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The Propagation of Influences

David Cowles

Nov 21, 2023

”Just imagine what it would be like if we actually had to take responsibility for our actions…if we couldn’t blame our shortcomings on others. Who could face a mirror?!”

Why is it that Event B looks a whole lot like Event A? And why is it that events A, B, and C seem to form some sort of logical continuum? We can only conclude that A somehow ‘influences’ B, which in turn ‘influences’ C, so that the whole chain has a sort of solidarity…or identity.

Obviously, I must be talking about Causality here, right? Perhaps…but not necessarily. There are other ways that influences could propagate. For example, events might have a built-in tendency to copy other events (magic…or fractals). Any way you slice it, influences do seem to propagate.

Those of you who regularly sample Aletheia Today Magazine and Thoughts While Shaving know to expect the unexpected, so here goes: “Influences do not propagate!” 

Let’s go back to our original events, A, B, and C. A inherits a multiplicity of events, which it proceeds to organize into a nexus that serves as its launch pad, i.e., its World. A is motivated by ‘universal values’, collectively known as ‘Good’, but often specified as ‘Beauty, Truth, and Justice’. 

These values stimulate evaluation (and condemnation) of what is and imagination and appetition for what could be. (Bobby Kennedy: “I dream of things that never were and ask why not.”) They are the source of everlasting restlessness at the heart of the spatiotemporal world. The specifics of A’s evaluation informs A’s arrangement of its World, the first step in A’s bold plan to save the Universe. Go, A, go!

A is motivated by the universal desire to realize eternal values in the spatiotemporal world, but A is a recursive process that modifies itself as it modifies the world. Sometimes feedback can be perceived as ‘noise’. (Hmm, that sounds eerily ‘familial’.) The result is a trajectory that almost always lands ‘off target’. Been there by any chance? 

No? Not to worry then! A is not like you and me. We became exactly the people and lived exactly the lives that we set out to become and live at age 5—no hiccups along the way! A is not so fortunate. Yet, every A achieves some measure of its original good intention (no matter how slight), and that becomes A’s ‘satisfaction’. 

Satisfaction is subjective, but it has an objective face which is projected onto the Actual Worlds of all subsequent events. No surprise here; whatever you’re feeling always has the potential to spill over and impact others in your orbit.

B repeats the process. It reacts to A’s multiplicity of events increased by one (by A). But B is free to organize that multiplicity in any way it chooses. For example, it may choose to keep A’s Actual World virtually intact and be guided by the same mix of values; it may copy A’s ‘subjective aim’ as closely as possible. That’s how it is that we experience consistency and endurance in our world.

On the other hand, B is free to shake up the mix of values that guided A and set sail for an entirely different destination, dragging A, kicking and screaming, along for the ride. A set off for London, nice, but B is heading for Bora Bora, also nice. Each destination is a manifestation of Good, but each represents a different mix of the Values that constitute the Good. This is how it is that we experience novelty and variety in our world.

Bottom line: B rules. A has no control over B. A ‘propagates no influences’; it has no influences to propagate. At best, A can lead by example. A respects B’s autonomy and, to be frank, A is critically dependent on an independent and creative B and C and D to redeem its own misfire. 

B can be ultra-conservative; it can reconstitute A’s world as best it can and mimic A itself as closely as possible. Or, like a rebellious teenager, it can reject almost everything A represents (‘almost’ because we can never totally escape our parents).

Is this sufficiently bizarre for you? Ok, but what’s the alternative? A gossamer net called ‘causality’ draped over the world’s furniture? Well, ok, let’s explore that option. 

Again, let’s start with A. Upon termination, A is thought to propagate certain influences forward in time, e.g., its momentum. B occurs whenever and wherever the world reacts to (entangles with) A’s momentum (there is no more A per se in this model – it’s past). 

What about C? In this model, C is an event in the process of development, passively powered by residual influences from events that no longer exist and purposelessly directed toward events that have not yet begun to exist. Isn’t something missing in this model? Where’s the is?

I’m reminded of certain pseudo-math problems that occasionally cropped up in high school - problems where all the variables cancel out, and you’re left with a big pile of nothing. That’s ontology according to the Standard Model. The propagation of influences turns out to be a carefully curated illusion. Understandably so! Just imagine what it would be like if we actually had to take responsibility for our actions…if we couldn’t blame our shortcomings on others. Who could face a mirror!


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