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The effective truth

Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Picture a pool table with balls scattered across it. Rolling the cue ball from one end to the other will most likely end up in it hitting one of the balls (which could cascade on to other reactions), thereby changing the layout of the pool table.

Now imagine a sphere the size of our planet, with billions - if not trillions - of moving balls (people and animals). It's very difficult to move one object from one place to another without interacting with any other ball. But what if it were possible? Then there was no effective difference between state A and state B, since all other trajectories will be the same. Therefore the two states are equal.

Think of it like having a hundred dollars in your pocket that you don't know about. Someone comes along and steals it from you, but you don't notice. Last time you checked your pocket, you don't remember having anything in there. Now when you check, you still have nothing in there. The effective state is that the hundred dollar bill never existed.

So...

If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? If there's nothing there to hear it, then I say it doesn't. (No, I'm not crazy.) One further note, however, is that if EVERYONE forgets an event, it's like it never happened.

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