# Everything we know - could it be wrong?

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Good day!

The following doubt is raising in my head recently.

If time is infinite,  does it follow that everything that can happen will indeed happen?

If so, are we (as any living being) indeed immortal, in the sense that each living being has infinite chances of being born again?

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A number line is endless, yet does not repeat itself.
Why do you think living beings would ?

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Thanks for the precious insight.

It's correct that a number line is endless and does not repeat itself. In this regard, I would represent time as a number line, would you agree?

The reason why I would think that a living being has infinite chances to be born again, is that the universe has a finite quantity of matter of energy, that interact which each other constantly, causing also the generation of living beings.

Let's say that a particular series of conditions X led Mr. John Smith to be born.

If matter and energy continue interacting over an infinite time, is it certain that at some point in time (maybe eons later) the same serird of conditions X appear, and Mr. John Smith is born again?

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Just now, MFE said:

The reason why I would think that a living being has infinite chances to be born again, is that the universe has a finite quantity of matter of energy, that interact which each other constantly, causing also the generation of living beings.

We don't know that it has a finite amount of matter. (And I'm not sure if that is relevant or not.)

Quote

If matter and energy continue interacting over an infinite time, is it certain that at some point in time (maybe eons later) the same serird of conditions X appear, and Mr. John Smith is born again?

No. Take the infinite decimal expansion of a number like pi; that has finite "resources" (the digits 0 to 9) so you might think that therefore every possible pattern must occur, and must occur multiple (infinite) times. But actually, we don't know if that is the case or not (there are some infinite sequences where we can prove it does happen, and some where we can prove it doesn't).

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11 hours ago, MFE said:

Good day!

The following doubt is raising in my head recently.

If time is infinite,  does it follow that everything that can happen will indeed happen?

If so, are we (as any living being) indeed immortal, in the sense that each living being has infinite chances of being born again?

39 minutes ago, MFE said:

I would represent time as a number line, would you agree?

'Represent' is OK. but it is vitally important to remember that any representation (often called a model in Scinece) is not the same as the real thing being represented.

The only thing that has all the same characteristics and no others is the thing itself.

So the representation is only valid if you are modelling a characteristic common to both.

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53 minutes ago, MFE said:

The reason why I would think that a living being has infinite chances to be born again, is that the universe has a finite quantity of matter of energy, that interact which each other constantly, causing also the generation of living beings.

Do you remember your previous consciousness?

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What the mathematics of physical theories suggest is: If time were infinite and the universe were a closed dynamical system, then it would follow that anything that has happened is bound to (approximately) happen again given enough time. The name for that statement is Poincaré recurrence theorem.

It is by no means clear that the universe as a whole can be treated as an closed system. Besides there are enough cosmological features further complicating this question for anybody to be able to say anything to any degree of accuracy.

The statement "anything that can happen will happen" is, rather, physicists' vernacular for QM's feature that "anything that is dynamically possible is somehow present in the evolution of one single instantiation of a dynamically evolving state." (That's my attempt at re-phrasing.) The motto is due to Murray Gell-Mann.

But it's nothing to do with finiteness of time. Rather, with multi-branching of the wave function in the Feynman path integral.

There's another funny version: Anything bad that can happen, will happen. That's Murphy's law.

Edited by joigus
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Given that the universe experiences entropy, wouldn't it be safe to say that everything will  NOT repeat itself? Since we know the universe of today is different than the universe of 1 million years ago, and since the universe can never return to the state it was in 1 million years ago, then given that different condition it seems the chances for an exact repeat are zero. Doesn't matter if the universe exists for an infinite period of time or not.

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Thank you all for your meaningful remarks.

So, given our current knowledge, we cannot give a certain answer to this question ("will everything repeat itself?"), but the answer seems to be no; some of the reasons are that  the universe is probably not a closed system, and entropy is bound to increase over time. Am I correct?

If everything does not repeat itself, is it still possible that, after one's death, some form of auto-conscience appears again at some point in the future?

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1 hour ago, MFE said:

If everything does not repeat itself, is it still possible that, after one's death, some form of auto-conscience appears again at some point in the future?

A question I've often pondered, but since I can't remember my previous iteration, there's no reason to suppose I'll remember this one, in my next; in short, no.

It's how you think about it that's important, every cell in your body is needed, by something that wants to live; would you deny them life so you can live forever?

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Spacetime is analogous to chessboard. Infinite chessboard does not necessarily require infinite game.

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24 minutes ago, Alex Caledin said:

Spacetime is analogous to chessboard. Infinite chessboard does not necessarily require infinite game.

Not sure what that analogy is supposed to mean. If you had an infinitely large chessboard, then it would be possible to play a game of chess that went on for ever without either a win or a stalemate.

On the other hand, if you play an infinite number of games of (normal) chess, then some of those games will repeat (because a game has a finite length).

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On 5/18/2020 at 1:20 AM, zapatos said:

Given that the universe experiences entropy, wouldn't it be safe to say that everything will  NOT repeat itself?

I'm kind of a stickler for language. I would say entropy is not experienced by systems. Entropy is a property of some systems about other systems they are measuring, observing or describing (if they are thinking systems.) So it's a correlative property (system A watches or describes system B.) Or a property of the description (system A describes system B.) In order to describe a system, you (another physical system) must produce in your brain an ordering, a structure that, as closely as possible, reproduces features of, or resembles, the described system. In order to do that, you unavoidably must ignore some variables of described system and probably own variables too. Thereby the necessity of an entropy.

In the universe chances are that things won't repeat themselves because the universe is describing a sequence of more ordered states to less ordered states (IOW, the initial state was far more ordered than the later ones.) Also, the accelerated expansion may render complete thermalization impossible. Poincaré's recurrence theorem only works for closed systems after they completely thermalize, so that thermal fluctuations, given enough time, get you as close as you want to a previous condition or, AAMOF, to any particularly bizarre condition (Boltzmann's brains.) So, on second thought, the OP may be right in that "anything that may happen will happen" for thermal systems, given enough time. An example would be a thermally isolated gas in a box. Given enough time, some bizarre dynamical configurations might appear as a result of thermal fluctuations. They would last a gazillionth of a second, I surmise. The universe is not like that.

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21 minutes ago, joigus said:

I'm kind of a stickler for language. I would say entropy is not experienced by systems. Entropy is a property of some systems about other systems they are measuring, observing or describing (if they are thinking systems.) So it's a correlative property (system A watches or describes system B.) Or a property of the description (system A describes system B.) In order to describe a system, you (another physical system) must produce in your brain an ordering, a structure that, as closely as possible, reproduces features of, or resembles, the described system. In order to do that, you unavoidably must ignore some variables of described system and probably own variables too. Thereby the necessity of an entropy.

In the universe chances are that things won't repeat themselves because the universe is describing a sequence of more ordered states to less ordered states (IOW, the initial state was far more ordered than the later ones.) Also, the accelerated expansion may render complete thermalization impossible. Poincaré's recurrence theorem only works for closed systems after they completely thermalize, so that thermal fluctuations, given enough time, get you as close as you want to a previous condition or, AAMOF, to any particularly bizarre condition (Boltzmann's brains.) So, on second thought, the OP may be right in that "anything that may happen will happen" for thermal systems, given enough time. An example would be a thermally isolated gas in a box. Given enough time, some bizarre dynamical configurations might appear as a result of thermal fluctuations. They would last a gazillionth of a second, I surmise. The universe is not like that.

That's a long winded way to agree, kudos +1... 😊

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2 hours ago, joigus said:

I'm kind of a stickler for language. I would say entropy is not experienced by systems. Entropy is a property of some systems about other systems they are measuring, observing or describing (if they are thinking systems.)

Thanks. I often use laymen's terms as, well, I'm a layman. 😁

2 hours ago, joigus said:

In the universe chances are that things won't repeat themselves because...

Thanks again! Learning these details are why I skulk around the science threads. 😀

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5 hours ago, zapatos said:

Learning these details are why I skulk around the science threads

Pervert  .

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On 5/18/2020 at 12:06 PM, MFE said:

If everything does not repeat itself, is it still possible that, after one's death, some form of auto-conscience appears again at some point in the future?

I know the answer to that one. Every time a newborn appears in this world after one's death, some form of auto-conscience appears again at some point in the future.

The question is: Is that good enough for this form of auto-conscience that's asking the question?

Edited by joigus
minor re-editing
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5 hours ago, MigL said:

Pervert  .

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Bullshit. You’re always a pervert

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Damn! They're on to me! 👀

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8 hours ago, zapatos said:

Damn! They're on to me! 👀

I enjoy your flashes of inspiration as much as you enjoy flashing us.

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10 hours ago, zapatos said:

[meme]

It depends on your "pervective."  👍

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On 5/21/2020 at 8:06 AM, joigus said:

I know the answer to that one. Every time a newborn appears in this world after one's death, some form of auto-conscience appears again at some point in the future.

The question is: Is that good enough for this form of auto-conscience that's asking the question?

I should rephrase my question. What I meant with auto-conscience is "my" auto-conscience, that "thing that makes me John" (sorry for not being able to express this concept with better words).

The question is, at some point in the future, is it possible that "I" will feel again?

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9 minutes ago, MFE said:

I should rephrase my question. What I meant with auto-conscience is "my" auto-conscience, that "thing that makes me John" (sorry for not being able to express this concept with better words).

The question is, at some point in the future, is it possible that "I" will feel again?

You don't have to apologise. I understand perfectly what you mean, and I was just trying to apply an old Chinese technique which is called "koan" for those kind of difficult questions about "I." It's a well-meaning technique. It's about making you drop our common human need to stick to the "I."

In more scientific terms, an electron in my brain is fundamentally indistinguishable from an electron in yours, or another one being kicked off from an atom in the atmosphere. Quantum field theory tells us that elementary particles are just instantiations of one thing called the quantum field. Information is the relevant quantity for describing an "I," or any other physical object.

Very recently a very good friend of mine has died. He was younger than me. I lost my parents when I was very young too. To me, all those people are still living in the only sense that I can find physically meaningful: They uploaded software snippets and applets to my brain, so they are still in the world in this particular sense of information processes. Some day I will die too. Hopefully, I will be able to upload my applets --those that prove to be useful, or good in any sense--, to somebody else's brain.

That's the only way I can conceive of in which we can perpetuate ourselves.

I don't mean to be facetious; only to bring some consolation to you by trying to make you feel more relaxed about the eventual loss of the "I," but I can't think of a better way to finish except with another koan: What is it that makes you John?

I hope that helps.

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27 minutes ago, MFE said:

The question is, at some point in the future, is it possible that "I" will feel again?

As someone said, "do you remember your previous consciousnesses (or those that exist elsewhere in an infinite universe) ?"

No.

So, obviously future ones will not remember you. So it will not be the same "I" even if it happened.

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• Strange changed the title to Everything we know - could it be wrong?

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