James Randi in Halifax Sept. 30th »« This ain’t Tetris. Really.

Al, why haven’t I leaped yet!?

Maybe you’ve seen this around the blogosphere recently. I know I’ve only been exposed to ads for this over the past week or so, though I was aware of this particular cultivar of nonsense for some time prior. It’s called “Quantum Jumping”, and it’s, as near as I can figure, The Secret for sci-fi nerds. Skepacabra’s covered it some time ago, but it bears further exploration. Also, I’ve got time to kill and blog space to fill with as much ridiculous nonsense as I can put myself through. I’m doing it for you, folks. I suffer for my art.

There was a show about this, wasn't there? What was it called again? Knight Rider?

The idea behind Quantum Jumping is that the multiverse theorized in M-Theory is real — the model wherein every quantum waveform that can exist splits off into its own separate duplicate universe so that everything that probabilisticly can happen, actually does happen, and every conceivable universe exists simultaneously. Within these infinite universes, every possible “you” — every path you could have taken, every set of skills you could have attained — is realized.

From Burt Goldman’s Quantum Jumping website:

And with an infinite number of them, it means that anything that can happen, does happen—in another universe. So in effect, there is a universe where Obama never won the election and another where Princess Diana is still alive. There is a universe where you are the King of Scotland and a universe where you are a tea farmer in China. A universe where you are a celebrity musician, and one where you busk on a pavement for spare change.

Two right-wing dogwhistles in the second sentence. Interesting. Probably unimportant compared to the rest of this, but interesting nonetheless.

So the idea is you can meditate, and while meditating you can cross the multiverse barrier to visit the hypothesized (but as yet unproven) other universes. Then you’re able to dig around in the brain of the other you, and return to your universe knowing everything about whatever thing it was you wanted to learn about. Need to learn karate? No need for a Matrix-style program upload, just sit quietly for a bit and think about karate. Eventually you’ll “quantum jump” into a version of you that knows it, so you can come back and kick some Cobra Kai ass. Won’t Mr. Miyagi be proud!

That is apparently how this is supposed to work. Sure, you have to pay the big bucks to learn the proper meditating techniques to jump from one life to another, but Burt Goldman has apparently achieved great results through these meditative techniques in teaching himself how to take photographs, how to write, and how to be an internet businessman. Those are his claims to fame, and at a mere 83 years of age, how could those talents have come from a lifetime of experience? What possible explanation can there be for his abilities other than instantaneous learning through quantum jumping?

Even more interesting are the implications for geography and genetics. What qualifies as “you” if not your genes? Would your genes be the same if you were born to different parents? I suppose in a truly infinite multiverse, some confluence of genes would occur to make you X thing in Y arbitrary land mass subdivision, so it’s possible that there’s a version of you that grew up in China and farms tea. There’s also a version of you that’s a teabagger. Or a version of you that has three heads, if somehow three heads could be considered genetically close enough for this universe-surfing endeavour. Or a version of you who lives on a planet vastly different from our own, where the land is made of chocolate and the air tastes like strawberries. And the water like milk. So everyone lives on various combinations of milk, strawberries and chocolate. Let’s call it Planet Milkshake.

Something else that bothers me to no end — why aren’t you able to access versions of you who have access to knowledge unheard-of in our time? Why can’t we quantum leap into the body of the version of you that happens to be the inventor of faster than light travel or some other far-flung technology, to obtain knowledge humankind doesn’t have presently? Surely with 100,000+ people having downloaded his PDFs, someone’s thought of leaping into the body of a version of you that’s invented some as-yet uninvented bit of technology! I mean, the first thing I’d try to learn on quantum jumping is how to build a teleportation device. I bet that would come in incredibly handy, and could even be altered to resequence matter like they do on Star Trek. The planet wouldn’t have to starve! We could transmute rocks, poo, and Bibles, into potable water and food enough to feed every starving person on the planet.

The second thing I’d try is to find the version of me that has superpowers and try to absorb those. Especially if there’s a version of me that’s anything like Ozymandias who can “use 100% of his brain”. (Yeah, yeah. I’ll do a post on that nonsense eventually.) Then once I’m the smartest man in the world, with Mentat-like powers, I’ll solve all the planet’s problems pretty much between episodes of Enterprise — which I’ll watch at 100X fast forward. Then, like any good altruistic superhero after having solved all the world’s problems, I’ll turn supervillain, and take the place over. You’ll all cower before my might! You will bring me bacon and beer! THIS I COMMAND!!!

Ahem.

So since none of these things have happened yet, it seems only unintelligent, unambitious people have attempted to improve their lives through Quantum Jumping. Which is also interesting, given the number of very intelligent scientists name-dropped on the page as having proved Burt’s leaping hypotheses: Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Neil Turok, and even an autographed image of Max Planck. I strongly suspect none of them (at least the living ones) were contacted about their names being used to play up how utterly sciencey this all is. Unless of course they were contacted via quantum jumping, at which point we can safely say none of THIS universe’s big names have been contacted. Not that they’d be necessary — they already have all the credibility they need with a name like “quantum jumping” and a leader who looks like Scott Bakula at 83.

Seriously, look at these guys. Also, Kessler is an alternate future version of Cole. ZOMG SPOILERS.

I propose that as soon as possible, we figure out how to disconnect this universe from all the other hypothesized universes that we can’t prove because we can’t presently detect. And since we can’t detect them, and they’re only mathematical possibilities, I don’t see how we’re supposed to breach the interdimensional barriers (whatever they might or might not be) to get at them (if they exist). But still. Apparently thanks to Burt Goldman’s abilities, we’re now in a full-fledged interdimensional arms race where every human being on the planet is engaged in a struggle akin to Jet Li’s in The One. We need to stop people from jumping into and stealing our brains’ precious precious skills. Or we need to at least figure out how to outpace those other versions of us.

What skills do you folks propose we go after first? I’m thinking maybe nunchuck skills. Or bowhunting skills. Ladies go for guys with great skills, as I understand it. (I already have computer hacking skills. But not skillz-with-a-zed yet.)

Comments

  1. Steven Mading says

    There are even greater implications for morality when thinking of an infnitely branching tree of universes like this. Any decision you make, no matter what it is, does not actually change a thing *at all* other than which universe you get to exist in. If faced with a decision, ANY decision between option A or option B, both universes will end up existing – the universe where you picked A and the universe where you picked B. The only difference between your options is that your choice will decide which of those two universes contains *you* (while the other one contains a split off clone of you.)

    Save the bus load of children from falling off a cliff or don’t. Either way there will be one universe with a busload of dead kids in it. The only difference is in whether or not YOU have to live in that universe.

    I once envisioned a comic book supervillian based on this premise. He had once been a goody-two-shoes but then discovered that the universe works this way and so had decided selflessly perform evil acts to help keep his alternate selves from having to live in the worst possible world. He viewed himself as a martyr who would chose the worst possible evil world for himself in order to help spare his other selves from having to live in that world. (Then, in the end it all comes crashing down when he realizes that his original hypothesis was wrong and he didn’t have to do that.)

  2. Quietmarc says

    I am very studiously doing my best to learn as little as possible, lest that knowledge fall into the hands of my evil doppelganger from another universe. You’re welcome.

  3. says

    I’m skeptical about the idea that there are really “infinite” possibilities. How different could I be before I wasn’t me at all? How likely is it that given the person I am, that I could have ever have been a professional athlete, for example.

    That said, I would theoretically “jump” into the me that was not bored by the laundry list of shitty science teachers I had. I think I might have been a fine scientist.
    Alternately, if there was a me who was married to Charlize Theron, then I might jump there too.

  4. says

    Roger Zelazyn wrote a story about that. I think it was called “All the Myriad Ways.” People, realizing that every choice they made was made differently elsewhere, began to indulge in random violence, including suicide, even though they themselves had only one life to live.

  5. says

    I’m not convinced. As a teenager I spent a lot of time meditating (fantasizing?) about naked women. I definitely never “quantum leapt” into a state of mind where I learned great pickup techniques from an alternate gigolo version of myself.

    I currently spend a lot of time meditating about brewing beer, and let me tell you, my first attempt at an all-grain recipe sure as hell didn’t come from some alternate brewmaster version of myself!

    I guess that’s the benefit of this scam: it has “blame the victim” built right into it. I must’ve been meditating wrong, so I learned my womanizing skills from an even dorkier alternate version of my teen self, and I gleaned my brewing techniques from a version of me that exists in a reality where alcohol was never invented!

    Can I jump into an alternate reality where con artists like this DON’T make a lot of money off fleecing the gullible?

  6. Michael says

    I’m going to quantum jump into a universe where they have already solved one of the Clay Mathematics Institute Millenium Prize Problems – and then come back here and score myself an easy million dollars.

  7. Robert B. says

    This whole idea is based on a misunderstanding of quantum mechanics. It actually works like this:

    Experiments on very small objects (electrons and so on) have random-appearing results. It’s not that there’s something about these objects that we can’t see before the experiment – the evidence is very clear that something very different is happening when the experiment occurs. Even the electron doesn’t “know” which way the result will turn out before it happens.

    Many Worlds theory says that in fact these experiments turn out every possible way, each result splitting off into its own universe. (Or rather, if you want to be technical, its own branch of the universal wavefunction, which doesn’t interact with other branches.)

    There are two important conclusions to draw here. First, there are lots of events we call random, and the behavior of electrons or whatever is only one kind. The roll of a die or a person deciding who to vote for is probably not the sort of quantum event that splits the universe. The number of quantum universes isn’t even infinite, only stupefyingly large, and it certainly doesn’t include every universe we can imagine. If there’s a quantum universe where Barack Obama isn’t president, it’s probably because he died of cancer – radiation from the sun does exhibit quantum behavior.

    Second, when the universe splits from a quantum event, the two branches do not interact. At all. If it’s possible for you to know how a quantum event turned out, then you will never have anything to do with a universe where it turned out a different way. Such universes are certainly not quantum states you can “jump between” – this is confusing two entirely different phenomena in quantum mechanics. It’s like saying that by controlling a child’s environment you can influence how he “evolves” (in the biological sense of that word) as he grows up. It just doesn’t make sense to talk about a quantum leap in this context.

    Of course, your empirical debunking works too. But I just wanted to explain that the physics is ridiculous a priori.

    Robert B., MS Physics

  8. says

    Robert: I’m grateful for that explanation! As a layman, I had a suspicion that something like that was the reason that the double slit experiment worked the way it did.

    So, unless I’m misunderstanding, inconsequential quantum events where it can happen multiple ways but those multiple ways don’t actually make a difference to the universe, don’t split the universe. Thus the double slit experiment shows the fuzzy “result of all possible quantum events” like ripples on a pond. But when you observe the actual path the electron takes, you’re splitting the universe and you see only the measured path the electrons took. Because the event was inconsequential before, the quantum waveform collapsed all the universes back together. After observing, we’ve set which universe we’re in.

    Is this right? If so… Mind. Blown.

  9. Robert B. says

    Yep, that’s pretty much right. The technical way to say “inconsequential” here would be “not interacting with anything external.” The electrons or particles in a double-slit experiment go through both slits. If that can happen without disturbing anything else, then the universe just lets it happen. We then find ourselves in the same universe as both of the electron’s paths, which means we see the cool double-slit interference pattern.

    Now imagine if we put a sensor on one slit, to see if the particle went through that slit. Now one of the electron’s paths is interacting with that sensor, and the other path is not. The sensor is too big to do things like both detect and not detect an electron at the same time, since larger mass means smaller quantum wave effects. So the electron has to split – the path where it goes through slit A ends up in one universe, and the path where it goes through slit B is in another universe.

    (Also important: “observation” here should also be be taken to mean “interaction.” It has nothing to do with whether a human scientist is watching. The important part of the observation is the physical properties of the sensor, not the psychological properties of a human observer, except in the sense that to get the information to a human brain you must logically have jostled the electron at some point.)

    The only thing I’d correct: the waveform does not split and then collapse back together. Waveform collapse is a feature of the Copenhagen interpretation that Many Worlds theory rejects, and if a wavefunction actually splits, then by definition it can’t recombine. I think the trouble is you’re thinking of electrons like particles, little billiard balls, and so to go through both slits, the electron has to split. Electrons are waves. (In fact, everything is waves – particles, in the billiard ball sense, are just a special case of waves.) Electrons always go through both slits. That’s just the kind of thing that electrons are. It’s just that sometimes, the electron goes through both slits in the same universe, while in other experiments, the electron goes through slit A in universe A and through slit B in universe B.

  10. Jenora Feuer says

    Roger Zelazyn wrote a story about that. I think it was called “All the Myriad Ways.”

    “All the Myriad Ways” is a story about that, but it was written by Larry Niven.

  11. says

    Sorry Robert, that was meant to be a joke. That was the response I usually get from some religious people when I resort to using science to explain things instead of just accepting my ignorance of the laws of the universe as evidence for their version of the One True Creator.

    I love science, with my layman’s focus traditionally on biology and astronomy. Although I’m gaining a growing appreciation for physics, even (or rather, especially) when it hurts my head.

  12. says

    So, there are other versions of ourselves out in different realities with different experiences that we can draw on to learn. So, he is essentially saying that people are the sum of their experiences, thus why there are different versions of us in different realities … because of the different experiences that lead each version of ourselves to be how they are. But if each person is the sum of their experiences, and each alternative universe you has had different experiences then they can’t be us at all. So there are no different versions of us in a different reality/universe at all. Seems like a pretty big flaw in his theory to me.

  13. Graham Martin-Royle says

    Why hasn’t anybody leaped to a universe and come back with awesome new knowledge? Well, that’s obvious, we’ve all been sidetracked by planet milkshake, then there was planet chocolate, then planet cake, then……

  14. Crudely Wrott says

    For a reason that just now escapes me but must be important, even crucial! in some universe other than this one (or perhaps this one, I don’t have the relevant data) Goldman’s enthusiasm and poorly disguised smugness remind me of an old joke.

    A small girl was walking with her mother on a city street. They passed close to a jail. As they passed a prisoner, just released, runs by shouting, “I’m free! I’m free!”

    The girl looks after the man and says, “That’s nothing. I’m four”.

  15. says

    Robert: so interacting with the wall in the experiment doesn’t cause a waveform split, so we get the funky ripples pattern? Why wouldn’t we see one-or-the-other at that point? Why does only interacting with the particles before the slit count, but not the path taken through the slits? I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.

    Crudely Wrott: the importance of that joke was to make me LOL. Hard. And to remind me of my own favorite joke.

    A grilled cheese sandwich walks into a bar, hops up on a stool, and says to the bartender, “hey bartender. Gimme a beer.”

    Bartender looks down at him and says “I’m sorry, we don’t serve food here.”

  16. Robert B. says

    That’s a good one! Lemme think for a minute…

    The reason we can find out about quantum wave behavior at all, is that sometimes there’s a way for two quantum wave states to superimpose in the same universe. Consider Schrodinger’s famous thought experiment about the cat. The radioactive atoms in the radium are wave-like: they have a wave part that decays and a wave part that doesn’t, each of equal size, and those two parts can be together in the same universe. If the box just had radium in it, the radium wave would just go along like waves do, and we could do things like double-slit experiments to observe its waviness. The cat, on the other hand, is not wave-like. If the cat’s wave-function ends up with an alive part and a dead part, those two parts can’t be in the same universe. Cats don’t work like that, nor does anything else cat-sized.

    The trick of Schrodinger’s box is that one part of the radium’s wave (the decaying part) interacts with the cat (by killing it.) The non-decaying part of the radium wave doesn’t interact with the cat. But the cat can’t have an alive-wave-part and a dead-wave-part in the same universe at the same time. The two parts of the radium wave get carried off into different universes by the two parts of the cat wave, which can’t coexist with each other.

    In the double slit experiment, a sensor in one slit interacts with one of the electrons’ possible paths, and not the other. The sensor is too big to have both “on” and “off” states in the same universe at the same time, so the universe splits and each one only gets one electron path. The wall beyond the slits interacts with both electron paths. The interference pattern is wave-ish, but each spot on the wall is either light or dark or medium – the same spot isn’t required to be simultaneously light and dark. So there’s no “contradiction” – that is, the wall doesn’t have to behave in any wave-ish manner, which we all know and DeBroglie confirmed is impossible for ordinary-sized things like walls – so there’s nothing to make the universe split.

    In short, the key to getting a split is for a macroscopic object to interact with one wave state but not the others.

    I expect DeBroglie’s law – the mathematical relation describing how measurable quantum wave behavior decreases as an object’s mass increases – says something deep and profound about mass and why the universe splits. I have no idea what that something is, though.

  17. says

    To heck with the esoterics. I want to know how to pronounce Thibealt (spelled rong.)

    IT professionals are a dime a dozen, but your attack on the rational web is.. well.. sloppy.

  18. Storm Crow says

    I don’t really understand any of this except the bottom line, but gosh I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time – thanks guys!

    Does this whole scam remind anyone else of Richard Bach’s book, ‘One’ (published 1989)?

    Plagerism, much?

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  1. [...] course, if you can’t afford any of these, you could always take a course in Quantum Jumping elsewhere, then simply jump to all the versions of yourself in alternate universes that actually got degrees [...]

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