Category: Journeys Views: 2183
The Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics has been around for nearly 60 years. It’s a highly controversial idea which suggests that our world — and everything in it — is constantly splitting into alternative timelines. If it’s correct, here’s what your true existence might actually be like.
Over a hundred years ago, the discovery of quantum physics ruined the party. Our comfortable, clockwork conception of universe was thrown into disarray with the realization that, at the micro-scale, there’s some crazy funky stuff going on.
Thanks to quantum mechanics, we now know that matter takes on the properties of both particles and waves. What’s more, thanks to Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger, we can never be certain about a particle’s momentum and position, nor can we be certain about an object’s state when it’s not being observed. In other words, the universe — at least at a certain scale — appears to be completely fuzzy and nebulous. Possibly even random.
Quantum physics has royally messed up classical — and seemingly intuitive — principles of space and time, causality, and the conservation of energy. This means that Newtonian, and even Einsteinian, interpretations of the universe are insufficient. Indeed, if we’re to develop a unified and comprehensible theory of everything, we’re going to have to reconcile all of this somehow.
But some physicists, upset by the implications of quantum mechanics on our ultimate understanding of the universe and our place within it, still choose to ignore or dismiss it as a kind of messy inconvenience. And it’s hard to blame them. Quantum physics doesn’t just upset conventional physics. It also perturbs our sense of our place in the universe; it’s Copernican in scale — a paradigm changer the carries deep metaphysical and existential baggage.
Denial, however, won’t help the situation — nor will it further science. Physicists have no choice but to posit theories that try to explain the things they see in the lab, no matter how strange. And in the world of quantum mechanics, this has given rise to a number of different interpretations, including the Copenhagen Interpretation, the Ensemble Interpretation, the de Broglie-Bohm theory, and many, many others.
And of course, there’s the infamous Many Worlds Interpretation.
The “Relative State” Formulation
Back in the 1950s, a Princeton undergraduate by the name of Hugh Everett III embroiled himself in the wonderful and wacky world of quantum physics. He became familiar with the ideas of Niels Bohr, Heisenberg, and Schrödinger, and studied under Robert Dickie and Eugene Wigner. Then, in 1955, he began to write his Ph.D. thesis under the tutelage of John Archibald Wheeler.
In 1957, he published his paper under the name, “Quantum Mechanics by the Method of the Universal Wave Function.” Eventually, after further edits and trimming, it was re-published under the name, “Wave Mechanics Without Probability.” And though he referred to his theory as the “relative state formulation,” it was rebranded as the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) by Bryce Seligman in the 60s and 70s.
But like so many seminal theories in science, Everett’s idea was scorned. So scorned, in fact, that he gave up physics and went to work as a defense analyst and consultant.
Now, some 60 years later, his radical idea lives on among a small — but growing — subset of physicists. In a recent poll of quantum physicists, some 18% of respondents said they subscribe to the MWI (as compared to the 42% who buy into the dominant Copenhagen Interpretation).
The Everett Postulate
Essentially, Everett’s big idea was the suggestion that the entire universe is quantum mechanical in nature — and not just the spooky phenomenon found at the indeterministic microscopic scale. By bringing macroscale events into the picture, he upset the half-century’s worth of work that preceded him. The two different worlds, argued Everett, can and must be linked.
No doubt, the problem that quantum mechanics presents is the realization that we appear to live in a deterministic world (i.e. a rational, comprehensible world) that contains some non-deterministic elements. Everett worked to reconcile the micro with the macro by making the case that no arbitrary division needs to be invoked to delineate the two realms.
He considered the universal wavefunction — a mathematical list of every single configuration of a quantum object, like a hydrogen atom. It’s a description of every possible configuration of every single elementary particle in the universe (that’s a big list). What Everett did was apply Schrodinger’s wavefunction equation to theentire universe — which is now known as the Everett Postulate:
All isolated systems evolve according to the Schrodinger equation.
Everett also argued that the measurement of a quantum object doesn’t force it into one comprehensible state or another. Instead, it causes the universe to split, or branch off, for each possible outcome of the measurement; the universe literally splits into distinct worlds to accommodate every single possible outcome. And interestingly, Everett’s idea allows for randomness to be removed from quantum theory, and by consequence, all of physics (thus making physicists very happy).
It’s worth noting that the MWI stands in sharp contrast to the popular Copenhagen Interpretation, a branch of physics which says quantum mechanics cannot produce a coherent description of objective reality. Instead, we can only deal with probabilities of observing or measuring various aspects of energy quanta — entities that don’t conform to classical ideas of particles and waves. It’s proponents talk about the wavefunction collapse — which happens when a measurement is made, and which causes the set of probabilities to immediately and randomly assume only one of the possible values.
So Many Worlds
According to Everett, a “world” is a complex, causally connected sub-system that doesn’t significantly interfere with other elements of the grander superposition. These “worlds” can be called “universes,” but "universe" tends to describe the whole kit-and-kaboodle.
Needless to say, it's a metaphysical theory that dramatically alters our understanding of the universe and our place in it. If true, the universe is comprised of an ever-evolving series of timelines that branch off to accommodate all possibilities. Subsequently, it means that a version of you — or what you think is you — is constantly branching off into other alternate histories.
For example, in the case of Schrödinger's cat, it’s not both alive and dead when not observed. Instead, a version of it ceases to exist, while another lives on in an alternative timeline. As another example, one version of you will stop reading my article at this exact point, while another version will continue to the very end. There may even be an evil version of you somewhere. So long as it’s probable — and that it doesn’t violate physical laws at the macro-scale — a new version of the universe, and all that’s within it — will be created. In turn, those will continue to branch off based on the new contingencies contained therein. But Everett-worlds in which probability breaks down can never be realized, and by consequence, never observed.
So what appears to be a single individual living from moment to moment is actually a perpetually multiplying flow of experiences; there is not just one timeline. Instead, there are many, many worlds. This means that all possible alternative histories and futures are real.
This also means that there could be an infinite number of universes — and that everything that could have possibly happened in our past has in fact happened in the past of some other worlds.
Weird and Untestable
Not surprisingly, there are a number of objections to the MWI. As noted, 82% of quantum physicists don’t buy it.
One of the most common complaints is that MWI grossly violates conservation of energy (i.e. where the hell is all the energy coming from to fuel all these new universes?). Others argue that it violates Occam’s Razor, that it doesn't account for non-local events (like an alien making an observation far, far away), or that its parameters and definitions, like “measurement,” are far too liberal or vague.
And of course, it leads to a host of strange conclusions. For example, a version of you will win the lottery every time you play it. Sure, it's highly improbable, but not impossible. In the space of all probable worlds, a version of you will have to experience it.
Perhaps even more bizarre is the scenario in which a person — someone who cannot play a musical instrument — sits in front of a piano and plays Debussy's Claire de Lune to perfection strictly by chance. Sure, the odds of correctly hitting each successive note gets astronomical in scale as the piece progresses — but this is the weirdness that arises when we have to consider (1) probabilities and not impossibilities, and (2) the near-infinite number of expressions of all possible worlds.
But something about this scenario just feels...wrong.
Another interesting and related perspective comes from the Rational Skepticism website:
[F]or now, the MWI is physically dependent. That is, the likelihood of an outcome is assessed from physical potential. However, we all know that the likelihood of events isn't contingent upon physical potentials. I know, for instance, given the evolution of my own life/mind, that the likelihood of me becoming a materialist tomorrow, is zero. I have no doubt about that, given that I've already been there and seen the flaws thereof (not to mention everything else I've 'seen'). Likewise, you all may be sure of some thing or other. Further, for example, though the physical potential exists, the likelihood of tomorrow's papers headlining The Pope as a murderous gay atheist, seems bleak, to say the least. Therefore, are these many worlds constrained by what is physically possible, or by what is sensibly possible? That is, do mental/emotive concerns dictate what worlds are possible, or simply physical potentials? On the face of it, it would seem that the MWI doesn't have any recourse towards mental potential/agency.
Which is a great point. At what point does probability — even within the confines of classical physics — enter into the realm of sheer improbability? In the previous example, that of our insanely lucky piano player, such a thing might never play out because the person hasn't developed the proper finger musculature, or they may suddenly stop mid-performance, aghast at their freakish achievement.
And there’s also the issue of testability. Regrettably, we can’t communicate with our splitting selves. Each version of us can only observe one instance of the universe at any given time. Subsequently, the MWI is considered untestable — leading many to dismiss it as being unscientific or just plain bonkers.
Actually, there may be a way to test it. MWI implies the quantum immortality hypothesis — the argument that a version of us will always observe the universe — even in the most improbable of circumstances. To test the MWI, all one needs to do is attempt suicide based on a 50/50 probability schema. According to the theory, a version of you will survive 50 successive 50/50 suicide attempts — but it's a one in quadrillion chance. The trick, of course, is to live the life of that particular version of you. Good luck.
Hugh Everett, despite his belief in quantum immortality, died in 1982. But his idea lives on — a kind of immortality unto itself.
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
© 2008-2019 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.
Archive: Andels Journeys
- 2019 (9)
- June (3)
- May (1)
- April (2)
- March (1)
- February (1)
- January (1)
- 2018 (18)
- December (2)
- November (1)
- October (1)
- September (2)
- August (1)
- July (1)
- June (1)
- May (3)
- April (1)
- March (1)
- February (1)
- January (3)
- 2017 (40)
- December (1)
- November (5)
- October (2)
- September (3)
- August (5)
- July (3)
- June (8)
- • The Trap of Righteousness
- • The Commercialization of Spirituality - A Multi-Billion Dollar Corporate Takeover!
- • Loneliness
- • The Masks Are Coming Off - Unveiling False Teachers
- • The Dynamics Of Fear In Fear Inducing Times
- • 10 “Spiritual” Things People Do That Are Total Bullshit
- • Karma Teaches Jerks A Valuable Lesson In Life
- • Is The New Spirituality Just A Trend?
- May (4)
- April (2)
- March (2)
- February (3)
- January (2)
- 2016 (29)
- December (5)
- November (3)
- October (3)
- August (1)
- June (1)
- May (1)
- April (3)
- March (3)
- February (3)
- January (6)
- • My Pleasure
- • Vancouver Man With Stomach Cancer Is Selling Unconditional Love On Craigslist For $0
- • Carefree People Don’t Have Attachments - Here Are 25 Reasons Why
- • Are Family Members Toxic? 10 Things to Remember
- • The World As We Know It Has Changed And There Is No Going Back To What We Were - 6 Predictions
- • How To Get More Energy: 8 New Secrets Backed By Research
- 2015 (50)
- December (4)
- November (6)
- • Neutrality — The Gateway To Transcend The Matrix
- • Soul and Personality
- • Dalai Lama on Paris & Syria – A Message for Peace
- • Know Yourself. Heal. Self-Liberate. Experiment. Build Community.
- • Groundbreaking Discovery: Man Solves Tesla’s Secret To Amplifying Power By Nearly 5000%
- • Johnny Depp Intends To Buy Site Of Wounded Knee Massacre And Gift It Back To The Native American People
- October (10)
- • Waking Up The Goddess: Where Men Meet Women
- • Why we cry
- • You’re Not Wrong
- • Canada’s New PM Issues Challenge to US – “We’re Ending Wars and Legalizing Pot”
- • Meet the USA's First School District to Serve 100% Organic Meals
- • Going Through Shadows: The Vortex Of Transformation.
- • The Rise of Lowsumerism
- • There is something extraordinary happening in the world
- • Three Ways Canadian Thanksgiving Differs From American Thanksgiving
- • Leonardo DiCaprio - Bring Down Big Oil Corporations
- September (3)
- August (2)
- July (2)
- June (6)
- May (5)
- April (2)
- March (1)
- February (5)
- January (4)
- 2014 (56)
- December (2)
- November (4)
- October (4)
- September (5)
- • Water on Earth predates Sun, meaning our life originated elsewhere – study
- • Buffalo Treaty: Native tribes sign bison revival plan in US and Canada
- • US to pay largest Native American nation $554 million in landmark settlement
- • Being Vegan and Raw Vegan Lifestyle
- • New Experiment Will Answer Some Mind-Bending Questions On Whether We Live In a Hologram
- August (3)
- July (3)
- June (4)
- May (2)
- April (3)
- March (7)
- • Spring Into the Adventure! How the Symbolism of Frogs Can Support Us Through Change
- • The Gateways Are As Open As You Are
- • Shifting Seasons And Time…..
- • Marching Forward
- • Stanford Physicist: Vast, Powerful Realm Between Particles Influenced by Human Consciousness
- • We Are Living In The Most Important Time In The History Of The Universe - Dolores Cannon Discusses Our Current Paradigm
- • Creating A Path Where There Is None
- February (9)
- • February Update
- • Finding Direction When You Feel Lost
- • How Our Narratives Inform Our Hopes for Change
- • Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency Mitigation
- • The Alchemy of Responsible Reflection
- • How You Attract Information In A Vibrational Universe
- • 'You shall not pass!' Native American groups vow to block Keystone XL pipeline
- • Architecture of the Light
- • Meeting Our Past Selves Outside Of Time
- January (10)
- • Journey to the Enchanted Forest – Your New Moon & New Year Power Animal Awaits
- • Year of the Horse is Upon Us – Ready, Set, Go!
- • The 118 Days of Creation
- • How Much Are You Filtering Your Truth? – Image Alterations Aren't Just For Big Media Anymore
- • Eight Signs You May Be Experiencing a Spiritual Awakening
- • 13 Signs You’re a Witch
- • How To Tell If You Had A Past Life In Atlantis
- • How Do I Know If It’s My Soul or My Ego Talking?
- • The Baby and the Bath Water
- • The Foundation for All Healing
- 2013 (98)
- December (12)
- • Activate Your Creative Power With Conscious Intention
- • Riding the Train of Life – Symbolism to Navigate the Tracks of Your Journey
- • Are We the Makers of Our Own Fate?
- • Lighting Your Truth to Freedom, Passion & Inspired Leadership – Closing Chapter 2013 to Write Chapter 2014′s Lively & Instinctual Year of the Horse
- • The Power of a Poor Night’s Sleep
- • Why Entrepreneurship Is A Spiritual Expression Of Freedom
- • Death and Dying from a Shamanic Perspective
- • Sliding Home For Christmas
- • The Solstice Vibe
- • You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link But As Wise As Your Strongest
- • The Speed of Infinity
- • World Aids Day – December 1st
- November (29)
- • The Courage To Live Box Less -- Getting Outside The Label Labyrinth
- • The Quantum Leap Ascension Process
- • Toronto Named Most Youth Friendly City
- • Thanksgiving Day Recalibration
- • Stop Looking And See
- • Getting the Doomsday Hunger?
- • What I Hope to Be Next Year
- • At The Point of No Return
- • The Faery Referral Network
- • Thoughts on Compassion and Detachment
- • Top Ten Myths About Being a Psychic/Healer
- • Tell the “Lords” of Karma That You Are Sovereign – No Longer a Lightworker Part 2
- • Where New JFK Evidence Points - 50 Years Later + Videos
- • 3 Reasons Why It’s Better to NOT Manifest a Soul Mate Relationship
- • 10 Tycoons Who Meditate Daily To Keep Up With Their Hectic Business Life
- • Why We Should Rethink What We've Been Told About Consciousness
- • The Value of “Sloth” – Expanding Our Perceptions for Greater Wisdom
- • Why Your Voice Matters and How To Get Heard
- • Breaking the Barriers of Belief
- • Stop Being "Positive" & Start Getting Real (Joy) In Your Life
- • Are We Living in the Matrix?
- • Is the Sharing Economy Here Yet?
- • Find Your Power in Self-Sufficiency
- • Heads Up
- • Plants Exhibit The Same Senses As Humans And See, Touch, Smell, Hear and Even Taste
- • Healing The Wound(s) Within The Heart Chakra
- • True or False? I Am Perfect Just As I Am
- • Indigenous Elders and Medicine Peoples Council Statement on Fukushima
- • A Phoenix Rising - A Recommended Read
- October (18)
- • 20 Good Reasons to Have Clear Personal Boundaries
- • Let Go of Who You Are to Become What You Might Be
- • How to Be Happy: The 10-Day Happiness Challenge
- • The Law of Assumption
- • A Message from the Faeries
- • New Device Stores Electricity On Silicon Chips
- • The NAME
- • 6 Big Excuses That Can Derail Your Life
- • A Clean Break
- • An Original Blueprint
- • Your Angry Voice Demolishes Your Brilliant Argument
- • Where the Action Is NOW– Relationships
- • Homo Luminous: The New Human
- • The Two New Humanities
- • How Do I Discern the Real from False?
- • Walking on Sacred Ground
- • Not All Have Halos
- • AGAIN, Remember Who You Are
- September (14)
- • Be Careful of How You Use Words!
- • Frequency Gates – What The Heck Are They?
- • Following Our Joy to Find Freedom
- • You`ve Been Warned: Why You Need To Be Ready for Total Grid Failure
- • Spirituality and Ethics in Business
- • Life – The Projection From Within
- • 10 Ways to Shift Your Consciousness
- • The Fall Inside
- • Fall Equinox-The Gate Closes
- • Self Honesty May Deepen the Bliss Into Actualization and Full Embodiment
- • Changing Dynamics of Relationships
- • Biophotons
- • Autumn Equinox 2013 Cosmic Weather Forecast
- • Autumn Equinox: The Archangel Michael Meditation
- August (4)
- July (4)
- June (3)
- May (11)
- • How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times
- • The World of Opposites: A New Take
- • The God Gene
- • Souls of Animals
- • What If Television News Disappeared?
- • Every Warrior’s Achilles Heel
- • Building Your Spiritual Muscles
- • Transmuting Collective Human Consciousness By Channeling Light
- • Is DMT the Gateway to Hell?
- • Science Finds Fountain of Youth Brain Region That Slows Down Aging
- • Remember The Power Of The Voice
- April (3)
- December (12)