Avant Garde Science presents a systems analysis of the new physics that defines the nature of reality: Einstein’s relativity and quantum theory. The experimental evidence is analysed in terms of logical type. The new resulting paradigm perfectly resolves the great paradoxes. The key explanatory principle missing from the existing science is the correct definition of the nature the individual involved, the protagonist of the dynamics.
By considerable good fortune, this demonstrates the truth of principles central to personal success and cultural cohesion that have come to seem irrelevant in the modern era. And this resolves the appalling crises with which humanity is currently faced. The result is not just survival but great success.
Climate Armageddon is just one of ten human-caused global catastrophic risks facing our entire species with annihilation. As stated by John Holdren as scientific adviser to President Obama:
The way I like to put is is that we’re driving in a car with bad brakes in a fog and heading for a cliff. We know for sure now that the cliff is out there, we just don’t know exactly where it is. Prudence would suggest that we should start putting on the brakes. (Friedman, 2008, 160)
Since these are all self-induced there is one type of solution that resolves them all, and will also stand the test of time. In other words, this transforms the chances of our survival as a race. As stated by Alexander King, the pioneering environmentalist who co-founded the Club of Rome:
Any durable solution to humanity’s external and internal problems can only come from evolution beyond the egoism that motivates every individual.
Given history to date this seems like pie in the sky, but precisely such a transformation arises from a very unexpected source. Quantum Bayesianism demonstrates that the world is personal, and once this is fully understood the transcendence King describes is exactly what is produced. The mechanics, described in detail in Avant Garde Science, is summarised in what follows. The implementation is a further subject that is addressed elsewhere.
According to the standard textbook interpretation of quantum theory, the world is only determinate, meaning physically definite and actually real, where observed. This is the Copenhagen interpretation developed by Neils Bohr and his team in the 1920s. In the textbooks the cycling dynamics of this theory is defined in the standard von Neumann-Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics.
The famous paradoxes of the theory are only fully resolved by its successor, Quantum Bayesianism, now known as QBism. The meaning, however, is extraordinary. It is only where you have observed the world that it is determinate. Therefore, as stated by the authors:
This means that reality differs from one agent to another. This is not as strange as it may sound. What is real for an agent rests entirely on what that agent experiences, and different agents have different experiences. (Fuchs et al., 2013, 3 )
This is not taken seriously in the objective science of physics because there is no ontology, no explanation in terms of the physical world generally accepted in science. Also because it is anthropocentric, meaning the subject is of significance. As demonstrated in Avant Garde Science, however, when Hugh Everett’s famous many-worlds theory is taken at face value, the ontology is inherent in the quantum theory. And the anthropocentric nature of the solution is a feature not a flaw. The nature of the protagonist is the central feature of the explanatory paradigm missing from the current paradigm. This may be the most overlooked feature in all the history of science.
The World Hologram
The paradoxes arise because of a simple but unavoidable category error. The observer is universally taken to be the protagonist in any observation or measurement. But as Everett makes clear the protagonist is not the observer, the physical entity, but the ‘state of the memory’, defined as the record of observations. The observer is the mechanism that makes observations, formulating then and registering them in memory. But it is the record of these observations that forms the centrally significant entity in the physics.
The record of observations sounds abstract and technical but it is both utterly familiar, and of extraordinary significance. The record of observations is the perceptual reality, meaning the field of information that is directly and immediately experienced by each individual. In humans this is a virtual reality representation of the world, a three-dimensional display of the integrated synthesis of the record of observations. As Richard Dawkins states in Unweaving the Rainbow:
Our brain constructs a three-dimensional model. It is a virtual reality in the head. (1998, 276)
As David Deutsch comments in The Fabric of Reality, this is the reality actually experienced:
What we experience directly is a virtual-reality rendering, conveniently generated for us by our unconscious minds from sensory data (1997, 120)
Every last scrap of our external experience is of virtual reality. (2011, 10).
This is the reality actually encountered. This is what you are experiencing right now. And this is all you ever experience directly.
As Deutsch goes on to describe, this three-dimensional virtual-reality representation is mentally projected onto the real three-dimensional world so as to match up precisely. This is here called the world hologram. What you are experiencing directly is your world hologram, mentally projected onto the environment, the real world.
The Inside View
This field of information is already recognised as a crucially important part of all physics. It is one of the two quite different types of frame of reference that are defined in the science. As Max Tegmark describes, the development of the new physics has taught us it is crucial that we distinguish between:
• The bird perspective or outside view, which is the way a mathematician views it.
• The frog perspective or inside view, which is the way it is perceived by a [self-aware substructure] in it. (1998, 23; emphasis in original)
The outside view defines all possible physical worlds. This is the reality defined by the fundamental math of quantum mechanics as Everett demonstrates. The inside view, as Tegmark notes, is defined by the record of observations. In other words, the inside view is the world hologram.
Now for the new ontology. The world hologram is a field of information, and thus it is multiply instantiated in the infinite versions of the many worlds. These are coincident, superimposed, and all are identical to this view; thus this is literally the inside view of all of them, simultaneously, superimposed: a ‘world superposition’. The result is a class-of-worlds-as-a-world, a ‘second-logical-type’ phenomenon. It is to the ordinary world of the current ontology as a population is to a person: that is what second logical type means. It is a quite different kind of thing to the ordinary world, which is an element of a class of this type: of first, ‘primitive’, logical type.
Essentially this is simply a visualisation of what the equations of quantum mechanics mean. The bizarre revelation is that different rules apply in the two different types of frame of reference. There are two different types of physical reality defined in the quantum theory.
This is the meaning of Schrödinger’s cat. The famous thought experiment shows that a cat in a box is both alive and dead at the same time. Since this is obviously impossible, the implication is that the quantum theory must be wrong. But the theory is correct. The resolution is simply that the inside view of the experimenter includes every possible world in which he is performing this experiment. In half of these worlds the cat is alive inside the box, and in half of them dead. In his world, a world superposition, the physical reality is exactly as shown in the picture because he is actually in all the worlds where the cat is in the box, in half of them alive and in half of them dead.
This is what makes complete sense of the quantum theory because the physical reality of the inside view looks exactly like an ordinary world, first logical type, but it behaves like a QBism world, second logical type. This is how the personal world solves the big paradox: it actually is a world superposition, a completely different kind of thing to the ordinary world: a class-of-worlds-as-a-world. The bizarre revelation is that different rules apply, exactly as demonstrated by Schrödinger’s cat.
The Measurement Problem
The famous measurement problem is automatically resolved. The apparently insoluble paradox of the ‘collapse of the wave function’ is just how the inside-view world actually works, operating at a different level of logical type to the outside-view linear dynamics. The missing piece of the puzzle is that the world of the inside view operates differently to the objective physical world. Thus it is precisely the individual-centric view, and this alone, that resolves the great riddles of the physics. As the authors of QBism state this approach:
… removes the paradoxes, conundra, and pseudo-problems that have plagued quantum foundations for the past nine decades. (Fuchs et al., 2013, p. 1)
So although it sounds crazy this fits the facts and nothing else does. Incidentally, this kind of world is not a new idea. The well-established many-minds interpretations all produce the same result, as does Carlo Rovelli’s Relational Quantum Mechanics (1996). The same principle is inherent in the title of Everett’s theory, the ‘Relative State’ Formulation of Quantum Mechanics. The world is defined solely relative to the individual. And this means this concept is perfectly aligned with Einstein’s special relativity in which different individuals obviously have different frames of reference.
All interpretations of this nature resolve the measurement problem automatically.
The missing explanatory principle is the nature of the protagonist of the dynamics, which is perhaps the strangest thing of all. On the inside view even the physical body-mind itself is determinate solely where observed.
Self-observations form the self-concept avatar figure at the centre of the world hologram. This defines the determinacy of the body-mind, just as the rest of the world hologram defines the determinacy of the world. So on the inside view, in the reality you are experiencing right now, your body-mind is determinate only where you have observed it. And the integrated synthesis of these observations is your self-concept, your self-identity, who you know yourself to be. On the inside view, in your physical reality, this self-concept avatar figure defines the determinacy of your body-mind. Ironically, you are exactly who you know yourself to be. This is who you actually are, on the inside view, in the reality you are actually experiencing.
The rest of the world hologram is also part of your true identity. This is the personal unconscious. The rest of the body-mind is all part of the collective unconscious. This means that the individual, the real person, the protagonist of life, is simply and solely the world hologram.
This is what resolves the great paradoxes because of the nature of the protagonist. The anthropocentric nature of the solution is a feature not a flaw because it is the multiple instantiation of the protagonist that reveals the solution. . The solution is logical type.
World superposition means that you yourself are actually in all those worlds. In other words, as the protagonist of the dynamics of physics, you are present in a great number of worlds, and thus the physical reality of this inside view is all of them at once.
The current paradigm is perfectly correct that objective physical reality is a quasi-classical world, but the world encountered on the inside view is the world superposition. Thus there is a duality of ontological levels of different logical types.
Collapse of the Wave Function
The collapse of the wave function operates solely at this second level of logical type. This process is of crucial importance when we come to understand our proper place in the world as protagonists of the dynamics.
The physical reality of the protagonist, the class-of-worlds-as-a-world, is indeterminate except where observed, just as stated in QBism. Therefore it changes as each observation is made because the record of observations changes; and on the inside view that changes the physical frame of reference of the protagonist. This is the appearance of collapse described by Everett that resolves the the measurement problem.
The further implications are utterly bizarre from any kind of realist perspective. If correct, however, they are also precisely what is needed for the human race to live long and prosper. So this is fairly serious. The key in logical terms is the tremendous significance of observations in this domain. Only what you have observed is determinate, and this means that the record of observations is the definition of what is actually physically real. This means, as Saibal Mitra (2008) describes, if you alter your record of observations, you become physically defined as living in a different version of the world, a different ‘sector of the multiverse’, the space of all possible worlds.
He uses the dramatic example of an individual effectively avoiding asteroid Armageddon by deleting the observation of this news. A Reality Undo! For better or worse, we humans cannot delete a specific memory so we cannot undo – the individual in Mitra’s thought experiment is an AI. However, going forward the same effect can used to experience a better world.
As is well known, visualisation enhances expectations, and expectations bias observations: confirmation bias. In the personal world of QBism the effect is fantastic. In this kind of world the bias on observations winds up biasing which version of physical reality is likely to be encountered, with regard to every aspect of the world, including all the things one could not possibly influence.
Technically, expectations form ‘strange attractors’ in the system, tendencies for specific types of events to be observed.
This means that visualisation of desired future situations will tend to lead to experience of those future situations. This is not, however, because physical reality itself is altered (or like attracts like, or thoughts become things, as stated in the ‘law of attraction’). It just means that this individual takes a different path through the infinite possibilities of the quantum universe. This is ‘interactive destiny’.
The meaning is hugely significant. You are the trim tab in the passage through the infinite possibilities of your future. You define the strange attractors that exploit the randomness of the system to the fulfilment of the expectations. It means you can use visualisations to steer deliberately.
This shift in comprehension returns the cohesive force of the great spiritual and religious traditions to the modern culture so desperately in need of them. ‘As Above So Below’ is a truism. There is an inherent morality because a kind of karma operates. The things you do are observed as events in reality, and thus form powerful unconscious expectations of what kinds of things are likely to take place in reality. In principle, this implies that living at the expense of others is directly counter to one’s own best interests because of the strange attractors this generates. Effectively karma operates.
Certainly there seems little evidence of this in everyday life, but any remainder on the bill is presented at the end of the life. As described by Hans Moravec death cannot be the end. The movie of life changes reels and runs on. In the space of all possible worlds there is always a continuation of life. Clearly, a number of religious principles are based in the way the universe actually works. The world hologram is the soul.
So life continues, but the version of the world in which this individual arrives will be determined solely by the record of observations made in this life. It could be heaven or it could be hell, and this depends entirely on the karma, the tendencies in the record of observations.
In principle, enlightened self-interest becomes the only sane life position. In other words, there is an inherent morality: and thus an egoistic motive for acting altruistic. In effect, human nature is transformed. It means the intelligent imperative is always selfish cooperation along with good outcomes for oneself. Doing well by doing good, rather than just egoism.
Survival and Prosperity
Effectively, every individual is the world he or she knows. Not only is there a powerful inherent morality, there is also a far greater sense of identity to aspire to. A new paradigm of human nature appears. The human race recovers from the various madnesses of rampant egoism and atomisation, and revives to make a real global village where everyone is empowered and cared for.
At present that sounds like ludicrous dippy new age dreaming, but this is at the very least what we should be aspiring to. We have modern technology. There is no physical reason why we should not have a world that works for everyone. We have just been completely incapable emotionally of setting it up. And without question this is a good thing: global cultures of this nature do not fry their planet.
The understanding described in Avant Garde Science provides the path to an effective community in all human affairs. Whole new fields of achievement are opened up. Mitra’s AI dodges Armageddon by jumping to a quite different world, which we cannot do. But we can change course. We are the trim tabs, and this is our chance. Unaware, we have been asleep at the wheel, and constantly interacting with the destiny of the world in ways which are often not helpful. By becoming aware of this process we not only transform our sense of empowerment, we revolutionise society. And by communicating the rationale we evolve the effect. By regularly picturing the future one is aiming for and making it as real as possible one moves toward it in reality. Dare to know.
All references given in References