How to Grow a Universe that Won't Fall Apart Too Easily

In the euryphysics perspective I'm outlining here, our physical universe is just one among many patterns-of-organization existing in a broader space of structures. This perspective, however, does not intrinsically answer the question how this particular pattern-of-organization (our spacetime continuum) emerged/emerges from the broader eurycosm.

One might argue this question doesn't need any answer. Supposing the eurycosm contains an infinite number of various sub-universes, perhaps some with 15 space dimensions and 34 time dimensions, some purely 2-dimensional, some that operate according to classical physics entirely with no quantum mechanics, many operating according to laws and principles utterly beyond human understanding, etc. In this view, we just happen to exist in a particular sort of physical universe, which exists alongside many other sorts – and there doesn't need to be any special meaning attached to this arbitrary universe that we just happen to exist in.

On the other hand, this perspective – while quite possibly possessing an element of truth – can be viewed as rather shallow. It's also interesting to view different sub-universes within the eurycosm as possessing different “weights” associated with them – so that some universes are more probable than others. These probabilities are likely best considered as subjective, i.e. relative to some observer. But one doesn't need to be so shallow as to look only at the probability of a given universe relative to observers who exist largely within that universe. One can also think (though with a certain amount of abstractness and a large amount of speculativeness, obviously) about probability weightings over various OTHER universes, from the perspective of observers who exist in particular universes.

Philip K. Dick wrote an essay titled “How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later”. He was writing from the point of view of a science fiction author, giving his views on how to craft a good science fictional universe within a novel or story. But the same question can be asked within the eurycosm. Suppose we have a eurycosm teeming with patterns and processes, interacting with each other and creating various local time axes, embodying various forms of intelligence and structure-building – in this context, what may cause a coherent “physical universe” to emerge as a coherent, persistent pattern-set?

In terms of the ideas we've discussed here in this series of eurycosmic ramblings, an obvious answer would be “perhaps a physical universe is a kind of very powerful, very tight knot”.

This seems a logical enough answer, and it may even tie in with various deep aspects of modern physics.

Supposing one, speculatively to be sure, views the physical universe as emergent from some sort of “causal web” as outlined in this speculative draft.   In euryphysical terms, each ternary link within the causal web is a sort of local time-axis – it represents a temporal direction, a flow from the reagents feeding into a reaction, to the product of the reaction. Physical forces and structures can be viewed as emergent patterns of various sorts in this sort of web. As noted in that paper, Dribus has formulated the Schrodinger Equation in a very general way that applies in this sort of setting; and a number of authors have portrayed General Relativity as “entropic” in nature, and potentially emerging from the statistics of a large number of interactions in some sort of underlying medium, (a medium which may well be some sort of proto-physical network).

What is needed to turn this sort of general causal-web idea into a real physical theory is an assumption about the “propagator” – about what kind of mathematical structure is assumed to live at each node in the causal web. The pre-temporal/local-temporal actions comprising each individual unit of causal/proto-causal reaction, are then modeled as combination (e.g. multiplication) of the the mathematical structure at one node with the mathematical structure at another node, to produce another structure (presumably of the same type) as an output.

The main reason my ”causal web theory” is not yet a real physics theory but just a half-baked funky speculation is that I have not yet proposed a specific structure for the propagator, and then shown that making this choice of propagator yields the causal web to behave in ways approximated by recognized physical theory in various circumstances. I have an inkling that the propagator has a lot to do with E8 (exceptionally simple Lie groups), but everybody and their uncle loves E8 these days, and an inkling is not a theory.

I don't have time to make a serious effort to flesh out my half-or-less-baked attempts at physics theory these days. (AI work in various forms is just taking up the vast majority of my available time these days....) I do, however, have time to pile on more and more funky speculations!

My speculation-of-the-weekend, then, is as follows: whatever is the right propagator (E8 or some subalgebra thereof, interpreted appropriately, or whatever), will have a knotty property as follows. Suppose one has a causal web and views each node in the web as randomly selecting a propagator according to some distribution. Suppose there is some bias for a node to choose a similar propagator to other nodes with which it interacts – in fact, such a bias would be provided by a “morphic resonance” principle. Then, my hypothesis is that the right propagator is one that tends to be an attractor of this kind of dynamic – in the sense that: If one has a network where most causal nodes use propagator P or some minor variation thereof, but nodes can randomly vary what propagator they use (with a morphic bias to the random variation), then the ongoing random variation will tend to create a situation where most nodes still use propagator P or some minor various thereof.

I am thus envisioning a system in which two types of dynamics are coupled:

  • Ongoing “physical” dynamics within the universe – i.e. flow of action through the causal web, leading to localized patterns and also to emergent statistical patterns (such as may lead to approximations to classical and general-relativity dynamics on the emergent statistical level)
  • Ongoing morphic-resonance-guided random variation of the propagators at the nodes in the causal web, affecting the nature of the flow of action through the causal web

The physical dynamics in the universe is viewed as impacting the morphic resonance that biases the random variation of the propagators. That is, if two causal nodes are involved in similar physical dynamics at the local or statistical/emergent level, then they will be more “resonant” with each other and hence more likely to have similar propagators.

And I am hypothesizing that, in this sort of dynamical system, certain propagators are more likely to persist as attractors, whereas others are more likely to get randomized or drift into something different. Using a different sort of language, this would mean certain propagators P are more likely to make the causal web knotty – knotty in the sense that, once enough propagators in the causal web are similar enough to P, then: Increasing the similarity of some propagators in the web to P will tend to further boost the overall similarity of other propagators in the web to P … whereas decreasing the similarity of some propagators in the web to P, will only more weakly decrease the overall similarity of other propagators in the web to P.

If this speculation holds up at all, then the answer to “how to build a universe that won't build apart” is partly “choose a propagator that is an attractor of the above sort of dynamics.”

If we view the eurycosm as full of all sorts of different universes with different dimensionalities, different physical laws, etc. – this provides one kind of answer to the question of which kinds of universe are going to occur “more often”, “with a higher weight”, etc.

If this sort of physics speculation turns out to hold water whatsoever, then far from there being some sort of contradiction between psi phenomena and physics, we will rather be able to view psi phenomena and the physical universe as getting held together by the same sorts of underlying dynamics. It's all emergent phenomena resulting from morphic resonance guiding, nudging and biasing self-organizing dynamics in pattern space.

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