Writing a book like ‘What If We Don’t Die?’ brings you intellectually around quite a bit. You dive into sources of very varied nature, and you get exhilarated by the thoughts of Plato, Kierkegaard, Einstein. The many unexpected discoveries are one of the rewards of writing interdisciplinary books – and one of the risks.
Sometimes on such a journey you encounter unexpectedly much of the unexpected. When the first draft of the book was finished I happened to read Max Tegmark’s ‘Our Mathematical Universe’ and it was like taking LSD without the actual drug. Wildly and durably expanding your consciousness! Suddenly you had not only one kind of multiverse, but 4 kinds. Reality could not just be described by mathematics, but as a mathematical structure – thoughts that take you on the Schrödinger wave function highway and beyond. My draft expanded in surprising directions! Tegmark may not be impressed with how I have used his insights, but it is in the nature of being an inspirator that you cannot control how your inspiration is being used.
Marco Aliberti, my colleague here at the European Space Policy Institute, can sing a song about that! When Marco came onboard I thought I had a finished draft more or less, and I asked Marco to read it to try to avoid the most glaring mistakes. But Marco came back with questions and suggestions ‘didn’t Schopenhauer say ….’, ‘you know the origin of the word ‘exist’….’ etc. etc.. The result of all Marco’s prompting was that the draft that did feel a bit bare originally became much richer, more full-bodied. The inspiration of Marco was crucial, even if Marco must often have felt that the inspiration he provided ended in surprising destinations when I appropriated it.
Now, neither Tegmark nor Marco are to blame for failings of my book. Tegmark’s book is ample testimony to the strength of his imagination and the mastery of his subject. And Marco has in the recent past himself published a book ‘When China Goes to the Moon…’, from which you can gather how strong Marco is in international relations theory and all matters space – in addition to his exquisite knowledge of philosophy and adoration of poetry.
I hope you will read my book, but you MUST read those of Marco and Max Tegmark!