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Old 01-22-2016, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
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In two recent books, Ruth Kastner has promoted an interpretation of quantum mechanics that she calls the "Possiblist Transactional Interpretation" (PTI) which combines Heisenberg's notion that possibilities are real (though not actualized) with John Cramer's Transactional Interpretation, which is most famous for the notion of a "handshake" between the future and the past/present. The combination of Heisenberg and Cramer implies, basically, that there is an important sense in which "possible futures" can, so to speak, "reach back" to determine how the present moment will be actualized. Or, to put it another way: A great deal of the past and present are not "set in stone" - a lot of quantum details (perhaps even most details?) constituting the past and present are indeterminate and will remain indeterminate until some actualization in the more distant future determines them. Yet another way to put it: There is simply is no "fact of the matter" concerning most of the past and present, and there won't be any "fact of the matter" about many of these details of the past or the present until sometime in the future.


If Kastner is right, then possibilities are real, even though they do not yet actually exist (or might never become actual). So we have this distinction between "real" and "actual" where the actual world is just "the tip of the iceberg" of Reality.


Just to be clear: A lot of facts about the past and present are "set in stone" and nothing in the future can change these actualized facts. It's just that a lot of the questions we might ask today do not have answers at the present time - not just because we are ignorant of the answer, but because Reality Itself is, at the present moment, still indeterminate regarding them.


If you accept all of this, then my question becomes: How, precisely, does the future impact the past and present? And how does the present determine the future? Could there be a role for "free will" in this picture? Does a possibility have some sort of "intrinsic nature" by which it can interact with other possibilities and/or actual entities?


If you don't accept the Heisenberg/Kastner notion of the reality of possibilities, why not?
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Old 01-22-2016, 10:53 AM
 
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If you don't accept the Heisenberg/Kastner notion of the reality of possibilities, why not?

Because there is no future or past. There is only now. You may call it whatever you want to, but no matter how much you describe "it" or try to "travel" into "it" that "it" is always only now. An instance, that has no dimension, just as a geometrical dot.
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Whittier
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This is too deep for me this morning.

The first thing I thought of was Determinism and Free Will and how that all is affected by these notions.

I've always "felt" that these sorts of multi-dimensions or multiple selves existed, but I've never thought that they would have any bearing on well, anything really.

What comes to mind is the movie "Contact" when Jodie Foster is in the spaceship and her multiple selves are presenting themselves.

---

Very briefly I think that even if there are these multiple outcomes or possible outcomes, rather, that it is much like the Evil Demon argument or Brain in a Vat, that the only thing that really matters is what is NOW. As this is just a practical notion of what we'd as a people would consider that, even though there might be something else, it doesn't really matter because we who have "control" or the ability to perceive are doing so at this moment and...well...yeah...

As far as the past and present, that's pretty interesting. Much like in a courtroom trying to piece together the actual Truth of a matter, I don't believe there ever will be an exact Truth. So in a way this theory seems to posit that, if this "handshake" exists and it IS all connected, that kinda assumes that there is this ultimate truth, which is a pretty big deal.

That's all I got for now, too busy!
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Old 01-22-2016, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harhar View Post
So in a way this theory seems to posit that, if this "handshake" exists and it IS all connected, that kinda assumes that there is this ultimate truth, which is a pretty big deal.
I've been trying to think of this in terms of multiple possible paths to a given actual event. Suppose, at this moment, I feel a twinge of pain in my left foot. The number of possible causal paths from the Big Bang to now that are logically consistent with the qualitative character of this particular experience are astronomical. (E.g., a 2.5 million years ago, a photon could have been ejected from a radioactive atom in the Andromeda galaxy one nanosecond later than it was, and this difference would not have made any difference to whether or not I experience this twinge.) But, for the sake of simplicity, let's reduce the astronomical numbers of possible paths by which the universe could have unfolded down to, say, 1000. Of these 1000 paths, let's say that 600 of them do not lead to the biogenesis of life on earth. These 600 are automatically eliminated as possible paths because if life never appeared on earth, then I would not be sitting here feeling a twinge in my left foot. Of the remaining 400 paths, lets suppose that 300 cam be eliminated because, although life evolved on earth, I was never born. And so on, until we get down to total of, say, 10 paths that are logically consistent with me feeling this twinge at this time. According to my theory, there is no fact of the matter, at this moment, concerning which of these paths is the "actual" path because there is no one actual path. Reality, at this moment, consists of a set of 10 possible paths, and there simply is no finer-grained truth. With each passing actual moment, more and more possible paths get eliminated because they cease to be logically compatible with whatever new actualities have occurred.

If the number of possible paths by which the cosmos can unfold is finite, then presumably we could eventually reach a point where all possible paths have been eliminated, except for one. This is how I would interpret your notion of an "ultimate truth." The finite "Omega Point" would determine the facts-of-Reality stretching all the way from the Big Bang to the Omega point.

But in reality, we are probably not dealing with finite numbers. I suspect we are actually dealing with ranking infinities. Some infinities are "greater" than others. For example: the infinity of real numbers is infinitely bigger than the infinity of natural numbers. Thus it could be that there is no such thing as an Omega Point. Instead, the Cosmos could be something like an infinite fractal - an infinite set of unfolding patterns that are never exactly repeated (and thus there is nothing like Nietzsche's "Eternal Recurrence.")

Each actual event eliminates lots of possible paths, but no actual event ever limits the possible paths to one, thus there is no "ultimate truth" - which, ironically, is itself a sort of "ultimate truth"
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:12 PM
 
13,192 posts, read 4,918,014 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
In two recent books, Ruth Kastner has promoted an interpretation of quantum mechanics that she calls the "Possiblist Transactional Interpretation" (PTI) which combines Heisenberg's notion that possibilities are real (though not actualized) with John Cramer's Transactional Interpretation, which is most famous for the notion of a "handshake" between the future and the past/present. The combination of Heisenberg and Cramer implies, basically, that there is an important sense in which "possible futures" can, so to speak, "reach back" to determine how the present moment will be actualized. Or, to put it another way: A great deal of the past and present are not "set in stone" - a lot of quantum details (perhaps even most details?) constituting the past and present are indeterminate and will remain indeterminate until some actualization in the more distant future determines them. Yet another way to put it: There is simply is no "fact of the matter" concerning most of the past and present, and there won't be any "fact of the matter" about many of these details of the past or the present until sometime in the future.


If Kastner is right, then possibilities are real, even though they do not yet actually exist (or might never become actual). So we have this distinction between "real" and "actual" where the actual world is just "the tip of the iceberg" of Reality.


Just to be clear: A lot of facts about the past and present are "set in stone" and nothing in the future can change these actualized facts. It's just that a lot of the questions we might ask today do not have answers at the present time - not just because we are ignorant of the answer, but because Reality Itself is, at the present moment, still indeterminate regarding them.


If you accept all of this, then my question becomes: How, precisely, does the future impact the past and present? And how does the present determine the future? Could there be a role for "free will" in this picture? Does a possibility have some sort of "intrinsic nature" by which it can interact with other possibilities and/or actual entities?


If you don't accept the Heisenberg/Kastner notion of the reality of possibilities, why not?
time is a human construct. so we need more info. probability is based only on what we do know. sure we can't predict it but it is still only based on what we know. toss in properties of waves and people get all mystic-eyed. When it comes to "time" we just don't know enough.

But if you think the future can reach back then the past can reach forward. "poof", there is your afterlife.
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arach Angle View Post
time is a human construct.
I don't think this is quite right. I would say that some aspects of our concept of time may be illusory, but I don't think that time itself is entirely an illusion. To put it another way: When we introspect on our sense of time, we slip into some illusions, but I think we also discover some direct insights into the foundations of Reality. I'm sure we all realize that time doesn't flow faster when we're having fun. This feeling is an illusion, but since we know it is illusory, we refer to the idea that "time flies" in joking fashion. On a more sophisticated level, we have a natural tendency to feel that time flows at the same rate everywhere. This, too, is illusory, but we typically don't recognize it as an illusion unless we are familiar with Einstein's theories of Relativity. Intuitively it doesn't seem right that motion and gravity affect the flow of time, but they do. On the other hand, I would argue that the feeling of change is not entirely an illusion, but it is rather a deep insight into the nature of Reality. I would say that change is real, and the future truly is undetermined. And then there is our intuitive feeling that the past is set in stone. My claim is that this is actually a combination of illusion and deep insight. Parts of the past are set in stone (this is actually a deep insight, that may not feel very deep because it is such a common belief) but, on the other hand, major parts of the past are not set in stone, so the feeling that the entire past is set in stone is the illusory aspect of our intuition. For some really interesting arguments from a physicist for the notion that time is real, I suggest the book "Time Reborn" by Lee Smolin. This video gives a good overview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATxi0_-7HqQ

Quote:
But if you think the future can reach back then the past can reach forward. "poof", there is your afterlife.
Although I do used the expression "reaches back," there a subtle distinction that needs to be made. It is not "the future" that reaches back. The "future" can't reach back because the future does not exist - it is indeterminate. What "reaches back" are possibilities or possible futures. This is not an easy concept to grasp, but Lee Smolin's theory about the reality of time and the indeterminacy of the future can be of some help here.

We typically think that the future is, in some sense, "contained" in the present, so if you know everything about the present moment, you could, in principle, apply the laws of physics and predict the future with certainty. But Smolin's point is that the laws of physics themselves evolve. This, of course, is contrary to the way most people think about natural laws. Natural laws are generally thought to be "timeless" or unchanging. We assume an asymmetry: Natural laws determine how physical state spaces evolve over time, but the ways in which systems change over time don't have any impact on the laws of nature. Smolin suggests that this traditional thinking is wrong. He suggests that there is a more symmetrical action/reaction relationship between the laws of nature and the evolution of physical states. The physical world evolves, but this evolution, over long periods of time, causes the laws of nature themselves to evolve. Thus, even in principle, if you have perfect knowledge of all of the initial conditions, and you apply the laws of physics, you still can't predict the far distant future because, over time, the laws of nature will, themselves, change. The future is really and truly indeterminate in the strongest possible sense.

In any case, what "reaches back" is not "the future" but, rather, possibilities. And, furthermore, this process of "reaching back" is actually part of the process by which natural laws evolve so, ironically, the process of "reaching back" might actually influence the creation of new laws, and thus the creation of new possibilities that were not even possibilities prior to the "reaching back." Thus the future that actually comes to be might be a future that wasn't even a naturally possible future in the past.

And if you want to go really wildly and crazily out on a limb: A key player in the evolution of natural laws may be the conscious understanding of logical possibilities. Natural possibilities reach back to the past and trigger the evolution of natural laws, but the conscious exploration of logical possibilities may play a role in shaping the ways in which natural laws evolve. (This is my own weird little idea, not Smolin's, or Kastner's).

Last edited by Gaylenwoof; 01-23-2016 at 09:56 AM..
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
I don't think this is quite right. I would say that some aspects of our concept of time may be illusory, but I don't think that time itself is entirely an illusion. To put it another way: .
yeah, thats true. We don't know enough for me to say a blanket statement. But for now, time is regular state changes that we call "ticks" and we are part of the states changing.
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Old 01-24-2016, 01:07 AM
 
Location: Not-a-Theist
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First we need to define what do we mean by 'actual' world.
When we have done that, then, if possibilities are actualized in the defined 'actual world' then it is real.


However the actual world is not easy to be defined.
Point is there is no absolute 'actual world'.
What we have are a range of relative worlds, i.e. common sense, empirical, mathematical, etc.


In addition there is no absolute self.
What we have is a range of relative selves, e.g. psychological, mental, physical, etc.


Due to the variations within the permutations of relative worlds and relative selves, we need to establish a criterion to determine the what is true in relation to the respective world.


I believe the empirical world is the norm of reality [at least 99%] while the others are subject to further philosophical justifications.


Based on philosophical justifications I am very certain there is not even a 0.001 possibility [it is 100% impossible] of a theistic world with a theistic God. As such there cannot be any actual or real God.
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Old 01-24-2016, 06:50 AM
 
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philosophical justifications are as troublesome against god as those for god. Pkileo's are allowed to make up anything they want so long as it reads pretty and all. They don't hold water. Based on observations, of the measuring kind, it is more likely that there is a larger more complex system that we are part of and some call god. The literalist has the traits (or treats if you like) wrong. And the milly fund will not allow their world view to be changed by the facts around them.

sad really. That grammer natzi's shout down truth because of a typeos.
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Old 01-24-2016, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Tossing some stuff out here-

Consensus is that what we consider to be the universe came into being with what is colloquially called the "big bang," which is more accurately rapid expansion, likely from a single point. Importantly, the expansion occurred at a rate that would exceed the speed of light, the so-called limiting factor in current science.

Consensus is also growing that outside of brane collision, the universe will reach an end state of complete entropy.

If we take these two end-points as having validity, and the current limitations of expansion of the universe (which may be changing) we have a container. We have no idea what may be happening outside of that container, whether in pre-universe or post universe "times," "space" (to use the term loosely) outside of the universe, nor dimensions not contained within the universe.

I *think* we can take the point source beginning of the universe as a fixed quantity/quality/substance/energy/whatever. There is currently no word for the totality of the universe expressed as a single point, so I'll just call it Dot. It is pretty certain that "time" as we know it did not exist until Dot had unfolded/unpacked and set up housekeeping.

At the other end, once complete entropy is achieved, time is effectively lost. Time only appears to exist in conjunction with matter and motion. In that sense, there is a fixed end point if you ignore the distribution of those last particles of mass (which may or may not extinguish completely)

So... we have a net zero universe, with fixed beginning and end. All things came from naught, all things will end as naught. The science is very naughty.

Are there other universes (or unknown parts of this universe) that impinge upon us in ways we don't see or understand? Quite possibly. I can't prove the negative. Are there links between what we call past, present and future? It would appear so, based upon the OP.

While there may or may not be ways to go beyond the limitations we currently experience, the two paths that seem to hold the most promise are to keep on looking, exploring, and learning, and to attend to body needs and be happy and healthy so that we can enjoy that pastime. Doing so implies free will. If there is none, you will do what you will anyway and the point is moot.

FWIW, a close examination of the root words in Genesis and John do NOT claim a creator God, but a set of rules and differentiations. But that is best left for a different forum or discussion.
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