Hello and good morning.
It’s Thursday morning once again, and so it’s time for me to attempt to create a simulacrum of what used to be my typical, once-weekly blog post, back when I used to do my fiction writing every non-Thursday morning of the week. It won’t really live up to expectations, I wouldn’t think, since the situation is now so different.
For one thing, I can’t talk about my fiction writing, since I haven’t done any fiction writing since before I last posted The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and previously, Outlaw’s Mind, both of which are uncompleted stories and are likely to remain that way until the end of the universe—barring, of course, the possibility that the universe goes on forever and every possible quantum state thereof is eventually realized somewhere, somewhen.
Indeed, if the universe is infinite in spatial extent, as seems to be the case, and if our understanding of quantum mechanics and the maximal entropy state of enclosed regions of spacetime are correct, or even reasonably close to being correct, then somewhere out there in space “at this time” there are an infinite number of versions of me who have completed both stories, and many others besides, and who are world-famous authors.
I used scare quotes around “at this time” because, obviously, given the finite speed of light/causality, and the flexible nature of time depending on relative motion, the concept of simultaneity is fuzzy at best. Nothing outside one’s local light cones can be considered to be in one’s past or one’s future, but they are also not exactly “now”, either.
Still, we can give an overall statement about the age of the universe for things that have little to no “peculiar motion” relative to the cosmic microwave background and say that such things have gone through about 13.8 billion years since the hot big bang, on average, and it’s not nonsensical to do that. So, if by “at this time”, I refer to other regions of a spatially infinite universe that have passed through roughly the same amount of local time since the big bang, I’m not incorrect in saying that there are an infinite number of “me” who have completed their stories—and there are an infinite number who have not, and there are an infinite number of every possible variation.
None of that does me (or you) any good, because—being outside my past and future light cones (and yours, which are almost identical to mine)—those distant regions are completely causally disconnected from us, past and future, especially given the accelerated expansion of the universe. I suppose an Einstein-Rosen Bridge/wormhole could conceivably connect such distant regions, in principle, assuming such wormholes can even happen, which is far from certain.
There are those who hypothesize that quantum entanglement happens through wormholes (small ones), and there are those who have even tried to connect distant multiverses with the many worlds of a branching Everettian quantum mechanics, but I don’t think either of those things is close to having been rigorously described, let alone tested, nor are they generally accepted by the physics community.
Anyway, it still doesn’t help any of us, because clearly, if there are alternate versions of ourselves living better lives than we are*, they have no back-and-forth connection with the lives we currently are living—the wave function has split, the states have decohered, they are not the same beings, even if movies about multiverses win many Oscars and/or make a great deal of money.
What was I talking about again?
I don’t know. I’m very tired. I ended up sleeping in the office last night. I did this deliberately; it had nothing to do with train problems or anything. I just didn’t feel like going back to the house. I was tired (still am) and there’s nothing at the house for me that is any more enticing than there is at the office, other than a shower. And I don’t really care about a shower right now. For whom would be grooming myself? Whom am I trying to impress? All is vanity, as it says in Ecclesiastes.
It’s a funny line for a religious text that some people say contains the infallible word of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and omnipresent deity that made everything, deliberately and specifically. If that were all the case, why would it say all is vanity? Of course, the argument could be made that these were the words of some ancient human (Solomon or David, one of those kings, is supposed to have been the author of Ecclesiastes, I think), not the direct words of the creator of the universe, but if that’s the case, then clearly the bible is not literally true in all its parts**. But that’s hardly the only case of seemingly contradictory portions of religious texts, is it?
Anyway, it’s chilly here for south Florida—about sixty degrees, which feels cold when you’re used to 70’s to 80’s, but would no doubt feel beautifully balmy to people back in Michigan or Ohio. It’s certainly far warmer than intergalactic space, which is only about 2.7 Kelvin (so it’s about 286 Kelvin hotter here). Then again, it’s much cooler than the heart of the sun, and cooler yet than the heart of blue supergiant stars. And those are all vastly cooler than just later than one Planck time after whatever initiated the big bang.
Of course, there is, in principle, a maximum heat that any local region can achieve, because if the local energy is high enough, it will form a local black hole, and also the uncertainty principle will kick in to separate things. Although…if everything is uniformly very hot, such that there is no net curvature of spacetime in one local region relative to another…maybe that’s where inflation comes from? If there is inflation***.
Anyway, that’s enough nonsense. I’m just jabbering and chattering, because I don’t really communicate with anyone day-to-day in any way other than this about things that interest me. I’m very alone and very tired, but I’m also very bad at doing the whole social interaction thing, so I’m kind of stuck.
I’m inclined to say that I deserve it—that’s how I feel—but of course, as Will (played by Clint) points out below, such concepts are really vacuous. There are a functionally limitless number of possible variations of lives that could be lived by a being that matches my rough description and/or has an identical past that diverged at some point. I’m just living one of those possibilities, because, well, I had to be living one of them unless I were dead, which I’m not, unfortunately.
I hope most of you are having a better morning than I am. Heck, I’d be delighted if everyone who reads my stuff always has better days than I do. That would at least be some good news. And, of course, somewhere out there in infinite spacetime—if there is such a thing—that situation is instantiated.
Don’t be jealous, though. There are also places where everyone reading my blog always has worse days than I have.
*And if there are, there are also infinite numbers of versions of us living every possible worse life as well.
**If in any of them whatsoever, which is a separate but related question.
***Well, by certain definitions, we could say with great confidence that there is inflation, since the universe is inflating now—that’s the “dark energy” you might have heard about—but it’s doing it quite slowly, doubling in size over the course of every about ten billion years, I think, at the current rate, assuming it’s a constant. But if you change the time scale, it looks much the same as earlier, more rapid inflation…I think that’s the basis of Roger Penrose’s Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, but I haven’t read his full book on the subject yet, so I may be misunderstanding.