Glossary

Glossary

New terms presented here or used in a manner specific to this context, are in italics.

Andromeda paradox: Given relativity, simply changing the direction in which you are walking alters whether distant events happened some time ago, or have yet to happen. So, either you are changing the physical state of affairs in the Andromeda galaxy, which physics does not allow, or you are simply changing what is true for you. The latter must mean that objectively both versions of the world are true all the time: i.e. the universe is a block universe. It is all ‘there’. This is the Rietdijk-Putnam-Penrose argument in a nutshell. This is all addressed in depth by Savitt (2017). (The counter-position is a changing 3D world, and the debate gets quite heated. However, as described in the text, both paradigms are true. While ‘actually’, objectively, the world is static 4D block universe, ‘effectively’, subjectively, meaning in the moving viewpoint of consciousness, it is a changing 3D world.)

Anthropomorphism: The attribution of human traits, such as personality, to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency in humans.

Applied epistemology: “Applied epistemology in general is the study of whether systems of investigation that purport to be seeking the truth are well engineered to lead to true beliefs about the world. Theorists of knowledge, as epistemologists are sometimes known, routinely examine truth-seeking practices like science and mathematics to find out whether they are capable of delivering the goods they seek.” (Laudan, 2006).

Archetype: An original or fundamental pattern, of which all things of the same type are representations or copies. Also used to refer to collective representations or primordial thoughts arising across the boundaries of cultures, traditions and ideologies.

Attractor: Any state toward which a system tends to gravitate.

Attractor: Strange: An attractor in a complex system. Rather than a specific state, the system gravitates toward certain tendencies, or behaviours.

Avatar: In computer games this means the digital representation of a person in the game. Here the word is used for the representation of a person in the world hologram. Just as the world hologram is the integrated synthesis of all observations made of the world, an avatar is the integrated synthesis of all observations made of that person. The avatar of oneself at the centre of the world hologram is the integrated synthesis of all observations made of oneself: the self-avatar figure.

Bayesian probability: A method of working of out the probabilities of what is likely to happen in the world, based on what has been observed in the past and the implications of this information.

Block universe: This means that all existence in time is equally real. The world is ‘there’ in the future just as it is ‘there’ in the distance in space. A useful article is presented by physicist Paul Davies (2006a)

Body Schema: The mental image of the body, especially in relation to spatial awareness and movement. It is a postural model that keeps track of the body’s spatial properties, such as limb position and the shape of the body surface.

Born rule: This is the law of quantum mechanics that gives the probability of a specific result in a quantum-mechanical experiment.

Catch 22: A circular double bind: no work available unless you have experience, to get which you need to work.

Category error: This is a mistake of logic in which something that belonging to a particular category is treated as if it belongs to a different category.

Class-of-worlds-as-a-world: A descriptive technical term for the superworld.

Collapse dynamics: The abrupt apparent change of the wave function on observation. The wave function in quantum mechanics is defined by the Schrödinger wave equation, according to which the system evolves, on advancing the time parameter, into a linear superposition of different states. This is the linear dynamics. But actual measurements always find the physical system in a definite state, hence a secondary ‘collapse’ dynamics is somehow enacted, giving rise to a specific actualised property of a subatomic particle, e.g. a specific value for position or momentum. The inability to observe this process directly has given rise to different interpretations of quantum mechanics, and poses a key set of questions that each interpretation must answer. Here this phenomenon is shown to operate at a different level of logical type to the linear dynamics. This authenticates both Everett and QBism.

Correlation: Correlated things have properties that alter ‘together’ meaning in sync, like power cuts and conceptions. They are statistically related to each other i.e. co-related. Quantum correlation means that each of two systems has information about the other. This leads to co-relation of the probabilities of events in the future. (This is closely related to quantum entanglement which means there is no separate physical definition of either system.)

Consciousness: The word consciousness is used for two very different classes of phenomena, named by Chalmers psychological consciousness and phenomenal consciousness. Ned Block calls the first ‘access consciousness’, which he defines as the answer to the question: “What makes neuronal representations available for thought, decision, reporting and action?” (2003, 8). This is sapience, meaning the intellectual information processing capability. This is the system that produces the virtual-reality representation of the world that gets experienced, the contents of consciousness. The world hologram is the cumulative result. The experiencing consciousness is called phenomenal consciousness by both Block and Chalmers. This is the sentience, the capacity to experience, though this may not be precisely the meaning defined by Block who first coined the term. Here phenomenal consciousness is taken to be necessarily a property of the entire system, universe consciousness. Chalmers stops short of making this kind of equivalence, but Bitbol adopts it wholeheartedly, referring to it as Mind.

Copenhagen interpretation: This was the first general attempt to understand the world defined by quantum mechanics. Essentially, since all physical systems are made of quanta, which generally do not have definite properties prior to being observed, the system is in the same state i.e. the state of the system is indeterminate. Only when observed does it acquire one specific state or another. This feature is known as wavefunction collapse.

Decoherence: The process whereby the quantum-mechanical state of any macroscopic system is rapidly correlated with that of its environment. This process typically makes all the attributes of the system determinate. However, this does not properly account for wavefunction collapse.

Destiny: The predetermined future. The inevitable course of events: given it is noon, it will be midnight in twelve hours. Also a person’s fate.

Destiny: Interactive: The alteration of the destiny in the physical reality of this individual’s superworld. As observations are made, the Bayesian probabilities of the future in this physical frame of reference are altered. This never alters the destiny of objective physical reality, only the version of physical reality this individual will likely experience in the future.

Determinate: Precisely determined or limited or defined, actually so. In quantum terms, a property having only one specific value.

Dynamics: The way the system changes in time mechanically, e.g. the way the motion of an object alters under the action of a force. In quantum theory the dynamics of the system is defined in two different ways, resulting in the measurement problem. See also Collapse dynamics, Linear dynamics.

Egoism: Egoism here means the belief that acting in one’s own best interests is the only criterion that matters.

Emergent: Emergence is when a system as a whole has properties that its parts do not have on their own. Transport is an emergent property of a properly assembled vehicle.

Empirical: Coming from the direct evidence of experiment. Not just theoretical.

Entropy: This is a measurable physical property of a system. Essentially this is the amount of information that is needed to fully specify the state of the system.

Epistemic: Relating to knowledge about the world.

Event: Interaction of matter and energy at a specific point in the four-dimensional space-time matrix.

Frame of reference: The basic frame of reference is a coordinate system i.e. one which uses numbers to uniquely determine the position of a place, or object in space – the numbers are the ‘coordinates’: for instance distance from a specific point of origin on a journey.

Function: A mathematical function defines a relationship between two things, the input and the output. So a function called distance_travelled, would take the speed and the elapsed time travelling, as two inputs, and multiply them to give the distance travelled, the output. The distance travelled is a function of the speed and the time taken. The function takes the inputs and returns the output.

Function: Wave: In physics, a mathematical function that returns the likelihood of a possible state of a physical system, e.g. the position or momentum of a subatomic particle. For any given possible event at a given elapsed time, the wave function returns the probability of that event.

Functional identity: This is the identity of the entity that actually operates in reality. This is defined by the record of observations including all the active data and algorithms in the personal psychology that embody the capacity to form thoughts and feelings, make decisions and determine action.

Hilbert space: A mathematical space with an infinite number of dimensions. This is a mathematical way of defining objects of many dimensions, using the mathematical techniques used for ordinary three-dimensional objects and spaces. In quantum mechanics this is the state space in which the state vector defines the quantum state of a physical entity or system.

Higher self: The full identity of the conscious individual.

Holographic universe, see Universe: Holographic.

Indeterminate: Not accurately determined. In quantum terms, not accurately determined, or even determinable: ‘physically uncertain’, meaning a property having multiple values for what is actually so.

Intersection: An intersection is a group of items that belong to two different sets. So an intersection of two roads is the group of points in space that belongs to both roads.

Intersection of worlds: The intersection of worlds is the group of correlated events recorded in the world hologram.

Individual: The entity defined by the world hologram, defined in Everett’s formulation as the record of observations. This is literally, ontologically, undividable: it is a holographic structure of information, and holograms cannot be divided. If you take half of a hologram away you do not get two different parts defined by different information. Instead you get two holograms, defined by the same information as the original, but with half the detail, half the resolution. See also Observer.

Inside view: The frame of reference of a conscious individual. In Tegmark’s terms, the view of the world of a self-aware substructure in it.

Interactive Destiny: see Destiny: Interactive.

Karma: The idea that actions and even intentions of an individual influence the future of that individual. Thus the making of destiny or fate from personal cause. In practical terms, the kinds of things you do to others are also likely to be the kinds of things that others do to you; what goes around comes around. Here karma is explained as the increasing tendency of strange attractors to reproduce the types of significant actions observed.

Law of attraction: The idea that like attracts like, so that if you think about the things you want they will be drawn to you, even if these outcomes are completely outside of your ability to influence in any ordinary way. The same concept is traditionally known as sympathetic magic.

Lexicon: The special language, or stock of terms, of a particular paradigm. The language of biology deals with structures of living organisms: phylum and oedema are part of the lexicon. The lexicon of logical types as ontologically fundamental, for instance, provides the language-components superworld and class-of-worlds-as-a-world.

Life-line: The term used by Weyl to refer to the worldline of the person.

Linear dynamics: The time evolution of a quantum system as defined by the quantum wave function, according to which the system evolves, on advancing the time parameter, into a linear superposition of different states. On observation, it seems, the multiple superposed states of the system ‘collapse’ into a specific determinate actuality. This is the collapse dynamics.

Logical type: The vital distinction between a set or class of elements and a single one of those elements, first denoted by Bertrand Russell. The latter is termed first or primitive logical type and the former second logical type.

Macroscopic: Large enough to be perceived by the unaided eye.

Many-minds theory: The many-worlds theory shows that all possibilities become real, and the observer is in a state of superposition following the making an observation. Since we know from direct experience that only one version of events is experienced, it must follow that there are different versions of the mind of the observer, one for each possible version of the observation made. Only the world of the mind, therefore, defines a determinate state.

Many-Worlds theory: The common name for a class of theory first proposed by Hugh Everett’s in 1957. This demonstrates resolution of the measurement problem in quantum theory: Everett shows that there is no need to postulate a physical collapse dynamics – hence the existence of all possible worlds – since there is the appearance of collapse from the relative perspective of each specific individual.

Measurement problem: The wave function evolves according to the quantum wave equation into a linear superposition of different states, but actual measurements always find the physical system in a definite state. By definition no one system can perform both of these operations simultaneously, but this is what is required in order to explain what is observed in experiment.

Mind: Usually described as the faculties of cognition, e.g. consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, imagination, and memory. Here the word mind is used for a subset of these facilities, the memory only, meaning the record of observations, the world hologram. The rest of the information processing faculty is taken to be an attribute of the physical observer, the operating system of the body. This gives rise to the world hologram, but on the inside view it is all indeterminate except where observed, and thus defined by the world hologram.

Mind: unconscious see Unconscious.

Moving viewpoint: see Viewpoint, moving.

Moravec jump: The transition to a new life-line, on a different worldline, on the making of the first observation in the different version of the world.

Multi-solipsism: QBism holds that only what is experienced (here referred to as what is observed) is determinate. Thus all else, including others in the world, are defined solely where observed by this person. Since in this person’s physical reality only this person is real, this is a form of solipsism. At the same time, all individuals, each with their own physical reality, are acknowledged as existing and real on their own terms, hence multi-solipsism.

Multiverse: Another name for the universe of all possible worlds.

Neural Network: The interconnected network of neurons in the brain, numbering around 100 billion. This is the physical structure of the biological computer that carries out all our mental processes such as perception, reasoning, and judgement.

Observation problem: The unresolved problem of how (or if) wave function collapse occurs. The wave function evolves according to the quantum wave equation into a linear superposition of different states, but actual measurements always find the physical system in a definite state. This appears to mean that the observation ‘did something’ to the process under examination. Although many kinds of observation do have an effect on what is observed, this collapse of the states definitely happens when no cause can be attributed to the making of the observation. Unobserved, reality is quantum, taking all possible forms, but in reality, i.e. observed, reality is classical always taking a specific form. And so the observation problem is the problem of how the classical world emerges from the quantum world. Decoherence goes a long way toward resolving this issue.

Observer: The physical entity that uses sensory apparatus to produce a representation of its environment which is recorded in memory. It gives rise to the individual, the person on the inside view. In classical science the term person can be synonymous with the term observer: physically we are body-minds, to which classical physics applies. However, as described by Everett, we know from quantum physics that following the making of an observation, the physical body-mind holds multiple versions of the inside view, here the world hologram, superposed: the quantum-mechanical dynamics applies only to the individual.

Observer-dependent: see Reality: Observer-Dependent:

Ontic: Ontological, of the fundamental nature of being.

Onticity: Relative: The physical reality, the actuality, is relative to the viewpoint, the frame of reference in physics.

Ontology: A conceptualisation of the nature of being, or the kinds of things that have fundamental existence.

Ontologically fundamental: This is used here to mean on a par with physical existence as primal and fundamental.

Operating system: In a computer this is the system software that manages the hardware and provides the context in which information processes operate, and the facilities they require to function.

Paradigm: A philosophical or theoretical framework. In science the paradigm includes not only the set of familiar concepts in the field, the theories and ideas in use, but also the standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions in that field. In this sense the term was coined by Kuhn.

Person: The conscious subject of experience that engages with the physical reality encountered. A psychic entity, defined by a specific world hologram, referred to here interchangeably as the individual.

Phenomenal consciousness: See Consciousness.

Protagonist: The main character, used here to mean the entity to which the dynamics of physics are real phenomena.

Psyche: The functional identity as an operational entity.

Psychological consciousness: See Consciousness.

QBism: A modern update of Quantum Bayesianism.

Qualia: The purely subjective phenomena of experience. The properties of experience that have no correlate in physical reality.

Quantum: The minimum amount of any physical entity involved in an interaction.

Quantum Bayesianism: A view of quantum theory that applies Bayesian probability to quantum mechanics, principally developed by Caves, Fuchs, Schack and Mermin.

Quantum gravity: This is the physics that unifies gravity with the other three fundamental forces.

Quantum jump: The spontaneous change in the quantum state: the exercise of the collapse dynamics.

Quantum karma: Karma as a result of confirmation bias due to unconscious expectations.

Quantum mechanics: The mathematical formulation of quantum theory, defining how a quantum, or a quantum system, moves and interacts.

Quantum state: The state in which a physical system exists. This is usually described by a wave function. As this is a probabilistic definition this defines the likelihood of all possible events involving this system.

Quantum theory: A branch of physics providing a mathematical description of the dynamics of the fundamental physical reality: the way matter and energy interact, at the subatomic quantum level, and the relative likelihood of such events. In classical or Newtonian mechanics, the probabilities of events are definite and specific, but unknown for most kinds of events most of the time. In the new physics of quantum theory the definitions of physical systems and events are inherently probabilistic.

Reality: Observer-Dependent: The physical reality determinate where observed by this observer i.e. dependent on the observer for definition.

Reality: Perceptual: The reality as experienced by the individual in the sensorium, and recorded in memory, the whole forming the world hologram.

Reality: Physical: That which is determinately real in a given frame of reference. On the outside view this is the quasi-classical world. On the inside view this is the class-of-worlds-as-a-world.

Reality: Quantum: The physical reality defined by the quantum state. In the ordinary world this is indeterminate only at very small scales and for very short periods of time. In the World this is indeterminate except where observed.

Record of observations: Record of all observations made of the environment, and of the self. This is the state of the memory in Everett’s many-worlds theory. The world hologram is the integrated synthesis of the record of observations. The record of observations of the self forms the self-avatar figure at the centre of the world hologram.

Religion: Religion here means not just our relation to the sacred and the spiritual but actual reconnection to the divinity of nature, as in religare.

Retrodict: This is when a new discovery or a new perspective explains something known from history that previously had no explanation. Retrospectively, it is clear that this is the reason for the phenomenon.

Rietdijk-Putnam-Penrose argument: Essentially this holds that the Andromeda paradox means the universe is a block universe, with full mathematical demonstration. This is addressed in depth by Savitt (2017).

Right Action: Doing no harm. Closely akin to the Do Not’s of the Ten Commandments.

Sapience: The intellectual information processing capability. The system that processes information, and produces understanding and insight.

Schrödinger wave equation: The fundamental equation for describing and predicting quantum-mechanical behaviour.

Schrödinger’s cat: A thought experiment by Erwin Schrödinger to illustrate the absurdity of quantum theory.

Self-concept: The mental image one has of oneself, the complete concept one has built up of who and what one is.

Self-avatar: The self-identity figure at the centre of the world hologram: the holographic field of information defining the determinacy of the body on the inside view.

Sensorium: The sensory apparatus, the faculties of an organism’s perception considered as a whole. The world hologram is the experiential attribute of the sensorium.

Sentience: The experiencing capability, the phenomenal consciousness.

Snapshot: This here refers to the quantum state of the world, the state of the whole system at a particular point in time. The term is coined by Deutsch in his explanation of the quantum concept of time.

Stochastic: Randomly determined.

Soul: Traditional name for the world hologram experienced by consciousness, the mind as defined by the record of observations. This is the real person ‘in here’, meaning the field of information that if uploaded into a new body would be the same person in all functional terms.

Solipsism: The philosophical idea that the self is the only existing reality, and that all other reality, including the external world and other persons, are representations in the mind of this individual, having no independent existence.

Superstring: This is a way of modelling the physical components of nature in terms of frequencies at the very smallest scale.

Superposition Principle: This principle holds that the net result of a phenomenon at a given place and time caused by two or more casual processes is the sum of the results which would have been caused by each causal process individually. The quantum superposition of physical phenomena is simply this principle applied to the results of applying multiple wave functions to a single physical context: in other words, adding together the wave functions of two or more quantum states gives the net physical reality.

Superworld: The effective physical environment defined by the superposition of all worlds containing the world hologram. The result is the effect of the holographic universe. This provides the ontology for a QBism type of world, determinate solely where observed. Vaidman calls this kind of world a relative or perspectival world, and he also states that this kind of world is considered basic in some approaches. This is the physical reality of an individual on the inside view in Tegmark’s classification: as defined by the record of observations. This is Everett’s relative state.

Terror management: The concept that psychological dissonance arises from the fundamental instinct for self-preservation faced with the inevitability of death. The conflict produces a natural terror. This is then managed by displacement activities such as keeping busy, or belief in immortality.

Time: In common usage this refers to the linear dimension of space-time, in which durations of events and the intervals between them can be measured and compared, and along which events may be sequenced. In general use, a measuring system used to sequence and compare events, their duration and so on. See also Time: Quantum.

Time: Quantum: Whereas the concept of time in classical and relativistic physics is based on sequence of moments in space-time, the quantum concept of time is based on the sequence of quantum states defining a physical system. As stated by Lockwood this is a dimension running, so to speak, perpendicular to time and space.

Time evolution: The time evolution of a system is the change of the state of the system, as the viewpoint progresses along the time dimension. In the mathematics of physics this simply means advancing the time parameter of the relevant equation, usually denoted as t. In Newtonian mechanics, mechanics, the time evolution of the physical state of the system is the change in the configuration of the matter and energy in space-time, as the time parameter is increased. In the linear dynamics of quantum mechanics, the same thing is defined, within the context of a system with a specific quantum state, but the definition becomes increasingly indeterminate over time. Time evolution in the collapse dynamics is the change of the quantum state defining this frame of reference, as described in Chapter 28. This is the enactment of the quantum concept of time.

Transtemporal: Literally, transcending time. The word is used here in the sense applied in philosophical literature to mean enduring through time, an entity or phenomenon genuinely passing through time.

Trim tab: This is a meta-control that biases the steering. On large ships this is a small extra rudder at the end of the rudder. By moving the rudder, the trim tab has a disproportionate effect on the direction of the ship.

Triune: Three in one. A trinity in unity.

Unconscious, the: The conscious awareness is the immediate perception. The rest of the psychological domain is the unconscious. Jung differentiates between two attributes of the unconscious, personal and collective.

Unconscious: Personal: The personal unconscious is defined by Jung as those attributes of the mind, once conscious, that are accessible but not in immediate conscious awareness. With the immediate perception included, this is world hologram as a whole.

Unconscious: Collective: As Jung describes, the rest of the psychological system that is not part of the conscious awareness, and not part of the personal unconscious, is the collective unconscious. This is an attribute of the operating system of the body that is common to all members of the species. As he states it consists primarily of archetypes. But these fields of information are not static but dynamic, and “… give definite form to certain psychic contents.” (1969, 43). It thus exists across the boundaries of individuals’ identities in a dynamic manner, thus providing a rationale for the remarkable type of properties he describes. This accounts for the mysterious zeitgeist of human cultures. This also explains how a population can be manipulated politically when powerful archetypes are energised through the media.

Universe: Everything that exists. Originally this meant simply everything in space and time. Now it has come to mean the space of all possible worlds, all existing in space-time. That used to be called the multiverse.

Universe consciousness: The awareness of all conscious entities. This is to the moments of reality experienced as the movie projector is to the frames of the movie film. It is a ubiquitous transcendental phenomenon. It is referred to in many cultures as spirit.

Universe: Holographic: The world as defined by quantum gravity. This shows that the three-dimensional world is completely defined on the two-dimensional boundary at the outer edge. This is the effect of the superworld. The observed surface is the only determinacy.

Vedas: A large body of religious texts from ancient India. Vedic science is the natural science of the Vedas, e.g. Ayur Veda, the science of healing.

Viewpoint: The frame of reference of a specific perspective.

Viewpoint: Moving. The moving viewpoint is the gaze of consciousness in Weyl’s statement quoted on page 32.

Wave function: See Function: Wave.

Wigner’s Friend: This is a thought experiment, very similar to Schrödinger’s cat, in which not only the result of the experiment but also the experimenter is found to be in an indeterminate state.

World: The objective physical environment. This is well defined by Vaidman: “A world is the totality of (macroscopic) objects: stars, cities, people, grains of sand, etc. in a definite classically described state.” (2002). A physical reality on the outside view in Tegmark’s classification.

World: Meta see superworld.

World: Quasi-classical. Classical means it is a world of Newtonian mechanics, and essentially all real and there, just as we imagine it to be. It is quasi-classical because it only appears to be a Newtonian world, but is not like that at all at very small scales of reality where everything is defined solely by quantum probabilities. So a quasi-classical world operates exactly like an ordinary, Newtonian, classical-physics world in everyday life, but do quantum mechanical experiments on it and it turns out it is all indeterminate ‘underneath’.

World hologram: The holographic field of information representing the entire record of observations. It is experienced subjectively as the perceptual reality of the individual. This is an internally generated virtual reality, representing the physical environment. This is mentally projected onto the environment to match up with the physical reality known to the individual by these observations. This is the display of the navigation equipment of the individual. Because it coincides perfectly with the details of the environment, a basic attribute of the functionality, it is experienced as the spatially distributed environment in which the individual exists. Thus it is usually not appreciated that what one is actually experiencing is ‘in here’ as opposed to ‘out there’. The self-avatar figure is the central component.

Worldline: The path of an object in four-dimensional space-time, tracing its location in space at each moment in time: a central concept in modern physics.