Posted in Philosophy, Special Long Essays

The Tree Of Possibilities

Author Bernard Werber (the inspiration for this Encyclopaedia) posited the following theory: if we could see the future, would we not actively build towards a better future? Imagine a tree soaring high into the sky, stretching countless branches in all directions. The many branches of the tree branch off into smaller branches, which branch into even more smaller branches. At the end of each branch, there hangs a leaf. This tree is not a normal tree; it is a Tree of Possibilities that represents the flow of time from the beginning of the universe to the distant future. Each split in a branch represents the creation of two different futures due to a choice or a change, while a leaf represents the final future created from the cumulative effects of these changes. Thus, the Tree of Possibilities is the ultimate crystal ball showing all the pasts that could have been and all the futures that can happen.

Of course the Tree of Possibilities is a fictional model created in our imaginations. But what if we could actually make this tree? First, we would create an organisation of the greatest scientists, mathematicians, sociologists, psychologists, historians, philosophers, science fiction writers etcetera that represent the many fields of knowledge. These people are gathered in a location far from the reaches of governments and the media, where they can discuss without any interference. These specialists will debate over all sorts of topics, amalgamating their knowledge and intuition to generate a tree diagram as mentioned above. This is a diagram free from ethics, morals, laws, optimism, pessimism and individualism – the ultimate objective view of all possible futures that humanity and the Earth may face. The experts may agree with each other at times and disagree at times. There is ample possibility that their postulations are wrong. But none of these matter. The important point is not that the Tree is “accurate” or not, but that it is an extensive scenario database of all the paths humanity can walk on towards the future.

The Tree of Possibilities will have various conjectures such as: What if nuclear war broke out? What if artificial intelligence is perfected? What if chimpanzees reach the intelligence levels of human beings? What if we build cities on the Moon? However, the future is altered much more easily that you would think. Thus, there will also be branches representing much more trivial and ordinary (even bizarre) postulations as well: What if smoking is banned? What if the average age women gave birth is older? What if rhinoceroses were domesticated pets? What if pianos do not exist?

On analysing these numerous postulations, a branch bearing the leaf with the ideal future will be found. Ergo, we can choose to follow a path of least resistance, where all the choices we make will ultimately lead to that ideal future. Essentially, the Tree of Possibilities is a tool that is used to predict the future. However, it is not “fortune telling” as it is based on logic rather than magic and divinity to see into the future. The future the Tree tells is not a set “destiny”, but rather one “possibility”. Thus, instead of fearing the future like we do with fortunes, we would instead feel excitement over the potential of finding the ideal future. If the path we are currently on is fated to an unhappy ending, then we can simply jump onto a different path with the guidance of the Tree. Unlike fortune telling, which destroys all uncertainty and any other possibilities in the future, the Tree of Possibilities provides humanity with the greatest gift: dreams of a better future.

As you could imagine, the possibilities of the future are infinite so a drawn-out diagram of the Tree of Possibilities would take up extensive amounts of space. Ergo, the ideal form of the Tree of Possibilities would be a computer program. As computer programs only need sufficient storage space, it provides a perfect environment in which the Tree may grow. The program would generate a Tree based on the information provided by the scholars, drawing out each branch and leaf, while also calculating the effects of any action on each of the possible futures. If we further applied the engine used in chess programs to predict the next few moves, then we may be able to create a program that can calculate the ideal future and the path of least resistance for humanity.

My ideal future is this. There is an isolated island, far from any interference, with a large building. At the centre of this building, there lies a supercomputer running The Tree of Possibilities. The computer is surrounded by lecture theatres, conference rooms and residential areas. Thus, specialists of each field may come to stay and use their knowledge to water the Tree and foster it. This island will provide humanity with hopes and dreams, leading them towards the best possible future based on logic and imagination.

The Tree of Possibilities will radically change our day-to-day lives. One of the greatest weaknesses of human beings is the inability to see the long-term happiness and sacrificing it for short-term gain. However, if we were able to see precisely how our actions will affect the future, then would we not act differently? Armed with insight and foresight, people will understand what is best for the future, and instead of the current near-sighted attitude of only seeing the gain right before our eyes, they will act in the best interests of their children and grandchildren. Politicians will see how useless bickering over trifling issues is and instead focus on policies that take a while to show the effects (yet nonetheless important), such as environmental conservation. The Tree of Possibilities will help us make rational decisions to create a world that the future generation will be happy living in, without being swayed by emotions and selfish greed. And so, we will build towards a utopia.

The greatest weapon a person has is imagination that can build the future.

Posted in Science & Nature

Clarke’s Three Laws Of Prediction

The following are three laws conjectured by acclaimed science fiction author, Arthur C. Clarke, regarding predicting the future.

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Posted in Life & Happiness


Have you ever had a moment when something so unbelievable, so improbable that you never would have imagined it would happen, happened? When something you could only dream of actually happened in real life? When something so impossible that you must have stepped into a parallel universe for that thing to happen? The feeling that such a moment brings is indescribable.

Success is not about money and power. Success is not a product of luck. To become successful, one must change their state of mind first. The most crucial thing to understand is that the only limit is that there are no limits. Only when you dare to go past what is possible will you attain anything worthwhile. “To the impossible?” you may ask. No, true success lies beyond the impossible. A place where the possible and the impossible meet to become: the possimpible. Only when you have become the master of the possimpible will you be able to confidently say that you have succeeded in life.

Nothing, and everything is possimpible. 

Posted in Science & Nature

Murphy’s Law

In 1947, an aerospace engineer named Edward A. Murphy Jr was involved in high-speed rocket sled experiments led by the US Air Force. The aim of the experiment was to research the effect of sudden deceleration on the human body so to improve the safety of jet fighter pilots. To study this, a flight surgeon named Dr John Stapp devised a “sled” attached to a rocket that could be used on a long track. The rocket would propel the sled to a massive speed and brakes would induce as sudden deceleration. However, they found that the machines that were used to measure the G-force (force of deceleration relative to the force of gravity) were unreliable. Murphy proposed that they use electronic strain gauges attached to the harness of the test subject to measure the G-force, something he learned while working with centrifuges.

The idea was great but there was one problem: the gear kept failing, showing no reading whatsoever. Murphy soon found that the sensors were attached correctly but were wired backwards. This simple mistake frustrated Murphy, who blamed the incompetency of his assistant, stating that “if that guy has any way of making a mistake, he will.” This became the famous Murphy’s law, now simplified to “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.

Murphy’s law actually played a fundamental role in defensive design, where the worst-case scenario is always assumed and prepared for. Thanks to this system, the rocket sled experiment was successful and in 1954 Dr Stapp became the fastest man in the world – travelling at a speed of 1011km per hour and decelerating at a force of 46G (it was hypothesised that a human being could not survive past 18G). Not only did he survive (albeit with broken limbs, ribs, hernias, detached retina and temporary blindness), Dr Stapp went to build bigger rockets to further test the limits of the human body.

Interestingly, there’s another side to the Murphy’s law involving psychology. People suffer from a fallacy called appeal to probability, where they believe that because there is a possibility of something can happen, it will happen. The brain is surprisingly inefficient in dealing with probabilities and has a tendency to ignore that there is a relatively miniscule possibility and instead focuses on the absolute fact that there “is” a probability. This is the best explanation for why people are compelled to buy lottery tickets and why every student believes they will grow up to be rich and successful. 

Posted in Psychology & Medicine


Deep within the rainforests of Malaysia, there lived a tribe called the Senoi. Because they centred their lives on dreams, they were also called the Tribe of Dreams.
Every morning as they ate breakfast around a fire, they discussed their own dreams from the previous night. All social activities within the tribe had a close connection with those dreams. If one dreamed of harming someone, they had to give the harmed person a present straight away. If one hit someone in a dream they had to ask for forgiveness from that person along with another present.

The Senoi tribe placed more importance in education regarding dreams over that of how to live in the real world. If a child dreamed of running away from a tiger, the tribe would tell the child to dream of the tiger again and then fight it until it was killed. The elders taught the children how to achieve this. If the child could not defeat the tiger, the tribe would scold him.
Placing such importance on dreams, the Senoi tribe thought reaching an orgasm in a dream involving sex was a must, followed by thanking the other person with a gift in reality. If they faced an enemy in a nightmare, they had to defeat him and later befriend him by exchanging gifts. The dream they wished for most was a dream about flying. If someone dreamed of flying, the tribe would congratulate him, and a child’s first dream about flying was almost like baptism in the Catholic church. People would bring many gifts to the child and then teach him how to fly to distant lands to bring back wonderful objects.

Western anthropologists were fascinated by the Senoi tribe. There was no violence, mental disease, stress or greed. Only enough work to survive was required.
The Senoi tribe disappeared in the 1970s when the forest they lived in was cleared. However, we can still utilise their knowledge.

In a dream, we can test our infinite potential. In a dream, everyone is omnipotent. The first hurdle in dream aviation is flight. Spread your arms, glide around, dive, turn again then rise. Anything is possible. You can do anything you want. As a dream is your own world, no one can bother you. If a monster appears, shoot it with a bazooka. If you face an opportunity to date, do not let it go and make full use of it. Since there are no sexually transmitted diseases or indecency in a dream, there is nothing stopping you.
Dream aviation requires an increasing degree of training. As your “flight” time lengthens, your confidence will grow and you will get the hang of it. Normally, children can control their dreams in any way they wish within 5 months of training, but adults can take much longer than this.

(from The Encyclopaedia of Relative and Absolute Knowledge by Bernard Werber)

Posted in Philosophy

The Difference Between You And I

If you do it, it’s verbal abuse;  if I do it, it’s humour.
If you do it, it’s an affair;  if I do it, it’s romance.
If you do it, it’s graffiti;  if I do it, it’s art.
If you do it, it’s showing off;  if I do it, it’s romance.

If you do it, it’s being drunk;  if I do it, it’s entertainment.
If you do it, it’s foolish;  if I do it, it’s romance.
If you do it, it’s a lie;  if I do it, it’s the truth.
If you do it, it’s a scandal;  if I do it, it’s romance.

If you do it, it’s wasting time;  if I do it, it’s resting.
If you do it, it’s stalking;  if I do it, it’s romance.
If you do it, it’s your fault;  if I do it, it’s your fault.
If you do it, it’s insane;  if I do it, it’s romance.

If you do it, it’s impossible;  if I do it, it’s possible.