Destiny is defined as the predetermined future. There are events that are bound to happen. Physics tells us very clearly that this is necessarily the case. The sun will rise in the morning – i.e. the Earth will rotate. Many other events are inevitable. But in classical Newtonian physics absolutely everything is predetermined. It is for this reason that it seemed that there could be such a thing as free will. I may think I am making a decision, but if everything is preordained I was always going to make that decision.
However, in the personal world defined by QBism the situation is radically different. There is a destiny, but it is not fixed. In this kind of personal world, defined solely by the record of observations made, the destiny is defined solely by this structure of information. And it changes with each observation made. Crucially, when this process is biased or modified, this influences which version of the future one is likely to experience. Effectively, in this personal world, these changes alter the destiny of the world, even with respect to events in the world at large that one could not possibly influence in any ordinary way.
Interactive destiny means that, in effect, one is able to influence what is likely to happen in reality. In fact, of course, in objective physical reality, such a thing is quite literally, completely impossible. There is absolutely no way you can influence which version of physical reality is likely to happen, other than direct action. But effectively, in a personal reality as defined by QBism, this is how the world works. This is interactive destiny. The effect is holistic, which explains how we can be so strangely relevant to our worlds, while at the same time seeming to be utterly irrelevant.
The consequences are totally extraordinary but the mechanism is quite simple. When experience clashes with expectation, there tends to be a particular type of discomfort. Things aren’t right! In psychology this discomfort is called dissonance. Because of this, the mind will often modify the experience, so as to reduce or eliminate this unpleasant feeling of dissonance. This is called dissonance reduction. The unconscious mind modifies the observation in order to avoid this bad feeling. The observation is thereby biased, meaning it is modified so it fits better with the expectations. As quoted in The New Culture, mental images in the mind’s eye can alter the way we see things. Thus the process of reporting the sensory data to produce the world hologram is biased, distorting the observation. As a result the expectation is confirmed. This is confirmation bias.
Obviously enough, in the objective reality this effect is of no further consequence. But in the kind of personal world that QBism shows us we are actually living in, the situation is very different, and the implications of confirmation bias are truly astonishing. It is the biased observations that become part of the definition of the real world. So rather than just deluding ourselves, we are unconsciously causing a jump into a slightly different version of reality.
This sounds very strange, but the principle is standard physics in a world defined solely by the observations recorded. As Saibal Mitra (2008) explains in technical detail in his paper Changing the past by forgetting, the alteration of an observation causes one to exist in a different version of the world, a parallel version of reality.
A Different Path
Of course, this sounds all wrong. Rather obviously, you cannot change the real physical world just by wishful thinking. This is absolutely true, but that is not what happens. What happens is you take a different path into the future. As described in Logical Types the logic of how the real world works is like a movie. But the universe is a bit more complicated than an ordinary movie. Which moment will come next is not definite. At any given moment, there are many different, possible next moments. A simple example with just two possibilities is described in Quantum Theory. The digram below illustrates how successive branchings produce many different timelines.
So the universe is like a movie with multiple choice at every moment. And which version you find yourself in depends on what is observed at each moment. Now we come to the utterly bizarre implication. When bias confirmation causes you to make a different version of an observation, you wind up in a different version of the next moment in physical reality. It switches which version of the next moment you come to, and thus which version of the real physical world you are headed toward in the future.
To understand how this works we need to understand what happens as observations are made. This is the central issue of Everett’s famous many worlds theory. It explains how and why the world appears to be altered when one makes an observation. As described in Many Worlds, it is with respect to the world hologram that the world changes, effectively, as each observation is made. As Hugh Everett emphasises:
… it is not so much the system which is affected by an observation as the observer, who becomes correlated to the system. (1973, 116)
The correlations define which version of the world you are in. And with each observation made, each one establishing a new correlation made, you consequently live in a slightly different version of the world – one in which the events observed have just happened. The physics of this is described in Time & Quantum Time with illustrations.
Obviously, this in no way alters objective physical reality. The world itself remains totally unchanged. It is just that you come to live in a slightly different version of the world. This explains what Everett sets out to describe – the effect of observation is purely a subjective one. This is how you can have the appearance of the collapse of the wave function, the change of the quantum state when it cannot actually change. The quantum state is an immutable component of the Hilbert space of the system. What actually happens is that the frame of reference moves from one snapshot in the concept of time to another, as illustrated in the diagram in Time & Quantum Time.
Expectations induce confirmation bias, and this induces bias into this process, and thus which version of the world you get to. Naturally, this is very important. Destiny is the inevitable future, the future defined by the way things are in the world. But in the personal reality defined by QBism, bias on observations effectively leads to bias on the way things turn out in the world. So what we call destiny is not in fact fixed. Unknowingly, one is constantly interacting with the destiny of the personal world.
There is no such thing as interactive destiny in physical reality. This much is clear. This is why ideas like the law of attraction are considered deluded and credulous rubbish. However, on the inside view of reality, this is a real phenomenon. It seems it could not be true in a physical universe, but the universe is all possible worlds. We pass long the worldline in the world as the real time of relativity is enacted. As each observation is made one goes ‘forward’ in the quantum concept of time, as the frame of reference moves to a different version of the world, one in which this has determinately happened.
When the observation is biased, this process arrives at a parallel version of the world, in which a different outcome has been determinately observed. (The process is Bayesian, probabilistic.)
As long as you have positive and optimistic expectations, this interacting with destiny is working in your favour. But studies have shown that we tend to be natural worriers, meaning we have a greater tendency to formulate negative expectations of significant events than positive ones. Now we know, this is very counter-productive. But once you know about all this you can be sure to practise positive thinking, focusing on what you want, and expecting the best. The whole mechanism can be put to use deliberately using creative visualisation, as explained in Strange Attractors. The further implication is that the principle effect of karma is a real phenomenon as described in Quantum Karma. This is not the effect of any kind of payback from the world. It is simply the effect of interactive destiny.
The longstanding idea that knowing oneself is invaluable to a life with meaning and joy could not be more true. Unattended, the human mind is simply an association machine. We think the same thoughts sixty times a day or more. We are highly habituating because we tend to be following existing associations all the time. So this is a self-reinforcing process. This is the origin of clinical depression when endless negative associations even lead to alteration of the neurochemistry. Going the other way this is the origin of fundamentalism and other forms of extreme egoism. With self awareness we can exit the building cycles and enjoy life in the delicious immediacy of the present.
These are purely psychological phenomena. The kicker is that reality holds a similar dynamic in the personal world. What you expect tends to appear, one way or another. So this builds on the tendency in the psychology. Strange attractors in the mind give rise to strange attractors in the superworld. The self-reinforcing loop is effective on what one observes in the world.
All this happens on automatic when we are not aware of the programs we are running. By becoming aware of the inner dialogue, we take the first step of self knowledge. By becoming aware of the deep trends and tendencies in the major association pathways of the mind, one can take command. This, of course, is really taking back control. And it works in the world because of interactive destiny. So if you want things to work out the way you want, the answer would seem to be to visualise, a lot, and thus build expectations for the desired events.