This draft-state article explores the implications of pilot-wave theory (see) on the "big questions" in life, assuming that pilot-wave theory is indeed adequate and that the universe is deterministic on a physical level.

Pilot-wave theory is simply chaos theory taking to the particle level: the deterministic laws of nature are not out of force, but "everything interacts with everything else", so we can't see them in action because it's all a mess …

Note that pilot-wave theory requires a universe with infinite resolution for the amplitude of the pilot wave function, and potentially also infinite resolution on the time scale, as else all the observed "randomness" cannot be explained.

It might be a good imagery to thing of the universe as a three-dimensional pulsating field of energy, with mass particles being nothing but reasonably stable artifacts of energy, like the droplets in those pilot-wave droplet experiments. In the end, mass is just energy, and can be converted back to energy (even elementary particles, by combining with their antimatter particles). That energy then leads to higher local pulsing of the energy field, creating "splashes" that then again become reasonably stable artifacts of energy (particles). Not all energy is bound in particles though (see "dark energy").

Maybe Planck's constant h can be interpreted as the basic "frequency" that is applied to the energy of the universe, in analogy to the frequency to apply to the silicone oil bath in pilot-wave droplet experiments to enable stable droplets? Because h indeed influences the masses of all elementary particles that can exist. But if that's the case, who applies or applied this frequency to the universe's energy? God?

Also, if the universe is deterministic, there cannot have been a "Big Bang" causes by a random quantum fluctuation of nothing. There has to be a reason for the universe instead. That's why putting the pilot-wave theory to the test and finding out if it is true is so important.

Another interesting implication of pilot-waave theory is that the universe is deterministic, but non-predictable at the same time. Assuming that the energy field (or whatever carries the wave function of the universe) is objective reality that exists independently from God, and that God "only" implemented matter in a certain configuration with this energy on creation, it would imply that not even God can predict the course of the universe. This (somewhat silly) nothing would follow form the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: "The positions and momenta of the particles are considered to be the hidden variables. However, the observer not only doesn't know the precise value of these variables, but more importantly, cannot know them precisely because any measurement disturbs them – as stipulated by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle." [source].

Assuming pilot-wave theory, the whole course of actions in the universe would be determined by the initial positions and momenta of particles. Or rather, of wave functions, as there can be empty wave functions [source]. The initial phase space of the wave functions would encode the whole history of the universe, then including the abiogenesis of life. In total, the initial states in the phase space could be randomly distributed, according to the quantum equilibrium hypothesis [source]. What is relevant is not  the distribution of phase states, but instead each individual phase state at each individual point of space. These, taken together, would be the variables that deterministically define the whole history of the universe at particle level. Or taken the other way round, by choosing a proper configuration of these (if you were God you could), you could choose any (or at least one of many different) history of the world that is possible within the laws of nature. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle would not be a limiting factor, as it just prohibits you from measuring the phase space values in action, not from setting them in the first place. But, such a clockwork universe would be a boring one … now free will!

Both pilot-wave theory and orthodox Copenhagen interpretation quantum theory are interpretations for the exact same experiment measurements. So for predicting results and for engineering, both are just as good, and preference would be a matter of style. The real difference is however the question if the universe is deterministic, or not. But even that has not too huge metaphysical interpretations, as we show below that free will is initially incompatible with both interpretations.

Can there be "free will" in a deterministic universe?

The naive notion of free will is of no use, and makes no sense. It assumes a monadic, atomic source of high-level decisions / goals, coming out of that source "out of free will" (which for an observer is equivalent to saying "for no reason", "guided by pure randomness"). Such a source, if existing, would be no useful notion of free will at all, as (1) randomness or unreasonableness that the "self" cannot influence cannot be a justification to judge the self for ethical / unethical behavior and more importantly (2) decisions are always complex results of complex processes, so you need a system to make them, not a transcendent atomic "source" that can, if anything, output a binary value.

However, there is room for a meaningful notion of "free will" even in a deterministic universe. As follows:

  • Like atoms etc. are reasonable stable energy wave patterns in the pilot wave world, memes (thought systems, visions etc.) are reasonably stable artifacts of brains. This is esp. true for "conscience", the emergent condition of "knowing, processing and understanding" enough about the world as to be able to be aware of ones own existence as part of the world, ones own options to interact with the world, and their potential outcomes.
  • Given conscience, ethical behavior is possible and can be expected as an emergence of conscience (namely as "feedfront": anticipated learning by feedback). But unethical behavior is also possible.
  • Now what causes the difference between ethical and unethical behavior in people, and is it justified to judge them / punish them based on this difference?
  • The hypothesis is here: choosing between ethical and unethical behavior is guided by "identity", a concept encompassing everything a person is. So it can be influenced by everything, including (occasionally) variations in bain chemistry that are caused by energy wave events outside of the person. However, the component that is justified to judge is the part of a person's identity that is in "thoughtspace". Namely, values, their vision of the world how they want it to be etc.. These "thoughtspace artifacts" develop slowly, over time: they are reasonably stable, isolating them from being destroyed by small external events. The hypothesis here is that "thoughtspace" is non-deterministic, because it consists of reasonably stable artifacts (thoughts etc.) that interact with other rules than the deterministic matter with which they are implemented. Means: they interact with the rules of information, which are "spiritual".
  • This above hypothesis that people "choose" to be good or bad over time is of course refuted by history: everyone chooses to be bad, to some degree. From a Christian viewpoint, people can only choose / accept to be redeemed, not to be good. But that would again be an act of "free will": the outcome depends on the person (their aggregate identity), not on any single cause that can be determined, and not based on rules that can be determined. There are patterns, but we can't explain all the variations of why this or that individual person has decided this or that way. This is largely because every case is unique, and there is no way to "repeat a life", or to simulate it so that all conditions that make it unique are incorporated. So in the end, nobody knows (also not God) how a person will decide, as there is no calculation capacity (no "parallel universe") to simulate the pilot wave conditions in for predicting the outcome. All of the universe is needed to calculate it, there's no space capacity.
  • Or even simpler: There is free will because there is conscience. Conscience implies that a person understands the world she is in, and the potential consequences of her actions, and hen acts a certain way. So to the degree that a person knew the consequences before, and could process the outcome, judging the behavior afterwards is justified. However, perfectly knowing the consequences and being able to process options perfectly would always result in perfect behavior (right?), which means that there is no justification for judging non-perfect behavior. But that logic might exactly be the logic of grace: God does not want to judge anyone for being and acting bad, as all the people were missing the light to be better … . So if God does in the end still judge people, it must mean that these people had the option to decide better (the only instance being, to accept Christ as savior). But then, how could they decide better, in a deterministic universe? Only if in "thoughtspace", there is an entity ("spirit", "heart", "moral conscience" etc.) which is self-referential and able to choose and thereby influence its own moral quality. Means, people who are evil (esp. by not accepting Christ against better knowledge) are so knowingly, and continuously, while still being able to be different.
  • The hypothesis that thoughtspace artifacts can enable non-deterministic behavior in a deterministic world can be tested by trying to create a software implementation of a conscience and trying to observe non-deterministic behavior even though letting the software start from completely identical input and adding no extra input over time and also not giving the software access to randomness. If multiple runs of that sofware lead to different results (like in reasoning, developing a vision for the world etc.), then thoughtspace is non-deterministic. It requires however (maybe) a level of intelligence on par with humans, including extensive training to understand the world. However, without random influence it is logically impossible that runs from the same starting conditions on a deterministic machine lead to non-deterministic results. So we need randomness. If both instances receive the same input as randomness, they would again lead to the same results. Which means, now results depend on the random input, not on the algorithm. And randomness cannot be called "free will". So even if quantum theory is correct and the world is fuzzy and random, there could still be no free will??
  • However, then again "being creative" is clearly an effect of free will. From that we see that, if free will should be a reasonable concept at all, it has to include both aspects of randomness (the input and inspirations that creatives seek) and reasoning (the thoughtspace activity that creates something meaningful out of the random input). This is however only the perspective of the individual: if there is no real randomness (as in pilot wave theory), then the behavior is still predetermined.
  • It seems necessary to understand the role that information plays for agency ("free will"). Human beings cannot emerge by chance, they have been created. That act of creating them changed the world. The big question is, did it change the world in a deterministic or non-deterministic manner?
  • Another approach: The question if there is free will is not relevant because God and also we ourselves would not stop judging and punishing actions even if that would not be justified. We would do it because we don't like these action and don't want them to spread. Like putting sexual offenders in jail. Or like a holy God not wanting to have community with sinners. It's against his character. Thus ultimately, judging behavior is an expression of a conflict, and does not need free will or agency. Like we pull up weeds: not because they have free will and deserve to be judged for wrongdoing, but because we don't want them to grow where they grow. From this obviously follows that there would not be any active punishment ("torture") of sinners for their wrongdoing, just being removed from God's presence. And to be fair, it would have to be annihilation, or at least a bearabe mixture of good and bad as on earth. Also, this approach makes the ultimate question not about free will, but about why the world did not stay holy as God wanted it to be. The question is about the origin of evil then! (And really, who needs "real" free will, if we can be creative and have fun doing so.) Without free will, the world could indeed be seen as a war of evil against good, each side having seemly limited (or self-limited?) options in that war, and trying to win it. Both good and evil would be "contagious".
  • So, what about the origin of evil? The Bible does not really give an answer, since the story of the Fall of Satan is very figurative and could mean something else (it talks about a certain historic king in the first place, anyway). Potentially, Satan ("evil") is eternal just as God ("good") is. Or potentially, the origin of evil is the only non-deterministic event that ever happened, and is a mystery even to God …
  • But anyway, interpreting judging and punishment as war (without free will) rather than moral act (for an act of free will) does not help either, as war in a deterministic (rather: materialistic) world is not a meaningful concept: there would not be a will to war, just the ticking of a clockwork …
  • Another way of introducing free will into the Copenhagen interpretation quantum theory is (perhaps) to claim that the mind acts like
  • Of course, materialists will always argue that there is still no free will because its thought processes are implemented deterministically, or with randomness elements at best. Perhaps this is true in the sense that it allows to refute the idea that the free will we observe in ourself could ever have appeared via evolution: there has to be free will at the start to continue having free will. (But if so, how do we explain that newly conceived human beings obviously acquire their free will at some point?)
  • So the big question is, after all: does matter drive the mind, or does mind drive matter? From neurological studies (effects of drugs etc.) it is apparent that matter drives the mind at least in part. But also on the overall, highest level of "consciousness"? Because apparently, I can move a finger when I want it … means, mind drive matter, right? To reconcile this intuitive notion of free will with physics (in whatever interpretation of quantum theory) it could be argued that the mind becomes gradually independent from matter, and being able to drive matter rather than the other way round, by learning more about matter. That is, by understanding the world around you. With an operationally complete understanding of the world, the word has a full (or sufficiently full) representation in the mind, which allows detailed simulations in thoughtspace (though processes, decision making etc.) before then implementing them in the real world. This capacity to reason about the world, including both creativity and repeated self-feedback of results, would be the way how "free will" is implemented. It can be considered free even if individual thought processes are deterministic, since humans tend to think something over multiple times, each time starting from a slightly different starting point (even if the variation is just more or less hunger etc.) and to come up with different results accordingly. And then, to valuate these results, and that is where the freedom comes in. Because the decision for one of the alternative options is not based on randomness or simple determinism, but on an understanding of the different options. Understanding is a spiritual activity, in thoughtspace, even though implemented in matter. The algorithm for it is non-deterministical as it includes feedback: "try to understand until you understand".
  • Possibly, relativistic effects (what is considered instantaneous from which point of view) introduce non-determinism without randomness, and thus the opportunity for free will, into a pilot-wave theory universe?

In the end, it is obvious that we don't know anything …

The most interesting idea from this discourse is the brazen (because logically impossible) hypothesis that conscious information systems (human brains) could derive non-deterministic results from deterministic input and with deterministic means. If we can prove that experimentally, it is for certain that history even in a deterministic pilot-theory universe is not boring at all 🙂 Because people could enact these non-deterministic results of their thoughspace processes, introducing non-determinism into the physical space. However, this question if deterministic brains can produce non-deterministic results is well-known in philosoph aready, and still debated [source].

The other interesting finding here is that both orthodox quantum theory (with real randomness) and pilot-theory (with full determinism) have no obvious or non-obvious but proven space for free will. If you want to uphold free will (or the idea of spirit, relationships, contact to God etc.) you have to dive into physics and find the blind spot.

In your twenties, you were a visionary. You wanted to learn it all, and fix it all. All the world.

Ever realized that you cannot do everything that is meaningful in your life? When you dedicate your life to help people with HIV, you can't go find a cure for HIV. Or find the quantum gravity model. Or develop sustainable government. Or find out and teach us all about the Transcendental and God (if you find there is God). Or clean up all the landmines. Or the ocean plastic. Or invent a fair-for-all mode for economic exchange. Or this. That.

Because your lifetime is limited.

And then you realize, it would be great to at least achieve one of these. And then you focus on that one.

And then you realize, you have neither time or money for even one of these meaningful contributions (… contributions to what, actually?). Because your parents might be old, needing your help. Or you made children, just like everyone else, and now have to care for them. Or you got fired from your job, the bank took your house, and now you're living in a tent. That you found in that garbage can. It's just a tarp actually. Or you get medical conditions, so you can be happy to make it through the day.

Because your lifetime is limited.

And then you realize, your life will pass and end as meaningless as everyone else's life. And life, what is life? It then seems like a meaningless aggregates of matter to you. You, yourself, just a bunch of atoms, with your conscience an unnecessary (and unpleasant) emergence of it.

And you start to enjoy that your lifetime is limited, not your limited lifetime.

Stop that.

Now, come back to your visions.

Just change one thing: it should be no longer your vision, now it's ours. Humanity's. We are all in our twenties again.

Everyone who has given up on seeking, and expecting to see, the abolition of greed, poverty and evil, and the introduction of immortality and freedom for all, has given up living while alive. Seek, and expect, again. Because now we seek, and expect, together. You were frustrated by your powerlessness as an individual. Now marvel at what seven billion can do. And what God will do, if there is a God, and seven billion seek him.

Yes, you should expect and seek God, because there might be God after all. But do not forget all the rest of what is good. Physical immortality. Good governance structures. Unextinction of animals. Desert forests. The Theory of Everything. Space colonization. So much before us!

Now what? It's all about how we organize. If your grandma cooks a simple healthy meal for scientists working on quantum gravity, she contributes. If you read news about political quarrels, visit touristic spots from your hard-earned surplus money, engage in any avoidable consumption, you do not.

Wake up, all of us!

The pieces are coming together already. Take note, organize yourselves, contribute. Some inspirations? Here you go:

And of course: Are we alone in the universe? What does it all mean? Are we sure about this? Why? Re-asking the big questions is probably one of our biggest challenged. Us modern folks got so used to the scientific storied of Big Bang, cosmic evolution, and biologic evolution. And now, scientific evolution comes along and puts to question the very concept of space-time. And with it, the existing notion of Big Bang.

Now, what?

I made some interesting observations of analogies between faith and economy. Of which we can learn – this time, not for economy, but for faith.

The boom and bust cycle of economy is based on mass psychology. The boom happens when everybody (for whatever reason) hope that the economy will improve, and subsequently invest and consume, which in turn makes their hope be fulfilled as a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the other side, the bust happens because of pessimistic expectations of the future, for whatever reason, well-founded or unfounded.

The interesting thing is when and why the boom tips over to become the bust, and vice versa. In my opinion, the transition from boom to bust happens when any substantial group that takes part in the economy has “hoped too much”. Now when they finally notice that their expectations have been unrealistic (and they probably lost much money that they invested into companies and ideas now not rewarded by the economic situation), they lose all hope. This is unreasonable, but understandable, as human beings are in practice not really guided by reason and logic. What is further unreasonable is that their lost hope spread to the other members of the economy like an epidemia, and the now prevalent expectation that the economy will get worse will let just that happen.

Now, isn’t it just the same in faith? Christians definitely have reasons to hope. But they also can start hoping for things that God did never promise to us. Like that all the sick will be healed during this time on planet Earth. Now when people see good things happen in God’s kingdom, like being part of a great church or having a great time with God, or seeing prayers answered in a row: then people might, inspired by this, start hoping for even better things. That were not promised though. So they inevitably get disillusioned (and the longer they maintained their false hope before that, by all cunny means of self-delusion and psychology, the harder the disillusioning will be). And like in the economy, these people will lose all hope. They fall in a depression, in the worst case even in a Great Depression. This affects their relationship to God, but even worse, it affects their Christian brothers and sisters, which might now also lose hope. That would not matter much if it would be just disillusioning as well, but the problem is, people tend to lose also a part of their justified hope in God, and it might also affect people who did not harbor false hopes. As, they might become desparate about the bad conditions in the Church, where it is possible that people do harbor false hopes and go uncorrected for long times until finally falling into despair.

The good news is, the bust is not the end. In economy, people finally get to their senses and say: we need to move on with life. Let’s use our last pennies and buy some food. And as everybody moves out and again buys the essentials for life for their last pennies, the demand is back on the market, and the economy starts to improve. And then, when people realize this, they can regain some hope, and the boom is back. (Hopefully they don’t get too much of that hope, to avoid the next bust; but that hope has never come true yet … .)

Likewise in faith: when you’re depressed, on the ground, lost your hope on God, you will finally get to your senses and think: Wait, at least the basics are true: Jesus is my saviour, and that’s great. Then you might pray, experience some answered prayers again, again visit your church.

And there, you might even infect others with your new-gained young hope. And this – everybody regaining hope in God – is called: revival.

The old testament law said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor just as yourself. Which establishes a balance: do not harm your neighbor for your profit, but also, do not harm yourself, or allow yourself to be harmed, for the profit of an (obviously greedy) neighbor. This law promotes a 50/50 distribution of resources to your personal well-being and that of your neighbor(s).

This equal distribution means, you are allowed to prevent being harmed yourself. No need to suffer in order to provide a better life four your neighbor than you have. See also Paul, who says that donations should be given “according to the principle of nivellation”.

So God’s law does not call for the full-fledged give-based society, which would be something like, give all to others, and live from what they give you. But I assume that God likes that even better than the 50/50 distribution. The reason for not commanding this is probably that God knows it would not come to pass because of the corrupt human nature, and without happening on society scale this model is not maintainable. Even the 50/50 model does not come to pass in our society (as we experience every day), but having “wasted” 50% of all personal resources for the good of others still leaves you 50% to survive. You might also waste 60% and survive on 40%, but I think God chose the 50/50 rule for simplicity. The exact numbers do not matter.

So after all, I expect that we will have a full give-based society in heaven.

Now I think I found a revealing formulation for different approaches towards a happy life and happy world.

What the different approaches have in common is the persuasion that the right human mindset is the key ingredient for both a happy life and a happy world. The right mindset for this would be (roughly), more optimism, hope that transcends death, and interpretations that can attribute deeper meaning to daily activities and to extraordinary events like affliction and disease. Such a mindset makes people happy, and also enables them and motivates them to go and fix the world.

Now the difference between the approaches is how to shape the mind. Let’s enumerate a little:

  • Psychotherapy.
  • Social therapy.
  • Meditation techniques.
  • Religious beliefs.

All these above approach have in common that they seek to shape the mind “directly”, by exchanging mind content, which could be considered as “software”.  While we don’t know exactly which or which combination of these approaches is the most effective one, it seems clear that they all are too weak, as no approach was able to permanently and effectively change the mindset of any large group of people to anything “near perfect”. From time to time, there are great individuals with an absolutely astonishing character, but all approaches failed on society scale.

Now why is this? Here is my opinion. What seems to be stronger than all these approaches seems to be the power of the “mind-eroding” objective circumstances. Which includes many things from bad example, to bad societal values, to natural catastropies, crime, physical frailty and much more. Shielding people might be done to a degree while changing their mindset, but after they are released to fix the world, they are again prone to erosion, and erosion will win over time. And I think the key reason for this is because the mind is hard-wired to try to find a representation of reality and to adapt to it. With a logic like: I see that objective reality does not justify that hope, so having hope in spite of this would make happier for a time but badly hurt when being disappointed in the end, which means we should better avoid it.

If this is correct, reality itself is the most powerful programmer of the mind. But this also gives a glimpse of hope: If objective reality is good at the bottom, and if we can find out that and experience it long and powerfully enough, then this will shape our mind more than the bad aspects of reality around us.

If you know what I’m up to, you know what this argument will lead to. Namely: If we could only experience that God is there, loves us, wants to saves us and even proves that by doing miracles in this world – then this could change our minds permanently because it both justifies and inspires hope. I hope to find these experiences in expeditions of the coming years.

If it would have been God’s foremost intention to just save the world, while minimizing human suffering, he would have done it right away after the fall. Instead of waiting 4000 years until sending Jesus down to us. Or, if there is some reason for these 4000 years that is unknown to us, God could have made this time easier for humanity. For example, by introducing some kind of sedative drug and supplying food by miracles, so that people would have been spared from all this self-inflicted suffering.

And likewise, if God’s foremost intention today would be to bring this world to an end after having saved it through Jesus, the Last Day would long have come and / or God would help with all available miraculous power in missionizing the world. Or if there is some reason unknown to us why it did not come so far, the proposal with the sedative drugs applies again.

And likewise, if God would desire to make the life of his children as bearable and simple as possible, he would: (1) talk to us more directly and more often, (2) completely change our character in supernatural ways, (3) tell us what situation we are in at every point of time, and why.

Yet, all the above is not the case. Means God seems to have also some other intention with this world than just “closing it down with the lowest possible damage”, to then proceed in heaven where everything is great. But what could be that intention?

That intention can not be to let people earn rewards. Because according to the doctrine of grace, every reward for human behavior is neglible compared to the undeserved donation of grace.

Might it be that God “is so deistic” because his intention is still what he had in mind when creating this world? Which would be, as far as we understand it, to have human beings as “his image”. As something that is pleasing to look at. So maybe he enjoys just looking at this world (or currently rather, tries to). Which would be indeed an activity that would make God appear to us as largely “deistic”, compared to how he could potentially  behave to us, in all his power.

So perhaps this world is something like a table decoration in God’s living room, so to speak? Note that this comparison is meant to illustrate how unfathomable huge God is, not to call Jesus’ work for us something small. It is huge thing because Jesus did it in the shell and with the limitations of a human being – doing it as an all-powerful God would be no big thing indeed.

I arrived at a provocative thesis: those who emphasize “the serious / judging side of God” by actively preaching and promoting it do so because it allows them to live out an innate desire for high-energy social interaction, or for taking strong and even agressive positions. This type of beliefs grant a channel for “energetic behavior” that is legal in their own mindset and the official legal framework of their society. They embrace this opportunity because intensive, highly energetic (at times even aggressive) social interaction is banned by taboo and convention from most other areas in civilized Western societies. There are other people who succeed in completely sublimating this “energy” and directing it towards inner processes, resulting in high motivation to reach objective goals and if necessary forcing themselves forward. But not all people can be that introverted …

A confirmation for this thesis is that “only” people who have strong opinions about things (in other words, who are aggressive and determined in other areas) tend to stress the “serious” side of God. In contrast to people who are careful to take strong positions, fearing they might not be true. However, this is supported only by anecdotal reports, and has to be investigated more thoroughly. There just seems to be such an astonshing correlation between personality style and faith style …

Understanding this, there is not much of a problem: listening to a sermon, I have to just filter the message through a personality filter, to arrive at teh true ojective message, independent of the speaker’s personality traits. There is however an extreme and dangerous variant of this, where people think themselves justified (in their religious framework) to insult other people, to call them names, to judge them, to question the  salvation of nearly all others etc..