As explained in Quantum Theory, the world is only determinate where you have observed it. Stranger still, this applies even to your own body. Weird though it sounds, this is very good news once we fully understand it. So what am I exactly? At the centre of the world hologram is the ‘self-avatar’ figure. The term self-avatar is used here to mean the integrated synthesis of all the observations of the self, the complete mental construct produced over time. This includes the self-concept, the self-image and the body schema. All together this forms the known self.
The Self Avatar
The known self is a fundamental attribute of Everett’s formulation of quantum mechanics. He categorises two classes of observations, external and internal. He defines the observer as a machine, a device that records: “… sensory data and machine configurations” (1957, 457). In humans, the integrated synthesis of the sensory data forms the world hologram, the three-dimensional real-time representation of the world. The integrated synthesis of the machine-configuration data forms the three-dimensional real-time representation of the self at the centre, the self-avatar.
This three-dimensional virtual-reality construct at the centre of the world hologram is the real-time representation of the whole of the self as known to the self. The immediate experiences of the body through proprioception and enteroception form the direct observations of machine configuration. The integrated synthesis forms the internal aspect of the avatar, the body schema. External observations of the self form the socially-facing physical self-image, the external form of the avatar. Thoughts, feelings and emotions are the observations of the overall state of the neural network and the endocrine system that form the psychological self-concept.
As with the rest of the world hologram, the self-avatar at the centre is precisely projected onto that which it represents, the three-dimensional body of the observer at the centre of the perceived world. As Deutsch describes, quoted in The World Hologram, the electrical activity in the brain is not experienced as such, but interpreted as sensations in the body. In other words, all the experiences of the body’s sensations are actually the projected experiences of the neural definition of the self-avatar figure.
So the body that is directly experienced is the self-avatar, a field of information generated by the brain. As all else is indeterminate this is the only determinate identity on the inside view. Naturally, the familiar definition of human identity is nonetheless the correct one on the outside view, the physical entity as a whole.
The three levels of the human psyche in Jung’s (1969) classification are also clearly distinguished in this explanation. The conscious mind is the immediate awareness of experience, meaning the current image in the virtual reality. This is the observation being experienced at each moment, as it is added to the record of observations. The rest of the world hologram is the ‘personal unconscious’ in Gustav Jung’s classification quoted below – the contents once in consciousness that have been forgotten or repressed. This is the record of observations, the recorded experiences not in immediate conscious awareness, including all the attributes of the mind so defined.
The rest of the mind as conventionally defined corresponds to the ‘collective unconscious’ in Jung’s classification:
The collective unconscious is a part of the psyche, which can be negatively distinguished from a personal unconscious by the fact that it does not, like the latter, owe its existence to personal experience and consequently is not a personal acquisition. … This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes. (1969, 43)
This is outside of the mind, part of the objective world in von Baeyer’s dictum. This explains the profound difference between personal and collective unconscious. On the inside view only the former is determinate because the latter is indeterminate.
Quantum Computer Brains
The other remarkable implication is that as a result our minds can make use of our brains in the most extraordinary way. On the inside view the brain operates as a quantum computer. Daniel Dennett’s idea of ‘multiple drafts’ (1991) helps to explain this.
As we generally experience, there is a train of thought going on in the mind, the succession of more or less connected thoughts or ideas in a logical sequential flow. This is flow of the thought processes that one is aware of in the sensorium. But Dennett holds that the mind is constantly producing many trains of thought, outside of conscious awareness. Each one is like a first draft, a possible beginning, a seed idea of the way a new train of thought could develop in conscious awareness. 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 is actually aware of.
When we apply this concept to the individual on the inside view, we get something highly remarkable. In your superworld you exist in every possible brain that instantiates your world hologram. Thus in your superworld, your brain is the superposition of them all. And this means that you have every possible version of the multiple drafts going on in this superbrain of yours.
This means that effectively your brain works like a quantum computer. Essentially, a quantum computer works by superposing every possible variation of a computation in memory, and then running the computation. In this way it carries out every possible variation of the computation simultaneously. Quantum computers are still in their infancy, but if you could load a whole database into memory, superposed, you would be able to search the whole thing in one cycle of the computer, in just a tiny fraction of a second, however large. Effectively, we have the same kind of capability because of the superworld. In the class-of-worlds-as-a-world, the brain is a class-of-brains-as-a-brain, and thus it operates as a quantum computer, processing an unlimited variety of trains of thought simultaneously. This would seem to be a first class explanation of creativity. Where do new ideas come from? Apparently they are all there already in the superposition of all possible brains.