The Self

The famous many-worlds theory of Hugh Everett solved the great paradox of quantum theory. It has never been fully understood because the solution does not apply to the observer. Only when the operational individual is taken to be the record of observations does this work. This is the mind in Lockwood’s Many-Minds interpretation. As described in The Science, this makes full sense of quantum theory. But it does not seem very much like the mind as we usually think about it.

The world hologram is clearly the mind in a certain sense. It is that on which attention is cast. But the mind is generally taken to be the whole of the neural activity of the individual. So it seems a great deal is missing from the definition. But in a way nothing is missing.

The Mind

The conscious mind is constantly making observations. Each observation, each representation of the reality, is recorded in memory. This is the central process in Everett’s formulation. The result is the record of observations, the state of the memory, the world hologram.

So far this has just been defined in terms of what we see and hear, but there is still a great deal more to this world hologram. All my thoughts and feelings are also part of this field of information because these are also observations. My thoughts, the things I am saying to myself, are the observations of the state of my neural system. And my feelings are the observations of the state of the body. All this is rendered in the virtual reality of the world hologram. As Deutsch states in his explanation of how we use our virtual reality capabilities:

All reasoning, all thinking and all external experience are forms of virtual reality. (1997, 121)

The perceptual reality, the thinking, the feeling, all together this is my inner world. This is my mind as a whole.

The Self-Avatar

My mind is the virtual reality representation of the world, with myself in the middle. The representation of myself at the centre of my world is my ‘self-avatar’. Just as we build up knowledge about the world with our observations, we also build up knowledge about what we ourselves are like. This gives rise to the complete mental image of myself, built up from all the observations, looking in the mirror, noticing my preferences and so on. So this includes all the attributes of myself: the self-concept, who I think I am, the self-image, how I see myself, and the ‘body schema’, the mental map of where everything physically is and how it all works – ‘proprioception’.

All together this is the self-avatar, meaning the three-dimensional representation of myself at the centre of my world hologram. This self-avatar is what is symbolised by the me inside my head in this picture.

The image of me inside my head symbolises the self-avatar.
The image of me inside my head symbolises the self-avatar.

As with the rest of the world hologram, the self-avatar is a holographic field of information. Just as with the virtual-reality representation of the world, the self-avatar is mentally projected out onto my physical body. As with all of the world hologram, this defines what is real in this personal world. So the self-avatar defines the reality of my physical body.

The Unconscious

This makes clear the nature of the unconscious as defined by the great psychologist Carl Jung (1969). He described the three primary attributes of the mind: the conscious mind, the ‘personal unconscious’ and the ‘collective unconscious’.

The conscious mind is the immediate awareness of experience. This is the current representation in the world hologram. The personal unconscious is all the aspects of the memory, laid down by experience, that could be accessed consciously but are not in conscious awareness at the moment. In other words the record of your experiences. And this is the world hologram, the integrated synthesis of all the experiences. Taken all together this is the state of the memory, the central component of Everett’s formulation.

The collective unconscious is something quite different. As Jung describes, this psychic component is not formed in the mind of the individual. It is a feature of the inherited structure of the brain. So in one sense it is not part of the mind of the individual. But of course it is part of what makes you tick, so it is crucial to understand it. A great deal of the activity of the brain is simply running the body. The collective unconscious is like the operating system that comes with the body. Vast amounts of neural activity are orchestrated by the unconscious processes to which one has no access.

As he describes, the collective unconscious contains certain pre-existent forms, the ‘psychological archetypes’. Classic examples are those now defined in the Myers-Briggs classification, extravert / introvert and so on. Each has a typical personality, a pattern of behaviours that make up a certain way of being. They can play a major role in influencing how we think and feel and act. These archetypes are collective because the they are shared among all humans, though different specifics are primarily active in each individual.

A further key point is that the operating system can also have an agenda, which is where it gets really interesting. Jung observed that archetypes can be energised in the service of mass politics. Powerful archetypal symbols, such as patriotism and rights, can be used to energise the collective unconscious to produce powerful emotional responses to a simple message. So just as computers can be hijacked when the operating system is hacked, we can be manipulated en masse outside our conscious awareness. And because the impulses to thought and action seem to arise naturally in the psyche, such influences are not seen as external. Thus they can seem to be powerful and important personal drives on which one should base one’s position in life.

The collective unconscious is ‘outside’ of the mind as defined by the world hologram.

The Operating System

Just as the world around me is only determinate where observed, the same is true of my body. As stated by prominent physicist Hans von Baeyer:

If I am the agent, the objective world is everything outside my mind―including other agents and even my own body. All of that I may, if I chose, treat quantum mechanically and describe by wavefunctions.

In other words, all of that is indeterminate except where observed, even including my own body.

This includes the ‘operating system of the body’. A great deal of the activity of the brain is simply running the body. All of this automated so that the mind can deal with thinking and decision making. Most of it cannot be accessed. Vast amounts of neural activity are overseen by the unconscious processes to which one has no access. This is like the operating system that comes with the body. This includes all the major information processes going on outside of conscious awareness.

One of the major functions of this system is to formulate the observations that are experienced from the data derived from the sensory organs. In other words, the generation of the world hologram.

As stated by von Baeyer, the body may well be considered as part of the world, and outside of the self. This means that the operating system is also outside the self. The collective unconscious is an attribute of the operating system. This is the intelligence of that system at work. It adapts to circumstances, and records the results. This system includes the ‘id’, the basic urges and requirements of the human system. This too is outside the self as defined here, the mind. Attributes of this unconscious system are observed in various ways, and in this process they become part of the conscious self. I notice my aversion to a certain type of situation, and thus it becomes part of my conscious self.

The Soul

Whatever is defined in the world hologram, my mind, whatever of me I have observed, is real, determinate, and all else is the superpostion of all the ways it could be. This is the meaning of von Baeyer’s statement. In the relative world the mind is the whole of the self as a conscious subject. And this is what effectively passes on to the next life, in a manner no physical entity can. The mind is the soul.

Of course we take all our observed psychology with us, the characters we know ourselves to be. The nature of the mind explains exactly what passes on to the next life. It is the mind as we ordinarily know it, the ‘me in here’ that continues to the next life.

The Quantum Computer Brain

The new worldview explains the ontology of the relative world in which one lives, and the nature of the self-avatar identity. It also embodies the structure of the mind as defined by Jung. The great psychologist Carl Jung described the three primary attributes of the mind: the ‘conscious mind’, the ‘personal unconscious’ and the ‘collective unconscious’ (1969). Now we know what this means.

The conscious mind is my immediate experience of the present moment. My personal unconscious is the record of my experiences, my world hologram with the self-avatar at the centre. The collective unconscious is the operating system of my body.

This new understanding has one more extraordinary feature. Like the physical body, the features of the operating system are only real, determinate, where observed. So everything else is indeterminate. Again the reason is the same. I exist in every possible body that gives rise to my mind, so every possible variation of the operating system is superposed in my world. This would very neatly explain why there seems to be ‘nothing there’ beyond memory. It is ‘all dark’.

But what is really fascinating is it means that the system works like a quantum computer. The mind follows a train of thought, a sequence of associations. But where do new thoughts come from? Daniel Dennett in his ‘Multiple Drafts’ concept (1991), holds that the unconscious is constantly producing many trains of thought which one is not aware of. Each one is like a ‘first draft’, a possible beginning, a seed idea of the way a new train of thought could develop. As he describes, when one such draft is noticed, and the train of thought followed consciously, this becomes the content of awareness, meaning the train of thought one actually follows consciously as it develops.

In the personal world there is an extraordinary implication. Every possible variation of your body is present, with every possible variation of the operating system. So in this case, every possible variation of a new train of thought is there in your system. And this is exactly how a quantum computer works.

A quantum computer works by seeing all possible answers at the same time and selecting the right one. This would seem to be exactly what happens in creativity. Every possible idea is present in the operating system, waiting to be noticed. Creativity selects the right one. That is intuition.

The quantum computer does its magic by working with memory which is in a superposition of states. So a large database can be searched with just one cycle of processing. The entry that matches the search is found instantly. The brain in the world of the mind is in the same condition, a superposition of states. That would explain the whole thing. Where do creative ideas come from? Now we know. They are all there right now. Creativity is intuiting the right one.

The next main section is The New Enlightenment.