So I am wondering about how some events have future effect on other events. For example, if someone offers someone else a piece of chocolate 10 years before, it may somehow relate to something else that happens 10 years in the future. For example, say I broke my leg when I was 10, if I had not broke my leg, there would be a totally different outcome correct? And say as a different thing that.... I don't know, say someone decided to smoke weed one time in their life, it could drastically have changed the outcome if they had never smoked that weed before. Like even trivial things as simple as what color shirt one wears, whether someone decides to say hi or not to a stranger they pass by on the street, deciding to eat certain foods, etc. can have drastic impact on two different realities. Say even really small things like thinking a certain thought, listening to a certain song, going to the bathroom, all can impact the future. My question here is wondering about if we are all broken into a bunch of separate realities and if in theory if those realities all are playing out right now, and if my theory about big things or even miniscule things actually can alter the future. For example, if JFK had not been assassinated, or if 9/11 never had happened, its possible that people born after 1963 wouldn't have been born, after 2001 wouldn't have been born, totally different realities, etc. Even though they both are bad things. And if Hitler hadn't risen to power we probably never would have been born either because one event will affect other events, and I doubt that most of the people on here are 85+ years old. In theory, we actually may have been saved and brought into existence by moral purposes that would have been considered terrible, its not what you want to hear but it is the truth. Were they still bad people? Sure,but in theory we would have to kind of thank them in a way because otherwise we would not exist to begin with most likely. And no, I am not planning a destructive event against humanity, but it is just interesting to contemplate how different things could have turned out. I myself perceive multiple different realities are playing out right this moment, however it is impossible to communicate with them due to laws of physics or that such. Am I over thinking this, or what do you think on this? Is my theory correct?

  • One big question in such theories: what qualifies as "the same event?" Defining that turns out to be rather tricky without major assumptions. – Cort Ammon Jul 14 '17 at 23:06

Essentially what you're describing is the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect is the idea that a seemingly small action can cause large effects. The classic example is that the flap of a butterfly's wings in China sets off a tornado in Texas. This of course ignores the fact that the flap of a butterfly's wings could have prevented a tornado in Texas. Both would be equally likely.

The butterfly effect comes about from Chaos Theory, in that even a tiny change in initial conditions bring about drastic differences in the future and that there is no equation or model to predict where the system will be based on the initial conditions.

I would say you are right to think that the actions we take can have a drastic impact on the future, but it's just impossible to say what those impacts will be.

I also find it interesting to think about the Many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. This is the idea that any and every possible thing that could happen, does happen. So like you're saying, it's possible that the person could or could not have eaten that piece of chocolate. Both are possible within the laws of physics, and any "decision" is equally real. This goes down to the subatomic level in that quantum mechanics is governed by probabilistic events. Instead of a person making a decision, there are many "random" paths that a particle can take. There is no way to know which one will happen, only that it is more likely that one will happen over another. Quantum mechanics does not tell us which path it will take since they are all possible, so they are all equally "real". The people that subscribe to the many-worlds interpretation argue that since every single possibility is "real" then basically at every event, the universe "splits" into a universe where possibility A happened, and another where possibility B happened. We simultaneously exist in all realities where it is possible that we could have existed.

These ideas can also come into the debate between determinism and free will. If the universe is completely governed by the laws of physics (and therefore people and their decisions) do we really have the capacity to decide to do one thing versus another? Is every decision we make really a decision or were we bound to do it anyway based on past events going back all the way to the big bang?

  • Great answer Morty. Perhaps you got the idea from Rick Sanchez? – Nanhee Byrnes PhD Jul 14 '17 at 18:56
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    aww gee Dr Byrnes, i'd like to think i got the idea myself, b-but i definitely didn't learn it in school. I guess rick destroying my old reality kinda, i guess, you know, gave me the first hand experience – wedsa5 Jul 14 '17 at 19:18

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