Skip to content

The Ultimate Story of Consciousness can now be told. Just Joking.
Consciousness is the underlying reality that underlies everything that anyone can ever say about reality, and yet in-and-of-itself, it can only be described as nothingness, since it is nothing perceivable. That is why it is called spiritual. It is the perceiving reality, not a part of the perceivable reality. It has no story because all stories belong to the perceivable reality, and yet a story can be told that is all about how consciousness realizes the true nature of what it really is. That realization is called spiritual enlightenment.
The Matrix isn’t just an exciting sci-fi/fantasy action/adventure movie. The Matrix is a very serious philosophical discussion of the nature of reality. The Matrix is very much in the tradition of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The essential question asked in the Matrix "What is real?" can now be answered scientifically in terms of modern physics. The answer of course is "Nothing is real".
The ancient Vedic wisdom, with its concepts of Atman and Brahman, has addressed this issue of what is real and what is illusion. The essential distinction is between the Atmanic level of reality and the Brahmanic level of reality. Atman is understood as an individual spiritual presence of consciousness, while Brahman is the undivided spiritual source of that individual spiritual presence of consciousness. Individual existence only exists at the Atmanic level of reality, which in some sense is an illusion, like the projected and animated images of a virtual reality. At the Brahmanic level of reality, there is no individual existence. All is One. Individual existence does not exist at the ultimate Brahmanic level of existence, and yet in some mysterious way, individual consciousness ultimately returns to and reunites itself with undivided consciousness. In the words of Shankara:
Brahman is the only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Atman and Brahman.
You cannot exist without desire. The individual being that you call you can only exist in a state of duality as you perceive things, but your perception of things requires your expression of desire. When you stop expressing desire, you do not exist. When you become desireless, you perceive nothing. In that desireless state in which nothing is perceived, your individual being dissolves into the nothingness of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. You no longer exist as an individual being. You become the ocean of undivided being. When you dissolve into undivided being, you become one. That is the ultimate truth.
In the non-dual language of Advaita Vedanta, I Am is Atman is the Self is the Observer of its own observable world. Brahman is both the Source of that observable world and the Source of the observing consciousness of Atman. At the level of observing your own observable world, you are Atman. At the ultimate level of your dissolution into the Source of your consciousness, like the oceanic experience of a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean, you are the Source. Ultimately, Atman is Brahman. That is the truth of your own existence. The only hard part of accepting that truth is seeing the world you are perceiving as no more real than a dream that you are dreaming. Brahman is the dreamer and the observable world is its dream. In the language of modern physics, the observable world is a holographic illusion, no more real than a computer generated virtual reality. The world only appears real when you perceive it. You have to perceive the world for it to appear to come into existence. If you don't perceive it, the world disappears from existence from your own point of view. Spiritual enlightenment in the sense of the Buddha awakening from its dream is the realization from your own direct experience that you still exist as Brahman even when everything in your world disappears from existence and nothing remains. You still exist when you perceive nothing. Nothing in the dream can exist independently of Brahman, not even Atman. Brahman is that absolute nothingness. That is the ultimate truth of what you are.

Welcome to the Matrix

Welcome to the Matrix: An Exploration of the Connection Between Spirituality and Modern Physics

The easiest way to understand the nature of spirituality is to understand the nature of your own consciousness. The first thing to be clear about is that your consciousness isn’t something that it can perceive. Your consciousness is what is perceiving things. That perception of things can always be understood as arising from a point of view. In a very real sense, your consciousness always arises at a focal point of consciousness. That focal point of consciousness can always be understood as a presence of consciousness that carries with itself its own sense of being present.

In the Bible, that sense of being present is called I Am. When Moses asks the Burning Bush its name, the answer is I Am That I Am. In the book of Psalms, that sense of being present is referred to as Be Still and Know that I Am. When Jesus says Before Abraham was, I Am, he is referring to the sense of being present as a presence of consciousness. This sense of being present not only refers to the nature of consciousness as a perceiving presence, but also as an illuminating presence. A presence of consciousness isn’t only perceiving things in its own world from its own point of view, but is also illuminating things in its own world. This illuminating presence of consciousness is often referred to as the light of consciousness. The Burning Bush in the book of Exodus is a metaphor for the light of consciousness. When the book of Genesis says God divided the light from the darkness, this again refers to the light of consciousness. When Jesus says I Am the Light, this again refers to the light of consciousness. Just as the Burning Bush is a metaphor for the light of consciousness, climbing Mount Sinai is a metaphor for achieving a higher level of consciousness. The very idea of Exodus, as in freedom from bondage, is a metaphor for the freedom one achieves when a presence of consciousness realizes the truth of what it really is. That’s what Jesus meant with the saying the truth shall set you free.

There is always a reciprocal relationship between the light of consciousness that illuminates things and the presence of consciousness that arises at a point of view as it perceives things in its own world. The best analogy is the light of a movie projector that is illuminating the images of a movie on a movie screen. Those images are then reflected from the screen to the point of view of an observer in the movie audience that perceives those images. The light of consciousness is always arising at the same focal point of consciousness as the point of view of the observer. The observer is illuminating things in its own world as it shines the light of consciousness on the screen, and is then perceiving things as the images of things are reflected back to its own point of view. This reciprocal relation between illuminating things and perceiving things always arises in relation to a screen that arises in relation to a focal point of consciousness.

The light of consciousness that illuminates things in its own world is inherently related to the focus of attention of a presence of consciousness that perceives things in its own world. The observer is focusing its attention wherever it shines the light of consciousness. Whatever the observer focuses its attention on is what it perceives. Things are only perceived if the observer focuses its attention on those things. The observer must illuminate those things by shining its light on those things before the observer can perceive those things. Where it shines its light is where it focuses its attention. Only a focal point of consciousness can focus its attention.

The observer’s focus of attention is related to another aspect of the observer called energy. It’s common knowledge that to accomplish any action in this world, you have to focus your time, energy and attention on that action. Before you can do anything in this world, you have to be focused on that task. The observer always carries with itself its own energy as it focuses its attention on things in its world and perceives those things. The observer’s expression of energy is a necessary aspect of carrying out actions and doing things in its world. At the level of the observer as a focal point of consciousness, that energy can be understood as the motion of that point of view. In a very real sense, the focal point of consciousness is undergoing vibratory motion as it expresses its own energy. The observer’s expression of energy is consciousness in motion in the sense of the vibratory motion of that focal point of consciousness.

There is a peculiar relationship between the screen that displays images of the observer’s world and the observer’s focal point of consciousness that illuminates and perceives those images. In the book of Genesis, this relationship is described as the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep. Genesis says that when God created the world, the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep, until the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters, and the light was divided from the darkness. There are a number of metaphors here that need to be unpacked. The first metaphor is what the darkness, the deep, the void, or the waters refer to.

These metaphors all refer to the ocean of consciousness. The Spirit of God is like a drop of water that arises from the ocean. In the sense that the ocean of consciousness is an infinite void, the Spirit of God is a focal point of consciousness. When that focal point of consciousness moves relative to the motionless nature of the ocean of consciousness, the ocean appears to have a surface from the point of view of that particular observer. That surface is what the Spirit of God moving over the face of the deep is referring to. The surface of the ocean only arises because the observer is in a state of motion relative to the unmoving ocean. That surface is what acts as a screen that displays images of the observer’s world, which are called forms. Without the energy of the observer’s motion, they are no forms. Those images or forms  must be illuminated, which is why the light of consciousness must be divided from the darkness of the void.

At this point, many people will object to the idea that the perception of things in this world is like the perception of the images of a movie projected from a movie screen, but this is where people are simply wrong and where modern physics comes into the story. Modern physics says the perception of things in this world by an observer is exactly like the perception of the images of a movie projected from a movie screen to the observer’s own point of view. This idea about the perception of things in terms of projected images is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity. Modern physics explains where the surface of the ocean comes from in terms of a holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated reference frame. The face of the deep is literally an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

This idea about the true nature of the perception of things is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity. The history of the holographic principle goes back to the early 1970’s when John Wheeler and Jacob Bekenstein were trying to understand what happens to the information content of an object when that object is thrown into a black hole. A black hole is defined by an event horizon, which is a spherical surface in space where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape away from the black hole. An observer that perceives things from a stationary point of view outside the event horizon of a black hole cannot see anything beyond the event horizon because a light ray that originates inside the event horizon cannot cross the horizon and escape away from the black hole. In technical terms, the escape velocity at the event horizon is the speed of light, and since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, nothing inside the event horizon can ever cross the horizon and escape away from the black hole. Everything that tries to escape gets sucked back into the black hole by the force of gravity.

Black Hole

A problem arises when we try to understand the force of gravity as due to the exchange of a quantum particle called the graviton between other massive particles the same way we’re able to understand the electromagnetic force as due to the exchange of the quantum particle called the photon between electrically charged particles. The exchange of a quantum particle between other particles like electrons implies there is a space-time geometry within which that particle can propagate. In order to formulate the quantum field theory of electromagnetism in this way, we have to assume there is a background space-time geometry of flat Minkowski space within which the photon can propagate. A problem arises when we try to understand the graviton in the same way. The graviton is supposed to give a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, but to understand the graviton as the quantum particle of the gravitational field, we have to assume that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space, since that is the only way we can formulate quantum field theory. There is something logically inconsistent with assuming that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space while it also gives a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, which is the nature of the gravitational force.

The other problem with trying to understand gravity as a quantum field theory is the problem of black holes. A black hole is a region of space where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape. That region of space is defined by a bounding surface of space called an event horizon. At the event horizon, the velocity of escape from the black hole, called escape velocity, is the speed of light. Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in relativity theory, nothing can escape from a black hole, not even light.

The event horizon of a black hole is a special spherical surface where the velocity of escape from that surface is the speed of light. Einstein’s theory of relativity determines the radius of the event horizon in terms of the mass of the black hole, which is called the Schwarzschild radius.

Schwarzschild Radius of the Event Horizon of a Black Hole

The event horizon of a black hole is always defined in an observer’s frame of reference, which is a coordinate system with an observer at the origin or central point of view of that coordinate system. An observer always measures its own space-time geometry in that coordinate system. The observer measures distances in space and intervals in time between events that take place in its own frame of reference or coordinate system that defines its own space-time geometry. The space-time metric is a way of mathematically representing those measurements of distances in space and intervals in time. At the event horizon of a black hole, those measurements break down. Nothing can be measured by the observer beyond the event horizon of the black hole. The observer’s own space-time geometry breaks down at the event horizon of the black hole. The observer can measure nothing beyond the event horizon, which is to say the event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. That limitation arises from the finite nature of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. That limitation also arises because the speed of light is the same for all observers independent of their relative states of motion.

We normally think that the event horizon of a black hole is created by the force of gravity that arises from the mass of the black hole, but that is not quite correct. The event horizon of a black hole is an observer-dependent observation. The effects of the event horizon of a black hole only appear to an accelerating observer when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. It is only an accelerating observer in an accelerated frame of reference that observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. An observer in a freely falling frame of reference observes no effects of the event horizon. As far as the freely falling observer is concerned, there is no event horizon. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon.

In relativity theory, this distinction between the different effects that different observers observe in different accelerated frames of reference is called the principle of equivalence. This principle says there is no way to distinguish the effects of a force from the effects of an acceleration. The exertion of a force is always equivalent to an acceleration. Any force, like the force of gravity, is equivalent to an observer’s acceleration, like an observer in a rocket-ship that accelerates through space. This equivalence specifically applies to the effects observed by an accelerating observer. An accelerating observer observes the same effects as those caused by the exertion of a force. In no significant way can the force of gravity be distinguished from an observer’s acceleration. An accelerating observer observes the same effects of gravity as caused by the exertion of a force.

Principle of Equivalence

In terms of the event horizon of a black hole, the effects of the event horizon are only observed by an accelerating observer that remains in a stationary position outside the event horizon of the black hole. An observer that hovers in a stationary position just outside the event horizon of a black hole must accelerate away from the black hole with an equal but opposite acceleration as that caused by the force of gravity that pulls the observer into the black hole. It is as though the observer is in a rocket-ship that accelerates away from the black hole in order to maintain its stationary position. This acceleration defines the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. A freely falling observer that falls into the black hole observes no effects of an event horizon.

The effects of the event horizon of a black hole are solely observer-dependent effects that arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes them. This is odd, since at the event horizon of the black hole, the observer’s space-time geometry appears to break down. For example, the effect of time dilation appears to become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, it appears that for the things that fall into the black hole, it takes an infinite amount of time for those things to approach the event horizon, and they never really cross the horizon. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, nothing ever actually crosses the event horizon as things appear to fall into the black hole. As observed by the accelerating observer, everything that falls into the black hole seems to get stuck at the event horizon since it takes an infinite amount of time for things to approach the event horizon. For the freely falling observer, there is no effect of time dilation or an event horizon. The things that fall into the black hole with the freely falling observer just fall into the black hole unimpeded by an event horizon.

This breakdown of an accelerating observer’s space-time geometry at the event horizon of a black hole has profound consequences when we try to quantize the gravitational field the same way we quantize any other quantum field theory. Like the effect of time dilation at the event horizon that tells us that time intervals between events become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer, the problem has to do with the measurement of distances. The bottom line is that there is a smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. This smallest possible distance scale is called the Planck length. The basic problem is that in quantum theory, the way we measure any distance scale is by scattering a quantum particle, like a photon of light, off of whatever object we are trying to measure. If we want to accurately measure the distance scale of that object, we have to use an appropriate amount of energy inherent in the photon of light. The energy of the photon is given in terms of its frequency as E=hf. This relation between energy and frequency is what defines the photon as a quantum particle or excitation of the electromagnetic field. The photon’s frequency is related to its wavelength in terms of the speed of light as f=c/λ, and so the photon’s energy is given in terms of its wavelength as E=hc/λ.

The way we measure the distance scale of an object is by matching the photon’s wavelength to the object’s distance scale. This means we have to use higher energy photons to measure smaller objects. For example, we can visualize a biological cell with an ordinary light microscope, but if we want to visualize a virus, we need to use an electron microscope. The wavelength of light generated by an electron microscope is in the range of x-rays, which is much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Correspondingly, an x-ray photon carries much more energy than a visible light photon. The smaller the object we want to measure, the higher the energy and the smaller the wavelength of the photon we need to use to make that measurement.

The problem is that when we combine quantum theory with gravity, we discover that there is a smallest possible distance scale that we can measure. Since energy is equivalent to mass as E=Mc2, if we concentrate enough energy into a small enough distance scale or region of space, we create a black hole. Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that this distance scale is defined by the radius of an event horizon given in terms of the mass of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. If this distance scale is set equal to the wavelength of a photon of energy E=hc/λ, where R≈ℓ≈λ and E is given in terms of the mass of a black hole, then the distance scale ℓ at which a black hole must form is approximately given as ℓ≈hG/ℓc3. The Planck length is defined by ℓ2=ħG/c3.

Planck Length

The Planck length is the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. If we try to measure smaller distance scales, we concentrate so much energy into such a small region of space that we create a black hole. If we concentrate even more energy into an even smaller region of space, we only make the black hole bigger. The event horizon of a black hole is a limitation on our ability to measure things in space since nothing is observable beyond the limits of an event horizon as observed by an accelerating stationary observer outside the event horizon. In effect, just like infinite time dilation at the event horizon, the event horizon is a breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry. This breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry beyond the limits of the event horizon is reflected in a smallest possible measurable distance scale. The Planck length as the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured by an accelerating observer signifies this breakdown in the observer’s measurement of its own space-time geometry.

The logical inconsistency of all attempts to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory or to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory reflects this breakdown in an accelerating observer’s ability to measure its space-time geometry beyond the limits of an event horizon or to measure distance scales smaller than the Planck length. Due to this intrinsic limitation imposed on an accelerating observer by the effects of gravity in terms of measuring its own space-time geometry, it is not possible to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory. This means all attempts to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory are doomed to failure. The problem boils down to the very nature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories are not consistent with gravity because they’re not consistent with the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories can only be defined in gravity-free flat Minkowski space. On the other hand, the curvature of space-time geometry is not consistent with quantum field theory. Putting gravity and quantum theory together implies the breakdown of space-time geometry as reflected by the Planck length, which is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

This state of affairs was an impasse that theoretical physics faced until John Wheeler and Jacob Bekenstein tried a new approach to solve the problem of unification. The new approach was to think of gravity in terms of thermodynamics. The bottom line was to think of the law of gravity not as a fundamental thing, but more like a thermodynamic equation of state, like the ideal gas law or the equation for sound waves. In other words, there was something more fundamental than the law of gravity, something more fundamental that underlies the law of gravity. Wheeler and Bekenstein had the idea that this more fundamental thing was a quantized bit of information.

The big question they had was about where or how the quantized bits of information that underlie the effects of gravity are encoded. The big clue they had was to consider the role played by the event horizon of a black hole. They imagined a photon of light falling into a black hole. They wanted to consider the simplest possible photon, a photon characterized by a single quantized bit of information. That quantized bit of information can be understood as the polarization state of the photon, which can be circularly polarized in either a clockwise or a counter-clockwise direction relative to the direction of motion of the photon. The circular polarization of the photon in either a right-handed or left-handed state represents the spin state of the photon, similar to a spin ½ particle that can only spin in either a spin up or spin down state. This spin state represents a single quantized bit of information encoded in a binary code.

In order to make the photon as simple as possible and to carry no other information other than its spin state, the wavelength of the photon was assumed to be the same size as the radius of an event horizon of a black hole. As this photon fell into the black hole, only a single quantized bit of information was added to the black hole. The question they wanted to answer was about the black hole’s entropy, which is the total number of quantized bits of information that characterize the black hole. They also wanted to know where those bits of information were encoded.

Wheeler and Bekenstein were interested in the information content of objects thrown into a black hole. What happens to that information? The first thing to be clear about is that all objects are characterized by their information content. To return to the analogy of images projected from a computer screen, the information content of the images arises from the way bits of information are encoded on the computer screen. The computer screen is composed of pixels, and each pixel encodes a single bit of information in a binary code of 1’s and 0’s, which is physically encoded in terms of electronic switches that are either on or off. This kind of binary encoding of bits of information is also true for elementary particles, like a photon or an electron. In quantum theory, an elementary particle is characterized by certain quantities, like its mass, electric charge and energy, which is quantized in terms of the frequency of vibration of its wave function as E=hf. The elementary particle is also characterized by its spin angular momentum, which is also quantized. For the spin ½ electron, its value of spin is quantized as either spin up or spin down, like a spinning top that spins in the clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. For the massless spin 1 photon that must travel at the speed of light, its value of spin is also quantized in terms of its polarization state as either right-handed or left-handed spin relative to its direction of motion.

Spin State

Both the photon and the electron carry a single quantized bit of information given in terms of its spin state, which is encoded in a binary code just like a computer switch that is either on or off. This quantized bit of information is called a qubit, which in quantum theory can be understood in terms of the mathematical formulation of matrices. A 2×2 SU(2) matrix gives a mathematical representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but also encodes information in a binary code in terms of its two eigenvalues, which are like a spin ½ particle that can only spin up or spin down or a massless spin 1 particle that can only spin in a right-handed or a left-handed polarization state. In terms of quantum theory, the two eigenvalues of the matrix are entangled, which is what preserves their rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere. In quantum gravity, the smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single quantized bit of information on the surface of a sphere is a Planck size event horizon, which explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on the Surface of a Sphere

Bekenstein asked what happens to a single quantized bit of information when it’s thrown into a black hole. What he discovered surprised him. It is as though the event horizon of the black hole encodes bits of information on pixels, like a computer screen. Each pixel on the screen encodes a single quantized bit of information. When a single quantized bit of information is thrown into the black hole, the event horizon of the black hole increases in size by a single pixel.

The calculation performed by Bekenstein was only an approximation based on very general principles. Stephen Hawking was able to perform a more exact calculation, and found essentially the same thing. The number of quantized bits of information that characterize a black hole is given in terms of the surface area A of the event horizon of the black hole as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is called the Planck area. It is as though every four Planck areas on the surface of the event horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a single quantized bit of information. In terms of the idea of matrices encoding this information, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric event horizon are given in terms of the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix. The surface area of the event horizon is equivalent to the number of pixels or qubits encoded on the horizon. In a very real sense, space-time geometry is being created from information.

Black Hole Entropy

The Hawking calculation was confusing, and unlike Wheeler and Bekenstein, Hawking was not willing to characterize the event horizon of a black hole in terms of pixels. This confusion persisted for about 20 years until Leonard Susskind and Gerard ‘t Hooft again reconsidered characterizing the event horizon of a black hole in terms of pixels, with each pixel encoding a single quantized bit of information. They called this idea the holographic principle.

Holographic Principle

The holographic principle was a speculative idea, but was based on very general and widely accepted principles of modern physics. This speculative idea gained credibility when the exact mathematics of string theory confirmed it in a concrete example. This example is called the AdS/CFT correspondence, which proves that it is possible to mathematically construct a holographic world. The boundary of that holographic world is an event horizon, just like the event horizon of a black hole. This boundary arises with a negative cosmological constant, which in the sense of relativity theory gives rise to the accelerated contraction of space. The event horizon is a bounding surface of space. Within that bounded space, the force of gravity is active, and is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. On the boundary of that space, there is no force of gravity, only a quantum field theory. This quantum field theory is a super-symmetric version of an SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces, but has the special properties of a conformal field theory.

In the language of quantum theory, the boundary of AdS is described by a conformal field theory that is characterized by qubits of information. There is no force of gravity on the boundary. The interior of AdS is characterized by the force of gravity as described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. This is an explicit demonstration of a holographic world. All the qubits of information characterizing that world are encoded on the boundary of that world. The interior of that world is characterized by the force of gravity, but there is no gravity on the boundary. The boundary of AdS is only characterized by a conformal field theory, which essentially is reducible to qubits of information, while the interior of AdS is characterized by gravity as described by 11-dimensional super-gravity, which is a low energy limit of M-theory.

At this point, many people will object that our world is not AdS, but this objection is again simply wrong. Our world is characterized by de Sitter space. Around the same time that Susskind and ‘t Hooft proposed the holographic principle in the mid 1990’s, astronomers were trying to get a handle on the expansion of the universe. The idea of the big bang assumes that the universe is expanding from the moment of its creation, which is like an outward explosion from a single point. If that expansion is opposed by the attractive force of gravity, that expansion should be slowing down. That’s what astronomers expected to find. Instead, what they discovered is the expansion is speeding up. The expansion is accelerating. In relativity theory, this expansion is understood in terms of a positive cosmological constant, which gives rise to the accelerated expansion of space. The astronomers were actually measuring a positive cosmological constant.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

The reason the accelerated expansion of space is important is because that expansion gives rise to the boundary of the observable universe. From the point of view of an observer at the center of its own observable universe, that boundary is an event horizon called a cosmic horizon. From the point of view of the observer at the central point of view, space expands away from the observer at the speed of light at the boundary of that cosmic horizon, and so nothing is observable beyond the observer’s cosmic horizon. The strange thing about relativity theory and the accelerated expansion of space that arises with a positive cosmological constant, is that every observer is at the center of its own observable world, which is bounded by the observer’s own cosmic horizon.

Accelerated Expansion of Space

In relativity theory, the observer is nothing more than the central point of view of that observable world. Just like for the event horizon of a black hole, or for the boundary of AdS that is characterized by the qubits of information encoded by a conformal field theory, the boundary of that world encodes qubits of information for everything that can be observed in that observable world. The observer’s cosmic horizon encodes all the qubits of information for that world.

Even without the accelerated expansion of space, any observer in an accelerated frame of reference has an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. In the general case of an accelerating observer, this event horizon is called a Rindler horizon. By the very fact of the observer’s acceleration, nothing is observable beyond this horizon since a light ray that originates on the other side of the horizon can never cross the horizon.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

The observations of things by an accelerating observer are always limited by an event horizon. In relativity theory, the accelerating observer is described as being in an accelerated frame of reference, but that frame of reference is only a coordinate system with the accelerating observer at the origin or central point of view of that coordinate system. Relativity theory in the sense of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric only describes the space-time geometry the observer observes in its own frame of reference. The force of gravity is nothing more than the curvature of that space-time geometry that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

If the holographic principle is applied to the observer’s event horizon, then all the qubits of information that characterize all the observable things the observer can observe in its own space-time geometry are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. That’s the essential nature of the holographic principle, which tells us the observer’s observable world is very much like a computer-generated virtual reality displayed on a computer screen. All the qubits of information that characterize all the observable things the observer can observe in its own observable world are encoded on the observer’s own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

There are still some minor points we need to clean up to have a complete explanation. How do we understand the energy inherent in the observer’s acceleration? Where do the laws of physics come from? Why does that computer-generated virtual reality seem to obey computational rules?

We still have to explain the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. Where does that energy come from? The answer is that energy comes from the observer’s own acceleration. The observer’s acceleration gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its own holographic screen when its event horizon encodes qubits of information, but that acceleration also gives rise to the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world.

The secret behind the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world is the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its own accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon arises as the energy of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its own event horizon. This is the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s own holographic world as observed in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf, which is the fundamental defining relation between energy and frequency in quantum theory. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s holographic world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define all those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. The laws of thermodynamics are not really laws of physics, but rather very general statistical relations that specify how thermal energy flows from hotter to colder objects in terms of the dynamical degrees of freedom of those objects. This specifies how objects carry thermal energy, which is understood as the random kinetic energy of those objects. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental nature of the dynamical degrees of freedom of all objects are qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen, which is the nature of the entropy that characterizes those objects. The holographic principle gives entropy in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen as S=kn. The fundamental reason for this thermodynamic relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature at thermal equilibrium. The laws of thermodynamics assume thermal equilibrium. Each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good answer, as Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have both demonstrated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between all matter particles also obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks a lot like 11-dimensional super-gravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. It makes no sense to try to understand the nature of the physical universe in terms of equations that are not fundamental and only give an approximate thermal average description of the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon. The normal flow of heat in the thermal gradient created as the observer’s world increases in size with the expansion of space explains the direction of time’s arrow and the normal flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. The direction of time’s arrow is literally directed in the direction of the expansion of space that gives rise to the creation of the physical universe.

The non-thermal equilibrium nature of the physical universe is an essential aspect of explaining why coherently organized forms of information, like a body, appear in the world. These forms hold together because of their coherent organization, which can be understood in terms of quantum entanglement. It’s well known in physics that entangled qubits of information, like entangled spin variables, tend to align together over a sequence of observable events. This effect is seen in spin networks and in the coherent light of a laser that creates the coherent interference pattern of a physical hologram. This entanglement of qubits of information leads directly to coherent effects that can create coherently organized forms of information, like the form of a body, that tend to self-replicate their forms over a sequence of observable events.

The non-thermal equilibrium nature of coherent organization is always opposed by the random thermal motion that arises at thermal equilibrium. In terms of the holographic principle, at thermal equilibrium, all the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen that characterize a holographic world are thermalized in the sense of carrying an equal amount of random thermal energy, but when that holographic world is not at thermal equilibrium, the effect of the entanglement of those qubits of information can create coherently organized forms of information that tend to self-replicate their forms over a sequence of observable events. There’s always a balance between the effects of entanglement that lead to the creation of coherent forms and the effects of thermalization that tend to randomize or disorganize those coherent forms. In terms of the coherent self-replication of the form of a body, this is the balance between life and death. A coherently organized body is always emotionally animated, and that emotional animation, expressed in terms of fear and desire, is always a struggle between life and death.

The other thing to be clear about is the purpose of emotions. Emotions, as in the expression of fear and desire, defend the survival of the self-replicating coherently organized form of a body. The body must express these emotions in order to survive over a sequence of observable events, which we call the course of time. In effect, emotions either express the desire to live in the form of a body or the fear of body death. Living in the form of a body requires the self-replication of that coherently organized form in a recognizable way, while the death of the body occurs with the disorganization of that form that results in the body no longer being recognizable.

There are two critically important aspects of the survival of the self-replicating form of a body in a recognizable way. The first aspect is: Who exactly is recognizing that self-replicating form? Who is not only recognizing that form but also identifying itself with that form? The answer of course is a presence of consciousness. That presence of consciousness is present at the central point of view of its own holographic world as it perceives the animated images of that world that are projected from its own holographic screen to its own point of view.

The second aspect of body survival has to do with the energetic nature of the expression of emotions. The body must be self-replicated in form in a recognizable way to be recognized. In physics this self-replication of form in a recognizable way is described as a low entropy state. The coherent organization of form that allows for self-replication of form in a recognizable way implies a low entropy state. This low entropy state is maintained by the expression of survival emotions, like fear and desire, that have no purpose other than to maintain that low entropy state and defend the survival of the body as a recognizable self-replicating form.

The maintenance of this low entropy state requires the expenditure of energy. The reason is actually quite simple. At thermal equilibrium, which is a high entropy state characterized by the thermal randomization of information, all forms become disorganized. At thermal equilibrium, random thermal energy disorganizes all forms. The forms literally fly apart because of the random motion of their constituents. The big question is what holds the form together? What binds the constituents into a form? At the level of particle physics, those constituents are things like elementary particles, atoms and molecules that bind together under the influence of the electromagnetic force, but at the level of the holographic principle, those constituents are qubits of information that align with each other under the influence of quantum entanglement.

Coherently organized forms, like the form of a body, can only self-replicate their forms in a recognizable way in a non-thermal equilibrium state, which implies that energy is flowing in a thermal gradient. The self-replicating form literally has to feed off of this flow of energy in order to maintain its form. The reason for this fact is the form must add the organizing potential energy of attractive forces to its form while it also sheds disorganizing thermal energy into its environment. There’s always a balance between the potential energy of attractive forces that tends to maintain the organization of forms and the kinetic energy of random thermal motion that tends to disorganize those forms. Forms only maintain their coherent organization if the balance favors the potential energy that holds the form together over the random kinetic energy that pushes the form apart. In order to tip the balance in favor of potential energy, the form must add potential energy to its form while it also sheds thermal energy into its environment. Although the form is being maintained in a low entropy state as it adds organizing potential energy to its form, the total entropy of the form and its environment is actually increasing as disorganizing thermal energy is shed into the environment, and so the second law of thermodynamics is not violated.

The addition of potential energy to a form is called eating. A form can only self-replicate its form if it adds potential energy to its form. Where does the form find that potential energy? The form finds that potential energy in other forms. In order to self-replicate its form, the form must eat other forms. Body survival is only possible if bodies eat each other. It literally is a body-eat-body world, since that is how a body adds potential energy to its form. Even plants must eat the form of photons that arrive from the sun. In order to survive in the form of a body, the body must express the desire to eat other bodies. At the same time, in order to survive in the form of a body, the body must avoid being eaten by other bodies and express the fear of being eaten. The expression of fear and desire, which are survival emotions that defend the survival of the body, must be expressed by a body for that body to survive and self-replicate its form.

Biology tells us there’s an environmental selection pressure called the survival of the fittest body. The bodies that are best able to express their desire to eat while they also avoid being eaten are the bodies that are most likely to survive and reproduce their forms. The bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat and the desire to reproduce while they express the fear of being eaten are the bodies that are most likely to survive and reproduce their forms, which in the sense of natural selection, selects those bodies that are best able to express fear and desire.

The survival of the body is only possible in a non-thermal equilibrium state since the body must feed off of the flow of energy that flows in a thermal gradient. That is the only way the low entropy state of the body can be maintained. By its very nature, body survival requires the expression of survival emotions, which at the most elementary level are the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten. That’s the only way the form of the body can be self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. This brings us back to the presence of consciousness that recognizes that form. Why does that presence of consciousness identify itself with that form? The answer is quite simple. The presence of consciousness feels emotionally self-limited to that form as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that form. That feeling of emotion self-limitation, which can only arise with the expression of fear and desire that defends the survival of the body, leads that presence of consciousness to emotionally identify itself with that self-replicating form.

What’s Wrong with Particle Physics?

The correct way to think about physics is in terms of the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that characterize physical reality. In the point particle formulation of physics, those dynamical degrees of freedom are taken to be particle coordinates that arise in some fixed background space-time-time geometry, like Minkowski space. The problem with the point particle formulation of particle physics is this is a mistaken assumption. In reality, there are no point particles and there is no fixed space-time geometry. The most general way that particle physics can formulate these point particle dynamical degrees of freedom is in terms of the quantum wave function, which in quantum field theory is formulated in terms of quantum fields. There are some technical issues in terms of first quantization and second quantization, but in essence the quantum field is the quantum wave function that specifies the quantum probability with which a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry, which is usually taken to be Minkowski space. For example, the quantum field of the Dirac equation specifies the quantum probability that the electron can be localized as some point in space at some moment of time. The Schrodinger equation for the hydrogen atom is just a non-relativistic limit of the Dirac equation. In quantum field theory, we also have Maxwell’s equations for the photon field. The electron and photon are both quantum particles, each characterized by their own quantum field. Electrons can interact with each other through the electromagnetic force by emitting and absorbing or by exchanging photons, and with second quantization, photons can create virtual electron-positron pairs that can annihilate back into photons, which is like the electromagnetic interaction run backwards in time.

The key point is that the quantum wave function specifies the quantum probability with which a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry. If that quantum wave function is highly localized like a delta-function, then we can recover the Newtonian version of classical particle physics that describes the particle as following a point particle trajectory x=x(t) through the fixed background space-time geometry. This particle trajectory can always be understood in a classical sense as a path of least action, where the quantum state is understood as a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space. Action is like a measure of distance along some path that connects two points in the information configuration space, and the classical path of least action is like the shortest possible path between those two points. The laws of physics can always be expressed as an action principle, which is how they enter into the quantum state. The quantum wave function depends on the action, but the wave function only specifies a quantum probability of measurement. This way of formulating quantum theory for point particles that follow trajectories through space is only possible since the quantum wave function ѱ=ѱ(x,t) is defined in the fixed background space-time geometry. The point particle coordinates are taken to be the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the point particle formulation of particle physics, which can only be defined in a fixed background space-time geometry.

Quantum State as the Sum Over all Possible Paths

A big problem arises when we try to add the force of gravity to the other fundamental forces, like electromagnetism. By its very nature, gravity is the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. There is simply no logically consistent way to quantize gravity as a quantum field theory since we would then have to assume that we have a fixed background space-time geometry, which contradicts the very idea of gravity as the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. The very idea of a quantum particle called the graviton propagating through some fixed background space-time geometry contradicts the idea of gravity as the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. Gravity cannot be quantized as a quantum field theory.

The holographic principle is the only known logically consistent way to resolve this problem. The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of physical reality are not point particle coordinates defined in some fixed background space-time geometry, but rather qubits of information defined on a holographic screen. The holographic screen in turn is understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s event horizon is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. Particle coordinates defined in that bounded three dimensional region of space are not fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom, but can only arise in some approximate sense in terms of a thermodynamic equation of state. All the quantum field theories of particle physics along with Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric as a formulation for gravity can only arise as thermal averages in the sense of a thermodynamic equation of state.

The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that actually define physical reality are qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, which arises as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, but even the qubits are not really fundamental. To turn the event horizon into a holographic screen and encode qubits of information on the screen, we have to invoke some sort of geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry that explains how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. We also have to assume there is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference before we can invoke this geometric mechanism. At the end of the day, an observer in its accelerated frame of reference is more fundamental than its holographic screen. In other words, the consciousness of the observer and the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference are both more fundamental than the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that act as the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the observer’s holographic physical world.

The holographic principle is telling us that the fundamental nature of the universe is qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The observer’s holographic screen is understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable in the observer’s holographic world arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of that world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s exactly what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

By its very nature, an observation of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Modern physics has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the true nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer-generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

What about the problem of multiple observers observing the same observable world? The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in and observe the same observable world are all the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the Wigner friend paradox. The solution for this problem is the idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers, each of which arises at its own point of view in relation to its own holographic screen. A consensual reality can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view defined on its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, but those screens can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has pointed out.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world from its own point of view eliminates all paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. This way of understanding the nature of observation raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The time evolution of that world, as represented by the quantum wave function, only applies to the unobserved state of potentiality of that world. Measurement of that world, as represented by quantum state reduction or collapse of the wave function, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s body and the brain that appears in that holographic world can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the independent existence of the observer’s consciousness.

Prior to Consciousness

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

Atman-Brahman

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

Duality in a Nutshell

The only reason that we can discuss the absolute nothingness of the void is because we all have the direct experience of our own consciousness. In its ultimate formless form, consciousness is absolute nothingness. The ultimate, primordial, formless form or stateless state of consciousness is absolute nothingness. In this ultimate state, nothing is perceived. This ultimate state is undivided, which is why it is called one. This ultimate state is unlimited, which is why it is called infinity. This ultimate state is timeless and unchanging, which is why it is called eternity.

This is where a critical distinction must be made. When things are perceived, those things are always perceived in a subject-object relation. The subject is the perceiver, the object is whatever is being perceived, and the relation between them is perception. This subject-object relation defines self and other at the level of perception, as demonstrated in the statement I see you. In the ultimate state of absolute nothingness, nothing is perceived. There is no subject-object relation, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness is called nondual. There is no self and other, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness can be called No-self. Nothing is perceived in this ultimate state of consciousness, which is why it can also be called No-thing. No concepts or other forms of mental imagination are perceived, which is why it can be called No-mind.

In the nondual tradition of Advaita Vedanta, this ultimate state of absolute nothingness is called Brahman. If the only thing in existence was the absolute nothingness of No-thing or No-mind, then there would be no purpose for a conceptual explanation of reality. You have to have a mind that can create concepts before you can create a conceptual explanation of reality. In the ultimate state of consciousness, there is no mind, there are no concepts and there are no explanations.

This brings us to the conceptual problem of how anything is created. How are concepts created? How is something created from nothing? How is a mind created? This is where the conceptual framework of Advaita Vedanta makes its great leap forward. Before you can create a mind, before you can create concepts, before you can create anything, you have to have a Self, since that Self is what perceives things in a subject-object relation. Where does the Self come from?

Advaita Vedanta answers the question of where the Self comes from in terms of Brahman. The Self is called Atman, which is divided from Brahman. The Self is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness that perceives things in a subject-object relation, which is a secondary or derivative state of consciousness. This derivative state of consciousness has the nature of duality, as things are always perceived in a dualistic state of self and other, but the source of this dualistic state is the nondual nature of Brahman. Brahman is the source of Atman, which is why Brahman is also called the Source. Atman can only come into existence when it is divided from Brahman.

To use a useful metaphor, the Source is like the ocean, and the Self is like a drop of water that is spit out of the ocean. The reason this metaphor is useful is because the Self always perceives things from its own point of view. To continue the metaphor, that point of view is the drop of water spit out of the ocean. The Self always carries with itself its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness that perceives things from its own point of view as it perceives things in subject-object relation. That sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view is often referred to as I Am, which is why the Self is also called I Am. This sense of being present at a point of view is a sense of individual existence that must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source, which has no sense of individual being. The Self can only come into its own individual existence when that drop of water is divided from the ocean.

In some sense, the sense of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self is the first concept that must be expressed before any other concepts can be created. Those other concepts are always perceived in a subject-object relation, and the concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self must come into existence before those other concepts can be created and perceived by the Self. This first concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source before anything else can be created and perceived by the Self.

There are two other qualities of the Self besides its sense of being present that are critical for this explanation. The first quality is the concept of energy. The Self always carries with itself its own energy. That energy can be understood as the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean. The point of view of the Self, the drop of water so to speak, is moving relative to the unmoving ocean. That motion can be understood as a vibration that gives the Self its own energy.

In the nondual sense of absolute nothingness, the ocean has no motion and has no energy. When we say the ocean spits out the drop of water as the Self is divided from its Source, that is not quite correct. The drop of water of the Self begins to congeal around itself due to its own motion or vibration as it begins to express energy. The drop of water differentiates itself from the ocean by expressing its own energy. The ocean doesn’t spit out the drop of water. The drop of water spits itself out of the ocean due to its relative motion or vibration that gives it energy.

The energy of the Self is often referred to as consciousness in motion, which is literally the point of view of the Self in motion relative to the unmoving ocean. The individual being of the Self, with its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view as it perceives things in a subject-object relation, is literally in a state of motion or vibration relative to the unmoving ocean. The Self is literally spitting itself out of the ocean due to its own motion or expression of energy. That expression of energy is how the Self divides itself from its Source.

Something strange happens when the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy. The ocean appears to have a surface. In its unmoving state, the ocean has no surface and is unlimited, but when the Self divides itself from its Source, the ocean appears to have a surface from that particular point of view. That surface arises because the Self is expressing energy in a state of motion. There is really no good way to understand how this happens without using concepts of modern theoretical physics and the holographic principle.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the ocean appears to have a surface, and that surface limits the perceptions of the Self. To use another useful analogy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. In terms of the holographic principle, the surface acts as a holographic screen that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, which literally arises from the accelerated motion of the observer relative to the motionless nature of the absolute nothingness of the void.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Like a computer screen, the surface encodes bits of information that give rise to the appearance of images projected from the screen to the point of view of the Self that perceives those images. Encoding bits of information on the surface is the essence of the holographic principle. This is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness since the Self must divide itself from its Source to perceive those images, and the surface must limit the perceptions of the Self before those images can be projected from the screen to the Self. This perception of images by the Self is only possible because the Self has divided itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy that gives rise to the appearance of the surface that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality.

The second quality of the Self besides its own expression of energy is its focus of attention. The Self has to focus its attention on whatever it is perceiving. The Self has to focus its attention on the images it perceives projected from its own surface of the ocean that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Those images are projected to the point of view of the Self, and the Self must focus its attention on those images for that projection to occur. There is a reciprocal relation between the Self focusing its attention on the images and the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self where the images are perceived, which is the inherent nature of the subject-object relation.

The focus of attention of the Self is also referred to as the light of consciousness since it is like the light of a movie projector that projects images from a movie screen to the point of view of the Self, which is like an observer out in the movie audience that perceives the images. The Self as a focal point of perceiving consciousness is also the source of the light of consciousness that projects images from the screen back to the Self through its focus of attention on those images.

The Self literally projects images of its own virtual reality as it focuses its attention on different aspects of that virtual reality. The perception of images of that virtual reality by the Self can only occur through the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self. That projection only occurs due to the Self focusing its attention on those images. The virtual reality is not only a projected reality, but also an animated reality. That animation arises over a sequence of projections. It is literally the energy of the Self that arises from the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean that creates that animation. These two aspects of the Self explain the nature of the virtual reality. The focus of attention of the Self gives rise to the projection of images. The motion and energy of the Self gives rise to the animation of images. The animation of the projected images is often described as waves that appear on the surface of the ocean.

Even more central to the Self than its expression of energy or its focus of attention is its own sense of being present. Before the Self can focus its attention on the images of its virtual reality and project those images and before the Self can express its energy and animate those images, the Self must be present to play the virtual reality game. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then images of the game cannot be projected and images of the game cannot be animated. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then there is no sense of the individual being or I-Am-ness of a presence of consciousness that perceives and plays the game.

If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then the individual existence of the Self ceases to exist as an individual presence of consciousness present at its own point of view. What happens to that presence of consciousness? The Self must return to its Source. This state of return is described as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

What is the purpose of playing the virtual reality game? The answer is quite simple. The purpose is to live a life. The Self appears to live a life as it identifies itself with its character in the virtual reality game that it plays. The Self is both projecting the image of its character and animating that image as it plays the game. The Self literally expresses the energy that animates that life as it expresses the desire to live that life. What is the purpose of appearing to live that life? This is the same question as why is something better than nothing. The only alternative to appearing to live a life in the virtual reality game that the Self creates for itself as it plays the game is to return to the absolute nothingness of its Source. The virtual reality game is inherently conceptual in nature, and there are many interesting questions that the Self can ask itself and then look for answers. The virtual reality game is amusing, and the Self can amuse itself by playing the game.

The Self is willing to play the game as long as the game is amusing, but when the game is no longer amusing, what other option does the Self really have? The Self can always choose not to play the game. The Self has a limited ability to choose what it perceives in its own virtual reality through its focus of attention that projects images of the virtual reality and the way it expresses its energy that animates images of the virtual reality, but the Self has an absolute ability to choose whether or not to play the game. When the Self chooses not to play the game and it no longer focuses its attention on the game or expresses its energy in the game, the Self must return to its Source. When the Self is no longer willing to play the game, it returns to its true home.

The Origin of Connectedness

In terms of nondual reality, the source or origin of connectedness can be understood in terms of the undivided and unlimited nature of the absolute nothingness of Brahman, which can also be called undifferentiated consciousness. At the level of a holographic world, connectedness in action can be understood in terms of quantum entanglement. A holographic world is inherently an entangled world. Where does this entanglement come from? The answer is really quite simple. A holographic world is just like a computer-generated virtual reality that must inherently incorporate the ideas of energy and information, which is called entropy. In the last 25 years modern physics has given a perfectly good scientific explanation for how the virtual reality is created in terms of very general principles of potentiality. The basic idea is that the building blocks of the virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information and the flow of energy. In quantum theory, the basic idea of a quantized bit of information is called a qubit. The simplest mathematical representation of a qubit is in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, while its two eigenvalues define information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down. The surface of the sphere can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, like the event horizon of a black hole or a cosmic horizon that arises with the accelerated expansion of space, which is called dark energy or a cosmological constant. An nxn SU(2) matrix defined on that spherical surface can encode n qubits of information. This is the fundamental nature of the holographic principle of quantum gravity that tells us the accelerated observer’s event horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world.

Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things not only include the elementary particles of the standard model of particle physics, but also the dynamical nature of space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity. Everything observable is reducible to qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. An emotionally animated human life-form that appears in the observer’s holographic world is also reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Mental phenomena can also be added as another aspect of the observable things, such as thoughts, memories, self-concepts, and other forms of mental imagination. The holographic principle not only explains the nature of information in terms of qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which are inherently entangled as they arise as the eigenvalues of a matrix, but also explains the thermodynamic flow of energy through the observer’s world in terms of the Unruh temperature of its event horizon, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration in its accelerated frame of reference. That acceleration is always relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness. Physicists made the mistake in the late nineteenth century of assuming that the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, which they called the ether, was a part of their holographic world, but it’s not. Absolute nothingness is beyond a holographic world, which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Only the motion of the observer is relative to the unmoving nature of absolute nothingness. The observer itself must arise from that absolute nothingness at a point of view like a drop arises from the ocean.

The big mistake people make is to assume that absolute nothingness is a part of the world they perceive. It is not. The world is a holographic world which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Absolute nothingness is beyond that holographic world. Only the motion of the observer itself is relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, but the observer is only a point of view that separates or divides itself from the undivided totality of that absolute nothingness. The observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness, which is called the Self. The Self must divide itself from its Source through the energy of its relative motion. That point of view always arises in relation to a holographic screen that encodes information and projects images of a holographic world.  The holographic screen is an event horizon that only arises because of the observer’s accelerated motion relative to absolute nothingness. Things only appear to move in that holographic world because of holographic projection and animation. Only the observer is really moving and really exists. Everything else that appears to move and exist is a holographic illusion created by holographic projection and animation. Everything else is no more real than a freaking holographic movie. Only the observer really exists and moves, but the observer must divide itself from absolute nothingness for that holographic movie to appear to exist.

The concept of duality is only valid at the level of perceiving things. There must be a source of the things being perceived and a source of the perceiver who is perceiving things. The source of perception can only be described as absolute nothingness, which is inherently nondual. The Self divides itself from its Source by expressing energy and moving relative to its unmoving Source. That motion is what creates the limitation of a holographic world. The Source is not only undivided but also unlimited. The Source cannot be conceptualized except in terms of negation.

Duality only applies at the level of a subject-object relation that defines self and other. There must be a Self that is perceiving things, and there must be something that is being perceived. Duality only applies at the level of perceiving things in the world, or in the mental imagination of thoughts, memories and daydreams, or in an actual dream. Where is your duality when you fall into a deep sleep and everything in your world disappears from existence from your own point of view? People in neuroscience would like you to believe that you become unconscious in deep sleep, but that’s not true. You’re never really unconscious because you’re consciousness itself. In deep sleep you become aware of nothing, but you don’t remember you were aware of nothing because there is a gap in your memory. Lack of memory is no proof that you didn’t continue to exist as consciousness when you were in deep sleep and were aware of nothing. In deep sleep, you’re aware of existing as that nothingness. There is no duality at the level of self and other in the awareness of nothingness, only the absolute nothingness of consciousness in its ultimate nondual stateless state. When that ultimate state of being aware of existing as nothingness is reached, like the Buddha, you can say “Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment“.

Nonduality is an essential aspect for any explanation for the nature of the world understood in terms of the holographic principle since there must be a source of the perceiving consciousness of the observer of that world and a source for the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic world is defined on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for that world, which only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The energy of that acceleration is expressed when the desire to live a life in that world is expressed. When that acceleration comes to an end, the observer’s world must disappear from existence. When everything disappears, nothing remains.

The holographic principle, as a conceptual framework for the nature of information and energy, interpreted in the conceptual framework of nonduality, as an understanding for the nature of consciousness, is the only known logically consistent way for how to create a world that is free of paradoxes of self-reference that arise when the observer of that world is equated with some observable thing in that world, which along the lines of Godel’s incompleteness theorems would shake the foundations of the mathematical consistency of that world, and free of the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the the Wigner friend paradox, that arise whenever multiple observers are assumed to exist in the same observable world. The price we pay for the logical consistency of that world is that world isn’t really real. It’s a holographic world. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Why is there life on planet earth? Consciousness is manifesting its desire to live that life. The emotional energy of that desire is expressed in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the energy of that accelerated motion, and that desire is manifested in terms of how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in its accelerated frame of reference. The whole freaking thing is a holographic illusion. Images of the holographic virtual reality are projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy over a sequence of holographic projections. Only the consciousness or divided spiritual being of the observer (the individual spirit or Self) is real, which is the nature of Atmanic consciousness that is divided from Brahmanic consciousness and limited by a holographic screen. The Source of the whole freaking thing is the undivided and unlimited spiritual being of Brahmanic consciousness (the One undivided spirit). The irony of the One is the Source can only be described in terms of negation or non-conceptual terms as absolute nothingness, which is not only one in the sense of being undivided or non-dual but also infinite in the sense of being unlimited and nothing in the sense of being absolute nothingness.

What Science and Modern Physics are Really Trying to Tell Us

The hard mathematical science of modern physics tells us that the world is no more real than a virtual reality, like a virtual reality game that one plays on a computer screen. Modern physics in the context of the holographic principle tells us that the perceivable world consists of nothing more than forms of information projected like images from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer outside that screen and the animation of those images in the flow of energy that animates that world. That’s the nature of a holographic world. It isn’t really real. It’s a virtual reality. As the Bhagavad-Gita says, it’s unreal. It has no being. The true nature of being solely belongs to nondual reality. Only nondual reality is really real. It never ceases to be.

When the word truth is used in any nondual tradition, this refers to the true nature of being, which is inherent to the nondual reality of the void. What about mathematical truth? Mathematical truth is inherent in the potentiality of the void to create geometry. As mathematicians have long known, all mathematical truths are geometrical in nature. Great mathematicians have been Platonists in the sense they know they only discover mathematical truths inherent in the potentiality to create geometry. Geometrical mathematical truth is what underlies the geometric creation of the holographic illusion of a holographic world.

The void has no limits in terms of its expression of potentiality, but in order to create that holographic world in the form of a virtual reality in which living organisms appear to live, its expression of potentiality to create that geometry must become constrained in a way that leads to the expression of mathematical rules governing that world that are consistent with the expression of life. In physics, this constraint on the expression of potentiality by the void to create geometry in a way consistent with the expression of life is called the anthropic principle.

The anthropic principle is like natural selection on a cosmic scale. Each observer chooses what is best for itself from its own point of view in its own holographic world in terms of being able to live the best possible life in that world, but the choices of different observers are intertwined due to information sharing among their overlapping holographic screens. Entangled qubits of information for each observer’s holographic world are encoded on its own cosmic horizon that arises due to the expansion of space. The acceleration rate with which space expands is called the cosmological constant in relativity theory. A change in this acceleration rate of the expansion of space results in a change in the radius of the observer’s cosmic horizon. In physics this kind of change is conceptualized to occur as a phase transition from a less stable meta-stable state to a more stable meta-stable state as the acceleration rate takes on a lower value, which results in a larger radius of the cosmic horizon. Each phase transition in the value of the acceleration rate is like a new big bang event as the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in size, decreases in temperature, and encodes more qubits of information. It’s well known in physics that this kind of phase transition, called spontaneous symmetry breaking, can reset the parameters in the laws of physics, like the mass or charge of the electron. Every reset of the laws of physics is a kind of fine-tuning of those laws that allows the laws to be more compatible with the expression of life.

The anthropic principle reflects this fine-tuning of the laws of physics that occur during the phase transition with the resetting of the laws of physics. Each phase transition is like a new big bang event that creates a new universe, which is only possible because the acceleration rate of the expansion of space is transitioning to a lower value. Choices made during the phase transition in terms of resetting the parameters in the laws of physics are made in such a way as to be more compatible with the expression of life in the new universe. These choices always reflect an interplay of the expression of divine will that gives rise to the expansion of space that creates the geometry of a holographic world and the choices each observer makes in its own holographic world as it appears to live the best possible life of a living organism in that world.

The choices an observer makes in its own world allows the observer to become a co-creator of that world in conjunction with the totality of all choices made by all other observers that share a consensual reality with that particular observer and the expression of divine will. Divine will allows for the creation of geometry in the sense of the accelerated expansion of space that gives rise to each observer’s cosmic horizon and the encoding of information on each horizon along the lines of some geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry. Even the flow of energy through the observer’s world must arise from the expression of divine will along the lines of the expansion of space. An observer becomes a co-creator of its own world when it allows its choices to come into alignment with the expression of divine will. The anthropic principle tells us that those choices are directed in such a way as to best allow for the expression of life.

Ultimate truth cannot be equated with mathematical truth, but they are related. Ultimate truth is consciousness in its ultimate stateless state, which can only be conceptualized in terms of negation as absolute nothingness, but because it is undivided, it can also be called one, and because it is unlimited, it can also be called infinity. What it can’t be called is two, hence the designation nondual. Nondual consciousness is the Source (Brahman). When the Source creates a dualistic world for its Self (Atman) to perceive in a subject-object relation, it can also be called three in the sense of the trinity of the Source (the Father), the Self (the Holy Spirit) and the person in the world (the Son). In the process of creating that dualistic world, Atman is divided from Brahman, and that dualistic world is limited by a holographic screen. The reason the Source can create something from nothing is because consciousness is becoming divided and limited. By its very nature, a holographic screen limits and divides Atman from Brahman as it encodes information for the holographic world that Atman perceives. A holographic screen and the images of a holographic world projected to Atman are inherently a geometric creation. The reason the Source can create a dualistic world is because the Source has the potentiality to create geometry. Mathematical truth only enters into the equation in terms of the creation of geometry. As mathematicians have long known, geometry underlies all mathematical truth, but ultimate truth underlies geometry. Ultimate truth has the potential to create mathematical truth whenever it creates geometry, which is an essential aspect of creating a holographic world.

Unless you’ve investigated the true nature of your own consciousness, you really have no idea what you’re talking about when you talk about yourself. The problem is called delusion. Only consciousness has its own independent existence, but when consciousness identifies itself with a person in the world it perceives, it believes delusional beliefs about itself. Consciousness exists prior to the creation of that world, is present at the creation of that world, and is present for everything that appears to happen in that world. Consciousness exists before that world appears to come into existence and after that world disappears from existence. Whatever appears to happen in that world, consciousness is present to observe that happening. This isn’t about anybody’s consciousness in particular, but about the ultimate nature of consciousness. Everybody’s consciousness is only a fragment of that ultimate consciousness. Consciousness is not personal. Consciousness does not belong to a person. A person is a physical organism, which is essentially an animated body that only appears in the world perceived by a presence of consciousness. There is only confusion about this fact because of the nature of delusion. The mind falsely tells consciousness that it is a person in the world it perceives as self-referential thoughts are created in the mind, and consciousness believes the lie of this false self-concept, which are the false beliefs that consciousness believes about itself, because those thoughts are emotionally energized by the same emotional energy that animates the form of a body. As consciousness perceives that flow of emotional energy, it feels self-limited to the form of that emotionally animated body and identifies itself with that body. That personal self-identification is the nature of delusion, which is inherently driven by the expression of emotions.

An interesting project is to cross-reference what Nisargadatta Maharaj has to say about personal self-identification in I Am That with what neuroscientists say about personal self-identification. A good book to read on this subject is The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio. If you read Damasio closely, you’ll see that neuroscience really has no explanation for the nature of consciousness in the sense of the perceiving observer who is perceiving thoughts and feelings, and has no idea who is identifying itself with the body. This is the reason that almost all people who work in neuroscience and artificial intelligence have come to the conclusion that perceiving consciousness is an illusion. They only acknowledge the reality of the things being perceived, like the emotional energy that energizes thoughts and the information content that’s inherent in thoughts. They have no idea about the nature of the observer that is actually perceiving that energy and information content inherent in a thought.

Damasio describes the movie-in-the-mind, but then denies the existence of the observer out in the audience. For Damasio, the person and the world depicted in the movie are the only things that are real. Nisargadatta also describes the movie-in-the-mind, but doesn’t deny the existence of the observer. For Nisargadatta, everything in the movie, including the person and the world, are unreal. Only the observer out in the audience, called the Self, is real. For Damasio, the movie-in-the-mind is a virtual reality created in the brain, while the body and the brain exist in a real world. For Nisargadatta, the world is a virtual reality depicted as the movie-in-the-mind. For Damasio, the movie screen is created in the brain. For Nisargadatta, the movie screen is the boundary of the observer’s world, which in modern physics is called a holographic screen. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and so there is a natural place for the observer as the perceiving consciousness present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. For Damasio, there is no natural place for the observer since the movie screen has to arise inside a brain inside the world. Like all neuroscientists, Damasio denies the existence of perceiving consciousness. The problem for neuroscience is the logical inconsistency of trying to create a movie-in-the-mind that depicts the life of a person in the world inside the brain of that person inside that physical world. The only natural place to depict that movie is on a holographic screen that bounds that world.

The denial of the existence of perceiving consciousness by neuroscience is very odd since all thoughts, like everything else in the world, is perceived in a subject-object relation. The subject is the observer and the object is composed of the energy and information content inherent in the thing being perceived. Neuroscience and artificial intelligence are denying the existence of the subject, which is the perceiving consciousness of the observer. This is very odd because every observer has its own inherent self-knowledge that it exists as the perceiving subject of whatever it is observing. Every subject has the inherent sense of being present as an observer of things and knows that it exists, and yet neuroscience and artificial intelligence researchers deny the existence of perceiving consciousness and call that sense of your own existence an illusion.

The remarkable thing about modern physics and the holographic principle is it turns the nature of illusion totally around. The perceivable world is the holographic illusion created through holographic projection. Everything in the perceivable world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic screen can always be understood to arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Understanding the observable world in this way tells us that the world is the holographic illusion and only the perceiving consciousness of the observer has its own independent existence. The existence of the perceiving subject exists before that holographic world appears to come into existence, while events are being perceived in that world, and after that world disappears from existence. Where do you think you go when you fall into a deep sleep at night and your world disappears from existence? Once you stop identifying yourself with the person in the world you take yourself to be as you perceive that world and know yourself only to be the perceiving subject of that world in the sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of that world, then you know the answer to this question.

Physicists that buy into the conventional physicalism paradigm that physical reality is the only reality and deny the independent existence of the reality of consciousness will object that a person’s body still appears to exist in the world when that person is in a state of deep sleep. This observation really has nothing to do with the reality of consciousness, but only pertains to the consensual reality shared by multiple observers that appears to exist due to information sharing. Multiple observers, each present at their own point of view and each observing their own holographic world defined on their own holographic screen, can share a consensual reality when their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. Even when an observer’s own holographic world disappears from existence from its own point of view, other observers can continue to observe that particular observer’s inanimate sleeping body in their own holographic worlds due to information sharing. When multiple people play an interactive virtual reality game on their own computers, each connected to the internet, and one of the people turns off the game, the avatar of that person still appears in the game played by the other people, except that particular avatar will no longer be animated when its owner no longer plays the game. Falling into a deep sleep is analogous to turning off the game.

Physicists that buy into the physicalism paradigm deny the possibility of individual choice in a world of potentiality and deny the independent existence of consciousness as the observer of that world, and are often forced into the camp of the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory along with elements of quantum decoherence if they want to maintain any semblance of logical consistency, but that’s not the correct way to understand the world. The correct starting point is to assume the independent existence of the consciousness of the observer and show how the holographic principle naturally leads to what we call physical reality. Physical reality is not really something fundamental, but is more like a virtual reality, sort of like the Matrix.

Choice is an inevitable aspect of the world due to the potentialities of the world. The quantum state of the world is a superposition of all possible potentialities. In order to reduce this quantum state of potentiality to an observed state of actuality, a choice has to be made. When you come to a fork in the road, you have to choose which path to take. When you order off a menu, you have to make a choice about what to order. If you say that no choice is made, then you’re saying that everything is predetermined in some cosmic Newtonian deterministic mechanism and that there really is no quantum state of potentiality. Either you’re assuming the Einsteinian or Bohmian idea of nonlocal hidden variables that determine everything or you’re assuming the Everett many worlds interpretation of quantum theory. That’s certainly possible, but the correct understanding of the world keeps potentiality an inherent aspect of the world. A choice must be made every time the superposition of potentialities is reduced to an observed state of actuality.

The basic problem with the physicalism paradigm is there is no place for an observer to exist inside the world that the observer perceives. There is no logically consistent way an observer that exists inside an observable world can choose what it observes in that world in the sense of reducing the quantum state of potentiality of that world to an observed state of actuality. It is logically inconsistent to assume that multiple observers exist inside the same observable world and each makes choices in that world that reduce the quantum state of potentiality of that world. That kind of assumption leads to paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. The only logically consistent way to resolve this problem is to assume that every observer observes its own observable world and makes choices in that world as the quantum state of potentiality of that world is reduced to an observed state of actuality, but then the observer really doesn’t exist in that observable world. The holographic principle tells us that the observer exists at the center of its own holographic world as images of that world are projected from a holographic screen to the observer’s central point of view. That holographic world is observer-dependent and only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the observer’s holographic screen arises as an event horizon. Multiple observers, each existing at their own point of view, can only share a consensual reality in the sense of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens. An observer can only choose what it observes in its own holographic world in the sense of how the observer focuses the attention of its perceiving consciousness on events in that world.

Physics says that choices are made in an unbiased or random way, but even a random choice is a choice. There is also the possibility that choices can be made in a biased way. Who would make those biased choices? The answer is the observer makes its own biased choices based on the way the observer focuses its attention on events in the world it perceives. The observer has preferences because the observer has likes and dislikes. For example, the observer likes experiencing pleasure and dislikes experiencing pain. This brings us to the problem of qualia. Physics can only describe mathematical quantities, but when we perceive things, we perceive subjective qualities. Physics can only specify the wavelength or frequency of a light wave, and no one who works in neuroscience or artificial intelligence can explain how that mathematical quantity is perceived as the quality of color. The problem of qualia is inherent to the nature of consciousness itself. Consciousness has its own preferences of likes and dislikes, essentially what feels good and what feels bad, and will always choose to focus its attention in such a way as to choose what it likes and avoid what it dislikes. The reason consciousness can make choices is because the world that consciousness perceives is described by a mathematical quantum state of potentiality. Consciousness is making a choice every time that quantum state is reduced to an actual observed state. Who is making that choice? You are making that choice as the observer or as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of your own holographic world. You make that choice as you focus your attention on that world. At night when you fall into a deep sleep, you withdraw your attention away from that world and that world disappears from existence from your own point of view, but you still exist as consciousness.

Neuroscientists object that the problem of qualia remains unsolved because the information processing of the brain is extremely complex and there’s no telling what form that processed information will take, but this complexity argument is really only a smoke-screen for the logical inconsistency of their argument. The problem is, the input data into the brain is in the form of mathematical quantities, like the rate with which neurons fire their electro-chemical outputs of synaptic potentials. These synaptic potentials are transmitted between neurons, and so there is the transmission of electro-chemical information. When a large number of neurons are involved in this information transfer, as happens in the brain, some kind of information processing does indeed occur. The problem is, the output of this information processing is also in the form of synaptic potentials. The output data is still in the form of mathematical quantities. Neuroscience has absolutely no explanation for how this mathematical output data is perceived in the form of subjective qualities. Just like the problem of how the frequency of a light wave is perceived as a color, how is a neuron firing rate perceived as a subjectively perceived quality? Neuroscience has no answer and never will have an answer because the perception of subjectively perceived qualities is inherent to the nature of the perceiving subject and not to any mathematical quantity that characterizes a perceived object. The problem is that neuroscientists deny the existence of the perceiving subject because they deny the existence of perceiving consciousness, and so they will never be able to find a solution for the problem of qualia. Subjectively perceived qualities like color are not an aspect of the mathematical quantities that characterize perceived objects but rather of the perceiving subject that perceives objects in a subject-object relation.

Physicists make two mistakes when they discuss the holographic principle. The first mistake is they don’t take an observer-centric point of view. They mix up what appears to happen in the bulk with the way qubits of information are encoded on the screen. The bulk description includes space-time geometry, the force of gravity that arises from the curvature of space-time geometry, the particles of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, and all the matter particles that comprise things like atoms, molecules and bodies. Everything we perceive in the world is part of the bulk description. The holographic screen description only describes the way qubits of information are encoded on the screen. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon that bounds the space-time geometry of the observer’s own holographic world. The screen arises from the central point of view of the observer in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference.

The mistake physicists make is to mix up the bulk description with the screen description. They are mixing up apples with oranges. The only consistent way to discuss the holographic principle is to discuss the way qubits of information are encoded on a holographic screen and whatever the observer that arises in relation to the screen in its accelerated frame of reference observes in its own world as images of things are projected from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The projected images of things aren’t really real since they can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the screen. Only the observer and its screen should be discussed. The images of things that appear in the bulk are only an illusion created by holographic projection.

The second mistake is to assume thermal equilibrium. Physicists assume thermal equilibrium because they are limited in terms of what they can discuss. They can only discuss an isolated simple system like a hydrogen atom, a planetary orbit, or an isolated black hole. To discuss anything more complicated they have to assume thermal equilibrium, but the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium, and so will exhibit levels of complexity that they just can’t discuss.

The non-thermal equilibrium nature of the universe is the nature of life. Life can only come into existence in a thermal gradient since it must feed off of the flow of energy that flows through that thermal gradient. When physicists assume thermal equilibrium they’re assuming a single physical mechanism or theory of everything that describes everything that can appear to happen in the universe. They’re restricting the potentialities of the universe to a single physical mechanism. That’s why they have to postulate a multiverse theory in order to recover infinite potentialities, but even the potentialities of a single universe are infinite when consciousness is deciding which potentialities to express. There are an infinite number of physical mechanisms or theories of everything that consciousness can choose to operate in the universe, which is why the physical universe will never be at thermal equilibrium. Consciousness can choose a new physical mechanism to operate in the universe anytime it wants to and create the conditions of non-thermal equilibrium that are conducive for the expression of life so that consciousness can have the experience of living a life in the virtual reality world that it creates for itself. In its own creative process of creating that world, consciousness will express any potentiality it has to in the sense of a physical mechanism or theory of everything that is conducive to living that life.

Physicists argue that there is a single observer-independent objective reality out there that all observers can observe and agree upon as they make their observations, but this is only a flaw or logical contradiction in their argument. This is the same mistake physicists make over and over again due to sloppy thinking. To even ask the question of what appears to happen inside an event horizon versus what appears to happen outside an event horizon requires a meticulous definition of the frame of reference of the observer. What appears to happen can only be defined from the point of view of the observer that makes the observation. What appears to happen from one point of view is not the same as what appears to happen from another point of view. In other words, there is no such thing as an objective reality out there that all observers will agree upon, only many different subjective realities that depend on the point of view of the observer that makes the observation. There is no such thing as an objective reality that is invariant for all observers. Every observer observes its own observer-dependent subjective reality. This conclusion is so obvious it almost seems trivial. Can anyone observe your own private thoughts except for you?

People who work in neuroscience would like us to believe that brain activity creates our thoughts since they can show a correlation between certain kinds of brain activity and certain kinds of thoughts, but this is a fallacy based on unsound scientific reasoning. A correlation gives no proof of causation, and observing brain activity is most definitely not the same as observing a thought. The only way science can give any evidence for cause and effect is through prediction. If a scientific theory can predict future events with a high degree of accuracy, that is strong evidence for a cause and effect. The only science that is able to perform this trick is theoretical physics. A theory like the law of gravity can predict the location of a planet in its orbit around the sun at future moments in time with a high degree of accuracy if the planet’s location is known at some past moment in time. No science other than theoretical physics can make such predictions, and so no other branch of science can say anything important about cause and effect. At most, other branches of science can only show a correlation between events, but that is not evidence that one event caused another event. Our thoughts will always remain private to us as we observe them, no matter what people in neuroscience say about the role brain activity plays in creating our thoughts. No one can predict our thoughts, and no one other than ourselves can observe our own thoughts. Our thoughts are a part of our own subjective reality. Even theoretical physics with its evidence for cause and effect through the prediction of future events no longer supports the false idea held by so many scientists that there is a single observer-independent objective reality out there that we can all independently observe and agree upon as we make our observations. Modern physics with the holographic principle is telling us that every observer observes its own observer-dependent subjective reality. Every observer observes its own holographic world. That holographic world can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle also tells us that everything is the cause of everything else in a holographic world since all the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are entangled. At most, only a consensual reality is shared by many observers when their respective holographic worlds overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. The holographic principle tells us that the observer’s own subjective reality can only arise in its own frame of reference.

There’s no real difference between the perception of mental imagination and perception of the so-called real world. They both consist of animated images projected from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer. In the case of the so-called real world, a consensual reality arises from information sharing among overlapping holographic screens and so there’s consensus among many observers. In the case of mental imagination, there is some kind of disconnection, like occurs during dreaming sleep, and the projected images are perceived by a single observer. This disconnection from other points of view keeps mental imagination a private experience. The only real difference is whether there’s consensus or not among different points of view.

Whatever is observed by an observer in its own observer-dependent holographic world depends on the frame of reference of the observer. Whose point of view are we talking about when we describe what appears to happen from that particular point of view? Unless we frame the question in this way, we’re only spouting nonsense due to sloppy thinking. We’re making the same mistake almost all physicists make when they falsely assume that there is only a single observer-independent objective reality that is invariant for all observers and that all observers will agree upon as they make their observations. Even the apparent existence of a particle is not observer-independent, as is demonstrated by Hawking radiation. From the point of view of a stationary observer that hovers outside the event horizon of a black hole, particles of Hawking radiation appear to exist, but for a freely falling observer that falls through the event horizon, particles of Hawking radiation do not appear to exist. In reality, every observer creates its own observer-dependent subjective reality from its own point of view, but then what is the true nature of the observer? To answer this question requires a discussion not of physics, but metaphysics. What is the true nature of the observer’s existence? A number of metaphysical traditions, like the Tao, Zen, and Advaita Vedanta, attempt to give a conceptual answer to this question, but ultimately this question can only be answered by an observer’s own direct experience of the true nature of its existence, and not by any concept that an observer can ever have about itself.

The holographic principle is really quite simple. The purpose of discussing the physical world in terms of the holographic principle in this article is to put the nondual conceptualization of reality called Advaita Vedanta into a scientific framework. The most advanced version of this nondual conceptualization of reality is described by Nisargadatta Maharaj in I Am That. The purpose of this discussion is to fulfill Nisargadatta’s final wish that the awakening process, as he described it, be translated into scientific terms. It’s possible to make a one to one correspondence with the way Nisargadatta and other enlightened beings have described their awakening process and what the holographic principle is telling us. The physics isn’t really anything fundamental, but by the way the physics is expressed in terms of very general principles of potentiality, the physics is pointing to something, actually the absolute nothingness of the void, that is fundamental.

Nisargadatta’s Final Wish

Nisargadatta at the end of his life expressed his final wish that his conceptual discussions of the nature of the awakening process become scientific concepts. Just like all scientists, all science is part of the virtual reality, but that doesn’t mean that science is wrong when it says the world is a holographic world. A holographic character in a holographic world can realize that it’s living in a holographic world because the consciousness present for that holographic character can have that realization, just as Neo in the Matrix can realize he’s living in a virtual reality. Consciousness isn’t really a part of that holographic world. Consciousness is always outside that world, in the audience, only watching as the holographic movie of that world plays on a holographic screen.

Consciousness only believes it is a part of the holographic movie it is watching when it identifies itself with its holographic character in the movie. The important distinction is the consciousness watching the holographic movie is a divided presence of consciousness, which is called I Am, the Self, Atman, the witness, the spirit of God, or whatever else we want to call it. Anytime it wants to, a divided presence of consciousness can stop watching the movie and return to its true undivided state of nondual reality, but then it knows nothing. Nothing is known, nothing is done and nothing exists in that ultimate undivided and unlimited state of pure consciousness because that nondual absolute nothingness is what ultimately exists at the ground level of existence.

Nisargadatta has given an exquisitely detailed description of this state of affairs. Through his direct experiences, he has described a holographic world in exquisite detail. He also discussed the nature of nondual reality. What’s odd is that his descriptions are so universally ignored by the same people that revere him as a saint. What is it that people don’t want to know?

Nondual reality emotionally creates dualistic reality like the virtual reality of the Matrix so that it can communicate with itself. This kind of verbal communication can only appear to come into existence when emotions are expressed, which is literally how the world is created as the spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. Without that motion, there is only the darkness of the deep, the void, or the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that is truly alone since it is All-One. It has No-self because it has nothing to perceive in a subject-object relation of self and other.

At the ground level of the ultimate nature of existence nothing is known because that nothingness is what ultimately exists. The only way the kind of verbal communication that we experience in the world is even possible is if nondual reality creates a virtual reality for itself to communicate within, and that creation is always emotional. Creation is literally the spirit of God (Atman, the Self, I Am, the witness, or whatever else we want to call it) moving over the face of the deep, which is a holographic screen that allows a holographic world to appear to come into existence, but that holographic world is no more real than the virtual reality of the Matrix.

The irony is that science and the mathematics of modern physics that underlies all of science is just as much a part of the virtual reality as is anything else. Nisargadatta expressed his final wish during the last days of his life that the nature of nondual reality, or more specifically, the journey of awakening that takes one to the direct experience of nondual reality, be discussed in scientific terms. Nisargadatta was fully enlightened and truth realized, and yet he didn’t spend all of his time getting lost in the void in some catatonic or Samadhi trance of experiencing nothingness. He discussed the nature of nonduality in conceptual terms, and expressed his final wish that these concepts become scientific concepts. Of course, his comments were as much a part of dualistic reality as anything anyone else can say. It’s all dualism. Take away dualism and there is only the absolute nothingness of nondual reality, but like a roadmap, the only way anyone can point to the non-conceptual nature of nondual reality is by discussing it in conceptual terms.

Maybe that’s the reason nondual reality creates dualistic reality. Jed McKenna says dualistic reality is an amusement park, and that’s certainly part of it, but maybe it’s also created so nondual reality can communicate with itself about the true nature of what it really is. McKenna calls that communication truth-talk in the dreamstate, but even that talk is just another ride in the park.

Take the Red Pill

Anyone who has read this article to its logical conclusion is at least open to the possibility that physicalism is a false paradigm. The question everyone has to ask themselves is why is there so much emotional resistance to this possibility? The resistance against rejecting physicalism as a false paradigm about the nature of the world is not based on logical reasoning, but solely on emotional reactions against this possibility. Where does this emotional resistance come from?

The answer is the ego. The ego or personal self-concept is entirely an emotional creation, as is well accepted in both psychology and neuroscience. The ego is mentally constructed as a personal body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing. The personal self-concept is a mentally constructed self-image, while the concept of the other thing is a mentally constructed image of the other thing. These mentally constructed images must be emotionally related for the ego to appear to come into existence. The ego can only appear to come into existence, since these mentally constructed images can only be constructed out of what can be perceived in the world. The question the ego can never answer is about the true nature of the perceiver. What is the true nature of perceiving consciousness that perceives these images?

At a more fundamental level than the mental-emotional construction of the ego, the experience of self and other can only arise in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing in its own observable world. The holographic principle is telling us that the true subjective nature of the observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness at the center of the observer’s own holographic world, and that the objective nature of all things in that world are only forms of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which only arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things include the observer’s body and all the mental images constructed in the observer’s mind. A body-based, emotionally energized, mentally constructed personal self-concept cannot be the true nature of the observer since that self-concept is only another form of information the observer perceives.

There can only be an illusion that the observer is a personal self-concept when the observer feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body. That emotional  feeling of self-limitation is the only thing that can create the illusion that the observer is a person in the world that it perceives. In reality, the observer has its own independent existence as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. That is the only logically consistent way to interpret the holographic principle.

The holographic principle is a hammer. All that’s being done in this article is to hammer away at the logical inconsistencies inherent in the conventional physicalist way science is understood. This strategy hammers away at the logical inconsistencies inherent within science when science is understood in the context of a personal self-concept that is assumed to understand science. This of course is logically impossible, since a personal self-concept must itself arise from the logical structure of science to be a scientific thing. The critical thing to realize is that scientific things are all observable things. The holographic principle is telling us that the Self in the sense of the observer of the observable things is not itself an observable thing. The Self can only be a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, which is not an observable thing. Only the Self can have its own independent existence, called I Am, independent of all the observable things the Self observes in its own observable world. The Self is aware of its own independent existence with its own sense of being present to observe that observable world.

The observable things are all a part of the holographic world the Self is observing, including the person in that world the Self mistakenly takes itself to be by emotionally identifying itself with the emotionally animated form of a person. To assume that a person is an observing Self is a logical contradiction. That is the logical contradiction in science that’s being hammered away at. What is surprising is that more people in science can’t see that logical contradiction and don’t use the holographic principle to hammer away at it. This really shouldn’t be surprising since the ego will believe any logical contradiction it has to believe to defend its own survival and apparent existence. Who wants to realize their apparent existence as a person in the world they perceive, which is their personal self-concept, is only a holographic illusion? The answer is nobody.

People in science who search for a Theory of Everything are searching for an answer that has already been discovered. The answer is inherent in the logical implications of the holographic principle. The holographic principle as demonstrated by the AdS/CFT correspondence deduced from M-theory or in matrix models that utilize the geometric mechanism of non-commutative geometry gives a perfectly good scientific answer to the questions scientists are asking. The problem is that scientists ignore the answer because they don’t like the answer even though the answer is the only logical possibility. All the other answers they seem to prefer and look for are logically impossible. If they really were good detectives like Sherlock Holmes, they would reject the logically impossible answers and accept the only logically possible answer. When you’ve ruled out everything that’s impossible, whatever remains, no matter how implausible it seems, must be the truth. The true answer only seems implausible to them because they don’t like the answer, not because the answer is untrue. The answers they prefer and find more plausible are the logically impossible answers. If they really carried the logical implications of the holographic principle to its logical conclusion, they would discover what in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta is called nonduality.

The concept of nonduality is all about the Source of the observable physical world and the Source of the observing consciousness that perceives that observable physical world. This is the part of the answer they’re ignoring. They’re ignoring the Source. If they were really serious about discovering a true conceptual answer, they would consider the Source. Ironically, no conceptual answer can ever really describe the nature of the Source since the Source is non-conceptual in nature. That’s why in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta no value is given to any possible conceptual answer, but only to the direct experience of the Source. One has to go beyond conceptual answers to have that direct experience. Of course, if they really did that, there would be no purpose in their search for a scientific answer. They’re trying to answer a question that really can’t be answered, at least not at a conceptual or scientific level.

People in science who continue to believe in the physicalism paradigm have taken the blue pill. They’re unwilling to confront the unpleasant truth about the nature of their own life. They remain in a blissful state of ignorance and believe whatever they want to believe. They take the blue pill because they can’t give up or let go of their emotionally created beliefs. They’re emotionally attached to their beliefs. The core belief they can’t give up is their belief that they are a physical person in the physical world they perceive. The only thing that props up this false belief is the emotional energy inherent in the mental construction of this belief, which makes it feel real.

There is No Spoon

To take the red pill is to go beyond beliefs. To go beyond beliefs is to go beyond the expression of emotions that create all beliefs. That emotional energy is what animates the life of a physical person in the physical world one perceives and makes that life feel real. The core belief that one has to give up in order to go beyond belief is the false belief that one is a physical person in the physical world one perceives. To awaken to the truth of what one really is, one has to become willing to believe nothing. One can only realize the truth without belief because No belief is true. Believing nothing is a necessary step in the process of doing nothing and becoming nothing, which eventually leads to knowing nothing. One eventually knows the non-conceptual absolute nothingness that is the truth of one’s own existence, which is the truth of what one really is.

Final Postscript: On the Nature of Belief

People will believe whatever they want to believe because that is what they want to believe. Their beliefs are emotionally energized and feel real. Beliefs don’t have to have any logical consistency, they only have to feel real. That’s the nature of the ego, which is really only a belief that you believe about yourself. You believe that you are a person in the world that you perceive. You believe this because it feels real as you perceive the expression of emotional energy. That feeling of reality is what makes beliefs believable, not their logical consistency. That’s why when you begin to examine your ego in a serious way, you’re shocked by all the stupid things you believe about yourself. You’re shocked that none of it makes any real sense. There is no logical consistency to the ego, only a feeling of reality that arises from expressing the emotional energy that defends the survival of the ego as a self-concept of what you are. The ego is only about defending its own survival as a concept of what you are, but that self-concept is inherently false. In reality, you are a presence of consciousness that falsely believes that you are a physical person in the world you perceive. As long as you are under the influence of your ego, the ego is what you’ll believe about yourself. In reality, you don’t know who you are when you emotionally identify yourself with your ego. You feel that you are your ego when self-defensive emotions are expressed and you feel self-limited to a personal form as you perceive the emotional energy animating that personal form. That’s why you emotionally identify yourself with your ego.

What people want to feel more than anything else is to feel powerful and in control of things. The ego is all about expressing that desire to feel powerful and in control because that is how the ego defends its own survival. The desire to be in control is self-defensive. That feeling of being in control is a denial of death. The death the ego wants to deny is its own death. The ego denies its death by feeling powerful and in control. To realize the truth of what you really are, you have to give up that desire to be in control. You have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death. The acceptance of death is always a surrender in which you give up your desire to control things and defend yourself. Personally biased emotions are only expressed because of personal bias in the focus of your attention. When you surrender, you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention. You give up the expression of your own personally biased individual will and surrender to something greater than yourself: divine will. What really dies away is the expression of the personally biased emotional energy that animates all the false beliefs you believe about yourself that you are a person in the world you perceive. Only after those false beliefs die away and you no longer believe in a personal self-concept can you discover the truth of what you really are: a spiritual presence of consciousness.

Jesus described this discovery as a death-rebirth transformation, in which your false personal self-identification with the form of a body dies away and you can only identify yourself with your true spiritual nature. You discover the truth that sets you free, the truth of what you are.

The problem with all explanations about the nature of reality is that ultimate reality cannot be conceptualized. Ultimate reality can be directly experienced, but that experience requires you to make a journey from where you are right now as you read these words. At best, explanations can only play the role of a road map that points out travel directions in that journey.

That journey is called the path of return. Although ultimate reality cannot be conceptualized, the best explanation we have is the one given by Shankara in terms of the concepts of Atman and Brahman. The ultimate nature of what you really are is Brahman, which is the non-conceptual absolute nothingness. When you perceive your own world as a presence of consciousness, you are Atman. You have focalized your existence into a point of view, but the world you perceive is really no more real than a virtual reality movie that you’re watching. That point of view is moving relative to the unmoving absolute nothingness. This is where modern physics comes into the story, as it explains how that moving point of view is like an observer in an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that projects all images of that world to your point of view. That motion also explains how images are animated like the frames of a movie. When that motion comes to an end, that world must disappear from existence from that particular point of view, and the unmoving point of view must dissolve back into the motionless absolute nothingness like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. Modern physics even explains this state of dissolution in terms of an observer in a freely falling frame of reference. The path of return is experienced as falling into and dissolving into the void. Ultimately, Atman is Brahman.

Download the PDF document:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
And the earth was without form and void
And darkness was upon the face of the deep
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters
And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light
And God saw the light, that it was good
And God divided the light from the darkness

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

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

Now I Am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

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

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

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

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

Empty yourself of everything

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

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 Atman and Brahman.
-Shankara

He must dare to leap into the Origin so as to live by the Truth and in the Truth, like one who has become one with it. He must become a pupil again, a beginner; conquer the last and steepest stretch of the way, undergo new transformation. If he survives its perils then is his destiny fulfilled; face to face he beholds the unbroken Truth, the Truth beyond all truths, the formless Origin of origins, the Void which is the All; is absorbed into it and from it emerges reborn-Eugen Herrigel

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.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

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. That being is void.

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.
-Osho

The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out.
I Am is the door. Stay with it until it opens. It is always open, but you are not at it.

You are and I am, but only as points in consciousness.

Nothing perceivable is real. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman. That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness.

All you can say about yourself is I Am.

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.

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

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

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

To the Self the world is but a passing show. The world just sprouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing. As long as the Self is merely aware, there is no problem.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

Delve deeply into the sense I Am and you will discover that the perceiving center is universal. All that happens in the universe happens to you, the silent witness. Whatever is done is done by you, the universal and inexhaustible energy.
There can be no universe without the witness, no witness without the universe.

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.

The world you can perceive is a very small world, entirely private. The world is but a reflection of imagination. Take it to be a dream and be done with it. What you call survival is but the survival of a dream. 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.

Some go on a journey and come back, some never leave. What difference does it make since they travel in dreamlands, each wrapped up in his own dream. Only the waking up is important.

Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up, but you do not see because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you long for the ending of the dream. You become willing to pay any price. The price will be dispassion and detachment, the loss of interest in the dream.

I am like a cinema screen, clear and empty.
The pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before.
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.
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.
To myself I Am neither perceivable nor conceivable.
There is nothing I can point out and say “this I am”.

Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation nothing is perceived. The root idea is I Am. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feelings and ideas which in their totality constitute God’s world. The I Am remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

All limited existence is imaginary.
Even space and time are imaginary.
Pure being, filling all and beyond all, is not limited.
All limitation is imaginary.
Only the unlimited is real.

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.

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

You must realize yourself as the silent witness of all that happens. Your consciousness raised to a higher dimension, from which you see everything much clearer.

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

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

Find the immutable center where all movement takes birth. Be the axis at the center, not whirling at the periphery. Nothing stops you except fear. You are afraid of impersonal being.

The Self stands beyond the mind, aware, but unconcerned. You are the Self, here and now. Stand aware and unconcerned and you will realize that to stand alert but detached, watching events come and go, is an aspect of your real nature.

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.
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.

In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. As long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists the Supreme will appear to you non-existing. Names and shapes are hollow shells. What is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

The state of pure witnessing is like space, unaffected by whatever it contains.

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. 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.

What begins and ends is mere appearance. The world can be said to appear but not to be. 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 world is but a show, glittering and empty. It is there as long as I want to see it and take part in it. When I cease caring, it dissolves. It has no cause and serves no purpose. It appears exactly as it looks, but there is no depth in it nor meaning.

The world is but a mistaken view of reality, unreal to its core.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

When you are in dead earnest, you bend every incident, every second of your life, to your purpose. You do not waste time and energy on other things. You are totally dedicated, call it one-pointedness of the mind.

In the end you get fed up with the waste of time and energy.

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

From my point of view everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously.
I do nothing. I just see them happen.

Some unknown power acts and you imagine that you are acting.

You are merely watching what 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.

As long as you have the idea of influencing events, liberation is not for you. The very notion of doership, of being a cause, is bondage.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.

To imagine that you are in control is the aberration of the body-mind. There is a universal power that is in control. The illusion of personal control is in the mind only. Stand without desire and fear, relinquishing all control. This is the shortest way to reality.

Self-identifications are patently false and the cause of bondage.
Your attachment is your bondage.

There is trouble only when you cling to something.
It is your desire to hold onto it that creates the problem. Let go.
When you hold onto nothing, no trouble arises.

You create bondage when you desire and fear and identify yourself with your feelings.
You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.
Your bonds are self-created as chains of attachment.
Cut the knot of self-identification.

It is disinterestedness that liberates. If you lose interest, you break the emotional link that perpetuates the bondage.

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

Selfishness is due to self-identification with the body.

If you look into the living process closely, you will find cruelty everywhere, for life feeds on life.

Selfishness is always destructive. Desire and fear are self-centered states. Between desire and fear anger arises, and with anger hatred.

It is your mind that has separated the world outside your skin from the world inside and put them in opposition.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

You must remove the wall. Realize that the wall and both sides of it are one single space.

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.

Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically.
Scrutinize every idea about it.
Everything must be scrutinized and the unnecessary ruthlessly destroyed.
There cannot be too much destruction.
For in reality nothing is of value.

Only in complete self-negation is there a chance to discover our real being. The false self must be abandoned before the real Self can be found.

Seeing the false as the false is meditation.

Death gives freedom. To be free in the world you must die to the world.

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

All attachment implies fear, for all things are transient.
Fear makes one a slave.
Freedom from attachment is natural when one knows one’s true being.

You are afraid of what you are. You are afraid that you will lose your identity; afraid of the unknown; not-being, not-knowing, not-doing; the beyond. Unwillingness born out of fear is the only obstacle.

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.

Do not undervalue attention. To know, to do, to discover, or to create you must give your attention to it.

Give your undivided attention to the most important in your life, yourself.

Attention comes from the Self.

All you can do is to shift the focus of consciousness beyond the mind.

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

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

You can see a person but you are not a person.

There is no such thing as a separate person. Everything is the cause of everything. Everything is as it is because the entire universe is as it is.

The entire universe contributes to the existence of even the smallest thing. Nothing could be as it is without the universe being what it is. Everything is as it is because the universe is as it is. The universe is not bound by its contents because its potentialities are infinite.

The universal trend towards balance, harmony and unity, at every moment, whatever is happening, is always for the best.

The law of balance rules supreme.

Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralizes the action. There is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

By itself nothing has existence

All appearance and disappearance presupposes a change against a changeless background.

There must be a source from which all flows, a foundation on which all stands.

Consciousness itself is the source of everything.

The supreme state is the very center of consciousness and yet beyond consciousness. The center of consciousness is That which cannot be given name and form, for it is without quality and beyond consciousness. It is a point in consciousness which is beyond consciousness. It is an opening in the mind, a void, through which the mind is flooded with light. It is but an opening for the light of consciousness to enter the mental space.

Don’t you experience even when unconscious? Can you exist without knowing? Can you validly talk about your own nonexistence as an actual experience? A lapse in memory is not a proof of nonexistence.

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

The dissolution of personality is always followed by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off.

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

When there is total surrender, complete relinquishment of all concern with one’s past, present and future, with one’s physical and spiritual security, when the shell of self-defense is broken, a new life dawns, full of love and beauty. Complete self-surrender by itself is liberation.

When the mind becomes quiet, if you do not disturb this quiet and stay in it, you find that it is permeated with a light and love you have never known, and yet you recognize it at once as your own nature. Once you have passed through this experience, you will never be the same again. Delusions and attachments end and life becomes supremely concentrated in the present.

Know yourself as you are. Stay with the sense I Am.

Wherever you go, at all times, you carry with you the sense of being present and aware, here and now. It means that you are independent of space and time. Space and time are in you, not you in them. It is only your self-identification with the body, limited in space and time, that gives you a sense of limitation. In reality, you are limitless.

Your world is created with the emergence of the I Am idea. In your world everything has a beginning and an end. Timeless being is entirely in the now.

Externalization is the first step in liberation. Step away and look. Separate yourself and watch. The physical events will go on happening, but in themselves they have no importance.

Seeing that you are not the person you take yourself to be, step out and look from the outside.

Your questions are about a non-existing person. Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that whatever happens, comes and goes, is not real; that you alone are, the changeless among the changeful. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications. Be a fully awakened witness of the field of consciousness.

Whatever you perceive is not you. It is there in the field of consciousness, but you are not the field and its contents.

All you need to do is to cease taking your Self to be within the field of consciousness. To look for it on the mental level is futile. It is here and now-the I Am you know so well.

Even the sense I Am is not continuous, though it is a useful pointer; it shows where to seek, but not what to seek.

The witness only registers events. All experience subsides with the mind. Without the mind there can be no experiencer nor experience. In the abeyance of the mind even the sense I Am dissolves. There is no I Am without the mind.

The witness consciousness is not permanent. The knower rises and sets with the known. That in which the knower and the known arise and set is beyond time.

In silence, or void or abeyance, the three-experiencer, experiencing, experience-are not. Unidentified being remains.

When the mind stays in the I Am, without moving, you enter a state that cannot be verbalized but can be experienced. The sense I Am is always with you, only you have attached all kinds of things to it-body, feelings, thoughts, ideas. All these self-identifications are misleading; because of them you take your Self to be what you are not.

It is enough to know what you are not. You need not know what you are. What you are cannot be described except as total negation. Let go of your attachment to the unreal.

When the mind is quiet we come to know ourselves as the pure witness.
We withdraw from the experience and stand apart in pure awareness.
The personality continues, but its self-identification with the witness snaps.

As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body and a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straw to feed the flames of vanity.

As long as you are locked up with your mind and ego, you cannot go further. Were you really at war with your ego, you would question its reality. You don’t question because you are not really interested. You are moved by the pleasure-pain principle, fear and desire, which is your ego. You are going along with your ego, not fighting against it. You are not even aware how totally swayed you are by personal considerations. Be in revolt against your ego, for the ego narrows and distorts. It is the worst of all tyrants. It dominates you completely.

Struggle to find out what you are in reality. To know what you are you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not: body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that. Nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand that on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.

If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being human should be discarded. Abandon all self-identifications, abandon all self-concern, abandon every desire. Stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now. You need absolutely nothing.

Nothing stands in the way of your liberation here and now except for your being more interested in other things. You must see through them as mere mental errors.

We have enclosed ourselves in a cloud of personal desires and fears, images and thoughts, ideas and concepts.

Your difficulty stems from the idea that reality is a state of consciousness.

The desire to live is a tremendous thing. Still greater is the freedom from the urge to live.

Moments when one feels empty and estranged are desirable moments, for it means the soul has cast its moorings and is sailing for distant places.

There is a vastness beyond the farthest reaches of the mind. That vastness is my home; that vastness is myself.

Once you are well established in the now, you have nowhere else to go.

As long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will shirk from the final leap into the unknown.

You must begin by being the dispassionate observer. Then only will you realize your full being. As long as you are enmeshed in the tribulations of a particular personality, you can see nothing beyond it. Ultimately you will come to see that you are neither the particular nor the universal. You are beyond both.

Giving up is the first step. The real giving up is in realizing that there is nothing to give up, for nothing is your own.
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.

Everything is depicted in the pictures on the screen, including the person you take yourself to be; nothing in the light. You are the light only. You are the pure light appearing as a picture on the screen and becoming one with it.

Yours is the power of perception, not what you perceive. Whatever you are conscious of, is not you. Yours is the cinema screen, the light and the seeing power, but the picture is not you.

You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth, all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself. Realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself. All you need is to stop searching outside what can only be found within.

Dive deep into yourself and find the source from where all meaning flows. It is not the superficial mind that can give meaning. You are not what you think yourself to be. You cannot think yourself to be what you have not experienced. You are the perceiving point, the nondimensional source of all dimensions, which is as nothing and yet the source of everything. You can know what you are not, but you cannot know your real being. You can only be what you are.

As long as you are engrossed in the world, you cannot know yourself. To know yourself, turn your attention away from the world and turn within.

Turn within. I Am you know. Be with it all the time, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way.

By its very nature the mind is outwardly turned; it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things themselves. To be told to look for the source within is the beginning of a new life.

Remain as the silent witness only; a mere point in consciousness, dimensionless and timeless.

Give attention to the witness to break the spell of the known, the illusion that only the perceivable is real. As long as you believe that only the perceivable world is real you remain its slave.

To become free your attention must be drawn to the witness.

The point of I Am is the bridge between the watcher and its dream.

I Am both inside and outside the dream, but what I see in dream, I am not.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

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

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

The realized man is beyond life and death. Life and death appears to him but a way of expressing movement in the immovable, change in the changeless. He has died before his death and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being you are afraid of nothing.

Consciousness needs a vehicle and an instrument for its manifestation. When life produces another body, another knower comes into being. The link between successive body-minds may be called the memory body; a record of all that was thought, wanted and done, like a cloud of images held together.

In death only the body dies; life does not; consciousness does not; reality does not. Life is never so alive as after death. It is a reflection in a separate body of the one reality.

Realization is the opposite of ignorance. To take the world as real and one’s Self as unreal is ignorance, the cause of sorrow. To know the Self as the only reality and all else as temporal and transient is freedom.

All is a play in consciousness. All divisions are illusory. You can know the false only. The true you must yourself be.

The supreme gives existence to the mind. The mind gives existence to the body. When you see the person and the witness, the observer, as one, and go beyond, you are in the supreme state.

The supreme state is entirely one and indivisible. The only way of knowing it is to be it. The mind cannot reach it. To perceive it does not need the senses. To know it does not need the mind.

Can you talk of identity without memory?

Who identifies? Identity, individuality are aspects of the mind only. The idea ‘I am this body’ dies; the witness does not. The one witness reflects itself in the countless bodies as I Am. Beyond the body there is only the One.

Watch your mind, how it comes into being, how it operates. As you watch your mind, you discover your Self as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover your Self as the light behind the watcher. The source of light is dark, unknown. That source alone is. Go back to that source and abide there.

My life is a succession of events just like yours. Only I Am detached and see the passing show as a passing show, while you stick to things and move along with them.

You cannot find peace in the world, for the world is full of contradictions.

One becomes self-conscious only when caught in the conflict between pleasure and pain, which demands choice and decision. The personal self by its very nature is constantly pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. The ending of this pattern is the ending of the self. The ending of the self with its desires and fears enables you to return to your real nature.

Suffering is due to non-acceptance. To reach the deeper layers of suffering you must go to its roots and uncover their vast underground network, where fear and desire are closely interwoven and the currents of life’s energy oppose, obstruct and destroy each other. The mental life is one continuous stream of suffering. By watching yourself with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, you encourage the deep to come to the surface. This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Alert attention is the mother of intelligence and intelligence is the door to freedom.

To rise in consciousness is to rise from one dimension to another.

It is the very structure of the universe, of manifestation, that the higher can be had only through freedom from the lower. All that lives, works for expanding consciousness, ever raising the level of consciousness, discovering new dimensions.

There is nothing wrong with the world. What is wrong is the way you look at it. It is your own imagination that misleads you. Without imagination there is no world.

As life before death is but imagination, so is life after death. The dream continues.

What you call survival is but the survival of a dream. Death is preferable to it. There is a chance of waking up.

When you see your dream as dream, you wake up. You need not bring your dream to a definite conclusion. All you need is to realize that you are dreaming. Stop imagining, stop believing. See the contradictions, the incongruities, the falsehood and the sorrow of the human state, the need to go beyond.

Stop imagining yourself to be what you are not. Stop believing.

You have to give up everything to know that you need nothing, not even your body. Your needs are unreal and your efforts are meaningless. You are not what you think yourself to be; as you believe yourself to be. What you appear to be, you are not.

The unreal appears to be real only because you believe in it. You impart reality to it by taking it to be real. Doubt it and it ceases.

The urge must come from within as a wave of detachment.

There is no such thing as an expression of reality. Neither action nor feeling nor thought express reality. I know that life itself is only a make-believe. I just watch events happening, knowing them to be unreal.

Reincarnation implies a reincarnating Self. There is no such thing. The bundle of memories called the ‘I’ imagines itself existing. All experience is born of imagination. Only those who think themselves born can think themselves reborn. All exists in awareness and awareness neither dies nor is reborn. It is the changeless reality itself. Timelessly, the Self actualizes itself without exhausting its infinite possibilities.

Those who make plans will be born to carry them out. Those who make no plans need not be born; he is not bound for a destination; he has nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to become.

When the mind takes over, remembers and anticipates, it exaggerates, distorts and overlooks. The past is projected into the future and the future betrays the expectations.

You do not need to remember to be. Before you can experience anything, there must be the sense of being. Your being is mixed up with experiencing. Unravel being from the tangle of experiences. Once you have known pure being, you will discern it among experiences and no longer be misled by names and forms. What comes and goes has no being and is unreal.

By desiring you take the shape of your desires. When no desires remain, you revert to your natural state. All desires must be given up.

Desire is merely the fixation of the mind on an idea. Just turn away, deny it attention. Give it up because you see its valuelessness.

The desire for realization, to put an end to all desires, is a most peculiar desire.

The destroyer is always more real than the destroyed.

I Am beyond all experience. I Am the great destroyer; whatever I touch dissolves into void.

Beyond the moving mind there is the background of awareness, which does not change. The mind is like a river, flowing ceaselessly. Everything appears and disappears in consciousness. Our minds are just waves on the ocean of consciousness. As waves they come and go. Know your Self as the ocean of being, infinite and eternal. Though I appear as a person to you, I Am that infinite ocean of consciousness in which all happens, beyond all things. I Am no-thing.

Consciousness arising, the world arises.

In consciousness there is the ‘I’ who is conscious, while awareness is undivided, aware of itself. Awareness is beyond all, being as well as not being.

In reality nothing happens. Nothing happens to space itself. In pure consciousness nothing ever happens. Onto the screen of the mind destiny forever projects its pictures, and thus illusion constantly renews itself. The pictures come and go as light intercepted by ignorance. See the light and disregard the pictures.

Go back to that state of pure being, the I Am in its purity before it became contaminated with false self-identifications. Abandon them all. Focus the mind on pure being. In it all disappears: myself, the life I live, the world around me. Only peace and unfathomable silence remains.

The absolute is. The absolute precedes time. Awareness comes first. Awareness contains all space and time. Awareness becomes focalized and a person appears. Remove the light of awareness, as in sleep, and the person disappears.

As long as we imagine ourselves to be separate personalities, we cannot grasp reality which is essentially impersonal.

The timeless and spaceless reality is undifferentiated, the infinite potentiality, the source. It cannot be perceived, but can be experienced as ever witnessing the witness, perceiving the perceiver, the origin and end of all manifestation, the root of time and space.

It is all a matter of focus. Your mind is focused in the world; mine is focused in reality.

Attention liberates. You are taking so many things for granted. You have put so much energy into building a prison for yourself. Now spend as much on demolishing it. Demolition is easy, for the false dissolves when it is discovered.

Truth can be expressed only by the denial of the false. It is useless to search for truth. You must see the false as false and reject it. Renunciation of the false is liberating.

What has no being is false. What has a beginning and end, limited in time and space, has only the name and shape given to it by the mind. It is hollow and has no being.

When the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with a new knowledge. On realization you feel complete. You merely discover what you are.

Realize that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. Nothing affects your real being-this is the absolute truth.

You are the changeless background against which changes are perceived.

The real you is timeless and beyond birth and death. The body will survive as long as it is needed. It is not important that it should survive long.

Find out your real being. What am I? is the fundamental question of philosophy and psychology. Go into it deeply.

Deepening and broadening of self-awareness is the royal way. Call it mindfulness or witnessing or attention. Witnessing is awareness of consciousness and its movements.

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

I am beyond the mind. I am perfectly empty of all mental formations-yet fully aware.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

Between desires and freedom from all desires is an abyss which must be crossed. Cross the door and go beyond.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

Absolute reality imparts reality to whatever comes into being.
It is the very source of reality.
It is what is, pure being, the timeless reality.
It is not perceivable; it is what makes perception possible.

Unperceived, it causes perception. Being nothing it gives birth to all being. It is the immovable background of motion.

All that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness.
I Am in and beyond that consciousness.
I Am in it as the witness.
I Am beyond it as Being.

I am dead already. Physical death will make no difference. I am timeless being.

If you desire nothing, then you are as good as dead, or you are the Supreme.

The Supreme is both creation and dissolution, the beingness of all beings, the ground from which all grows, alone. Words do not reach there, nor mind.

The Supreme state neither comes nor goes. It is.
It is a timeless state, ever present.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

Your true home is in nothingness.

Awareness is beyond all.
Awareness is primordial; it is the original state.
Awareness is undivided, aware of itself.

Before the mind happens, I Am.
Before all beginnings, after all endings, I Am.
All has its being in the I Am that shines in every living being.

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

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

Whatever depends is not real. The real is truly independent.

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

Do nothing. There is nothing to do. Just be.
To be, you must be nobody.
You make yourself mortal by taking yourself to be a body.
That which is alive in you is immortal.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only. One is as one always is. One knows nothing, wants nothing, is nothing.

One is left without questions; no answers are needed.
There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

The I Am in movement creates the world.
The I Am at peace becomes the Absolute.

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.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

♦♦♦

Conversations on Nonduality

Q: You are right in that everyone has to follow his or her own journey, but there seem to be patterns among those who reached the goal. I’m familiar with “I Am That” and much more literature on non-duality and Vedanta Advaita, but it’s one thing to intellecutually understand it and another to experience it. I also read Michael Talbot’s “The Holographic Universe”, although I lack the physics background to completely grasp this stuff. My background is in philosophy, and this continues to be my main point of access, although I must admit that I’ve been trying to meditate and self-enquire for quite a while, unfortunately with poor results. I once tried 5MeO-DMT to experience a non-dual state, but of course it didn’t trigger a permanent loss of the ego. But it was quite interesting to at least see that consciousness can be separated from a “me/I”, which I never thought was possible, because until then, that was always the same. Consciousness without an “I” seemed to be ridiculous.

A: Consciousness without an I is Brahman. Consciousness with an I is Atman. Ultimately, Atman is Brahman. Bernadette Roberts describes the enlightenment experience very accurately in her book The Experience of No-self. Like Meister Eckhart, she describes the experience as a dissolution of the individual spirit (The Self) into the Supreme Spirit (The Source or Godhead). This is an oceanic experience, like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. In that ultimate state of One-ness, there is No-self. There is no subject-object relation defining self and other. In conceptual or scientific terms, Brahman or the Source is a void of absolute nothingness, Atman or the Self is an observer that arises at a point of view, and the images of a holographic world are displayed on a holographic screen. That holographic screen is a surface of space that arises as an event horizon because the point of view of the observer is moving in an accelerated way relative to the unmoving ocean. When that motion comes to an end, which is to say when the expression of all emotions comes to an end in a desireless state, that holographic world must disappear from existence from that particular point of view because the motionless observer no longer has a holographic screen (the ocean no longer has a surface). Enlightened beings describe this oceanic experience as falling into and dissolving into the infinite void.

Jed McKenna makes the point that enlightenment always follows a death-rebirth transformation that eventually leads to the experience of No-self. The Self is an untruth that must die away before the truth of No-self can be realized. You don’t become enlightened because of your desire for truth. You become enlightened because you hate the falseness so much that you’re willing to let it die away. You have to get to the point of hating the lie so much that you’d rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live the life of a lie. You have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death before you can realize the truth. The truth of existence is what remains when everything false disappears from existence. Everything you can perceive in your own world is unreal in the sense of being an illusion, like in a virtual reality, but the number one illusion is your own ego. Even the Self that identifies itself with its ego is a part of that illusion.

The holographic principle makes an important point that cannot be overemphasized. Expression of desire only creates more falseness. That falseness can only be destroyed in a desireless state. The expression of desire arises with the motion of the Self relative to its motionless Source. That expression of emotional energy is the only thing that gives rise to a holographic screen that encodes information for everything the Self can observe in its own holographic world. The form of all things are projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view and animated in the flow of energy that arises from that motion. That holographic world is the falseness that can only disappear from existence in a desireless state when that motion comes to an end. The falseness is only destroyed when the expression of emotions comes to an end. Since that holographic world can only arise in a subject-object relation as the Self perceives the images of that world, the Self is a part of the holographic illusion. When the Self emotionally identifies itself with the form of an emotionally animated person that appears in that world, the Self is identifying itself with its ego, which only compounds the nature of the illusion.

The ego is emotionally constructed as a body-based personal self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing that appears in the world you perceive. People are social animals, and emotional expressions of fear and desire predominately arise in the setting of emotional attachments to others. The expression of emotions is what creates the emotional relationship between self and other inherent in all emotional attachments that underlie the emotional creation of all personal self-concepts. The Self can only identify itself with its ego because it feels emotionally self-limited to a personal form as it perceives the self-limiting expression of emotional energy that animates that personal form. The emotional relationship between a personal form and the form of another is how the ego is emotionally constructed, but in a twisted way, the Self is emotionally identifying itself with that personal form since it feels emotionally self-limited to that personal form. The Self perceives things in its own world in a subject-object relation, but when the Self identifies itself with its ego, it is as though that personal form perceives things. A personal form can only transmit or process information, while the perception of a form is like the projection of that form from a screen to the point of view of an observer. The Self is the observer present at that point of view in relation to the screen. The Self as a presence of perceiving consciousness arises at a point of view in relation to the screen.

The form of a person is reducible to information encoded on the screen, but the consciousness of the observer is not. The Source of the observer’s consciousness does not arise from a form that appears on the screen. There is only confusion about the Source of consciousness due to the feelings of self-limitation that arise as that personal form is emotionally animated, which leads the Self to emotionally identify itself with that personal form. The Self is confused because that expression of emotion literally arises from the motion of the Self relative to its Source, but the Self ignores its Source and only focuses its attention on the projected personal form. That projected personal form is only an illusion of what the Self really is, but when the Self ignores its Source, it mistakenly attributes the personal form to be its source. The Self is as much a part of the illusion as the personal form it perceives, since its ego can only be emotionally constructed in a subject-object relation. The only way to realize the truth is to totally destroy the illusion. The truth of existence is what remains when the illusion disappears from existence. The only way to destroy the illusion is for the Self to cease to exist as an individual presence of consciousness.

As a presence of Atmanic consciousness, you are always present now, in the present moment. As long as you perceive things in your own world from your own point of view, you are always a presence of consciousness that arises at a point of view, and you are always present now. There is only an illusion of your personal continuity in time because of the memory of past events and anticipation of future events, but even that memory of the past and anticipation of the future is perceived now. You are always present now, but an illusion of your personal continuity in time arises with personal memory that creates the illusion that you are a person in the world you perceive. Memory can only be created as an emotional projection from the present moment, and you have to focus your attention on creating your own memories. The emotional projection of memory is an integral part of the emotional construction of a personal self-concept. You have to focus your attention on your self-concept to emotionally construct your self-concept, but when you focus your attention on your self-concept you’re focusing on your memory of past events or your anticipation of future events. You’re not focused on the present moment. That’s why one of the first instructions in the awakening process is to focus your attention on your own sense of being present in the present moment. When you do that, you not only stop creating memories, but you also stop creating a personal self-concept. You have to stop creating memories and a self-concept before you can focus your attention on your own sense of being present, which you can only bring into focus as you focus your attention exclusively on the present moment.

When you stop the emotional projection process of creating personal memory and a personal self-concept, and focus your attention only on the actual events of the present moment, you allow yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. McKenna refers to this state of alignment as the integrated state, which always follows a death-rebirth transformation as you relinquish your personally biased desire to be in control of events. That desire to be in control is always self-defensive and leads to the expression of personally biased emotions that create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. That emotional disturbance is what creates the feelings of personal self-limitation that underlies the emotional construction of a personal self-concept. This can only happen because of the personal bias in the focus of your attention that underlies the emotional projection of all personal memories. When you give up the desire to be in control, you lose that personal bias and stop creating those personal memories. Without those personal memories, you stop constructing a personal self-concept. Your attention is no longer focused on the events you remember about the past and anticipate about the future, but is only focused on the actual events of the present moment. As a presence of consciousness that observes the events of the present moment, that is the only way you can lose your personal self-concept. You have to stop focusing your attention on it. When you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention, you naturally come into alignment with the normal flow of things.

In religious terms, this state of alignment with the normal flow of things in which you lose your personal bias that creates your personal self-concept is called the born again experience. Your identity as a person dies away. This can only happen when you give up your personally biased desire to be in control, which all religions refer to as a surrender to divine will. When you lose your personally biased individual will and surrender to divine will, you come into alignment. In that state of surrender, you accept the actual events as they actually are and stop opposing them. Instead, you develop a trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best.

Roberts refers to this state of alignment as the first movement of life, which she describes as a mystical union of the Self with its divine Source. The Self is your spirit, and this state of mystical union is the union of the spirit with its spiritual Source. The motion of the Self is literally coming into alignment with the expression of divine will that gives rise to the normal flow of things. In this state of mystical union, you’re no longer opposing the normal motion of things by creating an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. Roberts refers to the second movement of life as the experience of No-self. Ironically, the experience of No-self is inherently the end of that motion. When the motion of the Self comes to a motionless end, the individual consciousness of the Self dies away and only the One consciousness of No-self remains. This experience of No-self is inherently a motionless state in which no emotions are expressed.

When the individual consciousness of the Self dies away, only One consciousness of No-self remains. This death of individual consciousness is the nature of becoming enlightened, which enlightened beings describe as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves into the ocean. It’s often stated that enlightenment follows from looking within and focusing your attention on your own sense of being present or I-Am-ness, but that isn’t the whole story. It’s only when you look into the emptiness of your own being in an egoless and desireless state that you can fall into the void and your individual consciousness can dissolve back into One consciousness.

That fall is the nature of passing through the gateless gate. The gate is the Self, and the gate only opens when the Self becomes selfless and desireless. In that desireless state, individual consciousness dies away in the sense that the I Am becomes an I-am-not. This is an I-death, in which there is no I. Falling and dissolving into the void is only possible in this desireless state. The motion of the Self must come to an end relative to its motionless Source. The end of that motion is the end of the expression of emotions. This desireless state is not only the death of the ego, but also the death of the Self. In that death, everything in the world perceived by the Self disappears from existence, but even the individual existence of the Self ceases to exist at an individual level. In that dissolution, only the absolute nothingness of No-self remains.

This I-death only becomes possible when the Self refuses to be present to perceive its own holographic world. That holographic world is always created in a subject-object relation as the Self perceives images of that world. When that world is not perceived, it disappears from existence from that particular point of view. When the Self refuses to be present to perceive its world, that I Am presence becomes an I-am-not. That holographic world is the illusion that must disappear from existence for the truth of No-self to be realized, but that can only happen if the Self is not present to perceive that world. The Self dies away when it refuses to play the game. The only thing that keeps the Self interested in the game is its emotional self-identification with its ego, which is why this I-death is only possible in the setting of ego-death.

The Self must itself die away to realize the truth of No-self, and that can only happen through a self-destructive process of ego-death. You have to examine and deconstruct your own ego. Ultimately, you have to detach yourself from everything to undergo this process of ego-death, since only the emotional energy of emotional attachments, expressed in terms of fear and desire, can emotionally construct the ego. You deconstruct your ego by severing the emotional attachments. When you sever an emotional attachment, it always feels like something dies inside since part of your ego structure dies away. Your ego is entirely an emotional creation. Being without desire is as good as being dead. To awaken to your own truth, you have to go through this dying process. You have to accept your own death. That acceptance of death is always a surrender in which you give up your desire to be in control and defend yourself. You surrender by relinquishing your desire to be in control and you deconstruct your ego by severing your emotional attachments. McKenna is worth reading if for no other reason than to know what the hell you’re getting yourself into with all this enlightenment stuff. Who really wants to know that their life is an illusion and they only really exist at the level of absolute nothingness? The answer of course is nobody. When you die at the level of ego-death, you become nobody.

The irony is that all personal memories, self-concepts and other forms of mental imagination are actual events that are being perceived in the present moment, but their perception by the Self is a private experience that is not being shared within the consensual reality that the Self shares with other points of view. In a convoluted and twisted way, the Self is disconnecting itself from that consensual reality when it emotionally constructs a personal self-concept through the emotional projection of personal memories and emotionally identifies itself with that personal self-concept. In effect, an illusion is being wrapped within an illusion that is being wrapped within an illusion. McKenna describes this wrapping process as the layers of an onion. When you peel away all the layers of the onion, what do you find inside? The answer is nothing.

The Truth of No-self can only be discussed in terms of negation and not at a conceptual level. The direct experience of nondual reality cannot really be discussed since absolute nothingness cannot really be conceptualized. You can experience it but you can’t talk about it in terms of concepts, except for the concepts of a road map that point out travel directions in your journey.

Q: What I’m kind of struggling with is how to interpret those religious terms like “Brahman”, “Atman”, “Supreme Spirit”, “God-head”, etc. Is that which is denoted by those terms really the absolute, or is it just a certain state of consciousness created by a reduced activity of the default mode network? I guess you interpret those terms in the light of the hologram theory of the universe/consciousness, which might provide you with much more scientific evidence. When you speak of enlightened beings, have you ever encountered one, or do you consider any of the well-known non-duality teachers “enlightened”?

A: I always look for consistency when assessing if someone who claims to be enlightened is really enlightened or just pretending to be enlightened. People pretend because they really believe themselves to be enlightened, not because of any malicious intent or intentional deceit. They’re deceiving themselves. The best way to evaluate if they’re deceiving themselves is to assess if they believe in their own Self. Enlightened beings believe in nothing, and certainty don’t believe in the reality of their own Self. They know their Self is an illusion, like everything else they can perceive. Everything is perceived in a subject-object relation, and the Self that perceives things is a part of that illusion. The only thing that is really real is the absolute nothingness of No-self, which can’t be perceived in a conventional way, but can be experienced. The problem is, the absolute nothingness of No-self is inherently non-conceptual, and so that experience can’t be discussed in conceptual terms. When I look for consistency, this is what I’m looking for. As best I can tell, all the followers of Ramana, like Papaji and Mooji are deceiving themselves when they speak about the Self as the ultimate nature of reality. It’s not. No-self is the ultimate nature of reality, but there’s really no point in speaking about it since it can’t be conceptualized. To paraphrase Shankara (with a bit of my own embellishment), No-self is the only truth, the world (as perceived by the Self) is a (holographic) illusion, and ultimately there is no difference between the Self and No-self. Anyone who claims that anything other than the absolute nothingness of No-self is real is a fraud. As the Bhagavad-gita says: the unreal has no being; the real never ceases to be. Ultimately, nothing is real. Amanda Gefter came to that conclusion when she analyzed the holographic principle, which is also the answer to the central question of the Matrix: What is real? The answer is nothing is real, but don’t ask me to explain what that absolute nothingness really is. It’s unexplainable. Like the nihilists in the Big Lebowski, enlightened beings can only say: “We believe in nothing“, which McKenna rephrased as No belief is true.

Adapted from Bernadette Roberts’ The Experience of No-self:

When the joy of my own emptiness began to wane I decided to rejuvenate it by spending some solitary time gazing into my empty self. Though the center of self was gone, I was sure the remaining emptiness, the silence and joy, was God Himself. Thus on one occasion, with full hedonistic deliberation, I settled myself down and turned my gaze inward. Almost immediately the empty space began to expand, and expanded so rapidly it seemed to explode; then, in the pit of my stomach I had the feeling of falling a hundred floors in a non-stop elevator, and in this fall every sense of life was drained from me. The moment of landing I knew: When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. I saw clearly how the two go together-and where they went, I have never found out.

The only mystic I know who says something about this step beyond union, beyond self and God, is Meister Eckhart. This could be understood as his breakthrough, his bursting forth into the Godhead, his crashing through to that which is beyond the idea of God and truth, until the soul reaches the beginning of beginnings, the origin or source. This amounts to saying that union depends on separateness. Beyond self this separateness no longer exists-an undefinable essential Oneness for which theology has no words. The difference depends on which side of the breakthrough we stand: whether the self remains, or whether it is dead and buried in the Godhead. Each side represents two different ways of seeing and knowing.

To speak of a union with God is orthodox, but to speak of an essential oneness with God-a oneness in God’s essence-is unorthodox. The problem is not merely one of description or semantics, but rather, one of experience, for with the falling away of the union of two, there remains only the clear identity of the One-the essential Oneness of the Godhead.

The first movement of life culminates in the union of self with God. The second movement culminates in no union-no self and no God for that self. In order to come upon God as he is in Himself-and not as he is in our self-there must be no self. There is no other way.

The root of the problem stems from the biblical statement that God made all things from nothing, and the disagreement in the interpretation of this nothing. Since absolute nothing is incomprehensible, it falls, like the essence of God, into the realm of the unknown. That this unknowable nothing turns out to be God is the final realization of the mystic. What flowed forth from God in the act of creation was some unknowable aspect of Himself. Thus if we were created from nothing it can only mean nothing knowable to the mind. Yet the experiential understanding of how this works is possible once self has fallen away. However we wish to interpret the nothingness or non-being from which we were made, it is difficult to justify any speculation that God did not make us from himself-his will or uncreated energy.

She then quotes the bible:

“He who seeks only himself brings himself to ruin, whereas he who brings himself to naught for me discovers who he is”. To this I would add that in coming to naught he will not only discover who he is, but what he is, for in God these cannot be separated. That he is, what he is, who he is, where he is, in God these are One, and outside this One, nothing is.

♦♦♦

Why The Holographic Principle of Quantum Gravity is a Radical Transformation of our Understanding of Quantum Theory

Both Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have stressed the holographic principle of quantum gravity is a radical transformation of our understanding of quantum theory, which most physicists have not fully appreciated. Quantum theory in the conventional sense of particle physics really only applies in some bounded region of space. In the holographic principle, this conventional particle physics formulation of quantum theory can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen that bounds that bounded region of space. The holographic screen is a bounding surface of space that in the sense of relativity theory can always be understood to arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The holographic screen encodes qubits of information through some sort of geometric mechanism, like non-commutative geometry. The AdS/CFT correspondence gives an explicit example of how a holographic world is constructed. Quantum theory is inherently about measurement since the observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in its accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is inherently an observer-centric and observer-dependent description of observable reality. Physicists are ignoring the central role the observer must play in constructing that observable physical reality.

Jacobson has shown how Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric arise from the holographic principle as thermodynamic equations of state. Near thermal equilibrium, the laws of thermodynamics specify how change in energy is related to change in entropy and temperature as ΔE=TΔS. Using the Unruh temperature of the Rindler event horizon observed by an accelerating observer, kT=ħa/2πc, given in terms of an observer’s acceleration, a, and the holographic entropy of the region of space bounded by that event horizon, S=kA/4ℓ2, given in terms of the surface area, A, of the event horizon and the Planck area, ℓ2=ħG/c3, Jacobson was able to show how Einstein’s field equations arise from this relation as thermodynamic equations of state.

Using non-commutative geometry, Banks and Fischler have shown that the holographic principle is automatically in effect for any space-time geometry, including de Sitter space, when that space is bounded by a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information. The holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, like a Rindler horizon or a de Sitter horizon. The simplest case is for a spherically symmetric horizon, like that of a black hole. An SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its eigenvalues also encode information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down. On the surface of a sphere, the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix encode n qubits of information in a rotationally invariant way. The qubits of information are inherently entangled in the sense of quantum entanglement since they arise as the eigenvalues of a matrix.

Putting these findings of Jacobson and Banks and Fischler together, tells us that gravity is not really a classical theory. Like electromagnetism, gravity is a quantum theory in disguise, but that quantum theory can only be understood at the level of first quantization, and not at the level of second quantization. Recently, Maldacena and Susskind have stressed this point that classical gravity is really a quantum theory with their argument on ER=EPR that wormholes in classical gravity in the sense of an Einstein-Rosen bridge between two black holes gives an example of quantum entanglement in the sense of an entangled EPR pair.

Gravity is a quantum theory, but only at the level of first quantization, not at the level of second quantization. The space-time metric is the quantum wavefunction, and Einstein’s field equations are the quantum wave equation. This is just like electromagnetism, where the electromagnetic field is the quantum wavefunction and Maxwell’s equations are the quantum wave equation. Quantum entanglement is operative at even the level of first quantization since the quantum wavefunction gives the quantum probability that some property of the quantum particle, like its location in space and time or its spin state, can be measured. Entanglement is an inherent property of the quantum state formulated as a superposition of all possible measurable states of the quantum particle, with each possible measurable state weighted with a probability factor that is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. For example, for a spin ½ particle, the quantum state of the particle is a sum over the spin up and spin down states, with each spin state weighted with a probability factor that specifies the likelihood of measuring that particular spin state. Quantum entanglement is inherent in this superposition of measurable states, and the quantum wavefunction specifies the probabilities of measuring these properties of the quantum particle. All measurable states arise as eigenstate solutions of the quantum wave equation, and the most general wavefunction solution is a superposition of eigenstate solutions. The very idea of quantization, as in quantized energy levels, requires some sort of periodic boundary conditions that constrain these eigenstate solutions. For example, the quantized energy levels of the electron in the hydrogen atom require the periodic boundary conditions of periodic orbits, where in effect an integral number of wavelengths of the electron wavefunction must fit into an electron orbital. At the level of first quantization, the Schrodinger equation or the Dirac equation gives a perfectly good description of the electron as a quantum particle, and Maxwell’s equations gives a perfectly good description of the photon as a quantum particle, but to fully characterize the quantized interactions of the electron with the photon requires a second quantization procedure.

The problem is, to fully treat the electromagnetic field as a quantum particle called the photon, and to fully characterize its quantized interactions with other quantum particles like the electron, we have to perform a second quantization procedure. This is only possible if the photon and electron propagate through some fixed background space-time geometry, like flat Minkowski space. Even this second quantization procedure has a limited range of validity since Maxwell’s equations for the photon and the Dirac equation for the electron only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. It’s only valid to consider small quantum fluctuations around thermal equilibrium or the vacuum state. Even this second quantization procedure is not valid for gravity. The graviton cannot be understood as a quantum particle that propagates through some fixed background space-time geometry since gravity must inherently give a representation of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. It only makes sense to understand gravity at the level of first quantization, which essentially is a thermodynamic equation of state.

It’s an interesting exercise to review how quantization occurs in conventional particle physics and how the holographic principle totally reverses this conventional quantization procedure. In conventional particle physics, we start with the idea of a point particle located at some position x at some time t in some fixed background space-time geometry and characterize the motion of that particle in terms of a particle trajectory through that space-time geometry as x=x(t). In the sense of classical Newtonian physics, this particle motion is characterized by an action principle, where action is given in terms of kinetic and potential energy as S=∫dt(KE−PE). The quantum state of the particle is then a sum over all possible paths through the space-time geometry, where each path or trajectory is weighted with the probability factor P=exp(iS/ħ). This quantum state is equivalent to a quantum wavefunction that obeys a quantum wave equation. For classical Newtonian physics, this wave equation is the Schrodinger equation. The classical laws of motion are recovered in terms of the path of least action. This sum over all paths is the first quantization procedure. The second quantization procedure is to sum over all possible configurations of the wavefunction, where each possible configuration of the wavefunction is weighted with the same kind of probability factor P=exp(iS/ħ), but instead we use the action that corresponds to the wavefunction. The quantum wave equation arises from an action principle in the same way classical equations of motion arise from an action principle, by minimizing the action written in terms of the wavefunction. This sum over all configurations of the wavefunction is the second quantization procedure. Feynman diagrams arise from this sum in the sense of perturbation theory by expanding this sum in terms of some coupling constant, like the charge of the electron.

In quantum electrodynamics, the Schrodinger equation is replaced by the Dirac equation, which is the wave equation for the electron, and Maxwell’s equations are used as the wave equation for the photon. The action for quantum electrodynamics is written in terms of the Dirac and Maxwell wavefunctions, and the second quantization procedure is to sum over all configurations of these wavefunctions. This sum generates the idea of the photon and electron as point particles that propagate through space-time and interact with each other through the electromagnetic force. The problem is, the gravitational force cannot be understood in the same way, since it makes no sense to think of the graviton as a point particle that propagates through some fixed background space-time geometry when gravity must give a representation of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The holographic principle is the only known way to solve this problem.

The holographic principle totally reverses this idea of quantization. Instead, we start with the idea of qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, which can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle demonstrates how Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric arise from the way qubits of information are encoded on that holographic screen as thermodynamic equations of state. The space-time metric is the wavefunction for gravity in the sense of first quantization and Einstein’s field equations are the quantum wave equation, but it makes no sense to perform a second quantization procedure on the gravitational field. It does make sense to perform a second quantization procedure on the electromagnetic field that arises from the gravitational field with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, but only with a limited range of validity that is constrained in terms of how all quantum fields arise as thermodynamic equations of state. Second quantization is only valid for small quantum fluctuations around thermal equilibrium or the vacuum state.

All quantum fields can be understood to arise as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, which M-theory explicitly demonstrates with its low energy limit of 11-dimensional super-gravity. The space-time metric is the quantum wavefunction that is the mother of all quantum fields, but even the space-time metric is not fundamental. The holographic principle demonstrates how the space-time metric arises from qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen as a thermodynamic equation of state. At the level of particle physics, all quantum fields only have the validity of thermodynamic equations of state. That holographic screen in turn must arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. It all has to begin with the observer. This radical transformation in our understanding of quantum theory that most physicists have not fully appreciated reflects that physicists are ignoring the central role the observer must play in constructing its own observable physical reality.

♦♦♦

Scientific References

Tom Banks (2018): Why the Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition. arXiv:1811.00130

Raphael Bousso (2002): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0203101

Antonio Damasio (1999): The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace)

Amanda Gefter (2014): Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (Random House)

Amanda Gefter (2012): Cosmic Solipsism. FQXi Essay

Brian Greene (2000): The Elegant Universe (Vintage Books)

N. Gregory Hamilton (1988): Self and Others (Jason Aronson)

Gerard ‘t Hooft (2000): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0003004

Ted Jacobson (1995): Thermodynamics of Space-time. arXiv:gr-qc/9504004

Stuart Kauffman (1995): At Home in the Universe (Oxford University Press)

J Madore (1999): Non-commutative Geometry for Pedestrians. arXiv:gr-qc/9906059

Nancy McWilliams (1994): Psychoanalytic Diagnosis (Guilford Press)

Roger Penrose (2005): The Road to Reality (Alfred A Knopf)

Lee Smolin (2001): Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (Basic Books)

Leonard Susskind (2008): The Black Hole War (Little, Brown and Company)

Leonard Susskind (1994): The World as a Hologram. arXiv:hep-th/9409089

A. Zee (2003): Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton University Press)

Nondual References

The Bhagavad-Gita (1909): Edwin Arnold trans. (Harvard Classics)

Jed McKenna (2002, 2004, 2007): Spiritual Enlightenment Trilogy (Wisefool Press)

Jed McKenna (20013): Jed McKenna’s Theory of Everything (Wisefool Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973): I Am That (Acorn Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1990): Prior to Consciousness (Acorn Press)

Osho (1974): The Book of Secrets (St Martin’s Griffin)

Osho (1977): The Search: Talks on the Ten Bulls of Zen (Tao Publishing)

Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki (1957): Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Tuttle Publishing)

Bernadette Roberts (1993): The Experience of No-Self (State Univ of New York Press)

Lao Tsu (1989): Tao Te Ching. Gia-Fu Feng trans. (Vintage Books)

Download the PDF documents:

♦♦♦

Be Here Now

Where is here? A point of view. When is now? The present moment. Whose being is here now? The being of a spiritual presence of consciousness. What is that spiritual presence of consciousness being present for? To observe its own holographic world.

♦♦♦

Soulfulness versus Sentimentality

Soulfulness arises with the willingness to let go. There is a sense of loss and sadness. There is also a sense of the irony of life and a self-deprecating sense of humor. You don’t take yourself too seriously. The willingness to let go is always an act of maturity that takes courage as you confront and overcome your own fear of loss and death. You overcome your fear of death by accepting death, which is always a surrender. Sentimentality arises with emotional attachments, which are always immature and fearful, like a baby attached to its mother. There is a sense of neediness and dependency. With sentimentality, you do take yourself too seriously, and you’re unwilling and unable to let go. You’re literally living in fear of losing your own life. Soulfulness is always an act of surrender where you accept the loss of life and accept death. This is a spiritual death-rebirth transformation in which you die in identity to your physical body and are reborn in identity to your true spiritual being. With sentimentality, you are stuck with your false identity with your physical body. You can’t let go because you can’t surrender. You’re unable to move onto the spiritual level of existence because you’re holding onto and stuck at the physical level of existence.

♦♦♦

First versus Second Movement of Life

You have to go through the first movement before you can go through the second movement. The first movement is coming into alignment as your own motion comes into alignment with the motion of the normal flow of things. Your own expression of emotions has to come into alignment with the motion of the normal flow of things. That can only happen through the surrender of your own expression of personally biased individual will to divine will. You have to lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention. You have to give it up. You begin to vibrate at a higher frequency and feel connected. You then have to let go, detach yourself and externalize yourself. You have to see things from a higher level of consciousness. That’s when you can really look within into the emptiness of your own being. The sense of being present only tells you where to look. The second movement only happens when your own motion comes to an end. You have to fall into the emptiness. When you fall into the emptiness, your own sense of self falls away. You become selfless. When you fall into the emptiness, you become the emptiness.

♦♦♦

I Am, Call Home

Like ET, to return to your true home, you have to constantly remind yourself, I Am, call home. You call home as you look within and focus your attention on your own sense of being present. You return home as you stop moving away from home. When you stop moving away from home, you fall home. When you fall home, you are home. When you become motionless and desireless and are at peace with yourself, you are the home you return to. To return home is to be home.

♦♦♦

Sociopaths versus Serial Killers

Sociopaths, like our former president, really only care about themselves. They are selfish and self-centered, and everything they do is to gain something by exploiting and taking advantage of the gullibility of others. They are con-artists. This personality disorder is a particularly malignant form of narcissism that’s based on a grandiose and inflated self-image. Sociopaths have an overwhelming desire to be in control, and the way they express that desire to be in control is by manipulating and taking advantage of others, which is how they keep their grandiose self-image inflated. Everything they do is for personal gain, but what they want more than anything else is to feel powerful and in control. If you’ve read Ernest Becker’s book, this desire for power over others is a denial of death. Sociopaths in the form of fascist political leaders are able to attract followers because the desire to deny death is a powerful psychological motivating factor that arises from the fear of death. That’s why fascism is always organized around a cult of personality. The great leader denies death by expressing absolute power over others. Fascism, like the sociopath that leads a fascist organization, is all about the desire to have power over others as a denial of death, which is a way to expunge and make unconscious the fear of death.

On the other hand, serial killers are something very different. Serial killers see the falseness of the human condition and want to destroy it. The metaphor in Hinduism is Kali the Destroyer, or as the Bhagavad-Gita says: Now I Am become Death, the Destroyer of worlds. This is a very primitive response to seeing the falseness that’s inherent to the human condition, which is the falseness of the ego or personal self-concept. By its very nature, a personal self-concept is a false thing. You have to ask yourself: Who is identifying itself with that personal self-concept? Who am I? One of the Buddha’s noble truths is that all things are without a self. The very concept of self is an untruth. There is no such thing as a true self that is independent of the life a person appears to live. Living a life is inherently about creating a false sense of self, and there is no true self to be found in that life. When you have a personal self-concept or ego, you’re being false.

When you clearly see that falseness, you want to destroy it. When you see that falseness in yourself, you want to kill yourself. That’s how suicides happen. When you see that falseness in others, you want to kill others. That’s how you become a serial killer. Freud was very puzzled by this self-destructive tendency of people and called it the death instinct, but it makes sense in terms of seeing the falseness of the personal self-concept or ego and wanting to destroy it for no other reason than it’s seen to be false. Serial killers are not acting at a personal level for their own personal gain. They are more like religious zealots that have seen the falseness of the world of ego and want to destroy it. They have no desire to be in control or inflate their own self-image. Instead, like all religious fanatics, they have given themselves over to something greater than themselves, which is this primitive desire to destroy the falseness of self. They feel compelled to do this work like a religious calling. In some sense serial killers are the antithesis of sociopaths. Sociopaths want to inflate their own selves, while serial killers want to destroy them.

Can a sociopath become a serial killer? Sure, why not? I am vast; I contain multitudes. The answer isn’t to become either a sociopath or a serial killer, but to realize your true nature as that selfless vastness. To do that, you have to undergo a self-destructive process of ego-death, which as the Buddha discussed in another noble truth, can only happen when you give up the desire to live a self-centered life. You have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death. You have to become desireless. Becoming selfless or egoless is the same as becoming desireless. When you see the falseness of your own ego, living that kind of a false self-centered life is suffering. You have to get to the point where you’d rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live that kind of a false self-centered life. At that point you’d rather die than continue to suffer. Only when you get to that point do you become willing to give up your own selfish desires. That giving up takes the form of your surrender, which is your willingness to die, and your willingness to let go and detach yourself from things by severing your emotional attachments. Only in that desireless and selfless state can you realize the truth of the selfless vastness that you really are.

♦♦♦

Where Not to Look

A man loses his keys in the darkness, but decides to look for them under a light post. When asked why he looks there instead of in the darkness, he answers because the light is better there.

♦♦♦

The Key to Awakening

Living a life is only about creating a false sense of self. You have to first create yourself, which you create as you come into individual existence as the Self, a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. You then compound the problem by emotionally identifying yourself with a personal self-concept that you emotionally construct around the emotionally animated and holographically projected form of a person that appears in the world that you perceive.

The key to awakening is your focus of attention. If you focus your attention on living a life, that’s what you’ll get. If you focus your attention on expressing and manifesting desires in that life, that’s what you’ll get. If you emotionally identify yourself with your personal character and focus your attention on everything you fear about what can go wrong and what you can lose in life, including that life, that’s what you’ll get. When you manifest your fears, you’re just reminding yourself how emotionally attached and identified you are with living the life of your character.

Awakening is really only about withdrawing your attention away from that life and shifting the focus of your attention as you look within until you realize the truth of what you really are. Along the way you have to destroy all false personal concepts you have about yourself, including the concept of self you’ve created for yourself. Truth is what remains when the false is destroyed.

In the awakening process, you have to make a clear distinction and discriminate between living and existing. You have to make a clear distinction and discriminate between surviving as a person in the world you perceive in the emotionally animated form of a body and your own beingness. The body is something that appears in the virtual reality world you perceive. You timelessly exist as the consciousness that perceives that world. You only believe that you exist in the form of a living body because you’ve emotionally identified yourself with that personal form. You only emotionally identify yourself with that personal form when you express emotions and feel emotionally self-limited to that emotionally animated personal form.

In the awakening process, you’re instructed to focus your attention on your own sense of being present or I-Am-ness as much as you can, but you can only look beyond that sense of Self and I-Am-ness, into the emptiness of your own being, when you become desireless. To become desireless you have to externalize yourself and see things from a higher level of consciousness like a movie that you’re watching. The world you perceive is no more real than the projected and animated images of a movie, and you’re always out in the audience only watching the movie. To externalize yourself you have to stop trying to direct or control what appears to happen in the movie as you focus your attention on the movie in a personally biased way. You have to lose that personal bias and just allow things to play out in the normal way. You have to stop interfering and trying to control things. You have to give up your desire to be in control, which arises from your desire to defend yourself when you identify yourself with a personal form. That’s why you have to surrender. When you surrender, you allow things to play out in the normal way. You’re carried along by the normal flow of things in a deep state of let-go. You then have to detach yourself from things by severing your emotional attachment to things. When you sever your emotional attachments and detach yourself from things, you allow things to come and go without trying to hold onto things. When you detach yourself from things in a state of surrender and let-go, you externalize yourself and see things from a higher level of consciousness. That’s when you can really look into the emptiness of your own being in a desireless state. You can only awaken if you become selfless. To become desireless is to become selfless.

Awakening is only about becoming selfless. Self is an untruth, and to awaken to the truth of what you really are, you have to lose your Self. You can’t really lose your Self as long as you perceive your own world from the central point of view of that world since the Self as a presence of consciousness is the perceiver of that world, but you can stop identifying your Self with the concept of being a person in the world that you perceive. You stop emotionally identifying your Self with that emotionally animated person when you lose your personal bias in your focus of attention and stop expressing personally biased emotions. To be a person is to be a selfish, self-centered, self-defensive Self. To awaken is to lose that personal bias and see the whole thing as no more real than a movie you’re watching. You stop identifying your Self with the central character of the movie and lose that personal bias. To detach yourself, you have to stop caring about whatever appears to happen to the person and to the world the person appears to live within in a personally biased way. You just allow the movie to play out in the normal way.

No-self is the only truth, but to realize that truth, you have to destroy the untruth. Truth is what remains when the untruth is destroyed. Self is the untruth. The awakening process is a war that you fight with yourself in order to destroy your Self. Like Neo in the Matrix, you have to become willing to look into the darkness. You have to become willing to put on your dark glasses. The world you perceive as a presence of consciousness is illuminated by the light of consciousness. What you call your Self is that illuminating and perceiving presence of consciousness. The Source of that illuminating and perceiving presence of consciousness can only be described as darkness and emptiness. You cannot find the true nature of what you are in what’s being illuminated and perceived. You have to look into the darkness and emptiness.

When you look into the darkness and emptiness in a desireless state, the doors of perception open. The gateless gate opens when you become desireless and selfless because the gate is the Self. As you pass through the gateless gate, the illuminated world you perceive disappears from existence and you fall into and dissolve into the darkness and emptiness, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. You become the ocean. You become the darkness and emptiness. The ocean is motionless, and you have to become desireless and motionless to return to that motionless state. You have to become selfless. When the untruth of the Self and the illuminated world it perceives is destroyed and disappears from existence, only the truth of No-self remains. When the untruth of the Self is destroyed, only the truth of the Source remains.

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.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

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.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

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

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

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Be aware of being conscious and seek the source of consciousness.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

The witness-consciousness is the reflection of the real in the mind. The real is beyond.

The witness is the door through which you pass beyond.

Between desires and freedom from all desires is an abyss which must be crossed. Cross the door and go beyond.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension. You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

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.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

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. That being is void.

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.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

That Being is void.
-Osho

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

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

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

Empty yourself of everything

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

♦♦♦

The Ending of the Matrix Explained

At the end of the first Matrix, Neo undergoes a death-rebirth transformation. He can clearly see the Matrix for what it really is: a computer-generated virtual reality. He can see the data for that virtual reality is encoded on the walls of the room he appears to be in, which is the boundary of the world he perceives, just like a holographic screen. When he sees the Matrix for what it really is, he is seeing things from a higher level of consciousness. This born again experience is a necessary step in his awakening, but is not the final awakening.

At the end of the third Matrix, Neo undergoes the final awakening. The Oracle tells him that Agent Smith is his alter-ego. What she means is that Agent Smith represents the negative energies while Neo represents the positive energies. The Oracle also tells him that she is helping him because they’re all in it together and she wants them to get along. She wants peace. At the end of the story, Neo’s positive energies annihilate with Smith’s negative energies like a virtual particle-antiparticle pair that annihilates back into the vacuum. The positive energies annihilate with the negative energies back into nothingness. That’s how Neo destroys his Self. The Self is his consciousness identified with his ego. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed. The Self identified with ego is a thing. The One is No-thing or No-self. Neo can only become the One when his Self is destroyed and he becomes No-thing. The Oracle also tells Neo that Everything that has a beginning has an end. Only the One has no beginning and no end because it is not-a-thing. In his final awakening, Neo has to surrender his Self to end the war. This final awakening is the end of the war, which is a war you fight with your Self to destroy your Self. When the war is over, there is peace. In that peace, there is harmony between the expression of positive and negative energies because your individual will is no longer being expressed. It is all an expression of divine will. You no longer express individual will because you no longer are an individual. You are the One. That is the only way peace is really possible.

♦♦♦

The Dumbed Down Version of Nonduality

The Dumbed Down Version of Nonduality

Nonduality is a conceptual framework that allows us to understand the nature of reality. This conceptual framework is essentially a theory, but unlike a scientific theory of everything, which must assume many things in order to explain everything else in terms of the assumed things, nonduality assumes nothing and then explains everything in terms of nothing. Nonduality differs from science in that there is no theory of nothing. Absolute nothingness cannot be explained in conceptual terms. Nonduality inherently goes beyond anything science can conceptually tell us because it goes into the realm of the non-conceptual. There’s actually a paradox here. Nonduality uses concepts to discuss the non-conceptual, which is obviously impossible. As a conceptual framework, nonduality can never really explain the non-conceptual nature of nondual reality, but can only point to it in conceptual terms, sort of like a roadmap points out travel directions.

In spite of this difficulty, nonduality can be understood scientifically if we’re willing to broaden our horizons about what science is telling us. Modern physics in the last 25 years has supplied much of this scientific support for the conceptual framework of nonduality. The holographic principle of quantum gravity fits nonduality like a glove on a hand. The correspondence between nonduality and recent developments in modern physics is discussed in detail in the articles that follow this article. The purpose of this article is only to give a dumbed-down, simplified description of this correspondence. The path of awakening that leads to the direct experience of nondual reality, which is called truth realization or spiritual enlightenment, is also discussed in the following articles but not in this article, which solely deals with the conceptual framework.

The only reason that we can discuss absolute nothingness at all is because we all have the direct experience of our own consciousness. In its ultimate formless form, consciousness is absolute nothingness. The ultimate, primordial, formless form or stateless state of consciousness is absolute nothingness. In this ultimate state, nothing is perceived. This ultimate state is undivided, which is why it is called one. This ultimate state is unlimited, which is why it is called infinity. This ultimate state is timeless and unchanging, which is why it is called eternity.

This is where a critical distinction must be made. When things are perceived, those things are always perceived in a subject-object relation. The subject is the perceiver, the object is whatever is being perceived, and the relation between them is perception. This subject-object relation defines self and other at the level of perception, as demonstrated in the statement I see you. In the ultimate state of absolute nothingness, nothing is perceived. There is no subject-object relation, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness is called nondual. There is no self and other, which is why the ultimate state of consciousness can be called No-self. Nothing is perceived in this ultimate state of consciousness, which is why it can also be called No-thing. No concepts or other forms of mental imagination are perceived, which is why it can be called No-mind.

In the nondual tradition of Advaita Vedanta, this ultimate state of absolute nothingness is called Brahman. If the only thing in existence was the absolute nothingness of No-thing or No-mind, then there would be no purpose for a conceptual explanation of reality. You have to have a mind that can create concepts before you can create a conceptual explanation of reality. In the ultimate state of consciousness, there is no mind, there are no concepts and there are no explanations.

This brings us to the conceptual problem of how anything is created. How are concepts created? How is something created from nothing? How is a mind created? This is where the conceptual framework of Advaita Vedanta makes its great leap forward. Before you can create a mind, before you can create concepts, before you can create anything, you have to have a Self, since that Self is what perceives things in a subject-object relation. Where does the Self come from?

Advaita Vedanta answers the question of where the Self comes from in terms of Brahman. The Self is called Atman, which is divided from Brahman. The Self is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness that perceives things in a subject-object relation, which is a secondary or derivative state of consciousness. This derivative state of consciousness has the nature of duality, as things are always perceived in a dualistic state of self and other, but the source of this dualistic state is the nondual nature of Brahman. Brahman is the source of Atman, which is why Brahman is also called the Source. Atman can only come into existence when it is divided from Brahman.

To use a useful metaphor, the Source is like the ocean, and the Self is like a drop of water that is spit out of the ocean. The reason this metaphor is useful is because the Self always perceives things from its own point of view. To continue the metaphor, that point of view is the drop of water spit out of the ocean. The Self always carries with itself its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness that perceives things from its own point of view as it perceives things in subject-object relation. That sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view is often referred to as I Am, which is why the Self is also called I Am. This sense of being present at a point of view is a sense of individual existence that must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source, which has no sense of individual being. The Self can only come into its own individual existence when that drop of water is divided from the ocean.

In some sense, the sense of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self is the first concept that must be expressed before any other concepts can be created. Those other concepts are always perceived in a subject-object relation, and the concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness of the Self must come into existence before those other concepts can be created and perceived by the Self. This first concept of individual existence or I-Am-ness must be divided from the undivided existence or being of the Source before anything else can be created and perceived by the Self.

There are two other qualities of the Self besides its sense of being present that are critical for this explanation. The first quality is the concept of energy. The Self always carries with itself its own energy. That energy can be understood as the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean. The point of view of the Self, the drop of water so to speak, is moving relative to the unmoving ocean. That motion can be understood as a vibration that gives the Self its own energy.

In the nondual sense of absolute nothingness, the ocean has no motion and has no energy. When we say the ocean spits out the drop of water as the Self is divided from its Source, that is not quite correct. The drop of water of the Self begins to congeal around itself due to its own motion or vibration as it begins to express energy. The drop of water differentiates itself from the ocean by expressing its own energy. The ocean doesn’t spit out the drop of water. The drop of water spits itself out of the ocean due to its relative motion or vibration that gives it energy.

The energy of the Self is often referred to as consciousness in motion, which is literally the point of view of the Self in motion relative to the unmoving ocean. The individual being of the Self, with its own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at its own point of view as it perceives things in a subject-object relation, is literally in a state of motion or vibration relative to the unmoving ocean. The Self is literally spitting itself out of the ocean due to its own motion or expression of energy. That expression of energy is how the Self divides itself from its Source.

Something strange happens when the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy. The ocean appears to have a surface. In its unmoving state, the ocean has no surface and is unlimited, but when the Self divides itself from its Source, the ocean appears to have a surface from that particular point of view. That surface arises because the Self is expressing energy in a state of motion. There is really no good way to understand how this happens without using concepts of modern theoretical physics and the holographic principle. The interested reader is referred to the articles that follow this article for a scientific explanation for how it’s possible for the surface to arise based on the concepts of modern theoretical physics.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the ocean appears to have a surface, and that surface limits the perceptions of the Self. To use another useful analogy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Again, the interested reader is referred to the following articles that explain in terms of the holographic principle how the surface acts as a holographic screen that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality.

When the Self divides itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy, the surface of the ocean acts like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Like a computer screen, the surface encodes bits of information that give rise to the appearance of images projected from the screen to the point of view of the Self that perceives those images. Encoding bits of information on the surface is the essence of the holographic principle. This is inherently a divided and limited state of consciousness since the Self must divide itself from its Source to perceive those images, and the surface must limit the perceptions of the Self before those images can be projected from the screen to the Self. This perception of images by the Self is only possible because the Self has divided itself from its Source through the expression of its own motion and energy that gives rise to the appearance of the surface that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality.

The second quality of the Self besides its own expression of energy is its focus of attention. The Self has to focus its attention on whatever it is perceiving. The Self has to focus its attention on the images it perceives projected from its own surface of the ocean that is like a computer screen that displays images of a computer-generated virtual reality. Those images are projected to the point of view of the Self, and the Self must focus its attention on those images for that projection to occur. There is a reciprocal relation between the Self focusing its attention on the images and the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self where the images are perceived, which is the inherent nature of the subject-object relation.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The focus of attention of the Self is also referred to as the light of consciousness since it is like the light of a movie projector that projects images from a movie screen to the point of view of the Self, which is like an observer out in the movie audience that perceives the images. The Self as a focal point of perceiving consciousness is also the source of the light of consciousness that projects images from the screen back to the Self through its focus of attention on those images.

The Self literally projects images of its own virtual reality as it focuses its attention on different aspects of that virtual reality. The perception of images of that virtual reality by the Self can only occur through the projection of those images from the screen to the point of view of the Self. That projection only occurs due to the Self focusing its attention on those images. The virtual reality is not only a projected reality, but also an animated reality. That animation arises over a sequence of projections. It is literally the energy of the Self that arises from the motion of the Self relative to the unmoving ocean that creates that animation. These two aspects of the Self explain the nature of the virtual reality. The focus of attention of the Self gives rise to the projection of images. The motion and energy of the Self gives rise to the animation of images. The animation of the projected images is often described as waves that appear on the surface of the ocean.

Even more central to the Self than its expression of energy or its focus of attention is its own sense of being present. Before the Self can focus its attention on the images of its virtual reality and project those images and before the Self can express its energy and animate those images, the Self must be present to play the virtual reality game. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then images of the game cannot be projected and images of the game cannot be animated. If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, there is no sense of the individual being or I-Am-ness of a presence of consciousness that perceives and plays the game.

If the Self is not present to play the virtual reality game, then the individual existence of the Self ceases to exist as an individual presence of consciousness present at its own point of view. What happens to that presence of consciousness? The Self must return to its Source. This state of return is described as a dissolution, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

What is the purpose of playing the virtual reality game? The answer is quite simple. The purpose is to live a life. The Self appears to live a life as it identifies itself with its character in the virtual reality game that it plays. The Self is both projecting the image of its character and animating that image as it plays the game. The Self literally expresses the energy that animates that life as it expresses the desire to live that life. What is the purpose of appearing to live that life? This is the same question as why is something better than nothing. The only alternative to appearing to live a life in the virtual reality game that the Self creates for itself as it plays the game is to return to the absolute nothingness of its Source. The virtual reality game is inherently conceptual in nature, and there are many interesting questions that the Self can ask itself and then look for answers. The virtual reality game is amusing, and the Self can amuse itself by playing the game.

The Self is willing to play the game as long as the game is amusing, but when the game is no longer amusing, what other option does the Self really have? The Self can always choose not to play the game. The Self has a limited ability to choose what it perceives in its own virtual reality through its focus of attention that projects images of the virtual reality and the way it expresses its energy that animates images of the virtual reality, but the Self has an absolute ability to choose whether or not to play the game. When the Self chooses not to play the game and it no longer focuses its attention on the game or expresses its energy in the game, the Self must return to its Source. When the Self is no longer willing to play the game, it returns to its true home.

The Origin of Connectedness

In terms of nondual reality, the source or origin of connectedness can be understood in terms of the undivided and unlimited nature of the absolute nothingness of Brahman, which can also be called undifferentiated consciousness. At the level of a holographic world, connectedness in action can be understood in terms of quantum entanglement. A holographic world is inherently an entangled world. Where does this entanglement come from? The answer is really quite simple. A holographic world is just like a computer-generated virtual reality that must inherently incorporate the ideas of energy and information, which is called entropy. In the last 25 years modern physics has given a perfectly good scientific explanation for how the virtual reality is created in terms of very general principles of potentiality. The basic idea is that the building blocks of the virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information and the flow of energy. In quantum theory, the basic idea of a quantized bit of information is called a qubit. The simplest mathematical representation of a qubit is in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, while its two eigenvalues define information in a binary code, like a spin ½ variable that can only point up or down. The surface of the sphere can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, like the event horizon of a black hole or a cosmic horizon that arises with the accelerated expansion of space, which is called dark energy or a cosmological constant. An nxn SU(2) matrix defined on that spherical surface can encode n qubits of information. This is the fundamental nature of the holographic principle of quantum gravity that tells us the accelerated observer’s event horizon acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck Size Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things not only include the elementary particles of the standard model of particle physics, but also the dynamical nature of space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity. Everything observable is reducible to qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. An emotionally animated human life-form that appears in the observer’s holographic world is also reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Mental phenomena can also be added as another aspect of the observable things, such as thoughts, memories, self-concepts, and other forms of mental imagination. The holographic principle not only explains the nature of information in terms of qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which are inherently entangled as they arise as the eigenvalues of a matrix, but also explains the thermodynamic flow of energy through the observer’s world in terms of the Unruh temperature of its event horizon, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration in its accelerated frame of reference. That acceleration is always relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness. Physicists made the mistake in the late nineteenth century of assuming that the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, which they called the ether, was a part of their holographic world, but it’s not. Absolute nothingness is beyond a holographic world, which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Only the motion of the observer is relative to the unmoving nature of absolute nothingness. The observer itself must arise from that absolute nothingness at a point of view like a drop arises from the ocean.

The big mistake people make is to assume that absolute nothingness is a part of the world they perceive. It is not. The world is a holographic world which is like a computer-generated virtual reality. Absolute nothingness is beyond that holographic world. Only the motion of the observer itself is relative to the motionless nature of absolute nothingness, but the observer is only a point of view that separates or divides itself from the undivided totality of that absolute nothingness. The observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness, which is called the Self. The Self must divide itself from its Source through the energy of its relative motion. That point of view always arises in relation to a holographic screen that encodes information and projects images of a holographic world.  The holographic screen is an event horizon that only arises because of the observer’s accelerated motion relative to absolute nothingness. Things only appear to move in that holographic world because of holographic projection and animation. Only the observer is really moving and really exists. Everything else that appears to move and exist is a holographic illusion created by holographic projection and animation. Everything else is no more real than a freaking holographic movie. Only the observer really exists and moves, but the observer must divide itself from absolute nothingness for that holographic movie to appear to exist.

The concept of duality is only valid at the level of perceiving things. There must be a source of the things being perceived and a source of the perceiver who is perceiving things. The source of perception can only be described as absolute nothingness, which is inherently nondual. The Self divides itself from its Source by expressing energy and moving relative to its unmoving Source. That motion is what creates the limitation of a holographic world. The Source is not only undivided but also unlimited. The Source cannot be conceptualized except in terms of negation.

Duality only applies at the level of a subject-object relation that defines self and other. There must be a Self that is perceiving things, and there must be something that is being perceived. Duality only applies at the level of perceiving things in the world, or in the mental imagination of thoughts, memories and daydreams, or in an actual dream. Where is your duality when you fall into a deep sleep and everything in your world disappears from existence from your own point of view? People in neuroscience would like you to believe that you become unconscious in deep sleep, but that’s not true. You’re never really unconscious because you’re consciousness itself. In deep sleep you become aware of nothing, but you don’t remember you were aware of nothing because there is a gap in your memory. Lack of memory is no proof that you didn’t continue to exist as consciousness when you were in deep sleep and were aware of nothing. In deep sleep, you’re aware of existing as that nothingness. There is no duality at the level of self and other in the awareness of nothingness, only the absolute nothingness of consciousness in its ultimate nondual stateless state. When that ultimate state of being aware of existing as nothingness is reached, like the Buddha, you can say “Truly, I have attained nothing from total enlightenment“.

Nonduality is an essential aspect for any explanation for the nature of the world understood in terms of the holographic principle since there must be a source of the perceiving consciousness of the observer of that world and a source for the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic world is defined on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for that world, which only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The energy of that acceleration is expressed when the desire to live a life in that world is expressed. When that acceleration comes to an end, the observer’s world must disappear from existence. When everything disappears, nothing remains.

The holographic principle, as a conceptual framework for the nature of information and energy, interpreted in the conceptual framework of nonduality, as an understanding for the nature of consciousness, is the only known logically consistent way for how to create a world that is free of paradoxes of self-reference that arise when the observer of that world is equated with some observable thing in that world, which along the lines of Godel’s incompleteness theorems would shake the foundations of the mathematical consistency of that world, and free of the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the the Wigner friend paradox, that arise whenever multiple observers are assumed to exist in the same observable world. The price we pay for the logical consistency of that world is that world isn’t really real. It’s a holographic world. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Why is there life on planet earth? Consciousness is manifesting its desire to live that life. The emotional energy of that desire is expressed in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the energy of that accelerated motion, and that desire is manifested in terms of how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in its accelerated frame of reference. The whole freaking thing is a holographic illusion. Images of the holographic virtual reality are projected from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy over a sequence of holographic projections. Only the consciousness or divided spiritual being of the observer (the individual spirit or Self) is real, which is the nature of Atmanic consciousness that is divided from Brahmanic consciousness and limited by a holographic screen. The Source of the whole freaking thing is the undivided and unlimited spiritual being of Brahmanic consciousness (the One undivided spirit). The irony of the One is the Source can only be described in terms of negation or non-conceptual terms as absolute nothingness, which is not only one in the sense of being undivided or non-dual but also infinite in the sense of being unlimited and nothing in the sense of being absolute nothingness.

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

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

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world-Nisargadatta Maharaj

♦♦♦

Can the Insentient Body Awaken?

People who talk about the awakening of the body are really just giving into and indulging in their desire to express the desires of the body, like sexual desires. That’s why this kind of talk attracts so much attention. Nisargadatta calls this “the desire for embodied existence”, which “is the root cause of trouble”. That trouble is called delusion, which is the I-am-the-body idea. The insentient body can’t awaken. The body is part of the dream. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains. The true nature of the dreamer is consciousness, not the body. Only consciousness can awaken to the truth of what it really is. Awakening of consciousness to the true nature of its being is called spiritual enlightenment or truth realization. Consciousness only realizes the true nature of what it is when it awakens and its delusional belief in the I-am-the-body idea comes to an end. Awakening is only the realization by consciousness of the true nature of the existence of consciousness.

There is no such thing as the evolution of consciousness. Evolution only applies to the body. Evolution is driven by the development and expression of emotions. All emotional expressions in the sense of the expression of fear and desire are survival emotions that defend the survival and the reproduction of the form of the body. Evolution in the sense of the survival of the fittest body is selecting those emotions that are best able to defend the survival and the reproduction of the body. That’s the nature of natural selection. Evolution is the reason a body is created and expresses survival emotions. Evolution is all about the survival and the reproduction of the form of the body, but that’s not the true nature of what consciousness really is.

Evolution is messing with consciousness. When the survival emotions of fear and desire are expressed by a body, consciousness emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of that body because it feels emotionally self-limited to the form of that body. That’s why consciousness believes it is a body, but that belief, the I-am-the-body idea, is an emotionally energized false belief. Consciousness only believes that false belief about itself because the belief is emotionally constructed and feels real as consciousness perceives it. Consciousness is messing with itself because consciousness believes this false belief about itself, which is why it focuses its attention on that false belief and continues to emotionally construct that false belief.

When consciousness focuses its attention on that false belief, it allows for the expression of survival emotions that continue to emotionally construct that false belief it believes about itself. Consciousness falsely believes that it is a body. That false belief only arises because evolution allows that false belief to become emotionally constructed through the development and the expression of survival emotions that defend the survival of the body. That’s how evolution messes with consciousness, but consciousness messes with itself when it believes that false belief about itself and continues to allow that false belief about itself to become emotionally constructed, which it can only do as it focuses its attention on that false belief.

Awakening can only happen when consciousness no longer believes that false belief about itself, which means the emotions that underlie the emotional construction of that false belief are no longer expressed. The only way consciousness can stop messing with itself and stop expressing those emotions is if it stops paying attention to them. Consciousness has to see the emotionally energized false beliefs it believes about itself to be an illusion of what it is, lose interest in paying attention to the illusion, and stop expressing the body survival emotions that underlie the emotional construction of those false beliefs. That’s how consciousness awakens from its false belief that it is a body. That awakening is not evolutionary because it’s not about the survival and the reproduction of the form of the body. That awakening is evolution derailed.

Awakening can only occur in a desireless state in which emotions are no longer expressed. When the emotions that animate the form of your body are no longer expressed, you’re as good as dead. Awakening can only happen when you’re willing to die at the level of body death. The body doesn’t really have to die, only the emotionally energized body-based self-concept or ego has to die away. To awaken, you have to become willing to die at the level of ego-death. That can only happen when you become desireless and stop expressing body survival emotions. The problem is, nobody really wants to die. That’s why you have to clearly see the nature of the false beliefs you believe about yourself and come to hate those false beliefs so much that you’d rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live the life of a lie.

Talking about body awakening is an oxymoron. It’s a contradiction in terms. This contradiction in terms is inherent in the I-am-the-body idea, and is the essence of the problem that leads to the emotional construction of the delusional false beliefs that consciousness believes about itself. Consciousness believes it is a body. It believes that false belief about itself because the belief feels real as consciousness perceives the expression of self-limiting emotions that make it feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of the body. The insentient body can’t perceive anything. Only consciousness can perceive things, but in that perception of things, it comes under the sway of emotionally energized false beliefs that it believes about itself because those false beliefs feel real. Being under the sway of these false beliefs is like a hypnotic trance.

The desires of the body are strong because evolution and natural selection have made them strong. Expressions of desire by the body are strong because that’s how the form of the body survives and reproduces its form. If that’s where you focus your attention, that’s what you’ll get. If you focus your attention on the expression and satisfaction of desires, you’ll only get the expression of more desires. That’s how the hypnotic trance is perpetuated. There is no such thing as the awakening of the body. The emotional feeling of the expression of body desires is just what you’re aware of when you focus your attention on expressing and satisfying desires. What is called the awakening of the body is just your intensification of the focus of your attention on the expression of body desires. It only leads to the expression of more body desires.

Awakening is only about seeing the expression of body desires as false since their expression leads to the emotional construction of your body-based self-concept or ego. You have to see their expression as false before you can withdraw your attention away from them. When you see them as false, you lose interest in them, stop paying attention to them, and withdraw your attention away from them. That’s when you can shift the focus of your attention away from them and begin to look within. The first thing you have to focus your attention on when you look within is your own sense of being present or I-Am-ness. That sense of being present as a presence of consciousness is called the witness, the Self or I Am. You can only find the witness at the central point of view of your own world. You first have to stabilize your attention on your own sense of being present as the witness. Eventually you’ll have to look beyond the sense of being present, beyond the witness, and look into the emptiness of your own being. That emptiness is called the void. All you’ll find there is emptiness and silence. If you look into the emptiness of your own being in a desireless state in which you’ve given up the expression of all your desires, you’ll eventually fall into the void and dissolve back into the void. In that dissolution, your sense of Self-ness or I-Am-ness falls away, and only the true nature of your being remains.

The void is the motionless background of all perceptions. To fall into and dissolve back into the void, you also have to become motionless. That motionless state is a desireless state free from the expression of all emotions. Awakening is described as an oceanic experience, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean. In that oceanic experience, there is no witness. There is no body and there is no world for the witness to witness. There is no sense of being present, and no sense of Self-ness or I-Am-ness. There is only the ocean of consciousness. When you awaken, your world disappears from existence and you no longer are a witness. You are the ocean.

Eckhart Tolle describes his awakening experience in The Power of Now:

“I cannot live with myself any longer”. This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with. Maybe, I thought, only one of them is real.

I was so stunned by this strange realization that my mind stopped. I was fully conscious, but there were no more thoughts. Then I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an intense fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words ‘resist nothing’, as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly, there was no more fear, and I let myself fall into that void.

I knew that something profoundly significant had happened to me. I understood that the intense pressure of suffering that night must have forced my consciousness to withdraw from its identification with the unhappy and deeply fearful self, which is ultimately a fiction of the mind. This withdrawal must have been so complete that this false, suffering self immediately collapsed, just as if a plug had been pulled out of an inflatable toy. What was left was my true nature as the ever-present ‘I am’: consciousness in its pure state prior to identification with form. Later I also learned to go into that inner timeless and deathless realm that I had originally perceived as a void and remain fully conscious.

Bernadette Roberts describes her awakening experience in The Experience of No-self:

When the joy of my own emptiness began to wane I decided to rejuvenate it by spending some solitary time gazing into my empty self. Though the center of self was gone, I was sure the remaining emptiness, the silence and joy, was God Himself. Thus on one occasion, with full hedonistic deliberation, I settled myself down and turned my gaze inward. Almost immediately the empty space began to expand, and expanded so rapidly it seemed to explode; then, in the pit of my stomach I had the feeling of falling a hundred floors in a non-stop elevator, and in this fall every sense of life was drained from me. The moment of landing I knew: When there is no personal self, there is also no personal God. I saw clearly how the two go together-and where they went, I have never found out.

Osho gives a similar description of the awakening experience:

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. That being is void.

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.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

Nisargadatta describes the awakening experience as the realization of your true being:

Desire for embodied existence is the root-cause of trouble.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

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

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.
You are that point of consciousness.
By your movement the world is ever created.
Stop moving and there will be no world.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

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

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

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.

Destroy the wall that separates, the ‘I-am-the-body-idea’.

The realized man is beyond life and death. Life and death appears to him but a way of expressing movement in the immovable, change in the changeless. He has died before his death and he saw that there was nothing to be afraid of. The moment you know your real being you are afraid of nothing.

If you desire nothing, then you are as good as dead, or you are the Supreme.

Your true home is in nothingness.

By itself nothing has existence.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness.

There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only. One is as one always is.

The Supreme is both creation and dissolution, the beingness of all beings, the ground from which all grows, alone. Words do not reach there, nor mind.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

Realize that it is not you who moves from dream to dream, but the dreams flow before you and you are the immutable witness. Nothing affects your real being.

You are the changeless background against which changes are perceived.

The Supreme state neither comes nor goes. It is.
It is a timeless state, ever present.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

Realization is sudden and irreversible. You rotate into a new dimension.

You see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

The I Am in movement creates the world.
The I Am at peace becomes the Absolute.

The experience of the inner void is an explosion into reality.

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

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.

The Tao describes the awakening experience:

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

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

Chuang-Tzu perfectly describes that to awaken to your true being is to become nobody:

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

Download the PDF documents:

♦♦♦

God Sees Everything, but From Many Different Points of View

God Sees Everything, but From Many Different Points of View

You Are One of God’s Many Points of View

Is it possible to understand the true nature of God? Is it possible to understand the true nature of our own existence? The answer is yes, but this answer must be qualified in terms of whether that understanding is only at a conceptual level or whether that understanding arises from one’s own direct experience. The ultimate understanding can only arise when one directly experiences the true nature of one’s own existence, but even without that ultimate experience, it is still possible to understand the nature of that existence at a conceptual level, which is really all that’s possible in this kind of an essay. What’s novel about this essay is that this conceptual understanding will be explained in terms of scientific concepts of modern physics. Understanding the nature of one’s own existence at a conceptual level has been possible for a very long time, but only recently has it become possible to translate this understanding into scientific concepts of modern physics, which has the advantage of clearing up a lot of the confusion that swirls around this conceptual understanding. The scientific concepts clear up the confusion in a straightforward way.

The ancient understanding can be found in many sacred texts, such as the Vedas or the Tao. The ancient understanding that will be relied upon in this essay is that found in Advaita Vedanta, since this resonates most closely with the scientific understanding of modern physics. The first thing to be clear about is what we mean by God. Unlike the western concept of a personal God, in the east, the concept of God is impersonal. In Advaita Vedanta, the ultimate concept of God is called Brahman. To be clear, Brahman is not a person. The impersonal nature of Brahman is often conceptualized in terms of absolute nothingness or the void. The absolute irony of this concept is that absolute nothingness cannot really be conceptualized, and so we’re trying to talk about a concept of something that’s inherently non-conceptual. We’re trying to do something that is impossible. We’re trying to conceptualize something, the absolute nothingness of Brahman, that is inherently non-conceptual in nature. The basic problem is we can only conceptualize the nature of perceivable things that appear in the world. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is beyond the world that we perceive, and cannot be conceptualized. No wonder there is so much confusion when we try to talk about God, but this confusion goes much deeper than that. The confusion has to do with the true nature of what we really are, which at its source is Brahman.

This confusion about the non-conceptual nature of Brahman, which at essence is the true nature of what we really are, is the reason that in all nondual traditions, like Advaita Vedanta, Taoism and Zen Buddhism, no value is given to any possible conceptual explanation. Value is only given to the direct experience of Brahman, which is understood as the direct experience of the truth of what one really is. This direct experience of the true nature of what one is, is called awakening, spiritual enlightenment, or truth realization. Just like with awakening from a dream, when the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains, one realizes that one is not really a part of the dream, but rather the dreamer of the dream. In terms of the absolute nothingness of Brahman, when everything is the world one perceives disappears from existence and only the absolute nothingness of Brahman remains, one realizes that one still exists as that absolute nothingness even though one perceives nothing. Spiritual enlightenment or awakening is the realization of the truth of what one really is in the sense that one knows that one still exists as Brahman even though one perceives nothing. The problem with trying to talk about spiritual enlightenment or awakening is that absolute nothingness cannot be conceptualized.

In spite of this problem, we have to start somewhere, and the best place to start is with the concept of Brahman as absolute nothingness. Brahman is the ultimate impersonal nature of God, which can never really be conceptualized. When we say that God sees everything, we’re talking about the consciousness of God, as in perceiving things. This is where things get a bit tricky. At the ultimate level of absolute nothingness, which is the ultimate level of Brahman, nothing is perceived. The perception of things requires a presence of perceiving consciousness. In Advaita Vedanta, that presence of perceiving consciousness is called Atman. Atman is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world, which perceives everything in that world. The tricky aspect of the explanation is in terms of how we get from the ultimate impersonal consciousness of Brahman, which perceives nothing, to the presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of its own world, which perceives everything in that world.

The way this is understood in Advaita Vedanta is that Brahman is the Source of Atman. Brahman is called the Source, and Atman is called the Self. Atman is also called I Am or the witness. In spiritual terms, Brahman is the spiritual Source of Atman, while Atman is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world that perceives everything in that world.

The key concept that allows for an understanding of this relation of Brahman to Atman is that the consciousness of Brahman is undivided and unlimited, while the consciousness of Atman is divided and limited. The perceiving consciousness of Atman is a divided and limited kind of consciousness that is the nature of all individual consciousness, as in your consciousness or my consciousness, while the undivided and unlimited consciousness of Brahman is the ultimate nature of consciousness, as in the Source of all consciousness. All individual consciousness must be divided from undivided consciousness. That individual consciousness always arises at a point of view. The individual perceiving consciousness of Atman is always present at the central point of view of its own perceivable world as it perceives everything in that world.

The individual consciousness of Atman, present at the central point of view of its own world as it perceives everything in that world, seems as though it is a personal consciousness that belongs to a person in that world, but that perception is an illusion. The form of a person that appears in the world the perceiving consciousness of Atman perceives is just another thing that appears in that world. Atman is present at the central point of view of that world and perceives everything in that world, including the form of the person to which that consciousness seems to belong. In reality, everything in that world, including the form of the person, belongs to Atman. Atman can only appear to be a person in that world when it identifies itself with the form of that person. Personal self-identification is an illusion created as Atman identifies itself with a person.

The illusion of personal self-identification is created due to the expression of emotions. The expression of emotional energy is what animates the form of a person. Atman not only perceives the form of the person but also the flow of emotional energy that animates that form. Organs of sensory perception in the form of a body are only transmitting this flow of emotional energy. The form of a person is like the central character in a virtual reality movie that Atman is watching. As Atman perceives the emotional energy animating that form, Atman feels emotionally self-limited to that animated form, which naturally leads Atman to identify itself with that personal form. In reality, Atman is at the central point of view of its own world and perceives everything in that world, including the form of the person that it mistakenly takes itself to be in that world.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, this refers to the undivided consciousness of Brahman becoming divided into the many different points of view of Atman. Each point of view, which is a presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of its own world, perceives everything in that world. Each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman perceives its own world. That world is inherently limited, and so the presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman at the center of that world is not only divided but also limited. These points of view arise within the undivided and unlimited nature of Brahman.

Atman-Brahman

The key concept is that Brahman is the Source of Atman, but there are many different points of view at which a presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman can arise, each at the center of its own world and each perceiving everything in that world. The consciousness of Brahman is unlimited and undivided, while each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that arises within Brahman at the central point of view of its own world is divided and limited. Each point of view of Atman arises within the undivided and unlimited nature of Brahman.

In terms of the true nature of existence, Brahman is understood as the underlying reality or the ground of existence. If we understand that the true nature of being is consciousness, then that underlying reality or ground of existence is undivided and unlimited being. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is the ground of being that is inherently undivided and unlimited. The individual being of Atman, which is inherently divided and limited, arises within the undivided and unlimited being of Brahman. Brahman is the Source of Atman. The individual being of Atman is often referred to as I Am. Atman is aware of its own inherent sense of being present, or I-Am-ness, as it perceives everything in its own perceivable world from the central point of view of that world. The individual being of Atman is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own perceivable world, and is aware of its own inherent sense of being present. Brahman is the spiritual Source of that spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness.

In the sense of personal self-identification, Atman is mistakenly attributing or imparting its own sense of being present or I-Am-ness to the emotionally animated form of a person it perceives in its own world due to its perception of feelings of emotional self-limitation to that personal form. This feeling of personal self-limitation gives rise to a personal self-concept, as self-referential thoughts are created in the form I am a person in the world I perceive that is emotionally related to other things I perceive in that world. The personal self-concept can only arise through the emotional expression of self-referential thoughts. In reality, these self-referential thoughts are no more real than the self-referential narration of a movie by the central character of that movie. In reality, self-referential thoughts are only false beliefs that Atman believes about itself, otherwise known as a delusion. Atman only believes these false beliefs about itself that it is the central character in the movie of the world it perceives due to the emotional energy that animates these thoughts, which makes Atman feel emotionally self-limited to that personal form.

The individual presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman is called the Self because Atman always perceives things in a subject-object relation that defines self and other. Atman is the observer of its own observable world, and that subject-object relation of self and other arises as the observer observes some observable thing in that observable world. The thing to be clear about is that the Self is not a self-concept. The Self is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own perceivable world. A self-concept, which is emotionally created in the form of a self-referential thought, is another thing perceived in that world. The subjective nature of Atman is that spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world, while the objective nature of all things in that world are the perceivable things that can be perceived by Atman. In some sense, those perceivable things are an illusion created as Atman perceives them. The perceivable things can only appear to come into existence as Atman perceives them.

The absolute nothingness of Brahman can be understood as the potentiality to create all the perceivable things that Atman perceives in its own world. Those perceivable things only appear to come into existence as Atman perceives them. If those perceivable things are not perceived by Atman, those things remain in an unperceived state of potentiality. The absolute nothingness of Brahman is the pure potentiality to create the perceivable things, but Atman must perceive them before they can appear to come into existence. If Atman does not perceive that perceivable world, then that world disappears from existence from that particular point of view. In the sense of awakening from its dream, when that perceivable world disappears from existence, the divided perceiving consciousness of Atman, present at the central point of view of that world, must return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of Brahman. This reunion is often described as an oceanic experience, like a drop of water that dissolves back into the ocean.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, this refers to the perceiving consciousness of Atman arising at many different points of view within the absolute nothingness of Brahman. Brahman is the Source of each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that arises at the central point of view of its own world as it perceives everything in that world. Many points of view of Atman can arise within Brahman. These different points of view each perceive their own world, but can share a consensual reality in the sense that the perceivable things of one world are related to the perceivable things of another world to the degree that those perceivable worlds overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram. This overlapping of perceivable worlds, each perceived by a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of that world, is possible because each perceivable world is inherently limited.

Overlapping Limited Worlds Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Many Observers, each Present at the Central Point of View of its own Perceivable World

At this point, we’ve gone about as far as we can in terms of explaining the nature of things in terms of the ancient concepts of Advaita Vedanta. If we want to go further in terms of explaining things, we’ll have to rely on scientific explanations, which means we’ll have to use scientific concepts. The remarkable thing is that in the last 25 years, modern physics has supplied us with those scientific concepts in terms of what is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity.

In the explanations that follow in this article, the holographic principle will only be discussed at a basic level, just enough to flesh out the argument. For those interested in the mathematical details, the holographic principle is discussed at greater length and in more detail in following articles. The references also include many scientific books and articles that substantiate these ideas, but to gain a scientific understanding of the nondual concepts of Advaita Vedanta, it is only necessary to understand the holographic principle at a basic level. It turns out that is actually pretty easy to do without the use of much math since the holographic principle is fundamentally a geometric concept, and all of us have the inherent intuitive ability to understand geometry.

The holographic principle is formulated in terms of an observer observing its own holographic world. The observer observing observable things in its own holographic world always defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The objective nature of all observable things the observer can observe are forms of information animated in the flow of energy. The holographic principle tells us that these forms of information can always be reduced to quantized bits of information, called qubits, encoded on a holographic screen. In some sense, the perception of an observable thing by the observer is like the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer outside the screen. The observer’s holographic screen is like a computer that encodes bits of information on pixels, and the perception of a form of information is like the projection of an image from the screen to the observer’s point of view outside the screen. The images of things are always reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Those projected images are then animated in the flow of energy, just like the energy that energizes the operation of a computer.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The holographic principle is telling us that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen. In reality, all the observable things the observer can observe are nothing more than forms of information projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections in the flow of energy, just like the projected and animated frames of a movie projected from and animated on a computer screen.

The observable things the observer can observe in its own holographic world not only include macroscopic things, like bodies, planets, stars and galaxies, but also microscopic things, like atoms and molecules, and elementary particles like electrons and photons of the electromagnetic force that comprise atoms, and quarks and gluons of the strong nuclear force that comprise the atomic nucleus. All of these observable things are forms of information that can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer can also observe the flow of energy through its own holographic world that animates the form of all these observable things. Both the form of things, which are projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view, and the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world, which animates the form of all things, are observable. Only the observer can observe all these observable things, but the holographic principle goes even further in terms of explaining the nature of observable things that can appear in the observer’s holographic world.

The 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is also observable and can be observed by the observer. The holographic principle says that the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. That’s what makes the observer’s world a holographic world. All the qubits of information that define whatever can appear to happen in some bounded three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space, which acts as the observer’s holographic screen. All the observable objects that appear to occupy space in that three dimensional bounded region of space are reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s two dimensional holographic screen that arises as a bounding surface of space. The observable objects are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view and animated in the flow of energy that energizes the observer’s holographic world over an animated sequence of holographic projections, just like the animated frames of a movie projected from a computer screen. The observer’s 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of its own holographic world arises as forms of information are projected from its holographic screen and appear to occupy three dimensional space and are animated in the flow of energy, like the projected and animated frames of a movie. The images of the movie are holographic and appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they’re reducible to qubits of information encoded on a two dimensional holographic screen. The perception of three dimensional space arises through holographic projection. The perception of the dimension of time arises in the sense of the perceivable flow of energy through that holographic world and the holographic animation of those images.

The observer is observing the dynamical nature of its own 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that characterizes its holographic world, which is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world. The dynamical nature of this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity in the sense of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The force of gravity is nothing more than this dynamical curvature of the observer’s space-time geometry, which is formulated in relativity theory in terms of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The space-time metric is a field, just like the fields of the electromagnetic force or the nuclear forces. The space-time metric is the field of the gravitational force, which is understood as the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The holographic principle says that all of these force fields can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world.

In relativity theory, the observer is understood in the sense of a reference frame. The observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. The holographic principle is telling us that the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity in the observer’s holographic world, can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This is a consequence of the principle of equivalence, which tells us the observed force of gravity is equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. Only an accelerating observer observes the force of gravity since that force is always equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. The only way we can even discuss the dynamical nature of the observer’s curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity is to discuss an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. This idea of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference is the key that unlocks all the secrets of the holographic principle. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is what gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. At a very deep level, the observer’s accelerated motion is what is creating the appearance of its own holographic world.

Principle of Equivalence

What gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen? The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. In relativity theory, this two dimensional bounding surface of space is understood to arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Every accelerating observer has its observations of things in space limited by an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. The speed of light is constant for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion, and that constancy of the speed of light gives rise to the limitation of an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. Nothing is observable to an accelerating observer beyond the limits of its own event horizon.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

How does the observer’s event horizon turn into its own holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world, including the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry? The answer is found in all consistent theories of quantum gravity. The first consistent theory of quantum gravity discovered was string theory. String theory then morphed into M-theory, and from M-theory it became possible to deduce the AdS/CFT correspondence, which explicitly confirmed the holographic principle in a mathematically rigorous way. The AdS/CFT correspondence proves that it is possible to construct a holographic world in which all the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world are encoded on a holographic screen, which is a lower dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a higher dimensional region of space. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, the qubits of information are encoded by a conformal field theory. In the case of the AdS/CFT correspondence, that conformal field theory is a super-symmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces. There is no force of gravity on the lower dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen, only a conformal field theory. The force of gravity only appears to be active within the higher dimensional bounded region of space. This appearance of the force of gravity within the bounded region of space in some sense is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. All the fundamental qubits of information that describe the effect of gravity in the bounded region of space are encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The effect of gravity in the bounded region of space can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which also explains how space-time geometry is quantized. String theory and M-theory can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry, as can fractal geometries. With non-commutative geometry, each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon specified by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. In non-commutative geometry, quantized position coordinates are specified by non-commuting variables. The entropy of the observer’s event horizon is given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon. The smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single qubit of information is a Planck-sized event horizon. This fundamentally explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale. A Planck sized event horizon is the smallest possible horizon that can encode a single qubit of information.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck-sized Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Quantum entanglement is the natural result of the superposition of quantum states. In quantum gravity, information states are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are entangled. This is represented by the superposition of information states for that world. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. All the information states for that world are entangled, and so that holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are in a superposition of states and are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix, which are inherently entangled.

We still have to explain the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. Where does that energy come from? The answer is that energy comes from the observer’s own acceleration. The observer’s acceleration gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its own holographic screen when its event horizon encodes qubits of information, but that acceleration also gives rise to the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world.

The secret behind the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world is the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its own accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon arises as the energy of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its own event horizon. This is the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s own holographic world as observed in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf, which is the fundamental defining relation between energy and frequency in quantum theory. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s holographic world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define all those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. The laws of thermodynamics are not really laws of physics, but rather very general statistical relations that specify how thermal energy flows from hotter to colder objects in terms of the dynamical degrees of freedom of those objects. This specifies how objects carry thermal energy, which is understood as the random kinetic energy of those objects. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental nature of the dynamical degrees of freedom of all objects are qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen, which is the nature of the entropy that characterizes those objects. The fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature at thermal equilibrium. The laws of thermodynamics assume thermal equilibrium. Each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good answer, as Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have both demonstrated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between all matter particles also obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. It makes no sense to try to understand the nature of the physical universe in terms of equations that are not fundamental and only give an approximate thermal average description of the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon. The normal flow of heat in the thermal gradient created as the observer’s world increases in size with the expansion of space explains the direction of time’s arrow and the normal flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. The direction of time’s arrow is literally directed in the direction of the expansion of space that gives rise to the creation of the physical universe.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

What’s Wrong with Particle Physics?

The correct way to think about physics is in terms of the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that characterize physical reality. In the point particle formulation of physics, those dynamical degrees of freedom are taken to be particle coordinates that arise in some fixed background space-time-time geometry like Minkowski space. The problem with the point particle formulation of particle physics is that this is a mistaken assumption. In reality, there are no point particles and there is no fixed space-time geometry. The most general way that particle physics can formulate these point particle dynamical degrees of freedom is in terms of the quantum wavefunction, which in quantum field theory is formulated in terms of quantum fields. There are some technical issues in terms of first quantization and second quantization, but in essence the quantum field is the quantum wavefunction that specifies the quantum probability with which a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry, which is usually taken to be Minkowski space. For example, the quantum field of the Dirac equation specifies the quantum probability that the electron can be localized as some point in space at some moment of time. The Schrodinger equation for the hydrogen atom is just a non-relativistic limit of the Dirac equation. In quantum field theory, we also have Maxwell’s equations for the photon field. The electron and photon are both quantum particles, each characterized by their own quantum field. Electrons can interact with each other through the electromagnetic force by emitting and absorbing or by exchanging photons, and with second quantization, photons can create virtual electron-positron pairs that can then annihilate back into photons, which is sort of like the electromagnetic interaction run backwards in time. The key point is the quantum wavefunction specifies the quantum probability that a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry. If that quantum wavefunction is highly localized like a delta-function, then we can recover the Newtonian version of classical particle physics that describes the particle as following a point particle trajectory x=x(t) through the fixed background space-time geometry. This is possible since the quantum wavefunction ѱ=ѱ(x,t) is defined in the fixed background space-time geometry. The point particle coordinates are taken to be the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the point particle formulation of particle physics, which can only be defined in a fixed background space-time geometry. A big problem arises when we try to add gravity to the other fundamental forces, like electromagnetism. By its very nature, gravity is the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. There is simply no logically consistent way to quantize gravity as a quantum field theory since we would then have to assume we have a fixed background space-time geometry, which contradicts the very idea of gravity as the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry.

The holographic principle is the only known logically consistent way to resolve this problem. The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of physical reality are not point particle coordinates defined in some fixed background space-time geometry, but rather qubits of information defined on a holographic screen. The holographic screen in turn is understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s event horizon is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. Particle coordinates defined in that bounded three dimensional region of space are not really fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom, but can only arise in some approximate sense in terms of a thermodynamic equation of state. All the quantum field theories of particle physics along with Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric can only arise as thermal averages in the sense of a thermodynamic equation of state.

The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that actually define physical reality are qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, which arises as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, but even the qubits are not really fundamental. To turn the event horizon into a holographic screen and encode qubits of information on the screen, we have to invoke some geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry that explains how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. We also have to assume there is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference before we can invoke this geometric mechanism. At the end of the day, an observer in its accelerated frame of reference is more fundamental than its holographic screen. In other words, the consciousness of the observer and the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference are both more fundamental than the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that act as the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the observer’s holographic physical world.

The holographic principle is telling us that the fundamental nature of the universe is qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The observer’s holographic screen is understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable in the observer’s holographic world arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of that world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s exactly what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

By its very nature, an observation of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Modern physics has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the true nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

What about the problem of multiple observers observing the same observable world? The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in and observe the same observable world are all the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the Wigner friend paradox. The solution for this problem is the idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers, each of which arises at its own point of view in relation to its own holographic screen. A consensual reality can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view defined on its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, but those screens can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has pointed out.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world from its own point of view eliminates all paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. This way of understanding the nature of observation raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The time evolution of that world, as represented by the quantum wavefunction, only applies to the unobserved state of potentiality of that world. Measurement of that world, as represented by quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s body and the brain that appears in that holographic world can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the independent existence of the observer’s consciousness.

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

Atman-Brahman

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

When we say that God sees everything, but from many different points of view, we’re referring to the ultimate nature of God as the absolute nothingness of Brahman, and to each point of view as the perceiving consciousness of Atman that is present at the center of its own holographic world as it perceives everything in that world. Atman is the spiritual Self of that world, and Brahman is the spiritual Source of Atman. Brahman gives rise to many different points of view, each of which perceives its own holographic world, but ultimately, all points of view arise in Brahman.

Ultimately, the true nature of the observer observing its own holographic world is the absolute nothingness of Brahman, which we also call the void. It is the void that creates a holographic world for its Self to experience. Brahman is the Source of its Self. To have those worldly experiences, the undivided and unlimited consciousness of the void must divide its Self into the divided and limited consciousness of the observer of that world, which is present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. All the experiences that the Self can experience in that holographic world arise from the void in the sense that the void must express energy in order to create that holographic world. The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where all the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates all the information for that holographic world is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon, which then turns into its holographic screen. Modern physics demonstrates with the holographic principle that every experience the Self can experience in its own holographic world arises from the void and occurs within the void, which is the Source of the Self.

God sees everything, but from many different points of view, in the sense that the many different points of view of the Self arise within the Source. The holographic world that each point of view of the Self perceives is defined on its own holographic screen that encodes information for that holographic world. Everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is a form of information projected like an image from its holographic screen to its central point of view and animated in the flow of energy through that holographic world. The holographic screen arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and the energy that animates that holographic world also arises from the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

The possibility of many observers, each present at its own point of view within the void, sharing a consensual reality, only arises when their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of Venn diagram and share information. This kind of information sharing is inherent in the holographic principle due to the phenomena of quantum entanglement. All the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are inherently entangled, but due to consistency relations among overlapping holographic screens, quantum entanglement allows for information sharing among overlapping holographic screens, which allows multiple observers to share a consensual reality. Every observer only observes things in its own holographic world, but in the sense that the void is the Source of all observers, the void observes everything in all holographic worlds. In the sense that the absolute nothingness of Brahman is the ultimate nature of God that creates all holographic worlds and is the Source of each presence of perceiving consciousness of Atman that perceives everything in its own holographic world from the central point of view of that world, God perceives everything in all holographic worlds.

Information Sharing Among Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Creates the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Multiple Observers, Each Present at the Central Point of View of its own Holographic World

The Nature of Delusion

As a final topic of discussion, it’s possible to scientifically discuss how delusion arises and the nature of the awakening process that allows one to break free of delusion. What exactly is meant by delusion? The answer is that the observer of its own holographic world, which is present as a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world, is identifying itself with the form of a person that appears in that holographic world. The nature of delusion is sort of like an observer out in a movie audience that identifies itself with an animated character that appears in the movie the observer is watching, as animated images of the movie are projected from the movie screen to the observer’s point of view out in the movie audience. This is delusional since the movie images are projected from a two dimensional movie screen while the observer out in the movie audience is in a higher dimension outside the screen as the observer observes those animated images. There can only be an illusion that the observer is an animated image that the observer perceives if the observer identifies itself with an image.

The observer, which is a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world, has its own inherent sense of being present or I-Am-ness as it perceives the projected and animated images of its own holographic world, but the observer mistakenly attributes its own sense of being present to the projected and animated image of the form of a person it perceives in that holographic world. In effect, the observer is saying: I am the  projected and animated image of the form of a person I perceive in my own holographic world, which is obviously delusional. Why would the observer believe such a false and delusional belief about itself? The answer has to do with the nature of emotional personal self-identification.

It is simply not possible to discuss the nature of delusion or false personal self-identification without discussing emotions. Personal self-identification is inherently an emotional phenomena. The other thing to be clear about is where emotions come from. The expression of emotions is the expression of energy that animates the form of a person. Just as the form of that person is like an image that is projected to the observer’s point of view from its own holographic screen that can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, the expression of emotional energy that animates the form of the person also arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. That’s where the emotional energy comes from.

The other thing to be clear about is the purpose of emotional expressions. The only purpose of emotions is to defend body survival. The expression of emotions gives rise to the emotional energy that animates the form of a body. The essential nature of emotions is the expression of fear and desire, and the only purpose of emotional expressions is the defense of body survival.

The only scientific way to understand how the expression of emotions defends the survival of a body is with the second law of thermodynamics. A body is an emotionally animated form of information that we call a life-form. The second law of thermodynamics says that a life-form, which is a form of information that is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way as that form is animated, can only become self-replicated in form if its entropy decreases, which requires the entropy of the life-form and its environment to increase as the self-replicating form incorporates the organizing potential energy of attractive forces into its form while it also sheds disorganizing thermal energy into the environment. That is how all life-forms are self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. That’s what we call life, which inherently requires the life-form to eat potential energy and to shed thermal energy into its environment. The problem is, where can the life-form find the potential energy it needs to eat in order to self-replicate its form? The answer is it finds that potential energy in other life-forms. To self-replicate its form, the life-form must eat other life-forms while it also avoids being eaten by other life-forms. We call these survival behaviors the emotional expressions of fear and desire, which are necessary behaviors the life-form must express in order for its form to become self-replicated in form in a recognizable way.

The self-replication of a life-form in a recognizable way is described by computational rules that govern how information is organized into form. The problem is the nature of the perceiving consciousness that is recognizing that form cannot itself be described by computational rules. That kind of scientific description would create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. All meaning is given when perceiving consciousness recognizes a form of information that is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. The problem of recognition and giving meaning is not a scientific problem since the nature of recognition can never be reduced to computational rules. Recognition and the giving of meaning is inherent to perceiving consciousness and can never be described scientifically since its true nature cannot be reduced to computational rules.

When perceiving consciousness recognizes itself to be the life-form it perceives, it gives that life-form the meaning of self-identity. By giving meaning to the life-form, perceiving consciousness identifies itself with the life-form. That is the nature of its self-recognition. The problem is self-identification is only a false belief that perceiving consciousness believes about itself. Perceiving consciousness believes itself to be the life-form that it perceives. This self-recognition is always emotionally driven by expressions of fear and desire.

All perceivable self-concepts are created in a subject-object relation of an observer observing some observable thing. In psychological terms, this subject-object relation defines self and other. The true nature of the subject can only be understood as perceiving consciousness, while the nature of the object is whatever is being observed, which modern physics tells us is a form of information. A self-concept is just another perceivable thing that is being observed. As the perceiving consciousness itself, the subject is nothing perceivable. This tells us no self-concept is true. All perceivable self-concepts are false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself.

Self-identification of perceiving consciousness with the life-form it perceives can only be driven by the expression of emotional energy that makes perceiving consciousness feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that life-form as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that life-form. That expression of emotional energy is what creates the false belief that perceiving consciousness believes about itself that it is the life-form it perceives. In reality, perceiving consciousness is nothing perceivable. The true nature of perceiving consciousness can only be described in the sense of negation as the formless nothingness of pure consciousness. Nothing perceiving consciousness can believe about itself is true since it is nothing perceivable.

Bodies can only hold together and self-replicate their forms in a recognizable way due to the emotional expressions of fear and desire that hold them together, but we might ask why these self-limiting emotional expressions arise in a body in the first place? Biology has pretty much answered this question with the idea of environmental selection pressures and the survival of the fittest body. A body only appears to survive in the world if its form is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way over a sequence of events that arise in the flow of emotional energy that animates the body. It turns out that for a variety of reasons that have to do with the balance between potential and kinetic energy that a body can only self-replicate its form if attractive potential energy is added to the body. The addition of attractive potential energy to a body alters the balance between the tendency for random disorganization of form to occur, which physicists call an increase in entropy, and the tendency for coherent organization of form to occur, which can either be understood in terms of the attractive forces that hold forms together or quantum entanglement of the bits of information inherent in those coherently organized forms. At the level of physics, either attractive forces have to hold forms together or quantum entanglement of information has to be at play to result in the coherent organization of information inside forms. Entangled bits of information naturally tend to align together over a sequence of perceivable events, which results in the coherent organization of information inside forms. The potential energy of attractive forces that hold forms together is an inherent aspect of this organization.

The upshot is the form of a body is only self-replicated in form in a recognizable way if potential energy is added to that form. We call the addition of potential energy to a body the process of eating. The big question is where can a body find the potential energy that it needs to eat in order to self-replicate its form and survive in the world? The answer is that potential energy is found in other bodies. This is the fundamental reason why bodies can only survive in the world if they eat other bodies. Bodies must eat other bodies so that they can add potential energy to their forms, which allows that form to become self-replicated in form in a recognizable way. Even plants must eat the photons that arrive from the sun in order to self-replicate their forms.

As previously stated, there is always a balance between the tendency for entropy to increase and the flow of random kinetic energy to disorganize the form of the body and the tendency for the potential energy of attractive forces to hold the form of the body together and maintain that coherent organization of information. If the balance favors an increase in entropy and the flow of random kinetic energy, the body falls apart and becomes disorganized. If the balance favors the potential energy of attractive forces, the body holds together as its form becomes self-replicated in form and that coherent organization of form is maintained. The only way this second scenario can occur is if the body adds potential energy to its form, which requires the body to eat other bodies. A body can only self-replicate its form and survive in the world if it eats other bodies.

Bodies only survive in the world because they eat other bodies. There is a natural selection pressure called the survival of the fittest body that basically says that those bodies that are best able to eat other bodies and avoid being eaten by other bodies are the bodies that are most likely to self-replicate their forms and survive. Self-replication of form is always emotionally driven, since the survival of the fittest body is inherently dependent on emotional expressions by bodies. The coherent organization of information inside a body that allows for self-replication of form in a recognizable way inherently requires the coherent organization of the flow of emotional energy that allows for that self-replication of form as the form of the body is animated. The natural selection pressure of the survival of the fittest body tells us those bodies that are best able to eat other bodies and avoid being eaten by other bodies are the bodies most likely to survive and self-replicate their forms. This natural selection process is always emotionally driven by the expression of emotions that have no other purpose than the survival of the body. These survival emotions are expressed as the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten. The bodies that are best able to survive in the world are those bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat other bodies while they also express the fear of being eaten by other bodies.

The expression of fear and desire are primitive survival emotions necessary for the survival of a body in the world, but the human life-form is also a social animal, and the expression of social emotions also has survival value. The basic problem is that the human life-form is born in an immature state of development in which it is not able to fend for its own survival. The immature human child must be cared for by a caretaker, like its mother. The immature child is dependent on the care of its mother for its survival. This state of dependency leads to the formation of emotional attachments. The child becomes emotionally attached to its mother. The expression of emotional attachments are social emotions necessary for the survival of the immature child. By their very nature, the expression of emotional attachments are immature. Just like the primitive survival emotions of fear and desire, the expression of emotional attachments is also selected for by natural selection in the sense of the survival of the fittest body. The immature body of a child is more likely to survive if it forms an emotional attachment with its mother. The expression of social emotions in the form of emotional attachments is always an immature expression that arises from the dependency of the immature child on its caretakers to insure its body survival.

Living an embodied life in the world is inherently a life that must be lived in conflict. This is not only the emotional conflict that one body expresses against other bodies as that body struggles to survive in a world where bodies must eat each other in order to survive, which gives rise to natural selection and the survival of the fittest body, but also the emotional conflict that occurs within each body as each body expresses the desire to eat other bodies, which is a movement toward, in conflict with the fear of being eaten, which is a movement away. Within each body an emotional conflict is expressed as movement toward, which is an expression of the desire to eat, in conflict with movement away, which is an expression of the fear of being eaten. Even the expression of anger, which is movement against, is in conflict with these expressions of fear and desire. There is no way to resolve emotional conflicts at the level of a body since these conflicts are the only way bodies can survive in the world and self-replicate and reproduce their forms.

The reason these unresolvable emotional conflicts are so important at the level of living an embodied life in the world is because these emotional conflicts are what underlie all the mentally constructed beliefs one has about oneself that one is a body living an embodied life in the world. The mentally constructed body-based self-concept is not only emotionally energized but is also in emotional conflict with itself. These emotional conflicts in large part are what create all the confusion that leads one to believe that one is an embodied person living a life in the world that one perceives. One believes the false belief that one is an embodied person living a life in that world. Unresolvable emotional conflicts are at the core of all the false beliefs people believe about themselves that they are bodies. Awakening from delusion is the process of disbelieving these false beliefs, but awakening can never occur at the same level that these false beliefs are created since the emotional conflicts that underlie them can never be resolved at that level.

People believe whatever they want to believe because that’s what they want to believe, which is another way of saying all beliefs are emotionally driven. All beliefs are mentally constructed in a subject-object relation as a personal self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing the subject perceives in its world. The self-concept is body-based, which is what makes all beliefs false, since the perceiving subject is identifying itself with the form of a body it perceives in its world. That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven, since the perceiving subject really feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that body as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that body.

The holographic principle tells us that the perceiving subject can only be a point of perceiving consciousness that arises at the central point of view of its own holographic world in relation to its own surrounding holographic screen, and that every object that appears in the observer’s world, which is everything the subject can perceive in its world, is a form of information that is projected like an image from the screen to the observer’s central point of view and is animated in the flow of energy. Each projection of an image is like a screen output, and the animation occurs over a sequence of screen outputs. The whole thing is observer-dependent since the projection and animation of images can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, which is how an event horizon arises that acts as a holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates the animation can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The problem is that a perceivable self-concept is just another animated form of information.

The true nature of the subject-object relation is an observer observing some observable thing, where the subject is a point of perceiving consciousness and the object is a projected form of information. When that form of information is self-replicated in form in a recognizable way as the form is emotionally animated, the observer recognizes itself in that form and identifies itself with that form. Emotional self-identification creates all the false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself, as the observer identifies itself with the form of a body-based self-concept that is emotionally related to the form of some other thing the observer perceives in its world.

That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven. The emotional expressions of fear and desire are all about defending the survival of the emotionally animated body. These kinds of survival-oriented emotional expressions are absolutely necessary in a world where bodies must engage in a struggle for survival for the simple reason that a body must eat other bodies while it also avoids being eaten by other bodies in order to self-replicate its form in a recognizable way. That is the nature of the survival of the fittest body. Natural selection will ensure that only the fittest bodies that are best able to express the desire to eat other bodies while they also express the fear of being eaten by other bodies will survive and self-replicate and reproduce their forms.

This brings us back to the question of why people believe whatever they want to believe. The answer is people believe what they want to believe because their beliefs are emotionally driven. Once the perceiving subject emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a body it perceives, the perceiving subject feels emotionally compelled to defend the survival of that body as though its existence depends on it. That is the essential lie at the core of all false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself. The perceiving subject mistakenly believes that its existence depends on the survival of a body it perceives in its own perceivable world.

Body survival is always emotionally driven, which means all the mentally constructed beliefs the perceiving subject has and falsely believes about itself that it is a body in the world it perceives are emotionally driven. Bodies can only survive in the world if they express survival emotions. Those survival emotions are what emotionally energize all body-based self-concepts, which are all false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself. At the core of these false beliefs is the perceiving subject’s desire to survive in the world in the form of a body. People believe what they want to believe because at their core they want to survive in the world in the emotionally animated form of a body. They want to live an embodied life in the world, and the only way that embodied life is possible is if the survival emotions of fear and desire are expressed. That is why they express survival emotions and why they believe what they believe. The whole thing is based on the false beliefs they have about themselves that they are bodies. At their core, beliefs are about body survival. All beliefs are about defending the survival of a body-based self-concept, which itself is only a belief. That is the nature of all false beliefs the perceiving subject believes about itself when it emotionally identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a body.

To be clear about things, the perceiving subject is only perceiving things through the organs of sensory perception of a body. Organs of sensory perception are only transmitting information about whatever is being perceived. Some of the perceptions are external sensory perceptions, like sight and sound, and some are internal sensory perceptions, like emotional body feelings. The observer is mistakenly dividing its world into internal and external based on the boundary of a body. The surface of the body creates a false division between self and other, where self is defined as internal to the body and other is defined as external to the body. The holographic principle tells us that in reality everything the observer can observe is external to itself. Every observable object the observer can observe is a form of information projected from its own holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer itself can only be understood as a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. The observer only has a mistaken perception that a body-based self exists within its own holographic world.

In reality, the perceiving subject is not a body. The true spiritual nature of the perceiving subject is pure consciousness. Pure consciousness has no need for beliefs because it has no need for survival emotions. Pure consciousness does not survive in the world in the form of a body. The body is just another perceivable form of information that consciousness perceives in the world. The true spiritual nature of pure consciousness timelessly exists. It is the ultimate, underlying reality or ground of being that timelessly exists when everything else disappears from existence. Its true formless form is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that timelessly exists.

In order to take this explanation further, it is necessary to make a distinction between individual will and divine will. Individual will arises when a spiritual presence of consciousness mistakenly identifies itself with the emotionally animated form of a body it perceives in its own perceivable world. The expression of individual will always reflects personal bias in the focus of attention of that presence of perceiving consciousness. Personal bias in the observer’s focus of attention on its world leads to the expression of personally biased emotions in that world. The expression of divine will is always unbiased as it has no personal bias.

In order to understand the nature of individual will and divine will, we need to make a short digression into the nature of quantum theory. Quantum theory tells us that every observable thing that can be observed in the world does not actually exist as an observable thing in that world. Instead, everything is included in a quantum state of potentiality. The quantum state of the world is like a sum or superposition of all possible observable states of the world. With any observation of an actual observable state of the world, that specific observable state must be chosen from the quantum state of potentiality that sums over all possible observable states of the world. This sum is usually expressed as a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space, where each point along each of the paths corresponds to a possible observation of the world. In the sense of potentiality, different paths correspond to different possible observations of the world, where a choice must be made at each possible observation of the world about what to observe in the world and which path to follow through the world. Each point along some path is a decision point about what to observe in the world and which path to follow.

Quantum State of Potentiality as a Sum Over All Possible Paths

Quantum theory tells us each path is weighted with a probability amplitude that is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. The quantum wavefunction in turn depends on a quantity called the action, which is like a measure of the distance along that particular path in the information configuration space. The laws of physics enter into the quantum state in that they can always be expressed as an action principle. The laws of physics are inherent in the action that measures distance along the path. The most likely path in the sense of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between two points in the information configuration space, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action is only chosen as the most likely path if choices are made in an unbiased way. Physicists call unbiased choice random choice. In a very real sense, without unbiased choice, the laws of physics lose their predictability and the path of least action is no longer the most likely path. In terms of throwing dice, if there is bias in the way choices are made, the game is rigged and all bets are off.

This leads to a natural explanation of the difference between divine will and individual will. Divine will always makes its choices in an unbiased way. Individual will is always personally biased. Individual will can only arise when a presence of perceiving consciousness identifies itself with the form of a person it perceives in its world. That personal self-identification is always emotionally driven. The perceiving subject feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of that person as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that form. Once the perceiving subject emotionally identifies itself with that personal form, the focus of its attention becomes personally biased to defend the survival of that form as though its existence depends on it. With personal bias in the focus of its attention, choices are made in a personally biased way, which leads to the expression of more personally biased survival emotions.

Why does personal bias arise in the first place? The ultimate answer is natural selection and the survival of the fittest body, but the way natural selection expresses body survival is in terms of the pleasure-pain principle. Eating feels good while being eaten feels bad. The attention of consciousness naturally becomes focused on seeking pleasure and avoiding pain due to its preference to feel good rather than feel bad. This preference has survival value since feeling good, as in satisfying the desire to eat, promotes body survival, while feeling bad, as in being eaten, reduces the chances of body survival. The attention of consciousness naturally becomes directed to feel good rather than feel bad, which leads to personal bias in the way its attention is focused and to the expression of more personally biased survival emotions, like the desire to eat and the fear of being eaten. This has the effect of increasing the chances of body survival. This creates a vicious cycle. The more the attention of consciousness is focused in a personally biased way, the more personally biased survival emotions are expressed. The net result is to express the desire to live in the form of a body while also expressing the fear of body death.

Unbiased choices lead to the normal flow of things. The normal flow of things naturally arises in the flow of energy through the observer’s world as unbiased choices are made and things tend to follow the path of least action. Biased choices are always an interference with the normal flow of things. This interference creates an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things as survival emotions are expressed in a distorted and amplified way, like an out-of-control positive feedback loop. This interference with the normal flow of things leads to distorted and amplified expressions of personally biased survival emotions that make the observer feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person that expresses personally biased survival emotions. In a very real sense, the observer is distorting the flow of energy through its world as it expresses personally biased emotions. This is only possible because the emotional energy that underlies the expression of those emotions arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, but even that accelerated frame of reference can only arise in the normal flow of energy through the observer’s world. That normal flow of energy can only arise as an expression of divine will.

The only reason these personally biased choices can be made is because the quantum state of potentiality allows for the possibility of choice. The quantum state in turn is characterized by computational rules that we call the laws of physics. Where do these computational rules come from? The answer of course is the holographic principle. It is fairly easy to show that all the laws of physics can be deduced from the holographic principle. The law of gravity is described in relativity theory by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which can be deduced in a straightforward way from the holographic principle. The details of how this goes forward were explained earlier in this article. Once we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for gravity from the holographic principle, it’s possible to deduce all the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics from Einstein’s field equations. All the quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics naturally arise from Einstein’s field equations through the usual unification mechanisms of modern physics. The quantum fields of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces are understood to arise as extra components of the space-time metric with extra compactified dimensions of space. The quantum fields of all the matter particles arise with supersymmetry. This is explicitly demonstrated in M-theory, where 11-dimensional supergravity is understood as a low energy limit. It is therefore possible to deduce all the laws of physics or the computational rules that govern the behavior of the universe from the holographic principle.

Where does the holographic principle come from? We’ve already discussed that whenever an observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference an event horizon arises that acts as the observer’s holographic screen. The basic problem is to explain how bits of information are encoded on that screen. String theory and M-theory supply a possible answer, but it turns out that string theory is a special case of a more general kind of geometry called non-commutative geometry. Even fractal geometries can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry. Whenever non-commutative geometry is applied to an event horizon as a way to specify quantized position coordinates on the horizon, those quantized position coordinates are smeared out into area elements like pixels on a screen, and each pixel naturally encodes a quantized bit of information, which is called a qubit. At the most fundamental level, an event horizon only turns into a holographic screen because of non-commutative geometry. This is the most general geometric mechanism we scientifically know about that can explain how an event horizon turns into a holographic screen. This geometric mechanism fundamentally explains where all the computational rules come from that govern events in the observable universe.

This is a very nice scientific story, but who the hell chooses non-commutative geometry as the fundamental geometric mechanism that gives rise to the computational rules that govern events in the observable universe? Why should the observable universe be governed by computational rules? We’re back to the problem of divine will. In some mysterious way, divine will is making this choice. To say that the observable universe is governed by computational rules along the lines of the holographic principle is basically to say the observable universe is a virtual reality.

The observable universe is a virtual reality, just like the Matrix. This is really no different than the kind of computer-generated virtual reality that is displayed on a computer screen as animated images of that virtual reality are projected from the screen to the point of view of an observer that is playing the virtual reality game. In a metaphysical sense, we can say that the virtual reality game is an expression of divine will. Divine will is creating the virtual reality game.

The problem is the observer must be willing to play the game. If the observer is not willing to play the game, the game is over. If the observer refuses to play the game, the observer is out of the game. Playing the game means the observer must enter into an accelerated frame of reference, since that is the only way the observer’s holographic screen can arise as an event horizon. Playing the game means the observer must focus its attention on the game, since that is the only way the observer can make choices in the game. Playing the game means the observer must be present for the game, since that is the only way the observer can perceive the game. Being present for the game means the observer must focus its attention on the game.

To make things more interesting, the observer not only focuses its attention on the game, but also identifies itself with its character in the game. That kind of personal self-identification is what makes the game interesting in the sense of an observer appearing to live an embodied life in the world it perceives. With personal self-identification, the observer believes it is its character in the game it is playing. The problem is the observer’s self-identification with its character is only an emotionally energized false belief the observer believes about itself. That false belief can only arise with personal bias in the observer’s focus of attention that leads to the expression of personally biased survival emotions that defend the survival of the observer’s character in the virtual reality game as though the observer’s existence depends on it. The observer no longer knows what it really is. It mistakenly believes itself to be a character in the virtual reality game it is playing rather than the perceiving subject outside the game that is only playing the game.

Spiritual enlightenment, also called awakening from delusion or truth realization, is the end result of the observer getting out of the game. The observer gets out of the game when the observer refuses to focus its attention on the game and refuses to be present for the game. When the observer is no longer present to perceive the game, the game disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. The game only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the observer observes it. The observer must be present to perceive the game for the game to appear to come into existence. When the observer is not present to perceive the game, the game disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. Everything disappears from existence since everything is a part of the game. What is creating and perceiving the game is not a part of the game. When everything disappears from existence, only the absolute nothingness of the void remains. In this ultimate state of absolute nothingness in which nothing is observed, the individual being of the observer dissolves back into its Source of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is called spiritual enlightenment.

The process of becoming enlightened goes forward in progressive steps, just like a journey that one makes. Spiritual enlightenment is called awakening from delusion since the process is like awakening from a dream. When one believes oneself to be something that one can perceive in a dream that one is dreaming, that false belief is delusional. One’s true nature is the dreamer, not a dream character. When one awakens from one’s dream, the entire dream and everything in the dream disappears from existence from one’s own point of view and only one’s true nature remains. That true nature is the undivided formless nothingness of pure consciousness.

Prior to awakening from the dream, the usual path one takes is to awaken within the dream, sort of like lucid dreaming. When one awakens within the dream, one can only know oneself to be a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of the world one perceives, like an observer in a movie audience that only watches as animated images of the movie are projected from a movie screen to one’s point of view out in the audience. One can only know oneself in terms of one’s own sense of being present as one perceives that world. When one detaches oneself from that world, one knows oneself to be out in the audience. One knows oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of things. One is no longer in the movie. One has come out of the movie. One was never really in the movie. One only falsely believed oneself to be a part of the movie when one identified oneself with one’s character in the movie. In reality, one is only watching the movie from one’s point of view in the audience outside the movie. One awakens within the dream when one knows oneself not to be a part of the dream. One knows oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of the dream, which is the spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own perceivable world.

This process of awakening within the dream is only possible if one surrenders to divine will and detaches oneself from things. When one surrenders to divine will, one gives up one’s personally biased desire to control things in a self-defensive way. Jed McKenna calls surrender the willingness to relinquish the illusion of control. One stops resisting the normal flow of things. The normal flow of things arises in the flow of energy through one’s world as an expression of unbiased divine will. The expression of personally biased individual will always reflects personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. There is no personal bias in the expression of divine will. All expressions of personally biased individual will can only interfere with the normal flow of things. All attempts to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way can only create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. All feelings of personal self-limitation that one perceives can only arise from that emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things. Without that emotional disturbance, only feelings of connection are perceived.

When one surrenders to divine will, one puts one’s trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best. One accepts things as they are every moment with no desire that things be any different than they are in the moment. One accepts what is as it is every moment. One does not fearfully anticipate the future or regretfully remember the past. All desires for future achievements and resentments about past events come to an end. One’s attention is only focused on the present moment. The present moment is the only place that one can ever find oneself as a presence of consciousness when one’s attention is focused on one’s own sense of being present.

When one detaches oneself from things, one’s personal self-identification dies away. As one severs one’s emotional attachments to things, one stops identifying oneself with the emotionally animated form of a person that appears in the world one perceives. Severing an emotional attachment always feels like something dies inside since one’s personal self-concept can only become mentally constructed through the expression of emotional attachments. As one severs emotional attachments, one’s personal self-concept or ego-structure dies away. Detaching oneself from things can only go forward in a state of surrender, since one must become willing to die at the level of ego-death. As long as one is defending one’s self-concept as though one’s existence depends on its survival, one will not surrender or detach oneself from things. When one sees that one’s ego-structure or personal self-concept is only a false belief that one believes about oneself, one becomes willing to suffer ego-death rather than continue to live the life of a lie. Jed McKenna calls this part of the awakening process ego-death as a means to no-self.

Self-defensive expressions are often in conflict with the desire to attach oneself to things. For example, the desire to feel close to another may be in conflict with the fear of being controlled by the other. Emotional conflicts are unresolvable at the same level that they’re being created, just as the desire to eat can be in conflict with the fear being eaten. There is no way to resolve the conflict between the desire to move toward another and the desire to move away from another at the level of movement. Emotional conflicts create all the confusion in the world that leads to identity confusion. The only way to resolve this identity confusion is to see things from a higher level. As one detaches oneself from things, which is the self-destructive process of ego-death, one sees things from a higher level of consciousness, but then one only knows oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of things. One has come out of the world of things that one perceives and is no longer a thing. That is the only real way to resolve the identity confusion. When one knows that one is not-a-thing in the world one perceives, one is no longer confused about the true nature of one’s identity. One can only identify oneself with that nothingness. The only true freedom that one can ever have in the world is when one’s self-concept dies away.

Surrender is the willingness to give up the desire to control things. Underlying the desire to control things is the expression of the fear of things, which is a self-defensive emotional response. Detachment is the willingness to let go and let things come and go. Underlying all emotional attachments is the expression of the desire to possess things. Expressions of fear and desire have as their only purpose the defense of body survival. Personal self-identification is always body-based and emotionally driven. All personal self-concepts are emotionally energized. Emotional expressions are what makes one feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a person as one perceives that flow of animating emotional energy, which leads to personal self-identification. Emotional expressions occur naturally whenever bodies engage in a struggle for survival, but with personal bias in the focus of one’s attention, personally biased emotional responses become distorted and amplified, which perpetuates personal self-identification.

The basic problem of self-identification is the perceiving subjective Self emotionally identifies itself with its perceivable objective self-concept. Once self-identified, the subjective Self feels compelled to defend the survival of its objective self-concept as though its existence depends on it, which it does by expressing self-defensive emotions that perpetuate its self-identification with its self-concept. It feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its self-concept as it perceives the flow of emotional energy animating its self-concept. The only way it can break this vicious cycle is if it surrenders, which means it stops expressing self-defensive emotions. The only way it will stop expressing self-defensive emotions is if it sees the true nature of what it is.

When the Self sees the true nature of what it really is, it sees that it really has nothing to defend. This becomes possible when it looks within into the emptiness of its own being and sees that it is a pure presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own world with its own sense of beingness and presence that has nothing to defend. It sees that all its acts of self-defense are acts of futility since it is only defending the survival of an illusion of what it is and that illusion will not ultimately survive, while the true nature of its being can never cease to exist. Once it surrenders, it feels connected to all things and naturally puts its trust in the normal flow of things to sort out what is for the best. It naturally accepts everything as it is each moment with no desire that anything be any different than it is in the moment. By surrendering, it loses its bias in the focus of its attention. It can only know itself as a non-identified detached witness of things it perceives in its world. With detachment, it sees all things with a sense of distance from them from a higher level of consciousness. It puts some space around itself and breaks its emotional attachment to things. Its self-identification with its personal self-concept snaps. It no longer has an ego or personal body-based self-concept. When its ego is not, when there is no longer any personal bias in its focus of attention, when the expression of self-defensive personally biased emotions comes to an end, when it gives up its desire to control things in a fearful personally biased and self-defensive way, when it stops fighting and resisting the normal flow of things and allows itself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things, that state of nonresistance and acceptance that follows from recognition of what it really is, is its surrender.

You cannot surrender. Surrender isn’t something that you can do. Your desire to do things is the problem. Everything you can do is an expression of your personally biased individual will. When you surrender, you do nothing. When you surrender to divine will, you just allow things to play out in the normal way. You simply watch as things play out with no personal bias in the focus of your attention. You become willing to do nothing. That’s what it means to surrender to divine will. You give up your desire to do things. You stop doing things. You stop interfering with the normal flow of things, stop defending yourself, and stop fighting, resisting and trying to control things in a personally biased way. You accept things as they are each moment with no desire that things be any different than they are in the moment. You allow the animating flow of energy through your body to come into alignment with the normal flow of things. You allow yourself to be carried along by the normal flow of things. You enter into a deep state of let-go. That’s the only way you can come into alignment and feel connected rather than disconnected.

Jed McKenna refers to this state of connectedness that arises from one’s surrender to divine will as the integrated state. In the integrated state, one not only feels connected to all things as the flow of energy through one’s body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things through one’s world, but one also expresses right actions and experiences expressions of creativity. The integrated state is also characterized by the born-again experience, in which one dies in identity to the form of one’s own body and is reborn in identity to the spirit. One knows oneself to be a spiritual presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of one’s own perceivable world.

The awakening process is only about breaking the hypnotic spell of self-identification. It is the perceiving consciousness of the Self, which is the observer at the center of its own world, that emotionally identifies itself with its perceivable body-based self-concept. The observer is the perceiving subject and its self-concept is the perceivable object. This subject-object relation normally defines self and other, but with the twisted nature of self-identification, the perceiving subject identifies itself with its objective self-concept. To be clear about things, the true subjective nature of the observer is only a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world and the nature of all perceivable objects in that world are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. This hypnotic spell of self-identification is emotionally driven in that the observer really feels self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body-based self-concept as it perceives the flow of emotional energy that animates that personal form. The observer itself is creating that emotional energy in its own accelerated frame of reference through the expression of fear and desire, which are the personally biased emotions that perpetuate its self-identification.

The observer creates this personally biased emotional expression through personal bias in the focus of its attention. These are personally biased survival emotions that defend the survival of the observer’s body as though the observer’s existence depends on it. That is the lie at the core of all self-identification. The observer falsely believes that its existence depends on the survival of its body that appears in the world it perceives. That false belief is what allows the observer to live an apparent embodied life in that world. The observer itself must create these false beliefs through expressions of fear and desire, which it does in its own accelerated frame of reference. That motion is the spirit of God moving over the face of deep, which is how the observer’s world is created, but in that process of creation, the observer emotionally creates all the false beliefs it believes about itself. The false beliefs that the observer believes about itself are its emotionally energized self-concepts, which is how the hypnotic spell of self-identification is perpetuated. The observer no longer knows itself to be the spirit of God, but instead falsely believes itself to be an emotionally animated body that appears in the world it perceives. The observer believes these false beliefs about itself because it is emotionally creating those false beliefs about itself through its expression of fear and desire, which is what makes the whole delusional thing feel real.

Awakening within the dream is only possible if these personally biased emotional expressions are seen for what they really are and one loses interest in expressing them. One has to see for oneself that the only thing these emotional expressions accomplish is to perpetuate personal self-identification, which is the essential problem of falsely believing that one is a person in the world one perceives. Emotional expressions are what creates that false belief that one believes about oneself. The only way that false belief can come to an end is if one stops believing it and one stops emotionally energizing it. The expression of personally biased emotions only reflects personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. The only way one can awaken within the dream is if one loses that personal bias in the focus of one’s attention. That is only possible through one’s willingness to surrender to divine will and emotionally detach oneself from things. One must become willing to give up and let go. Awakening is not about gaining anything, but is only about losing things. Ultimately, everything is lost and nothing is gained. Every step forward in the awakening process is a loss. As long as there is more to lose, there are more steps to take. The essential nature of moving forward is the willingness to give up and let go. Ultimately, one only becomes willing to lose everything when one sees that everything one has is an illusion.

As one detaches oneself from things, one sees things from a higher level with a sense of distance and detachment, like a movie that one is watching from one’s point of view in the movie audience. Things are seen to be no more real than the animated images of a movie projected from a movie screen to one’s point of view out in the audience. One only knows oneself to be a non-identified detached witness of things. One is no longer inside the movie but is outside in the audience. The person one perceives with its emotional reactions is just another character in the movie that one is watching. One no longer emotionally attaches oneself to the character and no longer emotionally identifies oneself with the character. This state of emotional detachment and non-identification is the essence of awakening within the dream. One is no longer a part of the dream. One has come out of the dream. One knows oneself to be a detached witness of things.

Awakening from the dream follows awakening within the dream. When one sees the dream to be an illusion of what one really is, one naturally loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. One stops caring about what appears to happen in the illusion and one withdraws one’s focus of attention away from the illusion. The only other place one can focus one’s attention is on one’s own sense of being present. As one shifts the focus of one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness, one looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being. As one stabilizes one’s focus of attention on one’s own sense of being present, one is being present for one’s own beingness. One is being with the emptiness of one’s own being.

Something strange happens when one withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion. The illusion disappears from existence. The illusion only consists of images and is no more real than a movie one is watching as animated images of the movie are projected from a screen to one’s point of view in the audience. The images of the movie are only projected to one’s point of view when one is present to perceive them as one focuses one’s attention on them. In terms of the holographic principle, the images of the movie are forms of information that can only become projected from the screen to one’s point of view when one focuses one’s attention on them. When one is not present to perceive them, the images disappear from existence. Even stranger, the images of the movie are only animated in the flow of energy as one focuses one’s attention on them. The images are only animated in the flow of energy when one is present to perceive them. One must be present to perceive the images and focus one’s attention on the images for the images to become projected from the screen and become animated in the flow of energy.

When one is no longer present to perceive the images and withdraws one’s focus of attention away from the screen, the images are no longer projected from the screen and are no longer animated in the flow of energy. When one sees the images to be an illusion and loses interest in paying attention to an illusion, one naturally withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion. By withdrawing the focus of one’s attention away from the illusion, one is also withdrawing one’s investment of emotional energy in the illusion. The emotional energy that animates the illusion can only arise when one is present to perceive the illusion and focuses one’s attention on the illusion. When one loses interest in the illusion and stops paying attention to the illusion, the expression of that emotional energy comes to an end. When the expression of all energy that animates one’s world comes to an end, that world is no longer animated and comes to an end. That energy is only expressed in one’s own accelerated frame of reference and comes to an end in a freely falling frame of reference. In an ultimate state of freefall, one has no holographic screen and no images of one’s holographic world can become projected or animated.

When one totally withdraws one’s attention away from the world one perceives and is no longer present to perceive that world, the images of that world are no longer projected or animated and the appearance of that world must come to an end. When one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present while that holographic world disappears from existence, one enters into an ultimate state of freefall. This experience is described as falling into the void. As long as one is present for one’s own beingness, one will remain conscious of oneself as one falls into the void. At this point something wonderful happens. One’s individual consciousness dissolves back into its Source of pure undivided consciousness like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. In this ultimate state of dissolution, consciousness timelessly knows itself to be the undivided and unlimited formless nothingness of pure consciousness. That is the true nature of what it really is. That absolute nothingness is the true nature of the dreamer’s underlying reality that remains when the dreamer awakens from its dream and its dream disappears from existence.

In the sense that one’s awakening is a journey that one makes, one has to start somewhere with the first step. As the Tao says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Seeing that one’s own ego structure is an illusion of what one really is can be that first step. Looking within and focusing attention on one’s own sense of beingness and presence can also be that first step. In the first case, one is experiencing disillusionment, and in the second case, one is looking within for the truth of what one really is. There are many more steps one must take to reach the final destination of one’s journey, but one has to start the journey by taking the first step.

One can only move forward in the journey through a process of detaching oneself from things, and that detachment process can only go forward in a state of surrender to divine will. Severing an emotional attachment is a painful experience due to the resistance one feels when one tries to detach oneself. That resistance arises from one’s unwillingness to let go and the desire to control things. The desire to control things leads to feelings of frustration when things can’t be controlled, which leads to the expression of anger, and those feelings of anger and frustration are painful. Once one becomes willing to let go and give up the desire to control things, the pain is gone. Giving up and letting go is how one detaches oneself from things. After one detaches oneself from things, there is no more pain because one has become desireless and wants nothing.

This detachment process in which one ultimately becomes desireless is the only way one’s ego can be deconstructed. The ego is only a bundle of fears and desires held together by emotional attachments and defended by the desire to control things. That bundle of fears and desires creates all memories of past experiences and anticipation of future experiences. By remembering the past, the ego is always looking to defend itself in the future. The ego is really nothing more than a presence of consciousness that emotionally identifies itself with this bundle of fears and desires. This bundle of fears and desires is self-limited to the form of a person. This emotional energy animates the behaviors of that personal form, which is called a body. By its nature, personal self-identification is body-based. This bundle of fears and desires is deconstructed and that body-based self-identification comes to an end when one severs emotional attachments and gives up the desire to control things. This is inherently a process of giving up and letting go. Once one’s ego is deconstructed, one’s attention naturally becomes refocused on the present moment, which is the only place that one can ever find oneself as a pure presence of perceiving consciousness with its own inherent sense of beingness and presence.

The essential problem of awakening is the ego. The ego is the obstruction that prevents one from moving forward in one’s journey of awakening. The only way one can move forward in that journey is to remove the obstruction. The hydra-head ganglion structure of the ego must be deconstructed before one can awaken, and the only way one can do that is through a painful process of detaching oneself from things. This is a painful process because detaching oneself is a kind of death. Severing an emotional attachment feels like something dies inside, and that never feels good. This painful process of detaching oneself is the only way to die at the level of ego-death. Every step along the way is a painful death. One has to come to hate one’s ego so much that one would rather die at the level of ego-death than continue to live the life of a lie. This can only happen when one clearly sees the falseness of one’s own ego. Detaching oneself from things only becomes a real possibility when one sees that everything one attaches oneself to is an illusion with the ego at the center of that illusion. Until that ego center is destroyed, it is not really possible to become aware of oneself at the true center of Atmanic consciousness.

Only after one reaches the true center can one experience Brahmanic consciousness, which has no center and has no boundary. The experience of Brahmanic consciousness has no self because it has no other. There can be no experience of an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other in Brahmanic consciousness since nothing is perceived, and yet this undivided consciousness is aware of its true nature in an unlimited and unchanging way. This is the mystery of existence that can never be conceptualized except in terms of negation. The idea of one’s own self-realization is only applicable at the level of Atmanic consciousness, which is a necessary step one takes along the way to the experience of Brahmanic consciousness. At the level of Brahmanic consciousness, there is no self to realize, only truth.

In a very real sense, the mind is like a computer, and the intellect of the mind is like the software programs that run the computer. This software is only a collection of computational rules. The purpose of the mind’s intellect is purely survival, as in defending the survival of the personal form of a body. Survival behaviors are highly instinctual and are evolutionarily determined by natural selection in terms of the survival of the fittest body. The essential nature of survival behaviors are emotional responses like fear and desire that defend the survival of the body in the sense of the self-replication and the reproduction of the form of the body.

The mind’s memory is like the state of information stored inside the computer. The computer encodes bits of information and stores this information in specific information configuration states, which constitute memory. The software programs, which are the computation rules, operate on these stored configuration states of memory. In terms of the mind, this memory is largely genetically determined. Just as the survival behaviors of emotions are instinctual, memory is mostly evolutionarily determined through genetics.

The next level of mind is identity. Personal identity is constructed as a body-based self-concept. To continue the computer analogy, personal identity is like a personal self-image displayed on the computer screen. The computer screen is the information output device of the computer, but to whom is this information being outputted? Who is using the data?

Consciousness is the observer of the computer screen that is using the data being outputted by the computer. The essential thing to realize is consciousness is not part of the computer. Consciousness is outside the computer screen, only observing the images projected from the computer screen as it uses the outputted data. In the sense the mind is only a computer, consciousness is not really a part of the mind. Consciousness only takes itself to be a part of the mind when it identifies itself with the personal self-image it perceives as projected from the computer screen to its point of view outside the screen. This personal self-identification is always emotionally driven. The only way consciousness can identify itself with the personal self-image it perceives is if it feels emotionally self-limited to that emotionally animated personal form.

With personal self-identification, the mind-computer is using consciousness for its own purposes rather than consciousness using the mind for its own purposes. The purpose of the mind is the survival of the body. This purpose is evolutionarily determined by natural selection in terms of the survival of the fittest body. The expression of instinctual survival emotions like fear and desire are all about defending the survival of the body, and genetic memory has no other purpose than to promote this survival behavior. The mind is using consciousness for its own purposes when consciousness emotionally identifies itself with the personal form of a projected self-image and feels compelled to defend the survival of that projected self-image as though its existence depends on it. Personal self-identification is what gives rise to all expressions of personal self-defense. All the man-made problems of the world are created through this process of emotional self-identification that leads to expressions of personal self-defense.

A spiritual path only begins when consciousness begins to use the mind-computer for its own purposes rather than the other way around. The essential problem of the spiritual path is for consciousness to stop identifying itself with the personal form of the self-image it perceives that is projected from the computer screen to its point of view outside the screen. Consciousness must create some space for itself and put some distance between itself and what it is perceiving. Consciousness itself is the perceiving subject outside the computer screen. All the objects that consciousness perceives are only images projected from the screen.

When consciousness creates some space for itself and puts some distance between itself and whatever it perceives, consciousness is following a spiritual path and is using the mind for its own purposes rather than the other way around. The objects consciousness perceives include the personal self-concept. When consciousness puts enough distance between itself and that perceivable self-concept, its personal self-identification with that self-concept snaps. When consciousness creates enough space between itself and that self-concept, the emotional link between itself and its personal self-concept is broken. Breaking the emotional link is the process of detaching oneself from one’s self-concept. Once consciousness no longer identifies itself with that personal self-concept, it is able to use the mind-computer for its own purposes, which are always expansive and exploratory rather than self-aggrandizing and self-defensive.

Once consciousness puts some distance and space between itself and whatever it perceives, consciousness comes to know its true spiritual nature and comes to peace with itself. This peacefulness or restfulness can only be described in terms of stillness and silence. The space within which this stillness and silence arises can only be described as emptiness. In the book of Psalms, this experience is described as Be still and know that I Am. Consciousness itself is what is called I Am, and that stillness is consciousness at peace with itself. This awareness that consciousness comes to know about itself in the sense of its own beingness and presence is the nature of following a spiritual path. When consciousness is at peace with itself, it naturally partakes of a more peaceful world. This only becomes possible when consciousness creates some space around itself and sees that world with a sense of distance, which allows itself to know its true spiritual nature. This is the essence of the spiritual wisdom of all spiritual teachings.

Modern physics has hit the wall between what is knowable and what is unknowable. That wall is a holographic screen. Whenever one has a self to defend, one builds a self-protective wall around oneself. The nature of that self-protective wall is a holographic screen. All self-protective walls eventually turn into prisons, and then one needs a door so that one can escape. The essential nature of the doorway that lets one out of the prison of self is the observer of the screen.

William Blake describes this doorway as the doors of perception. Only when this doorway is cleansed of all sense of self can one escape and know one’s true nature, which is infinite. This doorway that lets one out of the prison of self is the nature of the perceiving consciousness of the observer, which is also called I Am or the Self. It is the Self itself that must be cleansed of all sense of self before the doorway will open. In Zen, this open doorway is referred to as the gateless gate. The Self is the gate that only opens when the Self becomes selfless.

Nisargadatta Maharaj describes this process of the Self becoming selfless as: The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out. I Am is the door. Stay with it until it opens. It is always open, but you are not at it. Being at the doorway means being present for one’s own sense of beingness. One only becomes selfless when one knows oneself to only be a pure presence of perceiving consciousness with its own sense of beingness and presence.

God does not know that you exist. Only you know that you exist. That self-knowledge is the essence of the problem. The One God is a metaphor for the undivided and unlimited formless nothingness of pure consciousness. That is the ultimate nature of existence. At the ground level of the ultimate nature of existence, nothing is known because that nothingness is what ultimately exists. That formless nothingness is selfless and has no sense of self. The sense of self can only arise when the perceiving consciousness of the Self is divided from that undivided nothingness. Only the Self knows I Am. Only the Self knows it exists as a divided presence of perceiving consciousness that perceives things in its own holographic world in a subject-object relation of self and other. Only when the Self is cleansed of all sense of self can the doors of perception open and the Self reunite itself with the formless nothingness of pure consciousness. In that ultimate reunion, there is no self, only absolute nothingness. In that ultimate state of reunion, the Self does not exist. Only the formless nothingness of pure consciousness exists.

Spiritual enlightenment is only about experiencing this ultimate level of existence, which only becomes possible when one becomes selfless. The Self itself is the gate that prevents one from becoming enlightened when one has a personal self-concept. That personal self-concept is always energized by the expression of personal desires that can only arise as one emotionally attaches oneself to things in the world one perceives. One can only become selfless when one detaches oneself from things. One can only become desireless as one severs one’s emotional attachments to things. When one withdraws one’s attention away from the world one perceives, one becomes desireless as one withdraws one’s investment of emotional energy in that world.

This naturally happens when one sees that world to be an illusion and one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. In this desireless state, one naturally shifts the focus of one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present as a pure presence of consciousness at the center of that world. The only way the doorway of self can open and one can escape from the prison of self is when one focuses one’s attention on one’s own sense of being present while one remains in this desireless state. This open doorway is experienced as falling into the void. Only in an ultimate state of freefall can the perceiving consciousness of the divided Self reunite itself with and dissolve into the undivided formless nothingness of pure consciousness. That is the only way one can know the truth of what one really is and experience the mystery of existence.

Becoming selfless is the same as becoming desireless. The expression of desire requires the expression of energy, which requires accelerated motion. It is the observer itself that expresses this energy in its own accelerated frame of reference. In an ultimate state of freefall, that expression of energy comes to an end. In that ultimate state, one has no holographic screen and one’s holographic world disappears from existence. Becoming selfless and desireless in the state in which one enters into an ultimate state of freefall is experienced as falling into the void.

You cannot exist without desire. The individual being that you call you can only exist in a state of duality as you perceive things, but your perception of things requires your expression of desire. When you stop expressing desire, you do not exist. When you become desireless, you perceive nothing. In that desireless state in which nothing is perceived, your individual being dissolves into the nothingness of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. You no longer exist as an individual being. You become the ocean of undivided being. You become one.

You cannot experience nonduality from duality. The nature of duality is an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other. By its very nature, the observer’s perception of things is dualistic. The only way you can experience nonduality is to leave duality behind. You have to become willing to leave duality behind and perceive nothing. The irony is that when you leave duality behind and perceive nothing, you also leave you behind. There is no you in nonduality. There is no self and other in nonduality.

The essential instruction for awakening is to withdraw one’s attention away from the world one perceives and shift the focus of one’s attention onto one’s own sense of being present as a pure presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of that world. One has to be present for one’s own beingness. One has to look deeply into the emptiness of one’s own being. If one looks deeply enough into the emptiness of one’s own being for long enough, one eventually will fall into the void and experience nonduality by perceiving nothing. The nature of perceiving nothing is to be nothing. To be nothing, one has to become willing to do nothing and want nothing. One has to become desireless, but without desire, there is no you. The individual being that you call you can only exist in a state of duality as you perceive things. The perception of things requires the expression of desire. When you become desireless, you do not exist. When you perceive nothing, your individual being dissolves into the nothingness of undivided being like a drop of water dissolves into the ocean. You no longer exist as an individual being. You become the ocean of undivided being. When you dissolve, you become one. That oneness is the ultimate truth.

At every level of awakening there is stillness and silence, which becomes deeper as one looks deeper into the emptiness of one’s own being, until one is absorbed into the ultimate stillness and silence of emptiness and nothingness. Stillness and silence are not something that one can actively achieve by the force of one’s own personal will. One’s personally biased will is the problem that arises when one emotionally identifies oneself with the form of a person and feels compelled to defend the survival of that personal form as though one’s existence depends on it. Personal bias in the focus of one’s attention and expression of the personally biased emotions of fear and desire only arise when one feels emotionally self-limited to a personal form. Stillness and silence are what one discovers about oneself when one surrenders to divine will. One doesn’t have to do anything except to allow oneself to discover the stillness and silence inherent in the emptiness of one’s own being that is a natural aspect of one’s own awareness as a pure presence of consciousness. One doesn’t have to do anything to discover stillness and silence except to surrender to divine will, give up one’s desire to control things in a self-defensive personally biased way, let go and detach oneself from things. One only has to give up and let go.

In the Christian mystical tradition, the first level of awakening is called mystical union of the self with God, which is understood to be a consequence of surrender to God’s will. There’s a nice book by the Christian mystic Bernadette Roberts called The Experience of No-Self, where she describes going beyond this kind of mystical union of self with God into a state where either the Self is awake within the dream, or full awakening from the dream, which she calls No-self. She understands the experience of No-self along the lines of how Meister Eckhart wrote about this experience as absorption of the Self into the Oneness of the Godhead, which in the sense of Nirvana is the extinction of the flame of life as a way to dissolve into the oneness of the Source. Extinguishing the flame of life is the same as turning off the light of consciousness, which is the only way the individual being of the Self can dissolve into the darkness of the Source. In this final dissolution into undivided and unlimited nothingness, Atman (the Self or individual spirit) becomes one with Brahman (the Supreme spirit), not in the sense of a mystical union of the Self with God, but at the ultimate existential level of existence, which is undivided oneness.

What is the value of all these concepts? Like a roadmap, one needs a map before one makes a journey so that one knows where one is going and in which direction to travel. One needs a plan of action before one can put that action into effect. The value isn’t in the plan of action, which is only a bunch of concepts, but in the action that results in the desired effect. The value isn’t in the roadmap, but in arriving at the final destination of the journey. Like the Cheshire cat tells Alice in wonderland, if you don’t know where you’re going, then it doesn’t matter which road you take.

The irony of the journey of awakening is that in terms of the perceivable world, the direction that one must travel is no direction. One has to look within, but that place within that one is looking into is nowhere. One looks within into the emptiness of one’s own being, which is nowhere to be found in the perceivable world. One has to look into the darkness, not at the world the light of consciousness is illuminating. The darkness is the source of the light of consciousness that illuminates the perceivable world. The action that one must take is no action. One has to become willing to do nothing. One has to become desireless and selfless. One has to become willing to die. Giving up and letting go in the sense of one’s willingness to surrender and detach oneself from things is the process of dying, not at the level of body death but at the level of ego-death.

The ego is only a tangled mess of fears and desires limited to the form of a body. As long as one is expressing one’s own personally biased individual will, the ego is the emotional energy that animates the form of that body. That personally biased emotional expression is the only thing that makes one believe that one is a person in the world that one perceives. Before one can find oneself as a presence of consciousness at the center of one’s own world and discover one’s true nature, one must disentangle oneself from this tangle of fears and desires. One can only disentangle oneself through a self-destructive process of ego-death by giving up and letting go, as one surrenders to divine will and severs emotional attachments to things in that world.

Living a life in the world is only about creating a false sense of self. There is no true self to be discovered in the world one perceives or in what is beyond that world. There is only the false sense of self that one emotionally creates in the world one perceives and the truth beyond that world, which has no sense of self. Awakening from delusion is the journey that leads to No-self. As Jed McKenna points out, this journey is a process of ego-death as a means to No-self.

Awakening from delusion is a process of dying, or as Jed McKenna puts it, a self-destructive process of ego-death as a means to no-self. This self-destructive process can only go forward in a state of surrender to divine will, since all personally biased expressions of individual will are only about defending the survival of a mentally constructed body-based self-concept. One only becomes willing to surrender and give up the desire to defend oneself when one sees that one’s self-concept is an illusion of what one really is. Only when one sees the illusory nature of that self-concept will one become willing to surrender and give up the desire to control things in a self-defensive way. Even Freud was confused about why people become self-destructive, and described this phenomena as the death instinct, but in the sense of spirituality, the death instinct makes perfectly good sense as the spiritual longing one has to return to one’s true nature.

Surrender to divine will is only a part of the process that leads to ego-death. The ego is not only emotionally animated through the expression of self-defensive emotions, but also by the emotional energy inherent in emotional attachments. One must become willing to detach oneself from things to undergo ego-death. Detaching oneself from things is a process of death and dying that leads to acceptance of the loss of things and acceptance of death. One must accept the loss. Severing an emotional attachment always feels like something dies inside since part of one’s mentally constructed ego-structure dies away as an emotional attachment is severed. This ego deconstruction or dying process is inherently a process of giving up and letting go.

The stages of the process of death and dying are described as denial, then anger, then bargaining, then depression and disillusionment, and finally surrender and acceptance of death. The denial of death is a ubiquitous phenomenon that arises from the fear of death and nonexistence. The way death is denied is through the desire to control things and have power over things. If one has the power to control events, then one can expunge the fear of death. The denial of death is always expressed through the desire to control events as a way to expunge the fear of death. When one loses that power to control events, one goes through the various stages of the process of death and dying that eventually leads to surrender and acceptance of death. One never really had that power to control events in the first place, as the desire to control things through the expression of personally biased individual will is only an illusion of control. The unbiased expression of divine will is always firmly in control of the outcome of all events, including the death of one’s own body. When one finally surrenders to divine will, one is finally accepting that death.

Jed McKenna describes the apparent paradox of returning to the world after one has become enlightened through a self-destructive process of ego-death as a means to no-self. During the experience of becoming enlightened, which is the realization of the truth of what one is, one becomes the ultimate underlying reality of existence, which can only be described in terms of negation as the unchanging, undivided and unlimited pure being of the void, or the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that timelessly exists beyond the time-bound world of forms that one perceives. In terms of the holographic principle, forms of information about that world are projected like images from a holographic screen to one’s point of view in the audience of empty space and are animated in the flow of energy through that world. One’s own motion is animating that world in the sense of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. One is that point of perceiving consciousness that is moving over the face of the deep, which is one’s holographic screen. When that motion comes to an end in an ultimate state of freefall, one can only fall back into the void and dissolve into the formless nothingness of undivided being.

One’s perceivable world is an illusion, like a virtual reality game that one is playing. When one leaves that illusion behind in order to experience the reality of what one really is, the illusion disappears from existence. When one returns to the illusion, the illusion reappears, but after enlightenment, one knows that one is only playing a virtual reality game. One has come out of the game and out of the illusion. One knows oneself only to be a pure presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of that holographic world, or a non-identified detached witness of things that is only perceiving and playing the game from its point of view in empty space.

Nisargadatta tells us that spiritual maturity lies in the readiness to let go of everything. The basic problem is that when we emotionally attach ourselves to things, we then feel the need to control those things to insure that our needs are met. This kind of immaturity is apparent in the life of a baby or young child that must emotionally attach itself to its mother or other caregiver so that its needs are met and its desires are satisfied. The young child is dependent on its caregiver and cannot survive in the world without the care given by its caregiver as those needs are met. The dependent child naturally feels fearful and insecure about its survival and wants to control the behavior of its caregiver to insure its needs are met. The problem is, the more the child tries to control the behavior of its caregiver, the more the caregiver will resist those attempts at control, since nobody wants to be controlled. The more the child wants to control things, the more the child feels frustrated when things can’t be controlled. This frustration that arises from trying to control things that can’t be controlled is the psychic pain that we call misery and suffering.

The desire to control things that can’t be controlled is not only an act of immaturity, like a baby that wants to control its mother to insure that its needs are met, but is also an act of futility, since nothing wants to be controlled. The desire to control things that can’t be controlled can only lead to frustration and suffering. This state of affairs is the inevitable consequence of emotionally attaching ourselves to things. From the insecurity and fearfulness we feel when our desires aren’t satisfied we feel compelled to try to control things in a futile attempt to ensure our desires are satisfied, which only leads to feelings of frustration and suffering when we’re not able to control what can’t be controlled. This state of psychic pain is inherent to the human condition.

The only solution for the human condition is to give up our desire to control things and detach ourselves from things that can’t be controlled. Since nothing can be controlled, we have to sever our emotional attachments to everything. The only thing we do when we try to control things in a personally biased way is create an emotional disturbance in the normal flow of things, which makes us feel self-limited to a personal form. Giving up and letting go is the only real solution for ending the bondage of the human condition. Giving up and letting go ends the bondage of the human condition because it leads to a state of spiritual maturity. Unlike the human life-form, the spirit has no real need to attach itself to things or control things because its true spiritual nature has no desires that must be satisfied to insure its survival in the form of a human life-form. The human life-form is just another thing that appears to exist in the world the spirit perceives. The true nature of the spirit is always outside that world, only watching as the life-form struggles to survive in that world. Whatever appears to happen to the life-form in that world, the true nature of spiritual being never ceases to be. The spirit can only falsely believe its existence depends on the survival of the life-form when it identifies itself with the life-form. The spirit needs nothing to survive because the true nature of its existence is never threatened by whatever appears to happen in the world it perceives. It needs nothing because the true nature of its spiritual being is the formless nothingness of pure consciousness, which never ceases to exist.

Nisargadatta also tells us that freedom means letting go. When the spirit detaches itself from things, it also stops identifying itself with the human life-form, which is the only true freedom it can ever have. That is the only way the bondage of the human condition can come to an end.

Nisargadatta tells us that death gives freedom. Severing an emotional attachment feels like something dies inside because part of one’s emotionally energized ego-structure dies away as the attachment is severed. When an emotional attachment to something is severed, part of one’s ego dies away. Ego-structure can only become created through the emotional energy that relates the body-based concept of self to the concept of some other thing the subject perceives in its world in a subject-object relation of self and other. The true nature of the perceiving subject is only a focal point of perceiving consciousness to which the objective form of all things must be projected like images from a screen to the subject’s own point of view. The subject only has a mistaken perception about itself that a body-based self exists in the world it perceives when the subject emotionally identifies itself with its body-based self-concept, which is really just another thing the subject perceives in its world. Only the perception of emotional energy inherent in the emotional attachments that relate the form of the body to the form of other things can make the perceiving subject feel self-limited to the emotionally animated form of the body, which leads the subject to identify itself with that form and to mistakenly take that form to be its self. When the emotional attachments are severed and that emotional energy is no longer expended, that mistaken belief in a body-based self comes to an end. Severing emotional attachments and detaching oneself from things that appear in the world one perceives is the only way one’s emotionally energized ego-structure can be deconstructed. That process of ego-death feels like something dies inside. The ego becomes dead to the spiritual nature of the perceiving subject.

Ego-death is the only true freedom. The perceiving subject, which is the nature of the spirit, only becomes free when its ego dies away and the spirit no longer identifies itself with a body-based self-concept. Freedom is not freedom of the ego, but freedom from the ego. The spirit becomes free from ego. Giving up and letting go is the process of cleansing the self of all sense of self.

Nisargadatta tells us that to be free in the world, you must die to the world. Severing emotional attachments to things in the world is that letting-go process of dying to the world that’s the same as the death of the ego. To become free in the world, emotional attachments must be severed to everything in the world, including the world as a thing. The perceivable world is as much a thing as anything perceived in the world. Dying to the world is the letting-go process of severing emotional attachments to everything in the world, including the world as the whole thing.

This letting-go process only becomes possible when everything in the world, including the world as a thing, is seen to be an illusion and one loses interest in paying attention to an illusion. Only when one withdraws one’s attention away from the illusion and withdraws one’s investment of emotional energy in the illusion is one’s emotional attachment to the illusion severed. Once its emotional attachment to the illusion is severed, the spiritual nature of the perceiving subject is free to watch the illusion from a higher level of consciousness with a detached sense of distance from the illusion. By detaching itself from the illusion, the perceiving subject has put some space around itself and no longer identifies itself with anything it perceives in the illusion. That sense of detachment from the illusion is the only true freedom the perceiving subject can ever have.

The awakening process is really only about death and dying. You have to accept the loss and accept death, not at the level of body death but at the deeper level of ego-death. The reason you surrender and give up the desire to control things in a personally biased self-defensive way is so you can undergo ego-death. When you surrender, you put your trust in divine will to sort out what is for the best and accept what is as it is every moment. You accept things as they are in the moment. That’s how the flow of emotional energy through your body comes into alignment with the normal flow of things. That’s how you feel connected to things, rather than self-limited to the emotionally animated form of a body. You give up expressing self-defensive emotions by giving up personal bias in the focus of your attention and giving up the expression of personally biased individual will. You stop fighting, resisting, defending, interfering and trying to control things. You must give up and surrender before you can undergo ego-death.

You also must let go and detach yourself from things. When you sever an emotional attachment, it feels like something dies inside because part of your emotionally animated ego-structure dies away. Before you can let go, you must accept the loss and accept death. The acceptance of death is an inherent aspect of the process of death and dying. Before you undergo ego-death, you must accept death. Giving up and letting go is the process of undergoing ego-death. That process of giving up and letting go can only go forward if you accept the loss and accept death.

The reason you undergo this process of ego-death is so you stop identifying yourself with your character in the world you perceive. When you surrender, you stop identifying yourself with your character in that world. This is the fundamental death-rebirth transformation whereby you die to your personal self-identification with the body and are reborn in identity to the spirit. When you detach yourself from things, you see that world from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment. When you see that world is only an illusion and your character is only an illusion of what you really are, you lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. When you withdraw your attention away from that world, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in that world that is animating your character. That is how you become desireless. When you shift the focus of your attention onto your own sense of beingness and presence and look deeply into the emptiness of your own being while in this desireless state, you enter into an ultimate state of freefall and that world disappears from existence. By falling into and dissolving into the void, you finally realize the truth of what you are.

The only way you can realize the truth of what you are is to accept death. Everything else you can do in the world you perceive in the sense of your expression of personally biased individual will is a denial of death, which is a denial of the truth of what you really are.

If you’re really serious about awakening, then you have to become willing to die. You have to accept death. You have to die before you can be reborn. You have to become willing to die, not at the superficial level of body death, but at the deeper level of ego-death. Your personal self-concept has to die away inside of you. It has to become dead to you. The way it dies away is when you detach yourself from things. As you sever your emotional attachments, your personal self-concept dies away inside you and becomes dead to you. At a practical level, the life of your character in the world you perceive becomes dead to you. You stop caring about the life of your character in the world and lose interest in living that life. You see that life to be an illusion of what you really are and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. You lose the desire to live that life. That’s when you really sever the emotional attachment and become able to withdraw your attention away from the illusion. You have to lose interest in the illusion before you can turn around, shift the focus of your attention onto your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world, and look within into the emptiness of your own being. That’s where you have to look before you can discover the truth of what you really are. That’s what awakening means. When the illusion disappears, you discover the truth of your own being. Truth is what’s left over when the illusion disappears from existence.

Discovering the truth of your own being is the same as dying since the life of your character in the world you perceive has to become dead to you. That’s what it means to detach yourself from that life, lose interest in living that life, and stop caring about the life of your character. Dying is the same as becoming desireless. Your life enabling desire to live that life has to die away. You can only appear to live that life if you express the desire to live that life. You have to lose the desire to live that life. You only become willing to die when you see that life to be an illusion of what you really are and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. You withdraw your desire to live that life away from that life when you withdraw your attention away from that life. You have to withdraw the emotional energy away from that life. Your investment of emotional energy in living that life, which is your desire to live that life, is the only thing that animates that life and keeps it going. Without that investment of emotional energy, that life dies away. The way you withdraw your emotional energy away from that life is by withdrawing your attention away from that life. That’s when you first become able to look within and focus on your own sense of being present as a presence of consciousness at the center of your own world. That’s when you first become able to look within into the emptiness of your own being. That’s where you have to look before you can discover the truth of what you really are.

At the most fundamental level, you have to discriminate the only true thing you can ever know about yourself, which is your own sense of being present, from everything you know about the life your character appears to live in the world you perceive, which only creates a false sense of self. Discrimination leads to detachment in the sense that when you look within and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present, you also detach yourself from the world you perceive by withdrawing the outward focus of your attention on that world, which withdraws your investment of emotional energy in that world and severs your emotional attachment to things in that world. That’s when you become able to look within and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present and look within into the emptiness of your being, which is where you have to look to discover the true nature of what you really are.

The reason you surrender to divine will and sever your emotional attachment to everything in your world is so you can become desireless. You become desireless when your desire to live the life of your character in the world you perceive dies away. You have to lose that desire to live that life. You have to become willing to die. You have to hate the falseness of that life so much that you’d rather die than continue to live the life of a lie. You have to accept death. That’s how you become desireless. You have to see that world as an illusion and the life of your character as an illusion of what you really are, and lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. That’s when you become able to withdraw your attention away from the illusion and withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the illusion. That’s when you become able to shift your focus of attention away from the illusion, look within, and refocus your attention on your own sense of being present. You have to discriminate everything you perceive about the life your character lives in the world you perceive, which is an illusion of what you really are, from the only true thing you can ever know about yourself, which is your sense of being present. You have to reject the false, embrace the truth, and detach yourself from the false. You have to refuse to play the game to get out of the game. In that desireless state in which you become willing to die, you look within and refocus your attention only on your own sense of being present to the exclusion of everything else that you can perceive about the life of your character in the world.

The awakening process can be stripped down to your own sense of being present as you become aware of yourself as a presence of consciousness perceiving things in your own world. This presence of consciousness with its own sense of being present as it perceives things in its own world is called I Am or the Self. That presence of perceiving consciousness is what you come to know yourself to be as you begin to awaken and become conscious of yourself as the Self.

You know that you are here now because you have the sense of being present as you perceive things in the world in the present moment. The problem is that when you look within, you cannot find yourself as the perceiver of things. You cannot find yourself in the sense of being another thing that you can perceive as you perceive things. Even as you look within, the perceiver of things cannot be found, and yet you have the sense of being present as you perceive things.

When you look within, you can perceive your thoughts, memories, beliefs, feelings, emotional states, and even your own self-concepts, but those things can’t be what you really are because they’re just more stuff that you can perceive. You have the sense of being present as the perceiving consciousness that perceives all that stuff, but when you look within, you can’t find yourself as the perceiver. Once you’ve removed all the stuff that you can perceive from your field of view, all that’s left is silence, emptiness and nothingness, like the empty space of a room from which all the furnishings have been removed, and yet your own sense of being present remains within this empty space. You still have your own sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness even when you don’t perceive anything else. Even if you remove everything from your field of view and perceive nothing, your sense of being present remains.

The essential nature of the problem is you cannot perceive yourself as the perceiver of things in the sense of being another thing. Your own perceiving consciousness is not-a-thing that you can perceive, and yet you remain aware of this nothingness with your own sense of being present. You remain aware of your own sense of being present even when you perceive nothing.

The only way you can awaken to the truth of what you really are is if you continue to focus your attention on your own sense of being present even as you become willing to perceive nothing else. You must stabilize your attention on your own sense of being present and remain aware of yourself in the sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness even as you become willing to perceive nothing else. Remaining aware of your own sense of being present as you perceive nothing is the whole trick of passing through the gateless gate and awakening. You can only pass through the gateless gate if you are naked of all things. The only thing you can take with you as you pass through the gate is your own sense of being present, which is not-a-thing.

Your willingness to remain aware of your own sense of being present while you perceive nothing is your willingness to look into the darkness of the deep. The light of consciousness is divided from the darkness of the deep when your holographic world is illuminated and you perceive that world. The darkness is the Source of the light of consciousness illuminating the world you perceive, but you cannot find yourself or discover your true nature in that world. The perceiver of things cannot be found in the perceivable world that it perceives. Like Neo in the Matrix, you have to put on your dark glasses and become willing to look into the darkness before you can discover the true nature of what you really are.

There is No Spoon

The awakening process is only about stripping everything away until you perceive nothing while you remain aware of your own sense of being present. You have to remove everything from the room you occupy until there is nothing left to perceive in the room except for empty space. Even the walls of the room have to be removed. The reason you surrender to divine will is to undergo the death-rebirth transformation. You have to die in identity to the embodied form of a person you perceive and be reborn of the spirit. That spirit is your own perceiving consciousness that you become aware of with your own sense of being present. The reason you detach yourself from things is so you can know yourself to be a non-identified detached witness of things and see things from a higher level of consciousness with a sense of distance and detachment.

Once you see that all the things you perceive in your world are only illusions, including the person you take yourself to be, you lose interest in paying attention to an illusion. When you withdraw your attention away from the illusion, you also withdraw your investment of emotional energy in the illusion that animates the illusion. That is how you become desireless. When you shift the focus of your attention onto your own sense of being present and look within into the emptiness of your own being while in this desireless state, you are stripping away everything you can perceive down to the nothingness of empty space. Not only does the room you occupy become empty of things, but even the walls of the room disappear. The walls of the room and everything that appears in the room were only holographic illusions created by the energy the Self expends due to its motion in its accelerated frame of reference. Those illusions disappear in an ultimate state of freefall. The walls of the room, which is a holographic screen, is the only thing that creates a sense of limitation and divides the Self from its true undivided nature. That limitation and division comes to an end in an ultimate state of freefall. This experience of falling into the void is the self-destructive process of ego-death that leads to the experience of No-self.

When the individual being of the Self becomes desireless and selfless and the world of things it perceives disappears from existence, the gateless gate opens. The divided being of the Self, the sense of being present, reunites itself with and dissolves into the undivided being of No-self.

At the level of the Self, what you are is a presence of consciousness that perceives its own world from the center of that world. Everything that you can perceive in that world, which includes all external sensory perceptions of that world, all internal emotional perceptions of your body, all mental perceptions of your mind, all thoughts, memories of the past, anticipations of the future, self-concepts and all other forms of mental imagination, are perceptions created as forms of information animated in the flow of energy, which the holographic principle tells us are like animated images projected from a holographic screen to the central point of view of the observer. That perception always occurs in the present moment, which is an eternal now.

Quantum theory tells us the quantum state of potentiality for the observer’s world not only includes the potentiality for the form of all possible things the observer can observe in its world, but also the potentiality for all possible ways in which energy can flow through the observer’s world and animate all things in that world. Not only do the forms of things come into an actual state of existence when they’re being observed, but the animating flow of energy also comes into an actual state of existence when observed. To be observed, the observer must be present to make the observation, which means the observer must focus its attention on whatever is being observed for the observed things or the observed flow of energy to come into an actual state of existence. If the observer is not present to make the observation, neither the observed form of things nor the observed flow of energy can come in an actual state of existence, and both the form of things and the flow of energy remain in an unobserved state of potentiality.

Everything the observer can perceive in its world, which not only includes the form of all things, which can all be reduced to qubits of information, but also the flow of energy that animates all things, only exists in a state of potentiality until observed, at which moment the observed form of things and the animating flow of energy come into an actual state of existence. The observer must be present at that moment of observation to make the observation. That present moment is always an eternal now for which the observer must be present to observe things.

When the observer is not present to make the observation, neither the observed form of things nor the observed flow of energy can come in an actual state of existence, and both the form of things and the flow of energy remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. When the observer is not present to observe its world, that world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. Not being present for one’s world means withdrawing one’s attention away from that world, which is the same as withdrawing one’s investment of emotional energy in that world. Not only does the observer’s world disappear from existence, but so too does the observer. The individual being of the Self dissolves into the undivided being of No-self. In terms of the holographic principle, that ultimate state of dissolution into absolute nothingness can only occur in an ultimate state of freefall, which the observer experiences as falling into the void.

Nisargadatta describes the present moment is the only place that one can ever find oneself as a presence of consciousness, called the Self, I Am or the witness, at the center of the world one perceives. Beyond that perceivable world and beyond the Self is the Source of consciousness. Nisargadatta describes that the totality of all mental projections is the great illusion. Beyond the mind is the witness. Beyond the witness is infinite emptiness and silence. It is deep and dark, mystery beyond mystery. It is like a bottomless well. Whatever falls into it disappears.

Maya will try to trick you into paying attention to the illusion by offering you another thrill in the illusion or by scaring you out of your wits by threatening the survival of your personal form within the illusion, but don’t be fooled. Maya is only created when you express fear and desire, which you must express in order to create the illusion and perceive the illusion, but you can only express that fear and desire if you focus your attention on the illusion. You have to be interested in the illusion in order to pay attention to the illusion. Without your interest in the illusion you stop paying attention to the illusion and stop emotionally animating the illusion.

In the awakening process, you have to clearly see that you are creating the illusion of your own personal self-concept and identity as you express fear and desire. You do that with personal bias in the focus of your attention, which gives rise to the expression of your own personally biased individual will. At the level of individual will, you have the limited ability to choose the things you perceive in your world as you focus your attention on those things. You only fall into a hypnotic spell of personal self-identification when you feel like you have no choice but to focus your attention on your own personal self-concept. You feel emotionally compelled to defend the survival of that personal identity as though your existence depends on it, which gives rise to the expression of the personally biased emotions of fear and desire that perpetuate the illusion of personal identity. The only way you can break this vicious cycle is if you lose that personal bias in the focus of your attention, which can only happen if you see the illusion to be an illusion and lose interest in paying attention to it. You have to make a choice to withdraw your attention away from the illusion. You have a limited ability to choose what you can observe in the world you perceive as you focus your attention on that world, but you have the absolute ability to refuse to focus your attention on that world. You can withdraw your attention away from the world you perceive anytime you want to and perceive nothing. You can always refuse to play the game.

The other thing to be clear about is the price of refusing to play the game. The price of truth is everything. At the level of the Self, which is what you are as a presence of consciousness that perceives its own world from the central point of view of that world, you have the sense of being present or I-Am-ness, which is the first concept that you can ever have about yourself. You have to have the concept I Am before you can have any other concepts. That concept is inherent in the subject-object relation of an observer observing things in its own observable world, which gives rise to the sense of self and other. The concept I Am must arise before any other concepts about the nature of the world the observer perceives can arise. Only the Self can create for itself all the concepts it has about the nature of the world it perceives. I Am is the first concept that underlies all other concepts the Self has about itself and its world. At the ultimate level of reality, there is No-self and there are no concepts. At the ultimate level of reality, nothing is perceived. At the ultimate level of reality, there is only absolute nothingness. In the process of awakening to the truth of what it really is, the Self must lose all concepts, including the concept I Am.

To be clear about things, individual existence does depend on the creation of dualistic reality, but the existence of nondual reality does not. The individual existence of the Self, sensed as I Am, depends on the creation of dualistic reality as the Self observes observable things in its own observable world in a subject-object relation of self and other. The undivided existence of nondual reality, which is the absolute nothingness of No-self, depends on nothing. As is realized during the awakening process, and as the Bhagavad-Gita tells us, the reason this distinction is so important is because dualistic reality is like a virtual reality. It isn’t really real. It has no being. It’s unreal. Even the individual existence of the Self depends on the undivided existence of its Source for its sense of being present. Only nondual reality is really real. It never ceases to be.

Jed McKenna points out that the awakening process requires focus and intent. One must have a clearly expressed intent and focus one’s time, energy and attention on the awakening process like a laser beam. One has to be serious and disciplined. One has to discipline one’s focus of attention on the awakening process as one looks within and prevent one’s attention from wandering around in an outwardly way and becoming distracted by all the distractions the world has to offer.

Dualistic reality is a dream. Nondual reality is the dreamer. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, the dream disappears from existence and only the true nature of the dreamer remains. That true nature can only be described in terms of negation as void or nothingness, which is the ultimate nature of existence. The essential nature of duality is an observer observing some observable thing in a subject-object relation of self and other. The perceiving subject, which is the nature of the Self, is as much a part of the dream as is everything that is observable in the objective world the observer observes. The dualistic universe is a dream. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, the observable world disappears from existence, but so too does the observer. When the observable world disappears from existence from the point of view of the observer that perceives it, the observer also disappears as it dissolves into the nothingness of undivided being. There is No-self in nondual reality. The Self is as much a part of the dream as is the perceivable world. Both Self and world disappear from existence when the dreamer awakens.

In the journey of awakening, the key concept is further. One has to continue one’s journey until there is no further. The word further is like the Zen koan: First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain. The mountain is a part of the dream, and disappears from existence when the dreamer awakens from its dream. No further means there is no mountain. The mountain is a metaphor for the observable world. When the dreamer awakens from its dream, everything in the observable world, including the world as a thing, disappears from existence and nothing remains. That nothingness is the underlying nature of reality or the ground of being. It is the ultimate truth in that it is the ultimate nature of existence. It is nondual or one in the sense that it is undivided. It is infinite in the sense that it is unlimited. It is absolute nothingness in the sense that it is nothing perceivable. The direct experience of that nothingness is the ultimate awakening.

Maybe you’ve had a limited degree of awakening in the sense of becoming more conscious of yourself as the Self. Congratulations. The problem is this is only an awakening within the dream like lucid dreaming. You’re still dreaming, which means there is still further. Maybe you’ve come to feel connected to things in the dream because you’ve surrendered and stopped fighting against the dream and allowed yourself to come into alignment with the normal flow of things in the dream. Congratulations, but you’re still dreaming, which means there is still further. You’re still seeing two where there’s really only one. You’re seeing things in a subject-object relation of self and other. The only way to know one is to be one, which is to be nothing. You won’t awaken from the dream and know what no further means until you stop dreaming and the dream disappears from existence. The price of truth is everything, but you won’t know what paying that price means until you’ve lost everything, including your own sense of self. Nondual reality has no sense of self. You’ll only awaken from the dream and experience the nothingness of nondual reality if you become willing to lose everything, including your own sense of self.

The only way you can awaken to the truth of what you really are is if you become willing to lose everything, including your own sense of self. You have to allow your Self to dissolve into the undivided being of No-self. That is the only way you can become One. Know your Self to be and only identify your Self with That formless nothingness of pure consciousness.

Further ultimately leads to the end of an illusion. That illusion isn’t only the illusion of the world that one appears to live in as one perceives that world, but also the end of the illusion of the individual being of an observer that perceives that world in a subject-object relation of self and other. Not only does the apparent life of the life-form one takes oneself to be come to an end, but the individual being of the Self that identifies itself with that life-form as it appears to live an embodied life in that world also comes to an end. In this sense, the ultimate nature of death is the end of an illusion, not just at the level of the body, but also at the level of individual being.

The gate blocking one from enlightenment is the Self, which is the perceiving consciousness of the observer at the center of its own holographic world. Enlightenment only becomes possible when the Self becomes selfless. That is how one passes through the gateless gate, which is the experience of falling into the void and dissolving into undivided being. As long as the individual being of the Self remains divided from undivided being, awakening is not possible. That division is created by all the false beliefs the Self believes about itself, which is the nature of delusion. Those false beliefs are all self-concepts. One’s entire field of view is filled by delusion because the Self is perceiving its own holographic world within which it is emotionally creating delusional self-concepts. The perceiving consciousness of the Self is prior to that perception. Delusion resides prior to perception because the Self believes these false beliefs about itself.

The false beliefs one believes about oneself create an identity-crisis for the perceiving subject that sees their delusional nature. Only awakening from delusion solves this identity-crisis. The only true identity is the absolute nothingness of the Source that becomes divided into the Self.

Destroying delusion is the process of destroying false beliefs. That self-destructive process of destroying all self-concepts is the self-destructive process of ego-death. Once all self-concepts have been destroyed, the Self no longer has any false beliefs that it can believe about itself, and so delusion has been destroyed. Delusion never really existed because it was only created out of the false beliefs the Self believed about itself. The Self emotionally creates its own self-concepts that it believes about itself. Creation is emotionally driven in the sense that the Self expresses fear and desire in its own accelerated frame of reference as it moves over the face of the deep, which is its holographic screen. Delusion is destroyed when the Self becomes selfless, which requires the destruction of all emotionally energized personal self-concepts. That self-destructive process is the only way the gateless gate can open, which allows one to awaken and become enlightened. As one passes through the gateless gate, the individual being of the selfless Self returns to, reunites itself with, and dissolves into the undivided being of No-self.

What Science and Modern Physics are Really Trying to Tell Us

The hard mathematical science of modern physics tells us that the world is no more real than a virtual reality, like a virtual reality game that one plays on a computer screen. Modern physics in the context of the holographic principle tells us that the perceivable world consists of nothing more than forms of information projected like images from a holographic screen to the point of view of an observer outside that screen and the animation of those images in the flow of energy that animates that world. That’s the nature of a holographic world. It isn’t really real. It’s a virtual reality. As the Bhagavad-Gita says, it’s unreal. It has no being. The true nature of being solely belongs to nondual reality. Only nondual reality is really real. It never ceases to be.

When the word truth is used in any nondual tradition, this refers to the true nature of being, which is inherent to the nondual reality of the void. What about mathematical truth? Mathematical truth is inherent in the potentiality of the void to create geometry. As mathematicians have long known, all mathematical truths are geometrical in nature. Great mathematicians have been Platonists in the sense they know they only discover mathematical truths inherent in the potentiality to create geometry. Geometrical mathematical truth is what underlies the geometric creation of the holographic illusion of a holographic world.

The void has no limits in terms of its expression of potentiality, but in order to create that holographic world in the form of a virtual reality in which living organisms appear to live, its expression of potentiality to create that geometry must become constrained in a way that leads to the expression of mathematical rules governing that world that are consistent with the expression of life. In physics, this constraint on the expression of potentiality by the void to create geometry in a way consistent with the expression of life is called the anthropic principle.

The anthropic principle is like natural selection on a cosmic scale. Each observer chooses what is best for itself from its own point of view in its own holographic world in terms of being able to live the best possible life in that world, but the choices of different observers are intertwined due to information sharing among their overlapping holographic screens. Entangled qubits of information for each observer’s holographic world are encoded on its own cosmic horizon that arises due to the expansion of space. The acceleration rate with which space expands is called the cosmological constant in relativity theory. A change in this acceleration rate of the expansion of space results in a change in the radius of the observer’s cosmic horizon. In physics this kind of change is conceptualized to occur as a phase transition from a less stable meta-stable state to a more stable meta-stable state as the acceleration rate takes on a lower value, which results in a larger radius of the cosmic horizon. Each phase transition in the value of the acceleration rate is like a new big bang event as the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in size, decreases in temperature, and encodes more qubits of information. It’s well known in physics that this kind of phase transition, called spontaneous symmetry breaking, can reset the parameters in the laws of physics, like the mass or charge of the electron. Every reset of the laws of physics is a kind of fine-tuning of those laws that allows the laws to be more compatible with the expression of life.

The anthropic principle reflects this fine-tuning of the laws of physics that occur during the phase transition with the resetting of the laws of physics. Each phase transition is like a new big bang event that creates a new universe, which is only possible because the acceleration rate of the expansion of space is transitioning to a lower value. Choices made during the phase transition in terms of resetting the parameters in the laws of physics are made in such a way as to be more compatible with the expression of life in the new universe. These choices always reflect an interplay of the expression of divine will that gives rise to the expansion of space that creates the geometry of a holographic world and the choices each observer makes in its own holographic world as it appears to live the best possible life of a living organism in that world.

The choices an observer makes in its own world allows the observer to become a co-creator of that world in conjunction with the totality of all choices made by all other observers that share a consensual reality with that particular observer and the expression of divine will. Divine will allows for the creation of geometry in the sense of the accelerated expansion of space that gives rise to each observer’s cosmic horizon and the encoding of information on each horizon along the lines of some geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry. Even the flow of energy through the observer’s world must arise from the expression of divine will along the lines of the expansion of space. An observer becomes a co-creator of its own world when it allows its choices to come into alignment with the expression of divine will. The anthropic principle tells us that those choices are directed in such a way as to best allow for the expression of life.

Ultimate truth cannot be equated with mathematical truth, but they are related. Ultimate truth is consciousness in its ultimate stateless state, which can only be conceptualized in terms of negation as absolute nothingness, but because it is undivided, it can also be called one, and because it is unlimited, it can also be called infinity. What it can’t be called is two, hence the designation nondual. Nondual consciousness is the Source (Brahman). When the Source creates a dualistic world for its Self (Atman) to perceive in a subject-object relation, it can also be called three in the sense of the trinity of the Source (the Father), the Self (the Holy Spirit) and the person in the world (the Son). In the process of creating that dualistic world, Atman is divided from Brahman, and that dualistic world is limited by a holographic screen. The reason the Source can create something from nothing is because consciousness is becoming divided and limited. By its very nature, a holographic screen limits and divides Atman from Brahman as it encodes information for the holographic world that Atman perceives. A holographic screen and the images of a holographic world projected to Atman are inherently a geometric creation. The reason the Source can create a dualistic world is because the Source has the potentiality to create geometry. Mathematical truth only enters into the equation in terms of the creation of geometry. As mathematicians have long known, geometry underlies all mathematical truth, but ultimate truth underlies geometry. Ultimate truth has the potential to create mathematical truth whenever it creates geometry, which is an essential aspect of creating a holographic world.

Unless you’ve investigated the true nature of your own consciousness, you really have no idea what you’re talking about when you talk about yourself. The problem is called delusion. Only consciousness has its own independent existence, but when consciousness identifies itself with a person in the world it perceives, it believes delusional beliefs about itself. Consciousness exists prior to the creation of that world, is present at the creation of that world, and is present for everything that appears to happen in that world. Consciousness exists before that world appears to come into existence and after that world disappears from existence. Whatever appears to happen in that world, consciousness is present to observe that happening. This isn’t about anybody’s consciousness in particular, but about the ultimate nature of consciousness. Everybody’s consciousness is only a fragment of that ultimate consciousness. Consciousness is not personal. Consciousness does not belong to a person. A person is a physical organism, which is essentially an animated body that only appears in the world perceived by a presence of consciousness. There is only confusion about this fact because of the nature of delusion. The mind falsely tells consciousness that it is a person in the world it perceives as self-referential thoughts are created in the mind, and consciousness believes the lie of this false self-concept, which are the false beliefs that consciousness believes about itself, because those thoughts are emotionally energized by the same emotional energy that animates the form of a body. As consciousness perceives that flow of emotional energy, it feels self-limited to the form of that emotionally animated body and identifies itself with that body. That personal self-identification is the nature of delusion, which is inherently driven by the expression of emotions.

An interesting project is to cross-reference what Nisargadatta Maharaj has to say about personal self-identification in I Am That with what neuroscientists say about personal self-identification. A good book to read on this subject is The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio. If you read Damasio closely, you’ll see that neuroscience really has no explanation for the nature of consciousness in the sense of the perceiving observer who is perceiving thoughts and feelings, and has no idea who is identifying itself with the body. This is the reason that almost all people who work in neuroscience and artificial intelligence have come to the conclusion that perceiving consciousness is an illusion. They only acknowledge the reality of the things being perceived, like the emotional energy that energizes thoughts and the information content that’s inherent in thoughts. They have no idea about the nature of the observer that is actually perceiving that energy and information content inherent in a thought.

Damasio describes the movie-in-the-mind, but then denies the existence of the observer out in the audience. For Damasio, the person and the world depicted in the movie are the only things that are real. Nisargadatta also describes the movie-in-the-mind, but doesn’t deny the existence of the observer. For Nisargadatta, everything in the movie, including the person and the world, are unreal. Only the observer out in the audience, called the Self, is real. For Damasio, the movie-in-the-mind is a virtual reality created in the brain, while the body and the brain exist in a real world. For Nisargadatta, the world is a virtual reality depicted as the movie-in-the-mind. For Damasio, the movie screen is created in the brain. For Nisargadatta, the movie screen is the boundary of the observer’s world, which in modern physics is called a holographic screen. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, and so there is a natural place for the observer as the perceiving consciousness present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. For Damasio, there is no natural place for the observer since the movie screen has to arise inside a brain inside the world. Like all neuroscientists, Damasio denies the existence of perceiving consciousness. The problem for neuroscience is the logical inconsistency of trying to create a movie-in-the-mind that depicts the life of a person in the world inside the brain of that person inside that physical world. The only natural place to depict that movie is on a holographic screen that bounds that world.

The denial of the existence of perceiving consciousness by neuroscience is very odd since all thoughts, like everything else in the world, is perceived in a subject-object relation. The subject is the observer and the object is composed of the energy and information content inherent in the thing being perceived. Neuroscience and artificial intelligence are denying the existence of the subject, which is the perceiving consciousness of the observer. This is very odd because every observer has its own inherent self-knowledge that it exists as the perceiving subject of whatever it is observing. Every subject has the inherent sense of being present as an observer of things and knows that it exists, and yet neuroscience and artificial intelligence researchers deny the existence of perceiving consciousness and call that sense of your own existence an illusion.

The remarkable thing about modern physics and the holographic principle is it turns the nature of illusion totally around. The perceivable world is the holographic illusion created through holographic projection. Everything in the perceivable world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic screen can always be understood to arise as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Understanding the observable world in this way tells us that the world is the holographic illusion and only the perceiving consciousness of the observer has its own independent existence. The existence of the perceiving subject exists before that holographic world appears to come into existence, while events are being perceived in that world, and after that world disappears from existence. Where do you think you go when you fall into a deep sleep at night and your world disappears from existence? Once you stop identifying yourself with the person in the world you take yourself to be as you perceive that world and know yourself only to be the perceiving subject of that world in the sense of being present as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of that world, then you know the answer to this question.

Physicists that buy into the conventional physicalism paradigm that physical reality is the only reality and deny the independent existence of the reality of consciousness will object that a person’s body still appears to exist in the world when that person is in a state of deep sleep. This observation really has nothing to do with the reality of consciousness, but only pertains to the consensual reality shared by multiple observers that appears to exist due to information sharing. Multiple observers, each present at their own point of view and each observing their own holographic world defined on their own holographic screen, can share a consensual reality when their respective holographic screens overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. Even when an observer’s own holographic world disappears from existence from its own point of view, other observers can continue to observe that particular observer’s inanimate sleeping body in their own holographic worlds due to information sharing. When multiple people play an interactive virtual reality game on their own computers, each connected to the internet, and one of the people turns off the game, the avatar of that person still appears in the game played by the other people, except that particular avatar will no longer be animated when its owner no longer plays the game. Falling into a deep sleep is analogous to turning off the game.

Physicists that buy into the physicalism paradigm deny the possibility of individual choice in a world of potentiality and deny the independent existence of consciousness as the observer of that world, and are often forced into the camp of the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory along with elements of quantum decoherence if they want to maintain any semblance of logical consistency, but that’s not the correct way to understand the world. The correct starting point is to assume the independent existence of the consciousness of the observer and show how the holographic principle naturally leads to what we call physical reality. Physical reality is not really something fundamental, but is more like a virtual reality, sort of like the Matrix.

Choice is an inevitable aspect of the world due to the potentialities of the world. The quantum state of the world is a superposition of all possible potentialities. In order to reduce this quantum state of potentiality to an observed state of actuality, a choice has to be made. When you come to a fork in the road, you have to choose which path to take. When you order off a menu, you have to make a choice about what to order. If you say that no choice is made, then you’re saying that everything is predetermined in some cosmic Newtonian deterministic mechanism and that there really is no quantum state of potentiality. Either you’re assuming the Einsteinian or Bohmian idea of nonlocal hidden variables that determine everything or you’re assuming the Everett many worlds interpretation of quantum theory. That’s certainly possible, but the correct understanding of the world keeps potentiality an inherent aspect of the world. A choice must be made every time the superposition of potentialities is reduced to an observed state of actuality.

The basic problem with the physicalism paradigm is there is no place for an observer to exist inside the world that the observer perceives. There is no logically consistent way an observer that exists inside an observable world can choose what it observes in that world in the sense of reducing the quantum state of potentiality of that world to an observed state of actuality. It is logically inconsistent to assume that multiple observers exist inside the same observable world and each make choices in that world that reduce the quantum state of potentiality of that world. That kind of assumption leads to paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. The only logically consistent way to resolve this problem is to assume that every observer observes its own observable world and make choices in that world as the quantum state of potentiality of that world is reduced to an observed state of actuality, but then the observer really doesn’t exist in that observable world. The holographic principle tells us that the observer exists at the center of its own holographic world as images of that world are projected from a holographic screen to the observer’s central point of view. That holographic world is observer-dependent and only arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as the observer’s holographic screen arises as an event horizon. Multiple observers, each existing at their own point of view, can only share a consensual reality in the sense of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens. An observer can only choose what it observes in its own holographic world in the sense of how the observer focuses the attention of its perceiving consciousness on events in that world.

Physics says that choices are made in an unbiased or random way, but even a random choice is a choice. There is also the possibility that choices can be made in a biased way. Who would make those biased choices? The answer is the observer makes its own biased choices based on the way the observer focuses its attention on events in the world it perceives. The observer has preferences because the observer has likes and dislikes. For example, the observer likes experiencing pleasure and dislikes experiencing pain. This brings us to the problem of qualia. Physics can only describe mathematical quantities, but when we perceive things, we perceive subjective qualities. Physics can only specify the wavelength or frequency of a light wave, and no one who works in neuroscience or artificial intelligence can explain how that mathematical quantity is perceived as the quality of color. The problem of qualia is inherent to the nature of consciousness itself. Consciousness has its own preferences of likes and dislikes, essentially what feels good and what feels bad, and will always choose to focus its attention in such a way as to choose what it likes and avoid what it dislikes. The reason consciousness can make choices is because the world that consciousness perceives is described by a mathematical quantum state of potentiality. Consciousness is making a choice every time that quantum state is reduced to an actual observed state. Who is making that choice? You are making that choice as the observer or as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of your own holographic world. You make that choice as you focus your attention on that world. At night when you fall into a deep sleep, you withdraw your attention away from that world and that world disappears from existence from your own point of view, but you still exist as consciousness.

Neuroscientists object that the problem of qualia remains unsolved because the information processing of the brain is extremely complex and there’s no telling what form that processed information will take, but this complexity argument is really only a smoke-screen for the logical inconsistency of their argument. The problem is, the input data into the brain is in the form of mathematical quantities, like the rate with which neurons fire their electro-chemical outputs of synaptic potentials. These synaptic potentials are transmitted between neurons, and so there is the transmission of electro-chemical information. When a large number of neurons are involved in this information transfer, as happens in the brain, some kind of information processing does indeed occur. The problem is, the output of this information processing is also in the form of synaptic potentials. The output data is still in the form of mathematical quantities. Neuroscience has absolutely no explanation for how this mathematical output data is perceived in the form of subjective qualities. Just like the problem of how the frequency of a light wave is perceived as a color, how is a neuron firing rate perceived as a subjectively perceived quality? Neuroscience has no answer and never will have an answer because the perception of subjectively perceived qualities is inherent to the nature of the perceiving subject and not to any mathematical quantity that characterizes a perceived object. The problem is that neuroscientists deny the existence of the perceiving subject because they deny the existence of perceiving consciousness, and so they will never be able to find a solution for the problem of qualia. Subjectively perceived qualities like color are not an aspect of the mathematical quantities that characterize perceived objects but rather of the perceiving subject that perceives objects in a subject-object relation.

Physicists make two mistakes when they discuss the holographic principle. The first mistake is they don’t take an observer-centric point of view. They mix up what appears to happen in the bulk with the way qubits of information are encoded on the screen. The bulk description includes space-time geometry, the force of gravity that arises from the curvature of space-time geometry, the particles of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, and all the matter particles that comprise things like atoms, molecules and bodies. Everything we perceive in the world is part of the bulk description. The holographic screen description only describes the way qubits of information are encoded on the screen. That holographic screen always arises as an event horizon that bounds the space-time geometry of the observer’s own holographic world. The screen arises from the central point of view of the observer in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference.

The mistake physicists make is to mix up the bulk description with the screen description. They are mixing up apples with oranges. The only consistent way to discuss the holographic principle is to discuss the way qubits of information are encoded on a holographic screen and whatever the observer that arises in relation to the screen in its accelerated frame of reference observes in its own world as images of things are projected from the screen to the observer’s point of view. The projected images of things aren’t really real since they can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the screen. Only the observer and its screen should be discussed. The images of things that appear in the bulk are only an illusion created by holographic projection.

The second mistake is to assume thermal equilibrium. Physicists assume thermal equilibrium because they are limited in terms of what they can discuss. They can only discuss an isolated simple system like a hydrogen atom, a planetary orbit, or an isolated black hole. To discuss anything more complicated they have to assume thermal equilibrium, but the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium, and so will exhibit levels of complexity that they just can’t discuss.

The non-thermal equilibrium nature of the universe is the nature of life. Life can only come into existence in a thermal gradient since it must feed off of the flow of energy that flows through that thermal gradient. When physicists assume thermal equilibrium they’re assuming a single physical mechanism or theory of everything that describes everything that can appear to happen in the universe. They’re restricting the potentialities of the universe to a single physical mechanism. That’s why they have to postulate a multiverse theory in order to recover infinite potentialities, but even the potentialities of a single universe are infinite when consciousness is deciding which potentialities to express. There are an infinite number of physical mechanisms or theories of everything that consciousness can choose to operate in the universe, which is why the physical universe will never be at thermal equilibrium. Consciousness can choose a new physical mechanism to operate in the universe anytime it wants to and create the conditions of non-thermal equilibrium that are conducive for the expression of life so that consciousness can have the experience of living a life in the virtual reality world that it creates for itself. In its own creative process of creating that world, consciousness will express any potentiality it has to in the sense of a physical mechanism or theory of everything that is conducive to living that life.

Physicists argue that there is a single observer-independent objective reality out there that all observers can observe and agree upon as they make their observations, but this is only a flaw or logical contradiction in their argument. This is the same mistake physicists make over and over again due to sloppy thinking. To even ask the question of what appears to happen inside an event horizon versus what appears to happen outside an event horizon requires a meticulous definition of the frame of reference of the observer. What appears to happen can only be defined from the point of view of the observer that makes the observation. What appears to happen from one point of view is not the same as what appears to happen from another point of view. In other words, there is no such thing as an objective reality out there that all observers will agree upon, only many different subjective realities that depend on the point of view of the observer that makes the observation. There is no such thing as an objective reality that is invariant for all observers. Every observer observes its own observer-dependent subjective reality. This conclusion is so obvious it almost seems trivial. Can anyone observe your own private thoughts except for you?

People who work in neuroscience would like us to believe that brain activity creates our thoughts since they can show a correlation between certain kinds of brain activity and certain kinds of thoughts, but this is a fallacy based on unsound scientific reasoning. A correlation gives no proof of causation, and observing brain activity is most definitely not the same as observing a thought. The only way science can give any evidence for cause and effect is through prediction. If a scientific theory can predict future events with a high degree of accuracy, that is strong evidence for a cause and effect. The only science that is able to perform this trick is theoretical physics. A theory like the law of gravity can predict the location of a planet in its orbit around the sun at future moments in time with a high degree of accuracy if the planet’s location is known at some past moment in time. No science other than theoretical physics can make such predictions, and so no other branch of science has anything important to say about cause and effect. At most, other branches of science can only show a correlation between events, but that is not evidence that one event caused another event. Our thoughts will always remain private to us as we observe them, no matter what people in neuroscience say about the role brain activity plays in creating our thoughts. No one can predict our thoughts, and no one other than ourselves can observe our own thoughts. Our thoughts are a part of our own subjective reality. Even theoretical physics with its evidence for cause and effect through the prediction of future events no longer supports the false idea held by so many scientists that there is a single observer-independent objective reality out there that we can all independently observe and agree upon as we make our observations. Modern physics with the holographic principle is telling us that every observer observes its own observer-dependent subjective reality. Every observer observes its own holographic world. That holographic world can only arise in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle also tells us that everything is the cause of everything else in a holographic world since all the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen are entangled. At most, only a consensual reality is shared by many observers when their respective holographic worlds overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. The holographic principle tells us that the observer’s own subjective reality can only arise in its own frame of reference.

Whatever is observed by an observer in its own observer-dependent holographic world depends on the frame of reference of the observer. Whose point of view are we talking about when we describe what appears to happen from that particular point of view? Unless we frame the question in this way, we’re only spouting nonsense due to sloppy thinking. We’re making the same mistake almost all physicists make when they falsely assume that there is only a single observer-independent objective reality that is invariant for all observers and that all observers will agree upon as they make their observations. Even the apparent existence of a particle is not observer-independent, as is demonstrated by Hawking radiation. From the point of view of a stationary observer that hovers outside the event horizon of a black hole, particles of Hawking radiation appear to exist, but for a freely falling observer that falls through the event horizon, particles of Hawking radiation do not appear to exist. In reality, every observer creates its own observer-dependent subjective reality from its own point of view, but then what is the true nature of the observer? To answer this question requires a discussion not of physics, but metaphysics. What is the true nature of the observer’s existence? A number of metaphysical traditions, like the Tao, Zen, and Advaita Vedanta, attempt to give a conceptual answer to this question, but ultimately this question can only be answered by an observer’s own direct experience of the true nature of its existence, and not by any concept that an observer can ever have about itself.

The holographic principle is really quite simple. The purpose of discussing the physical world in terms of the holographic principle in this article is to put the nondual conceptualization of reality called Advaita Vedanta into a scientific framework. The most advanced version of this nondual conceptualization of reality is described by Nisargadatta Maharaj in I Am That. The purpose of this discussion is to fulfill Nisargadatta’s final wish that the awakening process, as he described it, be translated into scientific terms. It’s possible to make a one to one correspondence with the way Nisargadatta and other enlightened beings have described their awakening process and what the holographic principle is telling us. The physics isn’t really anything fundamental, but by the way the physics is expressed in terms of very general principles of potentiality, the physics is pointing to something, actually the absolute nothingness of the void, that is fundamental.

Nisargadatta’s Final Wish

Nisargadatta at the end of his life expressed his final wish that his conceptual discussions of the nature of the awakening process become scientific concepts. Just like all scientists, all science is part of the virtual reality, but that doesn’t mean that science is wrong when it says the world is a holographic world. A holographic character in a holographic world can realize that it’s living in a holographic world because the consciousness present for that holographic character can have that realization, just as Neo in the Matrix can realize he’s living in a virtual reality. Consciousness isn’t really a part of that holographic world. Consciousness is always out in the audience and is outside, only watching as the holographic movie of that world plays on a holographic screen.

Consciousness only believes it is a part of the holographic movie it is watching when it identifies itself with its holographic character in the movie. The important distinction is the consciousness watching the holographic movie is a divided presence of consciousness, which is called I Am, the Self, Atman, the witness, the spirit of God, or whatever else we want to call it. Anytime it wants to, a divided presence of consciousness can stop watching the movie and return to its true undivided state of nondual reality, but then it knows nothing. Nothing is known, nothing is done and nothing exists in that ultimate undivided and unlimited state of pure consciousness because that nondual absolute nothingness is what ultimately exists at the ground level of existence.

Nisargadatta has given an exquisitely detailed description of this state of affairs. Through his direct experiences, he has described a holographic world in exquisite detail. He also discussed the nature of nondual reality. What’s odd is that his descriptions are so universally ignored by the same people that revere him as a saint. What is it that people don’t want to know?

Nondual reality emotionally creates dualistic reality like the virtual reality of the Matrix so that it can communicate with itself. This kind of verbal communication can only appear to come into existence when emotions are expressed, which is literally how the world is created as the spirit of God moves over the face of the deep. Without that motion, there is only the darkness of the deep, the void, or the formless nothingness of pure consciousness that is truly alone since it is All-One. It has No-self because it has nothing to perceive in a subject-object relation of self and other.

At the ground level of the ultimate nature of existence nothing is known because that nothingness is what ultimately exists. The only way the kind of verbal communication that we experience in the world is even possible is if nondual reality creates a virtual reality for itself to communicate within, and that creation is always emotional. Creation is literally the spirit of God (Atman, the Self, I Am, the witness, or whatever else we want to call it) moving over the face of the deep, which is a holographic screen that allows a holographic world to appear to come into existence, but that holographic world is no more real than the virtual reality of the Matrix.

The irony is that science and the mathematics of modern physics that underlies all of science is just as much a part of the virtual reality as is anything else. Nisargadatta expressed his final wish during the last days of his life that the nature of nondual reality, or more specifically, the journey of awakening that takes one to the direct experience of nondual reality, be discussed in scientific terms. Nisargadatta was fully enlightened and truth realized, and yet he didn’t spend all of his time getting lost in the void in some catatonic or Samadhi trance of experiencing nothingness. He discussed the nature of nonduality in conceptual terms, and expressed his final wish that these concepts become scientific concepts. Of course, his comments were as much a part of dualistic reality as anything anyone else can say. It’s all dualism. Take away dualism and there is only the absolute nothingness of nondual reality, but like a roadmap, the only way anyone can point to the non-conceptual nature of nondual reality is by discussing it in conceptual terms.

Maybe that’s the reason nondual reality creates dualistic reality. McKenna says dualistic reality is an amusement park, and that’s certainly part of it, but maybe it’s also created so that nondual reality can communicate with itself about the true nature of what it really is. McKenna calls that communication truth-talk in the dreamstate, but even that talk is just another ride in the park.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth
And the earth was without form and void
And darkness was upon the face of the deep
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters
And God said ‘Let there be light’; and there was light
And God saw the light, that it was good
And God divided the light from the darkness

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

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

Now I Am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

In the silence and the void
Standing alone and unchanging
Ever present and in motion
I do not know its name
Call it Tao

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

Returning is the motion of the Tao

It returns to nothingness
It leads all things back to the great oneness

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

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

Empty yourself of everything

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

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 Atman and Brahman.
-Shankara

He must dare to leap into the Origin so as to live by the Truth and in the Truth, like one who has become one with it. He must become a pupil again, a beginner; conquer the last and steepest stretch of the way, undergo new transformation. If he survives its perils then is his destiny fulfilled; face to face he beholds the unbroken Truth, the Truth beyond all truths, the formless Origin of origins, the Void which is the All; is absorbed into it and from it emerges reborn-Eugen Herrigel

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.

The inner emptiness itself is the mystery.
When the inner space is there, you are not.
When you dissolve, the inner emptiness is there.
When you are not, the mystery will be revealed.
You will not be a witness to the mystery, you will be the mystery.

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. That being is void.

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.
-Osho

The door that locks you in is also the door that lets you out.
I Am is the door. Stay with it until it opens. It is always open, but you are not at it.

You are and I am, but only as points in consciousness.

Nothing perceivable is real. Only the onlooker is real, call him Self or Atman. That which makes you think that you are a human is not human. It is a dimensionless point of consciousness.

All you can say about yourself is I Am.

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.

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

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

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

To the Self the world is but a passing show. The world just sprouts into being out of nothing and returns to nothing. As long as the Self is merely aware, there is no problem.

You can stop it any moment by switching off attention.

You make it possible by giving it attention.

To be born means to create a world around yourself as the center.

You are that point of consciousness.

By your movement the world is ever created. Stop moving and there will be no world.

Delve deeply into the sense I Am and you will discover that the perceiving center is universal. All that happens in the universe happens to you, the silent witness. Whatever is done is done by you, the universal and inexhaustible energy.
There can be no universe without the witness, no witness without the universe.

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.

The world you can perceive is a very small world, entirely private. The world is but a reflection of imagination. Take it to be a dream and be done with it. What you call survival is but the survival of a dream. 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.

Some go on a journey and come back, some never leave. What difference does it make since they travel in dreamlands, each wrapped up in his own dream. Only the waking up is important.

Once you have seen that you are dreaming, you shall wake up, but you do not see because you want the dream to continue. A day will come when you long for the ending of the dream. You become willing to pay any price. The price will be dispassion and detachment, the loss of interest in the dream.

I am like a cinema screen, clear and empty.
The pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before.
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.
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.
To myself I Am neither perceivable nor conceivable.
There is nothing I can point out and say “this I am”.

Everything is a play of ideas. In the state free from ideation nothing is perceived. The root idea is I Am. It shatters the state of pure consciousness and is followed by the innumerable sensations and perceptions, feelings and ideas which in their totality constitute God’s world. The I Am remains as the witness, but it is by the will of God that everything happens.

At the root of all creation lies desire.
The projecting power is imagination prompted by desire.
Desire and imagination foster and reinforce each other.

All limited existence is imaginary.
Even space and time are imaginary.
Pure being, filling all and beyond all, is not limited.
All limitation is imaginary.
Only the unlimited is real.

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.

Awareness comes as if from a higher dimension.

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

Find the immutable center where all movement takes birth. Be the axis at the center, not whirling at the periphery. Nothing stops you except fear. You are afraid of impersonal being.

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.
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.

In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. As long as you cling to the idea that only what has name and shape exists the Supreme will appear to you non-existing. Names and shapes are hollow shells. What is real is nameless and formless, pure energy of life and light of consciousness.

The witness is both real and unreal, the last remnant of illusion, the first touch of the real. The moment you say I Am, the entire universe comes into being.

The state of pure witnessing is like space, unaffected by whatever it contains.

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. It is your imagination that misleads you. There is a deep contradiction in your attitude which you do not see.

The world is but a mistaken view of reality, unreal to its core.

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings for it will destroy the world in which you live.

In the end you get fed up with the waste of time and energy.

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

From my point of view everything happens by itself, quite spontaneously.
I do nothing. I just see them happen.

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.

As long as you have the idea of influencing events, liberation is not for you. The very notion of doership, of being a cause, is bondage.

There is no such thing as free will. Will is bondage. You identify yourself with your desires and become their slave.

To imagine that you are in control is the aberration of the body-mind. There is a universal power that is in control. The illusion of personal control is in the mind only. Stand without desire and fear, relinquishing all control. This is the shortest way to reality.

It is disinterestedness that liberates. If you lose interest, you break the emotional link that perpetuates the bondage.

Death gives freedom. To be free in the world you must die to the world.

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

All attachment implies fear, for all things are transient.
Fear makes one a slave.
Freedom from attachment is natural when one knows one’s true being.

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.

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

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

You can see a person but you are not a person.

There is no such thing as a separate person. Everything is the cause of everything. Everything is as it is because the entire universe is as it is.

The entire universe contributes to the existence of even the smallest thing. Nothing could be as it is without the universe being what it is. Everything is as it is because the universe is as it is. The universe is not bound by its contents because its potentialities are infinite.

The universal trend towards balance, harmony and unity, at every moment, whatever is happening, is always for the best.

The law of balance rules supreme.

Every action creates a reaction, which balances and neutralizes the action. There is a continuous cancelling out, and in the end it is as if nothing happened.

By itself nothing has existence

The dissolution of personality is always followed by a sense of great relief, as if a heavy burden has fallen off.

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

Know yourself as you are. Stay with the sense I Am.

Wherever you go, at all times, you carry with you the sense of being present and aware, here and now. It means that you are independent of space and time. Space and time are in you, not you in them. It is only your self-identification with the body, limited in space and time, that gives you a sense of limitation. In reality, you are limitless.

Your world is created with the emergence of the I Am idea. In your world everything has a beginning and an end. Timeless being is entirely in the now.

Externalization is the first step in liberation. Step away and look. Separate yourself and watch. The physical events will go on happening, but in themselves they have no importance.

Seeing that you are not the person you take yourself to be, step out and look from the outside.

Your questions are about a non-existing person. Realize that whatever you think yourself to be is just a stream of events; that whatever happens, comes and goes, is not real; that you alone are, the changeless among the changeful. Separate the observed from the observer and abandon false identifications. Be a fully awakened witness of the field of consciousness.

When the mind is quiet we come to know ourselves as the pure witness.
We withdraw from the experience and stand apart in pure awareness.
The personality continues, but its self-identification with the witness snaps.

As long as you take yourself to be a person, a body and a mind, separate from the stream of life, having a will of its own, pursuing its own aims, you are living merely on the surface and whatever you do will be short-lived and of little value, mere straw to feed the flames of vanity.

As long as you are locked up with your mind and ego, you cannot go further. Were you really at war with your ego, you would question its reality. You don’t question because you are not really interested. You are moved by the pleasure-pain principle, fear and desire, which is your ego. You are going along with your ego, not fighting against it. You are not even aware how totally swayed you are by personal considerations. Be in revolt against your ego, for the ego narrows and distorts. It is the worst of all tyrants. It dominates you completely.

Struggle to find out what you are in reality. To know what you are you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not: body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that. Nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive. The clearer you understand that on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realize that you are the limitless being.

If you seek reality you must set yourself free of all patterns of thinking and feeling. Even the idea of being human should be discarded. Abandon all self-identifications, abandon all self-concern, abandon every desire. Stop thinking of achievement of any kind. You are complete here and now. You need absolutely nothing.

Nothing stands in the way of your liberation here and now except for your being more interested in other things. You must see through them as mere mental errors.

Moments when one feels empty and estranged are desirable moments, for it means the soul has cast its moorings and is sailing for distant places.

There is a vastness beyond the farthest reaches of the mind. That vastness is my home; that vastness is myself.

Once you are well established in the now, you have nowhere else to go.

As long as you are interested in your present way of living, you will shirk from the final leap into the unknown.

You must begin by being the dispassionate observer. Then only will you realize your full being. As long as you are enmeshed in the tribulations of a particular personality, you can see nothing beyond it. Ultimately you will come to see that you are neither the particular nor the universal. You are beyond both.

Everything is depicted in the pictures on the screen, including the person you take yourself to be; nothing in the light. You are the light only. You are the pure light appearing as a picture on the screen and becoming one with it.

Yours is the power of perception, not what you perceive. Whatever you are conscious of, is not you. Yours is the cinema screen, the light and the seeing power, but the picture is not you.

You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth, all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself. Realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself. All you need is to stop searching outside what can only be found within.

Turn within. I Am you know. Be with it all the time, until you revert to it spontaneously. There is no simpler and easier way.

By its very nature the mind is outwardly turned; it always tends to seek for the source of things among the things themselves. To be told to look for the source within is the beginning of a new life.

To become free your attention must be drawn to the witness.

The point of I Am is the bridge between the watcher and its dream.

I Am both inside and outside the dream, but what I see in dream, I am not.

First we must know ourselves as witnesses only, dimensionless and timeless centers of observation, and then realize that immense ocean of pure awareness.

On the surface of the ocean of consciousness, names and forms are transitory waves. Only consciousness has real being, not its transformations.

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

Realization is in discovering the source and abiding there.

Between desires and freedom from all desires is an abyss which must be crossed. Cross the door and go beyond.

All that is, lives and moves and has its being in consciousness.
I Am in and beyond that consciousness.
I Am in it as the witness.
I Am beyond it as Being.

The Supreme state neither comes nor goes. It is.
It is a timeless state, ever present.

In the timeless state there is no Self, no I Am, no witness.

Awareness is beyond all.
Awareness is primordial; it is the original state.
Awareness is undivided, aware of itself.

Before the mind happens, I Am.
Before all beginnings, after all endings, I Am.
All has its being in the I Am that shines in every living being.

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

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, but making everything shine with the light of consciousness.

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

Do nothing. There is nothing to do. Just be.
To be, you must be nobody.
You make yourself mortal by taking yourself to be a body.
That which is alive in you is immortal.

The Supreme reality is the void beyond being and non-being, beyond consciousness. There is no journey to Supreme reality. One is undeceived only. One is as one always is. One knows nothing, wants nothing, is nothing.

One is left without questions; no answers are needed.
There is nothing left to do. One’s work is done.

The I Am in movement creates the world.
The I Am at peace becomes the Absolute.

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.

-Nisargadatta Maharaj

♦♦♦

Download the PDF documents:

♦♦♦

What Does Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower Really Mean

The Mystery of Creation

What Is Real

All Movies Are A Footnote To The Matrix

The Story of Consciousness

The Holographic Principle and the Nature of Reality

Topics in Quantum Theory

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed

Appendix of Nondual Wisdom

Osho’s Path in the Journey of Awakening_ Surrender and Let Go

♦♦♦

Scientific References

Tom Banks (2018): Why the Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition. arXiv:1811.00130

Raphael Bousso (2002): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0203101

Antonio Damasio (1999): The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace)

Amanda Gefter (2014): Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (Random House)

Amanda Gefter (2012): Cosmic Solipsism. FQXi Essay

Brian Greene (2000): The Elegant Universe (Vintage Books)

N. Gregory Hamilton (1988): Self and Others (Jason Aronson)

Gerard ‘t Hooft (2000): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0003004

Ted Jacobson (1995): Thermodynamics of Space-time. arXiv:gr-qc/9504004

Stuart Kauffman (1995): At Home in the Universe (Oxford University Press)

J Madore (1999): Non-commutative Geometry for Pedestrians. arXiv:gr-qc/9906059

Nancy McWilliams (1994): Psychoanalytic Diagnosis (Guilford Press)

Roger Penrose (2005): The Road to Reality (Alfred A Knopf)

Lee Smolin (2001): Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (Basic Books)

Leonard Susskind (2008): The Black Hole War (Little, Brown and Company)

Leonard Susskind (1994): The World as a Hologram. arXiv:hep-th/9409089

A. Zee (2003): Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton University Press)

Nondual References

The Bhagavad-Gita (1909): Edwin Arnold trans. (Harvard Classics)

Jed McKenna (2002, 2004, 2007): Spiritual Enlightenment Trilogy (Wisefool Press)

Jed McKenna (20013): Jed McKenna’s Theory of Everything (Wisefool Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1973): I Am That (Acorn Press)

Nisargadatta Maharaj (1990): Prior to Consciousness (Acorn Press)

Osho (1974): The Book of Secrets (St Martin’s Griffin)

Osho (1977): The Search: Talks on the Ten Bulls of Zen (Tao Publishing)

Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki (1957): Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (Tuttle Publishing)

Bernadette Roberts (1993): The Experience of No-Self (State Univ of New York Press)

Lao Tsu (1989): Tao Te Ching. Gia-Fu Feng trans. (Vintage Books)

♦♦♦

The Experiencer and its Experiences

The Experiencer and its Experiences

In a recent series of YouTube appearances, Bernardo Kastrup has argued on purely metaphysical grounds that the true nature of reality is the Experiencer, and that everything the Experiencer can experience is an excitation of the Experiencer. Experiences always occur in a subject-object relation, where the true nature of the subject is the Experiencer, and the nature of all objects are experiences the Experiencer experiences that arise as excitations within the Experiencer. In other words, there really is no such thing as objective reality, only experiences the Experiencer can experience that arise as excitations of the Experiencer. These experienced excitations arise within the true nature of the Experiencer, which has its own inherent subjective reality.

Remarkably, this is also exactly what modern physics is telling us with the holographic principle of quantum gravity.  For those interested in the mathematical details, the holographic principle is explained in detail in the following article, A Brief Look Behind the Curtain. Only the briefest of outlines will be included here, just enough to flesh out the argument. Speaking flippantly, understanding the true nature of the Experiencer is figuring out who the Wizard behind the curtain really is. As the Experiencer of your own experiences, that Wizard is you, but to really understand the answer, you also have to answer the question You who? It is the Experiencer itself that has to directly experience its own true nature to answer the question Who Am I?

The way the holographic principle answers this question is in terms of an observer observing its own holographic world. The observer is the Experiencer, and whatever the observer observes in its own holographic world is its experience. The observer observing observable things in its own holographic world defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The objective nature of all observable things the observer can observe are forms of information animated in the flow of energy. The holographic principle tells us that these forms of information can always be reduced to quantized bits of information, called qubits, encoded on a holographic screen. In some sense, the perception of an observable thing by the observer is like the projection of an image from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer outside the screen. The observer’s holographic screen is like a computer that encodes bits of information on pixels, and the perception of a form of information is like the projection of an image from the screen to the observer’s point of view outside the screen. The images of things are always reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Those projected images are then animated in the flow of energy, just like the energy that energizes the operation of a computer.

The holographic principle is telling us that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen. In reality, all the observable things the observer can observe are nothing more than forms of information projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections in the flow of energy, just like the projected and animated frames of a movie projected from and animated on a computer screen.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The observable things the observer can observe in its own holographic world not only include macroscopic things, like bodies, planets, stars and galaxies, but also microscopic things, like atoms and molecules, and elementary particles like electrons and photons of the electromagnetic force that comprise atoms, and quarks and gluons of the strong nuclear force that comprise the atomic nucleus. All of these observable things are forms of information that can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer can also observe the flow of energy through its own holographic world that animates the form of all these observable things. Both the form of things, which are projected like images from the observer’s own holographic screen to its own point of view, and the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world, which animates the form of all things, are observable. Only the observer can observe all these observable things, but the holographic principle goes even further in terms of explaining the nature of observable things that can appear in the observer’s holographic world.

The 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is also observable and can be observed by the observer. The holographic principle says that the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s holographic world is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. That’s what makes the observer’s world a holographic world. All the qubits of information that define whatever can appear to happen in some bounded three dimensional region of space are encoded on the two dimensional bounding surface of that space, which acts as the observer’s holographic screen. All the observable objects that appear to occupy space in that three dimensional bounded region of space are reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s two dimensional holographic screen that arises as a bounding surface of space. The observable objects are forms of information projected like images from the observer’s holographic screen to its point of view and animated in the flow of energy that energizes the observer’s holographic world over an animated sequence of holographic projections, just like the animated frames of a movie projected from a computer screen. The observer’s 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of its own holographic world arises as forms of information are projected from its holographic screen and appear to occupy three dimensional space and are animated in the flow of energy, like the projected and animated frames of a movie. The images of the movie are holographic and appear to occupy three dimensional space.

The observer is observing the dynamical nature of its own 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that characterizes its holographic world, which is reducible to qubits of information encoded on its holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world. The dynamical nature of this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity in the sense of the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The force of gravity is nothing more than this dynamical curvature of the observer’s space-time geometry, which is formulated in relativity theory in terms of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The space-time metric is a field, just like the fields of the electromagnetic force or the nuclear forces. The space-time metric is the field of the gravitational force, which is understood as the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. The holographic principle says that all of these force fields can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world.

In relativity theory, the observer is understood in the sense of a reference frame. The observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. The holographic principle is telling us that the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity in the observer’s holographic world, can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This is a consequence of the principle of equivalence, which tells us the observed force of gravity is equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. Only an accelerating observer observes the force of gravity since that force is always equivalent to the observer’s acceleration. The only way we can even discuss the dynamical nature of the observer’s curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry that gives rise to the force of gravity is to discuss an observer in an accelerated frame of reference. This idea of an observer in an accelerated frame of reference is the key that unlocks all the secrets of the holographic principle. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is what gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. At a very deep level, the observer’s accelerated motion is what is creating the appearance of its own holographic world.

Principle of Equivalence

What gives rise to the observer’s holographic screen? The observer’s holographic screen can always be understood as a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. In relativity theory, this two dimensional bounding surface of space is understood to arise as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Every accelerating observer has its observations of things in space limited by an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can see things in space due to the limitation of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. The speed of light is constant for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion, and that constancy of the speed of light gives rise to the limitation of an event horizon that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. Nothing is observable to an accelerating observer beyond the limits of its own event horizon.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

How does the observer’s event horizon turn into its own holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world, including the dynamical nature of the observer’s own curved 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry? The answer is found in all consistent theories of quantum gravity. The first consistent theory of quantum gravity discovered was string theory. String theory then morphed into M-theory, and from M-theory it became possible to deduce the AdS/CFT correspondence, which explicitly confirmed the holographic principle in a mathematically rigorous way. The AdS/CFT correspondence proves that it is possible to construct a holographic world in which all the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world are encoded on a holographic screen, which is a lower dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a higher dimensional region of space. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, the qubits of information are encoded by a conformal field theory. In the case of the AdS/CFT correspondence, that conformal field theory is a super-symmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces. There is no force of gravity on the lower dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen, only a conformal field theory. The force of gravity only appears to be active within the higher dimensional bounded region of space. This appearance of the force of gravity within the bounded region of space in some sense is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. All the fundamental qubits of information that describe the effect of gravity in the bounded region of space are encoded on the bounding surface of that space. The effect of gravity in the bounded region of space can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which also explains how space-time geometry is quantized. String theory and M-theory can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry, as can fractal geometries. With non-commutative geometry, each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon specified by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. In non-commutative geometry, quantized position coordinates are specified by non-commuting variables. The entropy of the observer’s event horizon is given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon. The smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single qubit of information is a Planck-sized event horizon. This fundamentally explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale. A Planck sized event horizon is the smallest possible horizon that can encode a single qubit of information.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck-sized Event Horizon

Holographic Principle

Quantum entanglement is the natural result of the superposition of quantum states. In quantum gravity, information states are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are entangled. This is represented by the superposition of information states for that world. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. All the information states for that world are entangled, and so that holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are in a superposition of states and are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix, which are entangled.

We still have to explain the flow of energy through the observer’s holographic world. Where does that energy come from? The answer is that energy comes from the observer’s own acceleration. The observer’s acceleration gives rise to the observer’s event horizon that acts as its own holographic screen when its event horizon encodes qubits of information, but that acceleration also gives rise to the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world.

The secret behind the flow of energy through the observer’s own holographic world is the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its own accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon arises as the energy of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its own event horizon. This is the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s own holographic world as observed in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf, which is the fundamental defining relation between energy and frequency in quantum theory. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s holographic world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define all those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. The laws of thermodynamics are not really laws of physics, but rather very general statistical relations that specify how thermal energy flows from hotter to colder objects in terms of the dynamical degrees of freedom of those objects. This specifies how objects carry thermal energy, which is understood as the random kinetic energy of those objects. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental nature of the dynamical degrees of freedom of all objects are qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen, which is the nature of the entropy that characterizes those objects. The fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature at thermal equilibrium. The laws of thermodynamics assume thermal equilibrium. Each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a perfectly good answer, as Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have both demonstrated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between all matter particles also obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. It makes no sense to try to understand the nature of the physical universe in terms of equations that are not fundamental and only give an approximate thermal average description of the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon. This also explains the direction of time’s arrow, which is literally directed in the direction of the expansion of space that gives rise to the creation of the physical universe.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

What’s Wrong with Particle Physics?

The correct way to think about physics is in terms of the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that characterize physical reality. In the point particle formulation of physics, those dynamical degrees of freedom are taken to be particle coordinates that arise in some fixed background space-time-time geometry, like Minkowski space. The problem with the point particle formulation of particle physics is this is a mistaken assumption. In reality, there are no point particles and there is no fixed space-time geometry. The most general way that particle physics can formulate these point particle dynamical degrees of freedom is in terms of the quantum wavefunction, which in quantum field theory is formulated in terms of quantum fields. There are some technical issues in terms of first quantization and second quantization, but in essence the quantum field is the quantum wavefunction that specifies the quantum probability with which a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry, which is usually taken to be Minkowski space. For example, the quantum field of the Dirac equation specifies the quantum probability that the electron can be localized as some point in space at some moment of time. The Schrodinger equation for the hydrogen atom is just a non-relativistic limit of the Dirac equation. In quantum field theory, we also have Maxwell’s equations for the photon field. The electron and photon are both quantum particles, each characterized by their own quantum field. Electrons can interact with each other through the electromagnetic force by emitting and absorbing or by exchanging photons, and with second quantization, photons can create virtual electron-positron pairs that can annihilate back into photons, which is like the electromagnetic interaction run backwards in time. The key point is that the quantum wavefunction specifies the quantum probability with which a quantum particle can be localized at some point in space at some moment in time in the fixed background space-time geometry. If that quantum wavefunction is highly localized like a delta-function, then we can recover the Newtonian version of classical particle physics that describes the particle as following a point particle trajectory x=x(t) through the fixed background space-time geometry. This is only possible since the quantum wavefunction ѱ=ѱ(x,t) is defined in the fixed background space-time geometry. The point particle coordinates are taken to be the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the point particle formulation of particle physics, which can only be defined in a fixed background space-time geometry. A big problem arises when we try to add gravity to the other fundamental forces, like electromagnetism. By its very nature, gravity is the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry. There is simply no logically consistent way to quantize gravity as a quantum field theory since we would then have to assume that we have a fixed background space-time geometry, which contradicts the very idea of gravity as the dynamical curvature of a space-time geometry.

The holographic principle is the only known logically consistent way to resolve this problem. The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of physical reality are not point particle coordinates defined in some fixed background space-time geometry, but rather qubits of information defined on a holographic screen. The holographic screen in turn is understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s event horizon is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. Particle coordinates defined in that bounded three dimensional region of space are not fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom, but can only arise in some approximate sense in terms of a thermodynamic equation of state. All the quantum field theories of particle physics along with Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric as a formulation for gravity can only arise as thermal averages in the sense of a thermodynamic equation of state.

The fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom that actually define physical reality are qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, which arises as an event horizon in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference, but even the qubits are not really fundamental. To turn the event horizon into a holographic screen and encode qubits of information on the screen, we have to invoke some sort of geometric mechanism like non-commutative geometry that explains how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. We also have to assume there is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference before we can invoke this geometric mechanism. At the end of the day, an observer in its accelerated frame of reference is more fundamental than its holographic screen. In other words, the consciousness of the observer and the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference are both more fundamental than the qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen that act as the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of the observer’s holographic physical world.

The holographic principle is telling us that the fundamental nature of the universe is qubits of information encoded on an observer’s holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The observer’s holographic screen is understood as an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their relative states of motion.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable in the observer’s holographic world arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of that world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s exactly what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

By its very nature, an observation of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Modern physics has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the true nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

What about the problem of multiple observers observing the same observable world? The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in and observe the same observable world are all the paradoxes of quantum theory, like the Wigner friend paradox. The solution for this problem is the idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers, each of which arises at its own point of view in relation to its own holographic screen. A consensual reality can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view defined on its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen, but those screens can overlap in the sense of a Venn diagram and share information. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has pointed out.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Multiple Observers

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world from its own point of view eliminates all paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own holographic world from its own point of view. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. This way of understanding the nature of observation raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The time evolution of that world, as represented by the quantum wavefunction, only applies to the unobserved state of potentiality of that world. Measurement of that world, as represented by quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s body and the brain that appears in that holographic world can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the independent existence of the observer’s consciousness.

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

Atman-Brahman

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

Ultimately, the true nature of the Experiencer is the void. It is the void that creates a holographic world for itself to experience. To have those worldly experiences, the undivided and unlimited consciousness of the void must divide itself into the divided and limited consciousness of the observer of that world, which is present at the central point of view of its own holographic world. All the experiences that can be experienced in that holographic world arise as an excitation of the Experiencer in the sense that the void must express energy in order to create that holographic world. The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where all the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates all the information for that holographic world is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon, which then turns into its holographic screen. Just as Bernardo Kastrup argues on purely metaphysical grounds, modern physics demonstrates with the holographic principle that every experience the Experiencer can experience in its own holographic world arises as an excitation of the Experiencer that occurs within the true nature of the Experiencer.

Scientific References:

Tom Banks (2018): Why the Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition. arXiv:1811.00130

Raphael Bousso (2002): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0203101

Antonio Damasio (1999): The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace)

Amanda Gefter (2014): Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (Random House)

Amanda Gefter (2012): Cosmic Solipsism. FQXi Essay

Brian Greene (2000): The Elegant Universe (Vintage Books)

Gerard ‘t Hooft (2000): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0003004

Ted Jacobson (1995): Thermodynamics of Space-time. arXiv:gr-qc/9504004

J Madore (1999): Non-commutative Geometry for Pedestrians. arXiv:gr-qc/9906059

Roger Penrose (2005): The Road to Reality (Alfred A Knopf)

Lee Smolin (2001): Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (Basic Books)

Leonard Susskind (2008): The Black Hole War (Little, Brown and Company)

Leonard Susskind (1994): The World as a Hologram. arXiv:hep-th/9409089

A Zee (2003): Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton University Press)

Download the PDF documents:

♦♦♦

A Brief Look Behind the Curtain

A Brief Look Behind the Curtain

What Constitutes Reality and How Reality is Organized

Reality consists of only three things, but one of those things is not really a thing. The No-thing aspect of reality is called consciousness. Consciousness is what perceives all things, but in its ultimate stateless state, consciousness perceives nothing. The perception of nothing is not really that big of a mystery. It happens each night when you fall into a deep sleep. In-and-of-itself, consciousness in its ultimate stateless state perceives nothing. Consciousness perceives nothing when it exists in-and-of-itself. In that ultimate stateless state of existence, nothing exists except for consciousness. The fact that consciousness can exist independently of anything else that it can perceive tells us that consciousness in-and-of-itself is the ultimate nature of existence.

The things that consciousness perceives can only appear to exist when consciousness perceives them. The apparent existence of all the things that consciousness can perceive are dependent on consciousness for their perception. Those things can only appear to come into existence when consciousness perceives them. If consciousness does not perceive those things, then those things do not really exist. They have no independent existence outside of their perception.

The things that can be perceived are composed of two distinctly different kinds of things. The first kind of thing is called energy. The flow of energy is what animates the form of all things. All things are animated over the course of time, and the course of time and the flow of energy arise together. The course of time and the flow of energy are two sides of the same coin.

The second kind of thing is called information. At a fundamental level, information can be deconstructed into bits of information, just like the bits of information encoded on the pixels of a computer screen. The form of all things arise from the way those bits of information are organized into forms, just like the form of the images projected from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer that perceives those images. The form of all things are animated in the flow of energy over the course of time, just like the form of the images projected from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer perceiving those images are animated in the flow of energy through the computer that energizes the operation of the computer.

The form of things appear to occupy space. The three dimensional space that we perceive in effect is created by the way the form of the things we perceive appear to occupy space. The course of time that we perceive in effect is created by the way those forms are animated in the flow of energy. We perceive a three dimensional space and a one dimensional course of time, which can be reduced to the way the form of things appear to occupy space and the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time. At a more fundamental level, the form of all things that appear to occupy a three dimensional region of space can be reduced to the way bits of information are encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space, just like the form of the images projected from a computer screen can be reduced to the way bits of information are encoded on the computer screen.

Whoa. Hold on there partner. Who said anything about reality being defined on a computer screen? Actually, that’s exactly what modern physics says about the nature of reality. In the last 25 years, modern physics has discovered what is called the holographic principle of quantum gravity. Modern physics says that reality is defined on a two dimensional holographic screen that by analogy is just like a computer screen. The holographic screen is a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds some three dimensional region of space. The holographic screen is where all the fundamental bits of information are encoded that define all the forms of things that can be perceived in some bounded region of three dimensional space, just like with a physical hologram. The form of all the things that appear to occupy that region of space can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the holographic screen, just like the projection of the form of the images from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer perceiving those images.

The Observer’s Holographic Screen

At this point we need to make an important point of qualification. The reality that the observer perceives can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Let’s call that aspect of reality perceivable reality. Everything in perceivable reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. More specifically, the form of all the things that can be perceived in perceivable reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Since the perception of three dimensional space is an aspect of the form of things appearing to occupy space, this also included three dimensional space. Three dimensional space is an aspect of perceivable reality. The course of time is also an aspect of perceivable reality. The course of time arises with the flow of energy that animates the form of all things. That flow of animating energy is also an aspect of perceivable reality.

In some sense, perceivable reality is just like a computer generated virtual reality, which is constructed when digital images are projected from a computer screen to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images and as the images are animated over the course of time in the flow of energy. If the computer generated projected digital images are holographic in nature, the images appear to occupy three dimensional space even though they can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a two dimensional computer screen. The images of that virtual reality not only include visual images, but also auditory images and tactile images. Not only is the form of things perceivable, but the flow of energy that animated the form of things is also perceivable. The holographic principle is telling us that in no real sense is perceivable reality any different in any significant way than a computer generated holographic virtual reality.

What about the observer that perceives that perceivable reality? What is the true nature of the reality of the observer? Is the observer also an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives? Can the observer itself be reduced to the bits of information encoded on a holographic screen that gives rise to the appearance of the form of all things that appear to occupy space or to the flow of energy that animates those forms over the course of time? Wouldn’t that assumption that the observer itself can be reduced to an aspect of the perceivable reality that the observer perceives create a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference?

The problem is the form of a body and brain that appears within the holographic virtual reality must be constructed out of bits of information encoded on a holographic screen, like anything else that appears in that holographic virtual reality. Everything that appears in the holographic virtual reality can be reduced to bits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Can a body and brain that is a part of that holographic virtual reality also perceive that virtual reality? The only logically consistent answer is no. A body and brain that is part of the holographic virtual reality cannot be the observer that perceives that virtual reality. At most, a body and brain can only process or transmit information about that virtual reality. Just like a computer screen that projects images to the point of view of an observer that perceives those images, the observer is always outside the screen. Projected images can be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen, but the observer of the images projected from the screen cannot be reduced to bits of information encoded on the screen. The observer’s point of view is always outside the screen.

The holographic principle is fundamentally telling us that the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything the observer can perceive in perceivable reality. The reality of the observer is independent of the perceivable reality the observer perceives. The nature of reality is exactly the other way around from what is conventionally assumed when we assume that a body and brain that appears in perceivable reality is an observer of that perceivable reality. That kind of assumption is a mistake in the sense of a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. The perceivable reality the observer perceives is dependent on the reality of the observer. Perceivable things only appear to come into existence when the observer perceives them. The apparent existence of perceivable things is dependent on the existence of the observer. Only the observer has its own existence that is independent of anything that the observer can perceive.

The reality of the observer is consciousness itself. In-and-of-itself, the reality of consciousness is independent of anything that consciousness can perceive because the existence of consciousness is independent of anything that consciousness can perceive. The reality of consciousness is No-thing. The apparent existence of the form of all things that consciousness can perceive in perceivable reality is dependent on the independent existence of consciousness. Those things can only appear to come into existence as consciousness perceives them. If consciousness does not perceive its own version of perceivable reality, then consciousness perceives nothing.

At this point, if we want to dive deeper into the weeds of modern physics as a way to understand how perceivable reality is created and organized, we need to discuss what’s been discovered in theoretical physics in the last 25 years. The problem began when physicists tried to develop a theory of quantum gravity that could unify the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity with the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics. The standard model of particle physics is formulated in terms of the quantum field theories of the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The nuclear forces are further broken down into weak and strong nuclear forces that respectively are responsible for the nuclear decay that breaks up the atomic nucleus into smaller particles and for the strong nuclear attractive force that holds the atomic nucleus together as a bound state of particles. The electromagnetic force in turn holds atoms together as electrons are bound to the atomic nucleus, and also holds molecules together as atoms are bound together.

In quantum field theory, an elementary particle is a quantum excitation of a quantum field. For example, the photon is a quantum excitation of the electromagnetic field and an electron is a quantum excitation of the Dirac field. In a similar way, a quark is a quantum excitation of the quark field, a gluon is a quantum excitation of the strong nuclear field, and a W or Z particle is a quantum excitation of the weak nuclear field. Quarks and gluons bind together inside an atomic nucleus under the influence of the strong nuclear force, and an atomic nucleus can decay under the influence of the weak nuclear force. Electrons bind to the atomic nucleus into atoms and atoms bind together into molecules and bodies under the influence of the electromagnetic force.

This is the standard model of particle physics as understood with quantum field theory. If this was all we had to deal with, there would be no problem. Unfortunately, we also have to deal with gravity. In Einstein’s theory of general relativity, the force of gravity is understood to arise as the curvature of space-time geometry. The way Einstein formulated the relativistic curvature of space-time geometry was in terms of the field equations for the space-time metric. The metric is what measures the curvature of space-time geometry. The space-time metric is a field just like the electromagnetic field or the strong or weak nuclear fields. The problem is all the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics can only be formulated in a logically consistent way if space-time geometry is flat, which is called Minkowski space, but if space-time geometry is flat, there is no force of gravity. By its very nature, gravity arises from the curvature of space-time geometry, and there is no known logically consistent and unified way to formulate both the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics with the relativistic formulation of gravity in terms of the curvature of space-time geometry.

A problem arises when we try to understand the force of gravity as due to the exchange of a quantum particle called the graviton between other massive particles the same way we’re able to understand the electromagnetic force as due to the exchange of the quantum particle called the photon between electrically charged particles. The exchange of a quantum particle between other particles like electrons implies there is a space-time geometry within which that particle can propagate. In order to formulate the quantum field theory of electromagnetism in this way, we have to assume there is a background space-time geometry of flat Minkowski space within which the photon can propagate. A problem arises when we try to understand the graviton in the same way. The graviton is supposed to give a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, but to understand the graviton as the quantum particle of the gravitational field, we have to assume that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space, since that is the only way we can formulate quantum field theory. There is something logically inconsistent with assuming that the graviton propagates through flat Minkowski space while it also gives a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, which is the nature of the gravitational force.

The other problem with trying to understand gravity as a quantum field theory is the problem of black holes. A black hole is a region of space where the force of gravity is so strong that even light cannot escape. That region of space is defined by a bounding surface of space called an event horizon. At the event horizon, the velocity of escape from the black hole, called escape velocity, is the speed of light. Since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light in relativity theory, nothing can escape from a black hole, not even light.

Black Hole

The event horizon of a black hole is a special spherical surface where the escape velocity from that surface is the speed of light. A simple way to calculate the radius of the event horizon using classical concepts is to equate the kinetic energy of a particle of mass m moving away from a mass M with a velocity v, KE=½mv2, with the gravitational potential energy of that particle at a distance R from the mass M, PE=GmM/R. With escape velocity, the mass m has just enough kinetic energy to overcome the gravitational attraction of the mass M. This determines escape velocity as v2=2GM/R. If we equate v=c, we find the radius of the event horizon is R=2GM/c2, which is to say the escape velocity at the event horizon of a black hole is the speed of light.

Schwarzschild Radius of the Event Horizon of a Black Hole

This is where things get a bit tricky. The event horizon of a black hole is always defined in an observer’s frame of reference. An observer’s reference frame is a coordinate system with an observer at the origin or central point of view of that coordinate system. An observer always measures the nature of its own space-time geometry in that coordinate system. The observer measures distances in space and intervals in time between events that take place in its own frame of reference or coordinate system that defines its own space-time geometry. The space-time metric is a way of mathematically representing those measurements of distances in space and intervals in time. At the event horizon of a black hole, those measurements break down. Nothing can be measured by the observer beyond the event horizon of the black hole. The observer’s own space-time geometry breaks down at the event horizon of the black hole. The observer can measure nothing beyond the event horizon, which is to say the event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observations of things in space. That limitation arises from the finite nature of the speed of light, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space. That limitation also arises because the speed of light is a constant or the same for all observers independent of their individual state of motion.

We normally think that the event horizon of a black hole is created by the force of gravity that arises from the mass of the black hole, but that is not quite correct. The event horizon of a black hole is an observer-dependent observation. The effects of the event horizon of a black hole only appear to an accelerating observer when the observer is in an accelerated frame of reference. It is only an accelerating observer in an accelerated frame of reference that observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. An observer in a freely falling frame of reference observes no effects of the event horizon. As far as the freely falling observer is concerned, there is no event horizon. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon.

In relativity theory, this distinction between the different effects that different observers observe in different accelerated frames of reference is called the principle of equivalence. This principle says there is no way to distinguish the effects of a force from the effects of an acceleration. The exertion of a force is always equivalent to an acceleration. Any force, like the force of gravity, is equivalent to an observer’s acceleration, like an observer in a rocket-ship that accelerates through space. This equivalence specifically applies to the effects observed by an accelerating observer. An accelerating observer observes the same effects as those caused by the exertion of a force. In no significant way can the force of gravity be distinguished from an observer’s acceleration. An accelerating observer observes the same effects of gravity as caused by the exertion of a force.

Principle of Equivalence

In terms of the event horizon of a black hole, the effects of the event horizon are only observed by an accelerating observer that remains in a stationary position outside the event horizon of the black hole. An observer that hovers in a stationary position just outside the event horizon of a black hole must accelerate away from the black hole with an equal but opposite acceleration as that caused by the force of gravity that pulls the observer into the black hole. It is as though the observer is in a rocket-ship that accelerates away from the black hole in order to maintain its stationary position. This acceleration defines the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes the effects of the event horizon of the black hole. A freely falling observer that falls into the black hole observes no effects of an event horizon.

The effects of the event horizon of a black hole are solely observer-dependent effects that arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Only the accelerating observer observes them. This is odd, since at the event horizon of the black hole, the observer’s space-time geometry appears to break down. For example, the effect of time dilation appears to become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, it appears that for the things that fall into the black hole, it takes an infinite amount of time for those things to approach the event horizon, and they never really cross the horizon. From the accelerating observer’s own point of view, nothing ever actually crosses the event horizon as things appear to fall into the black hole. As observed by the accelerating observer, everything that falls into the black hole seems to get stuck at the event horizon since it takes an infinite amount of time for things to approach the event horizon. For the freely falling observer, there is no effect of time dilation or an event horizon. The things that fall into the black hole with the freely falling observer just fall into the black hole unimpeded by an event horizon.

This breakdown of an accelerating observer’s space-time geometry at the event horizon of a black hole has profound consequences when we try to quantize the gravitational field the same way we quantize any other quantum field theory. Like the effect of time dilation at the event horizon that tells us that time intervals between events become infinite at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer, the problem has to do with the measurement of distances. The bottom line is that there is a smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. This smallest possible distance scale is called the Planck length. The basic problem is that in quantum theory, the way we measure any distance scale is by scattering a quantum particle, like a photon of light, off of whatever object we are trying to measure. If we want to accurately measure the distance scale of that object, we have to use an appropriate amount of energy inherent in the photon of light. The energy of the photon is given in terms of its frequency as E=hf. This relation between energy and frequency is what defines the photon as a quantum particle or excitation of the electromagnetic field. The photon’s frequency is related to its wavelength in terms of the speed of light as f=c/λ, and so the photon’s energy is given in terms of its wavelength as E=hc/λ.

The way we measure the distance scale of an object is by matching the photon’s wavelength to the object’s distance scale. This means we have to use higher energy photons to measure smaller objects. For example, we can visualize a biological cell with an ordinary light microscope, but if we want to visualize a virus, we need to use an electron microscope. The wavelength of light generated by an electron microscope is in the range of x-rays, which is much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Correspondingly, an x-ray photon carries much more energy than a visible light photon. The smaller the object we want to measure, the higher the energy and the smaller the wavelength of the photon we need to use to make that measurement.

The problem is that when we combine quantum theory with gravity, we discover that there is a smallest possible distance scale that we can measure. Since energy is equivalent to mass as E=Mc2, if we concentrate enough energy into a small enough distance scale or region of space, we create a black hole. Einstein’s theory of relativity tells us that this distance scale is defined by the radius of an event horizon given in terms of the mass of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. If this distance scale is set equal to the wavelength of a photon of energy E=hc/λ, where R≈ℓ≈λ and E is given in terms of the mass of a black hole, then the distance scale ℓ at which a black hole must form is approximately given as ℓ≈hG/ℓc3. The Planck length is defined by ℓ2=ħG/c3.

Planck Length

The Planck length is the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured. If we try to measure smaller distance scales, we concentrate so much energy into such a small region of space that we create a black hole. If we concentrate even more energy into an even smaller region of space, we only make the black hole bigger. The event horizon of a black hole is a limitation on our ability to measure things in space since nothing is observable beyond the limits of an event horizon as observed by an accelerating stationary observer outside the event horizon. In effect, just like infinite time dilation at the event horizon, the event horizon is a breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry. This breakdown in the accelerating observer’s ability to measure its own space-time geometry beyond the limits of the event horizon is reflected in a smallest possible measurable distance scale. The Planck length as the smallest possible distance scale that can be measured by an accelerating observer signifies this breakdown in the observer’s measurement of its own space-time geometry.

The logical inconsistency of all attempts to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory or to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory reflects this breakdown in an accelerating observer’s ability to measure its space-time geometry beyond the limits of an event horizon or to measure distance scales smaller than the Planck length. Due to this intrinsic limitation imposed on an accelerating observer by the effects of gravity in terms of measuring its own space-time geometry, it is not possible to understand the gravitational field as a quantum field theory. This means all attempts to unify gravity with the other fundamental forces understood in terms of quantum field theory are doomed to failure. The problem boils down to the very nature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories are not consistent with gravity because they’re not consistent with the dynamical curvature of space-time geometry. Quantum field theories can only be defined in gravity-free flat Minkowski space. On the other hand, the curvature of space-time geometry is not consistent with quantum field theory. Putting gravity and quantum theory together implies the breakdown of space-time geometry as reflected by the Planck length, which is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

This state of affairs was an impasse that theoretical physics faced until John Wheeler and Jacob Bekenstein tried a new approach to solve the problem of unification. The new approach was to think of gravity in terms of thermodynamics. The bottom line was to think of the law of gravity not as a fundamental thing, but more like a thermodynamic equation of state, like the ideal gas law or the equation for sound waves. In other words, there was something more fundamental than the law of gravity, something more fundamental that underlies the law of gravity. Wheeler and Bekenstein had the idea that this more fundamental thing was a quantized bit of information.

The big question they had was about where or how the quantized bits of information that underlie the effects of gravity are encoded. The big clue they had was to consider the role played by the event horizon of a black hole. They imagined a photon of light falling into a black hole. They wanted to consider the simplest possible photon, a photon characterized by a single quantized bit of information. That quantized bit of information can be understood as the polarization state of the photon, which can be circularly polarized in either a clockwise or a counter-clockwise direction relative to the direction of motion of the photon. The circular polarization of the photon in either a right-handed or left-handed state represents the spin state of the photon, similar to a spin ½ particle that can only spin in either a spin up or spin down state. This spin state represents a single quantized bit of information encoded in a binary code.

In order to make the photon as simple as possible and to carry no other information other than its spin state, the wavelength of the photon was assumed to be the same size as the radius of an event horizon of a black hole. As this photon fell into the black hole, only a single quantized bit of information was added to the black hole. The question they wanted to answer was about the black hole’s entropy, which is the total number of quantized bits of information that characterize the black hole. They also wanted to know where those bits of information were encoded.

The radius of the event horizon is given in terms of the mass of the black hole as R=2GM/c2. The energy of the photon that falls into the black hole is given in terms of its wavelength as E=hc/λ. This photon has an equivalent mass of E=mc2. As this photon falls into the black hole, the mass of the black hole increases by ΔM=m. The entropy of the black hole is specified in terms of the number n of quantized bits of information that characterize the black hole. A photon that has a wavelength approximately equal to the radius of the event horizon R≈λ only carries a single quantized bit of information given in terms of its spin polarization state. As this photon falls into the black hole, the entropy of the black hole only increases by Δn=1. Let’s guess that the entropy n is proportional to the surface area of the event horizon, A=4πR2, as n=A/α. Then Δn=8πRΔR/α. With ΔR=2GΔM/c2=2G(h/cλ)/c2≈2hG/Rc3, this gives RΔR≈2hG/c3. We then find that the constant α is given by α≈16πhG/c3. Recall that the Planck area is defined as ℓ2=ħG/c3. This tells us that the total number of quantized bits of information that characterize the entropy of a black hole is defined in terms of the surface area of the event horizon of the black hole, and that at least in terms of an order of magnitude estimate, each Planck area defined on that surface acts like a pixel that encodes a single quantized bit of information. This result for the entropy of a black hole given in terms of surface area of its event horizon is called the holographic principle.

Holographic Principle

Bekenstein’s approximate order of magnitude calculation for the entropy of a black hole was where things stood until Stephen Hawking performed a more accurate calculation. The Hawking calculation utilized the laws of thermodynamics, which are not really laws of physics, but are a statistical relation between entropy, S, which is understood as quantized bits of information, thermal energy, E, which is understood in terms of the random motion or kinetic energy of the things that can reduced to quantized bits of information, and temperature, T, which is understood as an average value of that thermal energy. The big assumption of thermodynamics is that things are at thermal equilibrium, which means that thermal energy is randomized or thermalized as things move around in a random way. The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each quantized bit of information encoded on an observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen inherently carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of what’s called the Unruh temperature. At thermal equilibrium, each quantized bit of information carries an equal amount of thermal energy. Each quantized bit of information is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a quantized bit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more quantized bits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

Hawking was able to make progress in the calculation because he was able to calculate the Unruh temperature of the event horizon of a black hole as observed by an accelerating observer outside the event horizon. The secret behind this calculation is that the thermal energy that flows through the observer’s holographic world arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. In effect, the observer’s acceleration is defining a frequency in the sense that E=hf. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer. This thermal radiation is called Hawking radiation.

Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerating observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes quantized bits of information for point particles that can appear in the observer’s world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at an event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration.

Hawking Radiation

Hawking radiation is weird. The key thing to realize is that although it appears that virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are separating at the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer and that thermal particles of Hawking radiation are radiated towards the observer, the fundamental quantized bits of information that define those particles of Hawking radiation are actually encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen.

Once Hawking calculated the value for the Unruh temperature of the event horizon, kT=ħa/2πc, he was then able to use the laws of thermodynamics, ΔE=TΔS, to calculate the entropy of the black hole. The total energy of the black hole is given in terms of its mass as E=Mc2. We’ll again guess that the entropy of the black hole is given in terms of its surface area, A=4πR2, as S=kn, where the total number of quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon of the black hole is proportional to its surface area, n=A/α. We also need to know the radius of the event horizon in terms of its mass, R=2GM/c2, as specified by Einstein’s theory of relativity. Finally, we need to know the acceleration with which a stationary observer that just hovers outside the event horizon must accelerate in order to avoid falling into the black hole. This acceleration is given by the law of gravity as a=GM/R2. If we put all these terms together and do the calculation, we find that the constant α=4ℓ2, where the Planck area is ℓ2=ħG/c3.

Black Hole Entropy

The holographic principle is telling us that each Planck area defined on the observer’s event horizon is acting like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information. The particles of Hawking radiation that the accelerating observer perceives to be radiated away from the event horizon are reducible to quantized bits of information encoded on the event horizon, which is acting as the observer’s holographic screen. The essential lesson of the holographic principle is that particles that appear to exist in three dimensional space and appear to move through three dimensional space can always be reduced to quantized bits of information encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds that three dimensional region of space and acts as a holographic screen. That bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer is observing events in its own holographic world as displayed on its own holographic screen. Those perceivable events can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which gives rise to the form of things, and the flow of energy that animates those forms. This flow of energy can be understood in terms of the Unruh temperature of the observer’s event horizon as the thermal energy that arises from the observer’s acceleration.

If all we had was Hawking’s calculation for the entropy of a black hole, the holographic principle would be a novel idea without much evidence to back it up. The situation rapidly changed when string theory was proposed to be a logically consistent theory of quantum gravity. String theory then morphed into M-theory, and from M-theory it became possible to deduce the AdS/CFT correspondence, which explicitly confirmed the holographic principle in a mathematically rigorous way. The AdS/CFT correspondence proves that it is possible to construct a holographic world in which all the fundamental quantized bits of information for that world are encoded on a holographic screen, which is a lower dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a higher dimensional region of space. In the AdS/CFT correspondence, the quantized bits of information, which from here on will simply be called qubits, are encoded by a conformal field theory. In the case of the AdS/CFT correspondence, that conformal field theory is a super-symmetric SU(N) Yang-Mills field theory, similar to the field theories of the strong and weak nuclear forces.

There is no force of gravity on the lower dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen, only a conformal field theory. The force of gravity only appears to be active within the higher dimensional bounded region of space. This appearance of the force of gravity within the bounded region of space, just like the appearance of Hawking radiation in three dimensional space, in some sense is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. All the fundamental qubits of information that describe the effect of gravity in the bounded region of space are encoded on the bounding surface of space, just as all the qubits of information that describe the appearance of Hawking radiation in three dimensional space are encoded on the observer’s event horizon. The effect of gravity in the bounded region of space, just like the appearance of Hawking radiation in three dimensional space, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which can always be understood as a event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference.

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

It cannot be stressed strongly enough that a two dimensional bounding surface of space that acts as a holographic screen can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. An accelerating observer’s event horizon limits its observations of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light. Every accelerating observer’s observations of things in space are limited in space by 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. Nothing is observable to the accelerating observer beyond its event horizon. The observer’s event horizon naturally turns into a holographic screen when the screen encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own observable holographic world.

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which explains how space-time geometry is quantized. String theory and M-theory can be understood as special cases of non-commutative geometry, as can fractal geometries. With non-commutative geometry, each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon specified by a non-commuting variable is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. In non-commutative geometry, quantized position coordinates are specified by non-commuting variables. The entropy of the observer’s event horizon is given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon. The smallest possible event horizon that can encode a single qubit of information is a Planck-sized event horizon. This fundamentally explains why the Planck length is the smallest possible measurable distance scale.

Qubit as the Information Encoded on a Planck-sized Event Horizon

Quantum entanglement is the natural result of the superposition of quantum states. In quantum field theory, virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are entangled. This is represented by the superposition of information states. A holographic world defined by the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen is fundamentally a world where everything is connected to everything else at the level of quantum entanglement. All the information for that holographic world is entangled. A holographic world is inherently holistically connected.

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix.

What about the laws of physics? Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a straightforward and perfectly good answer, which both Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have explicitly delineated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between matter particles obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry of that world and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The final result of unification looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is understood as a low energy limit of M-theory. It therefore turns out that the whole quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, along with the usual unification mechanisms of super-symmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that define everything in a holographic world. The form of everything in that world is reducible to qubits of information. Even the flow of energy that animates everything in that world can be understood in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

Any thermodynamic equation of state describing a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle. We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy through the Observer’s Perceivable World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon.

Creation of the Universe as the Expansion of Space

Conformal Symmetry and Holography

The holographic principle is telling us about a peculiar symmetry that’s inherent to the nature of gravity. This symmetry is called conformal symmetry, which is the symmetry of objects that appear self-similar when observed at different length scales. This kind of symmetry is seen in fractal geometries that appear self-similar at different scales. Conformal symmetry expresses invariance of the laws of physics as the space-time metric is transformed with a new length scale. The law of gravity as reflected by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric has no inherent length scale. This gives rise to the acceleration due to gravity generated by a massive body falling off as 1/R2 at a radial distance R from the massive body. The holographic principle was first discovered for black holes, which are defined by an event horizon of radius R. At the event horizon, the acceleration due to gravity is a=GM/R2, where M is the mass of the black hole and R is the radius of its event horizon. A stationary observer hovering outside the event horizon of a black hole must accelerate away from the black hole with an equal but opposite acceleration to maintain its stationary position. The Unruh temperature of the event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer, kT=ħa/2πc, is proportional to the observer’s acceleration a=GM/R2. The entropy, S=kn=kA/4ℓ2, of the event horizon is proportional to its surface area A=4πR2.

It’s not a coincidence that the entropy of the event horizon behaves like R2 while the Unruh temperature behaves like 1/R2. The entropy of the event horizon is an area law that behaves like R2, while the Unruh temperature of the event horizon is an acceleration that behaves like 1/R2, and so these two factors cancel each other out in the thermodynamic relation between energy and entropy, ΔE=TΔS. We’re assuming three dimensional space where the surface area of a spherical event horizon is proportional to R2. There’s a simple physical explanation for why the acceleration due to gravity behaves like 1/R2. If we imagine the force of gravity is due to the exchange of a force particle called the graviton and that a mass acts like a point source of gravitons constantly emitted in all directions, then the total flux of gravitons that pass through a spherical surface of radius R must be constant, and so the force of gravity falls off as 1/R2. The force of gravity between two masses is proportional to the number of gravitons exchanged and falls off as 1/R2 since the total flux of gravitons passing through a spherical surface is constant.

The speed of light is also the speed that a graviton travels through space since the graviton is a massless particle, like the photon. The idea of the holographic principle is to encode qubits of information for gravitons on the surface of an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. In order to keep the flux of gravitons through the surface constant, independent of the radius of the surface, the number of pixels on the surface, each of which encodes a qubit of information, must be proportional to the surface area. The holographic principle reflects the total flux of gravitons through a spherical surface is constant when the gravitons are emitted from a point source at the center of that surface, which implies the 1/R2 force law, and that each graviton can be reduced to a qubit of information encoded on the special surface of an event horizon, which implies the area law for entropy. Entropy is the total number, n=A/4ℓ2, of qubits encoded on the event horizon needed to characterize all the gravitons. The acceleration due to gravity enters into the Unruh temperature as a way to insure that the laws of thermodynamics are satisfied.

The constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their state of motion, is an essential aspect of a holographic universe. This is the basic reason an event horizon arises for an accelerating observer. When quantized bits of information, called qubits, are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which is the case for all versions of quantum gravity, like M-theory or non-commutative geometry, the horizon acts as a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world. The speed of light can be understood as the maximal rate of information transfer in three dimensional space, which is like the maximal rate of information transfer in a computer. This fact is woven into Einstein’s theory of relativity in terms of understanding how the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the world is similar to a Euclidean geometry, where there is a generalized version of the Pythagorean theorem. Unlike a Euclidean geometry, this 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry can become curved, which explains the nature of gravity, but there is still a version of the Pythagorean theorem that allows for measurement of distance in the geometry. Gravity has no natural length scale with which to measure distance, which gives gravity or space-time geometry the property called conformal symmetry. When gravity is quantized, conformal symmetry always implies holography due to the encoding of qubits on a holographic screen. Basically, the 1/R2 force law for gravity implies holography whenever gravity waves are quantized into gravitons and each graviton is reduced to a qubit of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon that acts as its holographic screen.

The Schwarzschild metric, which is the solution to Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric for a spherically symmetric massive body, demonstrates this generalized version of the Pythagorean theorem for a curved space-time geometry. If the mass has collapsed into a black hole, then the Schwarzschild radius rs=2GM/c2 defines the event horizon of the black hole. This generalized version of the Pythagorean theorem is called proper-time. The basic idea of relativity theory is that proper-time is the only invariant measure of distance between two events in a curved space-time geometry that all observers will agree upon, independent of their relative states of motion.

Schwarzschild Metric

The Connection Between Gravity and Quantum Theory

The basic postulate of relativity theory is the principle of equivalence, in which the observer is understood as a point of view, which is the point of origin of a coordinate system that defines the observer’s frame of reference. That point of view always arises in relation to an event horizon whenever the observer is in accelerated motion or in an accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s accelerated point of view and its holographic screen, understood as an event horizon that encodes qubits of information, always arise together. Since the observer’s holographic screen encodes all the qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its holographic world, which includes the observer’s body and brain, the observer’s point of view can only be understood as a focal point of pure consciousness. There is no other logical explanation.

Einstein’s theory of relativity, where the force of gravity is understood to arise as the curvature of space-time geometry, is really only built on the constancy of the speed of light, which implies a space-time geometry with a Pythagorean theorem to measure distances, and the lack of a natural length scale, which implies the conformal symmetry of gravity. When gravity is quantized, these two facts imply holography. The only natural way to generate holography is with an accelerating observer, which is understood as a point of view or focal point of pure consciousness, and the observer’s event horizon that acts as a holographic screen that encodes all the qubits of information for all the observable things the observer can observe in its holographic world.

The measurement of distance along some path through a space-time geometry with utilization of a generalized Pythagorean theorem, even when that space-time geometry is curved, is called proper-time, which is fundamental to the formulation of relativity theory. It turns out there is a deep connection between relativity theory and the quantum theory of point particles in terms of measuring distance along some path through space-time geometry. The most general way to formulate quantum theory is in terms of a sum over all possible paths. The quantum state of potentiality allows for all possible outcomes, not just the classical outcome. The way quantum theory expresses this potentiality is in terms of a quantum state that can always be formulated as a sum over all possible paths in some information configuration space. Each path is weighted with a quantum probability factor that depends on a quantity called the action.

The deep connection of quantum theory to relativity theory is that particle action can always be formulated in terms of proper-time, which measures distance along some path in a curved space-time geometry. The quantum field theory formulation of particle physics utilizes this connection to relativity theory, but can only be formulated in flat space-time geometry, which is called Minkowski space. By its very nature, all of particle physics as formulated by quantum field theory must assume that space-time geometry is flat, but then there is no force of gravity since gravity is nothing more than the curvature of space-time geometry. The basic problem with trying to quantize gravity the same way particle physics is quantized with quantum field theory is that the quantum particle of that field theory must follow a path through a space-time geometry. For quantum gravity, that particle would be called the graviton. Quantizing gravity in this way would mean the graviton would follow a path through space-time geometry, but in the sense of quantum field theory, that is only possible if space-time geometry is flat. The problem is the graviton as the quantum particle of the field theory is supposed to give a representation of the curvature of space-time geometry, which is the nature of gravity, but the graviton itself has to follow a path through space-time geometry. There is a deep contradiction in this way of formulating how gravity is quantized. The only solution that has been found for how to resolve this logical contradiction is the holographic principle. Only the holographic principle allows for a logically consistent formulation of quantum gravity, but the price we have to pay for this logical consistency is a new way of understanding the nature of consciousness.

The basic postulate of quantum theory is inherent in the way the quantum wavefunction is assumed to evolve in time. This time dependence of the quantum wavefunction is called unitary time evolution. The total energy of the quantum system is represented by a quantum operator called the Hamiltonian, and the unitary time evolution of the quantum system is expressed in terms of this Hamiltonian operator operating on the quantum wavefunction.

Unitary Time Evolution of the Quantum State

The unitary time evolution operator U(t)=exp(−iHt/ħ) conserves quantum probability, which is explicitly demonstrated by the unitary nature of the exponential function U(t)U(−t)=1.

The Hamiltonian operator formulation of quantum theory is equivalent to the action principle formulation of quantum theory. The Hamiltonian represents the total energy of a quantum system in terms of both kinetic and potential energy, E=KE+PE, while the action represents the time averaged difference of kinetic and potential energy, S=∫dt(KE−PE). It’s fairly easy to demonstrate that the unitary time evolution of the quantum state, represented by the unitary time evolution operator U(t)=exp(−iHt/ħ) acting on the quantum state, is equivalent to a sum over all possible paths in a configuration space, where each path is weighted with a quantum probability factor P=exp(iS/ħ). The configuration space represents all possible configurations of the quantum system. For example, for a point particle that moves through space, the sum is over all possible trajectories of the point particle through space. At its root, the quantum probability factor P is the essence of the quantum wavefunction. The sum over all possible paths formulation of quantum theory is equivalent to the quantum wave equation formation of quantum theory.

Quantum State as the Sum over all Possible Paths

The most general way to formulate quantum theory is in terms of a sum over all possible paths in some configuration space. The quantum state of potentiality allows for all possible outcomes, not just the classical outcome. The way quantum theory expresses this potentiality is in terms of a quantum state that can always be formulated as a sum over all possible paths that connect a point of initial conditions to a point of final conditions in some information configuration space.

The laws of physics only enter into the quantum state as an action principle, which determines quantum probability. Quantum probability is determined by the quantum wavefunction, which in turn is determined by an action principle. All the laws of physics can be expressed as an action principle. Action is like a measure of distance along some path between two points in some information configuration space. Particle action, S=∫dt(KE−PE), can always be formulated in terms of a proper-time interval, 𝝉=∫d𝝉 between an initial and a final measured event. Quantum probability depends on action as P=exp(iS/ħ). The most likely outcome in terms of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between those two points in the information configuration space. That’s why events seem to obey classical laws of physics, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action only arises from the quantum state as the most likely path in the sense of quantum probability if things are chosen from the quantum state of potentiality in an unbiased or random way. If there is bias in the way choices are made, the laws of physics lose their classical predictability. In terms of Einstein’s metaphor of throwing dice, if the dice are loaded, the game is rigged and all bets are off.

This choice that chooses something from the quantum state of potentiality is called the collapse of the wavefunction or a quantum state reduction. Quantum theory tells us every measurement of something is a choice in the sense of collapsing the quantum wavefunction or reducing the quantum state. The quantum state of potentiality includes all possible outcomes. To actually measure some specific outcome, a choice must be made. Quantum theory says the choices are made randomly, but why can’t choices be made in a biased way? Who would make that choice? The obvious answer is that the observer of the actual outcome of the measurement is making that choice. In the sense of perceiving consciousness, the observer is choosing what to observe in its own observable world. That world only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until it is observed by the observer and appears to come into an actual state of existence. This raises an even bigger question. What is the true nature of the observer?

In the sense of relativity theory, the observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. Quantum theory is telling us with the concept that the measurement of something can only arise as the quantum state of potentiality is reduced to an actual observable state that every point on the observer’s world-line is a decision point about what to observe in its world and which path to follow through that world. Only the observer can make that choice. The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

The Measurement Problem of Quantum Theory

It appears that the unitary nature of the time evolution of a quantum system demonstrates time translational invariance of the laws of physics, but that is not quite correct. The unitary aspect of quantum theory in the sense of the wave equation for the quantum wavefunction demonstrates time translational invariance, but the measurement aspect of quantum theory does not. Measurement in the sense of a quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction breaks time translation invariance. To actually measure the quantum state of any quantum system, we have to interpose the processes of unitary evolution U with quantum state reduction R in the time evolution of the quantum state of that physical system. The physical universe is understood as a physical system, and so this analysis applies to the physical world. The process U respects time translation invariance, but the process R does not. The process of measurement or observation in the sense of the collapse of the wavefunction is not a time translation invariant process. In effect, a measurement resets the initial conditions for the unitary time evolution of the quantum system. Every measurement resets the initial conditions. That’s exactly what a quantum state reduction does. Unitary time evolution of the quantum state only applies between some measured initial conditions of the quantum system and some measured final conditions of the quantum system. Once the initial conditions of the system are reset by a measurement of the system, time translational invariance in the sense of the unitary time evolution of the system is broken.

U versus R

The reason this is so important is because this is what we are constantly doing as we observe the world. Every observation of the world is a measurement of the world, and by its very nature, every observation must break time translation invariance. We are constantly resetting the initial conditions of the world as we make observations of the world. Unitary time evolution of the world, as represented by the unitary time evolution process U, only applies between our observations of the world, as represented by the quantum state reduction process R.

Unitary Evolution U as Preconscious Processing and Measurement R as Conscious Experience

By its very nature, an observation or measurement of the world implies an observer is making that observation, but who exactly is the observer? Quantum theory has no answer for the true nature of the observer. Physicists want to sweep this problem under the rug and ignore it because they really have nothing to say about the nature of the observer. The whole enterprise of physics is really only about describing what is observable and not about what is making the observation.

The measurement problem of quantum theory remains unsolved because of the unwillingness of physicists to address this issue about the true nature of the observer. In her recent book, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Amanda Gefter interviewed many of the best theoretical physicists in the world that work in the area of quantum gravity and tried to make sense of the recent developments that led to the discovery of the holographic principle as a way to make sense of the true nature of the observer. At the end of her book she finally brings the holographic principle together with Carlo Rovelli’s relational interpretation of quantum theory and comes to the conclusion that every observer must observe its own holographic world defined by its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for the observer’s own holographic world. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has repeatedly pointed out.

Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Multiple Observers due to Information Sharing Among their Holographic Screens

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world leads to a more natural solution of the measurement problem, since it eliminates paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer observes its own observable holographic world. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. As Gefter struggled to understand in her book, this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The unitary time evolution of the world, represented by the process U, only applies to the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world. Measurement or observation of the world, represented by the quantum state reduction process R, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality of that world. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

What’s Wrong with the Physicalism Paradigm?

Most physicists buy into the physicalism paradigm that assumes that physical reality is the only reality. Once you buy into this paradigm and assume that multiple observers of physical reality exist in physical reality, then you’re forced to also assume that multiple observers exist within the same observable physical world. The problem with assuming that multiple observers exist in the same observable world are the paradoxes of quantum theory made apparent by the Schrodinger cat paradox or the Wigner friend paradox. Physicists would like to assume that they are each an independent observer that can independently make measurements in the same observable world, but that is the false assumption that leads to all the paradoxes of quantum theory. Each physicist falsely assumes they can each independently observe the same observable world. The problem is quantum theory tells us that whatever the thing is that is being measured in any experiment only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement or observation of that thing occurs. Quantum theory tells us the quantum state of the measuring apparatus is entangled with the thing being measured, and so the total system of the thing being measured and measuring apparatus also only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement occurs. All the atoms and molecules inside the body and the brain of the physicist that performs the experiment are also entangled with the thing being measured and the measuring apparatus, and so the total system of the thing being measured, the measuring apparatus, and the body and the brain of the experimentalist performing the experiment are all entangled, which means the quantum state of all this stuff only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until the measurement occurs. Who is actually making the observation? Who is the observer?

The old conventional paradigm of modern physics can never answer this question. There is no place for an observer in this paradigm, which is why most scientists who work in neuroscience and artificial intelligence want to convince us that consciousness is an illusion. These scientists are all physicalists who believe in the physicalism paradigm that only the observable physical world has its own inherent physical reality. They do not acknowledge any other reality. The problem of the physicalism paradigm is that there is no place for the consciousness of the observer in physical reality, and so they deny the existence of consciousness. As far as they’re concerned, the observer doesn’t really exist because consciousness doesn’t really exist. This is the inevitable conclusion they have to come to when they falsely assume that only an observable physical world really exists, and that multiple observers appearing to exist within that world is only an illusion. In order to continue to believe in their physicalism paradigm, they have to come to the conclusion that the apparent existence of conscious observers is an illusion. In one sense, they are right. Conscious observers do not really exist inside an observable physical world.

This conclusion that consciousness is an illusion is very odd since each of us as the observer of our own world knows that we exist as the observer of that world. Each of us is aware of our own existence in terms of our own observing consciousness. In the sense of solipsism, the only thing that we can know with absolute certainty is that we exist, and we know that because each of us has the sense of our own existence as we observe our own observable world. Each of us has the sense of being present for our own observable world, and that sense of being present, often called I Am, verifies our own existence as the observer of that world. At the most fundamental level possible, it is the existence of our own consciousness that we are each aware of with our own sense of being present to observe our own observable world, and yet all the scientists that buy into the logically inconsistent physicalism paradigm want to convince us that the apparent existence of our consciousness is an illusion. They are so emotionally invested in the physicalism paradigm that has no place for the existence of consciousness that they would rather deny the existence of consciousness than abandon this old discredited paradigm.

The irony is that modern physics is pointing to a new paradigm that resolves all the paradoxes and logical inconsistencies of the old physicalism paradigm. In the last 25 years, modern physics has discovered the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which resolves all the paradoxes. Quantum gravity with its holographic principle implies a new paradigm, which can be called the one-world-per-observer paradigm, that totally resolves all paradoxes and inconsistencies. This tells us that the consciousness of the observer does indeed exist, but that consciousness isn’t really in the observable physical world that the observer observes. The consciousness of the observer is only a presence of consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. This paradigm turns the nature of illusion totally around. The consciousness of the observer isn’t the illusion that the physicalists would like us to falsely believe. The observable physical world is the holographic illusion.

The holographic principle fundamentally says that everything the observer can observe in its own observable holographic world can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on its own holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. To return for a moment to the measurement paradox inherent in quantum theory with the old conventional physicalism paradigm, the body and the brain of the experimentalist that performs the experiment can also be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world. This is the new paradigm we have to accept with the holographic principle. Everything observable in a holographic world is reducible to information and energy, but the consciousness of the observer observing that world is not. Consciousness has its own independent existence. The holographic principle tells us that the true nature of existence is precisely the other way around from what the old physicalism paradigm told us. The apparent existence of a holographic world that is reducible to information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen and the flow of energy animating that world is dependent on the existence of the observer’s consciousness that has its own independent existence.

The fundamental nature of the universe is quantized bits of information, called qubits, which are encoded on a holographic screen. That’s what makes the universe a holographic universe. The holographic screen in turn is an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The accelerating observer’s event horizon is a bounding surface of space that limits the observer’s observation of things in space due to the constancy of the speed of light for all observers, independent of their individual state of motion. The observer’s event horizon is as far out in space as the observer can observe things in space. Every observer in an accelerated frame of reference has an event horizon that limits the observer’s observation of things in space.

The holographic principle says that every accelerating observer has its own holographic world defined on its own holographic screen that arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information for everything observable in the observer’s world are encoded. Things don’t really exist in three dimensional space. Everything observable in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that arises as a holographic form of information for that thing is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen, which is a two dimensional bounding surface of space, to the observer’s central point of view in space, which always arises in relation to that holographic screen. The observation of things appearing in three dimensional space is a holographic illusion that results from holographic projection. This even applies to elementary particles, like photons and electrons. All the fundamental qubits of information for an elementary particle are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observer’s observation of an elementary particle, like anything else it can observe in its holographic world, is only the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. Everything observable arises through holographic projection.

The holographic principle gives a perfectly good explanation for how the observer’s world is created in terms of the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Everything the observer can observe in its world arises through holographic projection, as a form of information is projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The observer’s holographic screen always arises as an event horizon in its own accelerated frame of reference. That event horizon acts as a holographic screen in the sense of encoding qubits of information, which are the fundamental dynamical degrees of freedom of its holographic world. Everything perceivable in its holographic world is a form of information constructed out of qubits encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. Even the flow of energy that animates those forms of information is inherent in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference in the sense of thermodynamics and the Unruh temperature of its event horizon.

Everything perceivable arises through holographic projection. Even the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the world arises through holographic projection. Just like all other perceivable things, space-time geometry can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and the perception of space-time geometry is no more real than forms of information projected like images from the screen to the observer’s central point of view. The space-time geometry the observer observes in its world has no independent existence. If the observer doesn’t observe it, that space-time geometry doesn’t really exist. Everything the observer observes in its world, including the space-time geometry of that world, is dependent on the observer’s observation of it before it can appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe it, it does not exist, except in the sense of an unobserved state of potentiality. That’s what quantum theory tells us. The observation of space-time geometry, just like anything else the observer can observe, is only an illusion of existence in the sense of holographic projection.

Most physicists cannot accept this state of affairs since space-time geometry, like everything else that can be perceived in the world, appears to obey computational rules. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey the computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. How can something that’s not really real and doesn’t really exist obey computational rules? The simple answer is, that’s the inherent nature of a holographic world. The holographic appearance of that world is constructed out of the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen, and that holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer. The computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. These rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state and are only an approximation with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics, which only gives an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world.

When the observer observes a particle located at some position in space and the motion of that particle through space over the course of time, the observer is really only observing a form of information projected like an image from its own holographic screen to its own point of view and animated over a sequence of holographic projections, just like the animation of the projected images of a movie from a computer screen to an observer. The reason we can say this with confidence is because all of particle physics can be formulated in terms of quantum field theory, and we can deduce all of quantum field theory from the holographic principle.

Prior to Consciousness

Only the observer itself can have its own independent existence, but we’d like to go further and understand the true nature of that existence. The observer itself can only be understood as a presence of consciousness that’s present at the center of its own holographic world, but where does that presence of consciousness come from? This is where the void comes into the story. The void is the true nature of potentiality. The void can also be called the ultimate nature of existence or the ground of being, which is the potentiality for things to come into existence. As the ground of being, the void is the ultimate nature of reality. In-and-of-itself, the void only exists in the sense of absolute nothingness, but that nothingness is the potentiality for things to come into existence. The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world. The void is the ultimate nature of reality, and the holographic world it creates is a lesser form of reality, like a virtual reality. That virtual reality comes into existence because of the creation of the information and energy that underlies all observable things. These things not only include what physicists call elementary particles, but also the space-time geometry those observable things appear to exist within. Even the space-time geometry of a holographic world is observable, and in some sense is just another observable thing that can be reduced to information and energy. The space-time geometry of a holographic world is reducible to the qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen and the flow of energy through that holographic world just like everything else observable in that holographic world.

The way this creation process goes forward is in terms of the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The observer’s acceleration is where the energy comes from that animates the observer’s holographic world. The void is the potentiality to create the energy inherent in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The easiest way to understand how the void creates this energy is in terms of the expansion of space, which is the nature of dark energy. The expansion of space always gives rise to an event horizon with the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The easiest way to understand how the void creates information is in terms of non-commutative geometry, which is a way to encode qubits of information on the observer’s event horizon that then turns into its holographic screen.

The void is the potentiality to create all the energy and information inherent in a holographic world, but where does the consciousness of the observer come from? The simplest answer is the consciousness of the observer also comes from the void. The void is the potentiality to give rise to the consciousness of the observer. The void is also consciousness, but it is a more fundamental kind of consciousness than the observer’s consciousness. The consciousness of the observer is an individual or divided kind of consciousness, while the void is undivided consciousness. The void is the potentiality for the observer’s consciousness to come into existence in the sense that the individual consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void before the observer’s holographic world can appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The observation of that world is always limited by an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen.

The consciousness of the observer is not only divided, but it is also limited, while the consciousness of the void is unlimited and undivided. Only the observer’s consciousness can observe things in its own holographic world. Each such observation of something by the observer is the observation of a form of information projected like an image from the observer’s holographic screen to its central point of view. The consciousness of the void observes nothing because it has no holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is always a limitation of consciousness that can only arise in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference as an observation limiting event horizon. Only an observer can observe things in its own holographic world. This only becomes possible when the divided consciousness of the observer is limited by a holographic screen. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void observes nothing, and yet the void is the potentiality to create a holographic world and give rise to the consciousness of the observer that observes that holographic world from the central point of view of that world. This creation process can only appear to happen within the void if the consciousness of the observer is divided from the undivided consciousness of the void and that point of consciousness then enters into an accelerated frame of reference that gives rise to the limitation of a holographic screen that defines the observer’s holographic world.

The key concept of the one-world-per-observer paradigm inherent in the holographic principle is that the observer’s holographic world can only be created within the void through the construction of a holographic screen as the observer enters into an accelerated frame of reference, but before that creation can occur, the consciousness of the observer must be divided from the undivided consciousness of the void. The only reason the observer is unaware of the void is because the observer’s attention is totally focused on itself and its world. The process of the observer shifting the focus of its attention away from itself and its world, and back onto its source, is called awakening, as in awakening from a dream.

This relationship of the void to the observer is like the relationship of a dreamer to its dream. The unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void, which observes nothing, is the source of the limited and divided consciousness of the observer that observes its own holographic world. That holographic world is the dream, and the void is the dreamer. The consciousness of the observer is a divided fragment of the undivided consciousness of the void. The fragmented consciousness of the observer must be separated from the unfragmented consciousness of the void for that holographic world to appear to come into existence and be observed by the observer. The fragmented consciousness of the observer is always connected to its source in that this state of separation can come to an end at any moment and the divided consciousness of the observer can return to and reunite itself with the undivided consciousness of the void.

Atman-Brahman

This state of reunion can be understood as an ultimate state of free fall in which the observer’s holographic world disappears from existence. The observer has no holographic screen in an ultimate state of free fall since it has no event horizon that limits its observations. Ironically, when there is no limitation of consciousness, there is also nothing to observe, and there is no separation. The void is this unlimited and undivided primordial state of consciousness, which is a state of pure potentiality. When that potentiality is expressed, an observable holographic world appears to come into existence and the consciousness of the observer becomes divided from the undivided consciousness of the void so that the observer can observe its own world. When that potentiality is not expressed, only the unlimited and undivided consciousness of the void exists. In that ultimate state of existence, nothing is observed. The void is that absolute nothingness, which in the sense of potentiality, is the true nature of what I am, you are, and everything is.

How is the observer’s ultimate state of free fall even possible? The answer is the observer must be present to observe its own observable holographic world. Being present for its world means the observer must focus its attention on that world. If the observer withdraws its attention away from that world and is not present to observe that world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Both the form of all things in that world and the flow of energy through that world remain in an unobserved state of potentiality. Without the expression of that energy, the observer no longer is in an accelerated frame of reference, but instead enters into an ultimate state of free fall. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer no longer observes a holographic world. The observer’s holographic world disappears from existence from the observer’s own point of view. In the language of nonduality, this ultimate state of free fall is described as falling into the void. In this ultimate state of free fall, the observer’s individual existence, which is its own divided sense of being present or I-Am-ness, dissolves back into the undivided being of the void like a drop of water dissolves back into the ocean. This oceanic experience is the nature of the observer realizing the truth of what it really is, which is the truth of its own being.

What about mathematical truth? Mathematical truth is inherent in the potentiality of the void to create geometry. As mathematicians have long known, all mathematical truths are geometrical in nature. Great mathematicians have been Platonists in the sense they know they only discover the mathematical truths inherent in the potentiality to create geometry. Geometrical mathematical truth is what underlies the geometric creation of the holographic illusion of a holographic world.

What modern physics has discovered is that the only way this creation process can go forward so that we end up with a physical universe that is governed by the laws of physics, including Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the law of gravity, and the usual quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics, which include the electromagnetic and nuclear forces, is along the lines of the holographic principle. What is not usually recognized about the holographic principle is that inherent in this principle is both the concept of information and the concept of the flow of energy. All perceivable things are forms of information that arise from the quantized bits of information or qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which is fundamentally understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The flow of energy inherent in the energy of motion of these forms of information is also inherent in the energy of that accelerated frame of reference.

Thermodynamics connects the information encoded on a holographic screen to the flow of energy that gives forms of information their energy of motion. This is best understood in Ted Jacobson’s derivation of Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric from the holographic principle and thermodynamics. The holographic principle is formulated in terms of the area law that says the number of qubits encoded on a holographic screen, which is an event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference, is proportional to the surface area of that event horizon. The thermodynamic energy of that event horizon is understood in terms of the Unruh temperature, which is the temperature of thermal radiation the observer observes as emitted from the event horizon that arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The Unruh temperature is proportional to the observer’s acceleration. Using these two simple relationships and the purely statistical laws of thermodynamics, Jacobson was then able to derive Einstein’s field equations. If the ideas of supersymmetry and extra compactified dimensions of space are applied to Einstein’s field equations, we then end up with something that looks alot like 11-dimensional supergravity, which is a low energy limit of M-theory, and we know that M-theory is a holographic theory. M-theory, like string theory, can be understood in terms of non-commutative geometry, which gives a natural explanation for how space-time geometry is quantized. Even fractal geometries can be understood in terms of non-commutative geometry. Fractal geometries express conformal symmetry, which is basically the idea of self-similarity at all distance scales. A fractal looks the same at all distance scales. String theory is a conformal field theory, and expresses conformal symmetry. Conformal symmetry is inherently a symmetry of objects appearing self-similar at different length scales, which is an inherent aspect of a holographic world. This tells us that fundamentally, the creation of the perceivable physical universe from the void is a holographic creation, and that the observer that perceives that physical universe must also be a part of that holographic creation.

This way of understanding the holographic principle has no logical inconsistencies or paradoxes. It is completely consistent with everything we know about modern physics, and is really the only way modern physics can be understood in a logically consistent way. The other great advantage of this way of understanding the holographic principle is that it’s totally consistent with what enlightened beings like Nisargadatta Maharaj tell us about the true nature of reality. Enlightened beings have directly experienced the true nature of reality. They have returned to the ultimate state of existence and come back to the world to tell us what is real and what is illusion.

Take the Red Pill

Anyone who has read this article to its logical conclusion is at least open to the possibility that physicalism is a false paradigm. The question everyone has to ask themselves is why is there so much emotional resistance to this possibility? The resistance against rejecting physicalism as a false paradigm about the nature of the world is not based on logical reasoning, but solely on emotional reactions against this possibility. Where does this emotional resistance come from?

The answer is the ego. The ego or personal self-concept is entirely an emotional creation, as is well accepted in both psychology and neuroscience. The ego is mentally constructed as a personal body-based self-concept is emotionally related to the concept of some other thing. The personal self-concept is a mentally constructed self-image, while the concept of the other thing is a mentally constructed image of the other thing. These mentally constructed images must be emotionally related for the ego to appear to come into existence. The ego can only appear to come into existence, since these mentally constructed images can only be constructed out of what can be perceived in the world. The question the ego can never answer is about the true nature of the perceiver. What is the true nature of perceiving consciousness that perceives these images?

At a more fundamental level than the mental-emotional construction of the ego, the experience of self and other can only arise in a subject-object relation as an observer observes some observable thing in its own observable world. The holographic principle is telling us that the true subjective nature of the observer is a focal point of perceiving consciousness at the center of the observer’s own holographic world, and that the objective nature of all things in that world are only forms of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, which only arises as an event horizon in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. Those observable things include the observer’s body and all the mental images constructed in the observer’s mind. A body-based, emotionally energized, mentally constructed personal self-concept cannot be the true nature of the observer since that self-concept is only another form of information the observer perceives.

There can only be an illusion that the observer is a personal self-concept when the observer feels emotionally self-limited to the emotionally animated form of its body. That emotional  feeling of self-limitation is the only thing that can create the illusion that the observer is a person in the world that it perceives. In reality, the observer has its own independent existence as a presence of perceiving consciousness at the central point of view of its own holographic world. That is the only logically consistent way to interpret the holographic principle.

The holographic principle is a hammer. All that’s being done in this article is to hammer away at the logical inconsistencies inherent in the conventional physicalist way science is understood. This strategy hammers away at the logical inconsistencies inherent within science when science is understood in the context of a personal self-concept that is assumed to understand science. This of course is logically impossible, since a personal self-concept must itself arise from the logical structure of science to be a scientific thing. The critical thing to realize is that scientific things are all observable things. The holographic principle is telling us that the Self in the sense of the observer of the observable things is not itself an observable thing. The Self can only be a presence of consciousness at the center of its own holographic world, which is not an observable thing. Only the Self can have its own independent existence, called I Am, independent of all the observable things the Self observes in its own observable world. The Self is aware of its own independent existence with its own sense of being present to observe that observable world.

The observable things are all a part of the holographic world the Self is observing, including the person in that world the Self mistakenly takes itself to be by emotionally identifying itself with the emotionally animated form of a person. To assume that a person is an observing Self is a logical contradiction. That is the logical contradiction in science that’s being hammered away at. What is surprising is that more people in science can’t see that logical contradiction and don’t use the holographic principle to hammer away at it. This really shouldn’t be surprising since the ego will believe any logical contradiction it has to believe to defend its own survival and apparent existence. Who wants to realize their apparent existence as a person in the world they perceive, which is their personal self-concept, is only a holographic illusion? The answer is nobody.

People in science who search for a Theory of Everything are searching for an answer that has already been discovered. The answer is inherent in the logical implications of the holographic principle. The holographic principle as demonstrated by the AdS/CFT correspondence deduced from M-theory or in matrix models that utilize the geometric mechanism of non-commutative geometry gives a perfectly good scientific answer to the questions scientists are asking. The problem is that scientists ignore the answer because they don’t like the answer even though the answer is the only logical possibility. All the other answers they seem to prefer and look for are logically impossible. If they really were good detectives like Sherlock Holmes, they would reject the logically impossible answers and accept the only logically possible answer. When you’ve ruled out everything that’s impossible, whatever remains, no matter how implausible it seems, must be the truth. The true answer only seems implausible to them because they don’t like the answer, not because the answer is untrue. The answers they prefer and find more plausible are the logically impossible answers. If they really carried the logical implications of the holographic principle to its logical conclusion, they would discover what in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta is called nonduality.

The concept of nonduality is all about the Source of the observable physical world and the Source of the observing consciousness that perceives that observable physical world. This is the part of the answer they’re ignoring. They’re ignoring the Source. If they were really serious about discovering a true conceptual answer, they would consider the Source. Ironically, no conceptual answer can ever really describe the nature of the Source since the Source is non-conceptual in nature. That’s why in Zen Buddhism, Taoism and Advaita Vedanta no value is given to any possible conceptual answer, but only to the direct experience of the Source. One has to go beyond conceptual answers to have that direct experience. Of course, if they really did that, there would be no purpose in their search for a scientific answer. They’re trying to answer a question that really can’t be answered, at least not at a conceptual or scientific level.

People in science who continue to believe in the physicalism paradigm have taken the blue pill. They’re unwilling to confront the unpleasant truth about the nature of their own life. They remain in a blissful state of ignorance and believe whatever they want to believe. They take the blue pill because they can’t give up or let go of their emotionally created beliefs. They’re emotionally attached to their beliefs. The core belief they can’t give up is their belief that they are a physical person in the physical world they perceive. The only thing that props up this false belief is the emotional energy inherent in the mental construction of this belief, which makes it feel real.

There is No Spoon

To take the red pill is to go beyond beliefs. To go beyond beliefs is to go beyond the expression of emotions that create all beliefs. That emotional energy is what animates the life of a physical person in the physical world one perceives and makes that life feel real. The core belief that one has to give up in order to go beyond belief is the false belief that one is a physical person in the physical world one perceives. To awaken to the truth of what one really is, one has to become willing to believe nothing. One can only realize the truth without belief because No belief is true. Believing nothing is a necessary step in the process of doing nothing and becoming nothing, which eventually leads to knowing nothing. One eventually knows the non-conceptual absolute nothingness that is the truth of one’s own existence, which is the truth of what one really is.

Scientific References:

Tom Banks (2018): Why the Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition. arXiv:1811.00130

Raphael Bousso (2002): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0203101

Antonio Damasio (1999): The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace)

Amanda Gefter (2014): Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (Random House)

Amanda Gefter (2012): Cosmic Solipsism. FQXi Essay

Brian Greene (2000): The Elegant Universe (Vintage Books)

Gerard ‘t Hooft (2000): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0003004

Ted Jacobson (1995): Thermodynamics of Space-time. arXiv:gr-qc/9504004

J Madore (1999): Non-commutative Geometry for Pedestrians. arXiv:gr-qc/9906059

Roger Penrose (2005): The Road to Reality (Alfred A Knopf)

Lee Smolin (2001): Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (Basic Books)

Leonard Susskind (2008): The Black Hole War (Little, Brown and Company)

Leonard Susskind (1994): The World as a Hologram. arXiv:hep-th/9409089

A Zee (2003): Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton University Press)

Download the PDF documents:

What Does Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower Really Mean

The Mystery of Creation

What Is Real

All Movies Are A Footnote To The Matrix

The Story of Consciousness

The Holographic Principle and the Nature of Reality

Topics in Quantum Theory

The Ten Bulls of Zen Reframed

Appendix of Nondual Wisdom

Osho’s Path in the Journey of Awakening_ Surrender and Let Go

♦♦♦

An Open Letter to Brian Greene

Dear Brian

In your recent discussions of quantum theory on your World Science Festival broadcasts, you remarked that quantum theory demonstrates the time translation invariance of the laws of physics, but that is not correct. The unitary aspect of quantum theory in the sense of the wave equation for the quantum wavefunction demonstrates time translation invariance, but the measurement aspect of quantum theory does not. Measurement in the sense of a quantum state reduction or collapse of the wavefunction breaks time translation invariance. This is nicely demonstrated in figure 22.1 on page 529 of Roger Penrose’s book The Road to Reality, where he interposes the processes of unitary evolution U with quantum state reduction R in the time evolution of the quantum state of a physical system. The physical universe of course is understood as a physical system, and so this analysis applies to the physical world. The process U respects time translation invariance, but the process R does not. The process of measurement or observation in the sense of the collapse of the quantum wavefunction is not a time translation invariant process. In effect, a measurement resets the initial conditions for the unitary time evolution of the quantum state. Every measurement resets the initial conditions. That’s exactly what a quantum state reduction does. Once the initial conditions of the system are reset by a measurement of the system, time translation invariance in the sense of the unitary time evolution of the system is broken.

The reason this is so important is because this is what we are constantly doing as we observe the world. Every observation we make of the world is a measurement of the world, and by its very nature, every observation must break time translation invariance. We are constantly resetting the initial conditions of the world as we make observations of the world. Unitary time evolution of the world, as represented by the process U, only applies between our observations or measurements of the world, as represented by the process R.

U versus R.gif

U versus R

U versus R.gif

Unitary Evolution U as Pre-conscious Processing and Measurement R as Conscious Experience

The measurement problem is the most important and pressing problem we have in terms of understanding what modern physics is telling us about the nature of the physical universe. Until we get the measurement problem resolved in a satisfactory way, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of an ultimate understanding of physical reality. We need to understand this connection between our observations of the world and the physical reality of the world, which inherently is an observable reality. At the most fundamental level possible, this is the connection between our own observing consciousness and the physical reality of the world that we observe. This question is all about the true nature of the observer.

universal-observer.jpeg

Universal Observer

There are two hints in the mathematical structure of modern theoretical physics that allow us to move forward. The first is the second law of thermodynamics, which basically says the arrow of time is directed in terms of increasing entropy, which is the same as heat flowing from hotter to colder objects. The second hint is the holographic principle of quantum gravity, which ties into the second law as it explains where all the fundamental qubits of information that constitute the dynamical degrees of freedom for the world are encoded. These qubits of information are the fundamental nature of entropy. The holographic principle fundamentally tells us that the qubits of information are encoded on a two dimensional bounding surface of space that bounds a three dimensional region of space, like the observable physical universe.

qubit.png
holographic-principle.jpg

Holographic Principle

That two dimensional bounding surface of space can always be understood as an event horizon that arises in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. An accelerating observer’s event horizon limits its observations of things in space. Every accelerating observer’s observations are limited by an event horizon. The observer’s event horizon naturally turns into its holographic screen when the screen encodes qubits of information for everything the observer can observe in its own observable holographic world.

observers-horizon.jpg

Accelerating Observer’s Event Horizon

Unitary time evolution of the quantum wavefunction is explicitly demonstrated in terms of the time dependence of the wavefunction solution of the quantum wave equation:

Time Dependent Wavefunction Solution of the Quantum Wave Equation

The unitary time evolution operator U(t)=exp(−iHt/ħ) conserves quantum probability, which is explicitly demonstrated by the unitary nature of the exponential function U(t)U(−t)=1.

The most general way to formulate quantum theory is in terms of a sum over all possible paths in some configuration space. The quantum state of potentiality allows for all possible outcomes, not just the classical outcome. The way quantum theory expresses this potentiality is in terms of a quantum state that can always be formulated as a sum over all possible paths that connect a point of initial conditions to a point of final conditions in some information configuration space.

Quantum State as the Sum Over All Possible Paths

The laws of physics only enter into the quantum state as an action principle, which determines quantum probability. Quantum probability is determined by the quantum wavefunction, which in turn is determined by an action principle. All the laws of physics can be expressed as an action principle. Action is like a measure of distance along some path between two points in some information configuration space. The most likely outcome in terms of quantum probability is the path of least action, which is like the shortest possible distance between those two points in the information configuration space. That’s why events seem to obey classical laws of physics, but there is an important caveat. The path of least action only arises from the quantum state as the most likely path in the sense of quantum probability when things are chosen from the quantum state of potentiality in an unbiased or random way. If there is bias in the way choices are made, then the laws of physics lose their classical predictability. In the sense of Einstein’s metaphor of throwing dice, if the dice are loaded, then the game is rigged and all bets are off.

This choice that chooses something from the quantum state of potentiality is called the collapse of the wavefunction or a quantum state reduction. Quantum theory tells us every measurement of something is a choice in the sense of collapsing the quantum wavefunction or reducing the quantum state. The quantum state of potentiality includes all possible outcomes. To actually measure some specific outcome, a choice must be made. Quantum theory says the choices are made randomly, but why can’t choices be made in a biased way? Who would make that choice? The obvious answer is that the observer of the actual outcome of the measurement is making that choice. In the sense of perceiving consciousness, the observer is choosing what to observe in its own observable world. That world only exists in an unobserved state of potentiality until it is observed by the observer and appears to come into an actual state of existence. This raises an even bigger question. What is the true nature of the observer?

In the sense of relativity theory, the observer is nothing more than a point of view at the origin of its own coordinate system. That’s what a frame of reference means in relativity theory. From the point of view of other observers, the observer is following a world-line through their space-time geometry, but from the observer’s own point of view, the observer is at the center of its own space-time geometry. Quantum theory is telling us with the concept that the measurement of something can only arise as the quantum state of potentiality is reduced to an actual observable state that every point on the observer’s world-line is a decision point about what to observe in its world and which path to follow through that world. Only the observer can make that choice. The big question is about the true nature of the observer’s consciousness in relation to whatever the observer happens to observe in its world. This question explodes when that observable world is understood to be a holographic world. A holographic world is no more real than images depicted on a holographic screen. The images can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. Who is really observing those images? Can an image observe itself? The holographic principle gives the only logically possible answer. The observer is nothing more than a point of perceiving consciousness that arises in relation to its own holographic screen.

the-observer-the-screen-and-the-thing.jpg

The Observer’s Holographic Screen

The easiest way to understand how qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s event horizon, which turns the horizon into a holographic screen, is with non-commutative geometry, which explains how space-time geometry is quantized. Each quantized position coordinate on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a quantized bit of information or qubit. In quantum gravity, the pixel size is called the Planck area. This gives the observer’s event horizon an entropy as S=kn, where n is the number of qubits encoded on the event horizon, which is proportional to the surface area A of the horizon as n=A/4ℓ2, where ℓ2=ħG/c3 is the Planck area. Each Planck area on the horizon acts like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. Non-commutative geometry fundamentally explains how the qubits are encoded on a holographic screen in terms of quantizing position coordinates on the screen, which smears out each quantized position coordinate into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This value for entropy of the observer’s event horizon given in terms of the number of qubits encoded on the horizon is called the holographic principle.

The energy that flows through the observer’s holographic world also arises in the observer’s accelerated frame of reference. This energy is given in terms of the Unruh temperature as E=kT, which is proportional to the observer’s acceleration, a, as kT=ħa/2πc. The Unruh temperature arises as the temperature of thermal radiation the accelerating observer observes emitted from its event horizon. This thermal radiation arises from separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at the event horizon as observed by the observer in its accelerated frame of reference. This thermal radiation is also called Hawking radiation. Hawking radiation is confusing since it mixes up concepts of the holographic principle with the quantum field theory formulation of point particles. In quantum field theory, uncertainty in energy allows virtual particle-antiparticle pairs to become created within the vacuum state for a short period of time. The virtual pairs are created out of nothing and then normally annihilate back into nothing, but from the point of view of an accelerated observer, something weird appears to happen. The accelerated observer’s observations of things in space are limited by its event horizon. At the observer’s event horizon, the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs can appear to separate. One member of the pair can disappear behind the event horizon while the other member of the pair can appear to be radiated away from the event horizon toward the observer. The observer observes this radiated particle as a particle of thermal radiation, which gives its event horizon an apparent temperature. The observer’s event horizon is acting as a holographic screen that encodes qubits of information for all the point particles that can appear in the observer’s world, but the separation of virtual particle-antiparticle pairs at an event horizon gives the event horizon an apparent temperature proportional to the observer’s acceleration. In quantum field theory, virtual particle-antiparticle pairs are entangled. This implies the entropy of the observer’s event horizon is an entanglement entropy. This is consistent with the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry since all qubits of information encoded on the observer’s event horizon are entangled.

Hawking Radiation

The idea of quantum entanglement is inherent in the holographic principle as understood with non-commutative geometry. All the quantized bits of information or qubit encoded on an event horizon that acts as a holographic screen are inherently entangled, which is understood in terms of matrices. Quantum entanglement allows qubits to be defined in a rotationally invariant way. This is much like the way quantum theory defines spin ½ particles in terms of a 2×2 SU(2) matrix. The SU(2) matrix gives a representation of rotational symmetry on the surface of a sphere, but its two eigenvalues also define spin up and spin down states. These two spin states give a representation of information in a binary code, like a switch that is either on or off. The spin up and spin down states are like vectors that point up or down, but when these spin states are entangled, the vector can point in any direction, and so rotational symmetry is preserved. With the holographic principle, the n qubits of information encoded on a spherically symmetric holographic screen can be defined by the n eigenvalues of an nxn SU(2) matrix.

The laws of thermodynamics relate a change in total energy to temperature and a change in entropy as ΔE=TΔS. In terms of the holographic principle, the fundamental reason for this relation between energy and entropy is each qubit of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen inherently carries an amount of thermal energy E=kT given in terms of the Unruh temperature. At thermal equilibrium, each qubit carries an equal amount of thermal energy. Each qubit of information is a fundamental dynamical degree of freedom for the observer’s holographic world. The equal partition of energy tells us that each dynamical degree of freedom, which is a qubit of information, carries an equal amount of energy E=kT at thermal equilibrium, which defines temperature. As more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, more energy is inherent in that holographic world.

What about the laws of physics? Where do the laws of physics come from? The holographic principle gives a straightforward and perfectly good answer, which both Ted Jacobson and Tom Banks have explicitly delineated. The space-time geometry of the observer’s world appears to obey computational rules inherent in Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. The matter particles that constitute the nature of all matter in that world and the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces between matter particles obey computational rules inherent in the quantum field theory formulation of the standard model of particle physics. The holographic appearance of that world in terms of both the space-time geometry of that world and the particle physics of that world is constructed out of qubits of information encoded on a holographic screen. That holographic construction process obeys computational rules, like the rules that govern the operation of a computer, but the computational rules that govern the holographic appearance of the 3+1 dimensional space-time geometry and the particle physics of the observer’s world aren’t even exact. The rules arise as thermodynamic equations of state that only give an approximate thermal average description of the observer’s world with a limited range of validity in the sense of thermodynamics.

Einstein’s Field Equations for the Space-time Metric

To begin with, we can deduce Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, from the holographic principle. Einstein’s field equations are thermodynamic equations of state that arise from the laws of thermodynamics that relate energy to entropy and temperature, ΔE=TΔS. Ted Jacobson has shown how this derivation goes forward in terms of the area law for the entropy of the observer’s event horizon and the Unruh temperature of that event horizon as observed by the accelerating observer in its accelerated frame of reference. As heat flows across a bounding surface of space, the total energy of that bounded region of space must change, which implies a thermodynamic change in the entropy of that bounded region of space. The holographic principle then tells us the area of the bounding surface must change, which implies a change in the geometry of the bounded region. Jacobson showed this change in the geometry of the bounded region is described by Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric. Einstein’s field equations only have the validity of a thermodynamic equation of state. Once we have Einstein’s field equations, all quantum fields of the standard model of particle physics can then be deduced as extra components of the space-time metric with the usual unification mechanisms of extra compactified dimensions of space and super-symmetry. The whole quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity can therefore be deduced from the holographic principle.

All we really need to explain the quantum field theory formulation of particle physics and the relativistic space-time geometry formulation of gravity is an observer in an accelerated frame of reference, which gives rise to an event horizon. Apply non-commutative geometry to that event horizon as a way to quantize position coordinates on the horizon, and we have an explanation for how to generate all the qubits of information that describe everything in a holographic world. Each quantized position coordinate defined by a non-commuting variable on the observer’s event horizon is smeared out into an area element like a pixel that encodes a qubit of information. This encoding process not only includes information for all the so-called elementary particles of that world that underlie the electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear forces, but also the space-time geometry of that world that underlies the effect of gravity. The only thing that seems to be fundamental to the explanation is the observer itself. The holographic principle is telling us that only the observer has its own independent existence, which fundamentally is the existence of consciousness.

It should be noted that any thermodynamic equation of state that describes a physical system implies thermal equilibrium, which means the dynamical degrees of freedom of that system are thermalized or randomized in terms of their thermal energy. A thermodynamic equation of state is not valid when the system is not at thermal equilibrium. Since Einstein’s field equations for the space-time metric, which is the nature of gravity, and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics, which is the nature of physical matter and the electromagnetic and nuclear physical forces, are only thermodynamic equations of state for the physical universe, these equations do not apply when the physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium. As Roger Penrose has often pointed out, the physical universe is definitely not at thermal equilibrium, as is demonstrated by the normal flow of energy through the physical universe. If we are to have any hope of understanding the nature of the physical universe, we have to go beyond the simple understanding of the universe in terms of what we call the laws of physics inherent in Einstein’s field theory for gravity and the quantum field theories of the standard model of particle physics. We have to start understanding the physical universe in terms of the holographic principle, We have to start understanding the perceivable physical world in terms of the observer of that world.

Normal Flow of Energy Through the Observer’s Perceivable Physical World

The physical universe is not at thermal equilibrium because space is expanding in the physical universe. The accelerated nature of the expansion of space, which is called dark energy, is the primordial energy that puts the bang in the big bang event. The idea of the creation of the universe in a big bang is based on the idea of the expansion of space. As is well known, the expansion of space implies a cosmic horizon that limits the observations of the observer at the central point of view of that bounding surface of space. The holographic principle tells us the observer’s cosmic horizon defines its own world whenever space expands since that is where all the fundamental qubits of information for that world are encoded. Inherent in the idea of the big bang is the idea the observer’s observable world increases in size as space expands. This implies the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius as the observer’s world increases in size. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, which explains the normal flow of heat in the observer’s world as heat flows from hotter to colder objects. This also explains the second law of thermodynamics which says entropy tends to increase as heat flows in a thermal gradient. As the observer’s cosmic horizon increases in radius, its Unruh temperature cools, but its surface area increases, which implies the entropy of the observer’s world increases even as its world cools, since more qubits of information are encoded on the observer’s cosmic horizon.

The Expansion of Space

This is wonderfully explained in detail in Amanda Gefter’s recent book Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, where she interviewed many of the best theoretical physicists in the world that work in the area of quantum gravity and tried to make sense of the recent developments that led to the discovery of the holographic principle. At the end of her book, she finally brings the holographic principle together with Carlo Rovelli’s relational interpretation of quantum theory and comes to the conclusion that every observer must observe its own holographic world defined by its own event horizon that acts as a holographic screen. The observer’s holographic screen is where all the qubits of information are encoded for everything the observer can observe in its own holographic world. The observer’s holographic screen can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference, and so that holographic screen is inherently observer-dependent. The idea of a consensual reality shared among different observers can only arise in the sense of a Venn diagram of information sharing among different but overlapping holographic screens. This problem of information sharing among overlapping holographic screens is the essence of the entanglement problem of quantum gravity, as Tom Banks has repeatedly pointed out.

overlapping-bounded-spaces.jpeg

Information Sharing Between Overlapping Bounding Surfaces of Space Create the Appearance of a Consensual Reality Shared by Multiple Observers

This way of understanding observation in terms of every observer observing its own holographic world leads to a more natural solution of the measurement problem, since it eliminates paradoxes like the Wigner friend paradox. Multiple observers simply cannot exist inside the same observable world without creating logically inconsistent paradoxes. Every observer can only observe its own observable holographic world. Different observers can only share a consensual reality due to information sharing among different but overlapping holographic worlds. As Gefter struggled to understand in her book, this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. These are fundamental questions about the true nature of observing consciousness.

Quantum theory in the context of the holographic principle is telling us that the observable physical world can only appear to come into existence in relation to the observations of the observer that observes that holographic world. Every observer must observe its own holographic world for that world to appear to come into existence. If the observer does not observe its own holographic world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. That unobserved state of potentiality is the nature of the quantum state. For the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world to come into an observed state of actuality, the observer must make an observation of that world. The unitary time evolution of the world, represented by the process U, only applies to the unobserved quantum state of potentiality of the world. Measurement or observation of the world, represented by the quantum state reduction process R, only applies to the observer’s observation of its own holographic world, which reduces the state of potentiality of the observer’s world to an observed state of actuality of that world. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the observer’s world only appears to come into an actual state of existence when the observer observes that world. Without the observer’s observation of its own world, that world remains in an unobserved state of potentiality. Simply put, an observable world cannot appear to actually exist unless an observer observes it, but this raises fundamental questions about the true nature of the observer. What is the true nature of the observer’s own existence?

This fundamental relation of an observer observing its own observable world essentially defines a subject-object relation. The true nature of the subject is the observer. The holographic principle tells us that the objective nature of all things the observer can observe in its own observable world are forms of information that can always be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen, which can only arise as an event horizon in the observer’s own accelerated frame of reference. The holographic principle is telling us that in some sense the objective nature of all things the observer observes is a holographic illusion, since all observable things can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen. The observable things include the nature of all elementary particles that appear in space, including all the matter particles and all the force particles that transmit the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. The observable things also include the dynamical nature of space-time geometry, which is understood in relativity theory to be the nature of gravity. With the holographic principle, all of this observable stuff can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s holographic screen, but that’s not the end of it.

Everything observable in the observer’s holographic world, including the observer’s own body and brain, can be reduced to qubits of information encoded on the observer’s own holographic screen. The true subjective nature of the observer cannot be its body or brain, since these are only forms of information that appear in the observer’s own holographic world. At most, the observer’s own body and brain can only transmit or process information about the nature of that holographic world. A form of information is something observable, and cannot observe itself without creating a logically inconsistent paradox of self-reference. As quantum theory tells us, an observable object, which is a form of information, can only arise in a subject-object relation as the observer observes that observable thing. If the observer’s own body and brain is not the true nature of the observer observing its own observable world, then what is the true subjective nature of the observer? This is fundamentally a question about the true subjective nature of observing consciousness, which by simple deductive logical reasoning, cannot itself be reduced to an observable thing. A body and brain that appears inside an observable holographic world cannot be the true subjective nature of the observer of that holographic world.

Until we confront the true subjective nature of the observer, we will never be able to make any real progress in terms of understanding the objective nature of the physical reality that we observe. The problem with modern physics and the lack of an adequate resolution of the measurement problem of quantum theory is that we are not confronting the true subjective nature of the observer. Is there something that we don’t want to know? What exactly is it that we don’t want to know? These are fundamental questions like: Who is the observer? Who is the knower? What is the true subjective nature of observing consciousness? Who am I?

The holographic principle is fundamentally an observer-centric description of observable reality. The observable reality of the world we perceive is not only perceived in an observer-centric way, but also in an observer-dependent way. The holographic principle is telling us that the observer is a presence of perceiving consciousness at the center of its own holographic world.

Brian, please discuss the measurement problem and its implications in one of your World Science Festival broadcasts. Please address the issues raised in this brief note. Please interview Amanda Gefter about the radically important implications of her book with regard to the measurement problem. This is the most important and pressing problem in theoretical physics.

References:

Tom Banks (2018): Why the Cosmological Constant is a Boundary Condition. arXiv:1811.00130

Raphael Bousso (2002): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0203101

Amanda Gefter (2014): Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn (Random House)

Amanda Gefter (2012): Cosmic Solipsism. FQXi Essay

Brian Greene (2000): The Elegant Universe (Vintage Books)

Gerard ‘t Hooft (2000): The Holographic Principle. arXiv:hep-th/0003004

Ted Jacobson (1995): Thermodynamics of Space-time. arXiv:gr-qc/9504004

J Madore (1999): Non-commutative Geometry for Pedestrians. arXiv:gr-qc/9906059

Roger Penrose (2005): The Road to Reality (Alfred A Knopf)

Lee Smolin (2001): Three Roads to Quantum Gravity (Basic Books)

Leonard Susskind (2008): The Black Hole War (Little, Brown and Company)

Leonard Susskind (1994): The World as a Hologram. arXiv:hep-th/9409089

A Zee (2003): Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (Princeton University Press)

Brian Greene’s recent World Science Festival broadcasts:

Watch a recent interview where Amanda Gefter discusses the question of what is ultimately real. The answer of course is nothing:

Chris Fuchs pays tribute to John Wheeler and Amanda Gefter:

Thought for the day:

To awaken to the truth of what it really is, the knower must know itself as it exists in reality-adapted from Nisargadatta Maharaj

♦♦♦

What is the Meaning of Consciousness?

What is the meaning of consciousness? This is an absurd question. There is no answer, and there can never be an answer, because the question is absurd. Consciousness is the ultimate nature of existence. Consciousness is the true nature of being. In-and-of-itself, the only true thing that anyone can ever say about the existence of consciousness is that Consciousness Exists. It Is. In-and-of-itself, the existence of consciousness has no meaning. The existence of consciousness has no meaning since it exists prior to the giving of all meaning by consciousness. Only consciousness can give meaning.

Only actions have meaning. Consciousness gives meaning to actions as it expresses and observes them. Only consciousness can express actions as it expresses energy, and only then can it give meaning to those actions. Only consciousness can give meaning to the actions it expresses and observes as it expresses the energy inherent in those actions. In-and-of-itself, without the expression of that energy and the expression of those actions, consciousness does nothing. It gives no meaning if it expresses no actions. Consciousness must express actions before it can give any meaning to the actions that it expresses.

Consciousness can only give meaning to actions in the context of the energy it expresses as it observes those actions. As a corollary, if no actions are expressed and no meaning is given, then nothing is observed.

Confusion arises because there is a third level of reality that is below the ultimate primary level of reality, which is the existence of consciousness, and the secondary level of reality, which is the expression of energy by consciousness. The third lowest level of reality is the level of information that is organized into forms of information as energy is expressed. Those forms of information are animated by the expression of energy and are what appear to carry out those actions. Those forms of information are like images projected from a computer screen to the point of view of the consciousness of the observer that perceives them. Confusion only arises as those forms of information are projected like images from a computer screen to the point of view of the observer and are animated in the flow of energy that energizes the computer. Confusion arises in the consciousness of the observer as the observer gives meaning to that animation.

The Observer, the Screen and the Thing

The third level of reality is purely imaginary since it is no more real than the animated images of a movie projected from a computer screen to the observer, just like a computer generated virtual reality. Consciousness is the observer out in the movie audience that is only watching the virtual reality movie displayed on the computer screen and only playing the virtual reality game as it expresses the energy that animates the game, but the whole thing feels real to consciousness as it perceives the flow of energy it expresses as it animates the virtual reality movie. The expression of energy feels real to consciousness because consciousness is expressing that energy. That is the meaning that consciousness gives to its own actions as it expresses them.

Confusion arises because consciousness identifies itself with an animated form of information that appears in the virtual reality. Self-identification can only occur because consciousness feels self-limited to that animated form as it perceives the flow of energy that it is expressing that animates that form. Self-identification is the meaning consciousness gives to the expression of