The Holographic Universe


The singular evidence for this new idea is the ‘holographic universe’. This is a longstanding and mighty paradox in quantum theory. The superworld provides the full explanation, the ontology. And at the same time this constitutes strong evidence for the whole concept of the relative world, as described in a number of modern interpretations of quantum theory. The term relative world means defined relative to the agent, as described in The Personal World.

When quantum theory is used to explain gravity, a most remarkable implication is revealed. As stated by Leonard Susskind, a specialist in quantum cosmology:

The three-dimensional world of ordinary experience––the universe filled with galaxies, stars, planets, houses, boulders, and people––is a hologram, an image of reality cited on a distant two-dimensional (2D) surface. (2008)

This seems utterly ridiculous, or at least truly incomprehensible, but this is what the physics tells us. As described by theoretical physicist Robbert Dijkgraaf:

What’s happening in space is, in some sense, all described in terms of a screen outside here. The ultimate description of reality resides on this screen. (2019)

As stated by Lee Smolin, a theoretical physicist and philosopher who specialises in the subject, this nonetheless this has to be the case. This is for sure:

… an idea which at first seems too crazy to be true, but which survives all our attempts to disprove it. (2000, 178)

What seems to have passed unnoticed is that this is nothing but the relative world. Only what is observed is determinate, which means that only the observed surface is defined. In other words, the mysterious ‘screen’ is simply the observed surface, the outer limit of perception. The observed surface is of course that which is defined by the world hologram. So the holographic universe is the world defined by the world hologram, the relative world.

The paradox arises because of the assumption this is the nature of the real physical world itself. But the holographic universe is simply the physical reality of a different type of world, a superworld. The bit of the paradox of the holographic universe that seemed really strange has been the implication: “… that volume itself is illusory” as stated by Jacob Bekenstein. (2003, 59). In other words, whatever the physical reality is, it has no depth. It is defined solely by this outer surface. But in the relative world there is no mystery. The net effect is a reality with zero depth, but the actuality is the superposition of many ordinary worlds, and each one is a three-dimensional volume of matter and energy. So the superworld has volume because it is ‘made of’ such worlds. It is all these worlds at the same time, and this superposition is naturally a domain that has volume.

The holographic universe is the cosmology of the relative, personal world. It is a class-of-worlds-as-a-world, a second-logical-type phenomenon. This is nature of the physical environment in which one finds oneself. Which is of course something of a scientific revolution.