The World Hologram
The full meaning of the new physics shows us that the mind is significant in a manner we could hardly have imagined. We are no strangers to the idea that the mind defines who you really are. What is unexpected is that in your personal world this is the whole of what you are.
Here the definition of the mind is the one used by philosopher of physics Michael Lockwood in his ‘Many-Minds’ Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics. This is the conscious attribute of all the neural activity in the brain. So this is the ‘perceptual reality’, meaning the information one actually perceives consciously. He calls it the ‘phenomenal perspective’, meaning the subjective reality, and ‘a complete state of consciousness’.
The perceptual reality is the picture of the world that the brain generates so that one can actually see the world and interact with it. Out of all the massive amount of information processing going on in the neurological system of the brain, this is what one is actually conscious of.
It is this field of information that is of core significance in the physics. As described in Quantum Theory this is the entity at the heart of Hugh Everett’s famous many-worlds theory. As Lockwood demonstrates, the world of this entity resolves the paradoxes of the quantum theory. In other words, this type of world fits the facts.
The Perceptual Reality
Nowadays we know exactly what kind of thing this field of information is because it is familiar. As Richard Dawkins writes:
Our brain constructs a three-dimensional model. It is a virtual reality in the head. (1998, 276)
It is kind of obvious once you start thinking about it, but of course normally we never do. It seems perfectly obvious that my eyes see the world and that is that. But in fact the picture of the world I am experiencing is an internal construct.
At the same time this virtual reality is vastly more than just a picture. It is a representation of the whole of the world that I know. This includes all the places in the world I have been, all the people I met, all the things I have interacted with. This is the integrated synthesis of all the observations I have made. This is the known world, everything I know about the world from observation.
To think about somewhere else in the world, such as where a friend is at the moment, is to look at a specific view of this virtual reality. This is how one is able not only to experience the current and immediate representation of reality, but also to ‘see’ other attributes of the world when one thinks about them. This is all part of the virtual-reality form of the perceptual reality.
The World Hologram
Now we come to the key point of this virtual reality. Obviously, this is all going on ‘in here’. But it is not experienced like that. This field of information is mentally projected out onto the world. As David Deutsch explains:
Consider the nerve signals reaching our brains from our sense organs. Far from providing direct or untainted access to reality, even they themselves are never experienced for what they really are – namely crackles of electrical activity. Nor, for the most part, do we experience them as being where they really are – inside our brains. Instead, we place them in the reality beyond. We do not just see blue: we see a blue sky up there, far away. We do not just feel pain: we experience a headache, or a stomach ache. The brain attaches those interpretations – ‘head’, ‘stomach’ and ‘up there’ – to events that are in fact within the brain itself. (2011, 10)
In other words, it is mentally projected out onto the world. This is why we do not notice that what we are actually experiencing directly is a virtual reality ‘in here’. But it is.
The perceptual reality, the virtual reality being experienced, has the form of a hologram. It is a spatially-distributed, three-dimensional image that is mentally projected onto the real world, so as to match up precisely with the three-dimensional physical reality. This is here called the world hologram. This is the amazing natural technology of the brain that enables us to perceive the world and interact with it. This is the operation of the navigation equipment of the human observer.
The Mind is Reality
Now we get to the really strange physics stuff. As demonstrated in QBism, the latest interpretation of quantum theory, the world one lives in is determinate, meaning physically definite and real, only where you have observed it. This is described in detail in Quantum Theory. And this means that the record of observations defines everything that is real, and everything else is indeterminate, unreal. So when you look around you, everything you see is real and determinate, but everything that lies beyond the limits of your perceptual reality is indeterminate. Which is very weird, but what follows is even weirder.
This means that the world hologram, the known world, defines the determinacy of the real world in which you find yourself. As stated by Hans von Baeyer:
If I am the agent, the objective world is everything outside my mind―including other agents and even my own body. All of that I may, if I chose, treat quantum mechanically and describe by wavefunctions.
The Indeterminate Body
Does he really mean even my own body? Yes indeed. But this is not quite as weird as it sounds. The reason the world is only determinate where observed is because it is a whole lot of worlds superposed. This is the new explanation that solves the problems, as described in Quantum Theory. Your actual world is your reality because you are in all of them all at the same time. That is how it works. That is what gives rise to the QBism type of world.
All these worlds are identical from your perspective. In all these worlds there is an identical copy of you. But it is only you mind, your world hologram, that is absolutely identical. Among all these worlds, there are bodies that are different in some way, unobserved. And this is where the body mind divide gets serious. As the mind, you are in every possible variation of the body that gives rise to this mind. And the net result is that only the things of your body you have observed are determinate. Not because the rest is not there, but because it is all possible variations superposed. It takes a bit of getting used to.
So the mind is who you truly are because everything else is indeterminate, even your own body. The neat thing is that you are nonetheless everything you think you are, precisely.
Along with making observations of the rest of the world, one also makes observations of oneself. You see the outside of yourself in the mirror, and you are also constantly making observations of your internal state: body sensations and emotional feelings. And technically, every thought you experience is an observation of the state of the neural network of the brain. All this information is added to the record of observations, and forms part of the world hologram, a hugely significant part. In technical terms, this is the avatar figure representing yourself at the centre of your world hologram.
Just as the world hologram represents the three-dimensional world in a spatially distributed, virtual reality, it represents the three-dimensional body in a spatially distributed, virtual-reality avatar. This is the known self or ‘self-avatar’.
This term is used here to mean the integrated synthesis of all the observations of the self, the complete mental construct produced over time. This includes the self-concept, the self-image and the body schema. Altogether this forms the known self. This is a three-dimensional virtual-reality construct at the centre of the world hologram, the real-time representation of the whole of the self as known to the self. This is described in detail in The Self Avatar.
The Functional Identity
Whenever you think about your physical presence, or your physical state, you are bringing to mind some aspect of your self-avatar. You could say that is what it is for. But this is a great deal more than just an avatar of your physical state. As Deutsch states, it is not only all the memory of one’s life that is contained in the world hologram, but also the particular way one processes information. Just as all the knowledge about the world and oneself is contained in the world hologram, so too is every aspect of the character, and how one thinks and makes decisions:
… every last scrap of our knowledge ― including our knowledge of the non-physical worlds of logic, mathematics and philosophy, and of imagination, fiction, art and fantasy ― is encoded in the form of programs for the rendering of those worlds on our brain’s own virtual-reality generator. (1997, 121)
In other words the ‘functional identity’, meaning the character and the psychology, what you are like, how you think, are all defined in the world hologram. So all the attributes of the mind that make up the identity are defined in this field of information. In terms of character, memory, beliefs and criteria, you are the world hologram.
We Are Triune
We are actually triune, three in one, because there are three very different attributes of oneself that go to make up the conscious individual, body, mind and spirit. As explained in Logical Types, there are three different levels of operation in the universe, and the conscious individual involves all three. This has a notable correspondence with Gnosticism. As stated by biblical scholar Jim West:
What Tertullian actually describes is a Gnostic doctrine which maintains that the universe is comprised of three fundamental substances or natures, which are identified as spirit, soul and matter. (2009)
As described in Relativity & Time, the experiencing consciousness is the spirit that animates all reality, giving rise to the movie of life. And as described in Quantum Immortality, the mind, meaning the perceptual reality, the world hologram, is the soul. It is this that effectively passes from moment to moment, and even lifetime to lifetime. The body is the physical form in which the mind is instantiated at each moment. Altogether this is the nature of each conscious individual.
We understand that we are physical entities with clever minds inside. Objectively this is true as is obvious. But inside our personal worlds we are the world holograms that define our worlds, as described in Quantum Theory. It is quite a step up from the generally accepted concept of the human individual.
The traditional identity is the physical entity. But as the world hologram that defines the world I inhabit, my identity is very different. The contrast is highlighted in regard to egoism. As the ordinary ego self I want to do well, and the needs of others are inherently secondary. As the world hologram, however, I am still egoistic but the agenda is much wider. And this is the shift that has the potential to resolve our terrible crises, as described in The New Culture.
But this is a hard sell in the modern competitive world. In the world of the ordinary ego self, putting others on the same level as one’s own needs is a luxury one may or may not want to provide to others. But in the world of the individual as the world hologram this is the ‘key to heaven’, living in an ideal world. Understanding one is in a personal world changes everything because effectively, as countless sages have told us, how we treat the world is how the world treats us. That is the reality of Quantum Karma.
The New Life