The Physics of Information: Quantum Potentiality to Classical Actuality of Your Experiential Reality
by Alex Vikoulov
“A quantum possibility is more real than a classical possibility, but less real than a classical reality.” -Boris Tsirelson
John Archibald Wheeler was one of the first prominent physicists to propose that reality might not be wholly physical, in some sense, our cosmos must be a “participatory” phenomenon requiring the act of conscious observation — and thus consciousness itself. Wheeler also drew attention to implicit connection between physics and information theory, which was invented in 1948 by mathematician Claude Shannon. Just as physics builds on elementary particles, the quanta, defined by measurement, so does information theory. Its “quantum” is the binary unit, or bit, which is a signal represented by one of two choices: yes or no, plus or minus, zero or one. Ironically, Wheeler’s 'it from bit' implies that a “theory of everything” will always be a work in progress, and that truth is something subjectively created rather than objectively apprehended. “I do take 100 percent seriously the idea that the world is a figment of the imagination,” Wheeler used to remark.
Twisting your mind to see reality from the quantum gravity viewpoint is no easy task. It might be quite a stretch to see the physical world made up of space-time-mass-energy as a formless fog of potentiality. Physicists face the same hard problem as neuroscientists do: the problem of bridging objective description and subjective experience. Physics has encountered consciousness. Quantum theory says an object remains in a superposition of possibilities until observed. We can consider a quantum state as being about our knowledge rather than a direct description of physical reality. The physics of information just may be that bridging of quantum-to-digital reality of subjective experience. We are now at the historic juncture when quantum computing could reveal quantum information processing underpinnings of subjectivity.
INTERPRETATIONS OF QUANTUM MECHANICS
Quantum mechanics is a spectacularly successful theory of fundamental physics that allows us to make probabilistic predictions derived from its mathematical formalism, but the theory doesn’t tell us precisely how these probabilities should be interpreted in regards to phenomenology, i.e. our experiential reality. There are basically three main interpretive camps within quantum mechanics from which stem at least a dozen further interpretations. The first “basic” camp is ‘Many Worlds’ (Hugh Everett, 1957), ‘Many-Minds Interpretation’ (H. Dieter Zeh, 1970), which state that the different possible configurations of a system are literally parallel universes. The second camp is the ‘Pilot Wave’ mechanics, also known as the de Broglie–Bohm theory (1927), which agrees with Many Worlds about the probability amplitude, but supplements it with a “true” configuration that a physical system is “factually” in, regardless of whether or not anyone measures it. Finally, the third interpretative camp, the most popular among physicists to date, is Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg’s original ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ (1927), which asserts that reality doesn’t even exist prior to your observation. The wide variety of “offshoot” interpretations within the Copenhagen camp includes but is not limited to: ‘Ensemble Interpretation’ (Max Born, 1926), ‘Quantum Logic’ (Garrett Birkhoff, 1936), ‘Time-Symmetric Theories’ (Satosi Watanabe, 1955), ‘Consciousness Causes Collapse’ (Eugene Wigner, 1961), ‘Stochastic Interpretation’ (Edward Nelson, 1966), ‘Consistent Histories’ (Robert B. Griffiths, 1984), ‘Transactional Interpretation’ (John G. Cramer, 1986), ‘Objective Collapse Theories’ (Ghirardi–Rimini–Weber, 1986, Penrose interpretation, 1989), ‘Relational Interpretation' (Carlo Rovelli, 1994), 'Cybernetic Interpretation' (Ross Rhodes, 1999), 'Information Interpretation' (Brukner-Zeilinger, 1999), 'QBism' (Christopher Fuchs, Rüdiger Schack, 2010).
Let’s juxtapose the most favored interpretive models. Despite some radical differences, they have a common feature is that the wave function is regarded not as something physically real, but as a mathematical tool that encodes all that can be known about a quantum system. In his seminal 1957 ‘Many Worlds’ paper, Hugh Everett described the pluralistic nature of objective physical reality and denied the actuality of wave function collapse. However, the information content (and ontology) of this kind of reality may turn out to be zero. This is a view expressed by the British philosopher David Pearce that he refers to as ‘Zero Ontology’. Consider the classical Library of Babel. If you may recall, the Borges’ Library of Babel contains all possible books with all possible words and letters in all possible combinations. The Library of Babel has, in fact, zero information content. Yet somewhere amid the nonsense lies Encyclopedia Britannica and the complete works of Shakespeare. Withdrawing a book from the Library of Babel yields a single definite classical outcome — thereby creating information. Withdrawing more books creates more information. When we sum two ordinary non-zero probabilities, we always get a larger probability. Analogies aside, we obviously don't belong to the classical Library of Babel. Now imagine the quantum Library of Babel. Similarly, if we sum two ordinary non-zero probabilities, then we always get a bigger probability. Yet because amplitudes in QM are ‘complex numbers’, summing two amplitudes can yield zero. Scaling up to the whole of quantum multiverse and factoring in the totality of all possible worlds would yield exactly zero. As Jan-Markus Schwindt notes in his 2012 paper "Nothing Happens in the Universe of the Everett Interpretation", the Many Worlds Interpretation is therefore rather a “No World Interpretation”: no faces to be seen, no music to be heard, no aromatic roses, no black caviar, no pleasurable sex, no thoughts, no sensations.
‘Many-Minds' Interpretation and the more recent ‘Many Interacting Worlds’ hypothesis by Michael Hall (MIW, 2010) extend the original Everettian MWI by proposing that a plethora of universes have always existed side by side, and that they tenuously influence the ones near them to differentiate from themselves either at the level of individual observers as in Many Minds or by a subtle force of repulsion as in Many Interacting Worlds. Unsurprisingly, numerous objections, such as the Zero Ontology argument, that apply to the original Many-Worlds Interpretation also apply to the Many-Minds Interpretation and Many Interacting Worlds, though. Let’s revisit the quantum Library of Babel. Conjecturing solely from the Digital Philosophy perspective, at the level of Omega hypercomputer running the Omniverse with humongous but still finite storage and computational resources, “nonsensical” timelines are likely to be purged. Furthermore, human subjectivity can be actualized only when collapsing available possibilities into a single probabilistic outcome experienced as a conscious moment (~10/sec). From the computationalist perspective, the Many Worlds Interpretation is simply incomplete: no collapse -- no conscious experience.
Video: A Critique of the Many Worlds Interpretations - Inspiring Philosophy
The Pilot Wave theory, also known as 'Bohmian Mechanics', has its army of proponents seeking objective uniformity tantalizingly streamlined into a singular deterministic universal worldline with "cosmic time" ticking out there in the Universe at large and accompanied by the universal pool of subatomic “billiard balls”. This clearly outdated picture of the world is “not even wrong” — you can't possibly import Newtonian classicality into the quantum realm — that would collapse the entire mathematical structure of the M-theoretic Universe/Multiverse/Omniverse as we know it. If given a choice between M-theory and the Pilot Wave theory, most respectable scientists would probably choose the former. It would also be like trying to compute the Universe on a classical digital computer which is not only a step backwards in our understanding of the world but a logical impossibility.
Many Worlds and Pilot Wave interpretations are completely deterministic which cannot be right in the world based on probabilities at all levels. As we've discussed elsewhere, 'syntactic freedom' of expression is what defines us as freewilling conscious entities amidst our inherently probabilistic reality. This is perhaps the main reason why the Copenhagen interpretative camp has been on the right track since the discovery of quantum mechanics in the roaring 20's of the past century. Bear with me, I have good news and bad news for the Many Worlds interpretative camp. The good news is that indeed one can assume the God's eye perspective on our reality where all conceivable and inconceivable timelines and events happen. In this view, perhaps, our entire Universe can be "perceived" as an elementary particle of sorts in a universe up. The bad news for MWI supporters is that this God's eye view has nothing to do with your conscious experience. Just like absent-minded people may get stuck in revolving doors, MWI-ers get stuck "forever" in the tourniquet never to exit. As for the Bohmian Mechanics camp, I'm afraid I only have the bad news. Not only the Universe is presumed to be reduced to a mechanical system but free will and consciousness are consequently reduced to a by-product of mechanistic interactions. If our world can't be possibly computed on a classical digital computer, how can this be done when the Bohmians reduce it to an "abacus"?
We all are internal dynamic energy of the Universe — and it's not even a metaphor — there would be no dynamics whatsoever in the absence of us subjective participants. This “participatory realism” I call ‘Experiential Realism’ is best captured by interpretations nested in the Copenhagen Interpretation camp while Many Worlds, Objective Collapse and Pilot Wave attempt to “objectify” it. Years ago Many Worlds interpretation was making more sense to me up until I gradually drifted to the Copenhagen camp. At the moment, I find more appealing the Cybernetic Interpretation by Ross Rhodes, introduced in 1999 (coincidentally same year the movie The Matrix came out), followed by QBism, agent-centric interpretation proposed by Christopher Fuchs in 2010, and backed up by the Relational Interpretation by Carlo Rovelli, 1994.
A rigorous model known as Relational Quantum Mechanics (RQM), developed by the prominent Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, posits that there are no absolute — that is, observer-independent — physical properties. Instead, all physical quantities — the entire physical world — are relative to the observer, in a way analogous to motion. This is motivated by the fact that, according to quantum theory, different observers can account differently for the same sequence of events. Consequently, each observer is inferred to “inhabit” its own physical (read: virtual) world, as defined by the context of its own observations. Moreover, since both thoughts and perceptions are mental in essence, this line of reasoning points to mind as the primary substrate of Nature, the discernible states of which constitute information.
The latest interpretative model, Quantum Bayesianism, or QBism, is the combination of quantum mechanics and subjective Bayesianism which views probability as a way to quantify agent-specific degrees of knowledge and future anticipation. This fusion is inspirited both by philosophical arguments for Bayesianism and its potential for dissolving some of the notorious quantum mechanical paradoxes. Introduced by physicists Christopher Fuchs and Rüdiger Schack in 2010, QBism has a lot in common with the widely adopted Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics but in QBism all probabilities are expressed as an agent’s personal degrees of belief. This is one of the points where QBism makes a crucial departure from the Copenhagen Interpretation. Since the wave function encodes probabilities, the conclusion is that the wave function itself must be agent-specific, i.e. subjective!
Information-based interpretations of quantum mechanics, Digital Physics, the Holographic Principle, and the Simulation Hypothesis have endured and indeed grown immensely in popularity over the past few decades, making them major contenders in the scientific arena. Why simulation and computation make for such handily functional equivalence is that they offer a sought-after framework for solving the paradoxes of quantum mechanics. Our “transactional” world acts something like a probabilistic processing, procedurally generated computer simulation, or a virtual reality. This cybernetic model, or the 'Noocentric Model', would account for the time-tested problems of non-locality, superposition, particle-wave duality, quantum tunneling, retrocausality, and all other weirdness in quantum studies that Einstein pronounced were far too “spooky” for him to swallow. Nonetheless, quantum mechanics remains the most mathematically precise framework of how natural phenomena behave. Reality is information, and so are we. A simulation is part of the reality that simulates it — and everything we further simulate is reality from the perspective of those being simulated. Reality is, therefore, what we experience: From a physical point of view, there could be no “objective” observer fully separated from the physical system she tries to observe. In actuality, there is no objectivity — only a subjective perspective on things, i.e. individuated consciousness. Ultimately, any experiential reality is an observer-centric virtuality.
The weirdness of quantum reality that remains amorphous or indefinite until measured is famously displayed by the thought experiment where Schrödinger’s cat is in a terrifying limbo, neither alive nor dead, until someone opens the box to look inside. But not to worry for the cat — subjectively, the cat (or a physicist taking its place) is always alive thanks to another thought experiment known as the 'Quantum Suicide'. Look them up if you're not familiar with any of them. I’ve also written the essay: “Quantum Immortality: Does Quantum Physics Imply You Are Immortal?” detailing both gedanken experiments.
Recently published, an updated version of the Schrödinger's cat experiment sent ripples in the scientific milieu. In this Renner-Frauchiger experiment (2018) (see Figure 1), sort of like the "double Schrödinger's cat", instead of one cat we box two quantum observers — two human physicists. You can challenge me on how to interpret this thought experiment but my conclusion is that it has clearly demonstrated that a subjective (not objective, or 'no collapse' as MWI-ers would claim) wave function collapse is what determines the outcome of any observation. The subjective collapse QM interpretations such as Cybernetic Interpretation and QBism seem to get additional support of late.
Quite unlike any other branch of science, quantum physics unsurprisingly has acquired its own metaphysics, a shadow discipline, in Heisenberg’s term an “ideological superstructure”. Designed as meta-analysis of QM interpretations, this field is called ‘Quantum Foundations’, which is unintentionally ironic, because where you would expect foundations you instead find quicksand.
Max Planck, when referring to consciousness as being the fundamental feature of reality, wrote: “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real." Echoing his words, Werner Heisenberg divulged that: “[T]he atoms or the elementary particles themselves are not as real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.” Heisenberg interpreted the mathematics behind quantum theory to mean that reality doesn’t exist until observed. “The idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist, independently of whether or not we observe them... is impossible.” This seemed utterly disturbing to philosophers as well as physicists and it led Albert Einstein to say in 1952: “The theory reminds me a little of the system of delusions of an exceedingly intelligent paranoiac.”
A bold, unorthodox paper by Ross Rhodes, first published in 1999 with a revised version in 2001, “A Cybernetic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” pre-dates Bostrom's "Are You Living in the Computer Simulation?" (2003) and Whitworth's “The Physical World as a Virtual Reality” (2008). Rhodes presents to us a well-grounded argument that the “fuzzy” physics of the quantum world can be interpreted as evidence that we are integral, dynamic part of some sort of computer-simulated reality. Rhodes argues that quantum physics resembles the deep "code layer" underlying our physical reality. For instance, quantum non-locality makes a lot of sense if you assume that all information processing for the universal hypercomputer is being done by its central GPU. In my essay “Is God the Ultimate Computer?” Part III we recount 10 broad categories of the physical world's properties, its natural phenomena and processes, and corresponding 40 M-observables to confirm the viability of the Cybernetic Interpretation of quantum mechanics.
THE SCHRÖDINGER EQUATION: THE ONTOLOGY OF WAVE FUNCTION
Quantum physics throws all the rules of classical physics out the window. In the quantum world, particles can pass through solid walls, be in two places at once, instantly communicate over infinitely large distances, and affect their past counterparts just as easily as they affect the future ones. The rules we have discovered for the behavior of quantum systems — the Schrödinger equation and so on — don’t obviously resemble the classical rules we use to describe everyday objects, notably Newton’s Laws of motion among other things in high-school physics curriculum. We spend the vast majority of our lives interacting with things that obey classical physics, i.e. Newton’s Laws, and that defines our intuition for how things “ought” to behave. When quantum physics departs from that, all of it seems incredibly weird.
The Schrödinger equation, considered a cornerstone of quantum theory, in its most general time-dependent form describes the evolution of a quantum system and predicts that if certain properties of a quantum system are measured, the “classical” outcome will be quantized, meaning that only specific discrete values would appear. The equation was named after Erwin Schrödinger, who derived the equation in 1925, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933. All above mentioned QM interpretations are aimed to decipher this mathematical equation as to how it actually means when describing reality presented to us by our measurements.
In his recent 2018 article "The Puzzle of Quantum Reality" astrophysicist Adam Becker writes: “When we physicists do quantum physics, we tend to think of it only as the physics of the ultra-tiny. We usually assume that the Schrödinger equation doesn't really apply to sufficiently large objects — objects like tables and chairs and humans, the things in our everyday lives. Instead, as a practical matter, we assume that those objects obey the classical physics of Isaac Newton, and that the Schrödinger equation stops applying when one of these objects interacts with something from the quantum world of the small. This works well enough to get the right answer in most cases. But almost no physicists truly believe this is how the world actually works.” Variations of the ‘Double-Slit’ experiment have continued to mess with our preconceptions, showing micro-objects like electrons or photons behaving like “wavicles”, depending on the measurement method. And it’s no longer a realm of the infinitesimally small. In 2012, a new record was set in showing a molecule a whopping 800 atoms in size also has wave-like properties. As Becker notes: “Experiments over the past few decades have shown that quantum physics applies to larger and larger objects, and at this point few doubt that it applies to objects of all sizes. Indeed, quantum physics is routinely and successfully used to describe the largest thing there is — the Universe itself — in the well-established field of physical cosmology.”
Quantum mechanics and Einstein's relativistic physics had turned our picture of a classical, deterministic “clockwork universe” upside down. It was replaced with indeterminate states, wave functions instead of particles, and a fabric of spacetime that could be bent, distorted, and could even have whirlpools in it. Yet there are open questions requiring sensible answers. Quantum mechanics is all about “here and now” and relativistic physics is about relativity between “here & now”'s which does demonstrate that quantum mechanics is, in actuality, more fundamental than relativity. The biggest principle of Einstein’s general theory of relativity is that space itself isn’t a flat, unchanging, absolute entity. Rather it’s woven together, along with time, into a single fabric: spacetime. This fabric is continuous, smooth, and gets curved and deformed by the presence of mass and energy. Everything present within this spacetime fabric moves along the path defined by that curvature, and its propagation is limited by the speed of light. It is natural to assume that spacetime is fundamental reality but what if, after more than a century, this worldview again needs an update?
In the essay “The Origins of Us” Part II we’ve seen that time is emergent so must be spacetime. What does it even mean? This means that spacetime is not smooth and continuous as Einstein hypothesized ad hoc but it turns out that spacetime is discretized and emerges from the substructure of reality: information, more specifically observer experiential data streams. If it sounds insane, we should remind ourselves that most contemporary ideas were once considered “crazy” until they were widely accepted and changed our picture of the world for good. The Holographic Principle, for instance, which isn’t science-fiction, but a bona fide idea in theoretical physics, along with other recent discoveries in physics, tell us that view of fundamental spacetime is doomed — along with the objects it contains and their appearance of physical causality — and must be replaced by something more fundamental, if we are to succeed in our quest for a quantum gravity theory. In this regard, British philosopher and author Anthony Peake writes: "The belief that there is a reality behind the fabrication of the perceived universe is central to Gnostic belief... As we know the 21st century seems to have become a battleground between “irrational” theologies and “rational” science. However recent developments in the world of quantum physics suggest to me that Gnostic theology may be proven right... It is ironic that recent discoveries regarding the nature of space itself may suggest that we are in need of another paradigm change. In a curious echo from the past it seems that a substance similar to the aether may indeed fill up all of space. This is the Zero Point Field, a field that fills all of space and is, in many ways, the backdrop to what we call “reality.” Some spiritually-inclined physicists oftentimes refer to the Zero Point Field as the 'Unified Field'.
THE MEASUREMENT PROBLEM: THE OBSERVER EFFECT vs. QUANTUM EFFECTS
The famed ‘Observer Effect’ which has been demonstrated in the ‘Double-Slit Experiment’ and its numerous variations, challenged one of science’s most basic tenets: that there is an objective, observable reality that exists whether we’re looking at it or not. The revelation that the act of observation, or measuring quantum effects, directly affects particles’ behavior is perplexing, to say the least, but it also suggests that a conscious observer itself is part of quantum theory. Notoriously counterintuitive quantum effects include wave-particle duality, quantum entanglement, quantum tunneling, retrocausality, and overall non-linearity of quantum systems, just to name the few usual suspects. Classical and quantum physics are well-defined in their respective realms, but grander questions have troubled physicists for decades: What links these two opposing views of reality? Why do the fundamental laws of classical physics fail at the quantum level, and can they ever be reconciled?
The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, proposed in 1961, the first of its kind to be described as "consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]", is an interpretive model of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement. If the act of observation is directly tied with consciousness and results in the subjective collapse of the wave function, how are the probabilities converted into an actual, sharply defined classical outcome?
As we've discussed elsewhere many reasons why decoherence cannot account for the transition from quantumness to classicality of subjective experience we can reiterate the main argument here. Just like Bohmian mechanics attempting to import the classicality of “billiard balls” into inherently probabilistic quantum realm, one can immediately comprehend the absurdity of invoking quantum decoherence as a failing physicalist assumption. In other words, it neither causes the [objective as intended] wave function collapse nor solves the measurement problem. First introduced in 1970 by the German physicist H. Dieter Zeh with Many-Minds interpretation, the concept of decoherence is actually useful for functional quantum computers when researchers try to isolate the quantum processing unit in order to prevent quantum leakage.
Decoherence refers to a loss of ‘quantum coherence’ which is a fancy term for an “unentangled” quantum state. Entanglement is understood as an inevitable result of any interaction between two quantum objects. Once entangled, two objects become linked forever — they cannot abruptly “disentangle” — this quantum effect should also be true for the network of particles, in fact, all particles in the Universe since the Big Bang which is an apparent contradiction. And yet, decoherence, physicalists insist, is an essential mechanism of the quantum-classical transition. To show quantum behavior, such as interference, superposition and entanglement-induced correlations, they say, any object, no matter how big it is, depends only on how entangled it is with its environment. But, as we have established, the entire Universe is deep down non-local at the sub-quantum level, that is entangled. What are we missing here? Again, the answer is: the conscious observer. A conscious mind, a “chooser,” is still required to actualize the collapse of the wave of probabilities to crystallize it into an observer-centric classical actuality. Now, if we instead combine the top-down quantum information processing (computationalist) approach, as in the essay on Cosmo-Teleology with the ‘Conscious Instant’ (CI) hypothesis (see “The Unified Field and the Quantum Nature of Consciousness”), then we can see that each conscious instant is an integrated digital pattern of information — like a frame in the movie — whereas the mind of experimenter (conscious observer) collapses quantum mechanical potentiality into classical actuality. This is quantum information processing — from qubits of the qualia spectrum to “digits of qualia”. This led me to formulate the D-theory of Time, or ‘Digital Presentism’, for to understand our subjective experience we need to understand time.
One of the more poetic elucidations of the centrality of conscious observers comes from John Wheeler, who liked to illustrate the history of the Universe as a big ‘U,” with the Big Bang at one end and you at the other. This picture has the Universe being created and evolving in an indeterminate quantum kind of way until it achieves enough complexity to create an observer who can look back at that evolution and create a single coherent history. Wheeler’s picture has the Universe observing itself into existence, an idea that many have found profound. In the words of philosopher Kirno Sohochari: “The everlasting Wheeler Eye stands with its double meaning. This astonishing Universe comes from bit; it can observe itself; as well, our perception of it is observer rhetoric.” If you are to ask what happened before the first observer and the first moments after the Big Bang, the answer might surprise you with its straightforwardness: We extrapolate backwards in time and that virtual model becomes “real” in our minds as if we were witnessing the birth of the Universe.
Your Universe is perfect — eerily, uncannily perfect — everything is “fine-tuned”, mathematized and entangled. Measured subatomic particles are not the only things that are entangled, though. So are we. We are entangled with one another and sublimely with the whole of our own creation — something we are only now start to uncover with physics. We are entangled with other minds we don't yet know, from places we have never been, at times we have not existed, in the deep past and in the unknown future. The entire human race can be envisaged as one large, interconnected entity, stretching across time and space. If you could assume the God's eye view of mankind outside of space-time, you would not only see a hundred billion or so disconnected individuals but a humanity that is more like a massive body, or perhaps a neural network, with a hundred billion cells commensurate with the total number of neurons in the human brain.
The metaphysical principle of “unity” – that everything in the Universe is intimately interconnected – is difficult to believe in our everyday physical world where living beings and non-living objects appear separate and distinct from one another. However, since the 1930s, research in the field of quantum entanglement has suggested that at the subatomic and even deeper sub-quantum levels, everything might indeed be connected. This seemingly metaphysical weirdness of universal “oneness” has found its physics counterpart referred to as ‘non-locality’. At a fundamental level of reality, there may be no such thing as place, no such thing as distance, and no such thing as time but only information. As the quantum theory shows, our entire Universe is deep down non-local. It's one and the same with non-local consciousness. How so? Research has shown that consciousness is non-local, a scientific way of alluding to a connection within a higher dimensional order. Matter has also been shown to be non-local, which hints that matter might be an expression of consciousness. The non-locality of our physical world has been proved by John S. Bell in 1964 (by the famously known Bell's theorem) and confirmed by experimental results obtained since the early 1980s. This theoretical and experimental evidence dispelled the Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen (EPR) paradox, and with it, 'local realism'. The assumptions of materialism have been challenged ever since the discovery of quantum physics by showing that consciousness could not be ignored since observation directly affects matter.
In physicalism, consciousness is assumed to be bounded by four dimensions of the ‘block universe’, but contrary to this notion, consciousness is clearly transdimensional. Our inability to measure something does not negate its existence. Quantum physics tells us the energy of every speck of mass, or a packet of information, is a relative peak in an ocean of energy, which is oftentimes referred to as the ‘Unified Field’ — the sub-quantum layer of pure potentiality — the code layer beneath all dimensions where time and space are information. Consider the analogy: Dynamic patterns within the three-dimensional atmosphere such as gusty winds and ocean undercurrents create two-dimensional patterns on the ocean surface. Analogously, patterns in the higher-order volume of non-local consciousness shape the energy vibrations we experience as matter. That would mean matter is the expression of consciousness in one of the possible worlds, not the other way around. Matter does not envelop all dimensionality of consciousness. The second useful analogy: if we view our minds as software, and our material world as hardware as registered by our senses from within a simulation, then this material world hardware can, in turn, be hypothesized as software of the cosmic mind. So, all reality is in personal mind and in transpersonal mind. The two are ONE like a magnet with two poles complementing each other and constituting what I call the ‘bi’-mind. All reality thus appears to be mental, the worldview known as philosophical idealism.
THE MENTAL UNIVERSE HYPOTHESIS: OBJECTIVE vs. SUBJECTIVE WAVE FUNCTION COLLAPSE
Is the Universe mental or physical? Let's actually rephrase the question for ease of argumentation: Is reality mental or physical? Science often makes strides by contradicting what we take for granted, and the biggest thing everyone takes as a given is our physical world. Traditionally, scientific endeavor assumed that matter is all that exists, however, it’s not a scientific fact, it’s just a basic assumption, it should not be regarded as more than a philosophical starting point. Our senses wrap themselves around tangible objects so naturally that it’s hard to believe that our sensory apparatus may be misleading us completely. So, it becomes more than just intriguing, when any prominent theorist brings up the showcase for a different view of reality, one in which the mind creates the features of what we call “the physical world.”
As it turns out, certain statistical properties of the experimental measurements, confirmed again and again, indicate that the material particles do not exist independently of observation. And since observation ultimately consists of what is grasped on the mental screen of perception, the implication may be that “the Universe is entirely mental,” as put forward by Richard Conn Henry in his 2005 Nature essay. As mentioned earlier, physicists Carlo Rovelli, Ross Rhodes and Christopher Fuchs also approached this issue rigorously in their interpretive models of quantum mechanics.
The 'Mental Universe' hypothesis has a strong heritage moving into the quantum era, but present-day physicalists feel obliged to simply ignore luminaries such as Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Eugene Wigner and John von Neumann. Physicalism still holds sway with most cosmologists, but Andrei Linde of Stanford University made some critical points in an article on the most current theories of the inflationary universe by stating that: “...carefully avoiding the concept of consciousness in quantum cosmology may artificially narrow one’s outlook.” Physicalism limps on its last leg philosophically, whereas all the quantum evidence undermines the assumption that the objective physical world exists independently of our observations. Whether it's a mere glance at one's self-reflection in the mirror or smashing b-mesons at the Large Hadron Collider, no observation of reality is complete until a human observer examines the results. Ever since the discovery of quantum physics, physicists have been finding it extremely difficult to write the observer out: consciousness is ever-present. On these simple grounds alone, the worldview of mental reality becomes more convincing every day. This is a sensible explanation (or meta-interpretation if you'd like) of quantum mechanics, the most mathematically precise scientific theory of all times.
In his recent paper “Making Sense of the Mental Universe” (2017) Bernardo Kastrup, a computer engineer, idealist philosopher and author of several books, including “Why Materialism Is Baloney”, attempts to provide a viable explanatory framework for our experience as distinct individual minds within a seemingly shared but contextual world, however beyond the control of our immediate volition. Shortly after, in “Should Quantum Anomalies Make Us Rethink Reality?” (2018), a recent article published by Scientific American, Kastrup contends that quantum mechanics, as well as cognitive science, suggests that our minds actively construct experiential reality rather than passively mirror “external” reality. He calls for a radical overhaul of the current scientific orthodoxy by writing in his paper: “[B]ecause we perceive and experiment on things and events partly defined by an implicit paradigm, these things and events tend to confirm, by construction, the paradigm. No wonder then that we are so confident today that Nature consists of arrangements of matter/energy outside and independent of mind... When enough “anomalies” — empirically undeniable observations that cannot be accommodated by the reigning belief system — accumulate over time and reach critical mass, paradigms change. We may be close to one such a defining moment today, as an increasing body of evidence from quantum mechanics (QM) renders the current paradigm untenable.”
In line of our deliberations, let's also ask: What would it mean to accept this new ‘Mind Over Matter’ paradigm? In my recent essay on the Omega Point Cosmo-Teleology I make my case for ‘Mind Over Substrates’ quite relevant to our discussion here. Moving ever closer to the Web v.5.0 — an immersive virtual playground of the Metaverse — would signify a paramount convergent moment that my friend techno-philosopher Gray Scott calls the ‘Simulation Singularity’. Those future virtual worlds could be wholly devised and “fine-tuned” with a possibility to encode different sets of “physical laws and constants” for our enjoyment and exploration. Physical and artificially created realities will then blend together beyond recognition. One primary aspect in particular will stay the same across virtual universes, though — our mind.
From a purely scientific frame of reference, many quantum phenomena like non-local correlations between distant entities and wave-particle duality, the wave function collapse and consistent histories, quantum entanglement and teleportation, the uncertainty principle and overall observer-dependence of reality pin down our conscious mind being intrinsic to reality. And this is the one thing the current paradigm fails to account for. Critical-mass anomalies will ultimately lead to the full paradigm shift in physics. With consciousness as primary, everything remains the same and everything changes. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology are unchanged. What changes is our interpretation as to what they are describing. They are not describing the unfolding of an objective physical world, but transdimensional evolution of one’s conscious mind. There's nothing “physical” about our physical reality except that we perceive it that way. By playing the “Game of Life” we evolved to survive not to see quantum mechanical reality. At our human-level we perceive ourselves as physical, at quantum level we are probabilistic wave function, at even deeper sub-quantum level -- the planck level -- we are information.
No matter how you slice it, reality is contextual, the notion that immediately dismisses ‘observer-independent’ interpretations of quantum mechanics and endorses the Mental Universe hypothesis. But we have to be careful here not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. I'd like to make a very important point at this juncture of our discussion: Mental and physical are two sides of the same coin made of information. Both should be viewed as the same substance. Arguably, everything comes down to vibrational frequencies: Mind at a very low rate of vibration is what we call matter. Matter at a high rate of vibration is what is known as mind. In our physical reality, matter is thus only a certain “in’-formed” pattern of mind (see the Omega Point Cosmo-Teleology). Solidity, wetness, softness, redness or any other property of mass-energy are experienced by us as ‘qualia’ that result from certain quantum-to-digital meta-algorithmic computations according to our world-specific “ruleset”. We'll discuss specifics of this classical reality rendering further in the essay. Modern physics seemingly ran into a self-imposed empiricism wall while physicists still cope to admit that our world is an observer-centric virtual reality that is being constantly created by us conscious observers — from distant galaxies to the "zoo" of subatomic particles, from personal life events to the history of the world. Our reality is a mental construct where imagination and observation should be construed as acts of creation, not the other way around. All reality is in the mind.
As we've seen, a number of latest QM interpretations such as RQM, Cyberneticism and Qbism support the Mental Universe hypothesis. There's nothing supernatural or mystical about this claim: Universal mind — whose ontology is still up for debates but can be extrapolated from our existential circumstance — underlies the “worldware”, a kind of software of the universal operating system accounting for our experiences of the physical world in accordance with a set of rules we call the laws of Nature. This transdimensional consciousness encompasses but far transcends any individual mind. Quantum computational dynamics of all mass-energy in the Universe correspond to mentation of the non-local ‘Transcendent Other’, just as an individual’s brain activity correlates with personal mentation. Since we all are alternate realities, each of us being a parallel "unique-verse", 'observer-centric virtuality' is possibly one of the best metaphors related to the ontology of our experiential reality. This notion eliminates unnecessary discrepancies and provides the missing inner essence of the perceptible world: Different configurations of matter and energy reflect different patterns or modes of thinking by the larger consciousness system rendering VR to the player. In other words, mind instantiates oneself into matter and energy.
Just like an intestinal bacterium, a little fellow living inside your body, “transacts” with its surrounding conscious environment, each of us is on our own quest in some sort of “gaming mode” to attain promotion to higher levels of simulation — ever higher levels of awareness. This immersive VR game is realized through polarity with the Transcendent Other. Your self implies the other, that is your cosmic self, “many-I” ultra-intelligent surroundings, i.e. the larger consciousness system constantly computing your “moves”. As your consciousness evolves, your Universe becomes more complex, for you are this ‘you’-niverse. As we’ve discussed in the Omega Point Cosmo-Teleology essay, the “transactional” relationship between the Theta point (the observer temporal singularity) and Omega point (the Source) giving rise to your subjectivity are derived from the philosophy of idealism which is phenomenologically more honest than panpsychism, cosmopsychism, let alone physicalism. Think about it: All we have ever known and will know is the contents of our own minds. All our scientific models come from mental activities. The divine relationship based on the cosmic binary code is what really matters: I alone can never be. Clinging not to one specific name for the Transcendent Self, as you might have noticed, I rather use different terms for “IT” depending on the context, and for ease of narrative, while trying to convey extremely complicated concepts structuring the essay more like a philosophical treatise.
If your conscious ‘bi’-mind plays the only causal role in bringing your experiential reality into existence and consciousness is all that is, then solipsism might be implied. That said, solipsism is not such a dreadful notion as it might first seem and can be easily reconciled by its pantheistic version, that is the view that “everyone is God”, each of us is a "personal story of Godhead," each of us is the “Alpha, Theta & Omega”, a “gamemaster”, an observer traveling along in the subjective reality tunnel from the beginning of time 'till the end of time. Experiencing one lifetime at a time in all of eternity, alternating from one consciousness structure to the next. As Muriel Rukeyser once said: “The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms." We've discussed pantheistic solipsism in the recent essay "Digital Pantheism: Philosophical Afterthoughts and Follow-up Questions to the Argument."
There's a number of most intriguing implications of the Mental Universe hypothesis at the interplay of quantum physics and mentality. For one, each of us believe in consistency of our past histories but according to quantum mechanical principles we all might have vastly different histories and remembrance of past events. However, the fact is when we start to “compare our notes”, our ‘consistent histories’ mysteriously confirm each other with just a few rare exceptions related to the ‘Mandela Effect’. The term was coined by the self-described ‘paranormal consultant’ Fiona Broome after she discovered that other people shared her presumably false memory of the South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s.
Have you ever taken seriously the idea that your Universe is a sophisticated virtual reality simulation, but not run by an evil AI but the most benevolent kind? You still need to learn to trust your Universe, my dear friend! After all, your higher self “sits on the mountaintop” and conceives the most optimal timeline for your individual mind's evolution despite apparent pains, struggles and setbacks. Meanwhile, try not to change the mirror, instead change your facial expression reflected in it. You may find further insights in "The Omega Point Cosmo-Teleology: Our Forgotten Future" and "Digital Pantheism: Philosophical Afterthoughts and Follow-up Questions to the Argument" recently published under 'Top Stories' on ecstadelic.net. Did it ever occur to you that other versions of you in a similar corporeal form could co-exist in quantum [mechanical] parallel universes scientists dubbed the ‘Quantum Multiverse’? If other alternate realities exist, and quantum mechanics is supportive of that, then your other selves are just as real as the one you perceive yourself right now when reading this paragraph. If this sounds like some new age spiritual mumbo jumbo, imagine that given the opportunity to travel back in time, say 100 years into the past, should you try to impress some of the brightest minds of the epoch with your knowledge of quantum physics, you might be taken for a lunatic on the spot.
At this day and age, we can at last reason for physical, mental, and platonic being all one informational substance integrated into mathematical objects overlapping, interplaying and emerging from each other. Objectivity is thus should be apprehended as intersubjectivity and supersubjectivity instead of “standalone” objective reality. What is perceived by us as physical could well be regarded as non-physical by a conscious agent from an alternate timeline or an AI running the whole-world simulation. What I'm trying to say here is that everything is relative, everything depends on the perspective. You perceive yourself living in a physical world but you would perceive the version of you traveling to the Antarctica today in the realm of imagination, i.e. non-physical or perhaps even spiritual. However, in the quantum multiverse there may be a version of you that actually travels to the South Pole and that person feels physical in their world.
There's indeed a quiet paradigmatic shift among consciousness researchers and experts in related fields happening right now towards the notion that the physical universe that we are part of is only our perception and once our physical bodies die, there’s an infinite beyond. Some believe that our individuated unit of consciousness migrates to parallel universes after death. The beyond is an infinite reality that is much bigger than that in which this world is rooted in. In this way, your life in this plane of existence is enclosed and surrounded by the afterworld already. The physical body dies but your core self, your pattern-identity, persists beyond this reality frame. Hence, you are immortal.
UNIVERSALITY OF QUANTUM LOGIC
In the physics of information, known as Digital Physics, all natural phenomena and physical processes are thoroughly computable, with the laws of Nature acting as master algorithms factoring in undeniable universality of quantum logic. In an often-quoted remark computer scientist Tommaso Toffoli puts this quite eloquently: "In a sense, Nature has been continually computing the "next state" of the Universe for billions of years; all we have to do — and, actually, all we can do — is "hitch a ride" on this huge ongoing [quantum] computation". This universal computability of Nature is what allows us to use computers to model or "simulate" physical processes, thus greatly enhancing our abilities to understand and emulate Nature.
Digital philosopher, former NASA physicist Tom Campbell who is the author of trilogy "My Big TOE”, has been for years a great source of inspiration for me and other “digitalists”. Campbell presents our physical reality as a virtual reality information processing system that is but a subset of a much larger consciousness “reality superset” that seeks to decrease its entropy through the free will choices and lifetime experiences of its “avatars” in this multiplayer virtual reality. Choices that exhibit love decrease entropy while ones that are derived from fear increase entropy. Explicitly separate units of consciousness, we are implicitly one with the overarching non-local consciousness. In 2018 paper, On Testing the Simulation Theory, Campbell and others proposed a series experiments yet to be implemented, and if there is no other hypothesis which can explain the experimental results, then the logical conclusion is that our reality is, in fact, a simulation. The paper was published in the International Journal of Quantum Foundations.
Digitalists such as Edward Fredkin, Hans Moravec, Stephen Wolfram, Ben Goertzel and Ray Kurzweil all argue that mentality is entirely computable. Minds are software processes running on hardware substrates — minds are computations and can be exactly replicated in sufficiently advanced computer systems. Digitalists are far from being mysterians — each of them is very specific in describing how at last mentality can be demystified through universality of computation. Quantum logic is omnipresent. So, what of it do physics, mentality, math, biology, and procedural processing games have in common?
The quirky world of quantum physics not only represents a more fundamental description of Nature than its predecessors, it also provides a rich contextual backdrop for modern mathematics. Could the logical underpinnings of quantum theory, once fully ingurgitated, inspire a new realm of mathematics that might be called “quantum mathematics”? For instance, scientists have recently discovered a classic formula for pi in the world of quantum mechanics. Pi is the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter, and is elemental in pure mathematics, but now scientists have also found it lurking in the physics of the world, encoded in the electron levels of a hydrogen atom.
In biology, all living systems evolve through time under the action of well-defined quantum-theoretic operations, so all biological organisms, to the extent that we need quantum theory to understand their behavior, are, in fact, quantum computing systems, more specifically quantum neural networks. Nature is a master at constructing quantum computational biological systems and today's burgeoning field of quantum biology helps us understand bird migration, photosynthesis, and even our sense of smell. Plants harvest sunlight with near perfect efficiency thanks to quantum effects. You may not realize it, but this is impossible under classical physics. Along the way to the photosynthesizing core, quanta of light, photons, should collide with other particles, but they don't. A photon succeeding in reaching the core classically is as likely as you sprinting blindfolded through a dense forest and reaching the center without striking a single tree. Amazingly, plants use quantum coherence — receiving waves of energy from many directions at once — to actualize the most efficient route for sunlight to get to their photosynthetic cells. In the animal kingdom, some species might use quantum effects like entanglement to sense the Earth’s magnetic field for navigation.
Procedurally generated games of the future will be run on Cloud-based quantum computing platforms allowing the vast multiplicity of in-game choices and scenarios. These quantum games and environments will be lifelike simulations and at some point will become practically indistinguishable from what we call “real life” as well as its phantasmagorical adaptations. Moreover, anyone can build their own virtual universe from scratch and given how augmented our mental and technological capabilities will be by then, we can now only speculate on how lavish and extravagant our new virtual habitats and playgrounds will be in just few short decades time. Augmented, virtual, mixed and extended reality (AR, VR, MR and XR) technologies are developing by leaps and bounds with full adoption seen in only few years.
Already, there exist VR headset prototypes that let the user see 3D virtual surroundings at the same level of detail as they would appear in real life. This kind of VR headset produces a crisp image by tracking eye movements and taking advantage of the so-called ‘foveation’ — a natural quirk of human vision — at any one moment, our eyes see only a small area of focus at their highest resolution. If you put your arm out, it’s the size of your thumbnail. As our eyes move to focus elsewhere, so does this high-resolution area. This is why, as you read this sentence, your eyes jump left to right across the text. It’s only an Illusion that we see the whole screen sharply — we don't. Similarly, when successive frames are presented to our attention at the rate faster than about 10 per second, like in the movie, we perceive that as smooth motion. Our brains are excellent at synthesizing high-resolution images into a coherent moving picture of reality. Obviously, there are plenty of other sensory illusions such as episodic memory flashbacks that our minds use to trick us into believing in everyday “rock-solid” physical reality. At only 1 million COMs per day, and 10^16 operations per second for the human brain, corresponding experiential data can be hosted and rendered on a hypothetical $1,000 computer system circa 2040.
If C.elegans and its environment can be perfectly described in code and code can be controlled by behavioral controls applied to the computer version of the real thing, a living system is said to be replicated in code and its “description” is indistinguishable from what has been described. There would be no difference between a simulation of something at a certain level of description and the real thing. And if there is no difference between a perfect simulation and reality, and if there is nothing that will prevent us from creating such perfect simulations, at some point in the future however far off, we will be able to create virtual universes with sentient computational agents – self-conscious virtual beings. Once you accept the logic that simulated realities [will] exist, it becomes clear that with the number of simulated worlds, each containing billions or even trillions of conscious minds, the chances that we are ‘base reality’ drops to almost zero.
I hope you would agree with a statement that there is no rainbow unless someone is contemplating it. Similarly, when a tree falls in a forest, not only does it not make a sound if there is nobody around to hear it, it does not even fall, it would not even need to exist. The effect of the fallen tree would never need to be produced until a conscious observer enters the forest, and then and only then would the effect of the fallen tree need to be rendered for the observer. Likewise, the unobserved Schrödinger's cat would not exist at all until it is observed, it would be neither alive nor dead, and only when observed by an observer would the effect of the dead or alive cat is to be rendered. The point of a VR physics engine is to produce total realism to the minute observable detail while reducing the overall computational requirements. From this computationalist perspective — and this is how simulated worlds are actually produced — nothing whatsoever would need to exist until it is observed, and when an object is not being observed, it would return to the state of being inactive computer code.
In articulating his famed Simulation Argument Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom notes: “[A] technologically mature civilization would have enough computing power such that even if it devoted but a tiny fraction of it to creating Matrices, there would soon be many more simulated people than there were people living in the original history of that civilization. These simulations would not have to be perfect. They would only have to be good enough to fool its inhabitants. It would not be necessary to simulate every object down to the subatomic level… If the book you are holding in your hands is a simulated book, the simulation would only need to include its visual appearance, its weight and texture, and a few other macroscopic properties, because you have no way of knowing what its individual atoms are doing at this moment. If you were to study the book more carefully, for example by examining it under a powerful microscope, additional details of the simulation could be filled in as needed. Objects that nobody is perceiving could have an even more compressed representation.”
On feasibility of creating artificial realities that would feel authentic from within, British physicist Stephen Wolfram also writes: “Imagine that our Designer now wants to turn his world into a habitat for intelligent beings. What would present the greatest difficulty here? Preventing them from dying right away? No, this condition is taken for granted. His main difficulty lies in ensuring that the creatures for whom the universe will serve as a habitat do not find out about its “artificiality”. One is right to be concerned that the very suspicion that there may be something else beyond “everything” would immediately encourage them to seek exit from this “everything” considering themselves prisoners of the latter, they would storm their surroundings, looking for a way out — out of pure curiosity — if nothing else… We must not therefore cover up or barricade the exit. We must make its existence impossible to guess.”
Just like our Universe appears infinite to us, the degree of complexity of any observed physical system would appear scale-free, or scale-invariant, under any rendering of magnitude. This means that we can “zoom in” or “zoom out” forever and some degree of complexity will be observed — patterns of patterns would reiterate ad infinitum. First of all, this supports computational universality, secondly, it has implications for the science of consciousness. It is often assumed that consciousness emerges in a system once it reaches a certain threshold of complexity and information integration. But Nature is now known for holographic and fractal principles underlying its fundamental properties. If fractal organization reiterates across scales, is it possible that similar information processing by non-local “imminent” consciousness at one observable domain is occurring at smaller and larger scales as well? Would it be another clever partitioning of the worlds? As David Wallace, a philosopher of physics at the University of Southern California, puts it in his 2012 book, The Emergent Multiverse, when we take quantum mechanics at face value, “the world turns out to be rather larger than we had anticipated: Indeed, it turns out our classical ‘world’ is only a small part of a much larger reality.” So, it seems that hyperreality is ultimately a fractal system of progressively self-exceeding computations.
In my essay “Is God The Ultimate Computer?” I argue that information does not simply describe our physical reality but it is the most fundamental “code layer” of reality. The ultimate reality is thus produced by a massively parallel Omega Hypercomputer that is most likely to have qubits at its controls for the realization of any physically possible world. In The Matrix movie Morpheus is trying to get across to Neo that everything he thinks is real is actually only information that the brain receives and translates into his unitary experiential reality. “Your mind makes it real,” says Morpheus in the “purgatory” scene. Another great scene I enjoyed watching is when a boy from the Oracle’s entourage engages Neo in chalk talk: “Do not try to bend the spoon, that's impossible! Instead, only try to realize the truth!” _ “What truth?”_ “There is no spoon!”_ “There is no spoon?”_”Then you'll see this is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself!”
Video: A scene from "The Matrix" (1999), Warner Bros.
EXPERIENTIAL REALITY: QUBITS-TO-DIGITS OF QUALIA
A little while ago, the idea that our minds create reality would have seemed preposterous to most westerners. But today everyone in the West becomes a bit more susceptible to this bold new idealistic, computationalist thinking along with certain QM interpretations directly pointing to the fundamental laws of Nature emerging from consciousness. It might be mind-boggling for some people to consider that a coherent description of reality, with all its quantum oddities, can arise from nothing more than first-person subjective experiences. In these new information-based interpretations, consciousness doesn't just collapse the probabilistic wave function. Conscious experience IS the collapse of wave function.
Reality is what you “choose” it to be and this claim by the Copenhagen Interpretative camp has been confirmed again by elaborate delayed-choice experiments including a series of newly-devised space experiments involving bouncing photons off satellites. It's a well-established fact in physics that a photon will behave like a particle or a wave depending on the method of measurement. After a photon has made its way almost completely through the experiment — well past the point at which it would appear either a wave or a particle — an observer makes a decision how to measure it. Experimental evidence has been conducive to the notion of retrocausality and subjective wave function collapse: Information is always being created in the present moment aligning seemingly prior events for consistency. Your qualia are indeterminate until experienced, so filtering of available options from the spectrum of qualia into a digital "frame" of your "holo-movie" results in a single conscious moment. Quantum potentiality in qualia space resolves every moment into your experiential well-defined ‘digital reality’ in the fashion equivalent to that of quantum computation. In purely computational terms, quantum-to-classical transition results from quantum mechanical bits or “qubits” being computed into a digital data stream or “digits” of qualia what we otherwise call phenomenological experience.
Let me be perfectly clear. What is the most important philosophical question of all time? What is reality? Namely, what's my experiential reality? How is it produced? Quantum mechanical principles apply not only to the quantum realm of the ultra-tiny but to all of reality. But your reality is NOT objective as physicalists claim but subjective. In the long run, neither determinism nor physicalism can be saved. Most physicists and philosophers now agree that time which is essential to subjectivity is emergent. Time emerges from experiential data, it's an epiphenomenon of consciousness (see D-Theory of Time). From moment to moment, you are co-writing your own story, co-producing your own “parallel participatory reality” — your stream of consciousness neither is contingent on some kind of deterministic "script" not it is fully random. You are entitled to degrees of freedom.
Our experience of time can be understood as a fractal dimension, not even a half dimension — we are subjected to our species-specific algorithmic sense of time flow. What's necessary for completion of quantum information processing, though, is a collapse of possibilities — “many worlds” collapsing into an observer's temporal singularity, i.e. the present moment which happens approximately every 1/10 of a second. Between conscious moments lie incredibly vast and “eternally long” potentialities of something happening. But rest assured, you will experience a sequence of those “digital” moments which gives you a sense of subjective reality. There's no way around this funneling of choices in the spectrum of available qualia — this collapse is required to complete the quantum-to-digital computational transition: Step A: Many Worlds; Step Z: Digital reality frame of your holo-movie. This is why standalone Many Worlds interpretation is incomplete to describe your experiential reality.
The 21st century has been marked by a new wave of scientists and philosophers questioning conventional modes of thinking and revising the older assumptions away from the materialist towards computationalist approach in physics. This would open the doors, they agree, for a quantum theory of gravity that can merge general relativity and quantum mechanics traditionally contradicting each other. Lately the excitement of this possibility has involved hundreds of physicists who have been meeting every three months or so under the banner of a project dubbed “It from Qubit”.
Wavicles by nature, microobjects to macroobjects are subject to same quantum mechanical probabilistic rules, even though in classical terms it's impossible for us to observe a multitude of probabilistic outcomes. From our human-level classical perspective, we get to observe only one realized outcome at a time which results in our irreducible conscious experience. If we are to reason for the non-dual picture of the world then quantum physics is directly linked to consciousness. The human brain is a physical organ that transmits and interprets electrochemical signals. Its biochemistry is certainly governed by quantum physical laws, and consciousness — which is clearly related to the functioning of the brain — must therefore be related to the quantum physical processes going on within the brain and in the cosmos at large. While quantum theory in itself is too complicated for most people to comprehend, the vast majority of scientists and philosophers concur that the quantum mechanical principles epitomized in massive parallelism of quantum computers superior to classical computers may be the key to explain human consciousness. For those who accept the Mental Universe hypothesis, it's a “fait accompli” — reality is in consciousness.
Should a future AGI pick up and read this essay, she would immediately recognize the validity of programmable realities based on intersubjectivity instead of conventionally presumed objectivity which in the minds of our superintelligent descendants could look as naïve as to us ‘local realism’ of the early 20th century. She would perhaps recognize an inflection point in scientific progression circa 2020. The accepted scientific knowledge that we have right now could be replaced in the coming years and decades. Several of our prevailing theories will be demonstrated to be wrong, and some will perhaps turn out to be “not even wrong”. Some of our current widely accepted theories will inevitably be the future victims of intellectual progress.
-by Alex Vikoulov
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*Image Credit: "The Matrix" (1999), Warner Bros.
About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a futurist, neo-transcendentalist, singularitarian transhumanist, evolutionary extrapolist, cosmist, idealist philosopher, founder of Ecstadelic Media, painter, media artist, essayist, co-author of "Is Reality a Simulation?" (2018), author of the upcoming book "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution". Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area).