Sunday, March 1, 2009

Complete Determinacy, The End of Life?

Here's another, obviously purely hypothetical, little thought experiment: what would happen if we could determine every reaction of every action?

Put differently, what would happen if we could predict the future with absolute certainty? Forget anything about "uncertainty principle", "indeterminacy", "incalculable" and all that for a moment. Just imagine that our current models prove to be less than perfect. Actually, far less than perfect. It wouldn't be entirely unheard of. Ask poor Ptolemaeus! In fact, imagine this future science/math is so far superior that from the moment it became general knowledge, anyone could use its methodologies to predict anything with complete and absolute and unequivocal certainty. With other words, it would be perfect in the absolute sense of a perfect science. What would happen to us?

I will loosely conjecture that awareness requires a certain degree of freedom, meaning that without the ability to at will (i.e. randomly) shift our attention, we could not be aware. And if we were not aware, there could be no concept of existence. There would be no concepts at all! If we could internalize this amazing future scientific/mathematical process so that it was as natural as 1+1=2, then any degree of freedom we currently have would vanish.

Since there would be an awareness of every reaction to every thought, we would suddenly know what we were about to think. As a consequence, everything that was ever to happen to us would be known to us. It would be as if we had experienced everything already. In an instance of a moment, our awareness would stretch all the way to the end of our time, of time itself.

So, would we not theoretically cease to exist in that moment?

The experiment is essentially like supposing we would become an all knowing being. The consequence of our sudden annihilation depends on whether awareness actually requires any degree of freedom. If it does not, attaining such a level of awareness would be more like becoming trapped inside a paralyzed body. But what happens if you can no longer even freely redirect your thought processes? That is like living inside a paralyzed mind. Or more accurately, it is not living at all.

Again, this is obviously quite hypothetical, a somewhat entertaining but ultimately banal rumination. A perfect science will with almost complete certainty never exist. There are intrinsic limits to what we can know, even imagine. At best, this thought experiment sheds a faint light on these evasive limits.

3 comments:

tsquare21 said...

Great point, All may be understood that of the one of reference, howbeit, limited

IF and he is that is why That is obtuse as it has to remain

On your point, or let me clarify this for you. You are correct in speculating that if one is all godlike that is exactly how you would perceive that what is created. Where you error is that time is not part of the postulation but is of the postulated.

For to bring all into existence from nothing first time must be made of the same nothing of that which is created and was brought into (love being obtuse). If and since time was brought into existence by the One then He must encompass time and so be outside of time itself. Since He then is beyond time itself when time ends he is all that was.

Well since I've brought time into perspective what about space or infinity. Admiralty this one is hard for time we can not comprehend for of our limitation of a few short years of knowledge. Now Space on the other hand is there in front of us and it truly has no limitation, how is this possible? Never less there it is, being there and if all was created of nothing then we must conclude that not only was the mater created out of nothing then space must be also created first for matter to reside.

to summarize, when space and time were brought forth out of the One. The Creator must be all encompassing of both and according of what we can understand be unlimited. For our limitation is of this realty and that truth makes understanding of how beyond our perception. This limited knowledge is unknowable for the limitation of a boundary. This boundary is this created reality we exist in and becomes out limitation of knowledge of that which is beyond the boundary of our created reality..

So the One that has brought all and so must be with all. This means as you stated His "I will loosely conjecture that awareness requires a certain degree of freedom, meaning that without the ability to at will (i.e. randomly) shift our attention, we could not be aware. And if we were not aware, there could be no concept of existence. There would be no concepts at all! If we could internalize this amazing future scientific/mathematical process so that it was as natural as 1+1=2, then any degree of freedom we currently have would vanish." is completely true. Except He is without and know all before He made all knew this, SOOOOO obviously.

Your premise is completely true except you forget one Person in history that would have a focus and is part for this Creator of all.

This understanding is beyond what you can perceive and you need to search reality and there you may find the truth. So close take the step and wisdom she mar reside with you

Unto Him

stealwul said...

Holy Crap you are a pretentious douchbag tsquare21!

Anyway, I would like to answer a question you raised in the blog:

"Would we not theoretically cease to exist in the moment?"

No, we would not. In the same way that we are aware of the past, awareness of the future would have no effect on our movement through the fourth dimension nor our reception of this motion.
Someone with complete short and long term memory loss has no knowledge of the past, but we, being able to perceive the past are still trapped certainly in the present. We can see the past but do not "cease to exist in the moment." The same would apply for the future if we could see that too.

I also want to say something in response to the statement made by the pretentious douchbag in the first paragraph. The author was not asking if "God" would perceive time in this way but rather if someone who could see time in its entirety would be "godlike". Again the answer is no. To see time objectively would be nothing more than to be a fourth-dimensional being. There are many other dimensions to cover before one achieves the status of a god.

By the way, pretentious douchbag, its "where you err", not "where you error".

Dreas said...

stealwul, you brought up a good point. Being aware of or remembering something is not the same as experiencing something in its immediacy. You can watch a wave coming from the ocean and know what it will feel like once it hits you. But you will not experience it in its immediacy before it actually hits. So even if we could predict the future with quite some accuracy, we might still not have experienced the future in all its facets and glory. But my thought experiment presumed a science so perfect that the future would come alive in its complete immediacy. It's as if all the waves of the oceans would hit us all at once.

You suggest that making time a static dimension would simply make us into 4-dimensional creatures but that to become "godlike" we would have to overcome more dimension than the fourth. I'm not sure I understand what this means. I suppose I could look down at my body (though I'm not sure what "look down" would mean) and "see" my arm as a static blurb from when it began to grow until riga mortis set in. I suppose you presume that being so fully aware of time would expose yet other unpredictable dimensions that we are currently not aware of in their immediacy. Presumably, then, our science is not yet perfect (since it cannot bring these other mysterious dimensions into our immediacy).

My thought experiment is obviously preposterous. A Perfect Science can not be conceived. I believe indeterminacy is a fundamental aspect of our existence (which I think is what I'm actually trying to illustrate). It strikes me that the more science we apply to our own mind, the more trapped we feel. Suddenly, we begin to write off various behaviors as predetermined and inevitable. Psychopaths can't help themselves. It's just a genetically ordained imbalance. Obesity is not a choice but an affliction. I believe that ultimately the science of the mind will expose that almost all behavior in the universe has a fundamentally random component. Indeterminacy stretches all the way from the angular momentum of particles to the choices we make at the dinner table. The science of the mind will, so to say, illustrate its own limits.