Optimism, Pessimism, and Infinite Universe Theory

Dr. Borchardt:

One important aspect of the Infinite Universe Theory which may be overlooked, is its ability to stress a positive outlook in our daily lives. You hinted at this in TSW, but it occurred to me that people often tend to view the world by way of Murphy's "Law," which loosely states that "if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment." Firstly, this "law" could never actually be possible in a finite universe. It is so often quoted, that people don't realize that they are confirming an infinite universe at the same time. Only infinity could produce the circumstances that would bring together the events that would produce such calamity in such a way. But, secondly, nobody ever seems to consider that there is a complement to this "law." It could be stated, "if anything can go correctly, it will go correctly, and at the best possible moment." If this were not true, no progress or success would ever occur. And this, too, could not be possible except within an infinite universe. (We could call it "Borchardt's law".) It is the IUT that posits a positive and optimistic outlook. There is always an opportunity awaiting us, no matter how bleak our situation may seem.

It was in the original Star Trek series when I first heard the phrase, "Infinite diversity in infinite combinations." The IUT and TSW confirm this to me every single day.

Frederic Frees


As usual, an interesting observation. I am flattered to have a law named after me. You are correct that there is just as much chance for things to go right as to go wrong. “Right” and “wrong,” of course, are subjective terms—what is right for the rabbit is wrong for the fox who was unable to catch his lunch. That Murphy gets so much play and that no one seems to have invented its opposite until now (maybe it should be “Frees’s Law”), reflects the pessimistic state of the culture at present. It goes with the dark colors, sloppy clothes, and “woe is me” attitude of grunge, county western, blues, and rap. Apparently, the “American Dream” is just that, a dream that is seldom realized by most folks.

I am not sure whether the infinite universe has much to do with how we feel about it. Once the rabbit is caught he becomes pessimistic and the fox becomes optimistic. Actually, IUT and TSW, like all of science, should be neither optimistic nor pessimistic. Like the universe, it just is. The glass really is half full. On the other hand, because I have been so lucky and have had such an easy life, I always have been an eternal optimist. I tend to force myself to be happy at all times. Probably that is why TSW and IUT seem optimistic to you. Another reason would be the pessimism engendered by a theory that fails to work for you (BBT). For many of us anything would be an improvement over that one. Readers like you, who really “get” what TSW is all about, may feel elated because TSW answers so many of the questions that we are taught to accept as unanswerable.

You are right that yet another opportunity always awaits us in an infinite universe. As the global slow-down in the rate of economic growth dominates the headlines during the next four decades we will be hearing a lot about “budget limitations” and “finite resources.” It will be about how we must make do with less and how some must suffer because there isn’t enough to go around on this finite planet. Don’t believe any of it. There is always enough, it is just a matter of distribution. The ones that scream the loudest about finity already have theirs. As an extremely clever species we will decide what kind of world we want to live in. Will it include a lot of $100-million bonuses? No, but it might include a healthy lunch for everyone.

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