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Questions about MWI clones

  1. Oct 10, 2007 #1
    I have a question regarding branching and clones.

    If we take a simple single branch from one history into two separate outcomes is there one branch who is the "original" person (and their world) who experienced the moment leading up to it and the second branch a "clone" of the original (and their world) with the alternative outcome?

    Are both clones? Or are both originals, just with different paths? :bugeye:

    I don't mind having an infinite number of clones, I mean, its depressing to think I'm even less unique (for me, learning about the cosmos was a "humbling" experience as Sagan put it)... but if I'm statistically the "clone" and there is the "real" me out there... I'm .. well.. depressed over it :cry:

    (I feel like I'm living a lie, that my "history" isn't my own, that I can't take credit for any past achievements, and that I can't feel genuine over bad things ie death of people and mistakes I regret (or can I even "Regret" anymore?))

    I really don't care about having people like me out there who think identical and are, but at least... damn. I went from being a humble unimportant spec to a non-existent being :frown:
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2007 #2
    The thing is they arent "out there". Theyre in another universe, which might not even exist (depending on whether or not MWI is a correct interpretation). You will never encounter them.

    To answer your first question, there is no "real" you (or there are an infinite number of "real" yous). Also your history IS your own (unless you count sharing ur history as making it not your own). Think about it like this: you make decisions, and then you get split into an infinite number of almost identical copies. I dont see why thats so depressing.. What about the fact that your just a bunch of particles interacting with each other? You dont find that depressing? That theres really no such thing as life, souls, or free will?
  4. Oct 10, 2007 #3
    Oh I know I won't ever encounter them -- that's no problem (should it be the true reality that MWI is accurate).

    I don't even care that I have a huge number of identical and near-identical copies in identical and near-identical worlds. I think the idea is ego-busting, but I wouldn't be able to do anything about it. Kind of the same with any system that provides infinite number of parallel universes (eventually there'd be an identical world with identical copies and events). I care about it (in the ego) and don't care (it doesn't interrupt my world and I can't change the rules--so whatever happens, happens).

    I guess my interpretation of the whole thing was polluted -- I don't know why but I had it in my mind that somehow the "real" (original) would go left at the fork and I'd be magically instantiated at the right :rofl: (a mere copy of him). I guess it's more like, some sort of cellular mitosis where neither are the original and yet both are ? (well, I screwed that up--I don't know **** about biology).

    I think it's beautiful that I'm just a pile of "chemical scum" as Dawkins put it. Regarding souls: I was okay with the world before parallel universes (the idea that you're born, you live, you die). As long as my life can feel "meaningful" to me--that I can learn, contribute and help others (whether or not it propagates to many branches or just our own universe), and be part of something -- I don't find that depressing. You take what you get.

    On free will: I'm not sold that a deterministic system rules out free will in some sense. I'll be hanged as a mystic for saying this, but I'm not sold on the traditional explanations of the problem of consciousness. I think there is a certain degree of free will qualified by the consciousness, that it has some (even limited) causal ability (yes--yes I know that's not likely "digestible" here :P). I won't tiptoe onto ideas of it supervening elsewhere (lest I want my remains disfigured from 'ye too :P). Even in the event I have no free will-- the illusion of it and the matter of experience itself, the fact that would make the people in my life fated to be part of it (though not by some higher power)--that I was alive, real (momentarily) and "felt"--that's more than acceptable to me.

    I'm cool with having a shared "family tree" so to speak (it hurts the ego, but I can't do anything about it). The whole part about feeling like a clone of an earlier copy rubbed me the wrong way, though :eek: I guess I'm looking at the idea in the wrong way.

    What did you mean: "...theres really no such thing as life,..." ???
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  5. Oct 10, 2007 #4
    Im glad you brought up consciousness. I actually agree with you that the mystery of consciousness leaves a degree of freedom as far as a "soul" goes (I can never explain the concept of consciousness over awareness to ANYWAY so I basically just stopped bringing it up). However the way I think about it your consciousness is just an observer, it has no effect over your life. I really don't believe in free will, but its really a matter of opinion in this argument. Since the true nature of consciousness can only be speculated on, theres rly no telling what it is. Maybe your "consciousness" determines which branch it goes down, idk (this is a possibility since I only know for sure that the me in this specific branch has consciousness. Theres no way to tell if anyone else in any other universe does). But in a macroscopic sense at least, the world is deterministic, and like you said any effect it could possibly have would be negligible.

    what I mean by theres no such thing as life is basically that "life" is an arbitrary term we give to significantly complex systems of specific interacting particles. Ignoring consciousness (which I argue even very simple systems have a degree of), life doesn't really exist, since theres nothing that separates us from galaxies (not sure how the two complexities differ but complexity is all that differs).

    also, you mention identical universes out there. I'm not entirely sure thats possible. It might depend on the exact interpretation, but the way I think about it is universes are seperated by how much they differ. When two universes are only seperated by the spin of an electron, they are close enough to interfere with each other. When more differences pop up, the interference is negligible (many people wouldn't agree with this but its not exactly provable either way). Therefore two identical universes would occupy the same space, and just combine into 1 universe. Therefore there wouldnt be any identical universes out there other than our own.
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