Holographic Universe

In previous article I briefly touched upon the various interpretations of quantum mechanics. One subset of the interpretations is of particular interest to me, and those are quantum information theories. More precisely a specific interpretation which utilizes holographic principle.

This tenet of string theory was inspired by black hole dynamics, notably the black hole information paradox which emerged as a direct result of Hawking’s discovery that black holes emit radiation. In short, the problem was that since information gets trapped in black hole and the black hole eventually evaporates through Hawking radiation, the information inevitably gets lost. And that is in stark opposition to some core, experimentally confirmed tenets of QM that postulate that information should be recoverable.

Holographic principle then resolved the paradox with an insight that the “informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole might be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon.” In general terms the tenet states that “the description of a volume of space can be thought of as encoded on a lower-dimensional boundary to the region.” And that can be obviously applied to cosmos as a whole, where the boundary, as I understand it, resides at infinity.

When one starts to look at things from this perspective one finds, as Jacob D. Bekenstein wrote, that there is an unexpected correlation between thermodynamic and information entropy such that the “thermodynamic entropy and Shannon entropy are conceptually equivalent: the number of arrangements that are counted by Boltzmann entropy reflects the amount of Shannon information one would need to implement any particular arrangement.” However, “typical values of the two entropies differ vastly in magnitude. A silicon microchip carrying a gigabyte of data, for instance, has a Shannon entropy of about 10¹⁰ bits (one byte is eight bits), tremendously smaller than the chip’s thermodynamic entropy, which is about 10²³ bits at room temperature. This discrepancy occurs because the entropies are computed for different degrees of freedom. A degree of freedom is any quantity that can vary, such as a coordinate specifying a particle’s location or one component of its velocity. The Shannon entropy of the chip cares only about the overall state of each tiny transistor etched in the silicon crystal — the transistor is on or off; it is a 0 or a 1 — a single binary degree of freedom.

In words of Seth Lloyd from MIT — in the case of an “hypothetical computer with a mass of one kilogram occupying a volume of one liter, [… ] in order to take full advantage of the memory space available, the ultimate laptop must turn all its matter into energy. A typical state of the ultimate laptop’s memory looks like a plasma at a billion degrees Kelvin: the laptop’s memory looks like a thermonuclear explosion or a little piece of the Big Bang!

In any case, these examples clearly demonstrate the relationship between information, matter, and energy.

Another piece in the puzzle I’d like to mention is that QM, as Gerard ‘t Hooft observed, can be interpreted using cellular automaton. Coincidental as it may be, constructing a large enough toy model of this interpretation yields what resembles a Sierpiński carpet, which is a plane fractal first described by Wacław Sierpiński in 1916. Another interesting feature of the model is that it does not imply a “Big Bang” but rather a “Big Bounce”. That is, a cyclic reappearance of consecutive universes.

As I argued elsewhere, similarly to the whole universe, human body and ultimately brain can be viewed as a physical computation system, too. But while the input, encoding, and general functionality are already quite well understood, we have almost no clue about the output. In other words, we don’t know what is actually perception and how it is cognized. We don’t know how to adequately describe the perceptual rendering of the world as it appears to us. Thus, what we call “the hard problem of consciousness” can be from a different angle viewed as “the elusive problem of perception”.

Let’s stop for a moment and look at an interesting property of holographic pictures (not to be confused with various forms of 3D projection). Unlike the standard photography, when you cut a hologram into several pieces all of them will retain information about the captured scene in its entirety. It will only appear as if it was viewed through a smaller field of view, which is technically the case. The following video demonstrates what I mean.

And finally, the wild, subjective, speculative stuff [1].

If I was asked to describe how the ultimate reality looks like, I would say that it resembles a non-dimensional point that resides within itself, because, well, there’s literally nowhere else for it to be. I would say that it is the well known God of Abrahamic tradition, existence-consciousness-bliss of Hinduism, etc. And although that mental image is just that — a mental image — within a minuscule fraction of that point then an apparent universe arises each and every moment as it goes through its seemingly endless changes.

In this scenario consciousness indeed looks through the imaginary boundary at the edge of an infinite universe as if through holographic plate illuminating the emergent world of information-energy-matter; humans truly are a fractal image of the whole picture, and their awareness merely limits the field of view of what they perceive and to what extent they can reconstruct the information that lies dormant, encoded within the fabric of the manifested world that periodically reappears as day of Brahma with utmost regularity.

As they say, creation is only the projection into form of that which already exists. As above, so below. But don’t be misled — the laws of nature still apply. Evolution and natural selection are at work just fine. You will die. Your mind is not over matter (or vice versa — they are literally one and the same) and hence it won’t survive it. There is no reincarnation, no soul, no ghosts or spirits. It’s just you reconstructing data from your senses, body, and brain. There is no God unless by God you mean yourself. Hence, don’t look forward to heaven — the whole of wholeness exists only in the present moment and there is no way out as there is literally no outside [2]. All in all, for God’s and heaven’s sake (pun totally intended), stop being superstitious.

Now, feel free to put that into equations.

[1] Sadly, until today no implied noise of quantum fluctuations was found, not even at a scale of 10⁻⁴⁸ meters which is already way below Planck scale. https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Integral_challenges_physics_beyond_Einstein

[2] In case we are in simulation, there’s no meaningful outside but the same still applies. If we were created to find this out, the answer is clear — all of the above and of course also 42. Hey operator, pass this info up the functional level :D

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