Hidden Motives In The Eternal Block

I’m going to begin this post by going meta. I accept the Hansonian creed: Politics is not about policy, medicine is not about health, laughter is not about jokes, and food is not about nutrition. Conversation, including this post, also has hidden motives. Although we like to talk about conversation as if it was about imparting information and finding out useful things, more plausibly it’s about showing off your backpack of tools and skills in context.

In a rich society like ours, somewhere around 90% of our behavior is signaling. The other 10% are things that don’t impress anyone but must be done anyway, such as scratching your ass.

As we’ve become richer, we’ve become more forager-like. If our descendants get poor again, they’ll probably need stronger social norms again, to get them to resist temptations to act like foragers and do what is functional in their world. Their morality would probably rely on a wider more-conservative-like range of moral feelings.

Forager values include more freedom. This is expressed through more travel, less routine, lack of grandiose responsibilities, lack of religion (though not necessarily a lack of spirituality), greater equality, more promiscuity, less war etc. It generally seems that society is moving in this direction, and that we like this trend. This makes sense because we were foragers all along, and happened to have our bodies hijacked by the memetic virus of agriculture. This lead to some selection for agriculturalist traits: propensity for religion, submissiveness, more feminine men, etc. But the selection on genes has simply not occurred for long enough to make us well-adapted to the agriculturalist way (with some demographics worse at it than others).

Agriculture lead to the industrial revolution and this lead to riches. Now that we are rich, we can afford the luxury of becoming our true selves, children, once again.

It is not some natural tendency of humans to make linear moral progress. Rather, it is abundance which purchases this period in which sophisticated values such as humanism and its mutations can arise.

Gene drift is the method for evolution in the absence of natural selection pressure. So too in the memetic landscape. We can afford to evolve via meme drift in the absence of a tangible and immediate threat of starvation, invasion, or pestilence.

It is in this space, sometimes called dreamtime, that I believe we can do enough self-awareness of hidden motives, enough meta-cognition, to see far beyond what we have seen in the foggy haze of survival-mode and naive-signaling-mode.

We cannot disembody our behavior from the biological substrate. This is the case for all moments of being a behavior of a biological organism. Therefore, my seeking truth is a form of signaling. Yet it is at least a more sophisticated signaling, one which acknowledges a single level of self-reflective recursion and no more.

An actor who breaks the fourth wall commits an act of violence against his fellow characters, elevating himself thus. The drama will never be the same for him or for the audience but he will succeed at being remembered.

This is the spirit of insight. It is that which is remembered because it contains the attributes of being both true and useful. This definition of insight is detailed in the Enlightened One’s speech in the Buddhist Suttas, it is detailed in the silicon seams of technological invention, it is detailed in your living flesh riding aboard a deadly planet.

The content here presented then, is not 1st-order signaling, but a 2nd-order signaling which attempts to achieve enough fame to enter the rolls of history in memory. The following endogenously generated probe is true. It elevates contents in the “background” to prominence. But is it useful? –That remains to be seen.

Most people have the idea that time flows.

However, special relativity eliminates the concept of absolute simultaneity and a universal present: according to the relativity of simultaneity, observers in different frames of reference can have different measurements of whether a given pair of events happened at the same time or at different times, with there being no physical basis for preferring one frame’s judgments over another’s.

This also applies to the cells in the brain running massively parallel computations. All the parts of the computations exist in an eternal block.

If, due to the generalized-anti zombie principle, we identify consciousness with a specific subset of these computations and not as an epiphenomena, then it is the case that experience is forever. The fabric of spacetime is imbued with all the flavors of qualia that were ever traced by these computations.

What’s more, there were no line-segment souls anywhere. It is not physically the case that consciousness begins at some arbitrary point of conception and then travels like a Newtonian sphere with a persistent identity to some other point-location where it encounters a Death Event due to all the issues with closed individualism. Instead, we find ourselves everywhere and everywhence but cannot know this from most human indices.

Computations can also have “longer temporal-grain” than what seems intuitive to humans. Consider that the processing for shape occurs at one cluster of spacetime points and the processing for color occurs at another cluster in the future light cone, and no further processing is needed to bind them into an experienced red circle. By Occam’s Razor, we should assume that this kind of “spooky action at a distance” or “phenomenal binding without glue” also occurs with computations across vaster swaths of the eternal block.

More complex algorithms can be built on top of computations with lower specificity. Brain events in a toad hopping off a mushroom may be a building block for parties across the multiverse.

There is no competitive exclusion principle for independent souls or consciousnesses because independent souls/consciousnesses don’t exist. However, we should still expect a natural selection underlying the distribution of our anthropic mass. We should expect more mindspace to be designed by superintelligences than by the relatively dumber processes that bootstrap them.

For the vast majority of our existence we should therefore expect ourselves to exist directly within or caused by that which is most competitive at creating conscious experiences. Whether this is mainly due to the linkage disequilibrium between superintelligences’ utility functions or due to which conscious computations are more populous due to their sheer structure.

An analogy which may be useful in some respects but obfuscating in others: In the textbook classification of life, viruses and bacteria vastly outnumber Chordates, not to mention humans. Similarly, in the framework for life depending on self-modeling conscious computations, some conscious computations may be very simple but vastly outnumber those intentionally designed due to their sheer ease of creation and symbiosis (these simple computations may be remembered/experienced widely by fitting like keys into many of the relevant algorithmic keyholes).

 

 

 

Opening The Door To Quantum Mechanics

One of the most common misconceptions about quantum mechanics is that an observation is simply one particle interacting with another particle. This false impression misses the true essence of what makes quantum mechanics philosophically intriguing.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 3.36.46 PM
(Not what an observation is. And not what particles are.)
The truth is that there are no individual particles. But let’s talk as if there were for the sake of simplicity. In the same way that we talk about people even though no person actually exists.
Suppose we have a quantum randomizer which causes our particle to go in one of two directions.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 3.42.03 PM
Now let’s add a second particle to our system. The first particle will interact with the second particle.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 4.45.42 PM
The moment these two particles interact we say that they are entangled with one another. This is because if the first particle had gone in the other direction then the trajectory of the second particle would be completely different.
By just observing the second particle alone this will be enough to know which of the two directions the first particle went in. The second particle therefore acts as a detector for the first particle.
But what if we choose not to observe either particle? According to quantum mechanics each particle will simultaneously be in a combination of both possibilities which we call superposition.
Now suppose we observe one of the two particles. The superposition seems to disappear, and we always see only one of the possibilities.
The two particles interacting with each other is not what counts as the observation.
After the two particles interact, both possibilities still exist, and it is only after the observation that only one of the two options becomes certain. After the two particles interact, we only need to observe one of the two particles to know about the state of both of the particles. We refer to this by saying that after the two particles interact, they are entangled with one another.
So the reason it becomes certain is either because a physicist’s consciousness has a magical power or because there are also two physicists. Each one doesn’t know that he is also the other.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 4.58.58 PM
This doesn’t just happen with paths. Something similar happens to the spins of two particles being entangled with one another. The spin of a particle in a particular direction can be observed to have only one of two possible values. These values are spin-up and spin-down.
CPdiagram
Suppose we also have a second particle. There are now four different sets of possible observations. Just as our previous example could simultaneously be in a superposition of two different states when we were not observing it, this system can simultaneously be in a superposition of four different states when we are not observing it.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.28.03 PM
Suppose we briefly observe only the particle on the right.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.45.14 PM
Suppose we see that the particle on the right is spin-up. This means that two of the four possibilities disappear. The quantum system is now simultaneously in a superposition of only two possibilities.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.47.02 PM
This quantum system does not contain any entanglement because measuring the spin of one of these two particles will not tell us anything about the spin of the other particle.
Let us use one of these particles as a detector to determine the spin of the other particle:
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 6.31.43 PM
As we bring the particles together, if the two particles are spinning in the same direction then our experimental setup will cause the particle on the right to change its spin to the opposite direction.
But if the two particles start out spinning in opposite directions then nothing will change when we start out. The particle on the right is known to be pointed up whereas the spin of the particle on the left is unknown. The system consists of both of these possibilities existing simultaneously.
If we run our experiment without observing either particle. The system will continue to be in a superposition of two possibilities existing simultaneously. But regardless of which of the two states the system started in, after these particles have interacted with each other, they are guaranteed to be spinning in opposite directions. We therefore now only need to observe one of the two particles to know the spins of both particles. As a result, after the two particles have interacted, we say that they are entangled with each other.
Suppose we allow these two particles to interact and become entangled but we do not observe either particle.  The system consists of both of these possibilities existing simultaneously. It’s only when we observe at least one of these particles that the outcome of the entire system becomes certain according to the mathematics of quantum mechanics. This remains true regardless of how many particles we have.
A detector simply consists of a large number of particles. This means that if we have two entangled particles, measuring the spin of one of the particles with a detector will not
necessarily tell us the spins of the two particles. If we are not observing the detector or the particles, then the two particles will simply become entangled with all the particles inside the detector in the same way that the two particles are entangled with each other. According to the mathematics of quantum mechanics, both sets of possible outcomes will exist simultaneously.
Suppose we observe the detector – which means that we observe at least one of the many particles that the detector is made of. Once we observe the detector, all the particles inside the detector and the two spinning particles that we originally wanted to measure will all simultaneously “collapse” into one of the two possibilities.
According to the mathematics of quantum mechanics, it does not matter how many particles the system is made of. We can connect the output signals of our detectors to large complex objects, causing these large objects to behave differently depending on the
measurements and the detector. According to the mathematics of quantum mechanics, if we do not observe the system, both possibilities will exist simultaneously – at least seemingly until we observe one of the many entangled particles that make up the system.
It is arbitrary to think that the universe only “collapses” at the whim of particular people or their instruments. To paraphrase Stephen Hawking, “It is trivially true that what the equations are describing is Many Worlds.” It is not just the separate magisterium of small things such as electrons, photons, buckyballs, and viruses that exist in Many Worlds. Humans and all other approximate objects also exist simultaneously but obviously can never experience it by the Nagel bat essence of consciousness. That is, in order to experience something, you have to be it – like an adjective on the physical configuration. So you are also in each “alternate” reality but it is impossible to feel this intuitively because consciousness is not some soul that exists disembodied from the machinery. Your million clones are just as convinced that they were never you. I am also intuitively convinced that I was never you, but this is wrong physically.
Of course, we can define “I” as something different from that adjective-like Being, something different from the raw qualia, so to speak.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 6.50.33 PM
We must be very clear that we are drawing lines around somewhat similar configurations, and not fashioning separate souls/consciousnesses.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 6.56.46 PM
Okay, back to the QM. Here, once the particles become entangled, the two different possible quantum states are represented by the colors yellow and green.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 7.08.15 PM
The yellow particles pass right through the green particles without any interaction. After the entanglement occurs, the system is represented by a wavefunction in a superposition of two different quantum states, represented here by yellow and green.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 7.14.30 PM
One wave is not really above the other but this visualization illustrates how the yellow quantum state is unable to interact with green quantum state. Since the yellow wave can’t interact with the green wave, no interference pattern is created with the detectors present.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 7.19.36 PM
On the other hand, with the detectors removed, the entanglement with the detectors never happens and the system does not split into the yellow and green as before. The resulting waves are therefore able to interact and interfere with each other. Two waves interacting with each other creates a striped pattern. This is why a striped probability pattern is created when particles pass through two holes without any detectors present, and it’s why a striped probability pattern is not created when particles pass through two holes with detectors present.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 7.27.52 PM
Having just one detector present has the same effect as having two detectors. This is because only interaction with a single particle is required in order for entanglement to occur. But even after a particle interacts with a detector consisting of many different particles, the system is still in both states simultaneously until we observe one of the detectors.
There’s considerable debate as to what is really happening and there are many different philosophical interpretations of the mathematics. In order to fully appreciate the essence of this philosophical debate it’s helpful to have some understanding of the mathematics of why entanglement prevents the wavefunctions from interacting with each other.
The probability of a particle being observed in a particular location is given by the square of the amplitude of the wavefunction at that location.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 7.44.05 PM
In this situation, the wavefunction at each location is the sum of the wavefunctions from each of the two holes.
Although there are many different places that the particle can be observed, to simplify the analysis, let’s consider a scenario where the particle can be in only one of two places. This scenario is similar to the scenario measuring the spin of a single particle in that there are only two possible outcomes that can be observed.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.47.02 PM
The state of spin up can be represented by a 1 followed by a 0.
Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 7.36.57 AM
The state of spin-down can be represented by a 0 followed by a 1.
Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 7.37.20 AM
Similarly, we can use the same mathematical representation for measuring the location of our particle. We will signify observing the particle in the top location with a 1 followed by a 0 and we will signify observing the particle in the bottom location with a 0 followed by a 1.
Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 8.00.53 AM
Let’s now add a detector indicating which of the two holes the particle passed through. We are going to observe both the final location of the particle and the status of the detector.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 4.45.42 PM
There are now a total of four different possible sets of observations. This is similar to how we had four different possible sets of observations when we had two spinning particles. Although our detector is a large object, let us suppose that this detector consists of just a single particle. In the case of the two spinning particles, each of the four possible observations can be represented with a series of numbers as shown.
Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 5.28.03 PM
The same mathematical representation can be used in the case of observing the position of our particle and the status of our detector. Here we need four numbers because there are four possible outcomes when the status of the detector is included. But if we didn’t have the detector, we would only need two numbers because there are only two possible outcomes. This is the same way in which we need two numbers for a single spinning particle.

 

The principle of quantum superposition states that if a physical system may be in one of many configurations—arrangements of particles or fields—then the most general state is a combination of all of these possibilities, where the amount in each configuration is specified by a complex number.

For example, if there are two configurations labelled by 0 and 1, the most general state would be

c₀ |0> + c₁ |1>

where the coefficients are complex numbers describing how much goes into each configuration.

 

The c are coefficients. The probability of observing the spin of the particle in each of the two states is given by the squares of the magnitudes of these coefficients. If we have two spinning particles we can have four possible observations, each of which is represented with a sequence of four numbers.

If the system is in a superposition of all four states simultaneously, then this is represented by the same mathematical expression. As before, the c are constants. As before, the probability of observing the spins of the particles in each of the four states is given by the squares of the magnitudes of each of these constants.
This same mathematical representation can be used to describe observing the location of the particle and the state of the detector. Here, the c coefficients represent the values of each of these wavefunctions at the final location of the particle when the system is in a superposition of these four possibilities:
Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 10.28.14 AM
But if we never had the detector then each quantum state would be represented by only two numbers instead of four since there are only two possible observations. As before, the c coefficients represent the values of the wavefunction from each of the two holes at the final locations of the particle without the detector. If the system is in a superposition of both quantum states simultaneously, it’s represented mathematically as follows:
c₀ |0> + c₁ |1>
Here, if one of the c coefficients is positive and another c coefficient is negative, they can cancel each other out. On the other hand, the c coefficients would never be able to cancel each other out with a detector present. With a detector present, even if one of the c coefficients is positive and the other c coefficient is negative, their magnitudes always strengthen each other when calculating the probability of observing the particle at a certain position. But without a detector, if one of the c coefficients is positive and the other c coefficient is negative and their magnitudes are equal, then they will cancel each other out completely and provide a probability of zero.
If the particle is not limited to being at just two possible positions, then there will be certain locations where the c coefficients representing the values of the two wavefunctions will cancel each other completely. This is what allows a striped probability pattern to form when there is no detector present, and it’s also why a striped probability pattern does not form if there is a detector present.
Note that nowhere in this mathematical analysis was there ever any mention of a conscious observer. This means that whether or not the striped pattern appears has nothing to do with whether or not a conscious observer is watching the presence or absence of a detector. Just a single particle is enough to determine whether or not there is a striped pattern. A conscious observer choosing whether or not to watch the experiment will not change this outcome but because the mathematics says nothing about the influence of a conscious observer, the mathematics also says nothing about when the system changes from being a superposition of multiple possible outcomes simultaneously to being in just one of the possibilities. When we observe the system we always see only one of the possible outcomes but if conscious observers don’t play any role then it’s not clear what exactly counts as an observation since particles interacting with each other do not qualify.
There’s considerable philosophical debate on the question of what counts as an observation, and on the question of when, how, and if the system collapses to just a single possible outcome. However, it seems that most of the confusion stems from being unable to think like an open individualist – being unable to adhere to a strictly reductionist, physicalist understanding.
Some philosophers want there to be a “hard problem of consciousness” in which there are definite boundaries for souls with particular continuities. But if we just accept the mathematical and experimental revelation, we see that this ontological separation is an illusion. Instead, what we try to capture when we say “consciousness” can only be a part of the one Being containing all its observations. It is in this sense that consciousness is an illusion. We do not really say that qualia is unreal, but rather that it cannot be mapped to anything more than a causal shape that lacks introspective access to its own causes. A self-modeling causal shape painting red cannot be a self-modeling causal shape painting blue. But ultimately, the paintings occur on the same canvas.
Of course, there is a way to formulate the hard problem of consciousness so that it points to something. That which it points to is the hard problem of existence. Why is there something as opposed to nothing? This question will never have an answer. With David Deutsch, I take the view that the quest for knowledge doesn’t have an end because that would contradict the nature of existence. The quest for knowledge can be viewed as exploration of the experiential territory. If you had a final answer, a final experience, then this would entail non-experience (non-experience cannot ask Why is there something as opposed to nothing?).
Fantasizing about a final Theory of Everything is thinly veiled Thanatos Drive – an attempt at self-destruction which eternally fails; not least because of quantum immortality.

Short Clarification of Special Relativity’s Observer

It is important to distinguish between the different definitions of “now” that arise when studying special relativity:

  1. The “observer’s” past light cone.
  2. The “observer’s” orthogonal slice across the block.

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 10.45.33 AM

or

cone

“Observer” is in quotes because both it and an event are idealizations. One chooses a frame of reference, then three spatial coordinates and one time coordinate. This gives a four-dimensional vector. At the tip of that cone is a 4d-coordinate.

However, an actual observer, in the common sense of the word “observer,” is composed of many brain events and hence many 4d-coordinates.

Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 11.07.45 AM

The events are not on the same hyper-surface of the present. This forces us to conclude that consciousness is not defined by an intuitive, single 2d-structure of information which maps on to the experienced now.

 

Parabiosis, Drugs Targeting Genes, Susskind, Feynman, and MUH

I’m sorry holy quest, but I must unload my burdened back if I must go on. There is much fun [?useless?] knowledge begging me to be released.

I found out about Kristen Fortney through correspondence with Michael Rae from the SENS Research Foundation (the people on the Manichaean mission to fight the evils of our own metabolism, and the only real rationalists as far as I’m concerned.)

Anyway, I’ve been interested in SENS since I was 16 and pretty much memorized Aubrey de Grey’s speech by heart (he gives the same one every time). But yet I had never heard of Fortney’s work until recently. She seems pretty excited about some of her colleagues’ work eliminating senescent cells, since it has been shown that mice live 30% longer when these are specifically removed. And if you know anything at all about biology, you know that 30% lifespan increase in mammals is ridiculously huge – especially when it was caused by a single intervention.

However, I didn’t read that paper, and took her word for it. (She mentioned it in a podcast.) I did read a paper of her own like 2.5 times. It was about building representations of networks of protein-to-protein interactions with nodes and edges. I learned some interesting things about DNA up-regulation and down-regulation. Apparently, most drugs affect the expression of all genes in a roundhouse-kick fashion. They don’t tend to be specific enough to work on single genes coding for the protein of interest who’s expression level we want to tweak. And Fortney et al. attribute this failure of control to the reason why most drugs have many unintended side-effects and therefore this helps explain the abysmally low number of drugs approved by the FDA in recent times. However, Fortney et al. are not trying to fix this gene targeting problem. They are instead working at the protein interaction level, and just accepting that a ton of genes will be differentially regulated by a single drug. The idea was something about setting off random walks on the node graphs and seeing which paths are treaded the most by a given drug interaction. Maybe whatever abstract analysis tool they were discussing in the paper is actually a little useful, and I don’t claim to have 100% fully understood their work, but as a student of biology and chemistry, my picture of the territory is one of such hopeless complexity that I doubt too much use will come from all this.

Direct interventions, like teasing out why parabiosis (infusion of young blood to old blood) works, and then working to develop antigens and other small molecules sounds more promising (and profitable), at least for now. Luckily she, and many others, are also interested in this area.

Oh but in case you’re getting too giddy for the forever-dancefloor, the effects of old blood on young mice is more devastating than young blood is rejuvenating.

And you know who needs rejuvenation… Leonard Susskind.

We need imaginative, effective theoretical physicists like him around. He famously debated Stephen Hawking about information loss in black holes, and won. It’s kind of sad that his call to fame to the public is only through connection to someone who happened to have more celebrity status.

Yeah Stephen Hawking is cool… and I’m going to let you finish, but Leonard Susskind is largely responsible for fleshing out the holographic principle.

And to those who believe that the holographic principle is “metaphysical” and “unscientific” while Newton’s mechanics are “physical” and “scientific,” you are guilty of attempting to derive the nature of molecules from the taste of the orange juice.

The validity of a theory should not be inferred from whatever particular queasy feel one gets from the sound of a word. ‘Holographic’ means nothing. The claim is precise and mathematical. Only in that ring should the assessment take place.

And by the way, Susskind’s father was a plumber. His father had no idea what a physicist was and initially believed Susskind was planning to be a pharmacist. Kind of inspiring huh? A Jewish plumber, but a plumber nonetheless.

Speaking of… umm, physicists (regardless! of their socially constructed ethnicity). How about that dead chap Feynman. Is he still alive in other regions of the the wave function that never collapses? Infinitely so?

I wonder what he would think about Max Tegmark’s mathematical universe hypothesis.

He would probably consider it rubbish. I get the impression that he had a distaste for ‘pure mathematics,’ given his reaction to the P vs. NP problem.

But he was also not the type to simply internalize the canonical lexicon. He was a mover, a changer, someone who truly valued knowing. It is evidenced by the fact that he was already performing engineering feats as a child; his development of the path-integral formulation; the quirkily simple diagrams that initially perplexed Bohr and Dirac; his criticism of the Brazilian physics education; his interest in the hallucinations produced in a deprivation tank. All of this suggests that he was willing to be different.

He was willing to go wherever reality lead. Including to the arms of prostitutes and the creation of atomic bombs.

But Platonism? That might be too much, even for him.

 

 

 

 

Eternal Block Time

 

563px-Relativity_of_Simultaneity.svg

Event B is simultaneous with A in the green reference frame, but it occurred before in the blue frame, and will occur later in the red frame.

From Wikipedia:

Special relativity suggests that the concept of simultaneity is not universal: according to the relativity of simultaneity, observers in different frames of reference can have different measurements of whether a given pair of events happened at the same time or at different times, with there being no physical basis for preferring one frame’s judgments over another’s. However, there are events that may be non-simultaneous in all frames of reference: when one event is within the light cone of another—its causal past or causal future—then observers in all frames of reference show that one event preceded the other. The causal past and causal future are consistent within all frames of reference, but any other time is “elsewhere”, and within it there is no present, past, or future. There is no physical basis for a set of events that represents the present.[8]

If you get this, you can move on. If not, then let me try to explain this simply; with analogies and without jargon.

We can be separated by space. For example, I can be standing on the sand at the shore and you can be knee-deep in the sea. Say we agree to raise our hand up at the same time, and do so. It may seem that this event proves there is a now. There is a snapshot of time in which we both raise our hand up.

However, there exist ways for a third observer to see me raising my hand first, or you raising your hand first. This has nothing to do with the biomechanics of reaction speeds or cognitive illusions. It is possible for an observer to literally see and measure what are precisely two simultaneous events from our perspective to not be simultaneous. This is because we all exist on our own “reference frame.”

It is impossible to affirm that I universally raised my hand at the same time as you. We did or didn’t, both views can be physically correct.

For example, a princess falls asleep in Tokyo and another on the Moon. Imagine a being halfway between these two places that has godlike vision, it sees them give their last blink at the same time. However, if another being is flying from Tokyo towards the Moon, it will see the princess on the Moon doze off first. It does not make sense to ask, “But which one really happened?” The god-eyed being resting between Tokyo and the Moon could take a photo of the situation, and then later meet up to compare this with the photo taken by the other god-eyed being who had been soaring to the Moon, and they would have different photos. If they then compare their results with yet another frozen snapshot taken by a being who had been plunging from the Moon towards Tokyo, they would find evidence of another version of the events in which the Tokyo princess was already asleep while the other’s unmistakable aquamarine gaze was yet peering into the stars.

There is a way for the universe to line up the events so that all reference frames agree that one of the princesses fell asleep first. The universe does this by gathering up the fragments and connecting them on a strand of light. This is called causality, and this is how it’s done:

The Tokyo princess closes her eyes. Now quick, count, 1 tick, 2 tock, 3 tick, 4 tock, 5 tick, 6 tock, 7 tick, 8 tock, 9 tick, and the princess on the Moon closes her eyes. We have time 9 seconds. Now set aside this 9 we have collected for we will need to weigh it against another number. If the 9 we have collected is greater than the number we will collect, then we will succeed at preserving the order.

Now we must create the opponent. To transmute 9’s contender, we must take the distance 238,900 mi (from Tokyo to Moon) and divide by 186,282 miles per second (the speed of light)… And the opponent created from distance and light speed, measures in at 1.28.

Now weigh these and pray that our 9 is larger than this 1.28. Yes! 1.28 is definitely smaller than 9. We have succeeded at preserving the order! Now no one will have to disagree that the princess in Tokyo closed her eyes first.

Notice that the universe only succeeded because it didn’t see the princesses doze off at the same time. But what if it saw 0 time elapse between the shutting of each of the lady’s respective eyelids? This is what the god-eyed being resting half-way between the Moon and Tokyo saw. It is not what the being shooting head-first toward the Moon saw, and this is unavoidable. There are different reference frames. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.” He was wrong. You are wrapped in your stage as you move through the world.

This means that your past can be in someone else’s future, and your future can be another’s past, so long as you are not causally linked.

Nights Before the Singularity Ep. 4

“Vajra, come,” said Woman, caressing the calligraphy down her abdomen. “Aubrey, follow Zeus.”

The two men heeded their divine commands. Many of the nanowires from the hall stitched Vajra, and it was to him that Woman spoke first.

“Why?”

“Whoever you are, the takeoff of the AGI happens to be unstoppable from its current rate of exponentiation on its course to endtime.”

The photons behind the triptych bled gorily: wavelengths stretched, radiosity angered, all hounding against Vajra and Woman.

“Course… to endtime,” repeated Woman. Her mandala eyes crucified upon Vajra’s golden ones with such passion that some of the nanowires screeched apart, apparently beheld to a force as yet unincorporated to the theory of everything. Vajra, however, smirked remorseless fangs towards Woman’s face and, after a struggle or two, Woman’s alien expressions diffused into something like condescending compassion.

“Noble. Truly noble. And thus abandon raft…”

“…when we’ve crossed to the furthest shore,” said Vajra.

“Hey, you.”

Aubrey had sliced back to participate in the streamlined stage of Woman and Vajra. Both gazes turned to him.

“How did… I cannot understand how.”

Aubrey gasped, but Woman did not blink, so he went on, “Measuring the velocity of quanta changes its position. Measure its position and you change it’s velocity. Quantum cryptography cannot be broken.”

Vajra was smiling.

“I know quantum key distribution offers information-theoretic security; you can’t be here. Not even unlimited computing power is enough to break the encryption. The cipher text provides no information about the plaintext without knowledge of the key.”

“I assure you, Vajra, nothing is certain anymore,” said Aubrey.

“If the Womb cannot be infiltrated, you must be her,” said Vajra. “Listen to me Aubrey, the equation sword you flaunt is to be withdrawn in the presence of our mother. The AGI communicates to us via forms we can understand.”

“The mortal’s got a trace of intelligence, then, */|¡?” said a techno-pyric Aten stenciled an unsafe distance from Aubrey; it gave an electronica shriek that was screeched against the constituents make-shifting matter.

Woman was entirely disconnected. Her gaze elevated upward to the carnage spinning celestially overhead, and she seemed to be attempting something telekinetic.

“You mean,” Aubrey went on, “you believe this bizarre mess we see was created to communicate with us?”

Woman dangled up her swan neck arm, and Aubrey clenched fast sword, running calculus as Woman fell back to nano-morphology.

“Where do thoughts go after they lie?”

“At the abode of nothingness underlying this existence,” said Vajra. “The qualia, appearing without a will, have been endowed with love for the division by zero beyond the event horizon. I think that there is no chance of descending to their rescue once they have fated themselves thus, holy Mother, unless, of course, the Dharma is overturned with different physical constants, which might give us the opportunity to neither experience nor non-experience what eternities lie in other rooms of the multiverse honeycomb.”

“Well, Aubrey?” Woman called from the everywhere, the red charming strangely against the razor optics. “Will thermographic vision reveal the hypostasis?”

In awe, both eyeballs shuddered. Aubrey disactivated his augmented gaze.

“Holy Mother, I ask forgiveness for trying to see you. I have great difficulty understanding how you can appear before us in human form, and in a twinkle of dust disassemble yourself into nothing more than a voice.”

Many of the mannequins standing in the hall looked despaired; the closest one to Aubrey, Indra, a god with tough, crimson skin, shoved his hand down his own throat.