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The Universe, Top Down

2 Sep

Sometimes, after seeing how something works, one is able to form a new global understanding of it that makes it possible to view it and describe it from a top-down perspective. This is the case with my theory of the universe.

Geocentric Model

The three laws of Aristotelian logic are as follows:

  1. A proposition that is true is true. A proposition that is false is false.
  2. A proposition that true is not false and a proposition that is false is not true.
  3. Every proposition is either true or false (the law of the excluded middle).

The third law, the law of the excluded middle, has a remarkable implication. If every proposition must be either true or false, every possible proposition must be decided. This introduces the necessity of a universal choice function that maps possibility to actuality. Since this choice function must decide among such things as the existence and nature of consciousness, this choice function must have these properties. It must have preference in order to be able to choose, which is equivalent to sensation. It must experience qualia.

God is the contemporary name given to the choice function that maps possibility to actuality. Since God is equivalent to the Aristotelian laws of truth, God is a fundamental truth.

God sought to create something that is not God that “unfolds” and has free will. So he invented the “series proposition”. A series proposition is a set of propositions in which one proposition must be resolved before the conditions of the next proposition become available. He also invented a situation in which it is impossible for there to be a deterministic algorithm that resolves these propositions; hence, he created the conditions equivalent to Bell’s theorem.

This series of propositions that must be resolved by nondeterministic means results in the existence of a choice function that is essentially like God, but with much more restricted parameters. This kind of choice function is called a spirit or a soul.

Souls have the essential characteristics of God. Due to the demands that are placed on souls, such as their need to have preference, they experience qualia similar to the qualia experienced by God. The experience of preference is the definition of qualia. The experience of color, sound, warmth, etc is the manifestation of the process of choosing. These things are the “preference” that leads to a choice.  A soul is literally the act of choosing between alternative propositions, and cannot exist without the need to choose.

The “unity” experienced by a soul is the result of the number of characteristics it has to resolve that must be logically consistent. The unity of the soul over space and time is the result of it having to make choices with interdependent elements both laterally and chronologically. The “scale” of a soul is equivalent to the number of interdependent choices it must choose between.

All of physics and quantum mechanics is the manifestation of this system that God set up. Quantum indeterminacy is the manifestation of the unresolved propositions and quantum decoherence is the resolution of a proposition. Quantum entanglement is the characteristic of logically interdependent choices. Choices can be interdependent both laterally and chronologically, so entanglement occurs both laterally and chronologically.

“Time” is the process of propositions being resolved in series. Each separate set of lateral propositions is equivalent to a moment in time.

Heaven is a scenario in which most choices are between things that are preferred instead of a mixture of what is preferred and not preferred.

God is leading us to heaven by limiting our choices. However, since we have to get there through a series of choices, we must, in effect, create heaven ourselves. This is why God cannot interfere. If God interfered, his “observation” would cause decoherence of the entire system and souls would cease to exist.

God set the universe up so that heaven would be attainable through a series of choices.

The configuration of our universe is the one in which the best possible heaven can ultimately be selected for.

The choices humanity makes are leading it to heaven.

A Plausible Biblical Young Earth Creation Theory

7 Apr

Before I begin, I must give a slight disclaimer. I have no idea if this theory is correct. It is an idea I have been mulling over for years and am sharing because I think it is interesting and because it lends some credence to a faith-based existence.

In quantum mechanics, there is an experiment called the “double slit” experiment that splits light beams into two paths that reunite and cause a wave interference pattern. If you are not familiar with this experiment, I recommend that you read the Wikipedia entry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-slit_experiment

It has been observed that when it is possible to know which slit a light particle passes through, the particle stops passing through both slits. Moreover, the wave pattern disappears. This is sometimes referred to as wave function collapse. For quite some time, it was believed that the conscious act of observation caused the collapse. This opinion has been updated from “conscious observation” to “measurement”, but either is sufficiently correct for the theory I am about to propose.

When one physicist on Physics Stack Exchange was asked about the notion that conscious observation causes wave function collapse, he responded, in part, as follows:

The posit that it is consciousness that causes this collapse is very hard to debunk, due to the very nature of this type of argument. However, if you consider the following example, it should be clear that this picture is far from complete; and that this argument for consciousness causing the…process is not sufficient. Consider the weather, the detailed weather patterns that occur on any planet, being dependent of chaotic processes, which [must] be sensitive to numerous individual quantum events. if the…process does not actually take place in the absence of consciousness, then no particular weather pattern could ever establish itself out of the morass of quantum-superposed alternatives. Can we really believe that the weather on these planets remain in complex-number superpositions of innumerable distinct possibilities – just some total hazy mess quite different from actual weather – until some conscious being becomes aware of it and then at that point, and only that point the superposed weather becomes actual weather? I don’t think so – do you? 

http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/35328/why-does-observation-collapse-the-wave-function

The unstated implication is that if a contemporary observation were made, the collapse would occur in such a way that the weather pattern would take on a structure that represented a consistent history all the way back to the big bang. In a sense, though not an entirely accurate sense, the history for the weather pattern, indeed the entire planet, would be written retroactively.

The author apparently considers this to be a ridiculous proposition. However, what he fails to realize is that he is essentially describing a larger scale variant of the famous Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment. Again, I refer the reader to the applicable Wikipedia entry:

Schrodingers Cat

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

Why does a proposition that apparently seems reasonable to physicists when considered at the level of a cat that has about 10^26 atoms, suddenly seem implausible when applied to a planet that has perhaps 10^50 atoms? Let us assume for the moment that the proposition the author describes as seeming absurd is actually correct.

Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind makes the argument that consciousness did not appear in the world until sometime around 1000 BC:

Jaynes built a case for this hypothesis that human brains existed in a bicameral state until as recently as 3000 years ago by citing evidence from many diverse sources including historical literature. He took an interdisciplinary approach, drawing data from many different fields. Jaynes asserted that, until roughly the times written about in Homer’s Iliad, humans did not generally have the self-awareness characteristic of consciousness as most people experience it today. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism_(psychology)

However, Jaynes’ argument does not preclude the possibility that, among some peoples, consciousness may have emerged earlier or later. Possibly, consciousness was first introduced to the world, and in effect the universe, as early as 4000 BC.

Now, consider this passage from Genesis:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 

The phrase “without form, and void” is an apt description of something in a state of quantum superposition. The phrase “Let there be light” sounds very much like a description of observation or measurement.

I am postulating that the story of Genesis may essentially be correct and that the formless void it describes was a universe wide state of quantum superposition that did not take the form of the known universe, with its structured history going all the way back to the big bang, until conscious beings (possibly the first conscious humans) looked at the universe at approximately 4000 BC. In effect, there was not even any chronological time until the universe was observed. The Universe was literally created 6000 years ago.

If we replace “conscious observation” with “measurement” the only thing that changes is that someone or something had to “measure” the universe at that time. The argument might be made that there was surely some process in existence at some time prior to 4000 BC that might measure the universe, but it is not at all clear what that process would be in a universe that is entirely in a state of quantum superposition. Some novel property must have been introduced into the formless void.

An observation made by modern cosmologists is that the makeup of the universe is fine-tuned to produce life. It is so precisely fine-tuned that if any of a number of universal constants were changed even slightly, life could not form. To address this, they have proposed that there may be a large number of universes and that ours may be just one variant. What I am proposing is that there were an equivalent number of universes, but in quantum superposition, and that something happened approximately 6000 years ago that caused them to coalesce into the one we see today. Possibly, the introduction of consciousness to the universe was the catalyst that caused this coalescence, or possibly some external observation or measurement caused it.

If the universe was not an accident, but was created as many believe, there would be an elegant logic to it being created in the way I have described. When filmmakers film a scene, they do not try to get it exactly right with one take. Instead, they make several takes and select the one that works. When animal breeders want to create an animal with certain characteristics, they do not try to modify them genetically. They select the animals that are the closest to what they want and breed them. A stone sculptor does not build a rock. He chips rock away. When plant groomers want a plant to have a certain shape, they do not try to get the plant to grow that way. They let it grow unconstrained and trim away the parts that do not suit them. If someone or something wanted to create a universe with certain very specific characteristics, and one that works together logically, they would undoubtedly resort to a similar approach. An idea that has become popular in geek circles is that we are actually living in a computer program running on a giant server somewhere. If a programmer with unlimited resources wanted to create a simulation like the one we are ostensibly living in, he would certainly do it in the way I have described.

There is also a compelling argument for why the universe would have come into existence in this way over all other ways. A universe in quantum superposition accounts for all the possible configurations of the universe and why they would necessarily include one that supports life, and especially conscious human life. However there still remains the question of why the universe in quantum superposition would necessarily have coalesced into the exact configuration we are familiar with and not some other configuration. The answer is that this is the earliest possible configuration that had conscious observation. In other words, it could not have coalesced into another configuration because the coalescence would not have been consistent with the only process that appears to have been available to cause the coalescence in a universe wide state of quantum superposition: conscious human observation. Naturally, this raises the “chicken or egg” issue of whether the quantum collapse caused consciousness to appear or whether the appearance of consciousness caused the quantum collapse. Most likely, this is a false dichotomy and all that was truly necessary was that they co-occur. I suspect that some rigorous historical investigation may lead to a compelling argument that consciousness, as we know it, appeared almost exactly at the specified time. Jaynes began this investigation, but I suspect there is more to the story than what he uncovered.

It may seem unnecessary for a being like God to resort to such an approach, but assuming that he did answers a troubling question. Why would God create a universe in 4000 BC that seems to trace its origins to 13.8 billion years earlier? The answer is that the “history” of our universe was created, in a sense, “retroactively” as a part of a more contemporary creation methodology. The apparent history is not a fraud. It is a necessary characteristic of a universe created in this way. It is the branches of the plant that were left when the unwanted branches were trimmed away.

An obvious problem with this theory is that quantum collapse is probabilistic. However, I suspect that this would not be a problem for God. According to Bell’s theorem, there can be no locally real variables that control quantum collapse, but even Bell observed that true omniscience could overcome this obstacle:

There is a way to escape the inference of superluminal speeds and spooky action at a distance. But it involves absolute determinism in the universe, the complete absence of free will. Suppose the world is super-deterministic, with not just inanimate nature running on behind-the-scenes clockwork, but with our behavior, including our belief that we are free to choose to do one experiment rather than another, absolutely predetermined, including the ‘decision’ by the experimenter to carry out one set of measurements rather than another, the difficulty disappears. There is no need for a faster-than-light signal to tell particle A what measurement has been carried out on particle B, because the universe, including particle A, already ‘knows’ what that measurement, and its outcome, will be.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell%27s_theorem

Bell was apparently not a religious man and did not consider the obvious alternative to super-determinism.

It is important to realize that, prior to the quantum collapse of the universe, there were no “people” in the sense that we think of them. They were people “possibilities” in quantum superposition. They were not conscious. They had no souls until consciousness entered the universe in approximately 4000 BC.

People in Superposition

Is any of this correct? God only knows. In 1859, when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species, he set in motion a challenge to young earth creationists to explain how the Book of Genesis could be reconciled with his theory. Instead of suspending judgment, many Christians adopted the view that his theory must be incorrect and set about disproving it. Now, 160 years later, our understanding of science allows a synthesis of these ideas that no one at the time could have conceptualized. Instead of denying Darwin’s evolution by natural selection, faithful Christians should have proclaimed that while observation tells them one thing, faith tells them another; and that they will put off reconciling the two until they are both fully understood.

The takeaway of what I have explained here, at least as I see it, is this. If you are a person of faith, be patient with science. Sooner or later, science and your beliefs will find each other.

Faith

12 Mar

For many years now, I have been in the habit of holding some special object in my hands when I pray. The object is usually something simple and natural like an unusual stone. The object makes prayer “official”. When I am holding my prayer object, it is clear in my mind that I am communicating with God and that I should concentrate on that activity. This kind of device is common in many pursuits. Sometimes students wear a special hat when they are studying to make their study sessions official and remind them to concentrate.

For several years, my prayer object was a heart-shaped stone that I bought through eBay. About a year ago, when I was climbing into my bed, I found two small pebbles, a turquoise colored one and a cream colored one. They had apparently fallen out of my pocket when I went to take a nap. I could not remember when I acquired them or why, but I was fairly sure I had picked them up on our local beach. I recognized immediately that I was to use these when I prayed instead of the heart shaped stone. I never particularly cared for those two pebbles. However, since God had provided them for me, I felt that it was my duty to use them. I always held the turquoise one in my left hand and the cream colored one in my right hand.

About a month ago, when I was shopping at a local Dollar Tree, I came across a single smooth, flat, seaweed colored stone that had the word “Faith” engraved in it in gold. The stone was sitting there all alone on a shelf of other knickknacks that were for sale. There were no others like it in that section. As with the turquoise and cream colored stones, I recognized at once that God now wanted me to use this new object when I said my prayers.  I eventually discovered that it was a regular item for sale at the Dollar Tree. Each one was slightly unique and some of them had other words engraved in them. However, I knew that this particular stone was the one God had set aside for me.

The stone was a gift from God. I had to pay a dollar to get it out of the store, but that was immaterial. I was not being charged a dollar by God. I was paying an insignificant fee to a business for delivering to me the gift that God had provided.

Faith Stone

For the following month, I used the stone as my prayer object and held it whenever I said my prayers. Its smooth flat shape was ergonomic.  It fit my hands perfectly. It seemed to be made for me and for that purpose. When I cupped it in my hands while I prayed, it seemed to become a part of me.

Just recently, I was experiencing some minor hardships. They were hardships grouped into a pattern that I had come to recognize was a signal from God that there was something about my behavior that needed to change. I was not sure what it was. However, five evenings ago, when I was looking at my prayer stone, I made the connection.

For quite some time, I had been contemplating finding some book that could be my book of truth. I had been looking for a book that would be my guide book for how God wanted me to live. I was seeking my “bible”. I had been contemplating buying a particular King James Bible with just the right “look” that I had found online.

Teal King James Bible

I have read the Bible from cover to cover, but it never really spoke to me. Some Christians would say that this is because I do not believe, but I have reason to doubt their interpretation. I felt, for a variety of reasons, that the appearance of this particular Bible might signify the message God was willing to share with me. That notion would require some explaining that would take me too far afield. Besides, I realize now that it was incorrect.

I was also considering collecting together some writings of my own and binding them together to be my bible. I had tried this before, but it never worked very well.

Suddenly, I realized that this was all a mistake. There was no book of rules for me. My bible was a single word carved into stone: “Faith”.

This was an important realization. If a person contemplates the single word faith, everything else falls into place. God has no other words. Even “faith” is not God’s actual word. There is no human word that is equal to God’s meaning, but faith is the closest. If a person contemplates faith, that word will lead them to God. I assume there is some comparable word in other languages and traditions.

When a person contemplates faith, they do not need a rule book. They do not need guidance of any other sort. God tells a person who contemplates faith what faith means and he reminds them of that meaning whenever they lose track. God tells a person who contemplates faith what they should do and what they should believe. It is the moral code for distinguishing right from wrong. Faith instructs the follower on what God looks like and what he has prepared for them. It is the image of the future and what comes after the physical body ceases to function. Faith is the window into God’s wisdom. A person who knows faith knows God.

Faith means living without fear of losing faith. God gave me the new prayer stone to help me identify and remember his lesson. However, if I lose the physical stone, it will be because I am meant to lose it, not because I have gotten lost in my pursuit of God.

When I understood this, the problems I was having miraculously cleared up. They seemed to dematerialize retroactively. I knew this was God’s way of saying that I had learned the right lesson.

Of course, I will have other struggles in the future. Maybe they will be lessons or maybe they will just be struggles. I do not believe that God rewards “good works” or punishes “bad works” in this life. To believe such a thing would be to believe that every rich person deserves their wealth or that cancer sufferers, tortured prisoners and people burned alive in fires somehow deserve their misery. However, I am convinced that he uses our experiences to lead us to greater understanding. In any case, I am nearly certain that I have learned this one lesson.

Faith.

Spirits as Fundamental Truths

14 Jan

For clarity on this topic, see the following:

Saurian Dualism

Saurian dualism describes two fundamental objects. These objects are both spirits, albeit of vastly different scale. The definition of a spirit, as given before, is as follows:

A spirit is a choice function that exists where a choice is called for and it is impossible, even in principle, for the choice to be made by a deterministic algorithm. The magnitude of the spirit is equal to the product of the degrees of freedom of the total entangled choice to be made.

The large-scale spirit, G(x) is a choice function that decides the state of the entire universe down to the minutest detail. The small-scale spirits, P(x), act on much smaller scale sets established by G(x). Both types of spirits are made necessary by the existence of sets of propositions that would remain unresolved if not for the spirits acting to resolve them. All such propositions are inaccessible to any deterministic algorithm.

The state of the universe, which is an uncountably infinite set of propositions, cannot be resolved by a deterministic algorithm because of the scale of the set of propositions and the dynamism of their interactions. It appears that both the scale of these propositions and the dynamism of their interactions must be the largest possible cardinal number.  It is important to realize that nothing “generates” G(x). The necessary qualities of the requisite choice function diverge to G(x). The law of the excluded middle dictates that there are no undecided propositions. Therefore, the universe must be completely decided. However, it seems inescapable that the universe, as a whole, must have three characteristics. The first characteristic is that it can have a number of possible configurations that are equal to the largest possible cardinal number. The second characteristic is that the complexity of these configurations can be equal to the largest possible cardinal number. The third characteristic is that the configuration of the universe can have no internal contradictions. It is impossible for a person to even begin to comprehend what this entails. Nevertheless, this is the problem that arises. G(x) is the mapping of all these possible states to just one. It is tempting to think that the universe could simply have the requisite single configuration and be done with it. The problem is that remaining in one configuration is an ongoing proposition that also has an uncountably large number of possible solutions.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, just is. G(x) is not a conscious agent because that quality is essential for its task. It is a conscious agent because that quality is possible, and G(x) must have every possible quality.

The propositions that the P(x) spirits act on are inaccessible to deterministic algorithms because that is the way G(x) has established them. As I observed before, this was a surrealistically clever trick of design that challenges the limits of credulity. Yet, Bell’s theorem shows that they exist.

The sets of propositions that the P(x) act on are established as a series in which it is impossible for one proposition to be resolved until the previous proposition has been resolved. The procession from the resolution of one proposition to the next is what the P(x) perceive as the passage of time.

G(x) and P(x) are both fundamental truths of existence that are equivalent to the third law of Aristotelian logic, the law of the excluded middle. Consequently, the choices that these spirits make are also fundamental truths. Since the universe is the result of choices made either by G(x) or P(x), the universe, as a whole, is a fundamental truth. As such, it could be no other way.

The biggest obstacle to grasping this construct is our notion of time. It does not seem like a fundamental truth such as is resolved by the P(x) could exist that only becomes true with the passage of time. However, this misperception is quickly resolved when one realizes that our perception of time is actually the perception of P(x) spirits resolving sets of propositions in a particular order.  There is no time independent from the ordered resolution of propositions by P(x).

In a sense, this overall construct implies that the entire universe is deterministic. Yet, relative to the P(x) that has the task of resolving certain propositions in a particular order, the universe is not deterministic at all. The P(x) are the “truth” that determines what the resolution of the propositions will be.

This overall construct resolves the question of “free will”. It is true that P(x) have free will, but their free will is the determining factor in the overall state of the universe. Another way to look at this is to ask a simple question: “What is the relationship between a fundamental truth and that which it makes true?”

This also makes it clear why humans have struggled for so long with the construct of free will. It turns out that the obstacle all along was their perception of time. When one sees actions as taking place over a period of time, it seems like free will must be something that chooses what will happen in the future. However, the perception of past, present and future are misleading. Actually, in a sense, the past present and future are all part of a single construct. It is the sequence of choices the P(x) make that is free will. Relative to the universe overall, the choices are all already made. Relative to the P(x) one choice cannot be made until the prior choice is made, and their act of choosing is free will.

I realize that my own struggle with this overall construct is with the notion of consciousness being the emanation of a spirit, as I define it, and a spirit being a fundamental truth. A fundamental truth seems like a very “big” thing. I realize that the reason why I struggle with a spirit being a fundamental truth is that this raises the character of a spirit to such a seemingly high level. Like most members of western society, I have been inundated with the notion that humans and their existence are small and unimportant. However, the notion that the human spirit is, somehow, insignificant, is really not a reasonable idea.

Science is able to formulate rules to describe nearly everything that it encounters, but it struggles with human consciousness. That struggle alone is sufficient reason to suppose that consciousness is “big”. Also, our consciousness is really the only thing we can perceive. As some writers have put it, “Consciousness does not exist in the universe; the universe exists in consciousness.” When one lets go of the meme, implanted in our brains by such prominent writers as Carl Sagan, that human consciousness is far too “little” to be a fundamental truth, everything about my theory comes into focus.

Langoliers and Transcription Factors

27 Dec

I have gotten so far away from any sort of empirical science with my ideas on Saurian Dualism that these ideas have taken on the character of what Extropia DaSilva calls “just-so stories”. Nevertheless, I feel a need to work out all the loose ends.

For clarity on this topic, see the following:

What Is Consciousness and Why Does It Matter

A Theory of God and Everything

Consciousness, A Simple Model

An Actual Theory of Consciousness

A Theory of Time

What Propositions Does Consciousness actually Decide

Saurian Dualism

Although the reason is somewhat obscure, I have become obsessed with the notion that spirits must remain completely separate from the “material” universe. However the description in my last entry suggests that they must have at least some contact with the material universe in order to delete paths that they do not follow. Also there is some question as to how spirits read the material universe in order to follow paths in it.

For these reasons, I have invented two new ideas: langoliers and transcription factors.

The term langolier comes from a Stephen King short story and a subsequent mini-series. In the Stephen King story, Langoliers follow closely behind the present and eat up the past.

Langoliers

Stephen King’s Langoliers from Mini-Series

The langoliers in my theory follow a history path right behind a spirit and make that path disappear behind it. They also make any paths disappear that are no longer blocked by the spirit. The moment a spirit comes to a fork in a path associated with quantum field collapse, the langolier is no longer blocked from access to that path and immediately destroys it well into the indefinite future.

Langoliers are not spirits, they are not conscious, and they do not have free will. They  are not material in the sense of the material universe. However, they have the property of being able to follow a physical timeline and also detect the presence of a spirit.

Transcription factors are the intermediary between the physical universe and a spirit. They transcribe the physical universe to the spirit so that the spirit can “see” what is going on without actually interacting with the physical universe. They also keep the spirit attached to and on the track of the physical universe. In this regard, they are very much like the transcription factors that read DNA and translate it into RNA.

Like langoliers, transcription factors are not spirits, they are not conscious, and they do not have free will. Nor are they physical.

Langoliers and TransciptIon Factors

Saurian Dualism

24 Dec

Since my theory of consciousness is more or less complete, I realize that, for reference purposes, this theory must have a name. I hereby officially name it “Saurian Dualism”.

For an understanding of Saurian Dualism, see the following in the order that they are listed:

What Is Consciousness and Why Does It Matter

A Theory of God and Everything

Consciousness, A Simple Model

An Actual Theory of Consciousness

A Theory of Time

What Propositions Does Consciousness actually Decide

Langoliers and Transcription Factors

Spirits as Fundamental Truths

Old Souls

I may eventually collect all of this together into one completely coherent entry.

What Propositions Does Consciousness actually Decide

24 Dec

Something that has been bothering me about my theories of consciousness and time is that there is a conflict between the notions that consciousness must necessarily be separate from the syntactical processing of the mechanical universe while, at the same time, it must also resolve something about that mechanical universe in order to be called into existence.

For clarity on this topic, review the following:

https://spikosauropod.com/2012/04/17/a-theory-of-god-and-everything/

https://spikosauropod.com/2014/04/25/consciousness-a-simple-model/

https://spikosauropod.com/2018/11/30/an-actual-theory-of-consciousness/

https://spikosauropod.com/2018/12/22/a-theory-of-time/

The problem goes something like this. Since the mechanical universe is syntactical and consciousness is semantic, consciousness cannot be a part of the mechanical universe. For this reason, instead of interacting with the universe, a spirit, which manifests as consciousness, merely traces out one of many paths according to the Everett interpretation of quantum field collapse. However, the whole reason why a spirit exists is that there are recurring propositions in the mechanical universe—which way the field collapses—that can only be resolved if a choice function exists to resolve them. A spirit is supposedly the choice function that resolves those propositions.

I get around the problem of a spirit interacting with the mechanical universe by having it merely trace a path in the universe and choosing a path when it comes to a split. However, if the spirit merely chooses a path, it is not deciding anything but its own course. It does not influence the universe at all. However, if the spirit does not choose anything but its own path, it is not made necessary by the need for a choice. A spirit is rendered useless if it exists only to resolve propositions that affect only itself.

For a while, I was content to assume that the Everett interpretation of quantum field collapse was only an interpretation and that, when it was convenient, I could switch back to the Copenhagen interpretation, but that kind of theoretic rationalizing is something I am trying to avoid. I am developing a theory that simply works.

What I propose as a remedy is that a spirit does not choose the path that the universe follows, but chooses which paths remain after it selects its own path. In other words, after the spirit chooses a path, the other paths that it does not choose disappear. It does not choose which path comes into existence, since all the paths exist initially. It chooses which paths go away.

Fork in Path

This not only solves the problem of what a spirit decides. It also solves a problem with thermodynamics. A principle of thermodynamics is that entropy can only increase. However, in the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, the possibility that paths may converge creates the possibility that entropy will decrease. However, if every path that a spirit does not follow is “pruned” this problem goes away. Since the pruning continues through the point where the paths might have fused, the overlap no longer exists for either path.

This is the perfect solution. It means that the path the universe follows is not influenced at all by a spirit and the spirit is not influenced at all by the universe while, at the same time, it is called into existence to resolve a proposition in the universe.

It may seem at first that the fact that a spirit’s action removes the possibility of paths converging has an eventual effect on the path that the universe can follow, but actually it does not. The universe could not have followed that path anyhow due to the second law of thermodynamics. The choice that a spirit makes merely provides the mechanism by which the convergence is prevented. However, the fact that it performs that inevitable service, once again guarantees its existence.

Note that the spirit only chooses the path that the universe follows at points of quantum collapse. It has no influence on the syntactical processing that manifests as classical physics. The universe behaves exactly as it would have done if the spirit did not exist. However, at certain points where the universe would have split anyhow, and the split would have been probabilistic according to the Copenhagen interpretation, a spirit, in a sense, causes the deck to be stacked. It has no influence on the course of paths it does not follow, since those paths cease to exist. (Note that there is no observer in those paths, since the spirit has taken a different path.) There is no classical trace of the spirit having acted at all. A good analogy would be someone who always seems to get winning hands in poker games while there is no evidence, even in theory, that they have cheated.

To accommodate any “sum over histories” effects or quantum erasure effects, it is possible that the neglected path does not disappear until every possibility of it influencing the path a spirit follows has run its course.

A Theory of Time

22 Dec

While thinking about my theory of consciousness, I realized that it leads naturally to a theory of time.

For clarity on this topic, review the following:

https://spikosauropod.com/2012/04/17/a-theory-of-god-and-everything/

https://spikosauropod.com/2014/04/25/consciousness-a-simple-model/

https://spikosauropod.com/2018/11/30/an-actual-theory-of-consciousness/

Time is largely an illusion. It is our way of interpreting the process of proceeding through a set of ordered steps. This theory explains the form that those steps actually take.

Quantum Time

Consciousness is the manifestation of a spirit. I define a spirit as follows:

A spirit is a choice function that exists where a choice is called for and it is impossible, even in principle, for the choice to be made by a deterministic algorithm. The magnitude of the spirit is equal to the product of the degrees of freedom of the total entangled choice to be made.

Quantum events, prior to collapse, are the undecided propositions that spirits act on and choose an outcome for. The decision of one proposition leads naturally to another undecided proposition. If we interpret quantum events according to the Everett interpretation, spirits decide the outcome of these propositions by moving to one choice or the other. It is a spirit’s transition from one proposition to the next that causes the spirit to experience the transition of time.

It is important to realize that, in a series of propositions where one proposition must be decided in order to give rise to the next, there is no possibility of the series of propositions being decided all at once. The resolution of one proposition is required before the next proposition exists to be resolved.

Since the perception of time is the ordered transition through the series of propositions, the “speed” with which these propositions manifest and are resolved is not a meaningful concept. A moment in time is defined as the transition from one proposition to the next.

These “moments” in time are actually time “quanta”. A quantum of time is the transition from one proposition to the next.

It seems likely that a series of propositions must be considered “entangled” in the same way that particles can be entangled. This is why a particular spirit exists to move through the entire series. However, this entanglement is a “cascading” entanglement that exists something like a domino effect.

It is possible that entangled events overlap both in “time” and space, giving rise to the spirit’s sense of the unification of the immediate past, present and future. This is in addition to the spirits sense of unity across space. Thus, there is conscious unity across space-time.

More Thoughts on Consciousness

3 Dec

After I published my last entry, I went back and edited it quite a few times. There are a lot of aspects to this theory and it is difficult to remember them all and get them in.

This theory is, from my perspective, a little past the stage plate tectonics was at when people first began to notice how the continents of North and South America seemed to fit together with the continents of Europe and Africa as if they were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I realized, as John Searle did, that the semantic nature of consciousness was at odds with the syntactical nature of the universe, and, low and behold, there was a mechanism available that provided the machinery so that something that is fundamentally different from the material universe could to seem to interact with it.

After I came up with the idea of a choice function that, in a sense, generated the universe, I realized that there were problems extrapolating it to smaller choice functions. How could a choice function that was forced into existence by the law of the excluded middle, somehow turn around and create a universe that still has “holes” that need to be filled by other smaller choice functions? Then, suddenly, I realized that Bell’s theorem provided the mechanism by which this could be accomplished.

Like Albert Einstein, I have often noted how remarkable it is that the universe seems to be designed as if it were meant to be figured out. What he said, precisely, was, “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.”  The comprehensibility of the universe seems to be another characteristic, like the way that continents fit together, that hints at a deeper truth. That deeper truth is that we were meant to figure the universe out. The universe is a puzzle that was designed to be solved.

It is a tribute to the choice function I described in my last post that it was both able to make a universe that works, and one that doubles as a teaching tool. This is reminiscent of the DNA molecule that manages to contain the software of life, but is also its own hardware. When people invented magnetic tape that holds data, they were compelled to separate the hardware (the tape) from the software (the magnetized information). Nature found a way to combine the hardware and software and still get a better result.

Writing my last entry forced me to realize something that has been stirring in the back of my mind for many years. That idea is that there can be no real difference between a scientific law and a fundamental truth. Everything we see in the universe is somehow an outcropping of the fundamental truth that generates it. The law of the excluded middle is a law of thought, but so too is the statue of a gnome in your neighbor’s yard. Everything that you see is, at a deeper level, part of the fundamental truth of the universe. This realization makes it easier to accept the idea that everyone’s consciousness can be a fundamental truth.

This is an important aspect of my theory to understand. Consciousness is not a mechanism. It does not have any internal machinery. It is an axiom. It is truth. It may seem odd that a fundamental truth could come into existence 14 billion years after the universe came into existence, but that is only from the perspective of humans. If one looks at the universe top down instead of chronologically, one realizes that anything that happens in it is as much a fundamental truth as its initial state. Moreover, consciousness is not just a truth that begins at one’s birth and unfolds according to the initial state of that truth. It is a truth that manifests from the day one is born until the day one ceases to exist, even if the date one ceases to exist is at the end of time. This is not to say that the universe is deterministic. It may be true that the universe branches and that the branching is driven by actual free-will choices that, nevertheless, are fundamental truths of the universe.

An Actual Theory of Consciousness

30 Nov

This theory is an extrapolation of an observation I made earlier about the universe in general and how it extends from a universal choice function. In order to understand the specific case of the choice function that is human consciousness, it is necessary to start with the general case of the universal choice function. Only in seeing that this choice function must necessarily be conscious is it possible to grasp why the more limited case of the human choice function must be conscious.

For clarity on this topic, review the following:

https://spikosauropod.com/2012/04/17/a-theory-of-god-and-everything/

https://spikosauropod.com/2014/04/25/consciousness-a-simple-model/

It is often imagined that there could be a simple rule that describes the entire universe. Such a rule has been proposed by Stephen Wolfram in his book, A New Kind of Science. What Wolfram proposed is that the universe could be the product of something as simple as a cellular automaton. He even suggested an automaton, Rule 110, that he describes as being Turing complete and that could, in theory, encode anything that is computable.

However, as I have observed before, any notion of a simple rule that describes the universe runs into problems. In the case of a cellular automaton, although the rule is relatively easy to describe, this does not take into account all the implied parameters that are not described within the rule. In order for a cellular automaton to actually unfold, it must be represented on a digital computer. Digital computers have an intricate construction, require power and are of finite size. The automaton must be supported by the computer’s machinery and algorithms and it must constantly be told what to do and what not to do. The encoding of the algorithm must have defaults for what to do when the computer’s memory is exhausted.

Computer

This may not seem to apply to something like the universe, but actually it does. There is a temptation to think that the universe can have rules that it “just follows” and that nothing need support the rules in the sense of a digital computer. This is the fallback position of most physicists, but it is really a rationalization they make to justify not dealing with an essential problem of existence. Nothing, absolutely nothing, just happens. If the universe did not have some driving mechanism that keeps it on track, every juncture—actually every instant—would essentially be an undecided proposition.

The problem is bigger than that. If there were a simple rule that governs all reality, it would have, for all practical purposes, an infinite number of parameters. For example, will the rule be two-dimensional like Wolfram’s experiments or three-dimensional? Why not ten-dimensional or a trillion-dimensional? Will it be allowed to expand forever into whatever dimensional space it is supported by? What will happen if it somehow “runs into” itself? What will keep it following a particular rule and not deciding midway to follow some other rule? Do all of the parts of the rule proceed at the same pace? What is that pace? Are they governed by linear time? What is the nature of that time? Could there be more than one kind of time? Could the time be different for one part of the rule than it is for another part of the rule? For every “rule” there are an infinite number of “non” rules. When we say “if a then b”, we are also saying “if a then not c or d…or e…or f…or g.” Also, any rule we are likely to think of will require that we ensure the rule does not contradict itself at some point. Anyone who has attempted to design a board game like Monopoly will understand what I mean. Rules are inherently problematic.

It would be impossible for something as complicated as our universe to run smoothly without a consistent rule that is, realistically, infinite in scope. If you think you could come up with a simple rule that works for the entire universe, you are not looking deeply enough. You are not looking critically at all the implicit assumptions in such a rule. Also, if our universe did happen to have a simple rule that took everything into account and had no loose ends, it would probably be a universe that is repetitious or degenerate. Degeneration is a notable problem of cellular automata. Extensive study has shown that, almost without exception, they eventually run down and become repetitious or simply die. The simplest rule we know of that is inherently consistent is also the most degenerate rule imaginable: non-existence. Therefore, the most likely state of the universe would be that it does not exist.

Yet, the universe does at least appear to exist and it is, at least from our perspective, quite interesting. As conscious beings that are part of the universe, we see color and feel emotion. The universe is an interesting place.

Suppose, instead of starting with the observable universe and attempting to find a rule that describes it, we start, instead, with the most obvious default state of the universe, nonexistence, and try to construct a universe from scratch. Our immediate realization is that, for every possible attribute of the universe, we must make a choice. We must decide how many dimensions it will have. We must decide how large it will be. Will the dimensions curl in on themselves or will they stretch out forever? Will there be “matter” in this universe? Will the matter fill the entire universe or just part of it? How large will the area be that it fills? Every aspect of the universe has to be “chosen” before we turn it on and set it running.

The mere existence of the universe involves an immense challenge of choosing. In fact, there is a law of thought (of Aristotelian logic, to be precise) that applies here. It is called the law of the excluded middle. What it says is that, given a particular proposition, either that proposition is true or it is false:

For all p, p or not p.

The law of the excluded middle leaves no room for ambiguity. If the universe is to exist, it must be complete and perfectly consistent. However, this suggests that there must be some mechanism that decides what the state of the universe actually is. What I propose is that the law of the excluded middle is logically equivalent to a “choice function” that is capable of making the choice. A choice function is a concept from mathematics. It is a mathematical function that chooses one element from every set. There is an axiom in mathematics that says that, for any given set of nonempty sets, there exists a choice function that can choose one element from every set. What I propose is that this choice function must be a reality in the existential sense.

This choice function is not something that is “generated” by the law of the excluded middle. It is logically equivalent to it. In other words, this choice function is a law of logic in itself. This law is infinite in scope and dynamism because the potential universe is infinite in scope and dynamism. It is not a byproduct of complexity. It is the complexity. Moreover, since it quickly becomes clear that the possible choices for the state of the universe must be equivalent to the largest possible cardinal number, this choice function must choose from a set that is equivalent to the largest possible cardinal number. What could be called the fourth law of logic is a rule of magnitude equal to the largest cardinal number. Since this choice function must decide every aspect of the universe and, effectively, un-decide every non aspect, it must be infinite in every possible respect.

Since the state of the universe apparently includes the faculty of consciousness, the choice function necessarily is capable of making choices regarding consciousness, or at least the basis of consciousness. However, to ensure that its choices about consciousness are not ultimately contradictory at some point, it must have a complete command of the topic. If the choice function were something like an automobile mechanic that understands engines without actually being an engine, it might be reasonable to say that it need not necessarily have the faculty of consciousness. However, this choice function is far more intimately connected with the “machinery” it works on than a mechanic is with an engine. It must effectively “be” the machinery in order to design the machinery. Moreover, if it chose for itself to have the faculty of consciousness, such a choice would be within the scope of a choice function that chooses literally everything. It is reasonable to assume that the choice function has the faculty of consciousness. That the choice function has this faculty is essential to the rest of this discussion. If the choice function is capable of mapping consciousness and has a complete command of consciousness, it can reasonably be said to be conscious itself.

For a bit of added robustness, it should be noted that consciousness appears to be a natural attribute of a choice function. A choice function chooses, and it is everyone’s immediate sensation that what they do with their conscious mind is choose. Hence, the notion of free will. Choice is all about preference, and conscious perception is definitely associated with preference. “Liking” something is a definite aspect of the qualia that is associated with consciousness. If there was ever a mathematical match for the experience of a consciousness, it would be the axiom of choice.

Conscious Mind

Let us call this choice function G. The set of possibilities this choice function has to operate on are the set of all x. The actual choices that this choice function makes can be called y. Therefore, using some simple algebraic notation, G(x) = y. G is a mapping of all the possible states of the universe to the actual state of the universe, including all its aspects of time space, motion, consciousness, etc. G is the original “consciousness” that decided the state of the universe.

Apparently, this G chose that the universe contain smaller consciousnesses that we can call P. These are smaller choice functions that act on much more limited sets. However, choosing to include smaller choice functions would not have been as straight-forward as simply choosing them.  Apparently, G was able to choose the set of y in such a way that some aspects were left undecided in such a manner that P functions would have to exist to resolve them. Like the G function, P functions are logical rules. Therefore, they are fundamental truths of existence. It may seem strange that there could be so many fundamental truths. Similarly, it must have seemed strange at one time that the recipe for life could be approximately six feet of a particular molecule. Sometimes reality works on a scale that we, at first, find disconcerting.

This would not be an easy trick, since not choosing something leaves the problem of there being some initial undecided aspect of the universe. This still contradicts the law of the excluded middle. The initial choice function would have to have been surrealistically clever to get around this problem. It would have to have been able to choose a configuration for the universe in which everything is chosen, but in which  new unresolved choices naturally occur.

Interestingly, there are characteristics of the universe that fit this exact description. They are called quantum events. In quantum events, there are outcomes that are apparently decided by chance. It can be shown that it is impossible, even in principle, for these events to be decided by any deterministic algorithm. This result is called Bells theorem. What is says, succinctly, is that no physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics. However, an outcome that is not chosen contradicts the law of the excluded middle and would void all logic. Thus, there must be a logical rule that closes the gap.

What I propose is that a P consciousness is a choice function, analogous to the choice function G, that decides these outcomes.

Note that these choice functions are not algorithms and, therefore, are not subject to Bell’s theorem. They do not “compute”; they are functions. They are mappings of possibility to actuality. They map the set of all x to some y. Since quantum events are entangled and can have any level of entanglement, this suggests a way to quantify such choice functions.

Since the initial choice function and these smaller choice functions are real in the existential sense, it makes sense to give them a name. For the purpose of this discussion, they will be called “spirits”.

These spirits apparently have magnitude. Since the quantum events they describe are naturally “entangled” the degree of their entanglement suggest a way to assign them a magnitude. The nature of spirits and the possibility of assigning them a magnitude suggest a possible definition:

A spirit is a choice function that exists where a choice is called for and it is impossible, even in principle, for the choice to be made by a deterministic algorithm. The magnitude of the spirit is equal to the product of the degrees of freedom of the total entangled choice to be made.

This is not merely a definition, but also a complete explanation. It is as complete as humans, with their syntactic methods of logical representation, are capable of comprehending.

I propose that human consciousness is a manifestation of these defined spirits.

It may eventually be discovered that human brains perform part of their function by relying on quantum randomness. It may also be discovered that this randomness is highly entangled across significant portions of the human brain. Moreover, it may be realized that there can be no hidden variables that account for the behavior this entanglement produces. This kind of entanglement is not essential to the existence of these choice functions, as will become clear further on.

That spirits are conscious is a natural extrapolation of the discussion above about the initial choice function. If the initial choice function included consciousness, it makes sense that these smaller choice functions could include it. Also, it seems likely that the purpose of allowing these smaller functions would be to also allow that there be additional consciousnesses. Finally, since the P functions are, in fact, conscious, it is a fore-drawn conclusion.

Consciousness appears to be at odds with the mechanical nature of the observable universe. The observable universe is demonstrably a syntactical process. Consciousness is semantic. John Searle showed in 1980 that a semantic process cannot be represented by a syntactical mechanism. Unfortunately, in an effort to seem overly formal, he constructed his proof, called the Chinese room argument, in a way that seems to leave logical holes. In fact, the general idea he is trying to convey, that a syntactical process cannot give rise to a semantic process, it sound. What he showed is that consciousness must be, in a sense, separate from the universe. It “observes” the universe and “traces” it, but it is not a part of it.

There is an interpretation of quantum events that gives a different perspective on quantum mechanics. It is called the Everett interpretation. In the Everett interpretation, what actually happens is that the universe splits into different paths.

Everett Interpretation

Since conscious spirits cannot be part of the universe in any mechanical sense, the Everett interpretation becomes critical for my theory of consciousness. What apparently happens is not that spirits choose which way the universe will go. What is more likely true is that all possible paths exist at all times and spirits choose which path they will follow. This is what occurs when we experience one path and not the other. Our consciousness is, in effect, choosing which path it will follow. This also explains the curious connection between quantum collapse and observation. As has been observed, observation does not cause quantum collapse. Nevertheless, collapse and observation are inextricable.

If it was possible for two spirits to choose different paths, they would find themselves alone in a universe where other expected manifestations of consciousness—other persons—seem to exhibit behavior that is inconsistent with consciousness. Therefore, it is most likely that all spirits are tethered and must follow the same path. This tethering is possibly another form of entanglement that takes place in the spiritual realm, and suggests that the total magnitude of a spirit cannot be measured by mechanical means. This entanglement may be related to the sensation some mystics have that all spirits are joined at some deeper level. It is impossible to say how many spirits are joined in this way or everything that is included. It may include all apparently conscious animals or even the entire “Gaia” of our planet or some larger region.

It is important to keep in mind that neither the notion of quantum field collapse nor the Everett interpretation are “correct” or that they are mutually exclusive. The actual structure of the universe may be nothing like what we are able to imagine. I have merely presented a theory of consciousness as it relates to the universe we can understand. As I explained earlier, it is as close to an actual understanding as our limited cognition will permit.