Our counterfeit reality

The universe is not what it seems to be. All is illusion.
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” Shakespeare.
“The more precisely the position of a particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known.” Heisenberg


Do molecules have morals? Are there “bad” amoeba and “good” amoeba? Do ants have compassion? Evil wolves and kindly wolves?

We assume there are bad and good people, so at what point do we assume living creatures have a moral code?

Morals presuppose free will. You cannot be moral or immoral, bad or good, unless you have conscious control over your actions.

So, to assume people are bad and good, we must assume people have at least some modicum of control over their actions.

But is this assumption sound? Do we really control our actions?

Free Will
Previously, (here and here) I wrote to you about “free will,” or specifically the fact that despite what our intuition tells us, free will does not exist. Free will is an illusion.

Every effect has a cause. The actions of every quark, every proton, electron, and neutron, every atom and molecule and field and force, are affected by a previous chain of other quantum particles and forces, which in turn, are affected by others, going back through time.

Image result for cause and effect
Every effect has a cause

There is no known mechanism for your brain having free will, any more than your car, your “smart” phone or your refrigerator having free will.

Unless and until someone develops an alternative physics, in which the atoms of human brains do not respond to the other atoms in the universe, or do not direct our actions, beliefs, and emotions, we must acknowledge the physical impossibility of free will.

And this line of logic leads directly to the notion of infinitely pre-programmed time.

If at both the macro and the micro levels, every effect has a prior cause, then there is no alternative to the deterministic idea that everything that will be, already is programmed by what has been.

Image result for movie film
The past, present, and future exist simultaneously as a continuum called “time.”

You might visualize an infinitely long reel of movie film, moving by at light speed, in which the past exists in earlier cells, “now” exists in one cell, and the future exists in later cells.

The past, the present, and the future, as with a movie film, all have been written and all exist simultaneously as a continuum called “time,” immutable by any mysterious, undiscovered, non-physical, nonexistent  force we refer to as “free will.”

Is that infinite “movie film” a straight line, with no beginning and no end? Or, is it a circle, where moments of a distant future blend seamlessly into a distant past — also with no beginning and no end? Does trillion-year history repeat endlessly?

Image result for slinky with both ends attached
Is this the shape of time?

Nature is loaded with cycles, repetitions or near-repetitions, that hint time might be something of a helictical circle (like a Slinky, with both ends attached), where cycles are adjacent points on the circle.

The helix is strangely common in nature. Is this time’s imprint on matter and energy?

Viewed that way, the notion of time travel jumps out at you, since merely moving from one cycle to a nearby cycle could take you years into the past or the future. (Wormholes, anyone?)

Yet, even a time jump, which presumably could change the future and/or the past, wouldn’t affect the idea that free will does not exist.

Image result for helix circle
Nature’s omnipresent double helix hints at time travel. 

Your decision to time-jump still would be pre-programmed, and the results of your jump already have been written.

I recently was asked, “If everything is pre-programmed, why should I even bother to try?”

My answer is, “You can’t help it. Your every thought and every emotion is determined by the atoms and fields in your brain, and they are influenced by other atoms and fields. 

You are an actor in the movie, and your brain’s arrangement today and tomorrow already have been determined by the script.”

If all of this seems fanciful, even absurd, be assured that currently-debated, even accepted hypotheses are no less fanciful.

Many Worlds
Consider the “many-worlds” interpretation, which posits that everything that possibly could have happened — i.e. every movement by every quantum particle — actually has happened in a separate universe.

This not only requires an essentially infinite number of universes now, but infinitely more universes a tiny fraction of a second from now — far more complete universes than the number of particles in our universe.

Infinite copies of you, would read infinite variations of this post now, and that number would increase, second by second, infinitely. Fanciful?

Yet it seriously has been considered by such luminaries as Stephan Hawking and Roger Penrose — at least in my current universe. In other universes, perhaps not.

Even time travel or an infinite number of universes does not provide for free will in even one universe, even one planet, even one organism. Consider a common, sci-fi situation in which someone goes back in time and does something that alters the future.

This does not imply the person has free will, since his trip to the past, and his actions there merely would be a projection of the past. Everything has been written, like the pages of a novel.

Somehow, the original quantum particles were created and set in motion. Everything after that has resulted from that original “script.” There is nothing you or I can do to change it.

Though we imagine we can, via force of will,  change the trajectory of the universe’s quantum particles, that is an illusion. We can no more change the future than we can change the past.

All is illusion, created by our brains. Hold your hand in front of your face. What do you see? Your fingers?

No, your brain experiences light photons, and converts that sensation into the illusion of fingers. Everything you see, hear, feel, smell, taste, and believe is an illusion, created by your brain’s quantum particles in response to other quantum particles.

Just as you can’t see your fingers, you can’t hear a violin, or taste chocolate, or feel an itch, or believe anything in this post. Your brain’s quantum particles create and interpret illusions.

A hologram can illustrate an object from any angle in 3-dimensional space. It is not a photographic replica, but rather its what your eyes and brain interpret as an organized picture from a seemingly unorganized group of atoms.

A hologram is an illusion.

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Multi-user hologram table

Some scientists suggest the universe is a hologram, with two-dimensional arrangements of quantum particles interpreted as three-dimensional by your brain.

It would be another example of reality differing from what our intuition tells us.

Heraclitus said, No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

You cannot experience the same fingers, the same violin, the same chocolate, or the same itch, twice. Every second your eyes experience different photons; your ears experience different sound wave molecules; your taste buds experience different chemicals.

Your brain continually re-interprets these changing inputs into a smooth constant, not because you “will” it to, but because it must.

This leads to the question, “Why is there consistency?” Look at this page. Now look away and look back again. The page still appears to be there.

If all is an illusion, created by quantum particles that began their trajectories billions of years ago, wouldn’t they by now, have become so randomized, that each moment would appear different to my brain?

And indeed, each moment is different. The light quanta coming off your computer screen change trillions of times each second, as do the atoms of your brain, yet the illusion persists that you and the screen stay the same.

Awake or asleep, my brain receives and recreates sensory input, from which it creates the universe you know. Thus, a dream is no less real than an awake experience. It may be different.

Solipsism says that nothing is real and everything is invented by the brain. Descartes wrote, “I think, therefore I exist,” to create a foundation of reality, but never was able to claim the nature of “I.”

The phrase not only expressed the foundation of knowledge, but the limit of knowledge. It purports to be the limit of what we can know about reality.

In summary, I exist as something. I experience a unique existence that is is an illusion created by me. I believe this illusion to be in response to all the particles and fields that may have existed in an infinite universe for an infinite time.

When these lights are flashing, it is impossible not to see them as moving back and forth, no matter how hard we try.

For me, the illusion is extraordinarily powerful. I believe with all my head, heart, and soul that I exist in a certain form, and that you do, too.

Consider railroad signal lights. You see them as moving back and forth, though you know this is an illusion.  Illusions are hard to overcome.

My emotions say I have “free will,” though my logic tells me this is not possible.

I believe I decided to write this article, though I know of no scientific basis for my being able to decide anything; it all has been determined from the beginning.

I am an actor in a story, doing what I am programmed to do, neither more nor less. I have come to this conclusion because I must. There are no alternatives.

And all of this begs the question, “Who wrote the “novel?” Who/what created the original quantum particles and set them in motion?

We are limited by the imagination we have been given. We cannot imagine “always.”

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell


Perhaps it isn’t Trump’s fault, after all. Free Will or Inevitability.

Perhaps you believe that Donald J. Trump is a lying, incompetent bigot and an obvious con man.

Or not.

Perhaps you see the evidence everywhere, from his business history to his personal history to his political history. Or not.

Either way, it may not be his fault or yours.

The word “fault” no longer may apply to our lives.

The standard “Big Bang” model, which currently is one of the accepted descriptions of our universe’s beginning, holds that everything started from essentially nothing.

This science posits that about 13.7 billion years ago, give or take a few hundred million, a dimensionless point, according to as yet unknown laws of physics, somehow expanded via something we call “inflation” to almost the size it is today.

And did this in less than a second.

We say, “laws of physics,” but laws are invented by humans, and we don’t know what laws apply,  if laws apply, or even if there are laws.

“Inflation” is just a meaningless word for, “We don’t know how the universe came to be so big, so in our ignorance, we gave it a name.” 

Presumably, if scientists didn’t understand biologic reproduction, they would term pregnancy, “inflation.”

One even could say the 13.7-year time scale is meaningless, because time as we believe it to be, is relative to speed and gravity, neither of which we can measure with assurance that far back, and in any event, “years” relate to earth’s turns around the sun, which didn’t exist.

So the whole thing is based on smoke and mirrors, but it’s a tale that helps us to visualize a story, if not to know the truth.

We currently think the early universe was composed of energy, whatever that may have been then, which according to certain laws of physics (those “laws,” again) somehow formed particles.

And we believe these particles somehow assembled into and hydrogen and helium atoms, which further assembled into stars, and the stars exploded creating all the visible matter in the universe — including you and me.

Image result for galaxy
From a single dimensionless point came billions of these.

According to the known laws of physics, every atom of your body at one time existed in a star.

And in violation of another law (the 2nd law of thermodynamics), those stars assembled into beautiful galaxies, and you assembled into you.

The second law of thermodynamics states that the total disorder of an isolated system cannot decrease over time.

For instance, a bottle can break into a thousand pieces, but those pieces cannot spontaneously reassemble. Yet that is exactly what the universe is said to have done.

Fundamental to our beliefs about the physical world is the notion that nothing happens without a cause. An atom does not simply decide to move. Interactions with something — another atom and/or a force — move it.

And for those interactions to happen, there must have been a previous cause, which themselves had a cause, and over again and again, dating back forever, or at least to the so-called “Big Bang,” which too must have had a cause.

It is like the child’s endlessly asking, “Why?” following every explanation. Everything has a “why?”

The atoms of your brain follow cause and effect. Your every thought, emotion, and action results from those atoms being impacted by other atoms and forces, in an endless chain.

Think about it. Can you imagine any mechanism by which your so-called “will” could change the directed actions of the atoms and their forces in your brain and the rest of your body?

Image result for sunburn
Cause and effect.  Sunburn doesn’t happen without the sun.

Are you angry? Happy? Puzzled? Hungry? Curious? Sad? Do you walk, run, speak, sing, or fire a gun?

Do any of these not involve the actions of particles in your brain and body — atoms that came to you from exploding stars many light years distant?

What control could you have over any of your brain’s particles, without involving particles that are affected by other particles, down through history?

Are you reading this article because you want to, or because you have no control over your life’s events? You may think it’s because you want to.

But why do you want to? Doesn’t this desire involve the atoms of your brain, atoms which may be billions of years old? And haven’t these atoms been affected by other atoms for billions of years?

Every action in the universe involves the cause and effect dances among particles.

Visualize watching a movie. You may like or dislike the characters on the screen. You may wish them well or ill. You may cross your fingers or whisper a prayer. You may close your eyes in fear or open them wide in enjoyment.

But all your efforts will not affect the movie’s action. The movie you see is an illusion. The outcome is predetermined.

Since every action is the result of a previous action, everything you do is predetermined:

Despite what you may choose to believe, you have no free will.

And it all began with something currently named, “the Big Bang, or perhaps even before then.

So when I tell you about Donald Trump’s negative characteristics, I illogically may hope it will affect your beliefs and your future actions, especially your voting actions.

But everything — my choice of words, your belief, your subsequent actions, even my hopes — everything has been determined by what came before — billions of years, before.

I can no more alter my destiny or your opinions than I can change the orbit of a Milky Way constellation.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
Omar Khayyám

Inevitability helps explain what otherwise seems unexplainable.

Consider “quantum entanglement.”  Overly simplified, quantum entanglement describes two or more tiny particles relate in such a way, that what happens to one, instantly and predictably affects the other, no matter how far apart they may be.Image result for quantum entanglement

One particle can be here on Earth and the other can be sent to Mars, yet if you change particle #1, particle #2 simultaneously will change in a predictable way, even though there is no way that particle #2  could have “learned” what change you made to particle #1.

It would be as though particle #2 were able to “predict” what change you decided to make in particle #1, even before you made it, and thereby change preemptively, before the information arrived. This is one of the great mysteries of quantum mechanics.

One solution to this puzzle of prior knowledge would be for everything to be inevitable and determined by the actions of all that came before.

Just as with the start of a movie, the ending is predetermined. Your action on particle #1 and the change in particle #2 both are predetermined, so “prediction” is not an issue.

Mystery solved.

If everything is predetermined, and we have no free will, why do I bother? Why do you bother? What’s the use of our efforts? Why do we hope and strive? Why do we experience joy and disappointment?

And the answer, of course, is we have no alternative and no control. We are pre-programmed robots, and part of our programming is not only to believe we have free will, but to hope and strive and to experience.

Things are what they are, because of cause and effect, down to the smallest level.

And finally, whether or not you believe this, or doubt it or have learned from it — all that was determined many billions of years ago.

Our movie has been filmed.

I hope you enjoy it, though that already has been determined.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell; Search #monetarysovereignty
Facebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell