by David Ashley, July 24, 2022

dashxdr@gmail.com https://www.linuxmotors.com/dash

This paper can be considered part 2 of The Universe.
In that paper I describe what "religion" I favor, which is that since we exist
at all (as opposed to eternal nothingness) then everything must exist. My
chain of logic begins there by assuming our reality is a simulation in some other
pre-existing reality. Which itself could be a simulation in some other higher
order reality... and so on. But then this chain *must* end at some point
where a reality exists that *isn't* a simulation at all, and so by the
very nature of reality *existence* must be spontaneous, without any prior
cause. This means that our focus on the details of our own universe is somewhat
close-minded. The details matter to us but a bigger question is, why does
*anything* exist at all, when it seems more intuitive that *nothing*
is far more likely. All we know for certain is that we exist (I think,
therefore I am). So the extrapolation I'm trying to convey is that since there
is *some* existence, there must be *all* existence.

A thought had occured to me, maybe in the 1980's or early 1990's when I
first got a laser printer. The laser printer was an HP and it printed on pages
of 8.5 inches x 11 inches at 300 dots per inch. If you figure a 1/2 inch empty margin
all around that leaves 7.5 inches x 10 inches, or 75 square inches, each with
90,000 dots, or 6,750,000 dots in total. Each dot is either on or off
(2 possible states, or one bit). So the total number
of unique pages that can be printed is 2 raised to the power of 6,750,000. That's
equivalent to a 1 followed by about 2,032,000 zeros. A googol is 1 followed by
100 zeros. So the total number of *possible* pages printed is a large
number. But it's not even close to *infinity*. Indeed, the number 1 is
no further from infinity than 10^2,032,000 (Note the "^" character means
"to the power of"...2^3 is 8, because it's 2 times 2 times 2).
Compared to infinity those two finite
numbers are equivalent. And modern number theory describes layers of infinity
even higher than that *first* level of infinity.

Consider those 10^2,032,000 unique pages. Within that set of pages lie every
single page of every single book ever written by every human, pictures and
all (or at least a representation of them). 300 dots per inch does a very good
job of capturing anti-aliased written text in any language. It does a pretty
good job of representing black and white images using variations in dot density.
My main point is that an acceptably accurate representation of every page of
every book ever written exists within those *potential* pages. Or any
page of any book that could *ever* be written.

That set of 10^2,032,000 pages comprises all possible information that could ever
be conveyed on a sheet of paper. And it's a finite set, actually quite small in the grand scheme
of things. My preferred "belief" system now goes a step further, and postulates
that all possible realities can each be represented by all the possible states
of finite numbers of on/off numbers (bits). Consider our own universe. Presume
that it's of finite extent (for now). That means at any instant its state can
be captured by a finite number of bits. Then the very next instant in time can
be captured by an identically-sized finite number of bits, except that some
of the bits will have changed value. Since we're dealing with a finite number
of bits, again there is only a finite number of possible states our universe
can be in at any instant. Now, consider *that* set of possible states,
like our set of all potential sheets of paper. That *itself* is not an
infinite set. We know that when the universe is in one state out of that set,
it transitions to some other state in the *next* instant in time. I
presume that transition is *computable* and consistent, meaning it is not
random nor may the transition change to some *other* state arbitrarily
some other time. If it *were*
random that would imply there are *hidden* variables that we haven't
included in the current state of the universe, which we by definition
disallowed.

So: Our universe could be recorded as a finite number of bits, portioned off into
groups of identical size, each of which represents the current state at one
instant of time. These successive states form a list, and the list is of finite
length. Therefore the sequence must eventually come to a point where a current
state is *already* in the list. From that point forward the sequence would
just be a repeat of the list, so there's no point in adding to the list. So the
nature of the list is somewhat understood. Given a starting point (an arbitrary
state of on/off of the N bits representing a single instant in time of the
Universe), the state would progress to a new state, then another new state,
then another new state, and so on, until eventually an already-encountered
state will be found, and at that point *this* list is complete.

So there will be a unique list associated with each possible starting point of our universe. But are these lists unique? Each list consists of a preamble that may be of zero size, followed by an endlessly repeating "repeat" list. There is some chance that identical repeat lists might arise from more than one unique preamble. I'd think that such starting points that terminate with identical repeat lists ought to be considered as related in some way. I suppose it's not especially important though. The main point is that there is a finite number of lists describing our universe, each with a non-repeating preamble that may be of zero length followed by a finite length list that is repeated forever.

All this is just to explore the concept that finite numbers of bits can be
used to write down all possible states and histories of our universe. One
could make an argument that the reality of our universe cannot be captured by
bits because it is inherently *continuous*. The argument being that you
could only approximate a continuous value by finite numbers of bits. I'd
counter that for the purposes of the *residents* of the universe this would
be irrelevant. The finite sets of bits representing the states of the universe
could even be an approximation, but since we can keep adding bits forever to
make the approximation arbitrarily better (by both capturing the state at any instant in
time to greater precision, *and* by reducing the period of time represented
by each such state) we must eventually reach a point where the *residents*
of the universe are unable to perceive or detect any difference. It is
irrelevant whether each instant of time can be computed from the previous
instant of time. We merely consider that our Universe includes all *possible*
preambles and repeating portions. Because any such combination of preamble plus
repeating list must itself be of *finite* length (the longest length would
be a zero length preamble followed by a list of all possible states of the N
bits representing an individual states of the universe, which would make it of
length 2^N), the meta-list of all
such lists must *itself* be finite. We are talking of very large numbers
here, but they're all finite, and as such are equivalent to the number 1 when
compared to infinity.

Anyway long story short the point I'm getting at is that just as a reasonable
representation of our universe can be made with a finite number of bits, a
viable representation of *any* concievable universe can be made with a
finite number of bits. Any such representation would include all the history
of all the intelligent life ever to exist within it. It's all just a matter of
bits. And since we exist, *we know the bits themselves are enough to give
rise to reality*. We exist and are real to ourselves because we *must*.
An imaginary (to us) pink dragon *is real to itself*. All possible
realities exist and are real to themselves. Existence is inescapable.

Now we come to the point of writing this. Since all possible realities must
exist, it follows that for each of us, all possible afterlifes must exist.
Anyone reading this has their own life story, their own past that makes them
completely unique. When you die, all that is *not* lost. Rather, it is
inescapable that all your memories, all your uniqueness, must itself form the
seed for *all possible afterlifes*. They all exist. Indeed, since the
entire history of our universe iself must *already* exist, your entire
history must already exist. So it could be argued that your entire life and
existence has *already* happened, as have all possible follow-on afterlifes.

Again: Considering the instant of your death as a starting point, your
individuality with all your memories and uniqueness, will serve as the starting
point for all possible afterlifes. In practical terms, what is happening, has
already happened, and will always be happening, is that in an infinite number
of cases you are "waking up" in a unique afterlife and finally seeing what
comes next. Keep that in mind. If you were lucky enough to have read this paper
then it might help you to endure what is going on. You may find yourself
trapped in an inescapable, horrible hell. But you may find comfort in the fact
that there is *another* reality where you've woken up in an inescapable,
wonderful heaven. And everything in between. All outcomes will happen, all
have *already* happened, and all will *always* happen.

Even more: Each instant of your life is serving as a starting point for its
own subsequent alternate reality. Why not? Since all possible realities must
exist, there must be ones that have an element that is identical to *you*
at every point in your life. That also could help you make sense of what's
going on. Did you just discover yourself just going about your life as normal,
then suddenly getting transported to some baffling new reality that makes no
sense? Well, as I hope I've shown in this paper, *that was inevitable*.
It's all port of the ordinary state of affairs. Don't worry about it! It might
seem like you're stuck in hell, but comfort yourself in the knowledge that
there are an infinite number of identical *you's* that are finding
themselves spontaneously transported to a much more desirable reality. It all
balances out in the end. None of us seems to be able to *perceive* these
peeled-off realities (or at least I don't, and I don't believe other people can
either), but that's because the physics of our universe seems to be locally
dependent. By that I mean that what's going on *here* is only affected by
the contents of the universe nearby (disregard *spooky action at a distance*
which I don't have a good grasp of or explanation for) and *not* by what's
going on in any potential separate realities. Things exist and are real but
they cannot and will never interact with our universe/reality. It would be
the height of presumption and arrogance to insist that all reality is
contained within that which we ourselves can affect and be affected by.
We could reasonably assert all *our* reality is so limited, but that's
where we must end our certainty and all else we simply must take on faith
as being there but forever out of our grasp.

This whole concept is like the metaverse concept that is making the rounds
now, in movies such as *Doctor Strange and the Metaverse of Madness*. Only
it's bigger. Much bigger. That whole story, which is fiction in our reality,
must *actually* be real in its own reality, and (as I hope I've shown)
must exist. Because *everything* exists and is real to itself. All our
acts of imagination are just representations of what must *actually exist*.

Another aspect of this whole theory is that for every person on earth that has
ever existed there exist an infinite number of universes that consist of
exact copies of the period of the universe containing the entirety of their life,
where there exist ghost-like intelligent entities that are seeing and watching
everything but which are unable to affect anything in any way. That's *their*
reality: Each of us has an infinite set of powerless intelligent entities that
are forever observing us at all times. You could call them angels. Maybe
there are groups of observers whose livelihood is betting on what decisions
each of us will make. In a very real sense each of us is the star of our own
reality. And each of those poor entities doomed to watch us forever must have
their *own* entities watching *them*. Yes, it does indeed go on
forever. *Everything* must necessarily encompass all.

Personally I prefer the case of our universe where each state can be
algorithmically computed from the previous state. I also prefer the situation
where the bits themselves *perfectly* capture each state of the universe,
and are not simply an approximation to it. I dislike the idea of our reality
at the microscopic scale being continuous. That would seem wasteful and
inelegant. We do get hints that as we get small enough we reach fundamental
limits to the granularity of space and time, below which it is meaningless to
speculate what exists on smaller and briefer scales. I find this encouraging.

As to the scale of our universe... I prefer that our universe is of finite
size, and not of infinite extent. In all the above paper I've never mentioned
any universe of *infinite* extent. I have trouble wrapping my mind around
that. Maybe by the same argument I'm making here there must exist universes
that *are* infinite, and the total set of their states would be recorded
as a higher-order sort of infinity. I don't think we can be sure. Because
*we* exist we can be certain that at least all possible *finite*
realities must exist. But we have no such proof that *infinite* realities
must exist.

When you consider the size of our universe, even if you presuppose that it
*must* be of finite size, there's the question of *how big is it?*.
Suppose you asked a god to think of a finite number between 0 and infinity.
What are the odds that that number would be close to 0? That's the exact same
situation when you consider the arbitrary size of our (presumably) finite
universe. With all possible finite sizes possible, it's pretty damned unlikely
we'd find outselves in a universe that is *obviously* finite in extent.
That's why I suspect that we'll never actually be able to detect the edge of
the universe. It's just too unlikely that we'd find ourself in such a small
place.

Rather, we seem to get hints that regardless of where we look, there is *more*
universe out there. The hubble telescope focused its gaze on various tiny,
empty sections of the sky for weeks on end, and discovered every time that
what was seemingly empty was actually *full* of distant galaxies and
stars and whatnot. I expect the James Webb telescope, if it can survive long
enough before it gets wrecked by micro meteorite impacts, will confirm the
same thing for even larger distances: No matter where we look, there's always
more stuff there, further away, and further back in time.

As such I find it ridiculous to presume that our estimate for the age of the
universe (what is it, 13 billion years or so?) just *happens* to match the
maximum distance we are able to see with our instruments. It's my hope that
the James Webb telescope will prove that objects it can see must inescapably
have existed billions, or even tens of billions of years before the accepted
age of the universe. That alone would invalidate that abomination of a theory
called *The Big Bang*. Given what I've written above, I find it far more
likely that we find ourselves in a finite but vastly larger than we can ever
see universe that has existed practically *forever*, at least on our
current scales of time. And what we interpret as the finite size of an
expanding universe is actually just a side effect of the physics of our universe
as regards how light behaves over long distances and periods of time. Within
our universe and given its physics, we can only be affected a finite bubble
within a maximum distance of us. Anything beyond that is unknowable to us.

Another argument against The Big Bang is that given a random universe (which we're a resident of) out of all potential universes, the odds are vanishly small that we'd find ourselves achieving intelligence just 13 billion years after this universe began. The implication is that the "list" describing the history of states of our universe is ridiculously short. It's far more likely that we're in a universe that has existed for many trillions of years and our rise to intelligence was just a chance occurance related to the local conditions. Specifically the sun formed and started shining, the planets formed and reached a stable enough state for water based life to form on earth and not get wiped out for a period long enough for it to evolve intelligence. Our rise to intelligence is just a brief moment in the history of a universe that is vastly older than we generally believe.

How much can we extrapolate from our own single case? We only have the one example to work with, and there's nothing else we can compare it to. The fact that a random number between 0 and infinity is likeley to be much higher than 10^1,000,000 doesn't mean it will be. Relatively tiny universes must also exist too. And practically speaking the entire history of the sol system including the earth and planets and human evolution must also appear within the history of an infinite number of much smaller universes, ones that are small enough to be perceived as finite by our duplicate selves. That's where our identical histories diverge... they work out they're in a small universe and go one way, we work out out universe is unknowingly large and we go a different way.

The alternate reality concept where every choice made by every individual
is actually made in all possible ways, thus splitting into different
universes that diverge is just a subset of the concept I'm trying to convey.
I find it all perfectly viable. It's hard to really care about it all the
time. After all, we're stuck in our own very limited reality, and its demands
are constantly gnawing at us. Not a whole lot of benefit comes from speculating
on the infinite beyond a certain point. It just seems to me too many people
are not speculating *at all* about such things.

In this other paper I describe my preferred
notion that black holes serve as cosmic recyclers for an eternally evolving
universe. To my mind my intuitive grasp of all these different subjects that
I write about all
consistently fit together. I'm just floundering around trying to make sense
of the reality I was born into. I think I've been pretty good at thinking of
or discovering (or rediscovering) original concepts. At least, they are
original to me, even if someone else thought of them first and shared them
publicly. Hopefully what I write will inspire other
people to take these ideas further, or come up with better ones. Or reject
them entirely! Do as you see fit, I don't mind. My worry is that as a species we're not
being imaginitive *enough* and that too easily we're just going along with
old theories and approaches that are not actually *true* but have just
been around so long and presented as being true that we're delayed from
discovering the real *truth*.