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Atman is Brahman

January 30, 2013

Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman.
Nisargadatta Maharaj

The unreal has no being
The real never ceases to be
Bhagavad-Gita

Nothing perceivable is real.
Whatever happens, I remain. At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time, effortlessly and spontaneously.
That which makes you think that you are a human is not human.
It is a dimensionless point of consciousness, a conscious nothing.
All you can say about yourself is ‘I am’.
Nisargadatta Maharaj

Observer

That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman−that thou art.
Brahman is the only truth. The world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and Atman.
Shankara

Atman Brahman

In nondual metaphysics, the observer is referred to as Self, Soul or Atman, and the observer’s underlying reality is referred to as Source or Brahman. Atman is understood as the nature of individual consciousness and Brahman as the nature of absolute reality. The direct experience that there is ultimately no difference between Atman and Brahman is the most profound realization that is possible. Amazingly, this profound realization can now be understood scientifically in terms of recent conceptual developments in theoretical physics.

Recent developments in theoretical physics are paradigm shattering, and turn our conventional common sense ideas about the world inside out. These concepts point to that which is truly out-of-this-world. These recently discovered scientific concepts confirm what nondual metaphysics has told us about the nature of reality for thousands of years of human history.

The holographic principle is the most amazing of these paradigm shattering developments. This principle tells us that the usual three dimensional world of matter and energy we perceive is something of an illusion. The world is really not three dimensional at all, but two dimensional. All the fundamental quantized bits of information for everything that appears to happen in any finite region of three dimensional space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space. Information is encoded in a pixelated way. The bounding surface is like a holographic screen that encodes all the bits of information. One bit of information is encoded per pixel on the screen:

Information01

The holographic principle implies the existence of an observer. Everything the observer observes in its world is like the projection of images from the holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer:

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The holographic principle says each pixel on the screen encodes a bit of information in a binary code of 1′s and 0′s. This is possible because position coordinates on the screen are mathematically represented by a matrix. A 2×2 matrix can represent a spin ½ variable in quantum theory. A spin ½ variable can only be observed to point up or down, and is like an on/off switch that encodes information in a binary code.

The perceivable images of things are composed of bits of information, just like the images displayed on a computer screen. The holographic principle is based on thermodynamic concepts. In this sense, bits of information encoded on the screen in a binary code of 1′s and 0′s can flip back and forth due to their thermal energy, but they can also align together due to their interactions and form coherently organized bound states. These bound states of information are the nature of the images displayed on the holographic screen. Just like computer images or the images of a movie, the images are animated over a sequence of events in the flow of energy. Due to their coherent organization, the images tend to self-replicate their forms.

The nature of the observer is understood in the sense of the principle of equivalence. The holographic screen that displays forms of information in the observer’s world is an event horizon that arises as the observer expends energy, enters into an accelerated frame of reference, and follows a time-like worldline:

Observer's Horizon

An essential concept in the correct interpretation of the holographic principle is the observer must exist before it enters into any possible frame of reference. The observer must exist before any observation is possible. Relativity theory and quantum theory tell us that all the things the observer can observe only have a relative and uncertain temporary kind of existence, but the existence of the observer is timeless and absolute, pre-existing anything the observer can perceive. Only those perceivable things can appear to come into existence or go out of existence.

Only the observer has a timeless sense of being present, or a sense of I-am-ness, which arises from the nature of consciousness. The difficulty incorporating this concept into science is that consciousness is nothing perceivable and the observer is not-a-thing the observer can perceive. The difficulty with this concept is understanding the nature of that nothingness. In some sense, the observer is nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world while all the images of the observer’s world are displayed on its holographic screen.

The observer’s holographic screen only arises because the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference. That is how the observer’s event horizon arises. The event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations and encodes information about whatever the observer happens to observe in that bounded space.

The holographic principle was discovered as a consequence of a better understanding of the nature of quantum information. All the quantized bits of information for anything that can appear to happen in any three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space, which acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space is an event horizon that only arises because the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The event horizon always limits observations to that bounded region of space due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in a computer network.

The encoding of quantized bits of information on the event horizon is a direct consequence of quantum uncertainty. This understanding of how information is encoded on a bounding surface of space arises from a better understanding of the uncertainty principle, and how quantum theory can be consistent with relativity theory.

The basic problem is there is no such thing as an absolute frame of reference for observations, and so there is no such thing as an absolute coordinate system that can characterize space, which is called Mach’s principle. All observations occur in the relative frame of reference of an observer, and only an observer can enter into an accelerated frame of reference. Every possible coordinate system is a frame of reference that is relative to all other frames of reference, and an observer is always present at the central point of view of each coordinate system.

An event horizon only arises because the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference. All frames of reference are relative to each other, and only an observer can enter into a frame of reference and make observations. There is no such thing as an absolute frame of reference for observations. This is the fundamental reason why all the information for everything the observer can observe in a region of space is defined on a bounding surface of that space. Fundamentally, this arises from the uncertainty in the position coordinates characterizing the observer’s coordinate system that defines that bounded space.

There are a number of puzzles about the nature of consciousness that only make sense in the context of the one-world-per-observer paradigm. This paradigm is a natural consequence of the unification of quantum theory with relativity theory. This paradigm is not just idle speculation, but is scientifically provable, much like a mathematical theorem. The only logical conclusion that follows from unification of quantum theory with relativity theory is the one-world-per-observer paradigm.

Quantum theory is based on the idea of a quantum state of potentiality, which is very much like a menu of possibilities from which one can choose. Each choice is an observational event. With each choice, the observation of something occurs and some observable thing is observed. This choice is called a quantum state reduction and is an observational event. The observable thing that is observed with that choice is called an observable of the quantum state. The quantum state of potentiality is only like a menu of possibilities from which one can choose and observe things. The fundamental assumption lurking in quantum theory is that before any choice is made or any observation occurs, the observer must exist.

In much the same way, relativity theory also assumes the independent existence of the observer. Relativity theory is based on the principle of equivalence, which postulates that all observations are relative to each other and only arise in the frame of reference of an observer. Before the observer enters into any possible frame of reference, the observer must exist. The only way quantum theory can be unified with relativity theory is if the observer has an independent existence. The observer must exist before the observer enters into any possible frame of reference, before any choice is made, and before any observation occurs.

In quantum theory, the observable values of every observable thing arise from a quantum state of potentiality. Before an observation of anything occurs, the observable thing only exists in the sense of a quantum state of potentiality. The quantum state is only a sum over all possible ways in which something can be observed, and there is always uncertainty in the way choices are made that allow for the observation of anything to occur. That uncertainty is inherent in the choices the observer makes as the observation of anything occurs. An observable thing does not have its own independent objective existence, but always depends on the choices made by the observer. Only the observer has an independent existence.

This puzzle about the nature of observation as formulated in quantum theory only makes sense in the context of the one-world-per-observer paradigm, which is the only natural way quantum theory can be unified with relativity theory. A quantum state of potentiality that characterizes an observer’s world only arises in the observer’s frame of reference. Whatever the observer happens to observe in its world depends on its frame of reference and the choices made by the observer with any observational event. There is still the possibility of a consensual reality shared by many different observers if their differing frames of reference are able to share information with each other.

Relativity theory is about the nature of space-time geometries that characterize any possible world. Every space-time geometry is characterized by a coordinate system that localizes points in space and instants in time in some world. In a fundamental way, the observer’s frame of reference defines a coordinate system that localizes points in space and moments in time in the observer’s world.

space-time grid

In relativity theory, the observer’s frame of reference is called a worldline. The worldline is a path through space and time. Relativity theory tells us that the worldline is a path through space and time followed by an observer, and that the observer is always present at the central point of view of the coordinate system that characterizes that space-time geometry. The observer follows a path through space and time that is at the central point of view of that coordinate system.

Proper time

The fundamental idea of relativity theory is the principle of equivalence. The basis of this idea is called Mach’s principle, which says there is no such thing as an absolute coordinate system that localizes points in space and instants in time. A direct corollary of this idea is there is no such thing as an absolute frame of reference for observations. All observations are relative, and only arise in a frame of reference. Only an observer can enter into a frame of reference and make observations, but all possible frames of reference are relative to each other.

There is a democracy of all possible frames of reference, and the observations made in any possible frame of reference are as valid as those made in any other possible frame of reference. Since there is no such thing as an absolute frame of reference for observations, the observations made in any possible frame of reference are as valid as those made in any other possible frame of reference. Every observer has the inherent validity of its own observations. Relativity theory only describes the relative nature of these differing observations.

Due to the limitation of the speed of light, this democracy of all possible frames of reference leads to some strange phenomena. Even with uniform relative motion, observers in different frames of reference do not observe simultaneous events, nor do they measure the same time intervals. The time intervals measured in different frames of reference appear to become elongated, which is called time dilation. Different observers that move uniformly relative to each other measure different time intervals, and events no longer appear to happen simultaneously.

The space-time geometry arising with uniform relative motion is called Minkowski space. Effects like time dilation are a natural consequence of the uniform relative motion of different observers that arise due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is the maximal rate with which information can be transmitted between different observers. A strange aspect of this maximal rate of information transfer is that all observers observe the same speed of light. This is the fundamental reason observers in differing frames of reference observe differing observations.

The situation only becomes more bizarre with accelerated motion. Different observers that are in accelerated frames of reference relative to each other observe the effects of the accelerations. The effects of the accelerations are called forces. Relativity theory expresses this strange state of affairs with the principle of equivalence. This principle states that every observable force is equivalent to the accelerated frame of reference of an observer. In effect, there is no such thing as a force, only the accelerated frame of reference of an observer.

equivalence_princ

The principle of equivalence states every force is equivalent to the accelerated frame of reference of an observer. The only reason different observers observe different forces is because they enter to differing frames of reference that move relative to each other with accelerated motion. In other words, there is no such thing as a force, only the differing accelerated frames of reference of observers.

gravity

Differing accelerated frames of reference are the origin of curved space-time geometries. A curved space-time geometry arises as an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference. The apparent force of gravity observed by the observer in that frame of reference is only a consequence of the accelerated motion that characterizes that frame of reference. We can say that the force of gravity is due to the curvature of space-time geometry, but that curvature only arises because the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference.

singularity

The other way to describe this strange state of affairs is the observer follows an accelerated worldline through space and time. The observer’s accelerated frame of reference gives rise to a coordinate system that localizes points in space and instants in time. The observer is always at the center of that coordinate system, which is the central point of view of that accelerated frame of reference.

An important aspect of accelerated motion is that it explains the nature of energy. Energy does not exist in and of itself, but only arises because an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference. When we speak about energy, we are really only speaking about another observable aspect of the observer’s world.

The expenditure of energy only arises because an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference. That expenditure of energy is just like a rocket ship that expends energy with the force of its thrusters as it accelerates through space. That exerted force is equivalent to the accelerated frame of reference of the observer. Relativity theory quantitatively specifies that kinetic energy arises with all motion due to the effects of time dilation, while potential energy arises in an accelerated frame of reference, which is equivalent to the exertion of a force.

Just like all the observable things in the observer’s world, the expenditure of energy in that world does not have an independent objective existence, but only appears to exist because the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer not only observes the form of the observable things, but also the motion of the observable things, which is the nature of kinetic energy, and the way the observable things interact with each other through the effect of forces, which is the nature of potential energy. The observation of the expenditure of energy, whether expressed by the apparent motion of things or by the apparent forceful interactions between things, only arises because the observer follows an accelerated worldline and enters into an accelerated frame of reference.

An observer’s accelerated frame of reference not only gives rise to observations of apparent forces, but to other strange effects. The strangest of these effects is the observation of an event horizon. An event horizon is a boundary in space that limits the observer’s observations in space. This limitation is due to the limitation of the speed of light. An event horizon demarcates a boundary in space that is as far out in space as the observer at the central point of view of that space-time geometry can see things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light.

Event horizons naturally arise in the curved space-time geometries that arise as an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference. This occurs with any kind of accelerated motion. The most famous examples of event horizons are black hole horizons that arise due to the force of gravity and cosmic horizons that arise with the accelerated or exponential expansion of space. These examples will be discussed in detail in due course, but it is important to point out that event horizons arise with any kind of accelerated motion.

As an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, an event horizon arises that limits the observer’s observations in space. The horizon demarcates a boundary in space that is as far out in space as the observer at the central point of view can see things in space. The event horizon is only a bounding surface of space surrounding the observer that limits observations due to the limitation of the speed of light. No light signal that originates beyond the horizon can ever reach the observer as long as the observer continues to follow an accelerated worldline and remains in an accelerated frame of reference. Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, nothing is observable beyond the horizon.

Observer's Horizon

Event horizons arise with any kind of accelerated motion. As an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference and follows an accelerated worldline, an event horizon arises that limits the observer’s observations in space. If the observer stops accelerating and enters into a state of free fall, the observer’s horizon disappears and observations in space are no longer limited.

What can this possibly have to do with the nature of consciousness? The answer is very bizarre, and has more to do with the nature of the observer’s world than the nature of consciousness. This is where the unification of relativity theory with quantum theory comes into play. The answer is called the holographic principle.

The key idea that allows for unification of relativity theory with quantum theory is the observer’s frame of reference. Only an observer can enter into a frame of reference and follow a worldline through space and time. Only an observer can make observations within that frame of reference. The key concept that allows for unification of relativity theory with quantum theory is that the observer must exist before it enters into any possible frame of reference and before the observation of anything that appears to happen within that frame of reference is possible. Before the observation of anything is possible, the observer must exist.

The observer must have an independent existence that pre-exists anything that appears to come into existence as the observer enters into a frame of reference. The apparent existence of all observable things is observer-dependent, and only appears to come into existence as the observer enters into a frame of reference.

Not only the apparent form of the observable things comes into existence, but also the apparent motion of the observable things and the apparent interactions between the observable things comes into existence. Both the apparent form of things and the apparent expenditure of energy that animates those things comes into existence as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference.

How is this possible? The answer is the holographic principle, which is a direct consequence of the unification of relativity theory with quantum theory. As an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, an event horizon arises that limits observations in space due to the limitation of the speed of light. The event horizon is a bounding surface of space that surrounds the observer present at the central point of view and limits the observer’s observations in that bounded space. Everything the observer observes is limited within that bounded space.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The holographic principle tells us that the bounding surface of space acts as a holographic screen and encodes all the information for everything observed in that bounded space. Everything observed within that bounded space is like the projection of an animated image from the holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer. Just like a movie displayed on a digital computer screen, the images are animated over a sequence of screen outputs or observational events that arise in the flow of energy. Due to the magic of holography, the observable images appear three dimensional even though all the information for the images is encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space.

The holographic principle tells us that the world we appear to live within does not really have three spatial dimensions, but is only two dimensional. This insight is due to a more fundamental understanding of the nature of quantum information. All the fundamental quantized bits of information for anything that we can perceive or that appears to happen in any three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space. The encoding of information on a two dimensional surface for all the things perceived in a three dimensional region of space is the nature of a hologram. The perceivable things are like an image projected from a holographic screen to the central point of view of an observer.

How does a bounding surface of space arise? The answer is quite simple and has been known about for a very long time. The answer is found in the principle of equivalence. As an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, an event horizon arises that limits the observer’s observations in space. A bounding surface of space is an event horizon. The event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in a computer network.

Anything that appears to happen beyond the observer’s horizon is unobservable to the observer since a signal about what appears to happen there would have to travel faster than the speed of light to ever reach the observer. That is impossible since nothing can ever travel faster than the speed of light and no signal can be transmitted faster than the maximal rate of information transfer in the network.

The observer’s horizon is a bounding surface of space surrounding the observer at the central point of view, and limits the observer’s observations to whatever appears to happen within that bounded space. The observer’s horizon only arises because the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference.

To be clear about things, the holographic principle tells us that all the quantized bits of information for the perceivable three dimensional images of anything we can perceive in any three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space. That surface acts as a holographic screen that encodes information in a pixelated way, with one bit of information encoded per pixel on the screen. Information is fundamentally encoded in a binary code of 1′s and 0′s, like in a computer. The pixel size is determined by the fundamental distance scale called the Planck length, which is about 10−33 cm, and determines the size of a pixel as about a Planck area or 10−65 cm2.

Information01

Why is the holographic principle the natural consequence of the unification of relativity theory with quantum theory? The answer has to do with the nature of quantum uncertainty and quantum information. The holographic principle arises from a more fundamental understanding of the uncertainty principle.

The holographic principle has to do with the way in which space-time geometry is quantized, and is a fundamental aspect of any theory of quantum gravity. To fully understand the holographic principle requires a more fundamental understanding of the uncertainty principle as it applies to the space-time geometry that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This has to do with how points in space and instants of time are quantized. This fundamental understanding has only come about in recent years with a better understanding of non-commutative geometries. Although this may seem complex, non-commutative geometries can be understood intuitively, and give a fundamental explanation for how information is encoded on a bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen.

The more fundamental way of understanding quantum uncertainty is in terms of the uncertainty in the position coordinates that define any coordinate system that attempts to characterize space. Since space cannot be characterized in this way, there is always some uncertainty in those position coordinates. The easiest way to understand this is in terms of the position coordinates that characterize a bounding surface of space like an event horizon. If that bounding surface of space is a sphere, then any point on the event horizon is defined by a set of latitude and longitude coordinates, which we can call (x, y).

globe

Since there is no such thing as an absolute coordinate system defining space, there is always some uncertainty in these position coordinates. The amount of uncertainty is called the Planck length. The more accurately we know about the x-coordinate, the less accurately we know about the y-coordinate. The result of this uncertainty in position is the (x, y) point on the surface of the event horizon gets smeared out into an area element the size of a Planck area. That area element acts like a pixel on the screen and encodes a bit of information.

information1

A non-commutative geometry is a way of mathematically formalizing this smallest possible distance scale. The easiest example to consider is the event horizon of a black hole. The event horizon is a spherical surface of radius R. Just like with quantum theory, a non-commutative geometry is characterized by an uncertainty relationship, but this relationship is not between the positions in space and the momentums through space of particles. This uncertainty relationship is between the position coordinates of space itself. In a non-commutative geometry there is always some uncertainty in the position coordinates of space. The reason for this strange state of affairs is the absolute nature of empty space. As soon as we try to set up a coordinate system, we try to define the nature of space, which is an impossible thing to do since the absolute nature of space cannot be defined.

The absolute nature of space cannot be defined, characterized or limited in any possible way. In some sense, the absolute nature of space is an empty space of potentiality from which all definable aspects of all characterizable things arise. Those characterizable things are all defined by the observable values that arise in a quantum state of potentiality, and are the observable things we observe in the world. As the source of the quantum state of potentiality for any possible world, the absolute nature of space cannot be defined, not even in terms of its dimensionality. As soon as we try to set up a coordinate system in space, we try to define space, but the absolute nature of empty space cannot be defined.

This odd state of affairs is absolutely required if we are to give relativity theory its correct interpretation. Only the coordinate systems that arise in relative frames of reference are definable, but those relative frames of reference are all equivalent to each other due to the equivalence principle. Those relative frames of reference can move relative to each other, and if that motion is accelerated, different forces can appear in the different frames of reference. Each possible frame of reference is characterized by its own coordinate system, and an observer is always present at the origin or central point of view of every frame of reference. Every possible frame of reference is a frame of reference for observations. All observations occur in a frame of reference, and those observations are relative to all other possible frames of reference. Only an observer in a relative frame of reference can make observations. There is no such thing as an absolute frame of reference for observations, and so there is no such thing as an absolute coordinate system. The impossibility of an absolute coordinate system or absolute frame of reference for observations is called Mach’s principle.

A non-commutative geometry solves this problem by specifying that all possible positions in space as defined by a coordinate system have inherent uncertainty. If we consider the event horizon of a black hole, that two dimensional spherical surface can be parameterized in terms of an x-y coordinate system labeled by points on the surface as (x, y). On the surface of a sphere these coordinates are like latitude and longitude. A non-commutative geometry specifies that there is some inherent uncertainty in our ability to define the (x, y) points. This uncertainty relationship is usually expressed as ΔxΔy≥ℓ2. The more accurately we know about the x-coordinate the less accurately we know about the y-coordinate. It is as though the (x, y) point on the surface of the sphere becomes fuzzy and gets smeared out into an area element of size ℓ2. This area element acts like a pixel on the surface of the sphere and encodes a bit of information.

The amount of information encoded on the surface of the sphere depends on the number of pixels. If only two bits of information are encoded, there are only two pixels. In a non-commutative geometry this is mathematically represented by a 2×2 matrix. Information is encoded in terms of the eigenvalues of the matrix. A 2×2 matrix has two eigenvalues and encodes two bits of information. In quantum theory a 2×2 matrix can represent a spin ½ variable. A spin ½ variable only has two measurable values, either up or down, and acts like a switch that is either on or off. In this way a spin ½ variable encodes information in a binary code of 1′s and 0′s. If there are n pixels defined on the surface of the sphere, then n bits of information can be encoded, mathematically represented in a non-commutative geometry by an nxn matrix. An nxn matrix is always decomposable into 2×2 matrices, and so can encode n bits of information in a binary code. If the pixel size is 4ℓ2, a spherical surface of radius R and surface area A=4πR2 can encode n=A/4ℓ2 bits of information.

entropy2

The holographic principle specifies the number of bits of information encoded on any bounding surface of space in terms of surface area. For a sphere of radius R and surface area A=4πR2, a total of n=A/4ℓ2 bits of information are encoded, where ℓ is the Planck length. A key aspect of the holographic principle and non-commutative geometries is that it makes no sense to speak of distances less than the Planck length, since this is the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. Uncertainty in all position coordinates smears out any point in space into a Planck size element and makes the point appear fuzzy. It makes no sense to discuss distances smaller than this smallest possible distance scale.

Ultimate distance scale

The holographic principle is a duality that relates the point particle description of the universe to the holographic screen description. These are equivalent descriptions of the universe. In other words, there are two equivalent ways to formulate the laws of the universe and determine the quantum state of potentiality for the universe. The point particle formulation is about the behavior of matter and energy within 3+1 dimensional space and time. The holographic screen formulation describes the behavior of anything that can appear to happen in some three dimensional region of space in terms of the information encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space. Our modern understanding of quantum information tells us that the holographic screen description is more fundamental than the point particle description since all the fundamental quantized bits of information for anything we can observe in a region of space is encoded on the bounding surface of that space. Each pixel on the screen encodes a fundamental quantized bit of information.

The reason the two formulations are equivalent to each other is because each bit of information is like a yes/no question that asks: Is a particle observable at this position in space or not? A holographic screen is a bounding surface of space that encodes information for everything that can appear to happen in the three dimensional region of space bounded by that two dimensional surface. A bit of information encoded on the screen specifies whether or not a particle can be observed at some point in the three dimensional space bounded by the screen at some moment of time. A sequence of yes/no questions leads to the observation of a particle located at some point in space at each moment of time. The observation of the particle as it follows its trajectory through space over the course of time is no different than an animation of images on a digital computer screen over a sequence of screen outputs. Each screen output is an observational event. Within that animation of events, the particle can appear to follow a trajectory through space over the course of time.

When we formulate the quantum state of potentiality in terms of the 3+1 dimensional point particle description, we describe the behavior of particles that follow trajectories through space over the course of time. When we formulate the quantum state in terms of the holographic screen description, we describe configuration states of information on the screen and how those configuration states are updated over a sequence of screen outputs. Each screen output is an event, and the flow of time arises as a sequence of events in the flow of energy. The two descriptions are aspects of a duality and are equivalent to each other.

The fundamental reason these two descriptions are equivalent to each other is due to the nature of the observer. It is the observer that ties the two descriptions together and allows them to be equivalent aspects of a duality. The holographic screen is only an event horizon that arises in the accelerated frame of reference of the observer. The observer’s accelerated frame of reference is characterized by the observer’s time-like worldline. The observer’s worldline is only an ordered sequence of observational events arising in the flow of energy. With each event on its worldline, the observer observes another screen output from its screen. The images of things the observer observes are projected from its holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer with each screen output. Those images are animated over a sequence of events, just like images on a digital computer screen. All that really happens is the configuration state of the screen is updated over a sequence of screen outputs. All the images of things displayed on the screen are projected to the central point of view of the observer.

The holographic principle is a duality that relates the holographic screen description of the world to a point particle description. Just like anything else the observer can observe in its world, point particles are no more real than animated images displayed on a holographic screen, arising from the way information is encoded on the screen over a sequence of screen outputs.

The point particle description of the world is formulated as a quantum field theory. A QFT assumes the existence of a background space-time geometry. That background space-time geometry must exist before any particles can become observable. Point particles can only exist within a pre-existing space and time. Relativity theory tells us that all space-time geometries are relative to each other, and there is no such thing as a pre-existing space and time. This is the ultimate chicken and egg problem. How can point particles really exist if there is no such thing as a pre-existing space and time within which they can exist? The answer is they only appear to exist within an observer’s frame of reference.

A direct corollary of this answer is that before the observer can enter into a frame of reference, before any particle appears to exist in the observer’s world, the observer must exist. The solution to the chicken and egg problem is that only an observer has a pre-existing existence. Only an observer has an existence that pre-exists anything that can appear to come into existence in the observer’s world. All observable things are observer-dependent, and depend on the frame of reference of the observer. Taken to its logical conclusion, before anything is created in the observer’s world in a big bang event and appears to come into existence, nothing exists.

The background space-time geometry assumed in any quantum field theory is equivalent to the frame of reference of an observer. Any space-time geometry assumed in a QFT is equivalent to an observer’s frame of reference. Any QFT constrains the nature of the observer’s frame of reference, which is why a QFT can never be fully consistent with relativity theory. The holographic principle allows the observer to enter into any possible frame of reference.

A QFT can never fully encompass the holographic principle since it tries to force the observer into a particular frame of reference, while the holographic principle allows the observer to enter into any possible frame of reference. Any space-time geometry assumed in any QFT is equivalent to an observer’s frame of reference.

Quantum Electrodynamics, like most QFTs, assumes a background space-time geometry of flat Minkowski space. QED describes the electromagnetic force, or the interaction of photons with charged particles like the electron. The predictions of QED have been experimentally confirmed to an astounding 11 significant figures, but QED cannot describe the behavior of photons in a curved space-time geometry, like the space-time geometry that characterizes the gravitational field of a black hole. The reason for this deficiency is QED cannot describe the observations of an observer near the event horizon of a black hole. Event horizons naturally arise with the force of gravity, but no QFT that assumes the existence of a pre-existing space-time geometry can fully encompass gravity.

Gravity allows for all possible space-time geometries and the associated event horizons that arise with the force of gravity. Fundamentally, these space-time geometries are all relative to each other and arise in the accelerated frame of reference of an observer. These kinds of observations can only be described in the kind of space-time geometry that arises in the accelerated frame of reference of an observer. It is precisely this inability of any QFT to fully encompass gravity that led to the discovery of the holographic principle. The holographic principle allows the observer to enter into any possible frame of reference.

The problem with any quantum field theory as a description of the world is a QFT assumes a single space-time geometry observed by multiple observers, which is to assume multiple observers have the same frame of reference. This is the assumption that there is a single world observed by multiple observers. This assumption is false. Every observer has its own world that is defined by its own frame of reference. The space-time geometry of that world is defined by the observer’s frame of reference. This does not rule out the possibility of a consensual reality shared by multiple observers if these differing frames of reference are able to share information.

If a QFT assumes a background space-time geometry of flat Minkowski space, there is no force of gravity, and all observers have the same frame of reference except for the possibility of uniform relative motion. If a QFT assumes a curved space-time geometry, like that arising from a black hole, all observers have the same accelerated frame of reference and observe the effects of the same event horizon. The problem with these assumptions is they do not fully encompass the nature of gravity. A freely falling observer does not observe the same effects of an event horizon observed by an observer in an accelerated frame of reference that is equivalent to the force of gravity. With differing accelerated frames of reference, different observers observe differing effects of gravity. Even worse is the situation in cosmology with the exponential expansion of space. Every observer in an exponentially expanding space makes observations in a bounded space that is limited by the observer’s own cosmic horizon. There is no possible way any QFT can fully encompass all of these situations.

In the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, an event horizon arises that acts as a holographic screen and encodes information. The point particle description of the world is not wrong, but is only a limited aspect of the holographic duality. The observable images of point particles are images projected from the screen to the central point of view of the observer. In reality, only the observer can enter into an accelerated fame of reference. In reality, only the observer has an existence that pre-exists whatever appears to come into existence in the observer’s world.

The two key ideas that reduce the complexity of particle physics are the central role played by the observer and the fundamental nature of quantum information. We only have to keep in mind that only the observer can enter into an accelerated frame of reference, which allows a holographic screen to arise and for an animated sequence of screen outputs to become displayed, and that whatever the observer observes on those screen outputs, we are only talking about the way information is encoded on the screen as a configuration state of information. The holographic animation arises in a sequence of observational events defined on the observer’s accelerated world-line, which is exactly the same as a sequence of screen outputs. Those configuration states are inherent in any quantum state of potentiality. The big mystery in quantum theory is about the process of choice that chooses a particular configuration state from the quantum state of potentiality with each screen output.

All the mystery about quantum theory and all the debate about the correct interpretation of quantum theory comes down to this mystery about how choices are made. In classical physics there is no choice, since only the path of least action can be followed. In quantum physics there is a choice, and there are many possible paths that can be followed. A path that deviates from the path of least action in some sense is like a path that bends the laws of physics, like the law of gravity. We usually don’t think of it this way, but when gravity is combined with quantum theory, the law of gravity can be bent. The classical way we understand the law of gravity is in terms of the path of least action, but quantum theory allows for paths that deviate from the classical path. To speak in metaphorical terms, if the law of gravity is bent enough, it is possible to walk on water.

The holographic principle is a duality that mathematically relates the observable behavior of objects in space to the information encoded on a holographic screen. The observable objects in space can appear as point particles, strings, membranes, or more complex geometrical objects that arise as bound states of simpler geometrical objects, but fundamentally, those objects in space reduce down to the way information is encoded on a holographic screen.

The correct way to interpret relativity theory is in terms of the pre-existing existence of the observer, which leads directly to the holographic principle. It is not so much that the point particle formulation of quantum theory is wrong, but that it is not the whole story. The nature of a hologram is there are always two sides to any story. This state of affairs is called a duality in theoretical physics. The holographic principle is the most fundamental duality known about in physics. The point particle formulation of physical reality is still an accurate description of our observations, but that formulation is dual to the holographic screen formulation. We do indeed observe the behavior of particles that appear to exist within some kind of pre-existing space and time, but all the information for that behavior is encoded on a holographic screen. The holographic screen encodes quantized bits of information for all the behaviors of all the things that appear to exist in the space bounded by that bounding surface. Those things appear three dimensional, but all the information is encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface. The bounding surface is only an event horizon that arises in the accelerated frame of reference of an observer. In reality, only the observer has a pre-existing existence. That existence cannot stop existing, but must have an underlying reality.

Another way to understand the encoding of information on the surface of an event horizon, like the event horizon of a black hole, is in terms of the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the horizon. The basic idea is quantum uncertainty allows for the virtual creation of particle-antiparticle pairs everywhere in empty space. Those virtual pairs are spontaneously created out of nothing and normally annihilate back into nothing in a short period of time as specified by the uncertainty principle, but at an event horizon something very odd appears to happen as observed by an external observer. The virtual pairs can appear to separate from each other at the horizon. The virtual particle that is radiated away from the horizon towards the external observer appears to become a real particle. The encoding of information on the horizon is directly related to this separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the horizon.

Hawking radiation2

Energy conservation requires the virtual particle to carry an equal but opposite amount of energy as that carried by the antiparticle, so that the total energy of the virtual process adds up to zero. The particle that is radiated away from the horizon towards the external observer carries positive energy or heat, while the antiparticle that falls across the horizon into the black hole carries negative energy and decreases the mass of the black hole. From the perspective of the external observer, the event horizon of the black hole radiates away positive energy thermal radiation, which is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation

This thermal radiation allows us to calculate the temperature of the horizon. The smallest amount of energy that can be radiated away from the event horizon is a photon with an energy specified by its frequency or wavelength as E=hf=hc/λ. Quantum uncertainty specifies that this smallest energy photon has a wavelength about equal to the maximal circumference of the horizon λ=2πR, where R is the radius of the horizon. This wavelength corresponds to a photon that is just barely gravitationally bound to the black hole. As observed by the external observer, the event horizon demarcates a boundary in space where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape away from the black hole. Only a photon that is just barely bound to the black hole can escape away.

Black hole2

Something very odd occurs in the vicinity of an event horizon like that of a black hole due to quantum uncertainty. The event horizon of a black hole is a bounding surface of space that limits observations in space due to the limitation of the speed of light. The event horizon is a surface that demarcates where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape away from the black hole. For an external observer, no signal that originates within the event horizon can ever cross the horizon due to the force of gravity and reach the external observer.

The radius of the event horizon is directly related to the amount of mass stored within the black hole. If enough mass and energy is concentrated in a small enough region of space, a black hole is forced to form due to the force of gravity, which is so strong at the event horizon that even light cannot escape.

Relativity theory tells us the radius of the event horizon is determined by the mass of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. The Planck length is the smallest possible distance scale, and corresponds to the smallest possible mass, which is called the Planck mass. The radius of a Planck size black hole is determined by equating the energy of the smallest energy photon gravitationally bound to the black hole E=hc/2πR with E=Mc2, and setting ℓ=R/√2, this gives the Planck length as ℓ2=hG/2πc3.

In terms of the holographic principle, the energy of this smallest energy photon corresponds to the thermal energy of the smallest possible bit of information encoded on the surface of the horizon. In the sense of thermodynamics, this smallest possible bit of information is the smallest possible degree of freedom, and carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT. Fundamentally, this thermal energy arises as a bit of information encoded in a binary code of 1′s and 0′s tends to flip back and forth, just like a switch that tends to flip back and forth between the on and the off positions due to its thermal energy. If we equate the thermal energy of the fundamental bits of information with the energy carried by the smallest energy photon radiated away from the horizon, we find kT=hc/2πR.

Information

This thermal radiation leads to an infamous paradox. If the surrounding space is cold enough, the black hole will radiate away thermal radiation and decrease in mass until the black hole evaporates away and disappears. What happens to all the information for all the things that fell into the black hole? Does that information disappear as the black hole evaporates away or does it come out with the Hawking radiation? How can all the information for the things that fell into the black hole come out with the Hawking radiation since no signal originating inside the black hole can cross the horizon?

The answer to this puzzle is called horizon complementarity, and directly follows from the principle of equivalence. From the perspective of an external observer, nothing ever really fell into the black hole in the first place. As things appear to fall into the black hole, those things appear to stop right at the event horizon due to gravitational infrared Doppler shifting, which is a kind of time dilation. For the external observer, it takes an infinite amount of time for anything to cross the event horizon and fall into the black hole. From that external perspective, those things stop right at the horizon and all the information becomes scrambled. That scrambled information is then radiated back to the external observer as Hawking radiation, and so no information is ever lost as the black hole evaporates away.

But things appear to be very different for a freely falling observer that falls right through the event horizon. The horizon only appears to exist for the external observer. For the freely falling observer the event horizon is just an imaginary surface in space and does not really exist. For the external observer the event horizon is a real surface in space that radiates away Hawking radiation towards the external observer, but for the freely falling observer there is no event horizon and there are no particles of Hawking radiation. For the freely falling observer these things do not exist. They only appear to exist for the external observer.

How can what appears to exist be so radically different for the external observer and for the freely falling observer? The principle of equivalence gives the answer, and is called horizon complementarity. The external observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. That acceleration is equivalent to the force of gravity that the external observer perceives to arise from the black hole. That force of gravity is equivalent to the external observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only in that accelerated frame of reference does the external observer perceive the event horizon of the black hole and the associated particles of Hawking radiation that are radiated away from the horizon towards the external observer. In the freely falling frame of reference of the freely falling observer, there is no force of gravity, there is no event horizon, and there are no particles of Hawking radiation.

There is no real paradox here because it is impossible for the external observer to compare its observations with the observations of the freely falling observer. The absolute impossibility of ever comparing their radically different observations is called horizon complementarity. As long as it remains absolutely impossible for different observers to ever compare their radically different observations about what appears to exist, there is no real disagreement in those observations.

The holographic principle is a duality that relates the point particle description of what appears to happen in a region of three dimensional space to the information encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space. Particles of Hawking radiation appear to move in three dimensional space, but all the information for that behavior is encoded on the bounding surface of that space, which acts as a holographic screen. Observable images of particles are projected from the screen to the external observer and are animated over a sequence of events, just like images animated on a computer screen. The holographic screen is an event horizon that arises as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference and follows a time-like worldline. In reality, only the observer moves.

To be clear about things, the holographic principle is only about what appears to exist in a three dimensional region of space. The appearance of things in space is like the projection of images from a holographic screen to the central point of view of an observer. Those images are animated over a sequence of events as the observer follows an accelerated worldline. Everything that appears to exist in that region of space is reducible to bits of information encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The bounding surface acts as a holographic screen, with one bit of information encoded per pixel on the screen. All perceivable images arise from the screen. The perceivable images are all observer-dependent, as they can appear to come into existence or go out of existence depending on the frame of reference of the observer.

If this was as far as we could go with the holographic principle, these conclusions would remain a big source of curiosity, but they would not tell us anything very important about the nature of the world. It was another discovery that occurred around the same time the holographic principle was discovered that shocked the scientific community and led to a radical revision in the way we see the world. This paradigm shattering discovery was the exponential expansion of space.

This remarkable recent discovery in cosmology is that the observer’s world is characterized by exponential expansion, dark energy, and a cosmic event horizon. The cosmic horizon is a spherical surface in space that is as far out in space as the observer at the central point of view can see things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light. Dark energy is like a force of anti-gravity. The expansion of space is literally accelerating away from the central point of view of the observer. Due to the exponential expansion of space, at the cosmic horizon things appear to move away from the observer at the speed of light.

exponential expansion of space

Each of us lives in an exponentially expanding world. This has been confirmed through the observation of the motion of galaxies. There is the idea that galaxies are moving away from each other since they were thrown apart in the explosion called the big bang event that created the world. If there was no force of gravity, the velocity of separation should be proportional to the distance of separation.

With an attractive force of gravity we would expect the velocity of separation to slow down over time, and so the velocity of separation should not be a straight line as a function of the distance of separation, but should bend downwards. Strangely, that is not what is observed. The velocity of separation bends upward as a function of the distance of separation, as though the galaxies were repelling each other and flying apart even faster over the course of time. This repulsive force, which is like a force of anti-gravity, is called the force of dark energy.

accelerating universe

In relativity theory, this repulsive force is understood as a cosmological constant. The principle of equivalence tells us every force is equivalent to the accelerated frame of reference of an observer, so what exactly is accelerating with the force of dark energy? The answer is very bizarre. Space itself is accelerating. Space is exponentially expanding from the big bang event. The exponential expansion of space is what drives the expansion of the observer’s world from the big bang event. In the sense of the principle of equivalence, this is the acceleration of space itself. The expansion of space is accelerating away from the central point of view of the observer.

In an exponentially expanding world with the force of dark energy, every observer is surrounded by a cosmic horizon. The cosmic horizon is a spherical surface in space surrounding the observer where things appear to move away from the observer at the speed of light. Things move away from the observer due to the repulsive force of dark energy. The farther out, the faster things appear to move away. At the cosmic horizon things appear to move away at the speed of light.

expanding universe

Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, the cosmic horizon is as far out in space as the observer at the central point of view can see things in space. Fundamentally, this is due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in a computer network. The cosmic horizon is a bounding surface of space that surrounds the observer and limits the observer’s observations within that bounded space.

This is exactly the nature of the holographic principle. The cosmic horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes information for whatever is observed within that bounded space. Everything observed in that bounded space is like the projection of images from the screen to the central point of view of the observer.

galaxies in space

The cosmic horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits observations in the observer’s world due to the limitation of the speed of light. The horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes information for everything observed within that bounded space. The observable things are like animated images projected from the holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer. Those images are animated over a sequence of events that arise on the observer’s accelerated worldline. Each observational event is like a screen output from the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself is nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world, which is always limited by its cosmic horizon.

The inevitable conclusion of this state of affairs is the one-world-per-observer paradigm. Every observer is surrounded by its own cosmic horizon, and all the information for everything the observer observes within that bounded space is encoded on the bounding surface of that space.

In an exponentially expanding world with the force of dark energy every observer is surrounded by a cosmic horizon that limits observations. The cosmic horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes information for everything observed in that bounded space. The cosmic horizon is a bounding surface of space that surrounds the observer at the central point of view. Everything observed in that bounded space is like the holographic projection of images from the screen to the central point of view of the observer. In this sense, everything in the observer’s world is defined on its own holographic screen. That is where all the information for things is defined.

In a very real sense the observer has its own world defined on its own holographic screen. Everything the observer perceives in its world is like an animated image projected from its screen to the central point of view of the observer. It is as though the observer inhabits its own private world, which in a very real sense is its own private theater of consciousness.

The observer’s holographic screen only arises because the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. That acceleration is how an event horizon arises that encodes information and acts as a holographic screen. Fundamentally, that acceleration arises from the acceleration of space itself. Only the exponential expansion of space drives the expansion of the observer’s world from the big bang event and places the observer in an accelerated frame of reference. The acceleration of space itself is the force of dark energy that creates the observer’s cosmic horizon, which is the ultimate bounding surface of space in the observer’s world. All observations in the observer’s world are limited by its cosmic horizon. In this sense, the cosmic horizon is the edge of the observer’s world.

Big Bang

To be clear about things, every observer’s world begins in a big bang, and that world expands from the big bang due to the exponential expansion of space. It is simply not the case that there is a single world that begins in a big bang. Every observer is at the center of its own world, and every observer’s world begins in a big bang event. This is the one-world-per-observer paradigm. Every observer’s world is its own unique frame of reference limited by the observer’s own cosmic horizon. That frame of reference arises from the acceleration of space itself.

The normal flow of energy in the observer’s world arises as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference and follows a time-like worldline. This accelerated frame of reference ultimately arises from the expansion of space itself that accelerates from the central point of view of the observer, and drives the expansion of the observer’s world from the big bang event.

Inflationary cosmology tells us the normal flow of energy in the observer’s world arises as the observer’s world inflates in size from a Planck length to its current size of about 15 billion light years, and is the basis for the second law of thermodynamics. This normal flow of energy arises as heat tends to flow from the very hot big bang event to all colder states of the observer’s world defined by an inflated cosmic horizon. The flow of heat is perceived as energy tends to become dispersed into lower frequencies. Since energy is quantized in terms of frequency as E=hf, this dispersion of energy into lower frequencies results in an increase in the number of degrees of freedom, called an increase in entropy, which fundamentally arises as the observer’s cosmic horizon inflates in size and encodes more bits of information. This normal flow of energy drives all physical and biological processes in the observer’s world.

The normal flow of energy arises in the observer’s world as heat tends to flow from hotter to colder objects. This normal flow of energy in the observer’s world is related to an increase in the number of degrees of freedom in the observer’s world, which is called an increase in entropy. Ultimately, the number of degrees of freedom in the observer’s world can only increase because the observer’s cosmic horizon inflates in size and encodes more quantized bits of information. The cosmic horizon only inflates in size because dark energy burns away.

Inflationary cosmology tells us that the amount of dark energy in the world is not a constant, but decreases over time. This decrease in the amount of dark energy in the world over the course of time is often described as a process of symmetry breaking, like a process of burning that burns away the dark energy. As the dark energy burns away, the cosmic horizon inflates in size. This is the fundamental process that drives the normal flow of energy in the observer’s world.

The way the amount of dark energy changes is described as symmetry breaking, which is the nature of a phase transition. Unlike the process of melting of ice into water, this phase transition is more like a process of burning, as a state of high potential energy transitions into a state of lower potential energy. Unlike a process of melting where heat must be applied, in a process of burning heat is released and is radiated away, but both are examples of symmetry breaking as a system transitions from a highly organized state of coherent organization into a more disorganized state. In the case of burning, the system is characterized by a high amount of potential energy and a potential barrier. The phase transition occurs through a process of tunneling through the potential barrier and reaching a state of lower potential energy. In that phase transition, some of the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, and is then radiated away as heat. In a very real sense, the amount of dark energy in the observer’s world decreases over the course of time as dark energy burns away and heat is radiated away as all the usual forms of matter and energy the observer currently finds in its world.

Meta-stable Vacuum States

The normal flow of energy arises in the observer’s world as heat flows in this universal thermal gradient from the very hot big bang event to all colder states of the observer’s world defined by an inflated horizon. The observer’s cosmic horizon inflates in size as dark energy burns away. This normal flow of energy is driven by the acceleration of space itself. As dark energy burns away, the acceleration of space deaccelerates, but it never stops accelerating as long as there is more dark energy to burn.

The normal flow of energy in the observer’s world arises as heat tends to flow in this universal thermal gradient and all things tend to follow the path of least action. As heat flows from a hotter to a colder object, energy tends to become dispersed into lower frequencies. Since energy is quantized in terms of frequency as E=hf, as energy becomes dispersed into lower frequencies, more quantum degrees of freedom are created, which is called an increase in entropy. Each photon of electromagnetic radiation acts as a particle or independent degree of freedom, and is fundamentally encoded as a bit of information. As heat flows in a thermal gradient and energy becomes dispersed into lower frequencies, more photons are created. This normal flow of energy drives all physical and biological processes in the observer’s world.

normal-flow-of-energy

Where does this increase in information come from? As the dark energy burns away the cosmic horizon inflates in size and encodes more bits of information. The flow of time in the observer’s world is directly related to this burning away of dark energy, but so too is the flow of energy. The best way to see this is in terms of thermodynamic principles. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that heat tends to flow from a hotter to a colder body. The reason is quite simple, as a hotter body tends to radiate away more heat than a colder body, and so heat tends to flow from the hotter to colder body over the course of time. We can even say that the direction of the flow of time is directed by this normal flow of heat.

The key insight that solves this puzzle about the direction of time’s arrow is the temperature of the cosmic horizon. Nothing is hotter than a Planck size cosmic horizon arising with the big bang event, and nothing is colder than a maximally inflated cosmic horizon resulting from the exponential expansion of an observer’s world. As the size of a cosmic horizon approaches infinity, its temperature approaches absolute zero. The holographic principle specifies the absolute temperature of the horizon in terms of its radius R as kT=hc/2πR. This in turn is determined by the value of the cosmological constant Λ. Relativity theory specifies the radius of the cosmic horizon as R2/ℓ2=3/Λ. At the time of the big bang event, R is a Planck length, Λ is about 1, and a Planck size cosmic horizon has an absolute temperature of about 1032 degrees Kelvin. As the value of the cosmological constant decreases over time, the radius of the cosmic horizon inflates in size and the horizon cools in temperature.

The predictions of inflationary cosmology have now been confirmed by measurements of the background radiation left over from the big bang event. Inflationary cosmology is closely related to the discovery of the exponential expansion of space, confirmed by measurements of the motion of distant galaxies. These two discoveries are best understood together in the sense of the natural evolution of the world.

The key that ties them together is the nature of dark energy, or a cosmological constant. The force of dark energy is like a force of anti-gravity that drives the exponential expansion of space from the big bang event. In the sense of the principle of equivalence, this force is equivalent to the acceleration of space itself. Every observer is at the center of its own exponentially expanding world and in an accelerated frame of reference due to the acceleration of space itself.

Inflationary cosmology tells us that the amount of dark energy in the world is not a constant, but decreases over time. In other words, the cosmological constant is not really a constant, but decreases from a very high value to a very low value.

The current measured value of the cosmological constant is about Λ=10−123, which corresponds to a cosmic horizon radius R of about 15 billion light years or 1062 Planck lengths. At the time of the big bang event, Λ was about equal to 1 and R was about a Planck length. The natural evolution of the world arises as the cosmological constant decreases in value, the concentration of dark energy in the world decreases in value, and the cosmic horizon inflates in size and cools in temperature. As the cosmic horizon inflates in size, more bits of information are encoded and entropy increases. Since n=A/4ℓ2=4πR2/4ℓ2=3π/Λ, at the current time about 10124 bits of information are encoded on the inflated cosmic horizon.

The normal flow of energy in the observer’s world naturally arises as heat tends to flow from the very hot big bang event to all colder states of the observer’s world defined by an inflated cosmic horizon. The inflation of the cosmic horizon is the same as burning away of dark energy. As dark energy burns away, heat is radiated away and the observer’s cosmic horizon inflates in size. As the cosmic horizon cools in temperature, heat tends to flow in this temperature gradient.

The normal flow of energy arises in the observer’s world as the cosmic horizon inflates in size, cools, and heat tends to flow in this universal temperature gradient from the very hot big bang event to all colder states of the observer’s world defined by an inflated cosmic horizon. This naturally occurs as the dark energy burns away. That burning away of dark energy not only drives the normal flow of energy in the observer’s world, but also the flow of time.

Every observer’s world is limited by its own cosmic horizon. The cosmic horizon is the ultimate bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s world, and the ultimate holographic screen that encodes information for everything the observer can perceive in its world. How then is it possible for a consensual reality to arise that different observers can share with each other? Modern cosmology gives an answer in terms of the overlapping nature of different cosmic horizons.

Overlapping bounded spaces

Each observer is surrounded by its own cosmic horizon that encodes information for everything perceived in its world, but different cosmic horizons can overlap with each other and share information together due to quantum entanglement, like entangled spin variables that share information with each other.

entangle2

This allows different observers to share a consensual reality with each other. The sharing of information on overlapping cosmic horizons is what allows different observers to interact with each other.

It is simply not the case that there are multiple observers inhabiting a single world. Every observer inhabits its own world and has its own unique frame of reference with its own cosmic horizon. Horizon complementarity tells us that what appears to exist for one observer in its world need not agree with what appears to exist for another observer in its world. Different observers can observe very different things in their own worlds, and what appears to exist for one observer in its world may not appear to exist at all for another observer in its world. As long as it is impossible for the different observers to ever compare their differing observations, there is no real disagreement.

What about the problem of a consensual reality? The nature of the cosmic horizon solves this problem. Every observer is surrounded by its own cosmic horizon that is a bounding surface of space that limits observations within that bounded space, but those bounded spaces can overlap with each other. Each bounding surface acts as a holographic screen that encodes information. To the degree the bounded spaces overlap with each other, those bounded surfaces can become entangled and share information with each other. This phenomena is called quantum entanglement. Different observers can share a consensual reality and share information with each other to the degree their bounded spaces overlap and their holographic screens become entangled with each other.

The observer’s horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes bits of information. There are many different ways in which information can become encoded on the screen, which defines a quantum state of potentiality. The observer’s holographic screen is characterized by a quantum state of potentiality that describes all possible ways in which information can become encoded on the screen. The quantum state is only a sum over all possible configuration states of information.

The observer’s accelerated worldline is only a sequence of events arising in the flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s world. Quantum theory tells us every event on the observer’s worldline is a decision point where the quantum state branches into all possible paths, and there is always a choice about which path to follow.

Decision point

A choice is a decision point that chooses one particular path, or one particular configuration state of information each event, which is called a quantum state reduction in quantum theory. The observation of that particular configuration state of information is like a screen output from the observer’s holographic screen, just like a screen output from a digital computer screen. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the path that expends the least amount of energy as it connects two events on the observer’s worldline.

There are many different ways in which information can become encoded on the screen. To be precise, if there are n pixels that encode information in a binary code, there are N=2n different ways to encode that information. The sum over all possible ways in which the information can become encoded is called a quantum state of potentiality. Each distinct way in which information can become encoded defines an actual state of information that can be observed. The quantum state of potentiality is only a sum over all possible actual states. Each actual state is an observable state. In some sense, the observable states are like a screen output from the holographic screen. In any observation, an observable state is actually observed. The quantum state of potentiality that characterizes the holographic screen is only a sum over all possible actual states. An actual state is a possible observable state that is like a screen output from the holographic screen.

How do these screen outputs arise? To be clear about things, the holographic screen is only a bounding surface of space that encodes information. A bounding surface is only an event horizon that arises in the accelerated frame of reference of an observer, and limits the observer’s observation within that bounded space. A bounding surface only arises because the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference. The nature of that accelerated frame of reference is the expenditure of energy, just like a rocket ship that must expend energy through its thrusters as it accelerates through space. An observer in an accelerated frame of reference expends energy equivalent to a force, and an event horizon arises.

An observer in an accelerated frame of reference follows a path through space and time. That path is called a worldline. An observer that follows an accelerated worldline expends energy on its path. In some sense, every screen output from the holographic screen corresponds to another event on that worldline. In the sense of animation, a sequence of screen outputs that arise over a sequence of events is just like the animation of a movie as displayed on a digital computer screen. That animated sequence of events or screen outputs always arises in the flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s accelerated worldline.

Quantum theory tells us that every event is a decision point where the quantum state of potentiality branches into all possible paths, and there is always a choice about which path to follow. The quantum state of potentiality for a holographic screen is only a sum over all possible ways in which information can become encoded on the screen. Each distinct way of encoding information on the screen defines an actual or observable state, or a configuration state of information. The quantum state is only a sum over all possible configuration states. Each possible configuration state is a possible screen output. With any observation, a particular configuration state is actually observed. With each screen output there is always a choice about which particular configuration state to observe.

The configuration states can only arise in the accelerated frame of reference of an observer since that is the only way a holographic screen arises. Every event on the observer’s accelerated worldline is a decision point about which path to follow and which configuration state of information to observe.

There is a big puzzle in quantum theory about how a particular configuration state is chosen from the quantum state in any particular observation. The quantum state of potentiality is only a sum over all possible configuration states. In any observation of something a particular configuration state must be chosen from the quantum state. The way quantum theory addresses this problem is to assign a probability to each possible configuration state. This probability factor is the essence of the wave function. The wave function is a probability wave. The way this probability wave is calculated is called the action principle. The details of the action principle do not concern us here except to say the amount of action is like the amount of energy expended on any path.

Actual and imagined motion

The maximal probability for anything to actually happen is to follow the path of least action, which is like following the path that expends the least amount of energy. Quantum theory expresses this state of affairs in terms of quantum probability. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is always the path of least action, which is the path that expends the least energy. In the sense of relativity theory, the path of least action is like the shortest distance between two points in a curved space-time geometry, like the path of a great circle that connects two points on the surface of a sphere. Following the shortest distance path between two points expends the least amount of energy. This fundamental way in which relativity theory and quantum theory are connected is possible because all energy only arises in the accelerated frame of reference of an observer. At a fundamental level, kinetic energy arises with all motion from the effects of time dilation, while potential energy arises from the effects of accelerated motion.

The quantum state of potentiality is only a sum over all possible paths. Each path is weighted with a probability factor that depends on the amount of action characterizing that path. The amount of action is like the amount of energy that must be expended to follow that path. Fundamentally, this arises as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference and follows a time-like worldline.

Sum over all paths

There is one aspect of the action principle that is worth a closer look. The probability factors of quantum theory are probability waves. The probability factors determine the probability with which any path can be followed, which depends on the amount of action that characterizes that path. The amount of action for a path is like the amount of energy expended to follow that path. The probability factors act like waves, and tend to add together when the waves in phase with each other and tend to cancel out when the waves are out of phase with each other. The result of this wave addition and cancellation is an interference pattern, as seen in the double slit experiment.

double slit1

What exactly do the probability factors represent? They give the probability for measurement. In the double slit experiment, they give probability that a photon can be measured at a particular point in space at a particular moment of time. The photon is a quantum of electromagnetic radiation and acts like a particle, with a location in space. When we measure that position in space at a moment of time, we measure a particle-like property of the photon. When we measure the interference pattern, we measure a wave-like property. The interference pattern arises from the probability waves that characterize the photon.

double slit

The quantum state of potentiality is only a sum over all the probability factors that correspond to all possible paths. In that sum, the probability waves tend to cancel out when out of phase and add together when in phase, which gives rise to the path of least action as the path that gives the maximum probability. This is easiest to see in the complex plane, where the probability factors act like vectors that cancel out when they point in random uncorrelated directions, but add together when they align together and point in the same or correlated directions.

Principle of least action

The interference pattern that results from this correlation of information is the basis for holography. The interference pattern is how information is encoded on the two dimensional surface of a hologram, and allows for projection of three dimensional images from the hologram. The encoding of information fundamentally arises from the correlated nature of the interference pattern. This is not only the case for ordinary holograms, but also for the holographic principle.

Quantum theory only tells us how to calculate the quantum state of potentiality and assign a probability to each possible configuration state. The quantum state is expressed as a sum over all paths or a sum over all configuration states. In the sense of the holographic principle, the observer’s path is defined by the accelerated worldline of the observer, and each event on that path is like another screen output from the observer’s holographic screen that chooses a particular configuration state.

How are these choices made? Quantum theory says the choices are made randomly. With every observational event or screen output, a configuration state is randomly chosen from the quantum state. This process of random choice randomly measures the quantum state of potentiality, which is like a probability distribution. Since the path of least action is the most likely path in the sense of quantum probability, as long as the choices are made randomly, the path that is most likely followed is the path of least action.

What about the possibility of biased choice? There is nothing in quantum theory or the laws of physics that rules out the possibility of biased choice. Quantum theory and the laws of physics only determine a quantum state of potentiality. Any process of choice, random or biased, is always outside of those laws. The possibility of biased choice no more violates the laws of physics than random choice. Any process of choice that we can postulate is always outside the laws of physics since those laws can only determine a quantum state of potentiality.

This is a humongous problem in the conceptual formation of quantum theory that theoretical physicists have not been able to solve. The fundamental reason they have not been able to solve it is because a process of choice is outside the laws of physics and cannot be formulated. Everything that can ever appear to happen in the observer’s world is included in the quantum state of potentiality. The laws of physics only determine the quantum state. In any observation of anything, a choice must be made as an actual configuration state is chosen from the quantum state.

What determines this process of choice? The answer is nobody knows. We are now out of the realm of physics and into the realm of metaphysics. Actually, the answer is not that difficult. Only the observer can make a choice just as only the observer can make an observation of something or enter into a relative frame of reference in which the thing appears, but what is the true nature of the observer?

The observer is nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world. The consciousness is not defined by anything it perceives in its world, and neither is the observer’s process of choice. This is the mystery that we will never be able to scientifically explain. Only the observer can observe things in its world, and only the observer can choose which things to observe. An observer’s choice about which things to observe is called the focus of attention of consciousness.

An observer’s choice about what to observe in its world expresses the bias inherent in this process of choice. How is this bias expressed? Fundamentally, the bias arises from the nature of the flow of energy in the observer’s world. As the flow of energy comes into alignment, feelings of connection are perceived. Those feelings of connection feel good, and so the observer is naturally biased to choose feelings of connection over feelings of disconnection, which feel bad and arise as the flow of energy goes out of alignment. This bias to choose feelings of connection tends to keep the flow of energy in alignment. This bias is expressed with the observer’s biased focus of attention.

Quantum theory tells us that as long as choices are made in an unbiased way, things tend to follow the path of least action, which is the most energy efficient way for things to act since it expends the least amount of energy. As things follow the path of least action, the flow of energy through the observer’s world tends to come into alignment. This is the normal way for energy to flow through the observer’s world. As long as the flow of energy is in alignment, the observer will perceive feelings of connection that arise from that alignment.

Feelings of connection feel good while feelings of disconnection feel bad, so the observer is naturally biased to choose feelings of connection over disconnection, which tends to bring the observer’s choices in alignment with the normal flow of things. As long as the observer’s choices stay in alignment with the normal flow of things, aligned actions are expressed and feelings of connection are perceived.

This bias to choose feelings of connection allows energy to flow in the normal way, and leads to the best of all possible worlds. This is the only way the flow of energy in the observer’s world can come into alignment and feelings of connection can be perceived. All biased expressions that interfere with the normal flow of things in the observer’s world can only lead to feelings of disconnection and make things worse.

The big mystery in quantum theory is about how choices are made each event. An event is a decision point where the quantum state branches into all possible paths, and there is always a choice about which path to follow. The laws of physics only determine the quantum state, which describes all possible paths. If choices are made the normal way, the path of least action is most likely followed.

The fundamental nature of observation is about the choices made that choose a particular path. Every event is a decision point where the quantum state branches into all possible paths, and with every choice some particular path is followed. The path of least action is only the normal path, or the most likely path in the sense of quantum probability. That path naturally arises in the normal flow of energy characterizing the observer’s world, which fundamentally arises with the acceleration of space that creates the observer’s world in a big bang event.

To be perfectly clear, it is the observer that follows a time-like worldline and enters into an accelerated frame of reference. It is the observer that faces a choice with every decision point about which path to follow. Either all choices are made randomly, in which case there is no real choice, or the observer has a choice to make every event and decision point about which path to follow.

Is there really a choice? To answer this question is to discuss the nature of the life force. We are now out of the realm of physics and into the realm of metaphysics. The process of choice is not described by physics. The laws of physics only determine the quantum state of potentiality. The usual way physicists understand the process of choice is as random choice, but metaphysically speaking, there is the possibility of biased choice. Biased choice does not violate the laws of physics any more than random choice violates the laws of physics, since the process of choice is outside the laws of physics.

What is the nature of this bias? To answer this question is to understand the nature of the life force. The quantum state of potentiality describes all possible paths. In some of those paths coherently organized bound states of information will form, and those bound states will tend to self-replicate their forms over a sequence of events. The nature of a bound state is called a body. A body is a coherently organized bound state of information that tends to self-replicate its form over a sequence of events while the behaviors of the body are enacted. The formation and self-replication of the form of a body is a possible path included in the quantum state of potentiality. That possibility naturally arises because bits of information tend to align with each other and form coherently organized bound states in the normal flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s world.

To be clear about things, the observer is the nature of consciousness present at the center of its world. The observer’s world is defined on a bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen. An event on the observer’s worldline is only a screen output from the observer’s screen. All the bits of information that define everything in the observer’s world are encoded on the observer’s screen. Just as the process of choice is outside the laws of physics, the observer is outside that observable world. Only the observer can observe and choose.

How does the observer choose which path to follow? The answer is actually quite simple. Feelings of connection feel good while feelings of disconnection feel bad. As energy flows through the observer’s world in the normal way, the flow of energy tends to come into alignment, and feelings of connection naturally arise. The alignment of the flow of energy leads to the formation of coherently organized bound states of information as bits of information tend to align together. Those aligned feelings of connection are perceived as emotional body feelings that arise in the observer’s body and relate the observer’s body to other things in the observer’s world. That is the only way the observer feels connected.

The nature of the observer’s bias is to choose to follow paths that lead to the expression of feelings of connection rather than disconnection. The observer naturally chooses to feel connected instead of disconnected since feelings of connection feel good while feelings of disconnection feel bad.

The nature of the life force is nothing more than the observer’s bias to choose feelings of connection instead of disconnection. Fundamentally, this choice is made because feelings of connection feel good while feelings of disconnection feel bad. This bias naturally leads to the formation and self-replication of the coherently organized bound states of information we call bodies. Those bodies naturally express feelings of connection as emotional actions are enacted over a sequence of events that arise in the flow of energy. The normal flow of energy in the observer’s world naturally leads to the formation and self-replication of bound states. Feelings of connection are naturally expressed as the flow of energy comes into alignment, bits of information align together, and bound states form.

Only the observer can choose feelings of connection instead of disconnection. That is the nature of the life force. This biased process of choice is outside the laws of physics just as the true nature of the observer is outside the observer’s world. Only the observer can perceive its world and choose which path to follow.

To be clear about things, the life force is about the preservation of life in general, not the preservation of a particular life. The flow of life arises in the normal flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s world. The observer’s body is only the central form of information in the observer’s world, like the form of an avatar in a virtual reality world. In the sense of reincarnation, the observer may know many different central forms or bodies that arise over the course of time in its world.

Why would the observer ever choose feelings of disconnection instead of connection? The only possible answer is the observer’s self-identification with the form of its body. The only thing that ever disturbs the normal functioning of the life force is if the observer identifies itself with the form of its body and chooses to defend the survival of its body as though its existence depends on it. The only thing that can disturb the normal functioning of the life force is if the observer chooses to defend the survival of a particular body rather than flow with life.

Only self-defensive expressions can create feelings of disconnection. Only the observer’s mistaken self-identification with the form of its body and assumption that existence depends on body survival leads the observer to defend the survival of its body as though its existence depends on it. Only that mistaken assumption can disturb the normal functioning of the life force. That assumption is the only reason the observer would choose to suffer feelings of disconnection.

If the observer does not identify itself with the form of its body, then it will only choose feelings of connection, and the observer will flow with life through the process of reincarnation. This willingness to flow with life leads to feelings of connection and aligned actions, and leads to the best of all possible worlds. The unwillingness to flow with life that arises with self-identification and self-defensive actions can only give rise to feelings of disconnection and make things worse as the normal flow of energy through the observer’s world is disturbed.

In the sense of an interactive computer network generated virtual reality world displayed on multiple computer screens and observed by multiple observers, the observer’s choice about which things to observe in its world is what makes the interactive virtual reality game interesting to play. The observer makes that choice with the focus of attention of its consciousness.

The observer’s world is like a virtual reality that is only composed of images projected from a computer screen, images that are animated over a sequence of screen outputs in the flow of energy. A consensual reality with many observers, each at the center of its own holographic screen, is possible since the ultimate bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s world is a cosmic horizon, and different cosmic horizons can overlap with each other and share information due to quantum entanglement.

This sharing of information is just like an interactive computer network that allows different observers to interact with each other even though each observer only observes its own holographic screen. The computer network is composed of all the holographic screens. The computer network is energized by the flow of energy that arises from the acceleration of space itself that places each observer in an accelerated frame of reference and gives rise to each observer’s cosmic horizon. This is just like an interactive computer network generated virtual reality world displayed on multiple computer screens and observed by multiple observers.

An event on the observer’s accelerated worldline is only a screen output from its holographic screen, just like the animation of screen outputs from a digital computer screen. The perception of space arises from the spatial relationships between the images projected from the screen, and the perception of time from the animation of events that connect different screen outputs. This animation of events arises with the flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s world, fundamentally arising from the acceleration of space itself that drives the expansion of the observer’s world from the big bang event.

This explanation pretty much solves the puzzle of time. As the observer follows an accelerated worldline, a sequence of screen outputs arises over a sequence of events from the observer’s holographic screen. Each event is a screen output. The screen outputs are animated over a sequence of events, just like the screen outputs of a computer. The flow of time is only a sequence of events that arise in the flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s accelerated worldline. In this sense, the flow of time is only an animation of screen outputs. That animation of events is only possible because the observer follows an accelerated worldline.

The principle of equivalence tells us that the flow of time is only an ordered sequence of events that arises on the observer’s time-like worldline. That ordered sequence of events arises naturally in the normal flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s world. Due to memory and mental imagination, the observer can experience past and future events, but the observer is always present now.

The observer is always present now, and for this event. The observer follows a worldline through space and time that is only a sequence of events. Space and time are created around the observer each event as a screen output from the holographic screen that surrounds the observer at the central point of view. The flow of time is nothing more than an ordered sequence of events on the observer’s worldline, which is a sequence of screen outputs. The flow of energy through the observer’s world connects each event to the next event in the flow of time. The observer is always present now and only remembers the past and anticipates the future. As energy flows through the observer’s world, entropy tends to increase, which gives rise to memory in the form of coherently organized forms of information.

As the observer’s world expands in size from the big bang event and energy flows through the observer’s world, bits of information tend to become organized into coherently organized forms that hold together and self-replicate form over a sequence of events. These coherently organized forms are the nature of images projected from the holographic screen. Coherently organized forms develop due to the tendency of bits of information to align with each other, just like entangled spin variables.

Coherently organized forms become disorganized due to the tendency of bits of information to lose that alignment, which is a consequence of the thermal energy they carry as they tend to flip back and forth. There is always a thermodynamic balance between the tendency to form coherently organized bound states of information due to the interactions between bits of information that tend to bring them into alignment and the tendency for coherently organized forms to become disorganized due to the thermal energy each bit of information carries as it tends to flip back and forth.

Coherent organization develops through phase transitions, like the freezing of liquid water into ice, and is lost through phase transitions, like the melting of ice into liquid water. Biological processes are more complicated than physical processes in that a process of eating allows for reproduction of form in addition to self-replication of form, but otherwise are similar in that they are driven by the same flow of energy. The normal flow of energy through the observer’s world drives all these thermodynamic processes, allowing coherently organized forms to develop, self-replicate form, and then eventually become disorganized. In the process, the distinct observable images of things appear to come into existence, appear to exist for a brief period of time, and then appear to go out of existence.

The best way to understand the nature of the perceivable images is as bound states of information. Bound states have a quality called coherent organization, which means they tend to self-replicate their forms over a sequence of events. The self-replication of coherently organized bound states is a thermodynamic property, like a frozen piece of ice composed of water molecules that appears to be the same object in space from moment to moment even though the water molecules constantly move around in space. The piece of ice is a coherently organized bound state of water molecules that tends to self-replicate its form over a sequence of event. This coherent binding is a thermodynamic property. When the ice melts into liquid water the coherent organization is lost, which is called a phase transition, and the form of the water molecules changes.

In a very similar way, the distinct images of things in space projected from the holographic screen are coherently organized bound states of information that tend to self-replicate their forms over a sequence of events. Bits of information are encoded on the screen in a binary code of 1′s and 0′s, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down, or an on/off switch. Due to their thermal energy the bits of information tend to switch back and forth, but due to their interactions they tend to align together and form bound states.

The easiest way to understand the nature of the interactions and the formation of bound states is with a spin network. Information encoded on a bounding surface of space is very much like a spin network. Each pixel on the screen encodes a bit of information like a spin ½ variable. As spin variables interact with each other, they tend to become entangled. Due to quantum entanglement, interacting spin variables tend to align together and form larger and larger bound states.

Spin Network

Fundamentally, bits of information become entangled with each other since they are represented in a non-commutative geometry by the eigenvalues of an nxn matix, just as information for spin ½ variables is represented by the eigenvalues of a 2×2 matrix, and that information is entangled due to the nature of matrices. The size of the bound states that form is limited by thermodynamics, as the tendency to form coherently organized bound states as entangled bits of information align together is opposed by the tendency for entropy to increase and bound states to become disorganized over time as bits of information flip back and forth due to their thermal energy.

Due to these opposing tendencies for organization and disorganization to develop, all distinct bound states only have a temporary apparent existence as they appear to come into existence and then go out of existence. The brief period of time they appear to exist arises from their tendency to coherently self-replicate their forms. These coherently organized forms are animated in the flow of energy characterizing the observer’s world. That flow of energy only arises as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference.

In the sense of the principle of equivalence, the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference due to the acceleration of space itself. Only the acceleration of space creates the observer’s world in a big bang event and drives the expansion of the observer’s world from the big bang event. The acceleration of space itself is the source of the normal flow of energy that characterizes the observer’s world. To be clear about things, every observer is at the center of its own world. Every observer’s world begins in a big bang event and expands due to the acceleration of space.

The one-world-per-observer paradigm tells us the observer’s world only has one frame of reference; the frame of reference of the observer itself. As the observer expends energy, enters into an accelerated frame of reference and follows a time-like worldline, all information for all things the observer observes in its world is defined on its horizon, which acts as a holographic screen.

information1

The holographic principle tells us that all information is encoded on the observer’s screen as virtual particle-antiparticle pairs appear to separate at the observer’s horizon. The horizon is a bounding surface in space that limits observations in the observer’s world. Virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate, but they are in an ultimate state of positive-negative balance since they are created out of nothing, and all of that virtual energy must ultimately add up to nothing. This is possible in cosmology since the negative potential energy of gravitational attraction can exactly cancel out all positive forms of energy. Things are always in a state of balance in the observer’s world since all things arise through a virtual creation process:

ying-yang

Before anything is created in the observer’s world, nothing exists.

A holographic screen is an event horizon that limits observations in the observer’s world. The screen is a bounding surface of space that encodes bits of information for the image of anything perceived in the space bounded by that surface. That bounded space is the nature of the observer’s world, and the observer is always present at the central point of view of its world.

The observer is immaterial in precisely this sense: the observer is not some thing the observer measures in its world; the observer is the measure of all things in its world:

Measure-of-all-things

The one-world-per-observer paradigm tells us that all things in the observer’s world are measured in the frame of reference of a single observer. The holographic principle tells us that the information for all things that appear in the observer’s world is defined on a bounding surface of space. The observer is nothing more than the consciousness present at the central point of view of that bounding surface. That bounding surface is an event horizon that arises as the observer expends energy, enters into an accelerated frame of reference, and follows a time-like worldline.

It only makes sense to discuss a consensual reality to the extent that the worlds of different observers become entangled and share information with each other. This is possible in cosmology since different cosmic horizons that bound different regions of space can overlap with each other. Those overlapping regions of space can share information with each other through a phenomena called quantum entanglement.

Overlapping bounded spaces

In non-dual metaphysics, the observer is referred to as the Self, but to be clear about things, the observer is nothing it can perceive in its world. The observer is nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world. All the animated images of things the observer can perceive in its world are only forms of information projected from the observer’s holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer. The observer’s world is always organized around the form of its body. The observer’s body is always the central image, like the central character of a movie, or the image of an avatar in an interactive computer network generated virtual reality world displayed on a computer screen.

We usually think organs of sensory perception in our body relay information about the world we perceive to our brain, but the holographic principle tells us information for everything the observer perceives in its world is defined on its holographic screen, which is only a bounding surface of space surrounding the observer at the central point of view. There still is a relay of information about the observer’s world but that relay of information is dividable into external sensory perceptions of the observer’s world and internal emotional perceptions of the observer’s body. This division into external and internal is key to the process of self-identification.

The mental construction of a body-based self-concept can only occur with this division of external from internal. This division is what allows for the sense of being embodied and for the mental construction of the self-concept of being an embodied person in the world emotionally related to other things in the world.

How does this division of external from internal occur? To understand this division we need to look more closely at emotional expressions. Emotional expressions can only arise in the flow of energy. The expression of emotion is the flow of energy that animates the form of the observer’s body and emotionally relates the observer’s body to other things in the observer’s world. A key aspect of all emotional expressions is their coherent organization. The expression of emotion is the way the flow of energy through the observer’s body is coherently organized. Only the coherent organization of the flow of energy allows for the coherent self-replication of the form of the observer’s body over a sequence of events while behaviors of the body are enacted. Emotional actions always relate the observer’s body to other things in the observer’s world.

The observer not only perceives the coherently organized form of its body, but also the coherently organized flow of emotional energy through its body that allows for the coherent self-replication of the form of its body over a sequence of events, while those emotional actions relate its body to other things in its world.

The key aspect of the expression of emotions is that the observer perceives the emotional body feelings that arise with all emotional expressions. The observer is only perceiving the flow of emotional energy that animates the form of its body, but that perception of the flow of energy leads to a strange phenomena. With that perception of emotional body feelings, the observer feels like it is self-limited to the form of its body. That is the meaning the observer gives to that perception.

This raises an important question: how does meaning arise? Who gives meaning to its perceptions? Just as only the observer can perceive its world and only the observer can choose which things in its world to perceive, only the observer can give meaning to those perceptions. The meaning the observer gives to the things it perceives in its world arises with the flow of energy through its world. Only the flow of energy through the observer’s world connects one event to the next event, and allows the observer to give meaning to those animated actions. Only the flow of energy creates the context within which meaning is given.

The nature of that meaning always arises within an emotional context. Only the flow of emotional energy through the observer’s body allows the observer to give emotional meaning to the actions of its body. To state it simply, to act is to give meaning. Only emotional actions relate the observer’s body to other things in its world. Those emotional actions always create the context within which meaning is given. Only that flow of emotional energy creates the context within which the observer gives emotional meaning to events as that flow of energy connects one event to the next event in the observer’s animated world. The observer gives meaning as the observer perceives the flow of energy that connects events.

Only the observer gives emotional meaning to events as the observer perceives the flow of energy underlying all emotional actions. Those actions only arise with the observer’s focus of attention. Only the focus of attention of the observer’s consciousness gives rise to the choices that are made underlying all emotional actions. Only the observer gives meaning to those actions, and only the observer chooses those actions with its focus of attention. The nature of that emotional meaning is belief. To say ‘to act is to give meaning’ is exactly the same as to say ‘perceiving is believing’. The observer believes whatever it perceives. Beliefs only arise with perceptions. The nature of those perceptions is knowledge, and only the observer perceives and knows about that knowledge. Knowledge becomes extraordinarily complex due to the nature of complexity underlying the development of the coherent organization of information, as that organization develops in a biological organism. The ultimate example of this knowledge is the development of a mentally constructed body-based self-concept. A perceivable self-concept is self-knowledge the observer of the mind knows about itself, but in reality is only an emotionally energized belief the observer believes about itself.

This is where something very peculiar can happen. The observer can identify itself with the form of its body. More exactly, the observer identifies itself with the mentally constructed self-concept of being an embodied person in its world that is emotionally related to other things in its world. The fundamental reason the observer can identify itself with its mentally constructed self-concept is because the observer really feels self-limited to the form of its body as it perceives the emotional body feelings that arise with the expression of emotional actions.

This peculiar process of self-identification can only arise because the observer knows something about itself that is untrue. The observer knows itself as an embodied personal self that is emotionally related to other things in its world. That is the nature of the false self-knowledge. Once this self-identification occurs, the emotional expressions tend to become self-defensive in nature and defend body survival as though the existence of the observer depends on it. The truth of the situation is that the existence of the observer depends on nothing it perceives in its world, which is very much like an interactive computer network generated virtual reality world displayed on a digital computer screen. The animated form of the observer’s personal self is only another image displayed on the screen.

In reality, the observer is only watching the animation of images from its central point of view at the center of its world. Everything that appears to happen in that world is observer-dependent, and depends on the relative frame of reference of the observer, but the observer’s own timeless existence is absolute and depends on nothing it perceives in that animated world. The only true knowledge that the observer can ever know about itself is the true nature of its existence. Only when the observer finally realizes the truth about itself can it know itself as it really is, nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world.

Inherent in the mental construction of self-referential thoughts is the absurdity of a paradox of self-reference. That absurdity arises as the observer of the mental screen identifies itself with a body-based self-concept inherent in the expression of self-referential thoughts. The observer is nothing more than the consciousness present at the central point of view, and only perceives the screen. The only true knowledge the observer can know about itself is its sense of I-am-ness, which is its own sense of being present. The expression of self-referential thoughts is like the animation of images displayed on a screen, very much like the animation of a virtual reality world displayed on a computer screen. The central character of that animation expresses the thought “I am this particular person in this world that is emotionally related to other things in this world”. The observer of the animation believes this nonsense about itself as it identifies itself with the central character.

What am I

The mentally constructed self-concept of being an embodied person in the world emotionally related to other things in the observer’s world is not what the observer is, but what the observer knows about itself. That is the nature of the observer’s false self-knowledge. The observer knows something about itself that is untrue. The only true knowledge the observer can ever know about itself is that it exists.

To be clear about things, body survival is only the coherent self-replication of the form of the body over a sequence of events. Body survival has to do with the way information is coherently organized on the observer’s holographic screen, and the way emotional energy coherently flows through the form of the observer’s body to allow for that self-replication of body form over a sequence of events.

Every expression of emotion or personal will is a choice. Everything the observer can do in its world is a choice. Only the observer chooses what to do in its world, but the choices only arise as the observer chooses what to observe in its world. The observer chooses what to observe in its world with its focus of attention. The process of choice only arises with the focus of attention of consciousness.

Why would the observer ever choose feelings of disconnection over connection? The only way to answer this question is to explore the nature of self-identification. The really big questions are: what identifies itself with what, and what drives that process of self-identification? Since we are now in the realm of metaphysics, the answers we can give are no longer deducible from basic scientific principles, but have a distinct metaphysical quality to them, the quality of consciousness.

The observer chooses feelings of disconnection over connection to defend body survival. That is where its focus of attention is focused. Every self-defensive expression creates more feelings of disconnection as the flow of emotional energy through the observer’s body goes out of alignment with the normal flow of energy in the observer’s world. The only reason the observer makes this choice is because the observer mistakenly assumes its existence arises from its body.

The vicious cycle of the observer’s self-identification with the form of its body only arises with self-defensive expressions of personal will. As the observer perceives the emotional body feelings arising with self-defensive expressions, the observer feels self-limited to the form of its body and mistakenly attributes its existence to arise from its body. That false assumption perpetuates its self-identification with the form of its body, and perpetuates the expression of self-defensive personal will in order to defend its body survival as though its existence depends on it.

To be perfectly clear about things, the process of self-identification can only arise with self-defensive expressions of personal will. That is the only way the observer can feel self-limited to the form of its body as it perceives the body feelings that arise with self-defensive emotional expressions. These kinds of self-defensive expressions are inherent in all self-concerned thoughts arising in the observer’s mind that emotionally relate its body based self-concept to the concept of other things in its world. Only the mental construction of self-concerned thoughts gives rise to the observer’s body based self-concept. Only the observer can identify itself with its mentally constructed self-concept. Once this self-identification arises the observer then feels compelled to defend the survival of its body as though its existence depends on it, which only perpetuates the vicious cycle. Self-defensive expressions give rise to the observer’s self-identification, which only gives rise to more self-defensive expressions, and the vicious cycle goes round and round.

What if the observer chooses not to choose? The observer’s choice about what to do in its world is called the expression of personal will. Even if the observer chooses not to choose, choices are still made. The nature of the choices made if the observer chooses not to choose is called the expression of divine will. If the observer chooses not to choose, only divine will is expressed, and the observer does nothing in a personal sense. If the observer chooses not to choose, there is no bias in the way the choices are made, and choices are made randomly. The expression of divine will is always unbiased, and choices are made randomly. With unbiased choice, things tend to play themselves out in the normal way.

The expression of personal will is always biased. What is the nature of this bias? There are two very different ways in which the bias can be expressed. The first way is closely related to the unbiased expression of divine will. As long as the choices are made randomly, things will tend to follow the path of least action, which is the most energy efficient way for things to act since it expends the least amount of energy. As things follow the path of least action, the flow of energy through things tends to come into alignment. This is the normal way for energy to flow through the observer’s world. As long as the flow of energy is in alignment, the observer will perceive feelings of connection that arise from that alignment.

Feelings of connection feel good while feelings of disconnection feel bad, so the observer is naturally biased to choose feelings of connection over disconnection, which tends to bring the observer’s choices into alignment with the normal flow of things and the expression of divine will. This connected aligned state is often called the integrated state. As long as the observer’s choices stay in alignment with the normal flow of things in the observer’s world, aligned actions are expressed and feelings of connection are perceived. The integrated state is often referred to as harmonious because of its alignment with the expression of divine will.

ying-yang

All self-defensive expressions of personal will interfere with the normal flow of things in the observer’s world and the normal expression of divine will. These self-defensive expressions are always an expression of futility, like trying to stop a tidal wave by throwing a rock at the tidal wave. The expression of divine will arises with the acceleration of space itself that creates the observer’s world in a big bang event and drives the expansion of the observer’s world. That is the nature of the tidal wave. All expressions of self-defensive personal will are an act of futility as they have absolutely no chance of stopping the tidal wave.

Even worse, self-defensive expressions of personal will only lead to feelings of disconnection that feel bad. The observer only chooses to suffer bad feelings because it mistakenly attributes its existence to arise from its body. Ironically, it only continues to make that false assumption because it continues to express self-defensive expressions of personal will. That is the nature of the vicious cycle.

The best of all possible worlds only arises with the expression of divine will. That is the only way the flow of energy in the observer’s world comes into alignment and feelings of connection can be perceived. All expressions of self-defensive personal will only interfere with the normal expression of divine will and tend to make things worse. Everything the observer can do in its world in the sense of expressing personal will is only a brief localized disturbance or obstruction in the normal flow of things, and tends to make things worse.

The choices the observer makes with the expression of personal will reveal its character. The observer’s character is very much like the central character of a movie or its avatar in an animated virtual reality world displayed on a computer screen that the observer is only observing. The observer makes the choices that reveal its character with the focus of attention of its consciousness on its world. The expression of personal will reveals the character of the observer’s personal self.

The observer can only identify itself with the form of its body because it really feels self-limited to the form of its body as it perceives emotional body feelings arising with expressions of personal will. Those emotional expressions always relate the observer’s body to other things in the observer’s world. The observer attaches itself to its world with those emotional expressions, which always relate its body to other things in its world. The nature of that attachment process is its desire to hold onto things, control things, oppose things and defend things.

Only a process of detachment allows the observer to de-identify itself from its body based self-concept and detach itself from its world. When emotional expressions of self-defensive personal will come to an end and are no longer expressed, the observer no longer feels self-limited to the form of its body and can no longer identify itself with the form of its body. In this desireless state, the observer can only know itself as the consciousness present at the center of its world.

The observer can only know itself as somebody in its world with the expression of personal will. The observer can only appear to be somebody in its world if it expresses personal will and chooses to do something in its world. If the observer chooses to do nothing in its world in a personal sense, then it knows itself as nobody, nothing but the consciousness present at the center of its world.

Where is the observer’s focus of attention focused when the observer chooses not to choose? The observer’s focus of attention is focused on its own sense of being present. The focus of attention of consciousness is focused on the light of consciousness itself. This shift in the focus of attention away from its world and towards its own true nature is described as the process of turning around in all metaphysical discussions of spiritual existence. With this shift in the focus of its attention, the observer does nothing in its world, and everything in its world plays out as an expression of divine will. In that divine light, the observer’s world appears like an animated movie displayed on a screen that it only perceives.

In this process of looking within and focusing its attention on its own sense of being present, the observer rejects all the false self-knowledge it knows about itself and only accepts the truth about itself. It rejects its mentally constructed self-concept of being an embodied personal self that is emotionally related to other things in its world. Once it clearly sees the truth that it is nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world that perceives everything in its world, its surrender to divine will naturally follows. It sees that it is only defending the survival of an illusion of what it is with its self-defensive expressions of personal will, and that the defense of that illusion is always a waste of its time and energy.

Without those self-defensive expressions of personal will, self-identification with a personal self is not possible, a state of being referred to as innocence prior to truth realization and wisdom after truth realization. The self-identified state is called delusion. Without self-defensive expressions of personal will that interfere with the normal expression of divine will, the flow of energy in the observer’s world comes into alignment, aligned actions are naturally expressed, and feelings of connection are perceived. In this sense, only love can transcend fear.

There is something very odd about this process of looking within. As the observer looks within, it withdraws the focus of its attention from its world. As the observer withdraws attention from its world and looks within, the first thing it sees are the beliefs it believes about itself, the self-knowledge it knows about itself, and the self-concepts with which it identifies itself. All this self-knowledge is false, as it is something the observer perceives and knows about itself, but is not what it is.

Who I am not

In clearly seeing the falseness of that self-knowledge, the observer has no choice but to reject that false knowledge, which is the negation process. The observer looks within, discriminates the true from the false, and rejects the false. That false knowledge is removed from the inner space. At first it may seem that there is nothing there in the inner space except for that false self-knowledge, but that is not quite true. There is one thing within the inner space that is real and cannot be removed. That one thing is the observer’s own sense of being present as the consciousness present at the center of its world.

The odd thing about this process of looking within is that the perceiving point is looking for itself. The observer looks within, rejects all the false self-knowledge it knows about itself, and finds nothing. The truth is the observer can know nothing about itself except that it exists, a truth the observer confirms as it focuses its attention on its own timeless sense of being present. The observer cannot know what it is. The observer can only be what it is, nothing but consciousness.

This process of looking within to find the true nature of itself is the ultimate kind of soul-searching. The observer is searching for itself. The observer enters into a dark night of the soul as it rejects all the false self-knowledge it knows about itself and finds nothing. The only way out of this darkness is with its acceptance of the truth. Only the observer can accept the truth that it is nothing but consciousness.

Negation in and of itself is never enough to complete the detachment process. As long as more self-defensive expressions of personal will are expressed, there will be more self-identifications to negate. The shift in the focus of attention that occurs with looking within is only possible with surrender. The surrender process can only go forward as emotional energy is withdrawn from expressions of self-defensive personal will. The withdrawal of that emotional energy can only occur with the withdrawal of the observer’s focus of attention on its self-defensive expressions.

As the observer withdraws its attention from its self-defensive expressions, emotional energy is withdrawn from those expressions. The withdrawal of emotional energy from its self-defensive expressions occurs naturally as the observer begins to see the true nature of what it is. This shift in the focus of attention occurs as the observer focuses on its own sense of being present and begins to see the true nature of what it is; that it is nothing but a timelessly existing presence of consciousness.

With this shift in the focus of attention, the observer also clearly sees what it is not; that it is not the animated form of a personal self that appears in the world it perceives. The animated form of a personal self can only be animated with the expression of personal will. It may feel like the observer is self-limited to the form of an animated personal self as the observer perceives the emotional feelings that arise in the animation, but that is not what the observer is. There is only the emotional feeling of being a personal self. If emotional energy is withdrawn from the expression of personal will, the form of the personal self is de-animated, and that feeling of being a personal self comes to an end. If the observer shifts the focus of attention away from its world and withdraws emotional energy from its world, the animated form of its personal self is de-animated. The feeling of being a personal self can come to an end, but the observer cannot stop existing. In reality, only an illusion comes to an end.

Ultimately, only the observer’s shift in the focus of its attention onto its own sense of being present transcends its mistaken self-identification with the animated form of its body-based personal self, just as only its surrender to divine will can transcend its self-defensive expressions of personal will. This looking within to discover the true nature of itself is called turning around, which is the meaning of the word repent in all metaphysical discussions of spiritual existence. In the same sense, the only sin is the sin of self-identification from which all self-defensive expressions arise.

Whether the observer finds itself through a process of negation, surrender, or a combination of the two processes, it always ends up in the same place, itself. An observer that knows itself as the consciousness present at the center of its world is called enlightened. What is the underlying reality or source of that divine light?

What is the true nature of the observer’s underlying reality? Is it even possible to scientifically answer such a question? The remarkable answer is that recent conceptual developments in theoretical physics allow for a conceptual answer, but this answer is as strange as the theoretical concepts. This answer is strange because a holographic world mixes up what is inside with what is outside. The only thing that connects the inside to the outside is the perceiving point itself.

The observer is present at the central point of view of its world. The holographic principle tells us that the observer is nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world, while all the images of things in the observer’s world appear on the bounding surface of its world. The bounding surface is an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen and encodes information. The observer’s horizon only arises as the observer expends energy, enters into an accelerated frame of reference, and follows a time-like worldline.

A strange aspect of the holographic principle is horizon complementarity. If the observer stops expending energy, stops accelerating, and enters into a state of free fall, the observer’s horizon disappears. The observer’s horizon acts as a holographic screen that displays images of things in the observer’s world. If the observer enters into a state of free fall, the observer’s world disappears.

Consciousness itself, present at a point of view, enters into a state of ultimate free fall, and its world disappears. Only the observer’s underlying reality remains as the observer’s world disappears. That underlying reality is only describable as infinite void, or an empty space of potentiality.

The observer is the consciousness present at the center of its world. That presence of consciousness is called Self, Soul or Atman. The observer’s world is defined on a holographic screen that bounds the observer. The observer’s holographic screen is a bounding surface of space that encodes information for everything the observer observes in the space bounded by that surface. The observer’s holographic screen is only an event horizon that arises as the observer expends energy, enters into an accelerated frame of reference and follows a time-like worldline.

In a state of ultimate free fall, the observer no longer follows an accelerated worldline and no longer expends energy. In this ultimate state of free fall, the flow of energy in the observer’s world comes to an end, there is no longer any animation of events, and the flow of time comes to an end. When the flow of energy stops, when the flow of time stops, the animation stops. As the flow of time comes to an end, the observer’s animated world disappears.

If the observer stops expending energy, stops accelerating, and enters into a state of ultimate free fall, the observer’s horizon disappears, and the observer’s world as defined on its holographic screen disappears. The bounding surface of space disappears in a state of ultimate free fall. Only the observer’s underlying reality remains as the observer’s world disappears.

Atman Brahman

Just as the observer’s world is the manifested nature of its reality, its underlying reality is unmanifested. The observer’s underlying reality is only describable as infinite void, or an empty space of potentiality. That underlying reality is called Source or Brahman.

The observer’s underlying reality is the true nature of its absolute timeless existence, the true nature of what it is, the true nature of its being. That undivided being is void. That underlying reality is the ground of being. The only true knowledge the observer can ever know about itself is that it exists.

The observer’s world is a holographic illusion of animated images displayed on the bounding surface of a holographic screen. In a state of ultimate free fall, the observer’s world disappears, and only the observer’s underlying reality remains.

Ultimately, there is no difference between Atman and Brahman.

Brahman is the only truth. The world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and Atman.

That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman−that thou art.

There is nothing inconsistent with the concepts of modern physics and the nondual concept of truth realization and the one-world-per-observer paradigm. These nondual concepts are the inevitable conclusion of basic scientific principles, which include the holographic principle, the principle of equivalence, the action principle, the uncertainty principle, horizon complementarity, and the nature of dark energy, inflationary cosmology and the exponential expansion of space.

These principles tell us that ultimately there is no difference between the nature of individual consciousness and absolute reality. The observer is the nature of individual consciousness present at the center of its world, the observer’s world is defined on a bounding surface of space, and the observer’s underlying reality is undivided infinite void. When all bounding surfaces of space disappear, only the observer’s underlying reality remains. That underlying reality is undivided being.

The observer is the nature of individual consciousness and is called the Self, but the observer is not a differentiated individual entity. All aspects of self in the sense of a differentiated individual entity are a part of dualistic reality. Dualistic reality is like a virtual reality or a dream state, very much like a movie of animated images projected from a holographic screen to the central point of view of an observer. The holographic screen is only a bounding surface in space that encodes information about the observer’s world, while the observer is nothing more than the consciousness present at the center of its world. All aspects of self in the sense of a differentiated individual entity are a part of the observer’s world as displayed on its holographic screen.

Those aspects of self are the nature of a holographic illusion. They are unreal in the sense of a virtual reality. They have no being. The true nature of being is inherent to the observer’s underlying reality, but that underlying reality is undivided in the sense of infinite void or undifferentiated consciousness.

All differentiated individual aspects of self are characteristic of the dualistic illusion of animated images displayed on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is only a bounding surface in space that arises as the observer expends energy and follows an accelerated time-like worldline. The observer’s worldline is only an ordered sequence of events that arise in the flow of energy.

In a very real sense, the observer surrounds itself with the false self-knowledge the observer knows about itself. That false self-knowledge has the nature of animated images displayed on the holographic screen the observer perceives, and is unreal in the same sense that images arising in a virtual reality are unreal. Those images have no being. The sense of being present is inherent to the observer itself. The nature of the observer’s being is not personal being, but impersonal being.

This false self-knowledge is not what the observer is, but what the observer knows about itself. The observer knows something about itself that is untrue. The only true knowledge the observer can know about itself is that it exists.

The observer surrounds itself with the false self-knowledge it knows about itself as the observer expends energy. The nature of that flow of energy is the emotional energy that flows through the form of the observer’s body. Only that flow of emotional energy allows for the coherent self-replication of the form of the observer’s body as that flow of energy relates the observer’s body to the forms of other things in the observer’s world.

Only the surface of the observer’s body creates a boundary in space that separates self from non-self, and only the flow of emotional energy through the observer’s body relates the form of its body to other forms. The flow of emotional energy creates the emotional context that allows the observer to give emotional meaning to different events in its world connected by that flow of energy. Only in that emotional context can the observer identify itself with the form of its body. That self-identification can only arise because the observer really feels self-limited to the form of its body as it perceives the body feelings that arise with emotional expressions.

The feeling of being an embodied personal self can come to an end, but the observer that perceives those body feelings cannot stop existing. In reality, only the illusion of the observer’s self-identification with the form of its body comes to an end. That illusion is the false self-knowledge the observer knows about itself.

That false self-knowledge can only arise like animated images displayed on a bounding surface in space. That bounding surface can only arise in the flow of emotional energy. When that flow of emotional energy comes to an end, those bounding surfaces in space disappear.

When all bounding surfaces in space disappear, when the observer’s world disappears, when all differentiated individual aspects of self disappear, only the observer’s undivided underlying reality remains.

Truth realization is described as dissolution. This dissolution has the nature of a reunion. There are many observers, each with its own world, but only one source of consciousness, and one source of all those worlds. The One is the source of the many, but in a state of dissolution, there is only One. The observer dissolves back into its source like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean.

Ocean

Nondual metaphysics makes a distinction between atman, Atman and Brahman. The nature of the personal consciousness self-limited to the form of a body is called atman, and is the nature of the personal soul. Personal self-identification is only possible because the observer identifies itself with the form of its body. In reality, this self-identification is only a misperception that comes to an end when the observer’s perspective broadens. When that self-identification comes to an end, the observer can only know itself as the Universal Soul or Atman, the consciousness present at the center of its world. That individual presence of consciousness has an underlying reality or Source, which is called Brahman or the Absolute nature of reality.

The unmanifested absolute nature of reality is undivided in the sense of infinite void, and can only be characterized as One. Unmanifested reality is the source of the observer and the source of the observer’s manifested world. There are many observers, each with its own world, but only one source of all observers and one source of all possible worlds. The One is the source of the many, but in a state of dissolution, there is only One. In a state of dissolution, the observer’s individual consciousness is extinguished and becomes One with the source of consciousness. The Source is a void of undifferentiated consciousness.

Why does separation occur in the first place? The only possible answer that can be given is metaphorical, along the lines of the story of the prodigal son. For whatever reason, maybe simple curiosity or maybe wanderlust, an individual presence of consciousness divides itself off from its source of undifferentiated consciousness. That division is a fragmentation of the unity of consciousness. With that fragmentation of consciousness, an explosion occurs called the big bang event, which creates the world perceived by that individual presence of consciousness. The explosion that creates the observer’s world is driven by the exponential expansion of space itself. That expansion of space places the observer in an accelerated frame of reference.

The only way an individual presence of consciousness can reunite itself with its source of undifferentiated consciousness is if that acceleration comes to an end. Only a state of ultimate free fall allows for the reunion. That reunion is a dissolution. In that dissolution there is no longer any individual consciousness, only the one source of undifferentiated consciousness. The individual consciousness of the observer is extinguished, and becomes One with its source of undifferentiated consciousness. In that oneness there is no individuality. The observer becomes One with the Source. Only a state of ultimate free fall allows the observer to return to its primordial state of undifferentiated consciousness.

The individual consciousness of the observer perceiving everything in its own world is extinguished with its return to the Source. With reunion, the “flame of life” illuminating the observer’s world is extinguished and becomes One with its source of undifferentiated consciousness. This ultimate state of dissolution into undivided being is referred to as liberation or Nirvana.

It is generally accepted in modern theoretical physics and cosmology that the world emerges from the void in a big bang event. It is also usually assumed that consciousness emerges in the world. This latter assumption is false. Consciousness does not emerge in the world. Consciousness exists. The world emerges in the void, which is the unmanifested nature of reality and the Absolute nature of existence. The true nature of that Absolute existence is undifferentiated consciousness. As a manifested world emerges from the void, an individual presence of consciousness, which is the observer of that world, is always present at the center of that world. In a state of dissolution, that world disappears, and only the observer’s underlying reality remains. That unmanifested reality is a void of undifferentiated consciousness.

Only the observer has an underlying existence that pre-exists anything that can appear to exist in the observer’s world. The perceivable things can appear to come into existence or disappear from existence depending on the observer’s frame of reference, but the observer’s underlying existence cannot stop existing. The observer itself is not some perceivable thing the observer can perceive in its world. The true nature of the observer’s underlying existence is only describable as the void, the nothingness that has absolute or timeless existence. The true nature of that timelessly existing nothingness is undifferentiated consciousness.

Truth realization leads to another strange phenomena called ascension. In the ascended state, the observer perceives its world from a higher level of consciousness, or from a higher dimension. All the images of the observer’s world appear as though they are two dimensional, like animated images that appear on a viewing screen, while the observer perceives those images from a higher dimension outside the screen. Plato described this ascended way of seeing the world in the Allegory of the Cave. The images of things appear as shadows projected onto the screen. The screen can be called a plane of existence, but the observer always exists outside that plane.

Plato's cave

Plato described the observer’s self-identification with the form of its body as an illusion or misperception, and referred to the self-identified state as a state of confinement, bondage or imprisonment. Plato understood that the only true freedom arises when the observer de-identifies itself from the form of its body, detaches itself from its world, and ascends to a higher level of consciousness.

The observer’s underlying reality is no more reducible to some observable thing appearing in the observer’s observable reality than the observer of a computer network generated virtual reality world displayed on a computer screen is reducible to the observer’s avatar appearing in the interactive virtual reality game played by the observer. The perceivable things are always perceived in a plane of existence, like an image projected from a holographic screen or a shadow projected onto the screen. The nature of all planes of existence is that the consciousness of the observer that perceives these things exists in a higher dimension that is outside any possible plane of existence. There is only a holographic illusion that the observer exists in the same plane of existence with the perceivable things.

shadows-of-the-mind

The perceivable images of things are always projected from a holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer outside the screen. The projected images are always illuminated by the light of consciousness itself.

In the ascended state, the observer can only perceive itself as an intense point of light at the center of its world, not physical light, but the light of consciousness itself.

With its ascension to a higher level of consciousness, an observer can no longer take itself to be an emotionally energized personal self appearing within its world that is self-limited to the form of a body and expresses personal will, but can only know itself as an ascended observer outside its world that only observes its world. With its ascension, this emotional kind of  personal self-identification is seen to be nothing more than an illusion, like the player of a virtual reality game displayed on a computer screen that identifies itself with the animated form of its avatar that appears in the game it perceives and plays. Ultimately, the illusion of personal identity is seen to be nothing more than the play of consciousness.

With ascension, the observer clearly sees that all the images of its world only arise with the play of its own light on the screen. Its illusory make-believe personal self-identity is seen to be nothing more than the play of consciousness.

If the observer’s world is like a holographic projection of images from a holographic screen, with all the encoded information for that world ultimately defined on its cosmic horizon, then what illuminates that hologram? The only possible answer is the light of consciousness itself.

singularity

The Buddha expressed everything there is to know about the enlightened state:

Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment

The Bhagavad-Gita also describes the enlightened state:

In the knowledge of the Atman
Which is a dark night to the ignorant
The recollected mind is fully awake and aware
The ignorant are awake in their sense life
Which is darkness to the sage

The subtle Soul sits everywhere
The Soul’s light shines pure in every place
In its bodily prison-Spirit pure

Never the spirit was born
The spirit shall cease to be never
Never was time it was not
End and beginning are dreams

Birthless and deathless and changeless remains the spirit forever

The unreal has no being; the real never ceases to be.

Chuang Tzu expressed these ideas with the concept of no-self:

The man of Tao remains unknown
Perfect virtue produces nothing
No-self is true-self
And the greatest man is Nobody

The Tao expresses the same concepts:

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion

I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Knowing the Self is enlightenment

The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return
They grow and flourish and then return to the source
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature

Ever desireless one can see the mystery
Ever desiring one can see the manifestations
These two spring from the same source but differ in name
This appears as darkness
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery

The farther you go, the less you know

Those who know are not learned
The learned do not know

In the pursuit of learning, everyday something is acquired
In the pursuit of Tao, everyday something is dropped
Less and less is done
Until non-action is achieved
When nothing is done, nothing is left undone
The world is ruled by letting things take their course
It cannot be ruled by interfering

It is more important
To see the simplicity
To realize one’s true nature
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire

Being is born of not being

Being at one with the Tao is eternal
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away

Because there is no place for death to enter

To die but not to perish is to be eternally present
Brings freedom from the fear of death

Empty yourself of everything

Without form there is no desire
Without desire there is tranquility

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea

He who follows the Tao is at one with the Tao

The form of the formless
The image of the imageless
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination

Stand before it and there is no beginning
Follow it and there is no end

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness

It leads all things back toward the great oneness

The gateless gate paradox expresses the same ideas:

The great path has no gates,
Thousands of roads enter it.
When one passes through this gateless gate,
One walks the universe alone.

Plato’s description is both timeless and scientifically accurate:

They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave.

To them, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.

See what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error.

See the reality of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive someone saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion.

His eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision.

Nisargadatta Maharaj gives a more contemporary scientifically accurate description of these same nondual metaphysical concepts:

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness, which is both mind and matter and beyond both.

The witness is merely a point in awareness. It has no name and form.

The witness that stands aloof-is the watchtower of the real-the point at which awareness, inherent in the unmanifested, contacts the manifested.

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

Awareness is beyond all. Awareness is undivided-aware of itself.

Awareness is primordial; it is the original state.

In pure being consciousness arises; in consciousness the world appears and disappears.

Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality.

As the tiny point of a pencil can draw innumerable pictures, so does the dimensionless point of awareness draw the contents of the vast universe.

The center is a point of void and the witness a point of pure awareness; they know themselves to be as nothing.

But the void is full to the brim. It is the eternal potential as consciousness is the eternal actual.

The ocean of consciousness is infinite and eternal.

In the ocean of pure awareness, on the surface of the universal consciousness, the numberless waves of the phenomenal worlds arise and subside beginninglessly and endlessly.

Timelessly the source actualizes itself without exhausting its infinite possibilities.

Nothing lasts. The void remains.

You remain as pure being.

Whatever happens, I remain. At the root of my being is pure awareness, a speck of intense light. This speck, by its nature, radiates and creates pictures in space and events in time, effortlessly and spontaneously.

Before all beginnings, after all endings, I am.

The ‘I am’ in movement creates the world. The ‘I am’ at peace becomes the Absolute.

Names and shapes are hollow shells. What is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness.

Consciousness itself is the source of everything.

Everything is a form of energy.

You are and I am-only as points in consciousness.

All consciousness is consciousness of change.

The very perception of change-necessitates a changeless background.

Every moment returns to its source-just as every wave subsides into the ocean.

The objects in the world are many but the eye that sees them is one.

The source of consciousness cannot be an object in consciousness.

To know the source is to be the source.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

You know yourself only through the senses and the mind.

Whatever you think you are you take it to be true-imagining yourself perceivable.

I see as you see, hear as you hear.

All this I perceive quite clearly, but I am not in it.

I feel myself as floating over it, aloof and detached.

There is also the awareness of it all and a sense of immense distance as if the body and the mind and all that happens to them were somewhere far out on the horizon.

I am like a cinema screen-clear and empty.

The pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before. In no way is the screen affected by the pictures, nor are the pictures affected by the screen.

The screen intercepts and reflects the pictures. These are lumps of destiny, but not my destiny; the destinies of the people on the screen.

The character will become a person when he begins to shape his life instead of accepting it as it comes-identifying himself with it.

To myself I am neither perceivable nor conceivable; there is nothing I can point out and say “this I am”.

Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman.

It is enough to shift attention from the screen onto oneself to break the spell.

It is enough to shift attention to the Self and keep it there.

To know the picture as the play of light on the screen gives freedom from the idea that the picture is real.

This is all imagination. In the light of consciousness all sorts of things happen and one need not give special importance to any.

The world just sprouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing.

That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness, a conscious nothing. All you can say about yourself is ‘I am’.

In reality I only look. Whatever is done is done on the stage. Joy and sorrow, life and death, they are real to the man in bondage; to me they are all in the show, as unreal as the show itself.

I see only consciousness, and know everything to be but consciousness, as you know the pictures on the cinema screen to be but light.

Movement is illusory. What moves is the film-which is the mind.

Bodily existence is but-a movement in consciousness.

I am not my body. I am the witness only.

The very purpose of creation is the fulfillment of desire. Things happen by their own nature. From my point of view everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously. I do nothing. I just see them happen.

The person is never the subject. You can see a person but you are not a person.

The difference between the person and the witness is as between not knowing and knowing oneself.

Mere knowledge is not enough; the knower must be known.

Without knowledge of the knower there can be no peace.

I know myself as I am in reality.

I am neither the body nor the mind. I am beyond all these.

You are accustomed to deal with things, physical and mental.

I am not a thing, nor are you. We are neither matter nor energy, neither body nor mind.

Once you have a glimpse of your own being you will not find me difficult to understand.

You must gain your own experience.

We believe so many things on hearsay. We never cared to verify.

You are confused because you believe you are in the world, not the world in you.

You see yourself in the world, while I see the world in myself.

To you, you get born and die, while to me, the world appears and disappears.

There is nothing wrong with the senses, it is your imagination that misleads you.

There is a deep contradiction in your attitude which you do not see.

In ignorance the seer becomes the seen and in wisdom he is the seeing.

When you refuse to open your eyes, what can you be shown?

Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically, scrutinize every idea about it.

To question-is the essence of revolt. Without revolt there can be no freedom.

The way to truth lies through the destruction of the false.

To destroy the false you must question your most inveterate beliefs. Of these the idea that you are the body is the worst.

It is the clinging to the false that makes the truth so difficult to see.

You progress by rejection.

Everything must be scrutinized and the unnecessary ruthlessly destroyed.

There cannot be too much destruction. For in reality nothing is of value.

See your world as it is, not as you imagine it to be.

See the person you imagine yourself to be as a part of the world you perceive within your mind and look at the mind from the outside, for you are not the mind.

The world you can perceive is a very small world-entirely private.

Take it to be a dream and be done with it.

What begins and ends is mere appearance. The world can be said to appear but not to be.

Nothing perceivable is real.

Reality is essentially alone. To know that nothing is, is true knowledge.

The world lasts for a moment. It is your memory that makes you think that the world continues.

Memory creates the illusion of continuity.

I see the world as it is, a momentary appearance in consciousness.

The totality of all mental projections is the Great Illusion.

When I look beyond the mind I see the witness.

Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence.

For the path of return naughting oneself is necessary.

My stand I take where nothing is.

To the mind it is all darkness and silence.

It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery.

It is, while all else merely happens.

It is like a bottomless well, whatever falls into it disappears.

Absolute reality imparts reality to whatever comes into being.

You are the source of reality-a dimensionless center of perception that imparts reality to whatever it perceives-a pure witness that watches what is going on and remains unaffected.

It is only imagination and self-identification with the imagined that encloses and converts the inner watcher into a person.

The person is merely the result of a misunderstanding. In reality there is no such thing.

Feelings, thoughts and actions race before the watcher in endless succession.

In reality there is no person, only the watcher identifying itself.

Self-identifications are patently false and the cause of bondage.

Liberation is never of the person, it is always from the person.

What is liberation? To know that you are beyond birth and death.

Go beyond, go back to the source, go to the Self that is the same whatever happens. See everything as emanating from the light which is the source of your own being.

By forgetting who you are and imagining yourself a mortal creature you create so much trouble for yourself that you have to wake up, like from a bad dream.

What you call survival is but the survival of a dream.

It is your desire to hold onto it that creates the problem. Let go.

Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting; it is a sign of our unwillingness to move on, to flow with life.

Your attachment is your bondage.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage.

Your desires just happen to you along with their fulfillment or non-fulfillment. You can change neither. It all merely happens.

As long as there is the sense of identity with the body, frustration is inevitable. It is because of your illusion that you are the doer.

There is trouble only when you cling to something. When you hold onto nothing, no trouble arises.

Give up all and you gain all.

Then life becomes what it was meant to be: pure radiation from an inexhaustible source.

In that light the world appears dimly like a dream.

In the dream you love some and not others. On waking up you find you are love itself, embracing all.

Personal love-invariably binds; love in freedom is love of all.

The reward of self-knowledge is freedom from the personal self.

Freedom means letting go.

Spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything.

Discrimination will lead to detachment. You gain nothing. You leave behind what is not your own and find what you have never lost-your own being.

One you realize that there is nothing in this world which you can call your own you look at it from the outside as you look at a play on the stage or a picture on the screen.

When you refuse to play the game you are out of it.

Find the immutable center where all movement takes birth. Be the axis at the center-not whirling at the periphery.

The seeker is he who is in search of himself.

Give up all questions except one: “Who am I?”

The only fact you are sure of is that you are. ‘I am’ is certain. ‘I am this’ is not.

A false question cannot be answered. It can only be seen as false.

The question “Who am I?” has no answer. No experience can answer it.

All I can truly say is ‘I am’.

I am beyond consciousness and therefore in consciousness I cannot say what I am.

Before the mind happens, I am.

There is nothing wrong in the idea of a body-but limiting oneself to one body only is a mistake.

In reality all existence, every form, is my own, within my consciousness.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’, and the inner and the outer become one.

In reality all is one, the outer being merely a projection of the inner.

This battle is always won, for it is a battle between the true and the false.

It is the witnessing consciousness that makes realization attainable.

The person is in resistance to the very end.

It is the witness that works on the person-on the totality of its illusions.

Abandon all self-identifications.

It is a vicious circle. Only self-realization can break it.

Self-surrender is the surrender of all self-concern. It cannot be done. It happens when you realize your true nature.

Complete self-surrender by itself is liberation.

Abandon the idea of a separate ‘I’. By focusing the mind on ‘I am’, on the sense of being, ‘I am so-and-so’ dissolves; ‘I am a witness only’ remains and that too submerges in ‘I am all’.

Then the all becomes the One and the One-yourself.

Realize that you are dreaming a dream you call the world.

Look at the dream as a dream.

When you see your dream as dream you wake up.

When you have seen the dream as a dream you have done all that needs be done.

The dreamer is one. I am beyond all dreams. I am the light in which all dreams appear and disappear.

Osho also gives a contemporary description:

We call Buddha the awakened one.

This awakening is really the cessation of inner dreaming.

When there is no dreaming you become pure space.

This non-dreaming consciousness is what is known as enlightenment.

If you go on inquiring ‘Who am I?’ you are bound to come to the conclusion that you are not. This is an inquiry to dissolve. There is no answer. Only the question will dissolve.

There will be no one to ask ‘Who am I?’ And then you know. When the ‘I’ is not, the real ‘I’ opens. When the ego is not, you are for the first time encountering your being.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.

When the inner space is there, you are not.

When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.

You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.

You fall into an abyss, and the abyss is bottomless: you go on falling.

That is why Buddha has called this nothingness emptiness.

There is no end to it. Once you know it, you also have become endless.

At this point Being is revealed: then you know who you are, what is your real being, what is your authentic existence.

That being is void.

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6 Comments
  1. ravichandra927@gmail.com permalink

    Great article, you might have experienced it, didnt you?

    • No. I’ve only made a study of what truth realized beings have to say about the experience, and compared those descriptions to what modern theoretical physics has to say about the nature of reality if correctly interpreted in terms of absolute existence and consciousness.

  2. Buddhist logicians are wont to say “THAT Being is void” -which is tantamount to denying one’s own existence, which is impossible. Because THAT Being is the One True Self of All, and the world as we know it is a projection upon the backdrop of space time continuum – which is itself a movement of thought contemplated within pure conscious being.

    • In the ultimate state of reunion with the Absolute, there is no individual being, no individual sense of ‘I am’, only the One, undivided Being of the Absolute. Osho expresses this ultimate state of being as ‘Ultimately, I am not; ultimately, only the Absolute is’. Nisargadatta and Shankara express this ultimate state of being as ‘Ultimately, I am the Absolute’. I see no contradiction. These words only attempt to express the inexpressible. These expressions should not be considered as absolute truth, but only like signposts that help guide us in the path of return.

      My purpose in writing these essays was not to put up a better signpost, as there are many expressions of this timeless wisdom, but to give a credible scientific explanation, based on the most advanced aspects of modern theoretical physics, of how the illusion is created; how the world appears to come into existence and ultimately disappears from existence.

  3. Good (and long) post, I came here from Google, looking for “Atman non duality”, when I’ll have enough time I’ll read it with calm, yesterday I was thinking about the inner Self, which I have noticed one time (enough for change my life) and the Vedanta concept of non-duality, seems impossible understand both because are contraries, but I think both must be true. In addition your post try to relate both concepts with modern science, hard work indeed!

    • You’re absolutely right. This post is much too long and complicated. See the two most recent posts for a much simpler, more intuitive explanation. The basic distinction you describe is between the unbounded, undifferentiated, containing space (the Brahmanic consciousness) and the bounded, differentiated contained space (the Atmanic consciousness). The inner Self (the observer with its own sense of being present) is only the central point of view of the bounded space. The boundary is the holographic screen that defines everything in the observer’s world. That world only appears when the observer is present. Like images of a hologram, the observer is the light of consciousness illuminating all the projected images of its world, like images reflected from a screen. The construction of the screen (the boundary) requires the expenditure of energy (the exertion of a force), which is the differentiation process. When energy is no longer expended, when the boundary (screen) is no longer constructed, when space is no longer bounded, when time and energy no longer flow, the observer’s world disappears and the observer is no longer present for that world. What happens to the observer? Enlightened beings like Nisargadatta tell us the differentiated consciousness of the observer dissolves back into undifferentiated consciousness. When the consciousness of the observer is present for its world, consciousness exists in its differentiated state. When it is not, consciousness exists in its primordial undifferentiated state. Consciousness never stops existing, it only returns to its primordial state. In metaphorical terms, consciousness goes on an adventure by constructing an imaginary dream-like world within its imagination, but it must eventually come back home.

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