We stand on the brink of a momentous change to our understanding of reality. There has been a major scientific revolution, but it is incomplete. The final step for us to complete is to understand the meaning of the new physics we have discovered. This may seem like a technical detail that very few of us are likely to find interesting, but the exact opposite is the case. The new worldview that is revealed restores the desperately needed humanity, that is now missing in so much of our global human culture. The completion of the physics revolution engages a profound transformation in human nature, and so provides the resolution of our seemingly intractable problems. As Goethe said, boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. It seems vital we should swiftly begin it.
As stated by Chancellor of Physics Hans von Baeyer:
Flawlessly accounting for the behavior of matter on scales from the subatomic to the astronomical, quantum mechanics is the most successful theory in all the physical sciences. It is also the weirdest. … Physicists have grappled with the quantum world’s apparent paradoxes for nine decades, with little to show for their struggles. The deep confusion about the meaning of quantum theory will continue to add fuel to the perception that the deep things it is so urgently trying to tell us about our world are irrelevant to everyday life and too weird to matter. (2013, 47)
As shown here such perceptions are utterly false. The things the science is trying to tell us are without question very weird, but also highly relevant to the life of every individual. All the concepts presented here are based on the principles described by leading experts. No new physics is proposed. This is simply uncovering the vitally important implications in the existing well-established science of the new physics. Essentially this is a work of applied epistemology. The new approach is analysis in terms of ‘logical type’. As explained in Logical Types, this is the explanatory principle which demonstrates the fundamentally different types of phenomena involved. This reveals the full meaning of the new physics.
A Severe Loss
The enormity of the changes to our understanding of the world is not widely appreciated. Very few people understand the implications of what we do know. As stated by Heinz Pagels as head of the New York Academy of Sciences:
We live in the wake of a physics revolution comparable to the Copernican demolition of the anthropocentric world – a revolution which began with the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics in the first decade of this century and which has left most educated people behind. (1982, 347)
It means that down at the submicroscopic level of the quantum, the fundamental building block of all physical reality, the world is determinate, meaning physically real, only when it is looked at. That is the Copenhagen interpretation, the standard textbook worldview. Yes, it does not make sense. As the remarkable physicist Richard Feynman said:
I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics. … Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, “But how can it be like that?” because you will get “down the drain,” into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that. (1965)
In other words, when it comes to the full meaning of the new physics, and therefore how we understand the nature of the reality we actually live in, this revolution has left everyone behind, even the greatest scientists. As physicist Nick Herbert wrote in Quantum Reality:
Basically physicists have suffered a severe loss: their hold on reality (1971).
This is not for lack of expertise. The physicists of the world have a very keen grasp on objective physical reality. Physics is a superb science. It is the physical reality one actually encounters, which is not quite the same thing, that they have lost their hold on. In truth no one ever had it. It is a new discovery of considerable significance. As described by QBism, the latest interpretation of quantum theory, the real physical world is ‘determinate’, meaning physically real and actually defined, only where observed by you. So it is as described in the Copenhagen interpretation, but on a personal and idiosyncratic basis.
This means that the physical reality ‘out there’ beyond what you actually experience is not all solid and real as we automatically think it is. It is not all there, waiting to be seen. It works like a virtual reality that is only rendered when you go to look at it. This is the meaning of the Copenhagen interpretation and its update QBism. The world is personal. As shown by the authors, it is this that finally resolves the great paradoxes. That is what quantum theory means in practice, as they demonstrate. It could hardly be more weird. And it could hardly be more relevant.
QBism does resolve the great paradoxes, but the big problem is that this directly contradicts the current paradigm, the well-established and generally-accepted scientific worldview. This holds that we live in what is essentially an ordinary physical world – obviously. The resolution is that while this is perfectly true, the physical reality one actually encounters is lots of those worlds all at once. This is a completely different type of thing to what we imagine physical reality to be. The objective physical reality as usually understood is a specific quasi-classical world, but the physical reality encountered is a class-of-worlds-as-a-world. Thus both definitions are true and correct, as is explained in what follows. This is what lays the great paradoxes to rest.
The ordinary physical world is one of a vast number of worlds. As stated by the cosmologist Max Tegmark, there is no question that we live in the universe of all possible worlds. As he also states, this means there are many identical copies of you ‘out there’ in all these worlds. In the quantum universe all these worlds are not ‘out there’ but right here and now. This means, as shown in World Superposition, that you are actually living in all those worlds, all at once. The net result is exactly the QBism-type of reality. The world is determinate only where observed. Schrödinger’s cat actually is alive and dead at the same time. The great paradoxes are laid to rest because the QBism world is property of the universe based on exactly the same fundamental structure of the world as the current paradigm. It is not incompatible with it, as it appears it must be, it is simply a different view of identically the same physical universe.
As shown in Everett’s many-worlds theory, the universe is all possible worlds, all here and now. The resolution of the great paradoxes is that one is living in a whole lot of them, all at once, a world superposition. By definition, it is determinate only where you have observed it: only that which you have observed is the same in all the worlds in the superposition. The net result is the QBism-type world. That is what quantum theory actually means. This is here called the many-worlds reality. The physics is explained in detail in the section headed by Overview.
The Deep Things
The implications are staggering. We are like pilots asleep at the wheel because in the QBism type of world one is constantly biasing the way things in the world are likely to be experienced working out, globally. In this kind of personal world, the path of destiny is constantly shifting toward the version of the world you imagine and expect. The science of this weird phenomenon is described in Interactive Destiny. It is a somewhat scary prospect, but it all works a lot better when you know you are doing it. So much of what one instinctively tends to do is highly counterproductive in the bigger picture on which life turns, but it is relatively easy to stop shooting your future in the foot!
It means that there is an inherent morality in the personal world because in effect the way you treat the world is the way it treats you. This is the longstanding idea of karma. Of course, this seems obviously absurd in the light of our modern scientific understanding of the world, the ‘current paradigm’. The cosmos does not react to one individual. But in the personal world, in effect, this is exactly how reality operates. The world you actually encounter, the many-worlds reality, is determinate solely as defined by your record of experiences. And the extraordinary truth is that this field of information is the same thing as the personal unconscious. It is who you are. The whole thing is fairly terrifying. All this is the direct consequence of the QBism world, a world defined solely by your observations. This is all described in the section headed by Interactive Destiny.
The New Age
Once understood, the inherent morality induces a strong tendency toward enlightened self-interest, doing good for one’s own benefit. This means that the new worldview naturally forms the basis of a new self-sustaining and successful human culture because the egoistic motivation of each person is subtly altered. In mythical terms the world gradually returns to being sacred. We evolve from Bilbos to Gandalfs. It is a long journey for most of us. On the other hand, going by the evidence of no less than ten self-induced global catastrophic risks, it is this journey or no journey. The way the new paradigm resolves the issues is described in Race Survival Intelligence.
An inherent morality in reality itself may seem unwelcome but this is exactly the deep wisdom we have been seeking for all this time. What does it all mean? How do you win the game of life? The prohibitions in the famous Ten Commandments are the quick start guide, the equivalent of “Don’t drive down the wrong side of the road!”. Damage inevitably occurs. This is just health and safety for directors of reality, people at the steering wheel of their world.
Awake at the wheel we realise we are involved in direction. In this kind of world, defined by a field of information, the bias confirmation produced by expectations alters the path of the way the reality plays out in that direction. Since visualisation produces expectations, this produces strange attractors in the system as described in Strange Attractors. In other words, the things one visualises, and the consequent expectations one holds act as the trim tab of the personal QBism-type world, the many-worlds-reality of the individual.
The New Reality
Clearly therefore certain spiritual principles turn out to have a simple scientific basis. These are powerful insights of our ancestors, which in the new scientific form enable us to develop far more effectively, both individually and as a race. It is all good news. It makes us perfectly capable of surviving all the self-induced Armageddons so the human race can live long and prosper. All together this is the transformation suggestively glimpsed in so many avenues of our culture, ancient and modern. This is Human Being 2.0, the final consequence of the new paradigm.
The final point is the confirmation of the wild idea of quantum immortality. For a being of this nature, Hans Moravec’s statement must apply: there is always a continuation of this life somewhere in the space of all possible worlds. As described in the section headed by Universe Consciousness, there is no question that individuals in QBism worlds are immortal. You die, you wake up. Why don’t we remeber previous lifetimes then? This is a newbie world, a kindergarten. The next life will not be like this exactly. Far the most likely place you will find yourself is instantiated in manufactured body far in the future. It could be Human, or Na’vi or anything similar as long as it has the familiar experiential interface. Is this science fiction? Of course it is science fiction, but in the space of all possible worlds, all physically possible science fiction is science fact somewhere. When you die that is where you wake up, somewhere in the space of all possible worlds.