Doomsday paradox

It’s always good to imagine the worst. If you can imagine the worst that can happen, then doing this process repeatedly builds up your shield and hardens yourself against fears if you are able to make the leap to the other side. Put yourself in a mirror. Be in your mind exactly what you despise and fear of. Imagine it, visualize it, process it, take a look at yourself from totally opposite perspective. If someone says you shouldn’t do something, but you can’t find any rationale behind this, except for disgust and repulsiveness, which by itself is mostly a product of conditioning and socialization, then it’s only fear of some possible penalty that prevents you from doing it.

But take it this way. If you are a truth seeker, it matters to you and your identity, then truth is the ultimate reason for your fulfillment, so much so that if prohibition starts to conflict with reason, when there’s mounting evidence there’s a logical conflict, you ought to feel like this prohibition has nothing to do with reason, but rather with prejudice. Lack of open discussion on some sensitive topic causes lack of dispute, lack of exchange of thoughts, opinions, ideas and most of all reasonable solutions. Plurality is important. It cannot be forgotten in the name of political correctness. Having only one side of discussion is straightforward totalitarian. Of course, there’s a question if tolerant society can tolerate the intolerant? But I’ll leave it up to a reader to figure it out.

You can see this prohibition yourself everywhere. In the media, when talking with friends, in your workplace, in your home. This prohibition covers almost every topic in your life. You have to do this and that, this way and this way only. Otherwise you are prohibited. You are prohibited to entertain some topics, explore far out ideas or even let your mind loose and do crazy things you had never dreamed of doing. Why? Because someone said you shouldn’t. Why? Because this and that. And then you as a reasonable person start to ask more specific questions. Like a three year old child: “but why? but why?” “Shut up you monster and go clean your room.”

But as a smart ass you are not going to be flushed down the toilet. So you take the questions deeper. You’ve already seen the cracks in the wall, so now it’s only a matter of time you will poke this wall and start seeing the cracks open wider and wider for you to see what’s the truth behind the wall. That’s what I like about science. Even thought we have some established theories, doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have better models and suppositions in the future. If significant, repeatable, reproducible signal that contradicts one of the established theories is found then nobody reasonable refutes this new find or lead based on prejudice and their own beliefs. Instead if the signal leads to an extension or a new theory itself, science will accept it as a new model as close to factual reality as possible.

It seems however when you deep dive into physics, the more you begin to understand the reality itself might not be what we were supposed to think it is. We can happily and ignorantly leave our whole lives living as what we perceived was real, but really was it? It turns out that our recent understanding of microscopic quantum interactions and developments of holographic principle and other outlandish interpretations of some physical theories, point to the fact that reality itself is not real. For me, such knowledge was and still is eye opening. I still am trying to merge bits and pieces of information to get the whole picture, which is probably a futile task, but there’s small non-zero probability it isn’t.

So here, in every line of the above paragraph lies a stack of Pandora’s boxes and another can of worms. Of course one can ponder upon this knowledge attained and available to us and invented by us and found by us over so many minds and discoveries linked in an intricate web of inter-dependencies. Life is improbable. Life has probability and it’s life span compared to the predicted and estimated lifetime of the universe so small it should be statistically impossible. And yet, here the quantum fluctuation that gave rise to false Boltzmann brain is writing this stuff as it was all real. So if this is all false, then why is it true? In philosophy you can take either a supernatural stance, a nihilist stance or and absurd one. Some great philosophers said that for the first two you either choose the intellectual death or spiritual one. So the only obvious choice is absurdist view of existence.

Of course there were some recent developments that try to reconcile the ever going dispute between determinism and in-determinism. However it seems that our understanding of true nature of reality is yet to be achieved and probably a long time in the future. But maybe I shouldn’t write we as it is me, who doesn’t have this knowledge. Perhaps everyone else has and are just playing games. That’s something I am probably unable to determine, so I set it aside as irrelevant. Since it’s a statistical impossibility to be above or below average, I’d assume that most of human population are similar to my level of understanding.

So let’s speculate a little bit about the reality from a very subjective and probably non-scientific point of view. However as I have written before, I don’t like prohibitions for their own sake.

First of all, there’s some clues in our physical theoretical calculations that we might indeed be living in a universe that is a hologram. This holographic principle gave rise to Simulation Hypothesis. Now, taking aside all discussion around this topic, is it possible that we live in such a simulation? We cannot yet conclude that we know the answer to this question, but there are many clues in physics that might suggest it is a good description of reality.

Let’s assume we live in simulation. By our limited view and analogy we can think about simulation running on some kind of computer or a computing machine. Besides philosophical questions that may arise like “who started the simulation, what is it running on, what is it’s purpose, etc.”, we can think about some universal constants like for example energy which changes in it’s form, but not in it’s quantity. So the universe has a constant pool of energy which by itself can be used to do the work. However, since we have entropy, the amount of useful work that can be done as time progresses is lower and lower.

So we could find an analogy between energy and available computing power. Let’s assume that the universe is a simulation running on unknown hardware. That would imply that the rules and projections of the Universe in this moment are governed by some kind of code, a program or something of similar purpose that enables the creation of a rich, vast and dynamic world, including simulating supposedly intelligent entities with an unprecedented scale. We also know that information is another form of energy and information itself has mass. We also know that nothing cannot exist, so because of the nature of the Universe something will always arise from nothing. Random quantum fluctuations can give rise to a whole new Universe.

So how can we prove that we are living in a simulation? There are many arguments for it, but let’s consider a thought experiment given those perhaps shaky assumptions.

Let’s suppose we somehow invent a process or a machine or an algorithm that operation of  would result in exceeding the total energy of the Universe, which would probably mean that the Universe would cease to exist. But as far as we know, the Universe prohibits actions occurring from inside of itself that will cause it to self destruct. Maybe with a notable exception of false vacuum, but that doesn’t really constitute a destruction of Universe, rather it’s reorganization to lower equilibrium state. So if we apply the Universe self-censorship principle that states that no action that results in the destruction of the Universe is allowed, the machine, algorithm or process that allows this destruction cannot exist and every attempt to build or invent such thing, will be already self-censored by the Universe and therefore impossible. So is it that we are in fact living in a simulation?

Let’s suppose that such a machine, process or algorithm was possible. Someone at some point in the Universes time will invent such doomsday device, sooner or later. That would mean that at some point such Universe would cease to exist. But if the Universe ceases to exist then why we are here? So perhaps nobody really invented this algorithm, the Universe is not eternal and doesn’t have self-censorship, so we are yet to experience the end of Universe. Of course this raises a whole lot of other questions like “would we even know it?”

On the other hand the possibility is that the Universe is eternal and has self-censorship. That needs a deeper thought about the nature of the Universe. If we as conscious beings are observing the Universe as part of it, does that mean that the Universe itself is looking and exploring itself through our eyes and experiences? Does the observer exists because of the Universe or the Universe because observer exists? Or maybe both are two aspects of the same? If observer ceases to exist does this mean the Universe ceases to exist? What does it even mean for the observer or the Universe to cease to exist? But if the Universe has those intrinsic properties that prevent it’s destruction from inside, then we must conclude that such machine, algorithm or process cannot exist in this Universe, as any attempts to create one will be wiped out or prevented by the Universe itself.

Take an analogy that is recognized as contradicting causality in physics of closed time-like curves of space time. We are not entirely sure, but we are almost certain that those space time structures are likely impossible as they would violate the conservation laws and causality. Physicists are fairly certain that the Universe doesn’t allow breaking some fundamental laws and therefore we can also extend this idea to a doomsday algorithm or process that will cause the destruction of the Universe. It is simply not allowed in this Universe.

To summarize, if a doomsday algorithm was allowed in the Universe, then the Universe at some point will cease to exist, but then if we assume the Universe is eternal (or when there’s nothing, something must occur from quantum fluctuations), it can’t be non-existing, as one evidence suggests that you are reading this. Therefore such an algorithm was already censored or any attempts at inventing such algorithm would be prevented by the Universe.

How the Universe may do this? If we take into account some of the interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, such as many worlds or Copenhagen interpretation, and we assume the Universe is a simulation, then we can speculate that every observation causes branching of the timeline into a tree of possible histories. Some are more likely than others, but nonetheless, each and every possibility is evaluated this way. Consider that every such interaction that causes branching is somehow evaluated by the simulation hardware. Multiple parallel histories are concurrently evaluated by this simulation and when one of the branches are dying of because of for example a Universe destruction, it’s ghost, which is a timeline of bad choices is being reintegrated into your reality (main timeline) with positive results coming from negative test done on that branch of time.

Given that we are now considering two dimensions of time instead of one, that gives you some food for thought. How can you even imagine its manifestation in reality is beyond me. So, given all of this we can conclude that hypothetical doomsday algorithm results in paradox, which causes Universe to cease to exists. But if we consider that Universe itself, even if it had a beginning, is eternal and self-correcting by itself (which BTW string theory found some mathematical structures that resembles computer error correction codes in laws of physics!) then such doomsday algorithm will be censored by the Universe, therefore no such algorithm exists and may exist in the future. However, despite it didn’t exist in your timeline, doesn’t mean that it didn’t exist at some point in the past. It caused the Universe (or the other timeline) to cease to exist, therefore it was reintegrated into our timeline of Universe with negative result or was phase shifted. The negative result reinforces our stable timeline.

So, if no such doomsday algorithm can exist, does that mean that proves the simulation hypothesis? I’ll leave that up to you.

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