Reconciling the multiverse and free will

Approaching Infinity

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Michael Prescott is a novelist who is also very interested in parapsychology and related subjects. He blogs sporadically. In his latest post he shared links and excerpts from a couple of essays recently brought to his attention:

http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2017/12/miscellaneous-musings-of-meager-merit.html
On a related note, Marcus Arvan has posted two essays speculating that "the physical universe is a timelessly existing array of information comprising a vast, possibly infinite variety of branching 'time-lines,'" and that free will is possible because consciousness chooses which timelines to experience. He writes,

The joint choices of all conscious observers "collapse" possible paths through the multiverse at every given instant to a single, intersubjectively experienced (or "actualized") reality....

[This theory] takes the most plausible aspect of the Everett [many-worlds] interpretation – its assertion of numerous physical universes, to account for quantum indeterminacy – while denying its most implausible feature: its implication that all universes in the multiverse are equally “actualized.” [The theory] accomplishes this by assigning to consciousness the role of “universe actualizer.”

He analogizes the situation to a peer-to-peer networked computer simulation such as certain online multiplayer games, in which

each game console contains and plays a game DVD. Each game DVD 
consists of an array of information containing a vast range of possible “pasts, presents, and futures” within the game.... Each player’s choices on their own game console are processed by the network so that the joint choices of each player – choices not causally determined by any “physical law” within the simulation – lead each game console hooked up to the system to read complementary lines of code on the DVD to ensure that the physical laws of the simulation are not broken. This allows each player on the network to experience the same virtual environment from different points of view.

His essays "A New Theory of Free Will" and "A Unified Explanation of Quantum Phenomena?" are worth a look.

I've always liked "many worlds" because of the branching universe aspect. But the idea that all worlds are equally actualized has always seemed wrong to me. If they are all equally "weighted", it doesn't matter which is actualized, because all are actualized equally. If you make a "better choice" in this world, the bad choice world will still branch out with just as much reality as this one. The only thing that makes it better is that your version of you gets to experience it. Too bad for all those other versions of you! If you really want to do something nice for other people, it would seem logical to make the worst choices possible, so that those other versions of you have a better chance! (I jest.)

So I like the above idea. It interjects free will into the equation, and it adds stakes: like Jordan Peterson says, what you do actually matters, because your choices will determine what future gets actualized. You can't just be lazy in this reality knowing that some other version of you is doing all the work.

Laura wrote up a similar interpretation in the Wave volume 5:

My guess is that the real world of third density/dimensions, is a collapsed wave function reality. It is like the branch of a tree. At certain nodal points, there are other branches that have the possibility of “getting all the juice” and becoming the dominant branch, and what determines which it is depends on many factors.

But, once one bud begins to dominate, the others become smaller and smaller and fall away eventually for lack of “juice.” There is only one “real” reality. The others are only ghost or potential realities. Like a tree, with gazillions of branches, each individual’s reality grows in this way. At certain points, there are alternate realities. But, depending upon choice, attention, and other factors, those realities that are undesirable can be “pruned” or deprived of sap so that they wither and fall away.

At the same time, each individual being their own “branch,” has a slightly different reality from every other individual, and some responsibility for the way their branch grows. But it is all from the same tree, and thus has a more or less single reality. If their choices are “diseased,” their branch will grow in a way that causes it to be pruned, or wither, or face some interference even from other branches, perhaps.

So, in a certain sense, at the nodal point, many possibilities may exist, just as several buds may put out on the end of a branch, but not all of them will continue the process of branching, and at such points, we have some freedom to choose, individually or collectively, depending on the nature of the branch.
 

3DStudent

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That's an explanation that I agree with, thanks for sharing. When visualizing the different realities, I imagine threads, where some are brighter and others are more dim. And they influence each other's brightness due to proximity. The videogame analogy is how I've thought about it too, because surely this seems like a big Role Playing Game. And if you're playing videogames, you're kind of stuck in a smaller microcosm of reality.

Approaching Infinity said:
The only thing that makes it better is that your version of you gets to experience it. Too bad for all those other versions of you!

Yeah, it's not just, "Oh you're lucky you are on a favorable timeline." So it really seems that there is a sort of striving for growth or a Divine Plan of some sorts. Back to the game analogy, there seems to be some definite points system.


Approaching Infinity said:
So I like the above idea. It interjects free will into the equation, and it adds stakes: like Jordan Peterson says, what you do actually matters, because your choices will determine what future gets actualized. You can't just be lazy in this reality knowing that some other version of you is doing all the work.

Yeah, so maybe there's no reason to complain that you're in a "bad timeline/reality." Maybe your efforts count even more if you're in an unfavorable reality. Back to my bright and dim threads analogy, (I really think of them like resonating guitar strings), your actions in the dim reality may "brighten up" the surrounding ones. So basically like Peterson says, "Everything you do matters."
 
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