We’ve talked about how morals help us gain certainty about the future. They help us narrow our path and gain clarity.
If I look at my life as a set of infinite possible outcomes, how do I limit them? Morals for one. Beliefs for another. If I know what I believe, I can start to accurately predict future outcomes.
If you look at now, and where you think you’ll be in 24-hours, it’s helpful. Because of the last post, you probably won’t be divorced, or gay. You probably won’t be climbing Everest naked. But how do you know for sure? Because you know the logic that runs your mind. To make it to Mount Everest, you would have to make a series of decisions to get there. Decisions that you’ve never made before. And to make decisions that you’ve never made before, you need a reason. And it’s hard to imagine a change in logic drastic enough to take you from the beach to mount Everest in 24-hours.
If you dislike something, there are many fewer instances of it in your future. It’s pretty simple, if you dislike coffee, you have no reason to drink it. Unless you read an article that changes your mind about it. Or your doctor tells you that you should start drinking it.
How do we measure the importance of realities? Obviously, the decision of whether to eat breakfast or not is not as important as whether or not to run out in traffic.
The importance of the decision determines how much weight we give to it. It also determines how much stress we derive from it. The distance in quantum space of the two results [that you’re weighing] determines the level of stress over that decision. Our beliefs set our priorities which determines this stress. We can say that we value family above all else, but if the decisions we make don’t mirror that, it’s not true.
We determine the value of one decision by weighing it against our priorities. When we look at future realities, to determine the probability we have to look at the decisions that got us to that point, and the weight of those decisions.
If scenarios involve changing your mind, your beliefs, or having a gun to your head, or having the President call to motivate you, that are exceedingly unlikely. If my current truth remains, the likelihood of these events is zero. Because they would involve changing that truth.
If you’re spending your life in prison, there are no realities where you are free. Ok. There are a couple: you escape, the prison is destroyed, etc. There are some very slim possibilities, but not enough to base your life around. That’s why it’s so scary: all future realities involve you there. There is no reason to dream anymore, not about this life.
No one wants to go to prison. But there are infinite ways that you could go to prison today. If you believe in abiding by the law, you are more than likely safe. Unless the law changes or someone changes your mind about the law.
Here’s the trick: the only outcomes that are actually possible have decisions paths based on beliefs that are all true. If it takes one false to get to that point, it’s an impossibility. Therefore, our path is still infinite, but it’s infinitely narrower because of our beliefs. The more conditional our belief system, the more likely a true can become a false, and the path of potential realities widens.
The width of the path is based only on “both true” scenarios. For instance, whether to go to the grocery now or later. Neither is morally wrong, but you still must make a choice. That’s when your priorities come into play. While they are still based on what you believe, they are how we categorize and rank these “both true” scenarios. You set your priorities whether you believe it or not. So at this point you weigh your options based on your priorities.
So how does faith apply here? First, it gives us the guidance to have moral absolutes. It helps us to walk a straighter path. Second, you have to remember that there are literally infinite ways you could die today. That’s a scary thought. But if you believe that death is not the end, that it’s actually a gateway to a better life.
Therefore, we take the worst possible outcome and replace it with a positive one, a very positive one. Our beliefs hone our potential future into only scenarios that are all true. Our faith transforms the most negative outcomes into gains. If you take away death, the expected value of the system skyrockets. There is literally nothing left to fear.