If you are a physicist and you want to kill me after reading this post, then please forgive me my ignorance and check with your therapist if you have an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Today I woke up from a nervous dream. In it, I was taking a bus day after day. It didn't make any sense to me and I hated it, but for some reason couldn't leave that cabala. Later I figured that the bus is full of football fans and I am one of them. I grew up in Russia where you can find one of the most messed up football fan cultures. It's dominated by neo-nazism and violence.
So back to my dream... I hated being among those football fans in that bus that represented senseless repetitive action. I was thinking about leaving but some weird social gravitational force was keeping me there. Football fans gradually transformed into a musical band and I found myself in some gathering. The band I was working for was hired to play in that gathering, but instead they were drinking alcohol. They were all drunk, it pissed me off even more and even stronger was the force that was keeping me there. A famous Russian rocker Sergey Shnurov was there. I asked him: "Why is everyone drunk?" He said: "Well it's a funeral, everyone drinks on a funeral."
Disgusted but unable to leave, I suddenly felt an incredible relief. That situation of no control gave me a feeling of absolute liberation. I stopped being angry and intimidated. I asked someone in the crowd how did the departed die. I was told that he committed suicide. I took a microphone and said a toast for the immortal soul of the departed and for the entropy - a weird thermodynamic law that basically says that time creates chaos and keeps destroying everything. And that's when my wife woke me up.
On the way to the train station where I drop her on mornings, I told her about my dream. She unintentionally hurt my feelings trying to joke back. I got really frustrated but tried not to demonstrate that. I dropped her at a station and my mind started compulsively thinking itself into a deeper and deeper frustration. And that thought process brought me to a strange place.
I remembered the concept of mathematical universe by a modern physicist and MIT professor Max Tegmark . He talks about that beautiful concept on numerous YouTube videos. After watching a few of those videos, I downloaded audio version of his book " Our mathematical universe" and now occasionally listen it in a car.
So I remembered of that concept of mathematical nature of the reality and every single bit of events lined up in a logical sequence - from my parents' childhood, to my childhood, to my conversation with my uncle that I had yesterday about toasts, to my crazy dream, to my morning conversation with my wife and finally, to my frustration. That deterministic scientific paradigm through which I glanced at realities of my life gave me incredible relief and psychological harmony. Suddenly, I stopped feeling lost in the waterfall of life and hurricane of guilt. It gave me energy and desire to work and keep trying to pull the ideas and projects that started making sense again. Below I will describe ideas of Tegmark and what I make of them. I am writing this post now to remind myself later of this experience, as well as to share this beautiful paradigm with you in a hope that some day it may help you face challenges in your life.
So to begin the explanation of a mathematical nature of reality I need first to tell you about other cool thing - the 4 types of parallel universes. I will not get into details and will be very brief, and if you want to get into deeper into that I suggest you to Google or YouTube it, or even better read "The grand design" by Steven Hawking or "Our mathematical universe" by Max Tegmark.
So our universe is everything that was spread over the space by the Big Bang that happened around 13.8 billion years ago. And the first type of parallel universes are just another Big Bangs in the same time space right next to our Big Bang. This one is kind of easy (not:).
The second type of parallel universes is a little more weird. According to General relativity theory, the space can actually change. It can bent, curve. And it actually does curve, that's why it has a characteristic known to us as a gravity. Time is just one of the dimension of a space and can also change its characteristics. But let's keep away from time as it's really easy to get lost reflecting on it. So the second type of parallel universes is a Big Bang in the same space but in the areas of it where it has different characteristics. In other words, the difference between the first and the second types of parallel universes is that in the first one you would have the same laws of physics and constants as you have in our universe, and in the second one those laws would be different. Ok, now these two were relatively boring.
The third one is where all the fun starts. So about a century ago, experimental physicists got a technical capabilities to test how the atoms behaved. They found out that an atom can be in two different places at the same time. They checked their tools, cleaned all the optics and tested it again and got the same results. Since then, they performed similar experiments over and over and had to accept that elementary particles can be in many places simultaneously. A theory that best explains that phenomenon is called Quantum mechanics . It is one of the most tested and applied theories of physics in the history. I write this post on a smartphone and your read it on a device that ware built thanks to knowledge of laws of Quantum mechanics. And Quantum mechanics is this weird very mathematical theory that describes the microcosm and which is very useful in building nice techie stuff, but seemed not useful at all when trying to understand how the world works on a macro level. But about half a century ago there was an attempt to apply Quantum mechanics to explaining the grand reality. A theory was offered that suggested that in every moment of time universe splits into infinite number of possibilities, each of which is a parallel universe to another. So there are infinite numbers of you in different universes. Some of them are dead at this point, some are alive, some are happy, some are not that much, some are homeless, some are tyranacal emperors of the global government. In fact there any kinds of you that anyone can imagine. The same with the universe. There are infinite variants of universes not in the same space like the first two types, but rather in the completely different realities parallel to ours. Now it is just a mathematical theory that is being tested. And if quantum computers happen to be millions times more powerful than our modern time computers, as it is predicted by the theory, than the theory of infinite number of parallel universes will be proven true. Ok, I can write about it and brainstorm on the third type of multiverse for hours but let's get to my favorite - the fourth type of parallel universes.
So there are two basic ideas that this fourth theory is based on. The first idea is that everything we have ever looked into is built of particles. We know exactly how many particles there are in the nature (in our universe). And we know that the difference between Shia Leboeuf, Pacific Ocean and my dog Hoocho is that all three are different patterns of the same particles. Another fact about elementary particles is that they don't have anything else other than mathematical characteristics. They are not soft or solid, cold or hot. They are just vibrations and frequencies with certain numerical characteristics. The second idea is that everything we came along is measurable. Everything can be put in numbers. And after we do that, those numbers have mathematical correlations with one another. These mathematical correlations are absolute, as there are no universes or realities where 2 plus 2 doesn't equal 4.
These two ideas of particles in the basis of matter and mathematical correlations in the basis of particles suggested a radical theory that not only our entire universe is completely mathematical, but that any mathematical model of a universe that can be thought of actually exists. Skeptics and existentialists argue that consciousness is something that is not explained by this model of an absolutely mathematical nature of a universe. But Max Tegmark and his fellow colleagues insist that consciousness is just a mathematical pattern that feels itself conscious because of the level of complexity it has and because it does not imagine itself outside the mathematical model it is located in. But other than that, it is a unique pattern of particles the same as a piece of a rock is. Any mathematical possibility of anything, including any universes with any forms of matter or life that is possible actually exists. This reminds me an old Russian surreal joke about asshole, jack-screw and triangle investigating who ate the cabbage pie they had found in a forest. But back to our intellectual journey...
So the theories of third and fourth types of universes both suggest that the reality as we know it and we ourselves are just a possibility. Now, when I think about it, it is both a good news and a bad news (as it is with the Schrodinger's cat). It's bad because there is a reality in the future where power hungry sociopathic financial and political elites with Hillarie's and Trump's, with Koch brothers and Erik Schmidt's will lead us to the absolute dystopia and self-annihilation. It's good because the scenario described above (despite the fact that it already exists) is just one of an infinite number of possible futures. It's good because there is a different possible future where we can fix our politics, solve economic problems and build our human society on principles of empathy and logic. And that future also already exists. It's good because there is a future existing right now, where we in ODD Republic generate some insanely great abstractions (branding, design) and build some badass communications (web development, marketing) for our customers and grow from a startup into a successful digital agency. It's also bad at the same time because we can grow into evil or miserably fail, but these are just possibilities, so screw them cause they are not cool. What's cool is that as bad as the world is right now with millions dying in wars and billions living in misery and poverty around the world, there is a possible solution to it, and we have mathematical chances to find it out. It's good because it's not just a rat run, it's an equation and it has solutions. And when you truly and deeply understand that those mathematical solutions to those mathematical problems are right there in your mathematical hands, you get this weird out of parallel universe energy to go and do your part of solution to the equation of life.