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Many Worlds interpretations and Groundhog Day

  1. Sep 15, 2011 #1
    I'm hoping that this is considered on topic, as (for me) it might help me to understand some of the implications of the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. And, an interesting movie.

    Probably some of you remember "Groundhog Day" (1993) starring Bill Murray as Phil Connors. He finds himself in a small town, reliving the exact same day, day after day. He always wakes up in the same position, same physical health, and everyone else will behave exactly the same as long as he does. If he acts differently, they will too. The only thing that changes is that he gathers memories of the previous days. He can even kill himself and still wake up fine the next day.

    He uses his situation in various ways. He learns details about women he desires, and practices lines on them day after day till he finds the ones that work just right. [The mind boggles - a Fast Forward button would have come in real handy.] He becomes a star pianist, ice sculptor, playing-card tosser, and French poet, by taking one lesson a day - presumably for years. And eventually, he grows to learn how to live "his day" to help others and win the girl he loves, and is freed to live the rest of his life.

    The movie does not, of course, explain how this works. I had always imagined that he was in some sort of time loop, looping back to 6 am of that day, and that for some reason his body always went back the way it was before. Probably just his consciousness went back into the earlier body, whatever that means.

    But it occurred to me that the simplest way to understand it, using the Many Worlds interpretation, is that Phil Connors is simultaneously living out many possible outcomes of his day, like everyone else. The only thing is, for some reason some of those possibilities begin with access to his memories from the end of one of the other days. So Pass 1 had no special memories. On Pass 2 he woke with memories of Pass 1. On Pass 3 he woke with memories of Pass 2, which of course included memories of Pass 1 as well, and so on. For Pass one zillion he has access to a remarkable collection of memories, a virtual superman.

    You'd need a rule that the "memory leakage" only happens between worlds where everyone but him is doing the same thing. Not sure if that makes any sense.

    The horrible thing about this idea is that poor Phil Connors is making a terrible error. He thinks there are no consequences to anything he does, and he's totally wrong. Each and every one of "his days" ends with tomorrow - same as the rest of us. Each day the next morning, he will find himself in jail for grand larceny, falsely betrothed to some wronged girl, seriously injured, or dead. Each time he will think he has "finally escaped" the loop, when really he was never in one at all. His memories have led him astray.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2011 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    This is an interesting idea, but it is not science.
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