Monday, April 27, 2015

A (not so) random encounter on the Metro, and apperception of the Afterlife

On Saturday night, I was returning home on the Metro, Silver Line, from FilmfestDC downtown, and was reading Leonard Susskind’s “The Black Hole War” (2008), which I will review soon on my Books blog.
A young man, in a suit, who said he was a graduate student at GWU, noticed the book and sat down next to me.  A conversation started about, well, the controversy over whether black holes can obliterate “information”.   

The book (after  laying out the triangle of energy, entropy and heat), so far, develops the case that bits of information (10 to the -70 power square meters in area), Planck bits, are the most fundamental kitchen ingredient of all creation.  Information storage depends on available surface area (and this may be true of hard drives, USB flash drives, CD’s, DVD’s, and the like), not on volume.  But technology is nowhere near the Planck limit in practice (as the NSA’s Quantum computer will show).
 Stephen Hawking had at one time proposed that information could be obliterated when the things containing info fall into black holes.  But quantum mechanics shows that eventually, black holes can “evaporate” and heat up, and that the anti-particles emitted in Hawking radiation would transmit the information.  Is this something a more advanced civilization could leverage?

I know that string theory, with the seven unused dimensions, allows for the idea that micro black holes could exist, and evaporate. 
The reason that the storage of info on a black hole surface is important to me is, well, my own perception of the Afterlife.   Mini-black holes could provide a transport layer for souls.  I asked the young man, “Why are you “yourself” today in 2015, instead of in Old Testament times?  Does the body build consciousness, or does consciousness already exist and match to the right body?  Why am I human and not, say, an orca?  Could these ideas support reincarnation?  The Monroe Institute thinks so.

After anyone passes away, his or her experience always exists in a space-time sense.  Because we can’t go back in time (usually), we (usually) can’t access it directly.  (Imagine ghost stories.)   Will the individualized consciousness continue to exist?  My own sense of things is that, if information is to be conserved, the it must.  Hawking may be wrong about religion;  I think mathematics could prove that the afterlife is “real”.
I don’t subscribe to the naïve idea of “Heaven” the way it is often described.  I think it makes sense for people who are heavily socialized by family and “tribe”.  It doesn’t work so well for people who make a lot of their independence (and who maybe resist being “right-sized” against others, or accepting the need for expanded openness to some kinds of intimacy).  But is sounds like, once you go, you know where you are – somewhere – and you deal with where you are, just as when you wake up from an “alternate life” rem-sleep dream.

As for entropy, biological systems, reproduction and the "evolution" of new instruments of free will seem to be the natural antidote, so biology and intelligence are probably pretty universal. 
Religion, faith and spirituality can only be secured by personal experience.  Believing a doctrine from a mullah or preacher and going to fight someone else’s battle just under another human’s authority makes no sense.  There is nothing to stop anyone from claiming to speak for God (or Allah, or Jehovah) and starting a cult with impressionable people – only more speech and education.
By the way, I got a funny email offering "lesson plans" for "Do Ask, Do Tell", as if  (US) history teachers (high school) were going to use my books as supplementary reading.  How flattering!

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