The Perceiving Subject

The Perceiving Subject

The conscious individual is at the centre of the puzzles of the new physics. As described by physicist David Mermin in his article in Nature, it is the omission of this phenomenon from the physics that produces the paradoxes.

It has seemed that the conscious individual could hardly be relevant to the physics of the objective physical world, which is of course exactly the case. But the observation dynamics is the operation of the world of the conscious individual, and this is a completely different type of phenomenon. As shown here, it is the operation of a different type of frame of reference, the class-of-worlds-as-a-world. And this is what has given rise to all the philosophical impossibilities in the new physics. These are the features of the many-worlds reality of the conscious individual, the perceiving subject.

As explained by Mermin, the central problem with the physics is not something undiscovered, but something that has been very specifically omitted. The great paradoxes in both pillars of the new physics come about because the perceiving subject has been excluded from the science, and all are resolved by including it:

In Nature and the Greeks, Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger traced the removal of the subject from science back more than two millennia. Alongside the spectacular success of physical science, this exclusion of personal experience has given rise to some vexing and persistent puzzles and paradoxes.
Two such unrelated long-standing problems are both resolved by recognizing that the perceiving subject has as important a role to play in understanding the nature of physical science as does the perceived object.
The first problem is the notorious disagreement, confusion and murkiness that for almost a century has plagued the foundations of quantum mechanics, in spite of the theory’s extraordinary usefulness and power. The second, less famous, problem has been with us at least as long: there seems to be nothing in physics that singles out ‘the present moment’. Albert Einstein called this the problem of ‘the Now’. Both problems are symptoms of the exclusion from physical science of the perceiving subject, and are solved by restoring what the ancient Greeks removed. (2014)

As he describes, these problems do not exist in the frame of reference of the perceiving subject.

The moment this frame of reference is adopted, the strange behaviour of Schrödinger’s cat is explained. As described in Schrödinger’s cat, in the world of the mad scientist, the cat is both alive and dead because he is present both in worlds where it is alive and worlds where it is dead. Similarly, the passage of time and the Now are clearly features of the subjective frame of reference, the inside view. The great difficulty that remains is the complete lack of explanatory principle. What is so special about the perceiving subject? What does it mean? How can observation, just looking at reality, affect reality?

The answer is that there is far more to the perceiving subject than we have conceived. Naturally, this is the same thing as the usual concept we have of ourselves. The perceiving subject is a property of the ordinary physical body-mind one identifies with. But at the same time it is in certain respects very different to our accustomed ideas. These differences not only explain the great puzzles in the new physics, they reveal extraordinary capabilities of one’s own personal situation that we have been completely unaware of.

The Perceptual Reality

The nature of the perceptual reality is the key to understanding all this simply. This is the world hologram, the three-dimensional, virtual reality generated ‘in here’ by the neural system of the brain. This is the vital navigation system of the human physiology, enabling the person to represent and understand the environment, the world ‘out there’, and interact with it. As described in The World Hologram, you are experiencing a virtual-reality movie, generated by the brain. This is the perceptual reality, here the world hologram.

The reality one actually experiences directly is the sensorium, the report of our senses rendered in the form of a three-dimensional virtual reality. This is mentally projected onto the real world. The whole system is the world hologram.

The world hologram matches up perfectly to the physical reality, as it must. It is vital that this display is a precise rendition of what is actually there. So it seems fairly obvious that when we do physics experiments, on the real world, the world hologram is just what enables us to interact with the physical world, and do experiments, and observe the results in reality. But there is a hidden flaw in this assumption.

Schrödinger’s Cat

When we do experiments in Newtonian mechanics, like seeing how fast a car will accelerate, the world superposition behaves exactly like a single specific determinate world. This is because the results are exactly the same in all the worlds in the superposition, so there are no weird phenomena. But when we do quantum physics experiments, the worlds in the world superposition produce different results. That is exactly what happens with Schrödinger’s cat. It is alive and dead at the same time. In fact, of course, it is alive in one world and dead in another, but in the world superposition of the mad scientist the outcome of the experiment is a superposition of the different results. This is illustrated on the Schrödinger’s cat page. The key point is simply that the world encountered is a second logical-type phenomenon. Schrödinger’s cat is both alive and dead, but in different worlds – but the mad scientist doing the experiment is in both of them. This is his world superposition. Because it is a a second logical-type phenomenon, different versions of physical reality are true at the same time.


The perceiving subject also explains the paradoxes of relativity. Here the nature of consciousness is crucial. Here the word consciousness is used for the awareness, the phenomenon of conscious experiencing, that which experiences the perceptual reality. As described in Universe Consciousness, in order for the dynamics of physics to be enacted, there has to be something that is to reality the way the movie projector is to the fames of the movie film. As Weyl (1949) states, quoted in Overview, it is the experiencing consciousness that is in this position. This brings the world fleetingly to life as is passes through space-time, along the world-line of the observer. As described in Logical Types, it is therefore a third-logical-type phenomenon.

This is the other vital property of the perceiving subject. The perceiving subject is the world hologram, experienced by consciousness. The result is the movie of life, as the frame of reference of consciousness passes from moment to moment. To omit either of the fundamental properties of the perceiving subject is bound to make these matters incomprehensible. Since both have been missing, there has been no place to start unravelling the mysteries. If Weyl’s statement had been accepted, this would likely have led to the significance of the world hologram, and its frame of reference in the physical. If Everett had been accepted and his work taken at face value, the central significance of the world hologram would likely have led to the significance of consciousness. In retrospect, the third logical type phenomenon suggests the second, and vice versa.

The Individual

The other vital piece of this puzzle is that this individual, the perceiving subject, is a completely different type of thing to the entity we naturally identify as: the physical body-mind. As described in Many Minds, the distinction seems blurred and uncertain until we unravel how reality actually works. Then it becomes clear that while the  body-mind, the observer, is an ordinary physical entity in the physics, the world hologram is a very different type of phenomenon. But it is also completely different as a person. As described in The Higher Self, the values are as different as the outlook. And the outlook is very different.

As explained in Quantum Immortality, the world hologram is not only the higher self, the who you really are ‘in here’, it is the soul. The entity defined by the holographic field of information is immortal because experience always continues. The movie runs for ever. The body-mind, of course, is not. And the day to day person is quite different in kind also because the individual is effectively the same thing as the world encountered. Because of this equivalence the law of attraction effectively operates, as described in Interactive Destiny, but not for the reasons usually given. The things you visualise and expect tend to be encountered in reality because your reality evolves toward versions of the world in which they are experienced taking place, not the other way around.

The Shift

These different properties of the individual are the basis of a different kind of identity. As described in The Higher Self, the shift in identity brings significant changes. As one begins to increasingly identify with the world, the agenda on which our natural egoism expands to apply to everyone and everything. We become selfish cooperators instead of just selfish. As described in The New Society, this means our human culture can take a massive turn for the better, and our chances of surviving as a race are greatly improved.

The shift is profound. This identifying with the world, along with the appreciation of the nature of consciousness, is the gnosis of bygone Pagan spirituality and Gnostic Christianity. The world hologram is the soul, and holds a very different relationship to reality to the ordinary identity of the body-mind. This is described in Quantum Trinity.


Although we are of course physical entities, body-minds, we are primarily holographic fields of information. This is the simple but weird concept presented here that resolves all the great problems. It is the frame of reference of this entity that operates the dynamics of the new physics. The apparent paradoxes are retrodicted phenomena.

As described in The Indeterminate World, as the individual, the higher self, one exists in many worlds in the universe of all possible worlds. And the physical reality is their superposed sum. That produces the Qbism-type world, and makes complete sense of quantum theory, as demonstrated here. This is experienced by universe consciousness, which fully resolves the paradoxes of relativity. The great problem has been that both concepts have no place in modern physics. As Mermin points out, the perceiving subject has been completely missing. This is a disastrous omission on several counts. This is the essential protagonist of the dynamics. And it is the frame of reference of this entity which defines the physical reality. Moreover, it is this entity that embodies the logical types missing from the current paradigm. As Russell makes clear, failing to take logical type into account inevitably produces nonsense results and paradox. When these distinctions are clearly made, the paradoxes dissolve.