Cosmic Quote #53

“I believe we exist in a multiverse of universes.”–Michio Kaku

“I’m astounded by people who want to ‘know’ the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.”–Woody Allen

That's where they go!

That’s where they go!

Per my usual modus operandi, I revere both those that try to understand the universe, and those that poke fun at them.   JBS Haldane famously said that the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.  I’ll try to make some more sense of the whole “multiverse” idea in Millennium Conjecture #6,  though I can’t say how soon that will appear in this particular universe.  I’m still trying to find my way out of Chinatown.


  1. “For calculation purposes, it might be helpful to believe we exist in a multiverse of multiverses of multiverses of … [repeat an infinite number of times, then end with:] of universes. Whether we actually do, is quite irrelevant” — Karl Strobl

    • Interesting….and I strongly disagree. Whether we actually do is quite relevant to ones world view. And if we do, it would seem that eternal recurrence, as espoused by Nietzsche and others, comes into play.

      • maybe so, but how would that make it relevant? In the sense of: would it change your actions?

        Take quantum suicide: how is it different from ‘single-universe’ suicide? You either fail (and you are fine), or you are dead (so don’t care). Whether you feel guilty about the grief you COULD have caused to family and friends (in a simple universe), or about all the grief you caused in parallel universes which you are no longer part of, it’s just a mind-game suggesting there are deeper lessons, which aren’t really there. It’s just a physical theory. Nothing more than a mathematical shorthand, and to read ‘meaning’ into it is a religious act, not a scientific one; Like reading ‘meaning’ into general relativity, or into quantum mechanics. Nothing ‘follows’ from it, other than the fact that some calculations become simpler and more intuitive. That, after all, is the purpose of a physical theory.

  2. Compare with: “To grasp what’s going on around us, it might be helpful to believe there really ‘exists’ an “up” and a “down” direction. The question whether this is actually ‘true’ is irrelevant” (as long as it helps us understand what’s going on, and we understand the limitations of the concept).

    You can play this game with almost any abstract concept that helped us understand the world around us a little better: curved space-time, the least-action principle, etc. etc.

  3. I like that idea a lot – revering those that want to understand the universe, as well as those who poke fun at that idea. I think both are a sign that people are “thinking big” – because poking fun at something involves understanding it, then searching for a flaw.

    I like the Woody Allen quote a lot. I really think I should get into Woody Allen more. Arto has been a big fan for a while but I’ve never gotten around to watching even the basics like Annie Hall.

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