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Re: I dont see it happen (long)

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  • elbookdoc
    We ll not get back to clams for this diatribe, but I believe that flies will do. Say there is a man who needs to change his oil. He is a bit hung over and
    Message 1 of 16 , Sep 5, 2002
      We'll not get back to clams for this diatribe, but I believe that
      flies will do.

      Say there is a man who needs to change his oil. He is a bit hung over
      and perhaps irritable as this is not a thing that he'd really wanted
      to do in this state and to get the beer to sooth the ache, he needs
      to have the car -- whose which he'd set to drain. To make matters
      worse, the heat is hot and the wind is still and he smells from not
      showering, catching the attention of a fly.

      The fly hovers in craft above the fellow as he is about to pour, like
      flys do. The fellow puts down the oil to shush the fly and, done
      shushing, reaches for the oil quart...laying his hands on another,
      not the original open one. He snaps the new top thinking he'd done it
      already and starts to pour. He refuses to stop this time as the fly
      has at him. Waving hands wildly he trashes the original quart, which
      floods the driveway in its excrement -- so to speak. The fellow
      continues to pour as the puddle of oil seems to grow, thinking to
      himself he'll replace the quart he spilled when he gets to the quick-
      n-go. He was one quart short to start with and figured what he had
      would get him there, he'd get some beer and oil and be back.

      Done pouring, the fellow forgets about the fly which has gone away.
      He hops in the car and starts to drive off...leaving a small trail of
      oil, and almost 3 entire quarts of oil in a puddle on the driveway,
      as he forgot to put the plug back in the pan. A few minutes down the
      road, the engine siezes. Cars pile up in a waiting stream behind, and
      tempers rise. Some cross the double yellow to pass. On one of these
      cars, a bicycle improperly strapped to the rack falls to the side of
      the road and is damaged. The father circles the car back and picks up
      the bike, and decides to haul it right then to the bike shop so as
      not to ruin the plans for the afternoon.

      At the bike shop, the mechanic who sets to work on the bike is a bit
      of a perfectionist. He's straightened what was bent and goes through
      a few pains to touch up the paint. It only takes a few moments more.
      He's got an appointment with a realtor to look at a new appartment
      that is only a few minutes from the shop. He'll be a few minutes
      late, but no big deal. He checks out the family and sends them on
      their way, then hops in his car and bounds off. He was going to take
      his bike, but, being late already, he decided not to push his luck
      with the realtor.

      He sees the apartment and likes it. He puts in a down-payment. On the
      way back from the apartment, he makes a wrong turn. He honks his horn
      at an old woman who seems to be pulling out of her driveway without
      stopping to look. She hears the horn and stops. She curses youth,
      takes a moment to calm down, then slowly starts on her way again. A
      few moments later she kills a young father at an intersection by
      running a light that she thought she would make.

      Before I go on, let me point out that this is not at all where this
      story ends. But I end it here.

      What caused the death?

      The woman never saw the fly. The fellow in the shop never saw the
      fly. The fellow who brought his bike to the shop never saw the fly.
      The dead fellow never saw the fly. The fellow whose car engine has
      seized has forgotten the fly.

      In essence the idea of the fly does not matter, but the fly, for me,
      symbolizes quantum mechanics. It is a random behavior which sets off
      a stream of behaviors, which, by chance can be said to manifest into
      something else. It is not predictable as to whether the fly caused
      the death, as there are many points where the events might have
      happened in a similar way. For example, the fly may not have bothered
      the fellow while he changed his oil, yet because he arived on time to
      the meeting with the realtor, the realtor was more chatty and
      personable, and the two spent longer discussing the apartment and
      other interests, yet the fellow still managed to leave to get back to
      work at exactly the same time, still encountering the woman with a
      honk of the horn, still resulting in the death of the young father.

      What I also find interesting here is that many things might have
      happened anyway. The car may have seized had the plug gone in the pan
      and the oil been retained -- regardless of the fly. The bike may have
      fallen from the car necessitating the trip to the shop because it was
      poorly tied. The fellow from the shop might have passed the woman in
      many different series of events (e.g., being on-time and on his bike,
      he took the wrong turn and delayed her by riding behind and shouting,
      rather than using the horn). The woman, not distracted by the horn
      may have though of something she forgot, then felt it unimportant and
      continued on. The fellow that died might have cut himself shaving and
      in taking just 5 seconds to dab on a bit of tissue may have saved
      himself from his early fate -- or created a different one that
      occurred at the same time for some other reason. And at any point
      some other variable might be introduced to change the series of
      events.

      There are decisions that effect the outcome as well as calculations,
      and both are not always critical. Observation matters (woman hears
      horn), previous outcomes matter (fellow drinks the night before), and
      the cycle does not end, while new events appear. Everything effects
      everything else to a greater or lesser extent as the timeline moves
      forward. And should the young father turn out to be the fellow whose
      car had seized, coming back from where he'd already accepted a rental
      car, events can effectively lie dormant to affect later, larger
      changes. And can do so unpredictably.

      There is both no reason to assume the result is predictable, and no
      reason to assume it is not probable (depending on the nature and
      complexity of behaviors). There is also no reason to assume
      calculations are not just dumb luck and a decent approximation of a
      probable result. To say one knows what happens is a lie.

      It is following the exceptions that give clues to actual, rather than
      probable, behaviors and outcomes. Yet, even following these, you can
      never know.

      Sails Untied
      --------------------------------------------
    • eduard
      elbookdoc,
      Message 2 of 16 , Sep 5, 2002
        elbookdoc,

        << In essence the idea of the fly does not matter,
        but the fly, for me, symbolizes quantum mechanics.
        It is a random behavior which sets off a stream of
        behaviors, which, by chance can be said to
        manifest into something else >>

        If the fly is representative of quantum mechanics,
        then it itself is a probability function. It can
        be any number of possibilities, from a live fly to
        a dead fly, to the fly that is caught in a spiders
        web. The man who is changing oil, collapses the
        function such as to create the single fly that
        distracts his attention. The point made by John
        Gibbon is that this single fly is that known in
        our universe, along with all the subsequent events
        that cascade from that encounter in the driveway.
        The other states of this fly carry on in other
        universes. Perhaps in the universe in which the
        fly is caught in a spider's web, the oil changer
        is not distracted, and his car does not stop, such
        that he runs down the old lady and thus saves the
        father who goes on to write a text book on
        Existentialism.

        eduard
      • elbookdoc
        Message 3 of 16 , Sep 6, 2002
          << The point made by John
          > Gibbon is that this single fly is that known in
          > our universe, along with all the subsequent events
          > that cascade from that encounter in the driveway.

          I don't mean to be cocky, but I somehow knew what I was going
          to say as soon as you responded and that it would affect exactly
          this:

          The fellow who had been drinking was a heavy, habitual drinker.
          He was prone to delirium. The fly was not real.

          Now you'll tell me it doesn't make a difference.

          I have a little trouble with the idea that all possible events *exist*,
          and that there are multiple universi (?) necessarily. Isn't that
          POTENTIAL that exists, rather than necessarily assuming other
          universes do? A pretty grand assumption -- especially for one
          like yourself (missouri be damned). I would be all with you if you
          were discussing perspective (each individual perspective is a
          universe), but to 'collapse' things: If the universe is not observed
          (or imagined), does it make a sound?

          Your perspective on Gibbon makes him sound like a duck.

          P. Littlebrain
          ----------------------------------------------------
        • eduard
          elbookdoc, Yes, I have the
          Message 4 of 16 , Sep 6, 2002
            elbookdoc,

            << I have a little trouble with the idea that all
            possible events *exist*, and that there are
            multiple universi (?) necessarily. >>

            Yes, I have the same problem with the idea that
            there are multiple universes. It seems much to
            complex. But then it seems to provide an answer to
            the difficulty of dealing with the superposition
            of states. I suspect, however, that it has it has
            a certain attraction because it matches the
            mathematics. Actually, this whole thing is well
            beyond me and I guess I shall have to read some
            more books.

            I am now into a book, "God and the New Physics" by
            Paul Davies. What struck me whilst reading it
            last night, was the idea that the within the
            present universe, there is an inherent tendency
            for localized order out of the surrounding chaos.
            I don't have a specific quote, as this is more in
            the way of an impression I obtain in the reading.
            Although the universe, in general, tends towards
            overall chaos [high entropy], the formation of
            stars, galaxies, and life itself is towards order
            [low entropy]. I recall reading about the
            philosophical/religious outlook of the ancient
            Sumerians. In that they initiated the dualist
            idea of good and evil which I would put in terms
            of order and chaos respectively. The Egyptians
            had the same sort of outlook, with the pharaoh
            being the protector of society against chaos.
            From there one could develop a personal philosophy
            based upon our purpose as being to maintain and
            propagate order. This seems more pleasing than a
            simple purpose of propagating ourselves, as
            humans, through reproduction and such. Perhaps
            one could also look at it from an Existentialist
            viewpoint in that our choices produce ever
            increasing order. It fits as well with the idea
            that our choices are made for everyone.

            << Your perspective on Gibbon makes him sound like
            a duck.>>

            I don't understand this last comment.

            eduard
          • elbookdoc
            Message 5 of 16 , Sep 6, 2002
              << Your perspective on Gibbon makes him sound like
              > a duck.>>
              >
              > I don't understand this last comment.>>

              Ducks go Quack.

              Mr. Mallard
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