Boltzmann Brained

Epsiode One Hundred Ninety Six: Boltzmann Brained.
In which we flicker in.

1 comment:

  1. They - by which I mean no one - said it couldn't be done, but here it is: The fabled impossible six-panel comic!

    Listening to podcast 'The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry' episode 'The End Of Everything' (June, 30, 2020) - referencing Boltzmann Brains. Ludwig Boltzmann, nineteenth century Austrian physicist, illustrating the improbability of intelligent life developing, as it has, in a universe starting out in a low entropy model, as Boltzmann proposed. At least I think that's the case.

    Following on this concept, modern cosmologists have argued it is more likely that, given the vastness of time, random objects should wink and and out of existence in a contextual vacuum, and that one of these objects might be a human brain that is dreaming all of existence, all of the history of the universe, and all of the history of myself, couched within. Even if this manifests for just a split second, the existence of that transient brain's dream is arguably more likely than our universe as we conceive it has come to be.

    This idea is seen as an hypothesis reductio ad absurdum taking Boltzmann's theory to an extreme, and is meant to illustrate the limits of such a cosmological argument. But, given popular culture the way it is, it has taken on a life of its own.

    The man in my Boltzman Brain's dream comic is taken from a Terry Gilliam Python animation character - uncharacteristically cartoonish for this strip. Unintended: his right eye peers down at my signature, while his left eye minds the hourglass.

    I had thought that the close up on the right eye would indicate that he was looking out at the brain, but his looking - worryingly - at the initials has introduced a further meta. I, the cartoonist, am his God, and he is just ink on paper. Yet, I am telling the tale myself wondering about the truth of my own reality.

    And so, am I someone else's ink on paper? Or are my initials it? By which I mean, is my creation all there is? Is his looking at my initials a sign telling me that I exist wholly, and solely, inside my own ego? Or is there a larger me, outside of this reality, equally annoyed with myself for all the same reasons with which I am annoyed on this level (only on a larger scale)?

    Anyway, before he has much time to work up a sweat it all blinks out of existence. Fin.



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