Identity

Identity

As described in Many-Worlds Reality, the subjective and objective points of view are very different in physics. They are different types of frame of reference. Now for the really big news. You are a different type of entity on these views. Objectively, on the outside view, you are an ordinary person, a physical body-mind. But on the inside view, ‘in here’, you are an entity with extraordinary properties.

As described in World Superposition, there is a great number of identical copies of you in the universe. As physical entities, all these identical copies of you, in their different worlds, are discrete entities. The many parallel worlds simply exist, as it were next door to each other. But who you really are, in practice, in reality, is the entity ‘in here’, a field of information. In this case, there is only one of you; and you are in all these worlds, simultaneously. And therefore your world is a world superposition. And it works as QBism describes. And you have an extraordinary relationship to the world you find yourself in.

Identity Inside

Just a field of information? But: “I’m more than that, I’m sure I am, at least, I think I must be”. The objection by The Moody Blues to being magnetic ink strikes a chord. I am a real physical person. This is the obvious identity, the one we are used to. And it seems the whole of the world hologram is just something going on in the brain of the physical body. And all that is as true as it is obvious, objectively, on the outside view. But on the inside view, everything is the other way around.

On the inside view, not only the world at large but even your own body is determinate only where observed. The reason is the same as it is for the rest of the world. This is because your world hologram, the reality experienced here and now, exists in versions of your physical body which are not identical. In this reality, the many-worlds reality, you exist simultaneously in versions of the world in which, for instance, the specific arrangement of minor blood vessels inside your tissues is different. The net result is that in the world you encounter, the world superposition, their arrangement is indeterminate.

Naturally, there is no ordinary physical reality in which this is the case. In physical reality, each version of your body is a real, ordinary, determinate body, with blood pumping through the network of blood vessels, all of which have real and specific arrangements. But your world is the superposition of all the worlds in which your world hologram exists. Effectively, as a result, even your body is indeterminate except where observed. The situation is just like the butterfly image in World Superposition. Just as only the central section of the body of the butterfly is determinate in your world, so too only what you have observed of yourself is determinate. And all the details you have never observed, such as those little blood vessels, are indeterminate. Anything about your body you have never observed is the superimposed sum of all the ways it could be.

The Mind

Stranger still, the same is true of the mind. Here the mind is defined as the operation of the neural network of the body, the operating system if you like. This is here considered to be something quite different to the world hologram, which is what the mind produces. The result of the operation of the neural network is the perceptual reality, the world hologram experienced. 

The reasoning is the same as it is for the body. The world of the individual is the sum of all worlds in which this world hologram exists; and the state of the neural network, and the way it is wired up, will be different in some versions of the world. Just as different computers can run the same program, or play the same movie, the same world hologram can be produced by slightly different versions of the brain.

On the inside view, you exist in all these different versions of the body-mind, all at once. Therefore, anything about your mind that you have never observed is a superimposed sum of all the ways it could be, thus indeterminate. So it is only those properties of the mind that have been observed in operation that are determinate.

Strange But Real

Naturally, this really does sound very peculiar. But this is because we are used to thinking in terms of the outside view. Naturally, we take it for granted that the world we inhabit is the objective physical world, all real and all ‘there’. It is not. The world one encounters is a completely different kind of thing. It is the world superposition, the many-worlds reality. Similarly, we take it for granted that one’s body-mind is the ordinary, physical, objective-world body-mind. But effectively, in the reality in which one actually lives, it is not. It is the body-mind defined by the observations made. 

The fascinating thing is that all this means you are exactly who you think you are. The person you think you are is the self-concept. This is the three-dimensional representation of who and what you know yourself to be. The crazy thing is that in the real world, the many-worlds reality of the world superposition, it is only those things about you yourself that are defined by observations, and thus defined by the self-concept, that are real and determinate. But this is simply and solely who you know yourself to be.

Who You Really Are

It does seem totally unreasonable that just this field of information could possibly define a whole person. The world hologram is just the record of experiences. Surely there must be more to us than that. Objectively, yes, of course there is, but on the inside view, in reality, no.

The important point is that the world hologram contains not only the record of experiences, but also the particular way one processes information. As Deutsch states, all our mental capabilities are expressed in the virtual reality of the world hologram:

every last scrap of our knowledge ― including our knowledge of the non-physical worlds of logic, mathematics and philosophy, and of imagination, fiction, art and fantasy ― is encoded in the form of programs for the rendering of those worlds on our brain’s own virtual-reality generator. (1997, 121)

Naturally, not all of these programs are observed in action. Some of these mechanisms are defined in the DNA. But on the inside view, your DNA, and all the things it defines about you, are indeterminate, unless those things are observed. Only what is directly observed is determinate. Therefore, in your world, your DNA is the superposition of all of the versions of DNA which could have given rise to your world hologram. It is only what is known to you of your character and your thinking processes that are determinate. 

You Are Who You Know Yourself To Be

Of course, it is those things that are known to you, of your body and your mind, that form the self-concept avatar figure. Strangely, therefore, in the quantum world, it turns out that the self-concept avatar figure alone defines the real you. Since only that much of the body and the mind that is observed is determinate, and the self-concept is the record of those observations, the self-concept is the definition of the determinacy of the physical body-mind. In other words, the self-concept, that which one knows oneself to be, is all the definition one has as an individual in reality, on the inside view. It does take some getting used to.

With regard to the body this is not such a big deal. All the basic components of your body are well defined. You cannot see inside your body, but proprioception means you experience the position and mass of bones and muscles as it operates. It is only the details of the body that are indeterminate. With respect to the mind, however, the result is fascinating. Just as you exist in all possible bodies that have this world hologram, you exist in all possible brains that instantiate this world hologram. The net result is that the brain which is effectively your brain is a super-brain. Effectively, it works like a quantum computer because in the unconscious one is constantly processing every possible variation of cognitive functioning, thinking, reasoning etc.. As explained in Quantum Computer Brains, creativity needs no further explanation.

In reality, in the personal quantum world described by QBism, you are the self-concept avatar because all else is indeterminate. It is a strange thought but also quite amusing; you are exactly who you know yourself to be. The self-concept is identically the same thing as the true identity in the real world. And in this case you are in all the worlds in which your world hologram exists. (This logic is somewhat circular, but there is a direct definition given in The Inside View: the world hologram is the record of correlations with the physical, and this is who you are as the individual on the inside view. The further explanation given in Universe Consciousness provides the full explanatory principle in terms of logical type.)