On Retrocausal Engineering

Part of the Retrocausal Engineering sequence

(Epistemic status: The object of a class of thing that pattern matches to personal religion but is a bit more complicated than that)

Welcome to Retrocausal Engineering 101, the art and science (but really, same thing) of doing the things right so that the things that have already happened will have happened the way they were supposed to so that you can do the things right. If you weren’t able to track that sentence, that’s fine, you might need to review Atemporality 090 or possibly even Loops 001, depending on your past, present, future, subjunctive and subjective experience with nonlinear time. For those still with me, however, you’ll find that you already understand the subject matter if you’re here. Class dismissed.

I have recently been coming to grips with the idea that people after a certain amount of life experience and self exploration start worrying less about the object level actions they take, and more about the systems under which they take those actions, and what the long term strategy is. Rather than just accept a system imposed on them from outside, they essentially find ways to contextualize the ground under the system – religions, laws, stories, etc. are basically designed to convey the cultural intelligence of a given set of humans to the children and young adults within that culture, before they’ve had the life experience to derive the things themselves.

Unfortunately, a thing happens over time where the leaders within a system also forget why it was there, because if the system works well enough, it’s actually not terribly necessary to question it – but then the world changes around the system, and it starts falling apart, and then people who normally would have gone through the “finding out how the system was actually right the whole time” process…haven’t done so, and the system can’t be easily adjusted to accommodate new worlds. What happens next is the system dies, a lot of people get hurt, and then there’s a period of instability in which a lot of competing systems basically go all survival of the memetically fittest in order to keep humans around in a world much bigger than they are.

A way that systems survive this process is by including a role for rebels – the types of people who reject the system, will always reject the system, and will basically try to do their own thing. From there, the system just creates roles for the type of person doing this thing and the arguments still become part of the body of the system – if all roads lead to Rome, eventually everyone becomes a Roman. I have heard (but not verified) that Catholicism does this. There are likely other ways this works, but I haven’t yet encountered them.

So, the culmination of all this is that I am at the step in the process where I’m coming up with my own system, essentially by grabbing all the rationalist shibboleths and other experiences I’ve had, contextualizing them in ways that make deep, meaningful sense to me, and trying to unify the reality around me. I am at the early stages where I don’t know the consensus/academic/scientific versions of the concepts I’m playing with, but I’m having a lot of fun with it. However, an important part of this, as far as I can tell, is realizing that in the end, your system will fail, and it will hurt. However, the journey in building and contextualizing things systematically is deeply important for growth as a person.

Overall, meaning making is a powerful process that is pretty difficult to revert once you’ve tasted the fruit of systematic abstraction. The human brain is in fact a powerful pattern matcher and there is a lot you can do by letting that process run wild – but I would caution against going too far with that. Retrocausal engineering is a system that fits my own understanding of the world and way of interacting with the world to explain the majority of my experience – but it’s important to not take it too literally (except when you should). Furthermore, these systems are difficult to invent from raw reading and intellectualizing – there’s a component of developing meaning that involves the body and raw experience. If you want to read this post and run off and invent a theory of everything, I would advise doing something physical/embodied first and seeing what you find.


Discussion questions: What’s your personal theory of everything, if you have one? What experiences went into generating? How did you figure it all out? If you don’t have a theory of everything, how do you currently move through the world?

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