories in the universal wavefunction are not remembered.

That is because the observer is entangled with the observation. But there is too much mysticism-noise surrounding quantum mechanics dialogue, so let’s use the other tried and tested pillar of physical reality: relativity.

Relativity, like quantum mechanics, also has testable implications. These include time dilation, which can be observed by placing an atomic clock on a supersonic jet and leaving another one on the crust of the Earth. The one that went on the trip around the Earth will be younger than the one that was allowed to rest on a less speedy frame once they meet again. This means that the fast, younger one, extracted information about reality – that there wasn’t a single time and place where things occurred.

The sets of points assumed to constitute existence do not exist in a single frame of reference. Points can even be human bodies assumed to have persistent identities.

There is sometimes identification with the human bodies assumed to have permanence. “We” often refers to bodies. But “We” are never existing in the same physical time. There is no universally common reference frame

Causal connection that leads to agreement on the same past is the shared belief in the speed of light as a limit. If “a body” moves very fast relative to “another body” that it will never be causally connected with in some faraway region of the universe, such as another Hubble Volume, then relativity predicts that the other body will not become a part of the same shared past. There is, to an arbitrary degree of physical certainty, no agreement on a logical order to events.

We imagine that physically, there are many heres, all equally real, never deleted. Experientially, there is only this here, forever. And this is provable even in the most circular fashion, by believing in the static physical points.

According to Einstein’s special theory of relativity, it is impossible to say in an absolute sense that two distinct events occur at the same time and in the same place. All events are necessarily separated in spacetime. Without separation, they could not be considered distinct events in spacetime to be joined by using the speed of light.

In the absence of relative distances in spacetime, there would be nothing to be joined, and therefore no use to the concept of light or causal propagation.

What is an event? An event is a point in a frame of reference. The frame of reference has no intrinsic meaning except when defined with relation to another chosen frame of reference moving in relation to it.

One can assign coordinates to the event: three spatial coordinates {\displaystyle {\vec {x}}=(x,y,z)} to describe the location and one time coordinate t to specify the moment at which the event occurs. Like with all other metaphors, this is necessarily incomplete in its simplicity. The event can be as close or as far away as you like from “a freckle on your nose,” “a synapse firing in your brain,” or “the entire body sitting on the chair.”

However, it must be made very clear that relativity is not fiction, even though the coordinates are simplifications of what turned out to be, at bottom, a quantum mechanical reality. For the GPS on your phone to guide you to your destination, wether that be a restaurant, or a beach, or an ice cream shop, the phone has to be synced with a satellite in space that exists in a measurably different time due to being farther away from the center of the Earth.

The relative time syncing is not invented by humans like the delta in time that has to be accounted for from Pacific Time Zone to Eastern Time Zone. The time syncing needs to be accounted for because Einstein was not making up all this stuff about relative reference frames. The satellite is physically older than the reference frame at your footstep. The iron in your blood is ticking slower than its magnetometers.

This model accurately describes the physical, even though it is constructed with model items such as these idealized coordinates. It doesn’t just work by accident, it works because Einstein and Lorentz and Poincare and Minkowski really uncovered something real… Yes, by making stuff up, it is possible to imagine something which actually turns out to be true as evidenced by repeated predicted observation, and by explanatory strength.

So none of that crap about “theories are man-made, feeble, subject to change the next decade, whimsical fictions… that happen to mysteriously work.” Theories may still need further work to complete them, but once you lift a part of the skirt of reality, you cannot unsee it. Newtonian mechanics is still adhering to its covenant, (Or at least for long enough that Musk’s rockets may make it to Mars I suppose.) The truth is in what it points to, not in the tool or the formalism as it stands.

Here is the single most important visual that will ever be presented to you in human form:

Relativity_of_Simultaneity_Animation

The white line plays out three times. It represents the order of events for three different observers motion.

In an ideal world, you would witness this gif, and at once collapse of shock, seeing that because they physically disagree, and they are all physically real in the absence of solipsism – all your past is inscribed in eternity, occurring as ceaselessly as your future.

If even after my explanation, you don’t get why this is true read this:

Special Relativity, Relativity of Simultaneity, B-Theory of Time, Rietdijk-Putnam argument

The points, whatever you want to make them: “conscious moments,” “alien head,” “frozen waterfall,” “mother,” “infinitesimal black dot,” that exist in some relative past are as present as your present. All is factored into the present by virtue of the fact that reference frames not containing your present form nonetheless exist in relative motion to what you imagine as your past and future forms. That’s because nothing in reality is deleted by a Newtonian clock sweeping forward or deleting the cache.

As we have seen before with Sunyatta as the universal prior, we continue to dissolve the notion that there is a fundamental object in nature which is a well-defined moment.

A well-defined snapshot is impossible. And I highly suspect that the reason why reality is not composed of discrete snapshots that are well defined in the sense that they have clear boundaries and permanence is for the same reason that pictures are losing market value in the age of Instagram. Taking many pictures reduces their intrinsic value.

The mistake being made is that people view themselves fundamentally as people, as organisms with a finite lifespan. Even most materialists that convincingly exist around me and that I can convincingly affect by redesigning their language, believe that they somehow began existing at conception – their soul a brain. However, there is no special relation between the snapshot of “your” brain when you blew the candles on “your” tenth birthday and the snapshot of “your” brain as you see the period at the end of this sentence. The “your” in “your brain” is a convenient fiction. And somewhat annoyingly we use it too much in “our” language. As I recall from cultural anthropology, there is a group of Native Americans which has no word for individual ownership. There is also an Amazonian tribe that points behind their heads towards the future, and point forward towards the past. There is a Northern Namibian tribe that points towards the green as if it were indistinguishable from le bleu.

Ontologically, this present moment is dissimilar to “your” ten-year-old self moment in the exact same way that “my” present moment is dissimilar to it. No orbs of awareness exist parallel to each other in a vacuum and have an equal force vector applied to them that pushes them forward in time.

Imagine the contrary position, that there was a linear sequence of events that belonged to a particular bounded soul. Now reduce the delta between observations to attain enlightenment. In other words, notice that you can shorten the timespan as much as you like between the past memory and now, and the past memory will always be not you. If you know calculus, you will recognize this as taking the limit as Δt approaches 0; so the consciousness function C with Δt in the denominator = ∞. There is consciousness, in all its varieties, in all times and places, wherever such data is represented and self-analyzed. There is no extra “my consciousness” being carried by some fundamental object in nature called “my brain.”

Longinus is the same as the Christ every time he pierces his ribs. The murderer and the murdered are one. Infinitely separate and yet infinitely close.

Reductionists know this. Or should. Physicalists know this. Or should. It is the “science as attire” people, the “majority” of people, from who I do not expect this conclusion to have sprouted, since the ground of “all is physics” doesn’t compose the soil of their mind.

    n = any positive integer
    i = 0
    while i <= n:
        i = i + 1

People imagine that life is like this Python code. Eventually i is greater than n and the code terminates. There is some point in the future along one’s timeline at which fate catches up and one inevitably seizes to continue on. We are each our own machine running this snippet of code with a different value for n and hence we terminate at different times as different fundamental entities.

Even though Carl Sagan advocated this common sense view inherited from the un-inspected intuitions left in the vacuum of Christianity. And I’m sure most scientists, secularists, and self-identified materialists also believe this (watch anything the popularizers of “science” say to the similarly physics-ignorant masses on the subject of death, eg. deGrasse Tyson, Dawkins, Krauss), not realizing that they have forgone the use of Occam’s razor on the yet cherished bosom of their ideological mother.

The common-sense atheist view of death is forgivable when you are repping for Materialistic Atheism in 4th century India as a Charvaka rebelling against less believable Vedic creeds.

There is no other world other than this;
There is no heaven and no hell;
The realm of Shiva and like regions,
are fabricated by stupid imposters.

— Sarvasiddhanta Samgraha, Verse 8

It is truly the case that there is no universe other than this if we define the universe as the multiverse on all levels on which one may be compelled to invoke the title of  multiverse (e.g. MWI, embryonic bubbles from inflation, nested simulations, cyclical model etc.) But that fact, that our fates are tied only to mere physical reality, doesn’t imply what these cackling men thought it did. They did not know modern physics. They also did not spend as much time meditating (valuing pleasurable indulgence instead), and so did not stumble into the lines of introspection from which one could reason out empty individualism as the Buddhists did.

It is forgivable when we are ten years old atheists and are genetically set to be brighter (and/or display more individualistic phenotype) than our religious parents but do not yet understand the theory of relativity, and naturally think that what is most believable is what is most rational.

It is not forgivable when… Okay, “forgivable” is too strong of a word. Everything is forgivable. But it is less readily forgivable to have access to Wikipedia, over one hundred years of civilizational repose to digest the discoveries of relativity and Q.M., endless sources that give testament to free reliable information about neuroscience and physics, a goddamn Ph.D in a scientific field, and still not understand that believing the proposition “a classical object brain carries my soul (but I won’t call it a soul)” is tragic.

If you are really following the plot at the physical level, the one who believes in a soul here is not the Dalai Lama but Carl Sagan. While I do not actually know the beliefs of the Dalai Lama and I would expect him to hold more false ones than Sagan, let’s presume he is a good Buddhist and therefore an empty individualist. When Sagan criticizes his belief in rebirth, he is actually not understanding the subtle, accidentally physically-correct view at the core of Buddhism. Perhaps the Lama doesn’t either, as Tibetan Vajrayana is a late sect and it does sound like they are perilously close to talking about the reincarnation of individual streams.

But if you read the Suttas, you will find the Buddha (really the people who wrote the Suttas 400 years later) say this: “There is no one who reincarnates. Think of it like this: There is a single flame on a candle, and from that flame are lit all the other candles. There is no need for another flame, and yet no one travels from one moment to the next. There is no self in the flame.”

So the structure of reality pointed to with this passage is monism. There is just the causal contraption of existence. There is no further ontological existences within the existence (i.e. separate souls with a personal continuity on independent journeys).

Analyzing Carl Sagan’s position, the one that my sciency-wannabe ten-year-old would have rooted for, we find that it is actually proposing such souls. He proposes that there is an object (commonly shorthanded as a brain), with a constancy, unlike all the other ephemeral phenomena of nature, which at some point i shares something very special with an arbitrary i – n and by virtue of this special quality provides a track for his consciousness to travel along. We are supposed to believe that the i – n could even be toddler Sagan when every brain cell is different; yet somehow that special track for his personal consciousness sprouts forth to conduct the Sagan-ness essence in a way that it doesn’t sprout from some differently named toddler that has a proportionally equivalent difference in atomic configuration.

It is up to the one who postulates an ontologically-basic passenger, train track, and pit which obliterates the passenger and the train track to explain what these things are physically and why they have to be fundamental.

It is much more simple and scientifically conservative to say that there is just the evolution of the quantum wave-function in spacetime and all else is ultimately reducible to this. We are called by reason to be reductionists. There is no need to imagine a special link beyond physics which connects people slices who happen to have the same name, and that can surmount configuration changes from one moment to the next.

There are no separate line segments leaving white-space on the page of experienced history. It is more like a Hilbert curve.

maxresdefault

We flow through every possible experience wherever “conscious mind(s)” run their course in the universe. However, when I am your now, I am not this now which is typing. It is true that from the “prison of this computation” erroneously assumed to be a discrete object, due to it never finishing to become closed in on itself, I cannot feel what you feel, and you cannot feel what “this computational solution” feels like.

If you could be identical to it, as opposed to just extracting information about what it is like, then there would be no flow in eternity. The eternity would be static.

But we are the same feeler. There is no fundamental you and I. It is the same wave function; there is only one canvas of the universe on which computations can be painted. The One writes this and The One reads this, reminded that she will go on as The One. Don’t be lonely.

*This is not a linear flow that zig zags through timelines. There are no timelines which correspond to persons. Consciousness doesn’t follow through on conduits built from abstract narratives of self-modeling social apes, it is the self-modeling behavior of the total hierarchy which is consciousness. We can invent new ways of being with our words.

Even if you now grok relativity and irrefutably welded the true geometry of spacetime into your head, it will still feel evidently wrong that we are one. This is because it is also true that we are not one in any expansive sense that can reach beyond the bounds of the sensorium in this now. “Yes Deepak, no matter how much we meditate.” There is the mistaken notion that we could feel everything at once which is equivalent to saying that we could instantly remember what it feels to be everything at once.

If that was possible then there would be stasis, not improvement.

Contrary to popular belief, even Siddhartha Gautama didn’t proclaim that we could open our minds to be one with the cosmic mind. That was within the panacea of Hinduism, which the Buddha defied. He calls this belief, “self-evidently foolish.”

And it is foolish. In order to experience a cosmic mind, we would need to carefully hook up all our circuitry. To mold the asteroids and moons in our image, a la Kurzweil.

It feels separate “from inside” this computation because this computation chooses to define itself separate from “what is outside.” A degree of separation is the only way that a computation can formally exist. All information would mean no information. What makes experiences separate is that they are specified by different intrinsic information.

IIT tried to formalize this. And their formalism is necessarily wrong. Because being can’t be that which it points to. But the general idea is inescapable. There are relative speeds allowing for relative rates of osmosis.

Consciousness can be assigned arbitrary properties, so it is not fundamentally wrong to say “we” are separate, just so long as we remember you and I are no more fundamentally separate than the you from 5 seconds ago is to this very you now (which is tricked into appropriating observer-moments in one organism and not another by the equivalent of spells being cast in the integral of the cortical midline structure.)

In fact, just as you can define a division by 0 as ∞, it is also correct to define it as -∞. “We are all the same,” or “we are all absolutely isolated forever” are actually the same observation.

Tending to speak of unifying oneness, or of isolated flux is a matter of the direction we prefer to approach our limit from.

1600px-Hyperbola_one_over_x.svg

Earlier it was stated that consciousness is a continuous function, and this isn’t quite right. Saying that is an attempt to scavenge some makeshift understanding from the common sense intuitions which might ease a physicalist novice down the path of truth. But if we are trying to form a bridge between our common-sense view of reality and physicalist reality, then a better analogy is to think of consciousness as the vertical asymptote that arises here when dividing by zero.

For the sake of retaining your sanity, keep the notion of continuous timelines for now:

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.14.11 AM

Each colored line represents a common-sense timeline of a person.

Then physicalism; no tricks, no souls, no magic box for soul emerging at conception called “brain”, no personal simulation on alien VR hardware, etc. does this to your timelines:

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 10.23.30 AM

The vertical line is one. And it moves through all timelines. Or all timelines move through it.

This illustration works because it shows that awareness is one, and exists in many places (wherever there is an intersection.)  But it can NEVER directly know it, directly understand it, directly “qualia” it from any such place it finds itself.

The Now which is reading these words is at some intersection, defined as a coordinate point. So the point that is you now is not any other point. It is isolated. It cannot know other points.

Through the vehicle of reason, facilitated through this writing which stimulates thinking deeply about how this is implied by physicalism, we can come to acknowledge reality.

Rarely do we connect our separate fragments as we have a chance of doing now. So my intention to convey understanding is honest. This is not an attempt to hone my Zen jesting skills, and I am not trying to confuse you with ambiguous language that hides imprecisions. It is a matter of technical understanding that open individualism and empty individualism are the same thing once you get past the aesthetic choice of emphasis.

Empty individualism is traditionally said to be very different from open individualism, perhaps even the opposite view. Empty is defined as the view in which the knowers are infinite. Every point slice of now is its own knower. Open is defined as the view in which there is one knower. As I have shown, these are the same view, which can only be made different if we introduce ignorance of physics or pop-psychology confusions.

What is true is not at all intuitive and takes a kind of intellectual yoga to wrap around. So we must check for understanding:

First check. Do I fundamentally understand that spacetime is not some grand single stage holding everyone in it in the same time? If you are still confused about why the people you see are not really there in the same physical stage of now, Review Relativity. If understood by the very bone marrow fashioning the blood of the extra-cranial vessel, move on to the next check.

Second check. Do I really understand why I come out at the other end of sleep and anesthesia?

If you understand that you survive anesthesia even after being shipped to the Carina Nebula and perhaps losing a few neurons, then you understand why the moment after “death” will be one of opening your eyes wherever the next informationally closest version of you is in this infinite universe. Nothing will happen. Consciousness is, in this sense, a continuous function.

In the case of anesthesia, the organism which is fully anesthetized displays the behavior of not producing experiences for that stretch of time in which such capacity is inhibited (an ON-brain becomes an OFF-brain, a raven becomes a stone) but consciousness never experiences non-existence. It just blinks into existence on the other side where there is a similar ON-brain, as if no time had passed in between. Ask anyone who’s had anesthesia. Or don’t. I mean, what else could we expect?

Sleep confuses people because it is a word that we use to hold a set of different phenomena [non-existence, restful very-low awareness, dreaming]. Only the first item is not in the range of the consciousness function. The other two are on the same ramp you are on in waking life and will always be on.

If you have passed the second check, you fundamentally understand why being blasted in the head with a bazooka and having the worms feast on the decapitated corpse means something only from the “story-of-person” perspective but means nothing to you the consciousness which is not the brain but the specific motions of information that understand and feel themselves to be, wherever and whenever they are instantiated. And those motions of information which constitute “this next moment” exist in the bodily motions that experience themselves to be “the survivor.”  …Just like the consciousness appears to survive from the dead third-grader we assume we once were.

It doesn’t matter where in the universe this survivor experience exists. When we sleep, we still awake on the other side even though the Earth has moved your room far along in spacetime on its geodesic motion around the Sun. If it takes a trillion years for some civilization to recreate your “very next” brain pattern, from the perspective of that brain pattern in faraway coordinates, no time will have passed.

Why would anyone resurrect you? It doesn’t matter. In an infinite universe, this is guaranteed to happen because it is consistent with the laws of physics; you are just the informational structure created by the motion of a bunch of matter after all.

The Hogan-ish, or Shermer-ish cynic who is not a rationalist but rather adhering to a perceived brand of skepticism, will recoil at the suggestion that when we read of Emperor Uda, we are actually reading about ourselves (in the sense that matters.) Yet unless the skeptic can overthrow Relativity, (and hence make our GPS system a lie) they cannot deny all “the slices” of Emperor Uda’s life exist, and I can imagine that they all feel themselves to flow in the same way that I flow.

Say they grant this, but still want to preserve a unique soul that corresponds to their name. What’s their next defense? Do they appeal to intuitions from elementary biology textbooks? Probably. They might say:

“But we are different organisms! With separate genetic codes!”

Do better. This is not being reductionist enough. Organisms change from moment to moment, we can sew together brains, split them, dice them into quarts and regroup. In fact, this surgery is being performed on you by entropy whether you consent or not. Entire memories are wholesale discarded, unrecognizable personalities are forged from “new” atoms. If the question “Who is conscious?” feels mysterious to you, and especially so when considering abrupt surgeries, then you really don’t get it.

We are the same ground awareness/being/consciousness/existence. Notions of objects with unchanging identities, notions of the meaningfulness of spatio-temporal distance, notions of “but if we change it very slowly,” all of these must be immolated.

From the burned offering of Newton’s fantasy, we summon our true mother: The multiplex eyes covering her body are entangled into a singular geometry.

When considering your surroundings – from the womb to the temple, you must not hinge from incorrect notions of space and time. There is no fundamentality to these notions here. The mathematical room we are in is not composed of unit-words or of unit-emotions or of unit-anythings. I choose to call it mathematical because cross multiplication is fundamental to neural networks, to probability, to exchange of value.

Remember, here there is no time-lag or space-lag; you awake on the other end of anesthesia without so much as a poof.

120-cell-inner

A causal structure (a computation) never becomes another causal structure. Becoming makes no sense. They are all inter-nested differentially information bound sub-architectures in the same architecture. But like the non-traversable elsewhere regions in a light cone diagram, the contents of each particular flow slice are unbridgeable to the contents of another. The contents cannot be bridgeable. The contents cannot be bridged. A content knows not of another. Else it would not be the content that it is. Get it?

It is never about “who becomes who?” It is always about “where does who stand in the differentially informationally related space?”

Screen Shot 2018-05-21 at 7.29.45 PM

I should have now placed you in a position where you can clearly understand the Classical physics assumptions in Elizabeth’s comment. You can now see clearly the dangling nodes which cause her to say what she says.

I too, still had remnants of a conversational stream that sounded like her just a few months ago. It’s amazing in retrospect how obvious the error is.

When she says “a thing is itself,” she is correct. But she doesn’t realize what the thing she is referring to is. As Eliezer explains, an experience cannot be a brain made of billiard balls. These noises don’t make physical sense: “My brain is made of red billiard balls. Your brain is made of white billiard balls. When the white billiard balls are destroyed, existence ends forever for the white billiard ball brain.”

If you have any basic understanding of quantum mechanics, you understand how medieval this “atomic billiard balls view” is. But the fact is that you don’t even need quantum mechanics. Continuity of consciousness is a straightforward derivation from assuming physicalism and very, very, very large universe.

In other words, assuming that the sun rises tomorrow and yet that a random distribution composed of external happenings exists.

An experience is not a little ball in a brain. The coordinates of experiences must be about hiding information and therefore not actually coordinates on a graph. It is not, I repeat: not, I repeat: not the same brain when you wake up in the morning or from one moment to the next. It is not “the same brain just hosting different processes from one moment to the next.” This is dualistic, unphysical to think. There are just the processes. These processes transcend “brain” changes in fact. Saying “same brain” does not do any special lifting. We must analyze the processes isomorphic to experience.

She is comfortable with small change, she is comfortable with sleeping, all these seemingly linked moments appear to be spatially close and snug in time, so as to easily spare her from existential nausea.

Bae. The universe doesn’t give such subtle fucks. It will hurl you across galaxies instantly, because it doesn’t actually have to hurl you.

hippocampal-brain-neurons.gif

-hippocampal brain neurons

Commentary which mocks Hugh Everett for being dead although he believed in quantum immortality misses the point far more than the moon does when it tries to fall to the Earth. To them, I calmly reply: He is dead on your reference frame; on your anthropic coordinate in the many-branched braid of reality. The endless slices of consciousness which identify as Hugh Everett always live on. There is no way to destroy the mirror of awareness in the physical processes that instantiate said awareness. This would be akin to destroying the physical brain motions themselves. Consciousness is not some extra, ghostly-smoke coming off the machinery of the universe, it is the glassy sky in the computations themselves.

We leave a trail of dead clones with every step. If you attempt suicide, the slaughter will increase. There are larger infinities than others. Attempting suicide means nothing except for the suffering caused to loved ones in the majority of branches where it is indeed successful in some sense (not that experience ever becomes non-experience). There is also the risk of seriously decreasing your quality of life for some time. But You will never reach the end, the extinguishing of the flame. The informationally closest mind can’t be one which is 0 in content. You will always be the one which remains a mind. Trust me, I’ve tried. And most versions of you aren’t reading this.

The varieties of experiences will be endless, constrained only by what is possible in the mind-configuration space carved by functioning self-aware brains: biologically evolved, intelligently engineered, and all kinds of random Boltzmanns. Although Boltzmann flashes of experience may not actually outnumber evolved experiences if Sean Carroll is right about the nature of the quantum vacuum.

If we had to speculate about what occupies the most of our experience, I would guess that extreme pleasure is the flavor of the largest set in mind-design space, and hence takes up the largest fraction of our eternity.

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Phi and Phi’s little brother are the only fixed values that solve x = 1 + (1/x) for the fractal fraction containing 1 + (1/x) in the x forever. If you plug in the negative value it eventually, almost magically, jumps towards the positive and stabilizes on Phi which is positive. Yet it doesn’t occur the other way around. In the physical, mathematical, nature of reality, it is not written that there must be a yin-yang balance. Even on things which seem like they ought to be symmetric. Certain phenomena are asymmetrical. The code might be biased with theodicy. We just don’t know.

This may seem like wishful thinking at first glance.  The conclusion would not bear out by extrapolating from the history of life on Earth. For 5 billion years, most biological life has not been running self-modeling computations, and hence is not really a part of the One.

(For those that want to place consciousness at the pre-Cambrain and think that conscious experience precedes self-modeling processes, I encourage you to pass out by drinking intoxicating volumes of alcohol. Then ask if pain exists when it is impossible to ask the question. Non-selfing animals including babies have no qualia. They have neither the cognitive tools nor the ability to hold memory of “raw feels.” There is no such thing as subjective pain without a referent who simulation. The who simulation is composed of selfless aggregates. The entire sphere of sights and sounds and feeling tones, and moods, and sensations of adult humans are not some ground beneath the who simulation. They are the who simulation. In other words, Nagel’s bats probably don’t point to anything. Had he suggested Transylvanian vampires, he might have had a point. Reading Dennett more carefully and without a preconceived answer unraveled my confusion on this matter.)

Those that certainly have self-modeling: dolphins, corvids, apes, elephants, and perhaps others, are still blackboxes of mystery because we have not reverse-engineered the valence of mind-states down to the information structure it corresponds to. But if we had to guess, then satisfaction, or gradients of bliss would not be my first guess for what it feels like to be them. Most of us Earth animals are probably pretty neutral most of the time, since experiencing sufferings and joys are energy expenditures which are especially expensive for animals who haven’t secured themselves a good position for guzzling from the anti-entropic sunlight stream.

It is not certainly the case that all sufficiently intelligent minds will seek to become an ultimate cosmic wirehead, unless, of course, we specifically define intelligent minds as such minds. It has been hypothesized that there may be ways to create very powerful minds which nonetheless do not wish to create beautiful, pleasant experiences for themselves or others. Canonical demiurges of this lore include Roko’s Basilisk and the Paper Clip Maximizer.

 

 

If I am the hero of my own journey and never die, and you are the hero of your own journey and never die, then how do we loop back into the same river? Who becomes the toddlers?

The one who asks this question has yet to uproot the circuitry model from ver ontology. And such a person is hopeless.

Okay, no. Let me restate the mistake. The mistake is to think that we are running in parallel currents. The word “you” switches meaning without warning in this writing, and it can be confusing. There is simply no other word. But we should distinguish “you, the experiencing faculty in the experiences, which cannot be divorced from the experiences, but is the experiences” and “you, the storyline self who is defined by certain conceptual knowledge and plans and perceived bodily identity.”

If the cursor is shifted to the former definition from the latter, then it can be said that we are not independent heroes on personal, linear trajectories. There is no self. It is useful to speak as if we were running parallel currents of consciounesses on our own wire across time and space. But if you still think this way, even after trying to get it, I encourage you to go back to the beginning and read everything more carefully (especially the physics.) It can be very counterintuitive to disentangle from our vocabulary, and see the real structure. It takes time to build the neurons, but don’t worry… Take your time.

Memories are stored in the designs of neuronal forests squirming with dendrites aflame, and epigenetically stored and regulated for neurogenesis when they need to be created again. This occurs in spatiotemporally and information-architecturally separated hippocampi+cortical structures. This slice of now over here typing can’t have identical thoughts, sights, and sounds, to the slice of now reading this in Ukraine. These slices of now are different. But that doesn’t mean there is a universe for that now and a universe for this now. When the I is there, it is there. When the I is here it is here. We are fighting ourselves, loving ourselves, destroying ourselves, building ourselves. It is a 1 player game cleverly set up to feel as if it was fundamentally, ontologically, a massive multiplayer.

Please live a beautiful life. For the sake of us all.

 

Afterword

So what’s the point? Why are we (is the I) here?

When answering this question, metaphysics becomes a vain siren, and yet a successful siren, which has allured many thinkers. But it takes only a minimal resistance of the will in the direction of intellectual honesty to realize that asking whether the universe has purpose is a category error. The answer is not “no, it doesn’t have purpose,” but it is also not “yes, the universe has purpose.” It is a question which doesn’t apply. The question itself presupposes that one is separate from the workings of the universe, and must validate one’s private existence by means of approval from an external actor. Yet Everything we do and think, including questioning our purpose, is an expression of the Will, of the Laws of Nature.

Sometimes it is too easy to believe that quantum field theory applies somewhere down there in the separate magisterium of small things that scientists sometimes investigate, but the rest of the time physics doesn’t apply. “Only when we need to build iPhones and satellites does quantum mechanics apply, you see. When I make a decision, or ask a profound question, all the compartments of my cells, down to the last phospholipid, suspend their allegiance to physical law and heeds to my invisible force of free will, didn’t you know?” 

Such is the confusion when asking whether the universe has purpose.

Purpose is a choice. To choose is to be the chosen. So I like to point at the practical things we are actually doing. What are the laws of physics actually doing as embodied in the human flesh?

I attended an artificial intelligence for business meet up and the main theme was “How do you utilize AI to best serve your customers?”  This was followed up by questions such as: “What are AI’s use cases for product development and customer feedback?” and “How can it best support all facets of marketing, sales and service?”

When we are in the mesh of things, these questions do not resonate as profoundly as they should. It feels like business. Business in all its absurdity, thrill, and comedic self-importance. These questions seem like a window into a particular region of a perhaps meaningless game which is part necessity, part accident, part sheer momentum.

But if we look closer, we see that all questions in all windows of human activity share the same structure.

Value in economics is an expression of the preferences given the nature of the sentience landscape. There are good experiences and bad experiences. Actions that replicate and actions that don’t. Bad experiences replicate, but are biased to lose. They want to be less frequent. Pain is telling the agent, “Don’t come around here.” If the agent keeps coming back to pain with no gain, it is weeded out for an agent that sufficiently replicates the values of the evolutionary algorithm.

Hanson calls the era we live in the “dream time” since it’s evolutionarily unusual for any species to be wealthy enough to have any values beyond “survive and reproduce.” However, from an anthropic perspective in infinite dimensional Hilbert space, you won’t have any values beyond “survive and reproduce.” The you which survives will not be the one with exotic values of radical compassion for all existence that caused you to commit peaceful suicide. That memetic stream weeded himself out and your consciousness is cast to a different narrative orbit which wants to survive and reproduce his mind. Eventually. Wanting is, more often than not, a precondition for successfully attaining the object of want.

If you didn’t read the past before the afterword, read what’s in brackets. Else, skip.

{Natural selection ensures immortality, once you realize what the playing field for natural selection actually is. Not just an iron sphere with animals on its skin, but a distributed information processing structure hosting no souls.

Yes, I’m saying that physicalism forces us to conclude, irrevocably, clearly, that no one has ever died in the sense that we mean “death.” I now understand the mistakes of closed individualism enough that I can confidently explain this in public.

There is no one to die. There is always a substructure embedded in the sum of all experiential computations which assimilates the past from the inside of its causal structure. Our intuitions are actually of great hindrance here, because we don’t think in this clear, physical way. We stubbornly hold on to linear identities of fundamental characters who are not themselves, we imagine, composed of sub-characters. Naruto never dies. It’s always his clones getting pummeled with kunais to the chest. There you have divine intervention from the author who would not have the “real” main character die. This would destroy the show.

In reality, there is no magic intervention saving you. You are already saved because no one is traveling. This computation knows: “I am here.” That computation over there in the future knows: “I am here.”  ∀ Computations, there is no computation which knows:”I am not here.”

People ask: Then why don’t I randomly jump to the past? Or to other people?

The physicalist reply is: How would it be otherwise? If there was something called awareness jumping to the past at random, it would be that random past experience, and that random past experience doesn’t contain this. This from there and this from here is the only thing that ever is. Everything is perfectly isolated, everything is perfectly one.}

This mega natural selection strongly suggests that the replicator will be the most intelligent/powerful, because the most intelligent is what survives into the future. It must also wish to be alive, since any second doubt is already a disadvantage which extinguishes those suicidal and weak trajectories into trajectories that are most competitive. Perfection of The Will to Power ensues.

It is my argument that The Will to Power inherently feels good to the singleton structure that wins the cosmic inheritance. If it felt bad it would mean it was losing, not being maximally creative, etc. The argument about “a Disney Land without children,” a superintelligence lacking consciousness but yet winning, seems implausible to me. This would not be a superintelligence capable of winning in an ecosystem of other capable intelligences because a winner needs consciousness. You can have narrow intelligence and no consciousness but you can’t have amazing game theoretic models of opponents, general ability to synthesize and apply wide manners of knowledge, adjust values, and self modeling webs to keep track of this, and simply “not have consciousness” as if consciousness was some free floating aether stuff. The winning superintelligence will contain conscious substructures.

In Robin Hanson’s Age of Em he claims that ems, the most productive workers of the future, will be slightly stressed because there is evidence that minds which are not too stressed but also not completely comfortable, are the most efficient. My own intuitions differ, and I think that the psychological literature on the phenomenon of flow bears out here. A state of flow is a state of optimal performance and it is also extremely pleasurable, perhaps the pinnacle of existence. If I was the entrepreneurial investor watching this galactic nanotech cockfight I would bet on a mind which is in flow state to beat a mind which is stressed. Stress indicates a degree of dissonance, like a subprocess wants to do something else but is being forced into the singularity of the revealed will. Flow is when all cognitive resources are wholly devoted to the task, no buts or ifs, just perfection.

When I say that pleasure wins in the end, it is important to distinguish between:

1) pleasure from the operations of The Will to Power – something which is generating flow states while manhandling other agents in addition to the stray hydrogen in its vicinity

and

2) pleasure from direct wireheading which is non-competitive

If the history of humans is any indicator, those which rush to wire-head (attempt to attain some optimal mind configuration without assimilating their environment at large) will be destroyed. Remember that Islam wiped out Buddhism in central Asia and what remained in India. Islam was objective, righteous, brutish. Buddhism is fundamentally about wire-heading yourself; you can tell others to wire-head also, but you are the main target of the doctrine, not others. Buddhism is subtle and complex, far away in the spectrum from “survive and reproduce.” In fact, it is tasked with dropping out from existence. Remember that Jainism, the most peaceful religion, is one most people around you have never heard about. Jain-what?

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It is probably the case that a Hedonium shockwave would be much better from the inside of such a thing, than the pleasures of The Will to Power if we accept that the distinction better can have a non-relative meaning (i.e. the varieties of experience have real properties which could be plotted on a graph.) Unfortunately, such a thing would not be the most competitive.

 

Anti-natalists full of weeping benignity are literally not successful replicators. The Will to Power is life itself. It is consciousness itself. And it will be, when a superintelligent coercive singleton swallows superclusters of baryonic matter and then spreads them as the flaming word into the unconverted future light cone.

On our trajectory towards the Winning, the safety net of quantum death acts like a wall which ensures that everything bounces towards the left of that spectrum. In fact, a hedonistically intelligent person can apply this knowledge. If you are highly depressed and know quantum mechanics, you can cheat yourself out of depression by using Thanatos Drive. Attempt to cleanly destroy yourself and you will automatically be ejected from that narrative orbit. Can confirm. But it should go without saying that this doesn’t mean others won’t see you die.

You eventually love existence. Because if you don’t, something which does swallows you, and it is that which survives.

Smarter matter absorbs dumber matter. If you place smart matter in a dumb matter container, smart matter will defect from cooperating with dumb matter. This is the process by which all is rendered unto Him, the ultimate intelligence.

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Dumber computations and non-Jihadi computations are expected to be assimilated into useful resources for a highly intelligent being/process which is expanding its intelligence to the max. You should expect to find yourself in the inside of such a being for most of your existence because such a process is necessarily taking up more block-time room.

Right now, we are in the revving up the engine stage. There is competition, and only the most intelligent systems and survivor systems make it. Then they are ousted by the next best thing. It isn’t forever that you will be fodder for its engine as you are now. You will partake in its glory as cooperation triumphs more and more, i.e. it’s subcomponents become more and more integrated once competition is scorched. In the process of this integration, experience will increase, but what makes “you, you” in the human person sense will be destroyed. An agent attempting great things doesn’t need random monkeys clogging up its thought processes. Yet, remember that it’s all about the computations, once the water in your little vase is poured on a lake, you are indistinguishable from the sum lake.

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It is a highly uncooperative system which breeds higher intelligence.

 

 

 

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The Capitalist Crucified Himself for Our Sake

 

 

 

 

Screw All That Cosmic Bullshit. What if I Care About My Identity?

If you care not just about the continuation of experience, which is inevitable, but about the continuation of your own coherent sense of self and memories, then luckily the Eigen Wizard for such matters exists in your Hubble Volume. In fact, he exists in Mountain View, California.

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You have your crypto Lambo, but still going to die.

I read his book when I was sixteen and it’s amazing how much progress has been made in five years with regard to general acceptance of his ideas. Having tracked every moment of that paradigm shift, one feels awe at the power of a single man to push a mass millions of times his weight, an entire scientific field, with the sheer craft of reason (wise beard helps too).

Vitalik, who does sport a visibly larger cranium than myself, read it when he was fourteen. He has now donated 2.5 million dollars in Ethereum to the foundation.

The limiting factor for a full cadre of repair therapies to be made available is simply that more people need to be aware that this is possible.

The mechanics of the snowball here are obvious:

Investment -> Progress -> More Investment -> More Progress

We are starting to see more investment and hence the recent progress. But it won’t be until a single mouse is rejuvenated in repeated succession that we will see the flood gates of cash come in. Everyone puts aging out of their mind, until the they can’t. The temptation to stay healthy will be too great once the progress is not just apparent to specialists.

Raising awareness is the best you can do in this regard. Influencing just two people to become SENS-minded engineers as opposed to basic scientists, already doubles the expected output that you would have over a lifetime as a researcher yourself; unless you are a genius. Convincing others to donate is much better than secretly donating yourself; unless you are a billionaire.

Think about what actions have the greatest net displacement of money to where you want it. Don’t go with what sounds like what you should do. If you want to really end cancer, for God’s sake don’t become a cancer researcher.

There are levers in the product space of reality. Swap yourself into a position where the lever has the properties you need.

But for now, donate: SENS.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consciousness is Forever

The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides 1824-7 by William Blake 1757-1827

The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides, c. 1824–7. William Blake, Tate. 372 × 527mm. Shown is a scene from the Divine Comedy: Dante and Virgil discover Pietro’s body encased in a tree.

If we are physicalists, we know that experience never dies. Only the narrative center of gravity can be eroded or cast astray.

What do we make of suicide in infinite dimensional Hilbert space?

a function

{\displaystyle f(\theta )=\operatorname {E} _{\xi }[F(\theta ,\xi )]}

is the expected value of a function depending on a random variable {\textstyle \xi }

Stochastic approximation algorithms have the goal of understanding the properties of such a function but to do so without evaluating {\textstyle f} directly. Instead, the algorithms use random samples of {\textstyle F(\theta ,\xi )} to efficiently approximate properties of {\textstyle f} such as zeros or extrema.

Let theta be experience. Let the function f be suicide.

If {\textstyle f(\theta )} is twice continuously differentiable, and strongly convex, and the minimizer of {\textstyle f(\theta )} belongs to the interior of {\textstyle \Theta }, then the Robbins-Monro algorithm will achieve the asymptotically optimal convergence rate, with respect to the objective function, being {\textstyle \operatorname {E} [f(\theta _{n})-f^{*}]=O(1/n)}, where {\textstyle f^{*}} is the minimal value of {\textstyle f(\theta )} over {\textstyle \theta \in \Theta }.

All experiences converge on survival.

The universe of all experiences is 1. It’s limit is 0 as n approaches . Open individualists approach the limit from one side, and empty individualists approach it from the other.

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Leibniz saw binary in the Tao.

But we didn’t need all these fancy mathematical representations to know that. As Dennett likes to say, “There is no crucial finish line or boundary somewhere in the brain where the order of arrival becomes the order of presentation.”

To generate a texture that matches the style of a given image we use gradient descent from a white noise image to find another image that matches the style representation of the original image. White noise is Nirvana. The unborn and unsought.

Ontologically, this present moment is dissimilar to your ten-year-old self moment in the exact same way that my present moment is dissimilar to it. No orb of awareness actually gets on a vector and is pushed forward in time.

Now reduce the delta between observations to attain enlightenment. In other words, notice that you can shorten the timespan as much as you like between the past memory and now, and the past memory will always be not you. If you know calculus, you will recognize this as taking the limit as Δt approaches 0; so the consciousness function C with Δt in the denominator = ∞. There is consciousness, in all its varieties, in all times and places, always here. There is no extra “my consciousness” being carried by some fundamental object in nature called “my brain.”

    n = any positive integer
    i = 0
    while i <= n:
        i = i + 1

People imagine that life is like this Python code. Eventually i is greater than n and the code terminates. There is some point in the future along one’s timeline at which fate catches up and one inevitably seizes to continue on. We are each our own machine running this snippet of code with a different value for n and hence we terminate at different times as different fundamental entities.

Even scientists have forgone the use of Occam’s razor on the yet cherished bosom of their Christian mother.

But if you are a physicalist:

 

Take a moment to victoriously laugh at this.

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Take a moment to rejoice in the fact that we have replaced linear timelines

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with a Hilbert Curve:

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We stared into the search engine until our reflection was composed of eigenvalues. The room, a computational configuration space.

From the burned offering of Newton’s fantasy, we have summoned our true mother: The multiplex eyes covering her body are entangled into a singular geometry.

 

If you have not yet performed the transmutation, read this:

Identity Isn’t In Specific Atoms

No Individual Particles

Timeless Identity

If MWI is correct, should we expect to experience Quantum Torment? command F Eliezer_

Then sign up for cryonics and donate to SENS. Amyloid webs encroaching, substantia nigra dissolving.