Whether can give knowledge of the future to us definiteness?

“Que sera sera”. What must be must be. To us it isn’t this to see the future. Que sera sera” So sang Doris Dai in 1956, expressing nearly general opinion of mankind that it is impossible to learn the future.

Even if it not general opinion, people, proceeding from universal experience, believe that we don’t know the future. That is, we don’t know it directly and directly as we know components of the past and the present. We see how something happens in the present, we remember something from the past, but we don’t see and we don’t remember the future.

However impressions can be deceptive, and memory unreliable. And even direct knowledge such isn’t something undoubted and invariable. Besides, there is indirect knowledge of the future which is so certain, as well as what we learn by means of direct perception or memoirs. I am sure that I know: tomorrow there will surely ascend the sun. I know: if with a force to throw a stone into my kitchen window, it will break. On the other hand, last year in Christmas Eve I didn’t know that in my hometown of York on Christmas there will pass the heavy rain, and in the second day of Christmas it will almost be completely cut off from the rest of the world because of a flood.

In the ancient world and as it seems to me, in our childhood such events as a flood in York cause in us confidence that we can’t know the future. I can know something about the future, but not all. I am sure that tomorrow there will be certain events about which I don’t know. In the past such events could attribute to an inscrutable will of gods. Flooded York because god of a rain was in bad mood or wanted to play with us. In my insurance policy such catastrophic crashes are called “force majeure”. When we feel that it is impossible to foresee the winner on elections, we say that “the result is known to one god”.

Aristotle formulated evidence of the future logic language. In Athens where he lived, sea-borne invasion at that time was always possible. It expressed the arguments the following offer: “Tomorrow there will be a sea battle”. One of classical laws of logic it “the law excluded the third” according to which any statement either is true, or is false. Two judgments, one of which formulates denial of another, can’t be at the same time false. That is, either judgment, or its denial is true. But Aristotle declared that statements “there will be a sea battle tomorrow” and “tomorrow will be sea battle” are finally true because both opportunities lead to fatalism. For example, if the first statement is right, then nobody can prevent sea battle and in any way. Therefore, these statements belong to the third logical category, and aren’t neither true, nor false. Presently such conclusion found the reflection in multiple-valued logic.

But some statements in future time really seem true. I gave an example “tomorrow there will be the sun” and when I throw a stone, “this window will break”. Let’s look at it more fixedly. Actually, any of these statements for the future isn’t true for 100%. The sun can tomorrow and not rise if some galactic star trawler ship arrives in our solar system today, will grab our star and will be carried away away with velocity of light. When I throw a stone into a window, my elder brother who is the responsible family member and the magnificent goalkeeper can pass by. He will see how I throw a stone, and will catch it to salvage a window.

We didn’t know that tomorrow morning the sun won’t ascend, as usual; I didn’t know that my silly prank won’t work well. But such ignorance isn’t a specific consequence of that fact that we speak about the future. If at the protection program from space bodies of Spaceguard the responsibility zone was wider, we would learn about approach of the star trawler ship, and respectively, we would would know that we see the sun last time. Know I where there is my brother, I would foresee that he will start salvaging a window. In both cases ignorance of the future comes down to ignorance of the present.

Success of modern science caused emergence of the idea that the following is always true: ignorance of the future can always be connected with ignorance something from the present. An increasing number of the phenomena falls under operation of laws of physics; in the same way, an increasing number of events can be explained with the previous events which became their reason. With respect thereto there was a confidence that if it is enough to know about the present, it is possible to predict with big definiteness any event in the future. The statement of the French mathematician Pierre-Simon of Laplace made by it in 1814 became the best-known manifestation of such confidence:

We shall consider this condition of the Universe as a result of its previous condition and as the reason of subsequent. Mind to which all forces animating the nature, and a relative provision of all its components would be known for any this moment if in addition it was rather extensive to subordinate these data to the analysis, would embrace in one formula of movement of the greatest bodies of the Universe on an equal basis with movements of the smallest atoms: there is no nothing left that for it would be doubtful, and the future as well as the past, would appear before his look.

This idea was introduced still by Isaac Newton who in 1687 had a dream:

It is a pity that we can’t remove other natural phenomena from the principles of mechanics by means of the same reasonings because for many reasons I am inclined to suspect that all of them can depend on certain forces because of which for the reasons hitherto they or are attracted by the unknown to each other, creating the correct figures, or make a start and depart from each other.

From this point of view, everything in the world consists of particles of extremely small sizes, and their behavior is explained by action of forces forcing these particles to move according to the equations of movement of Newton. Future movement of particles is completely predetermined if their provision and speed at this or that moment are known. It is the theory of a determinism. Therefore if we don’t manage to learn the future, then only for the reason that we know about the present insufficiently.

Throughout two centuries it seemed that Newton’s dream comes true. The material world got more and more under influence of physics as matter was analyzed at the level of molecules and atoms, and its chemical, biological, geological and astronomical properties described Newtonian terminology. Matter particles about which Newton spoke had to be replaced with electromagnetic fields to show a complete picture of what the world consists of. But the fundamental idea that all of them submit to laws of a determinism remained. Nature whims, such as the storms and floods which were earlier seeming an unpredictable whim of gods became possible to be predicted. And if some phenomena like earthquakes can’t still be predicted, then we with confidence say that thanks to emergence of new knowledge in the future such forecasts will become possible.

This scientific program turned out so successful that we forgot about availability of other ideas of the future. The physicist from University of Washington Mark G Alford writes about it so:

In regular life, and also in science before emergence of quantum mechanics it was supposed that any uncertainty which we face … is result of ignorance.

We absolutely forgot that the uncertain world was populated with human race long before the 17th century, and we perceive Newton’s dream as a natural view of the wakening reality.

Well, it was the beautiful dream. But everything has turned out in a different way. At the beginning of the 20th century Ernest Rutherford, studying just open phenomenon of radioactivity, has understood that it shows the casual events which are taking place at the fundamental level of matter in atom and in his kernel. But it didn’t mean that it is necessary to refuse Newton’s dream. The kernel is not the lowermost level of matter, but the difficult object consisting of protons and neutrons. If we precisely knew how these particles settle down and move, then we, probably, could foretell when there is a radioactive decay of a kernel. However other, stranger opening of that time have led to radical withdrawal from the Newtonian physics presented by quantum mechanics. They have confirmed opinion that the phenomena of the smallest scale are really casual and that precisely it is impossible to learn the future.

Those opening which had to oppose new physics of the 1920th years were double. On the one hand, an explanation of distribution of lengths of waves radiation, by the let-out hot matter which Max Planck has given and the explanation of photo-electric effect Albert Einstein was pointed that energy arrives in a discrete form, but doesn’t vary continuously as it has to be by rules of mechanics of Newton and the electromagnetic theory of James Maxwell. On the other hand, George Padzhet Thomson, Clinton Devisson and Lester Dzhermer’s experiments on electrons have shown that electrons sometimes behave as a wave though earlier it has been fixed that it is particles.

These puzzling facts have found a system, coherent and uniform mathematical explanation in the theory of quantum mechanics which has evolved from works of theorists after 1926. The quantum theory is so mysterious that is unclear whether it is possible to call it “explanation” of those puzzling facts which she classifies. But her major line which seems incontestable is that when on the basis of this theory do forecasts about physical impacts, they give not exact figures, but probability percent.

So far it is recognized not by all. Some people consider that as a part of matter there are thinner details which if we recognize them, will allow us to predict precisely her behavior in the future again. From the point of view of logic it of course is possible, but in this theory such aspects because of most of which of physicists will consider that it is extremely improbable will surely be found.

The format of the quantum theory very strongly differs from the previous physical theories, such as mechanic Newton and electromagnetism. These theories work with mathematical descriptions of state of peace or its some part. In them there are equations of the movement which by means of such mathematical descriptions tell us, what will turn after a certain interval of time into. The quantum mechanics works too with a mathematical object which describes state of peace. It is called a state vector (though it is not a vector in three dimensions, as speed), and he is often designated the Greek letter Ψ or some other similar symbol.

But this other mathematical description different from descriptions in mechanics and electromagnetism. In each of these theories a set of numbers which measure physical properties, such as speed of the specified particle or electric field in the specified space point is used. On the other hand, the quantum vector of a state is more sophisticated thing, and his relation to physical quantities is indirect. From a state vector we can receive values of physical quantities, but not all: we can choose what values we want to learn, but it is impossible to choose them all completely.

Moreover, when we will solve what values we want to learn, vector of a state won’t give us the concrete answer, and will give only a percent of probability of possible different answers. The quantum mechanics differs in it from a determinism. It is quite strange, but in the relation to changes the quantum mechanics is similar to old deterministic theories. In her there is too an equation of the movement, the Schrödinger equation which will tell us what through this time will become this vector of state of peace. But as from this vector we can draw interest only probabilities, it won’t show that we will see after this time.

In general the vector of a state is strange and obscure piece, and is absolutely not clear how it describes physical objects of the real world. But some descriptions match those descriptions which we are able to understand (if not to stare at them too). For example, among vectors of a condition of a cat there is one which describes the sitting and quite purring cat. And there is one more, describing the dead cat poisoned with the devil device invented by the physicist Ervin Schrödinger.

But there are also other vectors the fortune which are come into in the mathematical way due to combination of two above-mentioned vectors. Such combined vector of a condition can be constituted from the part describing a live cat and from the part describing his dead. It not two cats: the sense of history of Schrödinger is that the same cat is as if described at the same time live and dead. And we can’t understand how such conditions can describe something, arising in the real world. Physicists of different generations asks: how we can believe in this theory if we never saw live-dead cats?

The answer to this riddle is. If I open a box in which Schrödinger prepared a poor cat, then regular laws of daily physics will make the following. If the cat is alive, the image of a live cat will remain at me on a retina and in a visual zone of a cerebral cortex, and the system consisting of me and a cat, as a result will appear in quite clear condition in which the cat will be alive, and I will see a live cat. If the cat is dead, I will have an image of a dead cat, and the system consisting of me and a cat, as a result will be able in which the cat will be dead, and I will see a dead cat.

According to laws of quantum mechanics it follows from this that if the cat in superposition is alive and dead, then the system consisting of me and a cat will appear in superposition of two final conditions described above. In such superposition there is no condition of the brain seeing an unusual condition of a dead-live cat. Regular conditions of my brain — acquaintances in whom I see a live cat, and I see a dead cat. It is the answer to a question from the previous paragraph; follows from quantum mechanics that if cats and have conditions in which they seem both live, and dead, then we will never see a cat in such condition.

But the combined system as a part of me and a cat is one of the strangest conditions of imposing in quantum mechanics. Mathematically it is provided by the sign “+”, and it is called a condition of a complexity me and a cat. How to understand it? Perhaps the mathematical character “+” means only “or”? It makes a sense. But unfortunately, if to apply this value to electron conditions, it is incomparable to the facts of the interference observed in the experiments showing wave behavior of an electron. Some people consider that this “+” should be understood as “and”. When a cat and I are in a superposition condition, there is a world in which the cat died, and I see a dead cat. And there is other world in which the cat is alive, and I see a live cat. Others don’t consider such picture useful. Probably, we should just accept it (in a sense) as the true description of a cat and me which value is higher than our understanding.

Let’s expand our horizons now and we will consider all Universe which contains each of us considered as the being observing physical system. According to quantum mechanics, there is here a description of a vector of a condition in which the system of a being gets confused from other Universe, and several different feelings of system of a being participate in this process of a sputyvaniye. The same general vector of a condition of all Universe can be considered as a tangled condition for each system of beings in the Universe; these are just different points of view on the same universal truth.

But the statement that it is the truth about the Universe as though contradicts my knowledge of what I see. To illustrate it, let’s consider the small Universe consisting only of me and a cat again. Let’s assume that when I made Schrödinger’s experiment, the cat survived. In that case I know what my condition: I see a live cat. From this I know what condition of a cat: he is alive. The confused condition of my small Universe which resulted from my experiment also contains a part with a dead cat and my brain which is complete of repentance.

But seeing a live cat as it is done by me, I believe that such other picture isn’t a part of the truth. It describes something that could occur, but didn’t occur. In general, considering all Universe, I know that I have only one certain feeling. But it contradicts told in the previous paragraph. What then from this truth?

This contradiction of the same type, as many contradictions familiar to us between objective and subjective statements. Thomas Nagel shows in the book The View from Nowhere how it is possible to resolve some of these contradictions. We shall recognize that there are two line items from which we can establish the facts or values and that the statements made in these two contexts are incomparable. It is applicable to the riddle provided by quantum mechanics, as follows. In an external context (the point of view of God, or “a look”) we are beyond our specific situation from nowhere and we carry on a conversation on all Universe. In an internal context (a look from here and now) we make the stating statements as physical objects in the Universe.

Thus, from the external point of view a tangled universal vector of a condition all this the truth about the Universe. The components describing my different possible feelings and the corresponding conditions of other Universe it is (unequal) parts of this truth. But from the internal point of view, from a line item of a certain specific feeling which as I know, I feel this feeling together with the corresponding condition of other Universe is the real truth. I can learn what other components as I can calculate a universal vector of a condition, using the equations of quantum mechanics; but for me these other components represent things which could occur, but didn’t occur.

As I can’t see the future, I am not able to isolate any of the worlds of such future.

Now we can look that the quantum mechanics tells us about the future. As far as we can expect now, there are two answers, on one for each of two points of view. From the external point of view, the Universe at any this moment is characterized as a universal vector of a condition, and condition vectors in different timepoints correspond with each other according to the Schrödinger equation. Taking into account a condition vector now, the Schrödinger equation gives a unique vector of a condition for any moment in the future. It is the deterministic theory which is completely corresponding to Laplace’s outlook (in the quantum version).

But from the internal point of view everything looks differently. We should specify now the specific observer (in the above-stated discussion it was I, but it could also be you or anyone, or even all mankind combined), concerning whom we can divide a universal vector of a condition as it is stated above. And we should specify a specific condition of feelings of this observer. From this point of view, by determination the fact that the observer has certain feelings and that other Universe is in the corresponding certain condition is true.

Therefore the quantum mechanics tells us that at present there are several different worlds. But I know that one of them is allocated especially as the world which I know and whose thinner details I open during the experiment. But when we address the future, the situation appears other. As I can’t see the future, I can’t distinguish specifically any of the worlds of the future. Even if now there is only one world, and seen by me will be approved with a universal vector of a condition of quantum mechanics, can happen so that laws of quantum mechanics will give us imposing of the worlds in the future. For example, if I begin with feelings from preparation of an experiment of Schrödinger with a cat, then at the end of an experiment the universal vector of a condition will be imposing of what we already faced, and one part containing me will see a live cat, and other part containing me will see a dead cat. And what then I will be able to tell about what I will see in this future?

When I for the first time faced it, it very puzzled me. I got used to think that in the future something waits for me even if I can’t know that it and even if there is no law of the nature determining what is it. Here truly, what must be must be. But Aristotle already understood that it is incorrect. Statements in future time don’t submit to the same logic, as statements in the present. They don’t need to be either true, or false. Logicians after Aristotle allowed a possibility of the third true value in addition to “true” and “false”, calling it “uncertain” or “not permitted”.

However Aristotle also noted that though any statement about the future isn’t really true, some of them it is more probable than others. Similarly, the universal vector of a state contains in future time for me more information, than just those feelings which I can have at this time. These feelings appearing as components of a universal vector of a state assist him in various degree, and are measured by coefficients which are usually used in quantum mechanics for calculation of probabilities. Therefore we can imagine future universal state as giving information not only on what feelings I can have in such future time, but also on that, each such feeling is how probable.

Further, the truth and falsehood can be expressed in a numerical look. At the true statement value of the validity 1, and at false 0. If future event of X is very probable and therefore the probability of X is close to 1, then the statement “X will happen” very close to the truth. If the event of X is improbable, and this probability is close to 0, then the statement “X will happen” almost false. It means that value of the validity of the statement in future time has to be between 0 and 1. The true statement matters the validity 1; the false statement matters the validity 0 and if the statement in future time “X happens” matters the validity between 0 and 1, then this figure is an indicator of probability of an event of X.

The nature of probability is an old philosophical problem on which scientists need to find the answer too. Many researchers hold the opinion that the probability of an event makes sense only when circumstances in which there can be an event repeatedly repeat, and we develop time proportion saying that it will occur. But stated just it seems calculation of a single event in time which will come only once. In everyday life we often speak about probability that something will occur only once: that tomorrow there will be a rain that tomorrow the running will be won by a specific horse or that there will be a sea battle. The standard view of probability of such single event is that it belongs to force of conviction of the person claiming about existence of such probability and can be measured by rates which are offered by the people putting on such event.

But the probability described above is the objective fact about the Universe. He has nothing in common with belief and beliefs of the person, and even such person about whose feelings there is a speech. Report to this person the fact about his future feelings and experience, he believes in it or not. The logical theory gives objective sense of probability of a separate event: probability of future event this true value of the assumption in future time that such event happens. I analyze such view of probability and of how quantum mechanics “The logic of the future in the quantum theory” (The Logic of the Future in Quantum Theory) confirms the related multiple-valued logic of temporary assumptions, in the work.

Now it became clear that the description of the physical world in quantum mechanics, namely, the universal vector of a state, plays very different roles in an internal and external context. From the external point of view this complete description of reality; it tells that the Universe represents at present. This full reality can be analyzed concerning any this feeling being that gives a number of the components attached to various feelings of the chosen feeling system and which are parts of universal reality.

However from the internal point of view on system the reality consists only of one of two feelings; the component attached to such feeling is the absolute truth about the Universe for the feeling system. All other nonzero components are what could occur, but hasn’t occurred. In such prospect the role of a universal vector of a state in later time consists not in the description of that what will be the Universe at this time, and in the instruction on how current state of the Universe can change between the present moment and future. It gives the list of opportunities on the future with probability that each of them will become the truth.

Can seem that we at least know such probabilities of the future as we can calculate them on the basis of certain knowledge from our current feelings, using the Schrödinger equation. But even it vaguely. Our current feelings can quite be only a part of a universal state, and it is necessary to enter all vector of a universal state into calculation of future probabilities entirely. What could happen, but didn’t happen (we can even not know something about it), is all the same capable to influence the future. However if these things rather strongly differ from our real feelings at the macroscopic level, then in this case the quantum theory assures us that influence which they can render on the future so isn’t enough that he can be neglected. The investigation of this theory is known as a dekogerention.

Therefore, knowledge of the future is limited fundamentally. Matter isn’t that there are original facts about the future, but knowledge of them is inaccessible to us. There are no facts, and certain knowledge which has to be, just are absent. Nevertheless, there are facts about the future with partial degree of the validity. We can receive knowledge of the future, but this knowledge will always be vaguely.