ON THE SENTIENT CONSTRAINTS OF A SENTIENT-CONTAINING UNIVERSE
"What is Man, that Thou art mindful of him?"
I can answer that question.
Let’s build us a Universe. From Chaos.
What is Chaos? Let us define Chaos as a place where no fixed rules exist. There is no structure that isn’t malleable, no foundation that cannot be changed, no rule that cannot be broken. This means everything is insubstantial, shifting and formless. Space and time simply do not exist. Chaos.
So if we are going to build us a Universe from this Chaos, what this means in practical terms is we must define a set of laws that can NEVER be broken. If they can be broken, we're back in Chaos again.
So let's define a set of unbreakable physical laws and certain unchangeable constants. They will define and create our Universe.
Also, there's one peculiar capability in particular we want our Universe to have.
We want our Universe to have the capability of evolving sentient beings.
Because that's why we're going to all this trouble, to create sentients. More than anything else, that's what we want. We are building this Universe as a garden to grow sentient beings.
By "sentient" I mean thinking and feeling beings who have total free will, and who are able to discover and understand what the basic unbreakable, fundamental physical laws of our Universe are, and be able to use those laws to manipulate our Universe as their free will sees fit.
So let’s start picking laws. Since the Universe the human race is in is clearly capable of evolving sentients, let’s make every law in our Universe the same as the one the human race evolved in. We know that particular set of physical laws works for our purpose, and there’s no copyright on Universe laws we know of, and so, after looking carefully over our shoulder, let’s copy those. So gravity, electric charge, mass, energy, and so forth, are now all tied together in one neat little package guaranteed to possess that all-important ability to evolve sentients.
But there’s a problem here we need to consider, one truly enormous threat to our sentient-growing Universe.
The sentients themselves.
We are going to give them the ability to understand our Universe, and free will to do whatever they want with it. That much ability, that much power, is a very, very dangerous thing for the sentients in our Universe to have. Because if the sentient beings understand the structure of our Universe, there's one special thing they’re going to be able to do.
They're going to be able to destroy our Universe if they want.
They will know how to peer deep into our Universe's innermost workings and find its vulnerabilities, places where just the smallest change will utterly kill it, and with a twitch of their little fingers---or tentacles or whatever---bring it all crashing down. At the very least, they will be able to destroy our Universe's ability to evolve sentients, the reason we built it in the first place. And if they're really, really good, they might be able to find a way to smash it all the way back to the Chaos it came from.
When we allowed our sentients the ability to understand the fundamental physical laws of our Universe, it seems, we allowed them to have a power almost equal to our own, and possibly even equal.
So if we're going to allow sentients to evolve in our Universe, somehow we've got to also come up with some set of rules and conditions that inhibits them from destroying it. In the same sense in which we will have laws of physics that constrain the physical behavior of the matter in our Universe---like the specific law of gravity that will constrain the behavior of stars and planets, for example---we must also have specific laws of physics that constrain the behavior of the sentients.
WHAT? Laws of PHYSICS that govern the behavior of SENTIENTS?
Yes, we've got to have them. Our Universe is toast otherwise.
This is such a strange thing to realize it deserves further examination.
Consider. We've given our sentients almost-infinite power---and nothing to control how they use it. Remember, we’re GROWING sentients from scratch, and that means they’re not going to start out as mature beings, but rather as immature beings, children. As a real-world analogy, imagine letting six-year-old boys loose in a china shop stuffed floor-to-ceiling with fine crystal, and telling them they can do whatever they want.
How long would it be before the entire shop is reduced to a pile of fine white powder?
Our Universe is going to create trillions upon trillions of sentients. What are the chances at least one is going to try and destroy our Universe? We all know what sentients are like. One hundred per cent, beyond doubt. It won’t be just one, it will be billions upon billions that will at least conceive the idea.
Somehow, we’ve got to come up with a set of laws and conditions that will nip that idea in the bud. Let’s examine this problem in more abstract terms in hopes of finding a solution.
We have here a system where the output is completely uncontrolled, like a car without a brake, or a pressure cooker without a relief valve. It’s worse than that, because any destructive process will be self-accelerating. To use a grim example, it's more like a nuclear reactor without moderating rods. Theoretically, when one sentient turns violent and starts trying to destroy things, the rest will be forced to turn violent in self-defense, and this will accelerate the destruction of our Universe.
When the killing starts, it will generate more killing, which will generate more killing, feeding back upon itself and accelerating explosively like a runaway fission in a nuclear reactor, or a spark hitting gunpowder, and it won't stop until our Universe is destroyed. We've certainly seen this very process happen in our own history.
In abstract engineering terms, this self-accelerating process is what's known as a positive-feedback loop. Positive-feedback loops are violently unstable. They might run for a little while, but eventually they all run wild and destroy themselves.
So we've got to set up some kind of inhibitory mechanism. Again in abstract engineering terms, the solution is to replace the positive-feedback loop with a negative-feedback loop. When the system starts to run hot, we need something that will automatically kick in and cool things down.
We've got a problem, though, a constraint we have placed on ourselves regarding our sentients. We've granted our sentients completely free will, so they can do anything they want. We've said they're totally free, and yet simultaneously we've realized they've got to have constraints on their free will. But if we put any kind of constraints at all on their completely free will, then their completely free will is completely gone. We've got a paradox on our hands. How can we resolve this?
It seems an impossible thing. Let us set it aside for a moment and keep going.
What kind of rules are we going to need? What's it going to take to keep our Universe safe?
One way to absolutely guarantee the destruction of our Universe is for our sentients to be no more than mayflies, their personalities, their essences, blinking in and blinking out of existence like light bulbs. Under such circumstances, our sentients can do absolutely whatever they want to our Universe.
If they do something bad to our Universe, nothing bad happens to them, you see. No negative feedback.
And something bad they surely would do, because our sentients would certainly examine themselves as well as the rest of the Universe, and when they discovered they were no more than dust, a sense of utter futility and meaninglessness would set in, and our Universe would be blown to bits and gone in a cosmic heartbeat.
And there is a deeper reason. If our sentients are mayflies, we will have made destroying our Universe the MORAL thing for them to do. Because 99.9999% of our sentients will live lives mostly composed of PAIN. Upon examining their history, our sentients will conclude---quite rightly---that we constructed our Universe only to torture sentients. And as soon as they attain the technological capability of destroying our Universe, they will certainly do so. Without hesitation. In their eyes, the Universe would be, again quite rightly, an abomination.
Fortunately, the cure for this particular hazard is self-evident. If making their existence temporary destroys our Universe, then we make their existence permanent. We make them NOT mayflies, we grant every single sentient not just long existence, but ETERNAL existence.
It has to be eternal. A merely long existence won’t work. Seventy years, seventy thousand years, seventy billion years, seventy million years, seventy trillion years, none of these work in the long run, because when a sentient gets close to its end we’re right back in positive-feedback loop territory. It can do something bad to our Universe, and nothing bad happens to it in return. And there goes our stable Universe, up in smoke.
(Note the correlation. In a sentient-containing Universe, the existence span of the Universe is naturally the same as the existence span of its sentients.)
But existence without limit---eternal existence---solves this quite nicely. That's by far the best, the safest, thing to do. Eternal existence for every single sentient gives the strongest possible guarantee of stability to our Universe.
In order to make it more clear, consider another real-world analogy.
Would you let somebody burn down your house while you were still in it? You and your entire family? No, surely you would take steps to prevent that from happening. You and everybody else who lived in that house.
Giving sentients eternal existence FORCES them to protect our Universe ETERNALLY, from whatever might threaten it, including other sentients. It is now in their self-interest to keep our Universe safe.
So what we've come up with is that all of our sentients have to have--at the very least---an eternally existing thinking and feeling self-aware component.
Which we hereby define as a "soul."
OUR SENTIENTS HAVE TO HAVE SOULS.
NOW whatever happens to our Universe also happens to every single sentient, and, to repeat, EVERY single sentient has a vested interest in keeping our terribly vulnerable Universe in one piece ETERNALLY. This works VERY well. If one sentient or group of sentients tries to destroy it, another sentient or group of sentients will automatically try to put a stop to it. Natural as gravity.
Our Universe has to have eternal existence for its sentients---souls---simply as a matter of self-defense, if for no other reason. Waddya think?
One truly amazing thing emerges from this.
We have now discovered what the physical structure of our sentients MUST be.
OUR SENTIENTS WILL BE SOULS---NOT BODIES. So we're going to have to add a little something to our Universe laws that will allow for the creation and existence of eternally existing thinking and feeling self-aware structures.
Note the physical definition of sentients as eternal souls resolves our free will-constraint paradox as best as can be done. A sentient can perform whatever actions it wants----BUT IT CANNOT ESCAPE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THOSE ACTIONS. If a sentient lights our Universe on fire, it’s gonna burn too, baby. Better than this we can't do without removing their free will, which would have the effect of removing the sentients totally.
(Also note the choice we've made. We've placed the sentients first. The free will of our sentients is more important than the stability of our Universe. But we made that choice in the beginning, when we said the purpose of our Universe was to grow sentients.)
But we're still not done yet. We can do more to protect our Universe. We need to find a way to keep our sentients from wanting to destroy our Universe in the first place. We start by asking a basic question.
Why would a sentient want to destroy our Universe?
Answer: Because it's unhappy.
(This is certainly another amazing result. In this Universe we’re constructing, everybody MATTERS, man, everybody's FEELINGS matter, they are quite literally of cosmic significance, right up there with galaxies exploding and superclusters colliding.)
Remember we have been forced to give our unhappy sentient eternal existence. Give it enough time, and it will, by sheer random chance if nothing else, one fine day find itself in a position to take out its unhappiness on our Universe by destroying it.
So if we want to keep our Universe safe, we have to make sure all the sentients are happy. On a practical level, we need to make sure that if one gets unhappy, all the sentients around it will automatically try to make it happy again.
The easiest way to do that is to make each and every sentient responsible for the happiness of every other sentient. In a weak way, they became responsible for each other’s happiness when they were granted eternal existence, because that PHYSICALLY interconnected them all one to the other on the emotional level. We need to reinforce that connection, make it as strong as possible. We need to come up with a rule that has the following emotional effect on our sentients:
"I'm not happy----unless all the other sentients around me are happy, too."
What will we call the desire to make other sentients feel happy?
We will define the desire to make other sentients happy as well as themselves as "love", and we will deliberately build this desire into our sentients. We will do it by making a rule, one single, simple rule. We won't put it into their bodies, because those are mere dust, temporary things. We will make this rule the rock-bottom of their immortal souls, every single one of them, which will have the effect of making our rule a rigid, unbreakable law of physics and affect every emotion they feel, every action they do.
We will build every single soul around the following rule, which we will call "the postulate of sentient existence" for our little Universe:
GOD LOVES EVERYBODY FOREVER.
(Because we do. Don't we?)
(I know there are some people who are not going to like this statement of the postulate of sentient existence because it invokes the concept of God. Not a problem. The concept of God can be dropped if desired. The following statement of the postulate works just as well:
EVERYBODY LOVES EVERYBODY ELSE FOREVER.
The observable effects on human behavior are the same.)
And now, at last, we're done. We've installed a necessary negative-feedback mechanism and set up the best possible system we can for our sentients to feel happy, all within the constraint of allowing them free will. We pat ourselves on the back because the rules we’ve come up with are quite neat. They reinforce each other just beautifully. We snap our fingers to start the Big Bang, sit back, relax, and watch the whole thing evolve.
And now, gentle reader, allow me to step back and address you directly.
Do these rules we’ve come up with for our theoretical Universe also present in the Universe we actually do live in? Is it possible these rules are present and real for humanity?
There are two ways to answer that question, one abstract and one direct.
The abstract way is to examine all of human behavior and see if "God loves everybody forever" (or "Everybody loves everybody else forever") is at the rock-bottom of it. I have addressed that question elsewhere and will not address it here. The gentle reader is encouraged to try the analysis for himself. Nothing is as convincing as finding the answer all by yourself.
The direct way is to detect the souls theory indicates must be there in the laboratory.
Direct soul-detection is what will jump into everyone's face and stomp around with golf shoes on, more than anything else. A soul-detector going "BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" with dial needles swinging over, a reproducible experiment anybody can do if he wants.
The abstract way works but I know from painful experience will only seem like so much hot air to a lot of people. Direct detection of souls in a lab is what will drive the point home beyond all doubt, that the love of God is a fundamental law of physics, as real and as physical as gravity, electromagnetism, and all the other fundamental physical forces.
I can’t see any reason why souls should not be capable of laboratory detection. Every other physical entity is, and if souls are real, physical entities, it should be possible to build an instrument for detecting them.
One of these days, fairly soon in fact, some gutsy scientist is going to do precisely this, and when that happens the world will finally know something it should’ve known all along.
Y’all have a good one.
Labels: souls Universe physics sentients