Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Parallel Universes and Us

I was looking for a subject matter for 'The Post That Was Promised'. I wanted to write something science for a change, maybe wave-particle duality or quantum computing, and was just googling random sciencey words across the big wide interwebs. And thus it is that I stumbled onto this gem.  Meet the American Monk, Burt Goldman... also sometimes known as "the 85 year old man who jumps across universes". Nice! So what and how does Burt do 'it'? But first, is multiple universes an actual 'thing' in science/physics?

Well, the closest thing to parallel universes in rigorous, non-startup-yogi physics, is the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, attributed to Hugh Everett. This is not a proven theory, in fact, we don't know if it is even provable. It is just an interpretation put forth as one of the possible explanations for some of the bizarre and unsettling results of QM experiments. QM postulates that all matter, electrons, protons, cats, you and me... exist as probability fields, rather than as localized bodies. Therefore our beloved billiard balls electrons from middle/high school are actually more like clouds. However the cloud can never be seen, for it is not physical, but a probability density cloud. If we try to see the electron, the cloud vanishes and all we see is the billiard ball. The density of the cloud at a location tells us the probability of actually seeing the ball there. Yet the ball could be anywhere, and indeed is simultaneously everywhere, in the cloud, even if the cloud spans the entire universe. Imagine one electron, smaller than anything you can imagine, indivisible (as far as we know), being at every point in the universe at the same time. It is not our ignorance of the truth that the probability cloud represents, but the fundamental way nature itself behaves. Its not that you don't know whether your cat is dead or alive, its that  the cat is both dead and alive, existing as a cloud of all possibilities, and when you open the box, probability is all that separates pet from landfill. QM is the most counter-intuitive theory mankind has ever had to deal with, yet it is not something we created. It is the puzzle revealed to us by nature, one that is more bizarre than anything we want to believe and yet it has stood the tests of time and our adamant faith in our sensory perception. And so we make interpretations to reduce the majesty of nature's puzzle into familiar, if arguably mundane, blocks. Rather than accept that the cloud is a probability wave and every time a measurement is made, God rolls a die, one may choose to believe in many-universes. That every time a measurement is made, the universes branch each one realizing a possible outcome. And all the possibilities that can happen, do happen. You however, happen to reside in one of the worlds and see only one of the possibilities, while your copy in a parallel universe wins the lottery. Thus everything that could have possibly happened in our past but did not, has occurred in the past of some parallel universe. Your existence, your past, and future is still random, but at least the lottery tickets are 'real' and not an unfathomable mist.

And this is where Burt comes in and says, "there an infinite number of parallel universes, each with an alternate version of you, or as the site (and HIMYM) calls it, your doppleganger. Some of them might be great painters, or musicians, or scientists. There is an infinite number of parallel universes coexisting with us in the same room, but you cannot tune into them unless you are on the same frequency. And Quantum Jumping allows you to open the same frequency.” So the goal of the program is to teach you to jump through parallel universes and talk to alternate more successful 'you's and they will be kind enough to teach you the ways of awesomeness. And apparently that's pretty easy. "You don’t need to be a mad scientist to master Quantum Jumping. All you need is an open mind, and the willingness to learn."... and $167 to get the DVD from Burt. The website goes on to claim that more that 180000 people have benefited from the 'scientific' breakthrough of jumping through universes to access your genius dopplegangers' wisdom. Some of the people came through writing stellar reviews of the process...
"I’m a musician and song-writer and I Quantum Jumped to gain inspiration. During my jump, I met my Doppelganger who said “I want to see you smile.” That day I wrote a song with that title. Later that week, I did it again. I jumped through the door and this time saw a big white house. Inside, I saw a wall full of golden records and other prizes. WOW! I could even read the titles of the songs on the records. One said, “Just Fun.” The same day I wrote another song by that name. These songs are the best I’ve written so far in my life and I’ve been song writing for 20 years! Next, I asked my Doppelganger what to do with these songs. Where do I send them? To who? He wrote on a piece of paper “Virgin Tokyo.” Now that’s more than insight, that is clear information! Quantum Jumping really works!"
"I've long believed in parallel universes and a few close brushes with one finally got me to quit smoking. After about 25 tries over 30 years I finally did it. I don't think QJ is imagination, but that might help some to allow it to "work." More that when it doesn't, the mind is closed to it working anyway - consciously or not. I can open a very helpful channel - except when I'm trying too hard to hear or don't want an answer - and then of course I can't."

That's about as much of this site I can abide by putting on my blog. There is a dearth of text on the website, some of it true, the rest just not false, a lot of it funny, much of it a runaround chasing links that get old quickly.

The possibility of multiple universes along with most of QM challenges human preconceptions about our existence in many unique ways. The idea has spawned countless science fiction, or perhaps science fiction has seeded the idea in physicists. Can we actually access, thus prove the existence of, these multiple universes... maybe, perhaps we can interfere two near identical universe-waves? If we can, then would it be akin to time travel... if you could go to the past, to a point before a particular branching could you opt to go into the alternative branch instead? Or does the very act of time travel create new branches, and your own universe's past remain unchangeable? Is it even time travel at that point or just inter-universal travel (which does not make it less cool)? All I know is, nature is way more complicated, beautiful, and glorious than our minds can possibly imagine right now, maybe ever... and if we ever are able to access multiple universes... I suspect we would have much more to gain than Virgin Tokyo's hot new single, "Just Fun".

#Suggested Reading - 
The epic book about a book about alternate histories...
The Man in the High Castle. : Philip K Dick.
#Suggested Listening - 
No connection, just one of my favourite bands and albums
"Parallel Universe" - Californication - Red Hot Chilli Peppers

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