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The Consequences of Dust Theory.

-2 Post author: Eitan_Zohar 09 July 2015 03:53PM

Dust theory implies that everything outside of my perception is in flux. Your experiences have to find themselves in a world in which they could have conceivably formed. Of course, you exist in every possible world which would produce that mindstate, but some are 'vaster' than others, leading you down the most probable courses.

Suppose that going to sleep or losing grasp of your surroundings opens a wider space of worlds you could exist in, which jumps you into another reality along with consistent memories of it. I can't figure out if this would be the case, or if my consciousness would most likely just dissolve, with only those beating trillion-to-one odds waking up in the morning. Or maybe my pool of 'experience' stays active when I sleep, even if I'm not aware of it. Either way (though I think Dust Theory is probably false) I'm afraid to go to sleep anymore.

I also do not understand the argument being made here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/1jm/getting_over_dust_theory/. Can someone explain to me please?

I posted these questions on other threads but I didn't get many answers. Sorry.

EDIT: Look, the first question boils down to: does my unconscious mind affect my measure? If so, than it isn't much different from being awake. If not, then all my problems seem to apply.

It occurs to me that not only would signing up for cryonics and then killing yourself before you could sleep is rational under these circumstances, but that the death of the universe can be escaped by simply rearranging your mind to believe it is in a universe where eternal life is possible, then ceasing its activity.

Comments (66)

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 11 July 2015 03:06:27PM *  3 points [-]

" Suppose that going to sleep or losing grasp of your surroundings opens a wider space of worlds you could exist in, which jumps you into another reality along with consistent memories of it. "

There's no you to jump in dust theory, There's just a succession of mental states , which appear to form a temporal contiguous being because one state contains memories of "previous" ones. An interruption to the structure would be much ,more analogous to death t than to "you" finding "yourself" in a strange new world.

Look, the first question boils down to: does my unconscious mind affect my measure? If so, than it isn't much different from being awake. If not, then all my problems seem to apply.

In what sense do you think your conscious mind can effect your measure.....and why care? Your measure may be tiny in absolute terms, but it will always seem like 1 to you. If you want to avoid short .or unpleasant futures, your best bet us to follow commonsense advice about life and health preservation. Dust theory can guarantee that "you" .. a mental state containing your memories up until now...would not suddenly start experiencing a weird world, ..... that is the essence of Egans argument against it....but doesn't suggest that remaining conscious would make any difference. You seem to think that consciousness exerts some force that "keeps things together", somehow, but dust theory is nowhere near so causal.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 12 July 2015 12:06:34AM 2 points [-]

why care? Your measure may be tiny in absolute terms, but it will always seem like 1 to you.

Let's say that Dust Theory is not true. Every time you fall asleep, a demon comes to your bed and creates a trillion copies of you. These copies are wiped of memory and given new ones, then are thrust into universes where those memories make sense. They wake up as if they have always lived there. Are you OK with that? Because I'm not.

Dust theory can guarantee that "you" .. a mental state containing your memories up until now...would not suddenly start experiencing a weird world, ..... that is the essence of Egans argument against it....but doesn't suggest that remaining conscious would make any difference. You seem to think that consciousness exerts some force that "keeps things together", somehow, but dust theory is nowhere near so causal.

Why? And if I'm not actively aware of my memories, they don't really exist for me, do they?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 12 July 2015 08:36:56PM 0 points [-]

Let's say that Dust Theory is not true. Every time you fall asleep, a demon comes to your bed and creates a trillion copies of you. These copies are wiped of memory and given new ones, then are thrust into universes where those memories make sense. They wake up as if they have always lived there. Are you OK with that? 

It seems zero-sum to me.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 12 July 2015 10:03:33AM *  0 points [-]

why care?

Your measure may be tiny in absolute terms, but it will always seem like 1 to you.Let's say that Dust Theory is not true. Every time you fall asleep, a demon comes to your bed and creates a trillion copies of you. These copies are wiped of memory and given new ones, then are thrust into universes where those memories make sense. They wake up as if they have always lived there. Are you OK with that? Because I'm not.

In what sense is dust theory going to be false? How can I care about what may or may not be self, without knowing what it' is?

And why should my being asleep be relevant? Can't I credit a demon with the ability to clone me while I am awake.?

(Dust theory strongly supports that it could, because it means my consciousness could be suspended for any amount of time , and then restarted without my being aware)

Dust theory can guarantee that "you" .. a mental state containing your memories up until now...would not suddenly start experiencing a weird world, ..... that is the essence of Egans argument against it....but doesn't suggest that remaining conscious would make any difference. You seem to think that consciousness exerts some force that "keeps things together", somehow, but dust theory is nowhere near so causal.

Why?

Dust theory says what it says.

It might be helpful at this point to set down what you think the premises of dust theory are , since there seems to be some major miscommunication going on here,

And if I'm not actively aware of my memories, they don't really exist for me, do they?

A memory that you are not consciously aware of, but could retrieve at any time, is as existent as an object you could look .at, but are not currently looking at. In any case, if you think your identity is only defined by current conscious content, then your identity is nearly as unstable as your nightmare scenario.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 12 July 2015 02:26:48PM *  0 points [-]

How can I care about what may or may not be self, without knowing what it' is?

I can't. I don't care about the various unconscious beings who may have merged into my waking self this morning. That's not much comfort to me as I stand.

And why should my being asleep be relevant? Can't I credit a demon with the ability to clone me while I am awake.?

Certainly, but there is a much lower measure of that.

(Dust theory strongly supports that it could, because it means my consciousness could be suspended for any amount of time , and then restarted without my being aware)

I don't think you need Dust Theory to know this.

It might be helpful at this point to set down what you think the premises of dust theory are , since there seems to be some major miscommunication going on here,

Causality is really just correlations between states. What people experience is really the sum total of every possible configuration that produces that mind-state; however, some configurations are more common than others.

In any case, if you think your identity is only defined by current conscious content, then your identity is nearly as unstable as your nightmare scenario.

Why? I think that things in my subconscious contribute to my subjective reality, but if they didn't, well, it's only my perceptions that create an enduring reality.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 12 July 2015 08:09:28PM *  0 points [-]

How can I care about what may or may not be self, without knowing what it' is?I can't. I don't care about the various unconscious beings who may have merged into my waking self this morning. That's not much comfort to me as I stand.

You seem to care about the exact inverse, "your" possible evolution into possibly unconscious beings bearing a slight resemblance to yourself.

Dust theory strongly supports that it could, because it means my consciousness could be suspended for any amount of time , and then restarted without my being aware)

I don't think you need Dust Theory to know this.

You don't know it. It. Is theory. :Physicalism and computationalism strongly suggest that causal histories and/or processing are important, and that supervenience of mental states on instantaneous physical states is therefore nonsense

Why? I think that things in my subconscious contribute to my subjective reality, but if they didn't, well, it's only my perceptions that create an enduring reality.

The content of your consciousness doesn't create an enduring self, because you are not constantly recalling your previous history.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 13 July 2015 01:45:28AM 0 points [-]

You don't know it. It. Is theory. :Physicalism and computationalism strongly suggest that causal histories and/or processing are important, and that supervenience of mental states on instantaneous physical states is therefore nonsense

I don't understand that post. Could you link to a more detailed argument? The entire point of Dust Theory, remember, is that "there is nothing more to causality than correlations between states."

The content of your consciousness doesn't create an enduring self, because you are not constantly recalling your previous history.

You aren't paying attention; I've argued that the subconscious mind may also contribute. turchin made the argument that this provides empirical evidence for DT:

It will be some kind of natural selection in dust world lines, which will result in more stable ones, and most likely I am already in such line. In this line dreaming is built such that it will not result in important shifts of reality. And it is true: dreaming is not unconsciousness state. I start to have dreams immediately than I fall asleep. So dreaming is built to be not interupting some level of consciousness.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 13 July 2015 02:27:53AM *  1 point [-]

You don't know it. It. Is theory. :Physicalism and computationalism strongly suggest that causal histories and/or processing are important, and that supervenience of mental states on instantaneous physical states is therefore nonsense

I don't understand that post. Could you link to a more detailed argument? The entire point of Dust Theory, remember, is that "there is nothing more to causality than correlations between states."

But you can't argue that physicalism and computationalism are wrong because DT is right, when you have offered no support for DT.

will be some kind of natural selection in dust world lines, which will result in more stable ones

How do you cash out stability in the absence of causality?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 13 July 2015 02:35:13AM -1 points [-]

I have. Did you bother to read the second half of the post? And I still don't understand your arguments about causality, would you please kindly explain them in detail?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 14 July 2015 10:03:30AM *  1 point [-]

I read the whole post, and didn't see any arguments for dust theory.

The idea of a stable process is easy enough to cash out where you actually have proceses...it means a process that isnt disturbed too much by other processes. For instance, if you drop a feather, its path is disturbed by small air currents, if you drop a rock its path isnt.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 14 July 2015 10:40:37AM *  0 points [-]

But you do have processes in DT. They're just theoretical ones, for lack of a better word.

it means a process that isnt disturbed too much by other processes. For instance, if you drop a feather, its path is disturbed by small air currents, if you drop a rock its path isnt.

I really don't understand how this is an argument against Dust Theory. What do you think Dust Theory is?

Comment author: Dentin 10 July 2015 07:42:08PM 3 points [-]

At the scale of QM and quantum physics, there is no unconscious mind as distinct from conscious mind - there are only particles, fields, and forces. That's it. There's precisely nothing about the conscious mind that would inform the physics of the universe/multiverse to do something different from the unconscious. You're chasing shadows.

Further, dust theory strikes me as a possible map of reality, much like timeless QM and copenhagen interpretations are also maps - but ultimately, they aren't the territory. Nobody gets upset because it's possible to count natural numbers out of order; being upset because "oh noes the states of the universe might be out of order" is equally pointless.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 10 July 2015 07:55:27PM *  -1 points [-]

There's precisely nothing about the conscious mind that would inform the physics of the universe/multiverse to do something different from the unconscious.

No, my mind generates my subjective reality. Or 'directs' me to it.

Too many people have not read Permutation City.

Nobody gets upset because it's possible to count natural numbers out of order; being upset because "oh noes the states of the universe might be out of order" is equally pointless.

I find the universe-jumping upsetting because I don't want to leave my current universe. I'm aware that I 'really have lived' in this universe for my entire life, in the vast majority of my measure, but I don't want to live in another one tomorrow, even if I felt the same way then.

By "universe" I just mean a different measure of universes from my current measure. When I say I will live in another one tomorrow I mean that my measure will shrink during my sleep and join a larger one upon waking; that becomes my universe which I have always lived in for the vast majority of my measure.

I know this always happens on some level but I would prefer a decent amount of consistency, enough that if I could perceive the two branches I wouldn't be able to tell the difference for some time.

(Human language really isn't designed for these concepts.)

Comment author: gjm 10 July 2015 09:11:20PM 4 points [-]

Too many people have not read Permutation City.

Or perhaps "too many people" have recognized that it's science fiction.

Comment author: Dentin 11 July 2015 05:10:57PM 0 points [-]

Your mind, which is constructed out of particles, forces, and fields, has generated a subjective reality which is a map of how the universe works. Because your brain is not static, your map changes pretty much continuously.

I think it would be a good idea to define what you mean by 'measure'. I do not understand your usage of it in the above, and I have no reasonable way to interpret things like "my measure will shrink during my sleep and join a larger one upon waking". That phrase makes literally no sense to me at this time.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 12 July 2015 12:00:33AM 0 points [-]

Certainly. I mean that the details of my waking world- the things I care about- are not necessarily carried over into my sleep, since they aren't required to form my subjective world of unconsciousness. Therefore, a larger ranges of possibilities that could account for my sleeping mind opens up, and my less-detailed measure joins one of them upon waking. This always happens, but I'm just worried about degree.

Sorry for my inaccurate terminology.

Comment author: Dentin 13 July 2015 01:37:53PM 0 points [-]

If I understand this correctly, your 'measure' also increases when you close your eyes. Why should your 'measure' be any different just because you think you're receiving photons from what you think is probably an external source?

At this point, I'm going to just say that I don't think anyone can help you. It doesn't matter what universe you happen to find yourself in at any given moment if you can't tell the difference between them. I suspect you're probably just going to have to work your confusion out on your own.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 14 July 2015 01:12:09AM 0 points [-]

Why should your 'measure' be any different just because you think you're receiving photons from what you think is probably an external source?

I'm aware of more detail.

It doesn't matter what universe you happen to find yourself in at any given moment if you can't tell the difference between them

It does to me.

Comment author: SilentCal 09 July 2015 09:33:05PM 1 point [-]

I think you're looking at it wrong. However much magical reality fluid there is in you going to sleep in an orderly universe, there's the same amount in you waking up in one.

I think we can refine this problem by imagining that someone sets up a machine to 1) fully scan your brain and surroundings, 2) kick off a simulation of you, 3) spend a real second running it for a subjective second, 4) end the simulation and idle for a real second, 5) goto 1.

You could respond with terror at the 50% probability of death you face every two seconds. Or you could think it was pretty neat that half your subjective moments get double reality fluid. Personally, I think if you're going to count a decrease in MRF as a loss you should count an increase as a gain.

So if sleep is a large temporary gain in MRF, savor that. You're communing with a vaster, stranger experience-set, and all the MRF you send in will come out. You can't change how much MRF you send to the 'yourself waking up' experience, but you do have some ability to redirect it between 'yourself waking up groggy' and 'yourself waking up well-rested'.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 10 July 2015 01:13:50AM *  0 points [-]

Apologies, I've no idea what you are saying. What do you mean by 'all the measure I send in will come out?' Why shouldn't I be terrified if I faced a 50% probability of death every second?

(That scenario wouldn't work in any case; I'd just wind up like Durham's copy).

Comment author: SilentCal 10 July 2015 04:38:29PM 0 points [-]

Not sure what you mean about Durham's copy (I've only read summaries of Egan), but the situation seems pretty isomorphic to your sleep issue if I read in correctly. The question is whether having a bunch of measure added to your life and then taken away should be seen as a chance of death.

I guess if you're utility function values death avoidance rather than life lived, then for some definitions of death your conclusions follow? But a "death" event that does not cause you to be in any way less alive and does not have any of the secondary effects of death (i.e. grief) maybe doesn't deserve the name "death".

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 10 July 2015 07:45:15PM *  0 points [-]

Not sure what you mean about Durham's copy (I've only read summaries of Egan)

When a conscious mind is halted all at once, without any destruction, it simply keeps going, finding itself in a universe where those observations are explicable. Your hypothetical death machine wouldn't have an effect on me; I would just keep subjectively beating the odds.

(So even if we are in a simulation and the simulators decide to end it, we don't notice a thing.)

The question is whether having a bunch of measure added to your life and then taken away should be seen as a chance of death.

No, no, that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that since my conscious mind is longer functioning at full capacity, I will find myself in other universes where that is proper. And then I just keep degrading. It's death in the fullest sense of the word- the one who wakes up has beaten vast odds. And that isn't evidence for the unlikelihood of the scenario, since each type of observer is infinitely common.

However, I don't think it is simply consciousness that propels our observations. If Dust Theory were true than consciousness is emergent, and the rest of my mind must also play some part in generating the observations. Even a sleeping one is distinctly human enough to keep my reality stable. So I'm no longer worried about dying.

I still don't know about reality changing. Certainly it becomes fuzzier, but do my memories count if I'm not consciously aware of them? They are a part of my psyche, after all. And my dreams, while capable of tricking me into believing outlandish things, still contain almost complete fragments of real memory.

Things like this are also encouraging.

Comment author: SilentCal 10 July 2015 10:46:49PM 0 points [-]

I don't think it makes sense to treat a simulation where you rapidly change into an unrecognizable mind differently from a simulation that halts, except insofar as the transition might be unpleasant. In either case, the experiences you value have a certain measure up to a certain point in time and then they don't.

I agree that dreams are still highly ordered despite being a bit less so than waking life. I think the experience of a human dreaming in an orderly universe is still most likely caused by a human dreaming in an orderly universe. But I don't think it would make sense to be scared of sleep even if it were otherwise.

The way I'm looking at this is that your goal should be to take actions that will increase the measure of experiences you value and decrease the measure of those you do not. This adds up to normality: Sleeping increases the measure of 'dreaming' experiences and the measure of 'waking up with enough sleep' experiences, and decreases the measure of 'being awake at night' and 'being unrested in the morning' experiences. That's the only effect it has on the measure flows of the multiverse.

I think the way you're trying to look at it in terms of a thread of experience is at best extremely difficult to follow and at worst flat-out wrong, and you'll be better served to decide which measure flows you want to cause (of those you can cause).

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 11 July 2015 02:15:47AM 0 points [-]

But I don't think it would make sense to be scared of sleep even if it were otherwise.

Well, I can't follow your reasoning. It seems to be 'just go ahead because that's the way things are.' If you accept my claim that according to Dust Theory "everything outside your awareness is in flux" then my arguments should follow naturally.

Also, I would like to point out that humans may be somewhat aware of the physical world during sleep.

Comment author: Manfred 09 July 2015 05:32:37PM *  1 point [-]

Of course, you exist in every possible world which would produce that mindstate, but some are 'vaster' than others, leading you down the most probable courses.

This is basically the answer. You can think of different worlds as having different amounts of "magical reality fluid," or "measure." You are more likely to be in one of the worlds with lots of magical reality fluid - if there are two worlds with a 2 to 1 ratio of magical reality fluid, and you otherwise have no information distinguishing them, your probabilities about which world you're in should likewise have a ratio of 2 to 1.

Suppose that going to sleep or losing grasp of your surroundings opens a wider space of worlds you could exist in, which jumps you into another reality along with consistent memories of it.

There are no jumps. There is nothing to do any jumping - no soul, no thread of consciousness above and beyond your physical state (at least not when it comes to assigning probabilities - when it comes to utilities, you are allowed to value continuity of experience or content of your memories if you want). In any given world, you either exist or you don't. If you go to sleep in this world, the only way to leave is to die in your sleep.

The idea of sleeping being simpler than waking, and therefore there being more sleeping boltzmann brains of you than waking ones, is interesting, and debatable, but basically irrelevant. You go to sleep, you wake up. The boltzmann brains evaporate back into their constituent atoms. Life goes on.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 09 July 2015 06:03:29PM *  0 points [-]

Yes, but don't I have to have one set of experiences? Even asleep, more stable universes still have a much greater measure than the Boltzmann brains, but the universes that had a dominant measure when I was awake no longer do so. So I could easily awake into a different world, with perfectly consistent memories when I reach for them. That's what I mean by 'jumping.'

(Also, I wasn't really talking about Boltzmann brains. I'm just saying that if Dust Theory were true your lack of consciousness should give more chaotic, dreamlike universes a larger measure. Your mind would slowly dissolve.)

Comment author: gjm 09 July 2015 10:33:39PM *  4 points [-]

don't I have to have one set of experiences?

What do you mean by "I"?

I think that if you embrace "Dust Theory" then for consistency you must also reject the way of thinking about identity that views the question "of all these future Eitan Zohars, which will be me?" as a sensible one to ask.

You go to sleep. (In this world and many others, in all of which your mind-state including all its memories and current perceptions are identical.) You wake up. (In this world and many others, in all of which your mind-state including all its memories and current perceptions are identical.) If you're worried that in this process you may "jump" into a different world, you should worry exactly the same every second of your waking life.

[EDITED to add the last 6 words of the paragraph beginning "I think"; I must have got distracted while writing this the first time. It looks like I was understood anyway.]

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 10 July 2015 01:08:29AM *  -1 points [-]

My consciousness only follows one path, so yes, an indeterminate future Eitan Zohar will in fact be me. Since I'm no longer awake to keep the measure of my dominant reality stable, I'm worried that my unconscious mind will create it instead.

Comment author: gjm 10 July 2015 09:42:40AM 2 points [-]

I don't see how you can coherently both endorse "Dust Theory" and also hold that "my consciousness only follows one path".

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 10 July 2015 03:20:32PM *  -1 points [-]

Yes, it does. In the future, I will not be perceiving events from other quantum branches. According to Dust Theory, the branches of me will continue experiencing events, but that isn't any good once I've separated from them!

All I'm saying is that a large measure of me may be going down a bad path.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 12 July 2015 08:40:47PM *  0 points [-]

Speaking of empiricism: you have fallen asleep many times, and nothing bad has happened..why should something bad happen next time?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 13 July 2015 01:48:12AM 0 points [-]

Because if only waking contributes to your reality, than it is pure coincidence that I found myself in the body of this particular Eitan Zohar this morning.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 13 July 2015 02:16:35AM 0 points [-]

What is this "I"?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 13 July 2015 02:30:01AM 0 points [-]

My current subjective experience.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 13 July 2015 03:49:10AM 0 points [-]

If I is defined by a conscious state , then it is not coincidental that the i defined by a conscious state finds itself is inthat conscious state, it is tautology.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 13 July 2015 05:43:17AM *  0 points [-]

Do you want to experience excruciating pain? There are other AncientGeeks split off from you who would never experience excruciating pain. I suppose then it makes no difference if you do.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 14 July 2015 12:55:20PM 0 points [-]

What makes them other AncientGeeks?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 14 July 2015 02:58:17PM -2 points [-]

Ok, now this is just semantic quibbling.

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 14 July 2015 05:18:22PM *  0 points [-]

The claim that I have counterparts of whom I am completely am necessarily unaware is extraordinary, and requires strong support.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 14 July 2015 05:20:05PM 0 points [-]

If you accept Dust Theory or at least MWI, then isn't it a given?

Comment author: turchin 12 July 2015 11:05:40AM *  0 points [-]

I was thinking about the same problem and my conclusion was and is the following.

  1. Lets assume a demon model, which move simplified part of me in trillion different copies. Is it a problem for me? No. It is logical to conclude that it will do it trillions times, so I will eventually return into my original myself, and will not notice any difference.

  2. It will be some kind of natural selection in dust world lines, which will result in more stable ones, and most likely I am already in such line. In this line dreaming is built such that it will not result in important shifts of reality. And it is true: dreaming is not unconsciousness state. I start to have dreams immediately than I fall asleep. So dreaming is built to be not interupting some level of consciousness.

  3. Someone may try to use the flux nature of reality for magic. You must close your use, forget everything about your self, imagine that you have 1 000 000 dollars, forget that you imagine it, and just keep this feeling. Than you open your eyes it would be more likely that you have 1 million dollars. While it seems to be ridicules procedure, it strikingly similar to traditional human magic, which always include trance state and visualisation of desired things. If natural selection exists in dust world lines it would help beings able to rise its reproduction chances by magic, so nothing surprising here.

  4. You do not need Dust theory for all it. You could get flux reality from some interpretation of QM. Just imagine that you live inside large Schrodinger cat.

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 12 July 2015 02:37:12PM *  1 point [-]

Lets assume a demon model, which move simplified part of me in trillion different copies. Is it a problem for me? No. It is logical to conclude that it will do it trillions times, so I will eventually return into my original myself, and will not notice any difference.

I'm not sure I understand.

It will be some kind of natural selection in dust world lines, which will result in more stable ones, and most likely I am already in such line. In this line dreaming is built such that it will not result in important shifts of reality. And it is true: dreaming is not unconsciousness state. I start to have dreams immediately than I fall asleep. So dreaming is built to be not interupting some level of consciousness.

Yes! This is it! Thank you!

(Is this also evidence that Dust Theory/MWI is true? Or can it be explained through some other phenomenon? It seems that it might be- it's why we aren't in a 'perfectly' stable existence, i.e. one that did not involve sleep at all, which would be extremely hard to enter. Also it solves the Doomsday Argument, since transhumans wouldn't sleep.)

Someone may try to use the flux nature of reality for magic. You must close your use, forget everything about your self, imagine that you have 1 000 000 dollars, forget that you imagine it, and just keep this feeling. Than you open your eyes it would be more likely that you have 1 million dollars. While it seems to be ridicules procedure, it strikingly similar to traditional human magic, which always include trance state and visualisation of desired things. If natural selection exists in dust world lines it would help beings able to rise its reproduction chances by magic, so nothing surprising here.

No, if your subconscious could anchor you in reality than you couldn't eliminate the knowledge entirely from your perception just by concentrating really hard. You would need to use nanotech to completely destroy the idea, which is a way I suggested of escaping the death of the universe.

You do not need Dust theory for all it. You could get flux reality from some interpretation of QM. Just imagine that you live inside large Schrodinger cat.

I'm not familiar with the Copenhagen school... can you describe this in more detail? How is it analogous to Dust Theory?

Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 10 July 2015 09:23:45PM *  0 points [-]

I'm also a bit confused about Egan's problem with his theory:

I think the universe we live in provides strong empirical evidence against the “pure” Dust Theory, because it is far too orderly and obeys far simpler and more homogeneous physical laws than it would need to, merely in order to contain observers with an enduring sense of their own existence. If every arrangement of the dust that contained such observers was realised, then there would be billions of times more arrangements in which the observers were surrounded by chaotic events, than arrangements in which there were uniform physical laws.

Isn't the point that there is more than one level of infinity? That the 'density' of events determine how likely we are to experience them? That's what measure is, as I understand it. So it seems that Dust Theory has the opposite problem- our universe is much more complex and contingent on highly improbably factors than it would need to be to contain observers.

Comment author: DefectiveAlgorithm 09 July 2015 10:07:52PM 0 points [-]

I've never heard of 'Dust Theory' before, but I should think it follows trivially from most large multiverse theories, does it not?

Comment author: Manfred 11 July 2015 04:10:15AM 0 points [-]

Nah, it's not just vanilla anthropics, it also contains the claim that measure doesn't matter and/or causal structure doesn't matter. Since these claims don't seem to hold for me, I'm not going to migrate to the dust anytime soon.