Ran Prieur posted:
But what I believe now is even crazier. I think we humans are at the mental center of our own private cosmos, that what we see in the sky is not filled in until we look at it, and it's filled in according to our own culture and expectations.
That explains Velikovsky's evidence that ancient people saw events in the heavens that we now consider impossible. It explains Charles Fort's evidence, mostly in the book New Lands, about the wild variability of observations in early astronomy. And it solves Fermi's paradox, the puzzling absence of aliens, because any other life smart enough to dream a universe, will be dreaming their own. I think if humans ever settle down as a perpetual species, and not a flash in the pan, we'll look to the sky and see a universe that has always existed and always will.
I love this idea poetically and religiously, which, in fairness, are basically the same thing for me. It's philosophy in a veil of science.
and then Quanta Magazine posted: Quantum Darwinism, an Idea to Explain Objective Reality, Passes First Tests
But there’s a second condition that a quantum property must meet to be observed. Although immunity to interaction with the environment assures the stability of a pointer state, we still have to get at the information about it somehow. We can do that only if it gets imprinted in the object’s environment. When you see an object, for example, that information is delivered to your retina by the photons scattering off it. They carry information to you in the form of a partial replica of certain aspects of the object, saying something about its position, shape and color. Lots of replicas are needed if many observers are to agree on a measured value — a hallmark of classicality. Thus, as Zurek argued in the 2000s, our ability to observe some property depends not only on whether it is selected as a pointer state, but also on how substantial a footprint it makes in the environment. The states that are best at creating replicas in the environment — the “fittest,” you might say — are the only ones accessible to measurement. That’s why Zurek calls the idea quantum Darwinism.
And then this feels almost like approaching the same idea, somehow - like it's science in a veil of philosophy, talking about quantum possibility collapsing into stable, replicable reality we experience.
Lately any time I think too hard about news coverage and how it varies, how red pillers operate, conspiracy theories, even the popularity of gaslighting, all of that... it's like societally we've reached some kind of tipping point where we no longer have a shared sense of reality. There's always been a suspicion that there's something different behind the curtain of "what sheeple believe" but there was at least... I don't know, a feeling that there WAS an agreed-on reality that some of us were opting out of?
Now it's breaking up into like. City-states of belief, each creating their own little pockets of reality, and as a magic user I feel like I should be shoring up the rules and laws of physics I want to enforce around my family, my home, my town... Can I do that?
Well I do have plenty of experience with being gaslit and negged (and isn't ever baby boomer joke about millenials and their phones and e-bookies just societal negging anyway?). I've been thinking about that a lot the last few days. Why? Well I discovered that I could add previous novels to my NaNoWriMo profile. Not content to just jam something in there, I decided that what I really needed to do was go back through old journal entries to remind myself what the titles had been. Just a quick dip in and out. I even knew I had to look at the beginning of November. And I barely have any access to memories from the early 2ks so how bad could it be, right?
Oh god it was bad, especially the private entries where I was trying to track my mood/exercise/eating/writing to find out why I was such a sad loser. (Spoilers: the answer was because I was in an abusive relationship.) And then I came across this essay in The Paris Review: The Crane Wife
More than once I’d said to my fiancé, How am I supposed to know you love me if you’re never affectionate or say nice things or say that you love me.
He reminded me that he’d said “I love you” once or twice before. Why couldn’t I just know that he did in perpetuity?
I told him this was like us going on a hiking trip and him telling me he had water in his backpack but not ever giving it to me and then wondering why I was still thirsty.
He told me water wasn’t like love, and he was right.
There are worse things than not receiving love. There are sadder stories than this. There are species going extinct, and a planet warming. I told myself: who are you to complain, you with these frivolous extracurricular needs?
It was stark, to see it clearly laid out by someone else. How we are allow outselves to be packed down into something small because that's how we're seen, because that's what makes us acceptable in the spaces we've found. And I have more than one ex who did that, I've got to a place now where I can trace the pattern over time, how I got used to not being seen like I'm in a Monty Python sketch and I'll get blown up if I'm out of place. Look, I'm someone else!
And everyone believed it, and so I was someone else! Magic!
Not that it ever is quite that simple, is it? There are always conflicting narratives. The difference between what she told me at home and what she said about me to others, that ended up being my lifeline. Eventually I regained the ability to let people besides her define me, and from there it was a painful but relatively straight road to learning to define myself again. To driving the boat, as it were.
We already shape the world around us - our experience of the world is flavored by the company we keep, and our assumptions are so often mirrored back to us. Why not continue to weaponize that? Let's keep going.
My house, my rules, my laws of nature, my probabilities. It's irrational, sure, but what's math without a little irrationality anyway?