Sun, 03 Jul 2005


strings of memory


(disclaimer: all that I understand of m-theory is what I have read from Brian Greene's excellent popular texts The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory and The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. I am hampered by my inability to do calculations more complex than integration, and in reality don't really use much more than basic algebra these days.)

As I zoomed up the I-5 from San Diego (for some reason, having lost almost an entire day to sleep) I pondered how I was tracing a three-dimensional path through four-dimensional space-time (not even wanting to ponder the other six to seven dimensions postulated by m-theory) Realistically, I was really just thinking about a two-dimensional path through three-dimensions, considering only two of my own dimensions crisscrossing space-time, a la "Donnie Darko," where the titular protagonist can see an object smearing across space-time, being somewhat able to anticipate the near-future. And given the continuous nature of the threads that make up my individual atoms, I was wondering, why wouldn't it be possible to send signals to myself back in time?

Clearly I have been influenced by Kage Baker's The Life of the World to Come which is about a corporation called Dr. Zeus Inc. (AKA the Company) which has a time travel machine and uses it to retrieve treasures that were otherwise believed to be destroyed (for example, the books lost in the Great Library in Alexandria when they burned it and Hypatia, hitherto unknown works of Shakespeare, etc.) The one limitation is that they discover they cannot actually change the past—everything up to the 24th century is already known and thus preordained. (Why this changes in 2355 remains a mystery)

There are metaphysical theories that use M-theory as a springboard that posit that the phenomenon of consciousness occurs in the hidden, curled-up dimensions, thereby explaining the difficulty of tracing the exact neurons in the brain that should contain "the soul." But even without this hypothesis, if you imagine the (very flawed) analogy of a particle's wavefunction/worldline/fatemap as a continous thread tracing space-time, given the contiguous structure, why couldn't you send a signal along this thread, regardless of which direction it goes with regards to the arrow of entropy?

(What would it mean to be sending a signal through the time dimension only? Is it forbidden because of the inability to travel faster than c? )

Clearly I have not successfully done this yet. I don't have future thoughts intruding into my head as of yet, nor do I recall any instances of this occurring. Or maybe I could be wrong. Maybe that explains many of the extraordinarily vivid dreams I sometimes have—bits and pieces of the future getting garbled as I send them down my own wordline.

Would this explain my frequent sensations of deja vu? (Although I suppose Occam's Razor could simply point to psychosis, but is not a productive line of thinking.)

Could this explain my current sense of ennui? I have no desire to try anything these days.

Mostly, I am extraordinarily wary (and perhaps not a little paranoid) about falling in love.

Not that there's really any risk of that happening these days.

But seriously, the days have been passing with a sense of "been here, done that" that has been quite alarming. When you start losing your desire to eat, and your sex drive, that's got to be a sign that something is not right, and while I'm probably just clinically depressed, I like the exercise for my imagination.

I'll keep trying to fling memories back to my former self. Everything predestined, but with a very convincing, very harrowing illusion of free-will.


And that's the best we can do until all the qubits decohere.

21:14:17 3 Jul 2005 > /physics > permalink > 133 comments