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In 1957, Hugh Everett III proposed a radical new way of dealing with some of the more perplexing aspects of quantum mechanics. It became known as the Many-Worlds Interpretation.
According to this interpretation, whenever numerous viable possibilities exist, the world splits into many worlds, one world for each different possibility (in this context, the term "worlds" refers to what most people call "universes"). In each of these worlds, everything is identical, except for that one different choice; from that point on, they develop independently, and no communication is possible between them, so the people living in those worlds (and splitting along with them) may have no idea that this is going on.
In this way, the world branches endlessly. What is "the present" to us, lies in the pasts of an uncountably huge number of different futures. Everything that can happen, does, somewhere.
Until Many-Worlds appeared, the generally accepted interpretation of quantum mechanics was (and perhaps still is) the Copenhagen Interpretation. The Copenhagen Interpretation makes a distinction between the observer and the observed; when no one is watching, a system evolves deterministically according to a wave equation, but when someone is watching, the wavefunction of the system "collapses" to the observed state, which is why the act of observing changes the system. The Copenhagen Interpretation gives the observer special status, not accorded to any other object in quantum theory, and cannot explain the observer itself, while Many-Worlds models the entire observer-observee system.
The Many-Worlds Interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics, and pertains to quantum events. But it also has implications for macroscopic systems like you and me. Although you may think that there are certain alternatives you would never choose, can you really be sure of that? There are a practically infinite number of versions of you, who have all split off at some time in the past from the path you are now following. There may be versions of you that split off five or ten years ago, or perhaps five minutes after you were born, to whom those choices may not seem unthinkable. But in a very real sense, those people are still "you" (but it can be argued that we should not use the word "are", or even "were"; we need to invent a new kind of tense...)
Many people find the Many-Worlds Interpretation, and the consequences that flow from it, deeply disturbing. This includes a great many physicists. It is also apparent that many physicists, including many who teach physics, do not have a good understanding of Many-Worlds.
However, polls have been taken among theorists who study such things, and have revealed that most of them believe that the Many-Worlds Interpretation represents, in some sense, an accurate description of the way the world really is. The polls also show that many of them would rather not discuss the subject.
It's not hard to see why so many people find these ideas disturbing. For if they are correct, they have profound implications for our understanding of the nature of the Soul, because the Soul (if there is such a thing) must branch along with the worlds that contain it. It would appear that the writings on which many contemporary religions are based make no mention of such an idea.
It is commonly thought that Many-Worlds is an unprovable hypothesis, experimentally indistinguishable from the Copenhagen Interpretation, but this may not be the case. It may be possible to observe experimentally one of the predicted effects of Many-Worlds: quantum interference between adjacent worlds. It has even been suggested that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle derives from this quantum interference; after you make a measurement (which of course splits the world), you can't be sure about the subsequent state of the observed system, because you can't be sure which world you are in.
Now, what strikes me as odd (assuming that this is the correct interpretation and that the universe does indeed split every time a quantum event occurs) is that from my perspective as the conscious observer I have only followed a single path through these splits leading to the present moment.
Why did I follow THIS path out of the nearly infinite number of paths?
Could it be that consciousness actually chooses which path to take?
Perhaps the megaverse consisting of every universal possibility exists as a mechanical deterministic system that I as pure awareness inhabit and navigate through based upon my own will. Although the rest of the universal histories exists as parallel possibilities they are not inhabited by my consciousness because I did not choose to inhabit those realities.
Princeton Engineering Anomolies Research (PEAR) lab has done some work with volunteers and random number generators. What they appear to have found is that people can shift the outcome of events without physical interaction. For example?if we were to toss a coin a million times we would get roughly 50/50 heads and tails. The more times we flip, the closer to 50/50 we get. But if you were to choose heads, and concentrate on your choice of heads through the entire process, there would be a tiny but measurable, significant statistical influence on the outcome. Of course they are using computers which ?flip the coin? much faster than could be done physically.
I wonder if the correct interpretation of this is not that we can influence the outcome of events but that we choose to inhabit the sub-universe in which the outcome is what we chose.
Throughout our existence the universe is ?flipping a coin? an unimaginable number of times every second. We choose which outcome to inhabit. Over time, with conscious will, we may move a great distance through the branching universes? towards the desired reality. The more focused our will?the more concrete our choice?the clearer our dream?the quicker we will arrive at the desired reality.
And isn?t this the heart of esoteric magic? The will? Choosing our own ?reality tunnels??
No future is set in stone but the one we as individuals choose. Why not choose a reality that is peaceful? How many people have given up their power to choose the future because of religious prophecy?
Now, some may say that changing the outer reality is beside the point. That what really matters is to find contentment in the present here and now. I agree, but don?t you think the Buddha shifted his cushion when he was uncomfortable? It?s a balance?we must cultivate peace within, but it DOES help to inhabit a peaceful, comfortable reality too.
The middle path.
Food for thought anyway?
-------------------- What you're searching for is what's searching.