Alternate Universes

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology / Cosmology /

Mission: to link the idea of Alternate Universes to the idea of mechanisms for data storage, the map sometimes needing to be larger than the territory to be accurate

Truth Accountability Record Keeping

Schrödinger theorized that if you put a cat in a box, and put the box far away, and put in the box with the cat some natural phenomenon like decaying radium, where the probabilities of decay are known, such that the radium might decay and kill the cat, or set off some chain of events which in sum would kill the cat, like releasing some poison; or the radium might not set off said chain of events, and therefore — other factors neglected — the cat might live. The experimenter, from his distance — in his ignorance — must be content to know only the probability of the cat’s survival; not its actuality.

Far enough away, the experimenter feels secure that he will not be harassed by animal rights activists or the law.

Others have further theorized that we might as well think of there being two boxes, each with the cat (and the conditions). Say the probabilities are 50/50. Thus, in one of the boxes (we don’t know which one), the cat is alive; in the other box (we don’t know which one), the cat is dead.

This metaphor has been adopted for other complex probability problems, some of which are multiply probable. Get sophisticated enough and you have to imagine infinities of boxes with infinities of cats. Out of all this come some guys saying that the existential status of all of boxes is probabilistic until the calculated event actually does (or doesn’t) occur: after which we may think of the merely probable boxes as evaporating, and only the actual box with the actually transpired event as being real. Thus, the cosmos may have contained an infinite number of possible universes until this one came along. Now this one is it, the other’s just went poof!

In related contexts some guys say that lots of things that happen require the creation of infinities of possible universes twice a micro-nano-second.

Don’t follow? Never mind. You need a lot of math: which I don’t have either.

But I can think of one pressing existential need for an infinity of alternate universes, enduring alternate universes … Let’s come at it from a different tack.

The Sumerians grew wheat in a field. They’d grown enough wheat in that field for long enough that lots of their babies had survived. Now they had a big population. Administration gets invented. They harvest the wheat, gather the sheaves into bundles, and inventory the bundles. Some guy counts the bundles. Some guys have invented number symbols. Some guy carves the number into wet clay, dries the clay.

Sumerian cuneiform clay tablet

Sumerian cuneiform clay tablet

Now they have a record of the number of bundles of wheat that they grew and that they harvested: that harvest. The field is huge. The pile of bundles is also huge, though not as huge as the field. The symbol, the record, the clay plate, is tiny. The reality is huge; the symbol is minuscule.

Out of all of that, eventually, came computers. Lots of babies survived. Lots of wheat got bundled … After a while the pile of originally minuscule records outweighed the original field. So we need records tinier and tinier. Maybe eight years ago, thanks to my Macintosh LCIII — 4MB of RAM, 80 MB of hard drive, three times faster than my old Toshiba: say, maybe 21 MHz — I needed a PhotoShop file — 8″ x 11″, 300 dpi, with a complex clipping path or two, several layers … Oh, say a 90MB file. I say, OK, open me a blank 8×11 @ 300 dpi.

And I sit there. And sit there. Photoshop labors and labors … and finally comes up with a blank window. Had I asked for a blank file 3 x 5, @ 72 dpi, it would have produced a blank window in what I would have regarded as “no time.” So what was the problem? Why did I drink three cups of coffee and pee twice before the window opened? Because Photoshop had some enormous number of pixels to consider: it had to tell itself, OK, now go to the first pixel, uppermost left, and put #000000 information in it, now go to the second pixel, next to it on the same top line, and put #000000 information in it …. Perfect zero takes just as much time for the program to compute and execute as 8 x 11 @ 300 dpi of the Mona Lisa!

I have the file. I make a typo. I say UnDo … No, no, no! There goes PhotoShop, undoing my command, rewriting all the #000000s, ninety-million times. (The final results of that file by the way [were] at domain destroyed by fed censorship, 2007. I recreate it here:)

pk's digital painting for a brochure

pk's digital painting for a brochure

One more tack and we’re there: The Christians take the Jews’ God and make him threaten them with a Judgment Day. Wait forever (very handy for the crooks), then we’ll know the truth. So: where is God to keep his records of this truth? Make it up as it suits him? He just knows? Without record-keeping mechanisms? No secretary? data-entry folks? No computers? … Or is he going to ask us: Where were you at 7:34 the night of …? How many cross-examiners will he need?

Or, has he kept (somehow perfect) records of every event since the birth of this universe? How about perfect records just since the birth of Homo sapiens? At least perfect records since Sumer, and Upper Egypt, and Peking, Rome … Mexico …

Scientists have recently analyzed the DNA in some bacterium. The information is I forget how many hundreds of billions of complex parts long. You need a whole new wing on the university library to hold the information, printed out. And that’s just the DNA! How many more wings do you need to hold the books to explain what the hell the DNA is? Now take one damn such bacterium. Where were you at 7:34 … when the rest of us had no damn grape jelly to soak in?

pk stands before God. God says, “I inspired Ivan Illich to design non-kleptocratic networking as a survival strategy for civilized men to adopt. I inspired you to read it. I gave you the wits to see it. So where’s the damn network? All I see is this damn fraudulent internet?”

pk fumbles, “Um … err … You see, when I was two and a half …”

Are we going to have any records to refer to? I make my excuses why I failed to save the world referring to … in this imagined case, my childhood. Will God remember my childhood? Will any one else? Where’s are the corroborating or contradicting or clarifying records? Will God show me on tape suffering whatever it is I’ll claim to have suffered? Or show me fucking off when I was supposed to be preparing to die?

I’m betting that God will yank perfect, unimpeachable videotapes, stored … Where? This universe isn’t big enough to hold them. God’s memory would have to be bigger than this universe to hold them. Infinitely bigger.

And that’s where the alternate universes come in.

This universe exists for Nanosecond #1. God clones it. The universe exists for Nanosecond #2. God clones that. …

Where does he put them? Hey: somewhere else. In some other dimension. That’s his problem, not mine, not yours.

Any method to be reliable must be testable by some other method. Satan needs God to check up on him: God needs godn to check up on him …

But taking the infinite time required to verify or to falsify a testimony by checking the infinity of backup clones may not be the best algorithm. You may not be able to prove that the magician dealt from the bottom without slow-motion instant replay, but shouldn’t a quick inventory of his magician’s trunk suffice for suspicion: when all one finds in it are tools for cheating?

Freeze the stage, examine the levitating assistant. Unseen by the audience as seated in the theater, the assistant is actually resting on a platform supported by a curved steel rod. The magician can always say, Oh, yes, that: but I was actually levitating her: the physical support only just happens to be there.

So, god has the clones for difficult cases. But the quick algorithm gives a pretty good preview. The judge / layer gestalt that won’t let the accused introduce himself to the kleptocracy / jury gestalt without interruptions of Inadmissible! Bind him! Gag him!

Want a quick preview of the US being judged at Judgment Day? Just picture Judge Hoffman.

2006 07 04 I salute for its wonderful Top 10 Creation Myths.

(One of the best, most engrossing, can’t-stop-clicking-the-next-link, web sites.)

I’m sorry to report just a short time later that my enthusiasm didn’t altogether sustain: they’ve been infiltrated by CSICOP.

Alternate Universes Scrapbook

2005 03 10

When universe needs a particle of some kind, the void produces a shower of them. Universe grabs one and the others return to non-existence, evaporate, annihilate. Any one of the annihilated particles may have been just as good as the one taken. Or, it may have been the best such particle ever; or it may have been a dud. Or they’re all the same. All those particles look the same to me.

A human female produces an egg. If it’s not fertilized in a “month” (one cycle), she produces another. Females of other species produce a few more to many more eggs in any given cycle. Males though from whatever species produce many many sperm: millions.

A trout squirts his sperm in the direction of lots of eggs. Several, hundreds … of the sperm might get lucky. Most don’t. In a human male ejaculate often enough not even one gets lucky.

Michael Jordan can jump higher than me. Tiger Woods can shape his shots much better, hit so much further, see the right line for many a putt. Tiger Woods is a better golfer than just about anybody.

One guy walks on the beach and gets sand fleas. Another guy walks on the beach and finds a Spanish doubloon, or a bottle with a genie. Maybe the guy who gets the fleas is a better guy than the guy who gets the genie. Maybe not. Maybe the guy with the genie winds up wishing he’d stayed off the beach. One guy on the beach gets hit by a tsunami.

The seed that lands on the rock, and that then dessicates on the rock, may have been just as good a seed as the seed that got lucky. The sperm that die wiggling on the sand may have produced an Augustine or a Jane Austen had they gotten lucky. The sperm that gets lucky can’t be too defective, but it is not necessarily “the best.”

The particles not needed by universe return to the void — where, who knows what universe may do with them? with the material, with the potential for energy, for stuff, for form … (Ignore the anthropomorphizing of universe, or the void, or god … I’m writing merely in English after all: a natural language with all sorts of liabilities.) The particles not needed by universe return to the void: where they may in a nanosecond reform as potential in some other universe, or elsewhen in this universe. The seed that doesn’t get lucky disintegrates, gets recycled. Maybe the sand fleas eat it, the bed bugs … the bacteria. And the bacteria get eaten: and the worm and the bird … and the critters produce more sperm, maybe sperm just as good as the old defeated sperm, maybe better.

But what if the void grabbed sperm before it died, just as it grabs the unneeded virtual particles? What if the void shuttled each unlucky sperm to some other universe where maybe it would get lucky?

When the barbarian kills the Christian, the Christian may imagine that God will take him to heaven and make everything alright, better than ever. I don’t believe that: but my doubt affects in no way the possibility that the dead Christian, or the dead barbarian that the Christian killed, might wind up in an alternate universe in which his fate is different: if not reversed.

I can’t model how it would happen, but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t. (Neither does my imagining it mean that it can or does.)

Still, wouldn’t it be nice, wouldn’t it be interesting, if the dead Canaanites had an Israel somewhere that they took from the Jews? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a God somewhere who had a Covenant with the Canaanites? Shouldn’t the Cheyenne have a nice world somewhere where they suck the blood of the English colonists?

What if there’s a universe in which a virtual Illich wasn’t defrocked by the virtual Church? where the Jews did listen to and respect and value Jesus, all the way up to their Temple and their palace? What if a virtual Illich had then still met a virtual pk? and that the virtual universities had joined FLEX? and the virtual public had gotten some sense and gotten rid of all artificial, top-down controls?

Or what if there were a world where a government actually kept to a natural gold standard?

Why not?

Alternate universes may be infinite. That leaves room for an infinite number of human variations on history, on evolution, on physics … That still leaves room for infinities more of universes not human: universes where life is silicon-based, not carbon-, or based on some other type of substance altogether.

I am extremely pleased that fury responded so warmly to what I said about my beloved late Catherine, that better than being “my ideal woman,” Catherine was my “actual friend.” The actual must not be under-appreciated. On the other hand, how do we know what’s actual in all universes? in all time?

If what we mean by actual only means what we locally think we’re aware of, then the actual may be way over-rated.

Our devotion should be to what we imagine is the best, the wisest … And don’t forget that different experiences, different consciences may imagine different bests.

Infinite time — and a cosmos of infinite alternate universes have more than ample room for many devils and many different Gods. (Hell, even the earth, even merely history, has room for that!)

Don’t get stuck on the merely actual.

2004 02 07

I have to come back to develop the following:

What if existence is a laboratory with an infinite number of universes, each being one of an infinite number of gods’ universes run experimentally, as a test scenario: is this god’s design any good?

Gravity? Uh, I don’t know. Run it for a few dozen billion cycles. See what happens.

Life? Sentience? Intelligence? Uh, I doubt it. But what do I know? Run it for a few dozen billion cycles. See what happens.

Naturally, Any god may allow evolution to work with his designs: employ chance: design, aided by a set of selection inevitabilities.

Indeed, how could a god prevent chance from coming into play?

2005 01 22

bk ( quotes pk saying

Who knows what cosmic screen saver pattern we’re making: from the right distance?

I’ve said and written so damn much: I have no idea when, where, or in what medium I said that; but until this moment it had been a quoted quote at, not a woven part of a module. PCs make text searches easy/; wetware provides no such app other than memory. It’s clearly pk: with “Alan Watts” type perceptions showing through. (In standard recognized western cosmologies we attribute “cause” to the past and “effect” to the present (at least where kleptocrats get the credit: like the bank charges the interest, even if the bank got the money to charge you interest on by stealing it from you); if we had the cosmos 100% accurately mapped, who know what weird things we could say.)

Now why did I just get sidetracked into that complicated garbage? I returned here just now to say something I’d thought simple. We think we’re living our lives. We think we’re making choices. And maybe we are: or, we could be the players in somebody else’s scenario. We could be variations appearing in a scenario application running on god’s (or Satan’s) (or God’s and Satan’s) computer: Out of n iterations, how many times will they try bipedalism? how many times will speech emerge and change everything? how many times will “English” arise? how many times will it be Communism that falls first? … what will be the ratio of FLEX failures to FLEX successes?

God and Satan could be selling tickets.

Or God and Satan could be blearily cranking us out on a hurdy-gurdy, the themes so over-familiar that no one at the seedy carnival pays the slightest attention to them.

And if alternate universes are truly infinite, then all as well as any of those things could be true.

2006 08 11

I need to sketch a point quick, before finding time to search for where I’ve already said it or where best to put it. To date closely related themes have gathered in my Social Epistemology / Cosmology section and my Social Order / Justice section: and I don’t readily know how many other sections as well.

A symbol, codable as a single datum, one bit, can stand for anything: “X” stands for “Cosmos.” Meantime any universe within that cosmos may have some vast number of time lines: the location for example of each particle at timem, timen, timeo … Thus the number of symbols needed to represent details within the cosmos may be enormous. The number of symbols needed to represent say the thoughts of male virgins under the age of fifteen in New York City on May 3rd may be greater than the symbols needed to map all thoughts by all humans alive up until the reign of Rameses. Thus: any symbol in any world might symbolize the entire cosmos; but all the particles in universex might not be adequate to map all the events in worldy. Thus some twelve year old with a G12 processor might be able to hold his own judgment day for world NT of universe ZN, but all the gods that have ever lived or not lived, been imagined, or not imagined, couldn’t map the complexity (or the simplicity) of the whole cosmos.

@ K. 2003 06 20

Society Social Epistemology Cosmology Etc.

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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