Thursday 10 July 2008

Professor John D. Barrow - "The Infinite Book"

As you are all now aware I am back in the world of work. Every day I commute from my home on the Wirral to the head office of the Riverside Group near John Lennon Airport in East Liverpool. This allows me to keep up with my reading time. At the moment I am coming to the end of a fantastically itladian book - The Infinite Book by John D. Barrow.

Professor Barrow, together with Professor Frank J. Tipler wrote the hugely influential (and in some areas very controversial) book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. This amazing book suggests that this universe was hard-wired from the first few moments of the Big Bang to bring about the evolution of consciousness. Taking into account the Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Physics (that the wave function needs the observation of a conscious being to collapse it into a physical point state) this is not at all surprising. Indeed, as John Wheeler suggested (see an earler post of mine) the act of observation brings into existence not just the present moment but events that took place billions of years ago.

Professor Barrow (an Englishman who teaches Maths and theoretical physics at Cambridge) takes as his theme for this 2005 book the concept of infinity. I initially bought the book to understand the maths and logic of Georg Cantor (something of profound importance if my glutamate-induced time dilation scenario is to work). However it was Professor Barrow's 'take' on the "Many-Worlds Interpretation that really excited me.

From page 159 onwards he discusses what he terms "The Infinite Replication Paradox". In simple terms that is that in the Multiverse there are trillions of 'clones' of each of us, all living subtly different lives to ourselves. For Professor Barrow, unaware of the interpretation of MWI that I take in ITLAD, considers that this multiplication of a person to be "worrying". Indeed he writes:

"Some cosmologists find the infinite replication paradox so unsavoury that a finite universe would be a welcome escape from its implications."

However ITLAD and CTF present evidence that not only such a scenario may be more than mere speculation but also that it is a profoundly positive set of circumstances because it implies that human consciousness may escape subjective death.

Interestingly enough on page 158 the Professor 'almost' discovers itlad for himself when he writes:

"When each of us dies there will always exist elsewhere an infinite number of copies of ourselves, possessing all the same memories and experiences of our past lives but who will live in the future. This succession will continue indefinitely into the future and so in some way each of us lives forever" (italics mine)

Now this is the suggestion of one of the world's leading theoretical physicists/mathematicians, not some flaky "New Ager". This is a prime example of just how potentially powerful ITLAD can become if it ever manages to break out into mainstream consciousness. This theory does have validity and does seem to make sense.

There is yet more itladian musings later in this enlightening book. I will place a post on these (and the implications his suggestions have for our argument of 'the world as a computer simulation').

I have emailed Professor Barrow and suggested that he check out our little corner of cyberspace here on the CTF Blogpage. I am hoping that he will like what he sees and maybe reply.


Anonymous said...

I think it is interesting to note, the individuals, rare as they are, who have a perfect memory of EVERYTHING that has ever happened in their lives, usually from a certain specific point, onward.

I recently read of a woman who, I believe went through something traumatic at age 14, and since that time, can tell you exactly what happened every single day of her life.

If the brain is capable of that, and storing that much specific information for recall, it makes one wonder what else the mind is holding that the majority of us, are not aware of, INCLUDING past selves, current selves (in other worlds) and all possible future selves.

Anthony Peake said...

Hi, and welcome. Your comments are indeed very valid. As regards memory and "total recall" this is a central element of the whole theory of "Cheating The Ferryman". In my book I have a whole chapter outlining the viability that the human brain (or mind depending upon your position that the brain stands alone or is some form of receiver) records every single experience it encounters. In fact by the end of a life it has a whole lifetime stored in its recording ... and it is this recording (which I term "The Bohmian IMAX") that we all enter, Matrix-like, in the final seconds of life.

There are many postings and comments on this blog that have discussed (and debated) in great detail this idea (including the very case you cite).

If you have the time, go back to the start of this blog and watch the ideas grow and blossom.

Thanks for your contribution.


SM Kovalinsky said...

Tony: Your thinking is like my own. The fact that you take note of the fact that this Professor is a world-renowned theoretician and scientist, and not some "flaky New Ager" is of the very greatest import, and I have made similar comments about you yourself (i.e., That you are a robust empirical observer and not in the least given to soft spirituality). By the way, I have a new essay up on my blog space about philosophy in the public domain; once again, you and LeMarcs are featured therein. I hope at some point that you might look at it and leave your remarks. A professor from WPU thinks you and KLLM would be great keynote speakers there, may have to book and pay you myself, it would be worth it. And I do not see how Professor Barrow can fail to see that in pursuing you, he would thus follow a man of rank, and that your work is of the highest caliber and greatest import, and relevant in the extreme to his own.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Tony: I'm glad you've got round to reading this. I remember telling you about it and showing you my copy one afternoon in Blue Bar (I think it was) earlier this year.

I hope the sections on Georg Cantor are helping with the complex mathematics which I say suggest the recurrences within the Bohmian IMAX cannot be eternal, but must be finite (although admittedly in very, very large numbers)

Removing the Eternal Returns from ITLAD and CTF does not weaken the theories at all, and indeed they are strengthened by my CtCw as we can thus incorporate the Finite Returns within the BIGTOE.

*see ITLAD Glossary

John D. Barrow's other books of interest to IDLADic studies are "Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of limits"; "Theories of Everything" (although this is already a little dated now, given the speed of advancements in this field), "The Artful Universe"; "The Universe That Discovered Itself" and a great companion to "The Infinite Book", "The Book Of Nothing"

I always smiled at the title "The Infinite Book" as even a compulsive bibliophile like me might baulk at a book with infinite readability. It reminded me of the film "The Never Ending Story", and the wonderful irony of them bringing out "The Never Ending Story 2"


johar said...

Tony, I hope Professor barrow does visit us here as I can see great scope for collaboration.

The one area of ITLAD that has always intrigued me is the fact that our brains record every experience we have.

Let's face it, if we were only going to be here once and then THE END, what would be the point? That it is all laid down moment by moment like a film reel MUST serve some purpose and I believe you have uncovered that purpose with the Bohmian IMAX Theory.

Anonymous said...

Tony: Fascinating post!

The more we find out from reading and study, the more areas of your theoretical framework become confirmed. And confirmation comes from erudite, respectable thinkers from all backgrounds.

Exciting isn't it?

(There's just so much to read, though!) *smile*

Anthony Peake said...

KARL: I thought I had seen it before. However you have so many books in that computer case yours I am sure that it is the equivalent of Jorge Borges' "Library of Babel" - curiously enough I have just finished Professor Barrow's book and he mentions that very story (pages 166-8).

I have spent a good deal of time re-reading the section on Cantor and I think I follow it. We must go through this when we next meet.

SUSAN MARIE: Thank you again for your kind words. I have indeed seen your article on your blog site. I strongly advise other members of the blog to check out what Susan says (Where did you get that photograph of Karl?)

JOHAR: The pointlessness of life is one of the things that sirred me to write ITLAD. Of course at that time I had now idea where my adventure was to lead me. There are many areas of itlad that fascinate me (quite naturally) but I have to say that the recording mechanism as presented via consciousness studies is certainly one of my favourites.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Tony: Ah! The synchrondipities of ITLADic banter eh?

I've just visited my upstairs library and asked the curiously alluring librarian (who I keep locked in there these days) to hand me my copy of "The Infinite Book" to review pages 166-168 as you mentioned in your last comment.

And what is the title of that section????

The Never Ending Story!!

Now go re-read the final paragraph of my first comment on this post.

No, go on, re-read it, I'll wait........

*Synchrondipitous Giggles*

Karl Le Marcs said...

Tony: ps. And yes, we will have a canter through Cantor when we next get together (maybe not Wednesday though)

Anonymous said...

Ode to CTF

A very ITLADian ranter
Would easily cater through Cantor
But he found it a slog
Reading posts on the blog
He kept getting lost in the banter.

(I'm reading Stephen Fry's bok on writing poetry - is it having any effect?)

Anonymous said...

Damn! I must fix this keyboard!

*chuckles at missing letters*

SM Kovalinsky said...

Oh, yes, it is! That is good, Di: and has the rhythm and cadence of:
"there was a psychologist Freud, who had the blue noses very anneiud. . . " Brava, very good.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Woodsprite: Marvellous trochee and spondee work Di
(even with the typos)
And your 9/6 meter worked very well.

An Ode Less Travelled is a lot of fun, I'm sure you'll enjoy reading it.
*flounces off to read online plagiarism laws*


Anonymous said...

Susan Marie and Karl:

Thank you so much.

*smiles at praise from favourite teachers*

Karl Le Marcs said...

Woodsprite: Your homework mission (should you choose to accept it, obviously) is to write about Cheating The Ferryman in Iambic Pentameter!

Anonymous said...

Karl: I take the challenge!

SM Kovalinsky said...

Woodsprite: Imitation of verse is its own talent!
Is Stephen Fry a poet, then? Here was I, all along assuming that the references to Stephen Fry were about that actor who played Oscar Wilde to Jude Law's Lord Alfred Douglass in 1997! (That film actually became a sort of cult classic among Provincetowners)-so this must be a different Fry, how foolish I feel now!!!

Karl Le Marcs said...

Susan Marie: No, it is the same Stephen Fry.

SM Kovalinsky said...

Do NOT anyone tell me that!!!

johar said...

Di - Excellent poem, very limerick like.

Made me laugh, well done.

Anonymous said...

Susan Marie: Stephen Fry is a man of supreme talents and turns his hand and mind to many, many things, including poetry.

Karl: Response to your challenge. I've not had time to refine it or check all the parsing and I won't get much time in the next few days so here goes. (No rhymes I'm afraaid)


They used to think that when you died you crossed
The river Styx where Chaeron poled his boat
To ferry souls who paid the fare in coin
And so you'd live but lose all trace of life
Before: But Tony Peake, a wise and learned man,
Has drawn together thoughts from many fields,
From quantum physics, art, philosophy,
From chemistry and brain biology
With talk of cats who live or maybe die
Depending on the sight of living things;
Of flooding glutamate at point of death
Which opens up the chance of countless lives
(And robs the rower of his promised coin)
All lived at once in universes vast;
And talk of turning left or turning right;
And deja vu when pathways cross in time
Remembering a place as seen before
Which in this life is vision new;
And talk of daemon guidance in our lives
And eidolon which blunders through each life
To learn a finer way to be alive
And so bring something great and true.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Woodsprite: Fabulous Di!!

And eerily in tune with my own.

ITLADic Iambic Pentameter Adventure

I close my eyes to sleep, perchance to dream
My life past lived a mem’ry of my self
An Eidolon for want of light it seems
To light the path of virtue and good health

To reach the point of death we never shall*
Subjectively from Time we do but fall
Old Nietzsche spoke returns of eter-nal
And “Hell is other people”, said John Paul

The Daemon guides me through my new born wake
A rebirth for my heart to rise and soar
An obalus from Charon shall I take
And Cheat The Ferryman to live once more

*We'll talk of this AP!!

Anonymous said...

Karl: Excellent! And yours rhymes too!

Karl Le Marcs said...

Now if we can get Prof John D.Barrow to fan the flames of ITLAD then we will truly have a Barrow-in-furnace (sic)
(and apologies to our overseas friends for my colloquially British gag)

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous again (Erik, the guy who first posted).

I just got your book in the mail today Tony, really going to enjoy reading it here on the Metro in DC. The whole concept reminds me of that short story, is it called "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (I think). About a guy in the Civil War that is about to be hanged?

I believe the Statler Brothers, a Southern/Country group made a song about it called, "the Green Green Grass of Home".

Anyhow, looking forward to these first few chapters. I also bought Ubik, something new for me, as I stopped reading Sci-Fi when I was in HS (mainly Heinlein and Asimov).

Thanks for all your work.

paigetheoracle said...

Talking of Stephen Fry - I was in the same hostel as him, when we were both at Kings Lynn College of Arts & Technology.

CS Forester wrote "Only connect..." - a simple phrase but the basis of all my (failed) work. I went into philosophy to try to discover 'why' I couldn't get my language books sold and while I've found answers, I still haven't found a solution to get round this block: It's a best seller in other versions of my reality but not here (What are you lot hiding from, is my question?).

I remember my first UFO encounter and the fact that the others with me wouldn't even acknowledge its existence but I digress...

Synchronicity 'is' connection. It is seeing the chains that lead to here, even if it is a wall you cannot pierce because of phobia. Success is where it carries over from mind (awareness of all this)to body i.e. the world connects with you, to expand and carry this truth across to this reality too.

Anyway enough of this offal waffle, I'm out of here or in 'here'

Anthony Peake said...

ERIK: Great to hear from you again. The story you refer to was written by Ambrose Bierce. I am glad you mentioned it. I have read it but for some reason it had slipped my mind. In fact if you check this story out on Wikipedia you will find a whole series of stores that seem to apply an itladian theme to their plotlines (specifically the falling out of time at the moment of death and in doing so re-living a life in that split second.

Many movie references have been made on this blog. Specifically "Jacob's Ladder" (whose writer I have been in email contact with and I know he checks in sometimes on this blog ... Hi Jerry!), "Butterfly Effect", "Donny Darko" and Vanilla Sky (among others). Our resident movie buff (Hurly Burly) has suggested many more that are of an itladian angle.

My personal favourite itladian short story is "The Small Miracle" by Jorge Borges. This involves a man facing a firing squad when time slows down and he lives a whole lifetime before the bullets smash into his body.

Robin said...

Tony: You, Barrow and others (including Le Marcs) are great minds converging toward a unity of ideas! What makes ITLAD unique is your gift to draw attention to detail using everyday analogies. Even ordinary thinkers such as myself are inspired by the level of understanding you make it easy to reach. Now math, especially in the realm of logic, maybe be a whole other challenge!

Karl and Woodsprite: Your poems are great and the fact you created them from thin air in a matter of minutes is amazing!

Susan Marie: I love your blog! Your latest essay regarding our boys is wonderful! And the fact that you have a photo of cagey Le Marcs is fantastic!

Jo: Absolutely agree with your point about the end!


Erik: Welcome! Clever anagram in your name! E. Doolin indeed!

SM Kovalinsky said...

Hey, Robin! Thanks so much for your nice words; yeah, that is some DNA that LeMarcs has, huh? I am thrilled that you like my blog. I think in the future, I will be kept quite busy with all the political and cultural changes which are surely coming to America on the winds of our own 21st century hero, Barack Obama. As you once said to me, "Go, Barack!" Thanks so much again, Robin.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Robin: "cagey LeMarcs"
And if you want a logical math brain I'm ya fella!!
Thanks for your words on Di and my poems, sometimes something inspires one to just let the thoughts flow.

Susan Marie: *hugs*
"yeah, that is some DNA that LeMarcs has, huh?"

I hope you saw my comment I placed on your wonderful essay in the wee small hours. Thank You again for ALL that you do.

PaigeTheOracle: Well said Paige, and WOW, you hosteled (is that the right word) with Stephen Fry! Do you appear in Moab Is My Washpot, must go grab my copy from my Upstairs Library later.

Erik: Welcome indeed, I feel sure you will love ITLAD and if you have any questions during your read, come ask us here.

Anonymous said...

I only wish I was clever enough to have intended an anagram. "Doolin" is the surname of my ancestor from Ireland that came to the US around 1730 (my mother's maiden name is Dulin). I simply use it for online purposes. Erik is my real first name.

What is an anagram of Erik Doolin? Or E Doolin?

I am really enjoying this blog and the contributers.

Erik in Washington DC

Karl Le Marcs said...

Tony: I think Forum could do with an ITLAD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section as a starting place for any new ITLADian and maybe also a new section for the Mental Health aspects within the theory around your Scale of Transcendence.

I also think that we need to clearly define how Forum will function alongside Blog to avoid confusion if someone has something they think could be of use to the discussion to determine where it should be placed, Forum or Blog.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Erik: "What is an anagram of Erik Doolin? Or E Doolin?"

E Doolin = Eidolon

*ITLADic smiles*

Anonymous said...

Ok, that's weird. I recall now seeing that word. Interesting. That was complete sychronicity. It is a place name in Co. Clare, Ireland (Doolin, Ire), so we always assumed our ancestor just took that name when he left Ireland for Virginia (this was long before Ellis Island and name changes were imposed on immigrants).

Wow. Ok. Thanks. Karl, I will see you back in the Forum. I am formulating a discussion I want to have about the "perfect rendering machine" (computer) and a new term I have coined relating to relativism in regards to future events. I will post when I have time.

Karl Le Marcs said...

Erik: Yes, The Eidolon is that part of subjective consciousness that is living its live in real time, with one eye on the present and one eye on the past; as opposed to The Daemon which is that part of subjective consciousness that has lived your life before, and has one eye on the present and one eye on the future.

Please check out the following link for a Glossary of most of the terms used in ITLAD and on the Blog:

ITLAD Glossary

And I look forward to reading your thoughts on Forum about the "perfect rendering machine", I have spoken of this and similar concepts on Blog previously so it will be great to see your input.