Monday, November 12, 2018

Devas, what could they be? Part 9: Devas are supernatural beings like magic

Click for part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

This is the last resort in the case where all else fails. So the devas and Brahmas are really magical and supernatural beings which arises due to our merits and powers in meditation. They have the following properties, to be interpreted literally.

   Spontaneous rebirth
   Invisible, but can reveal themselves, or be seen via divine eye
   Blissful, but not end of suffering
   Long life
   Many levels
   Superior powers, but limited knowledge
   Virtuous conduct needed to be reborn here
   Powers of instant travelling
   Luminous light shining forth from them
   One for each world

Our human ancestors are devolution of these devas due to their greed for delicious food.
Experimental verification awaits those who had died and be reborn there or obtained the divine eye to be able to see directly for oneself if devas truly exists and their nature.
There is no need to access probability of devas existing if this possibility is true, as it is one, or certainty. Comments: the existence of devas would be additional laws of nature outside of currently known physics and also all of the possibilities mentioned before. Specifically the laws of kamma, rebirth, mind (supernatural powers and Brahma realms from Jhana meditations).

Now for a bit of curiosity, if we assume that if devas exists, we can use the probability analysis of inclusion-exclusion principle to obtain the union of the various ways the devas can exist, then we get close to the total probability which devas exist.
The weaknesses of this analysis is the subjective probabilities I had assigned earlier and later on and the incompleteness of our level of understanding in physics (these probabilities will change as we update physics in the future, new ones might come out). Also in listing down the ten characteristics of devas and multiplying the probabilities from there together, I had assumed they are all independent characteristics of each other, which is most likely not the case.

1.   Probability that aliens exists: 99%
2.  Probability that higher dimension exists: 30%
3.  Probability that brane multiverse exists: 25%
4.  Probability that advanced intelligence exists: 98%
5.  Probability that dark matter or dark energy exists and allows beings to exists consisting of them: 50%
6.  Probability that we are in a simulated universe: 10%
7.  Probability of the Union of the above (using inclusion-exclusion principle and assuming that the probabilities of the above six are independent of each other): 99.995275%
8. Probability that supernatural stuffs exists apart from the above (splitting the remaining probability equally for the last two):  0.0023625%
9.  Probability that none of the above are true: 0.0023625%

A bit of comment on the subjective placement of the above probabilities, I think it’s fairly certain that the universe will contain aliens and advanced intelligence as a result of them, the others are relatively low probabilities of actually being true as they are quite radical.
Using the law of total probabilities then, we calculate the probabilities that devas exists to be: 33%. That is pretty high considering that most people thought that science precludes the possibilities of gods existing, whereas in this percentage estimation, the vast majority of it is assuming that gods are one of the six hypothesis above or a combination of them, with only 0.0023625% probability that gods are magical. Most of the probabilities goes towards gods as aliens. Do be reminded that this value will change with our knowledge of the universe and also by personal subjective valuation of likelihood differing from person to person.
Seeing the probabilities for devas existing according to our current knowledge of physics, speculation of science fiction and future possibilities is less than half, and a wide room of error given the sloppy methodology, we can hardly blame anyone for not believing in gods. Yet seeing the significant value of that probability, we cannot blame Buddhists or indeed anyone for professing faith in these unseen beings. It is pretty certain that in the future, people will look back at this chapter and laugh what ignorant fools we were for thinking in error most of the stuffs written here.

Devas, what could they be? Part 8: Simulated Universe

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After exploring the unknown, let us come back to our known world, the world of computation and simulation. Games nowadays can have graphics so realistic, it is hard to tell that they are not from real life filming. Increasingly, real life physics are Incorporated into the graphics of the game, taxing the computational resources of the system playing it, but producing stunning simulation of life. Already we have virtual reality and augmented reality being realised via wearable headsets. Increasingly, the digital world and the real world are starting to blend together. Some games allows for its coding to auto generate seemingly endless expanse of space and planets for the players to explore and really discover new digital planets no one has been before.
As our computing powers gets more upgrade with the transition into quantum computing, we will have more computational powers to continue simulating ever more realistic worlds. Most importantly, quantum computers can simulate a gaming world from the quantum ground up. Usually, when we say simulation, we are implying a simplification of the system being simulated, not from the ground up. It could be that a table is defined as the shape, being coloured with a realistic wooden structure, have solidity so that it can hold other things up on it. Not all simulated tables has the property of being able to be broken, that requires additional coding and more pictures of broken table. Simulation from the ground up means simulating every subatomic particle which compromises every atom which compromises every cells which comes together in a tree structure, which are then cut and shaped into a table. Properties like colour, breakability, solidity are all emergent from lower level codes of its subatomic particles and need not be coded into it. The ultimate reductionist ideal.
We might one day in the future have sufficient computing power to simulate an entire universe from the ground up, including its history and set the time of the simulation to be faster than our time to speed up the simulation to more interesting eras. The living beings which emerge there emerge entirely based on simulated atoms, molecules, cells, simply obeying all the laws of physics, allowing all other laws of chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology become emergent from the laws of physics. These living beings then go on to evolve intelligence, civilisations, religions, computers, simulations, and finally be able to simulate a little universe within our simulated universe.
You might see what question would naturally arise now. Who’s to say we are not already in a simulated universe right now? If simulated universes are so perfectly simulated that they can in turn simulate other universes which can simulate universes of their own, it becomes a chain of simulated universes all emerging from a supposed prime universe which is the original where the laws of physics are really real, unchanging instead of being able to be changed at a programmer’s whim. If reality is like that, then given one universe, ours that we know, what are the odds that we are the prime universe? Extremely low. We are far more likely to be a simulated universe down the road. More on simulated universe in the Chapter of Multiple Universes, be sure to read that before trying some stupid suicide move like the wife of the main character in Inception. She thought she was still in a dream when we jumped off a window, thinking that death would pull her up back to reality. Unfortunately for simulated beings, there is unlikely to have a counterpart of ourselves higher up in the simulated chain. Rebirth would have been programmed into the simulated universe for deaths, at least for this universe it seems.
Anyway, if we are living in a simulated universe, it would be extremely easy to fit in the gods. We can assume any motivation and knowledge of the programmers, but even if everything is simulated from the ground up, they can still input higher level commands and cheat codes which would seem to be against the basic laws of physics they had programmed in earlier. Hence, the appearance of supernatural stuffs, including gods. Here, I would like to just put the sensual desire gods at the level of being confined within the simulated universe. Or another more interesting view is that gods are the programmers of our universe, with each level up is a level up of the simulation. The Brahma worlds then would be the universe wherein the laws of physics is different from the sensual realms, thus they can enjoy Jhanic bliss instead. In all the analysis below, if the gods are programmed beings, then their characteristics can be arbitrary programmed to fulfil the criterion below, so we will focus more on the programmers as gods scenario.

   Spontaneous rebirth: The programmers maybe programmed by their programmers higher up the chain to be spontaneously reborn, or their laws of nature would allow for spontaneous rebirth happening naturally.

   Invisible, but can reveal themselves, or be seen via divine eye: The programmers are outside of the simulated universe, so naturally they are invisible to us, but they can project themselves down into the simulated universe, wearing a form we can perceive. If divine eye is a special cheat code to be able to take command of the video cameras of the higher level up simulated universe, then it can see the programmers.

   Blissful, but not end of suffering: So the programmers might be living in a universe where the laws of physics is such that they are blissful (Brahma realms). Or they can have the abilities to plug into the minds of any beings being simulated and experience the same kind of happiness of that being, with a programme which runs automatically to constantly switch to the minds of happy people. Being virtuous makes one happy, thus the saying that gods likes virtuous people might come about like that.

   Long life: The programmers can speed up our simulation such that our time runs faster compared to theirs. Their lifespan can be long presumably due to the advanced technological findings there to help them live long. They can also easily take our future medical technology and import them up the simulated universe chain as lower down the chain, we got more time for research.

   Many levels: We already mentioned how simulated universes can nest within one another.

   Superior powers, but limited knowledge: Programmers naturally has superior powers, powers to change the laws of nature in fact! However, the programmer may not have all the knowledge of even the simulated universe, or maybe he is good in programming but lacks the skills and knowledge to cook!

   Virtuous conduct needed to be reborn here: We have to assume that the programmers are benevolent, as sadistic programmers may have already destroyed their simulated universes. However, here we run into the almighty, all good, and all knowing combination problem along with the existence of suffering, of which we have to choose to abandon the all good criterion as the programmers are sadistic enough to allow suffering to be programmed into the universe. Or at least not to include a patch to eliminate suffering if suffering is emergent. To many perhaps the patch is sensual desire, an imperfect patch. The programmers are of course not all powerful outside of their created universe, and not all knowing as discussed in the previous point.

   Powers of instant travelling: The programmers can project themselves anywhere inside their simulated universe, but cannot travel instantly on their on universe, unless it happens to be programmed in for them.

   Luminous light shining forth from them: This would have to be artificially programmed in, maybe as a special effect for the avatar of the programmer in the simulated universe.

   One for each world: Here if we insist on world to mean solar system, then our analogy breaks down. It more naturally fits if the world means the simulated world, wherein each programmer (god) has their own world, and going up higher levels, their level of influence naturally increases as they cover more worlds. However, seeing that we have never truly explored beyond our solar system before, the simulation can simply be accurate for our solar system and treat the rest of the universe as backdrop. Then it would fit in nicely. However this becomes the same level of dissatisfactory explanation of the world as Creationist proposed. Why have fossils when the earth is only ten thousand years old? Why bother with galaxies collision, cosmic microwave background radiation, gravitational waves of black holes merging if only our solar system is fully simulated?

Agganna Sutta: This would be the story of how higher level programmers had entered into their simulated world, eaten something which made them forgot about their old world and less able to go back until they fully assume a person in their simulated world, no longer needing their body back in their world to be alive for them to live fully as humans in the simulated world. Science fiction had indeed even explored this concept, the most recent that I have seen was in Marvel’s Agent of Shield wherein the creator of the virtual world was immersed in it and his body got killed by his robot Aida, but his mind lives on in the simulated world.

Possible experimental verification: First off, we must be able to show that sentient beings can be simulated. In Buddhism terms, it means we can be reborn inside simulated worlds. If we can be reborn into artificial intelligence, then I think there is no conceptual difficulty for this one. However, the question still remains, can we be reborn into non-biological bodies of AI or simulated beings? There are many efforts ongoing to find clues as to whether we could live in a simulated world after all. Recent [1]  discovery shows that our observed nature would take enormous amount of computing power to simulate, then it can possibly make the chain of endless simulated worlds nested inside simulated worlds impossible to achieve, increasing our probabilities of being the prime world.

Likelihood of gods as programmers if we are living in a simulated universe: (I use 50 for unknown or uncertain factors)

1.   Spontaneous rebirth: 50%
2.  Invisible, but can reveal themselves, or be seen via divine eye: 99%
3.  Blissful, but not end of suffering: 99%
4.  Long life: 79%
5.  Many levels: 99%
6.  Superior powers, but limited knowledge: 99%
7.  Virtuous conduct needed to be reborn here: 89%
8. Powers of instant travelling: 99%
9.  Luminous light shining forth from them: 69%
10.              One for each world: 69%

Total possibilities: (product of all ten scores after converting them to probabilities): 15.92%. It’s possible, provided we can be reborn into the simulated world.

Devas, what could they be? Part 7: Dark Matter/Energy

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We had explored outer space (aliens), higher dimensions, other universes, our near and far future (Advanced Intelligence), now let us turn to the stuffs in current physics which are still unknown, yet to be fully discovered and explained specifically: Dark Matter and Dark Energy. In fact, both of them together compromises 95% of our universe’s mass. We can only account for the 5% of normal mass in terms of matter and radiation from observation and predictions of nuclear synthesis at the Big Bang.
This seems like a bit of embarrassment given the arrogance of the term “theory of everything” some physicists proclaimed we are very close to discovering. First off, let us get to know what we know and do not know about Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Dark Matter compromises 27% of our universe’s mass, Dark Energy compromises 68%. The Dark on their name implies our ignorance of their nature.
Most of these comes from “We Have No Idea” by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson. Dark Matter was first proposed in the 1960s, there are a few clues to propose that it exist.
   Galaxies are spinning faster than it has visible mass for it to be able to do so according to our current best theory of gravity. Galaxies need more mass to be able to spin faster or else its stars would just fly off the edge of the galaxies. There is not enough visible stars to account for that mass, so a mysterious Dark Matter has to be added to keep the shape of galaxies.
   Gravitational lensing, which is the effect of light being bent by massive objects in the middle which acts like lenses to focus the lights. So observationally speaking, we see two same galaxies in a patch of space, just a short distance from each other. The lights from the galaxies on its way here had been gravitationally distorted by some Dark Matter in the middle.
   Collision of galaxy clusters shows that the regular matter (stars) gravitationally interact with each other, yet from gravitational lensing, we see the dark matter in those galaxies seems to pass through each other.

Here’s what we know about Dark Matter:
1.   It has mass
2.  It is invisible
3.  It likes hanging out in galaxies
4.  Regular matter cannot touch it
5.  Other dark matter seems to cannot touch it either
6.  It seems to like to clump together
7.  Thus we are most likely already swimming in Dark Matter but we do not know it, or see it.

Of the four fundamental forces of nature, we know Dark Matter appears to only interact only gravitationally. This is where the matter from Dark Matter comes from, it has mass, inside its matter. As gravity is the weakest force in nature, it is very hard to experimentally see Dark Matter in the lab, so physicists still have no idea what Dark Matter is, there are plenty of candidates, but it is also likely it is something entirely new.
Here are some possible suggestions for Dark Matter:
1.   Weakly Interacting Massive Particles (WIMP), which are particles which interacts very weakly with normal matter. Neutrinos were once considered before being discarded, other new particles yet undiscovered maybe these Dark Matter, including supersymmetric particles. These new particles may interact with each other so that they may produce dark atoms, dark chemistry, dark biology, dark life and civilisation.
2.  Massive Astrophysical Compact Halo Objects (MACHO), which are planet sized normal matter which does not emit its own light, so it remains invisible to us. However, MACHO as Dark Matter has been discarded as calculations from the Big Bang nuclear synthesis has shown that there is not enough normal matter which can be produced them to account for all of the masses of Dark Matter.

Now let us look at Dark Energy. It was first proposed in 1998, when we first discovered that our universe is accelerating its expansion instead of the expected slowing down due to the pull of gravity. To be able to accelerate the expansion, there must be a repulsive force, not only acting against the gravitationally pull of all the matter in the universe to come back together, but strong enough to push the universe to ever bigger size. It is also proposed as a result of our confidence in the validity of general relativity.
Dark Energy is the one which provides this repulsive force. It could be one of these stuffs:
1.   The quantum vacuum fluctuation energy, but calculation shows that the quantum vacuum fluctuation is of the order of 10120 bigger than what we observe Dark Energy to be.
2.  Other new fields, which would be very hard to test if the particles associated with the field has super high energy.

How do we know the percentage of mass of our regular matter, dark matter and dark energy? From these different ways which agree with each other:
i.    The Cosmic Microwave Background pattern is dependent on the ratio of these stuffs in the universe, simulations and calculations using different values of regular matter, dark matter and dark energy gives different patterns which we do not observe in our sky.
ii. From the rate of expansion of the universe, we can calculate how much dark energy is needed to achieve that rate if we have some estimates of regular and dark matter. This is the balance or rather imbalance of the pull of gravity versus the push of dark energy.
iii.               From the structure of the universe we see today, using a computer simulation, if we have too little dark matter, galaxies do not form in the same shape or early enough as we observe. We can accurately know that we have 5% regular matter, 27% dark matter and 68% dark energy.

In short, we know Dark Matter and Dark Energy exists if general relativity is true for the far range of our universe, but we do not know the nature of these stuffs like we do regular matter. So there is no technology that we can build upon them. Naturally, they are a bright candidate to put in the supernatural stuffs. However, caution should be exercised as the nature of Dark Matter and Dark Energy would one day be discovered and have no gods in them after all. If we keep on using the strategy of hiding supernatural stuffs into the specific unknowns of current science, we would look like the doomsday predictors; always delaying their doomsday date to later dates when the current doomsday date comes and goes without the world coming to an end. Having said that, let us see the possibilities of gods as Dark Matter/ Dark Energy beings.
The most attractive feature of this is that they compromise 95% of the mass of the universe, if there are to be beings so advanced they can have so much power, naturally they would choose to live as the more abundant resources in the universe rather than competing for the mere 5% of regular matter for resource. There is also speculation that advanced alien races may cloak themselves inside dark matter or transform into dark matter to avoid the danger of gamma ray burst or supernova explosion which might happen nearby, those would bring about too much energy which would disrupt life on star systems nearby and possibly even wipe life out from them. This is because Dark Matter seems invisible to electromagnetic radiation, another attractive feature, just like the gods.

1.   Spontaneous rebirth: We have no idea if dark matter can interact with itself as they seems to pass through each other in galactic collisions. This might just indicate that they do not interact with each other gravitationally, but does not rule out other new forces which acts between dark matter particles. If they can form dark interactions with itself, have dark chemistry, dark biology, dark life etc, their biology maybe so strange that spontaneous rebirth is the norm for them.

If we take the gods as Dark Energy beings, then using the equations of general relativity, we know that Dark Energy density per unit volume is constant, so as our universe expands, new Dark Energy comes into existence along with the new space! This naturally accounts for the spontaneous rebirth, although now it would be hard to define the boundaries of individual gods at that level. However, we already skipped on that difficulty on the Brahmas as advanced intelligence section. Besides that, many meditators also report that they do feel that the boundary of their body as self is entirely arbitrary. At which point does the in breath becomes the self? At which point does the stuffs we eject from the body becomes not mine? At which point does the food we eat becomes part of us? At which point does the things we read becomes part of us? There are just causes and conditions and the self is merely an illusion, attachments to the things we think of as mine, me, myself.

2.  Invisible, but can reveal themselves, or be seen via divine eye: From the term dark, it would be pretty obvious that they are not visible to us. It would be interesting if the divine eye can see dark matter and dark energy, if so it would help out physics experimental research tremendously.

3.  Blissful, but not end of suffering: We have no idea. At least they would feel the security of safety from the gamma ray burst and supernova explosions if they are made of dark matter. If they are made of dark energy, at least they would not dread the Big Rip of the universe, but rather are the cause of it.

4.  Long life: We have no idea.

5.  Many levels: We have no idea.

6.  Superior powers, but limited knowledge: Unless they are aliens who turned themselves into dark matter or dark energy beings and thus have superior technological powers compared to us, we have no idea.

7.  Virtuous conduct needed to be reborn here: We have no idea.

8. Powers of instant travelling: We have no idea.

9.  Luminous light shining forth from them: Pretty much impossible as they are invisible to electromagnetic light already. Maybe to appear to us, they transform into regular matter and in the process emit light. Or there are dark light for dark matter beings. We have no idea.

10.              One for each world: This one seems reasonable if we define world as galaxy instead of solar system. Each galaxy has their own dark matter which stays with them even in galactic collisions. Thus if the gods are dark matter beings, then they would follow their own world. Or maybe if we map the Dark Matter beings as Brahmas so that their dominion is over so many world systems, and under them are various other sensual desire realm gods localised to each solar system.

Agganna sutta would make sense then as the transformation of the gods from beings of dark energy or dark matter into regular matter from the process of eating regular matter food, or maybe the food is made of dark matter, so dark matter can interact with themselves to produce regular matter.

Possible experimental verification: If Dark Matter can interact with normal matter in other ways other than gravitationally, then we  might be able to discover some Dark Matter from particle accelerator collision, some of the energy may go into producing the new particles which compromises Dark Matter. Another way is to use cold compressed noble gasses and surround them with detectors which goes off if it bumps into Dark Matter. Another way is to point our telescopes to places where we know there is a high Dark Matter concentration. If Dark Matters can interact with each other, then they might be able to produce normal matter which we can observe. So far Dark Matter is still dark to us.

Likelihood of gods as dark matter/ dark energy beings if eventually we discover that their dark matter and dark energy allows for intelligent life to exist and general relativity does not get replaced by some other gravitational theories which does not require dark matter and dark energy: (I use 50 for unknown or uncertain factors)

1.   Spontaneous rebirth: 50%
2.  Invisible, but can reveal themselves, or be seen via divine eye: 99%
3.  Blissful, but not end of suffering: 50%
4.  Long life: 50%
5.  Many levels: 50%
6.  Superior powers, but limited knowledge: 50%
7.  Virtuous conduct needed to be reborn here: 50%
8. Powers of instant travelling: 50%
9.  Luminous light shining forth from them: 50%
10.              One for each world: 89%

Total possibilities: (product of all ten scores after converting them to probabilities): 0.3442% We are also in the dark regarding the possibilities of gods as dark matter/ dark energy beings.