M-Theory and Essence

“In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity.”

M theory holds within it (in fact much is based upon) the idea that our universe is not the only universe. That there is a me somewhere out there that, through an alternate history, could be drinking a beer right now, and yet another universe where i could be Mormon or even a completely physically different being whose hobby it is to shoot milk out of my nose (or whatever orifaces that this physically different being has >_>).

My questions are, does essence transcend universes? Do i have the same essence in this universe as i do in another? What about the Soul?

After all, in all those other universes, i am not a different person. I have the same identity in those universes as i do in this one (hence “parallel”).

The spiritual, philosophical and metaphysical ramifications of M-Theory are astounding. Lets delve into them shall we?

Sure.

Your essence is not necessary; thus there is no reason to believe you must exist elsewhere in the universe; or in some nebulous and fantastical dimension.

And even if you did exist in a different universe you would be “really distinct”; as there is no causal imperative. Further; you would also have different essences; as your haecceity would be distinct by your instantiation in this universe; or that universe; etc.

If another universe existed; an object or entity resembling you may occur in another universe. Let us speculate for an instant that they are identical universes; both you and the entity similar to you would have some common natures but not be the same person; as you clearly have different haecceity; even if you are by essence (quid) identical.

Ie; you only exist here; if “another you” existed; that would be a distinct entity.

Soulewolf said in the OP:

My questions are, does essence transcend universes? Do i have the same essence in this universe as i do in another? What about the Soul?

After all, in all those other universes, i am not a different person. I have the same identity in those universes as i do in this one (hence “parallel”).

It is one thing to experience Essence; it is quite another to stabilize having done that, it is yet another to develop or discover an accurate cognitive line regarding that experience. Once again we are faced with the ideas of degree and kind. This is also the dynamic within which we find and question the reason for people who See remaining or not in their tradition.

A survey, if you will, of some who have such insights allows us to conclude that deeper realizations tend to result in some cognition that Soul is an aspect of Essence that is more closely associated with individuality in a personal sense, and yet is fundamentally equal to Essence itself. There is a very good reason for this from the perspective of non dualism, but this is not the place to go into that. In some Eastern traditions it is said that “Atman (Soul) is Brahman (God)” and in the West that “Soul is a synonym for God” or that “Soul is the feeling of BEing I AM” All pretty esoteric, and since the Church is exoteric, despite claiming otherwise, this is a difficult point therein.

As is usual in English, again not a matter for this thread, the near impossibility of a 1/1 corespondency between grammar and Reality is what we face. One has to tease out which sense of identity/Identity, i/I, or “me” one is using. As Heinlein said, “In English, only the first person singular present tense of the verb ‘to be’ is true to fact.” We ask that to bear a lot of our subject/object limitations and thus err in expression.

So from a viewpoint different from that of the Church, Essence is Universes, or whatever manifestation there is, as one of the aspects of God, in the Church called the Trinity. So it would be accurate to say that while “you” as Essence called “I” am the same in or as any Universe, your hypothetical person allegedly not in this universe is what it is. You might think of it as you, here, wearing a series or stack of mask, each of which is used in a different room or before different people. Not so different from what we do anyway, eh? :slight_smile: We tend to “forget” our selves as we take on what goes with any mask. It is quite a trick to keep all of the characters possible in mind while playing through/as one.

Your existence includes your conscientious awareness of yourself. Therefore, if you existed in another universe, and it was really you (and not some body with the same DNA), then you would be conscious of such an existence. Otherwise, as I say, it would not be you that was existing, since in order to be yourself, you must be aware of your own existing.

The implications of M-theory are not philsophically astounding in the least, unless you consider the book Alice in Wonderland astounding in a more than literary or imaginative sense.

So If i die and go to heaven, there will be a very large number of parallel mes there as well? Same as with hell? Or would you say each universe has a different heaven, thus a different god?

I’d disagree slightly. A person need not have consciousness to be a person or even to be the same person. A single celled human just after conception is a person with a soul but he is not conscious. Likewise a human who is in a coma does not lose his identity or if he woke up he would be a new identity (a new person). Similarly when a growing human in the earliest stages split during normal growth and they split entirely (identical twins) they may be nearly identical at the moment of the split but they are still two separate human persons. If there are parallel universes that were nearly identical then you may have some other person somewhere that is a very nearly identical copy of you but you would still be separate persons.

What we are discussing here is the philosophy of identity as it applies to parallel universes. Other than the odd coincidence that there would be other persons somewhere nearly identical to me parallel universes wouldn’t necessarily impact Catholic understanding of personal identity at all.

Could there be multiple heavens and multiple hells (one for each universe). I would be inclined to say no but this is a pretty odd theoretical question. However the implication in your last sentence that if there were multiple heavens there would be multiple gods is completely unnecessary and also completely impossible (at least any of the monotheistic understandings of God). God is not part of the created universe(s). There is only one uncaused cause of all that exists universe(s).

heaven is supposedly also not part of the created universe. So if there are multiple heavens, why not multiple gods? one for each individual universe?

If you really wanted to try and throw a monkey wrench into the discussion (at least from a Christian perspective) you would have to ask the question of Jesus as he relates to each of these universes. Because the incarnation was not a “natural” occurrence in the universe it doesn’t matter how many parallel universes there are there would only be “multiple” instances of the incarnation if God directly caused each occurrence. Because Jesus is a divine person not a human person but is united to a human nature which includes a human soul if there were multiple incarnations then they (the incarnations) would all be a single person because Jesus gets his personhood from his divinity which would necessarily be outside of all the universe(s) and One. So… now this one would be hard to think out how a parallel universe model could be compatible with Christianity.

Also, according to m-theory, there would also be universes in which Jesus never existed. If you say there are not multiple heavens, do all of these people go to hell because they were never “saved?” in the sense that there was no jesus to die for their sins?.

(Again from a Catholic perspective) Heaven is most certainly part of the created Universe or at least part of “creation.” It depends on how you define the “universe,” that is if it includes the non-physical realities or not. If the non-physical realities (Angels and etc.) are separate from what we are calling the “universe” it would just mean there is another “place” that is also created. From a Catholic perspective God is the only thing that is not created. From a philosophical perspective there is only one uncaused cause.

Jesus (at least his human nature) is a special creation of God (the miracle virgin birth). M-theory or not there would be no Jesus(s) in any of these universes unless there was a the special occurrence of God willing it. M-theory has nothing to say about Jesus existing in any of the universes because he is not a product of the natural causal order of any of those universes.

The salvation or not of any of these (theoretical) universes could be “dealt with” from a Catholic perspective in numerous ways. One way would be that Jesus (assuming for the moment that there was only one instance of his human nature in one of the universes) could appear in each of the other universes. Being God, he, in his divine nature, is outside the universe(s) and the cause of all of them and as such he can cause his human nature to appear in each of them. He could bi-locate or to make up a more accurate term “multi-locate.” This would be a little like what the Mormons claim Jesus did in the Americas. While I would argue the Mormons are wrong that this happened (a topic for another thread), it is the general position of the Catholic Church that Jesus can and does appear in some places (like in the appearances to St. Faustina).

I did not say a person needs consciousness *alone *to be a person. Also, since I was addressing a grown and thinking individual, my use of “you” is approriate and so is my point to the poster. Obviously, I could not speak to a fetus with the word “you” since it would lack reasoning abilities. Although I do admit that a person need not have consciousness to be a person, it is true that, an unconscious person must be *capable *of consciousness at some point, since it has a soul. Otherwise, there could be no distinguishing a person from, say, a plant. Both are unconscious at birth, yet a human has the seed of consciousness, so to speak, which, barring any calamity, will sprout into consciousness. Thus I think my point still holds. Also, there is no direct link to a postitive argument in your favor. It does not follow that, because a person can be a person and not have consciousness presently that there is any reason to think “identical people” can be coexisting in parallel universes. Although a physical body could be exactly identical, a person is, by Roman Catholic definition, a body/soul composite. Such a composite, since it implies either self-consciousness or the ability to become self-conscious, strictly rules out replication, as my first point showed.

well i’m approaching the concept like this. Heaven is not a place you could physical travel to inside our universe. Thus it is not part of the material universe.

there may be an uncaused cause, though i dont see how this string of logic proves that there are not multiple incarnations of this uncaused cause. One for every universe and thus multiple heavens. Otherwise there would be 10^10^10^7 i believe, mes running around up there after i die. Or 10^10^16 mes… (Since the total amount of information that one individual can absorb in a lifetime is about 10^16 bits, which is equivalent to 10^10^16 configurations, this means that a human brain couldn’t distinguish more than 10^10^16 universes. -lisa zyga)

[quote=Soulewolf;7051423
]M theory holds within it (in fact much is based upon) the idea that our universe is not the only universe. That there is a me somewhere out there that, through an alternate history, could be drinking a beer right now, and yet another universe where i could be Mormon or even a completely physically different being whose hobby it is to shoot milk out of my nose (or whatever orifaces that this physically different being has.
[/quote]

The “M” in M-theory (an expanded version of string theory) has been variously termed (by Whitten, its principal proponent, and others) as “Mystery”, “Membrane” and “Muddle”.

The spiritual, philosophical and metaphysical ramifications of M-Theory are astounding. Lets delve into them shall we?

I’m not sure I agree with that statement. One might read “Not Even Wrong” by Peter Voit,
which says that M-theory has gone beyond science in that it’s not empirically verifiable and contains so many adjustable parameters that its verification would be meaningless, even if possible. The title comes from Wolfgang Pauli’s (Pauli was one of the fathers of quantum theory) criticism of a paper: “it’s so bad it’s not even wrong.”

[quote=Soulewolf;

7051423M theory holds within it (in fact much is based upon) the idea that our universe is not the only universe. That there is a me somewhere out there that, through an alternate history, could be drinking a beer right now, and yet another universe where i could be Mormon or even a completely physically different being whose hobby it is to shoot milk out of my nose (or whatever orifaces that this physically different being has >_>).

I wonder if what you’re thinking about is not the Everett-DeWitt “Many Worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics, to which many physicists and some philosophers adhere (in another version “many minds”). This is a “respectable” interpretation, but again not scientific in that it’s not empirically verifiable–it’s metaphysics, not physics.

i think personally that the verification is in the accuracy of predictions. Sure a wrong model can make accurate predictions, but that isnt what the thread is about.

We assume the many worlds interpretations is correct and that is our starting point for this discussion.

To put it concisely;

Even if your quiddity (whatness) were identical; your haecceity (thisness) would not be; ie; ergo you would be distinct.

so you believe that when you reach heaven, there will be 10^10^16 yous running around up there (assuming m-theory is an accurate model)?

so you believe that when you reach heaven, there will be 10^10^16 yous running around up there

"assuming m-theory is an accurate model "

No; because they would not be me…

Further more; even granting a multiverse theorem; there is no causal necessity implicit in the existence of even an infinity of universes (which is impossible); so I shall say instead a vast number of universes.

Ie; even if a trillion universes exist; I could exist in none of them; or exist identially in all of them; there is no reason that an accident would be replicated by multiplicity except in light of an increased probability; which does not constitute a transition to necessity.

However; even if I did exist innumerably in an identical form; I would be a really distinct entity; because my present existence asserts no causal existence over any other potential agents; be they similar to me or not. Moreover; an essential part of myself; my soul and consciousness are not shared with; nor would be; other similar agents to myself.

Imagine thus; if we were to replicate your or my computer ad infinitum; whilst each replication (might) be identical in quid or in terms of what it is; they would all be distinct insofar in haec or in terms of “this” or “that” one; and the process of one or the other would not causally influence the next.

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