Vision Questing in the Polycosms

A gaze and a smile

A gaze and a smile

In class today, the teacher gave the instruction to gaze at a point – the perfect point.  He said that any point would be the perfect point by virtue of our gazing at it.  He then offered the observation that many of us would probably see the infinite number possible points of perfection and feel hard pressed to choose one and settle on it.  ‘This’ he said, ‘is the thing about humans.’  All-possible-perfection somehow impedes decision.

… I see some connection to our pink dragon dialog back home, a few months ago, but–”

Orolo got a funny look on his face.  He’d forgotten. “Oh yes.  About you and your worrying.”


“That’s something animals can’t do,” he pointed out. “They react to immediate, concrete threats, but they don’t worry about abstract threats years in the future.  It takes the mind of an Erasmas to do that.”

I laughed.  “I haven’t been doing it so much lately.”

“Good!” He reached out and gave me an affectionate thud on the shoulder.

“Maybe it’s the Allswell.”

“No, it’s that you have real things to worry about now…”


“All right.  So, I think I know what comes next.  You want me to restate your theory of what the brain does in terms of the polycosmic interpretation of quantum theorics.”

“If you would so indulge me,” Orolo said, with a suggestion of a bow.

“Okay.  Here goes,” I said.  “The premise here is that the brain is loaded up with a pretty accurate model of the cosmos that it lives in.”

“At least, the local part of it,” Orolo said.  “It needn’t have a good model of other galaxies, for example.”

“Right.  And to state it in the terminology of the old interpretation that fids are taught, the state of that model is a superposition of many possible present and future states of the cosmos — or at least of the model.”


“The important thing about the model, though, is what?”

“That it can exist in many states at once, and that its wavefunction collapses from time to time to give a useful result.”

[This is a way to think about divination – readings = a collapsed ‘snapshot’ of superposed quantum wave functions that gives a ‘useful result’.]

“Yes. Now, in the polycosmic interpretation of how quantum theorics works, what does all of this look like?”

“There is no longer superposition.  No wavefunction collapse.  Just a lot of different copies of me – of my brain – each really existing in a different parallel cosmos.  The cosmos model residing in each of those parallel brains is really, definitely in one state or another.  And they interfere with one another.”

He let me stew on that for a few moments.  And then it came to me.  Just like those ideas we had spoken of earlier – suddenly there in my head.  “You don’t even need the model any more, do you?”

Orolo just nodded, smiled, egged me on with little beckoning gestures.

I went on – seeing it as I was saying it.  “It is so much simpler this way!  My brain doesn’t have to support this hugely detailed, accurate, configurable, quantum-superposition-supporting model of the cosmos any more!  All it needs to do is to perceive – to reflect – the cosmos that it’s really in, as it really is.

“The variations – the myriad possible alternative scenarios – have been moved out of your brain,” Orolo said, rapping on his skull with his knuckles, “and out into the polycosm, which is where they all exist anyway!” He opened hishands and extended it to the sky, as if releasing a bird.  “All you have to do is perceive them.”

[This is the working model for meditation, the practice of perceiving the myriad possible alternative scenarios, both in the brain-mind complex and in the world[s] outside.]

“But each variant of me doesn’t exist in perfect isolation from the others,” I said, “or else it wouldn’t work.”

Orolo nodded.  “Quantum interference – the crosstalk among similar quantum states – knits the different versions of your brain together.”

“You’re saying that my consiousness extends across multiple cosmi,” I said.  “That’s a pretty wild statement.”

“I’m saying that all things do,” Orolo said.  “That comes with the polycosmic interpretation.  The only thing exceptional about the brain is that it has found a way to use this.”


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