Everything Exists
by David Ashley, July 24, 2022
dashxdr@gmail.com https://www.linuxmotors.com/dash

This paper can be considered part 2 of The Universe. In that paper I describe what "religion" I favor, which is that since we exist at all (as opposed to eternal nothingness) then everything must exist. My chain of logic begins there by assuming our reality is a simulation in some other pre-existing reality. Which itself could be a simulation in some other higher order reality... and so on. But then this chain must end at some point where a reality exists that isn't a simulation at all, and so by the very nature of reality existence must be spontaneous, without any prior cause. This means that our focus on the details of our own universe is somewhat close-minded. The details matter to us but a bigger question is, why does anything exist at all, when it seems more intuitive that nothing is far more likely. All we know for certain is that we exist (I think, therefore I am). So the extrapolation I'm trying to convey is that since there is some existence, there must be all existence.

A thought had occured to me, maybe in the 1980's or early 1990's when I first got a laser printer. The laser printer was an HP and it printed on pages of 8.5 inches x 11 inches at 300 dots per inch. If you figure a 1/2 inch empty margin all around that leaves 7.5 inches x 10 inches, or 75 square inches, each with 90,000 dots, or 6,750,000 dots in total. Each dot is either on or off (2 possible states, or one bit). So the total number of unique pages that can be printed is 2 raised to the power of 6,750,000. That's equivalent to a 1 followed by about 2,032,000 zeros. A googol is 1 followed by 100 zeros. So the total number of possible pages printed is a large number. But it's not even close to infinity. Indeed, the number 1 is no further from infinity than 10^2,032,000 (Note the "^" character means "to the power of"...2^3 is 8, because it's 2 times 2 times 2). Compared to infinity those two finite numbers are equivalent. And modern number theory describes layers of infinity even higher than that first level of infinity.

Consider those 10^2,032,000 unique pages. Within that set of pages lie every single page of every single book ever written by every human, pictures and all (or at least a representation of them). 300 dots per inch does a very good job of capturing anti-aliased written text in any language. It does a pretty good job of representing black and white images using variations in dot density. My main point is that an acceptably accurate representation of every page of every book ever written exists within those potential pages. Or any page of any book that could ever be written.

That set of 10^2,032,000 pages comprises all possible information that could ever be conveyed on a sheet of paper. And it's a finite set, actually quite small in the grand scheme of things. My preferred "belief" system now goes a step further, and postulates that all possible realities can each be represented by all the possible states of finite numbers of on/off numbers (bits). Consider our own universe. Presume that it's of finite extent (for now). That means at any instant its state can be captured by a finite number of bits. Then the very next instant in time can be captured by an identically-sized finite number of bits, except that some of the bits will have changed value. Since we're dealing with a finite number of bits, again there is only a finite number of possible states our universe can be in at any instant. Now, consider that set of possible states, like our set of all potential sheets of paper. That itself is not an infinite set. We know that when the universe is in one state out of that set, it transitions to some other state in the next instant in time. I presume that transition is computable and consistent, meaning it is not random nor may the transition change to some other state arbitrarily some other time. If it were random that would imply there are hidden variables that we haven't included in the current state of the universe, which we by definition disallowed.

So: Our universe could be recorded as a finite number of bits, portioned off into groups of identical size, each of which represents the current state at one instant of time. These successive states form a list, and the list is of finite length. Therefore the sequence must eventually come to a point where a current state is already in the list. From that point forward the sequence would just be a repeat of the list, so there's no point in adding to the list. So the nature of the list is somewhat understood. Given a starting point (an arbitrary state of on/off of the N bits representing a single instant in time of the Universe), the state would progress to a new state, then another new state, then another new state, and so on, until eventually an already-encountered state will be found, and at that point this list is complete.

So there will be a unique list associated with each possible starting point of our universe. But are these lists unique? Each list consists of a preamble that may be of zero size, followed by an endlessly repeating "repeat" list. There is some chance that identical repeat lists might arise from more than one unique preamble. I'd think that such starting points that terminate with identical repeat lists ought to be considered as related in some way. I suppose it's not especially important though. The main point is that there is a finite number of lists describing our universe, each with a non-repeating preamble that may be of zero length followed by a finite length list that is repeated forever.

All this is just to explore the concept that finite numbers of bits can be used to write down all possible states and histories of our universe. One could make an argument that the reality of our universe cannot be captured by bits because it is inherently continuous. The argument being that you could only approximate a continuous value by finite numbers of bits. I'd counter that for the purposes of the residents of the universe this would be irrelevant. The finite sets of bits representing the states of the universe could even be an approximation, but since we can keep adding bits forever to make the approximation arbitrarily better (by both capturing the state at any instant in time to greater precision, and by reducing the period of time represented by each such state) we must eventually reach a point where the residents of the universe are unable to perceive or detect any difference. It is irrelevant whether each instant of time can be computed from the previous instant of time. We merely consider that our Universe includes all possible preambles and repeating portions. Because any such combination of preamble plus repeating list must itself be of finite length (the longest length would be a zero length preamble followed by a list of all possible states of the N bits representing an individual states of the universe, which would make it of length 2^N), the meta-list of all such lists must itself be finite. We are talking of very large numbers here, but they're all finite, and as such are equivalent to the number 1 when compared to infinity.

Anyway long story short the point I'm getting at is that just as a reasonable representation of our universe can be made with a finite number of bits, a viable representation of any concievable universe can be made with a finite number of bits. Any such representation would include all the history of all the intelligent life ever to exist within it. It's all just a matter of bits. And since we exist, we know the bits themselves are enough to give rise to reality. We exist and are real to ourselves because we must. An imaginary (to us) pink dragon is real to itself. All possible realities exist and are real to themselves. Existence is inescapable.

Now we come to the point of writing this. Since all possible realities must exist, it follows that for each of us, all possible afterlifes must exist. Anyone reading this has their own life story, their own past that makes them completely unique. When you die, all that is not lost. Rather, it is inescapable that all your memories, all your uniqueness, must itself form the seed for all possible afterlifes. They all exist. Indeed, since the entire history of our universe iself must already exist, your entire history must already exist. So it could be argued that your entire life and existence has already happened, as have all possible follow-on afterlifes.

Again: Considering the instant of your death as a starting point, your individuality with all your memories and uniqueness, will serve as the starting point for all possible afterlifes. In practical terms, what is happening, has already happened, and will always be happening, is that in an infinite number of cases you are "waking up" in a unique afterlife and finally seeing what comes next. Keep that in mind. If you were lucky enough to have read this paper then it might help you to endure what is going on. You may find yourself trapped in an inescapable, horrible hell. But you may find comfort in the fact that there is another reality where you've woken up in an inescapable, wonderful heaven. And everything in between. All outcomes will happen, all have already happened, and all will always happen.

Even more: Each instant of your life is serving as a starting point for its own subsequent alternate reality. Why not? Since all possible realities must exist, there must be ones that have an element that is identical to you at every point in your life. That also could help you make sense of what's going on. Did you just discover yourself just going about your life as normal, then suddenly getting transported to some baffling new reality that makes no sense? Well, as I hope I've shown in this paper, that was inevitable. It's all port of the ordinary state of affairs. Don't worry about it! It might seem like you're stuck in hell, but comfort yourself in the knowledge that there are an infinite number of identical you's that are finding themselves spontaneously transported to a much more desirable reality. It all balances out in the end. None of us seems to be able to perceive these peeled-off realities (or at least I don't, and I don't believe other people can either), but that's because the physics of our universe seems to be locally dependent. By that I mean that what's going on here is only affected by the contents of the universe nearby (disregard spooky action at a distance which I don't have a good grasp of or explanation for) and not by what's going on in any potential separate realities. Things exist and are real but they cannot and will never interact with our universe/reality. It would be the height of presumption and arrogance to insist that all reality is contained within that which we ourselves can affect and be affected by. We could reasonably assert all our reality is so limited, but that's where we must end our certainty and all else we simply must take on faith as being there but forever out of our grasp.

This whole concept is like the metaverse concept that is making the rounds now, in movies such as Doctor Strange and the Metaverse of Madness. Only it's bigger. Much bigger. That whole story, which is fiction in our reality, must actually be real in its own reality, and (as I hope I've shown) must exist. Because everything exists and is real to itself. All our acts of imagination are just representations of what must actually exist.

Another aspect of this whole theory is that for every person on earth that has ever existed there exist an infinite number of universes that consist of exact copies of the period of the universe containing the entirety of their life, where there exist ghost-like intelligent entities that are seeing and watching everything but which are unable to affect anything in any way. That's their reality: Each of us has an infinite set of powerless intelligent entities that are forever observing us at all times. You could call them angels. Maybe there are groups of observers whose livelihood is betting on what decisions each of us will make. In a very real sense each of us is the star of our own reality. And each of those poor entities doomed to watch us forever must have their own entities watching them. Yes, it does indeed go on forever. Everything must necessarily encompass all.

Personally I prefer the case of our universe where each state can be algorithmically computed from the previous state. I also prefer the situation where the bits themselves perfectly capture each state of the universe, and are not simply an approximation to it. I dislike the idea of our reality at the microscopic scale being continuous. That would seem wasteful and inelegant. We do get hints that as we get small enough we reach fundamental limits to the granularity of space and time, below which it is meaningless to speculate what exists on smaller and briefer scales. I find this encouraging.

As to the scale of our universe... I prefer that our universe is of finite size, and not of infinite extent. In all the above paper I've never mentioned any universe of infinite extent. I have trouble wrapping my mind around that. Maybe by the same argument I'm making here there must exist universes that are infinite, and the total set of their states would be recorded as a higher-order sort of infinity. I don't think we can be sure. Because we exist we can be certain that at least all possible finite realities must exist. But we have no such proof that infinite realities must exist.

When you consider the size of our universe, even if you presuppose that it must be of finite size, there's the question of how big is it?. Suppose you asked a god to think of a finite number between 0 and infinity. What are the odds that that number would be close to 0? That's the exact same situation when you consider the arbitrary size of our (presumably) finite universe. With all possible finite sizes possible, it's pretty damned unlikely we'd find outselves in a universe that is obviously finite in extent. That's why I suspect that we'll never actually be able to detect the edge of the universe. It's just too unlikely that we'd find ourself in such a small place.

Rather, we seem to get hints that regardless of where we look, there is more universe out there. The hubble telescope focused its gaze on various tiny, empty sections of the sky for weeks on end, and discovered every time that what was seemingly empty was actually full of distant galaxies and stars and whatnot. I expect the James Webb telescope, if it can survive long enough before it gets wrecked by micro meteorite impacts, will confirm the same thing for even larger distances: No matter where we look, there's always more stuff there, further away, and further back in time.

As such I find it ridiculous to presume that our estimate for the age of the universe (what is it, 13 billion years or so?) just happens to match the maximum distance we are able to see with our instruments. It's my hope that the James Webb telescope will prove that objects it can see must inescapably have existed billions, or even tens of billions of years before the accepted age of the universe. That alone would invalidate that abomination of a theory called The Big Bang. Given what I've written above, I find it far more likely that we find ourselves in a finite but vastly larger than we can ever see universe that has existed practically forever, at least on our current scales of time. And what we interpret as the finite size of an expanding universe is actually just a side effect of the physics of our universe as regards how light behaves over long distances and periods of time. Within our universe and given its physics, we can only be affected a finite bubble within a maximum distance of us. Anything beyond that is unknowable to us.

Another argument against The Big Bang is that given a random universe (which we're a resident of) out of all potential universes, the odds are vanishly small that we'd find ourselves achieving intelligence just 13 billion years after this universe began. The implication is that the "list" describing the history of states of our universe is ridiculously short. It's far more likely that we're in a universe that has existed for many trillions of years and our rise to intelligence was just a chance occurance related to the local conditions. Specifically the sun formed and started shining, the planets formed and reached a stable enough state for water based life to form on earth and not get wiped out for a period long enough for it to evolve intelligence. Our rise to intelligence is just a brief moment in the history of a universe that is vastly older than we generally believe.

How much can we extrapolate from our own single case? We only have the one example to work with, and there's nothing else we can compare it to. The fact that a random number between 0 and infinity is likeley to be much higher than 10^1,000,000 doesn't mean it will be. Relatively tiny universes must also exist too. And practically speaking the entire history of the sol system including the earth and planets and human evolution must also appear within the history of an infinite number of much smaller universes, ones that are small enough to be perceived as finite by our duplicate selves. That's where our identical histories diverge... they work out they're in a small universe and go one way, we work out out universe is unknowingly large and we go a different way.

The alternate reality concept where every choice made by every individual is actually made in all possible ways, thus splitting into different universes that diverge is just a subset of the concept I'm trying to convey. I find it all perfectly viable. It's hard to really care about it all the time. After all, we're stuck in our own very limited reality, and its demands are constantly gnawing at us. Not a whole lot of benefit comes from speculating on the infinite beyond a certain point. It just seems to me too many people are not speculating at all about such things.

In this other paper I describe my preferred notion that black holes serve as cosmic recyclers for an eternally evolving universe. To my mind my intuitive grasp of all these different subjects that I write about all consistently fit together. I'm just floundering around trying to make sense of the reality I was born into. I think I've been pretty good at thinking of or discovering (or rediscovering) original concepts. At least, they are original to me, even if someone else thought of them first and shared them publicly. Hopefully what I write will inspire other people to take these ideas further, or come up with better ones. Or reject them entirely! Do as you see fit, I don't mind. My worry is that as a species we're not being imaginitive enough and that too easily we're just going along with old theories and approaches that are not actually true but have just been around so long and presented as being true that we're delayed from discovering the real truth.