Quantum suicide

/ and quantum immortality /


A man sits before a gun, which is pointed at his head. This is no ordinary gun; it’s rigged to a machine that measures the spin of a quantum particle. Each time the trigger is pulled, the machine measures the spin of the quantum particle – the quark – depending on the measurement, the gun will either fire, or it won’t. If the particle is measured as spinning in a clockwise motion, the gun will fire, if it is counter clockwise, the gun won’t fire. There is only one click, nervously the man pulls the trigger. The gun clicks, he pulls the trigger agin, the gun clicks agin. He tries this a few more times, again and again, all the way to eternity.

Although the gun is properly loaded and functioning properly, it will never fire, no matter how many times he pulls the trigger, this way, the man has gained immortality. Let’s go back in time to the beginning of the experiment. The man pulls the trigger for the very first time and the particle spins counter clockwise, the gun fires and the man is dead. But wait, the man already pulled the trigger an infinite number of times before we restarted the experiment, how can he be dead. In this way, the man is thought to be both alive and dead. Each time he pulls the trigger, another universe is created. Thus he is in a state of both life and death.

Written, directed, edited and audio by Simon Horrocks; Physicist: Oliver Browne


In quantum mechanics, quantum suicide is a thought experiment, originally published independently by Hans Moravec in 1987 and Bruno Marchal in 1988, and independently developed further by Max Tegmark in 1998. It attempts to distinguish between the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics and the Everett many-worlds interpretation by means of a variation of the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment, from the cat’s point of view. Quantum immortality refers to the subjective experience of surviving quantum suicide regardless of the odds. Hugh Everett took great delight in paradoxes such as the unexpected hanging. Everett did not mention quantum suicide or quantum immortality in writing, but his work was intended as a solution to the paradoxes of quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics says objective reality doesn’t exist, that instead all we see are probabilities collapsing into one particular configuration and all other possible realities might just exist together in a quantum multiverse.

The version of you who died cannot know that he died, only the version of you who lived can know that you lived. Only the living version of you continues on in consciousness. You can’t die because only your living self will keep it’s existence.



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