The Escape Clause

Since my last post, I have been reflecting on the best means of escaping this trashy novel I am in. I thought that I was onto something when I considered foreshadowing as providing clues as to how the novel ends. But, I have to consider that if the novel is poorly-written, there is probably no foreshadowing at all. Bang! It just stops. It seems that that’s what happened in Hotel Royale. Riker and his away-team act as foreign investors and buy the hotel–end of story. Obviously, that development came out of nowhere. So, I gather that an escape route need not be integral to the novel’s plot. I could come up with anything so long as it remains within the novel’s presumed limits of reality.

However, consider that Riker, Worf, and Data are not organic to the development (whatever that is) of Hotel Royale’s plot. They come from an outside or “alien” reality that was never written into the novel. Their escape is made possible by the fact that they can manipulate the novel’s reality from outside its parameters, from outside the assumptions and pre-conditions on which the novel is based. However, their intrusion into the plot has to be believable to the characters involved, and they are a cheesy bunch. Three aliens from the future who dress funny and seem to have some extraordinary abilities are not within the novel’s characters’ range of comprehension.

Okay. So I’m effectively an alien in relation to the novel’s reality because I can see its limits and the way it functions and am not buying any of it. What flaw in the story can I exploit or change that will still be believable to the characters involved? Will I accidentally be violating the Prime Directive by trying to fix, change, or improve the existing reality? The Prime Directive would not apply to virtual characters in a hologram created by a prior race of aliens, so I think I’m safe in that regard.

Let’s try some equivalencies. The prior race of aliens could correspond to all those humans who, presumably, created the reality in which I find myself. But for whom they created this reality is a mystery because I can find no corresponding Col. Richey who has been abducted and imprisoned. I have to set that factor aside. I arrive at the already prepared Hotel Royale. I know that its reality is not only false, but a very badly-imagined one. This puts me in the away-team with Riker, Worf, and Data. However, I don’t have the luxury of being able to read ahead to the end of the novel to see its conclusion. I am both in the novel and outside of it at the same time. This would seem to be an impossible situation, an unsolvable paradox. I am, in quantum physics’ terms, in superposition. It’s comparable to the situation of Schroedinger’s cat. It is both dead and alive at the same time. Any conscious observation of my situation will propel me either completely into the reality of the novel, or outside of it. Since both possibilities exist in superposition, I have to find a way to tip the balance of possibilities toward the outside condition despite the fact that both outcomes are equally possible. In other words, I have to change a possibility into a probability.

JeanPaintingBlogHeader

Now we’re into Quantum Bayesianism. According to Bruno de Finetti, a founding Bayesian theorist, we need to think of probabilities as gambling attitudes, and this would be entirely consistent with the nature of the Hotel Royale. Since my gambling probabilities are unique to me alone (yours are uniquely yours), all we can do is make our gambling attitudes internally consistent. What de Finetti proposes is not that my probabilities are mostly in my head and some are still anchored to the world (the Hotel Royale), but that there was never a Hotel Royale (fictional or otherwise) to begin with and therefore no probabilities to be considered in relation to it.

Eureka! What de Finetti is saying is that my predicament is wholly imaginary. It is unique to me and not to anybody else as is my experience of a fictional or virtual world from which I believe I cannot escape. In essence, I have made up the entire scenario including the standards by which I judge a story to be good or bad.

Is the away-team more real than the Hotel Royale and all its characters? Despite the away-team’s ability to interfere with the Hotel Royale’s bogus reality, it is no more real than what the novel portrays. It’s all just a matter of individual perspective. We ourselves decide whether or not we are in a novel or outside of it or neither or both.

I’ll bet I sleep really well tonight.