Identity

Identity

Now we are in a position to understand the relationship between the perceptual reality, the world hologram, and the dynamics of quantum theory. This structure of information is the central feature of Everett’s famous many worlds theory.

The Inside View

As cosmologist Max Tegmark explains, the development of the new physics has taught us that we must carefully distinguish between two different types of frame of reference, different views of a physical theory of existence and reality:

• The bird perspective or outside view, which is the way a mathematician views it.
• The frog perspective or inside view, which is the way it is perceived by a [self-aware substructure] in it. (1998, 23)

The outside view is the objective view. This is also called the view from nowhere because it does not define a particular viewpoint. It is simply what physical reality must be like, given the equations of physics. So in one sense it is purely theoretical, but on the other hand it is the standard benchmark of the way physical reality actually is, independent of any particular way of looking at it.

The inside view is the subjective view, the view defined by a specific person in the world. As Tegmark describes, the inside view is defined by the record of the observations made of the world. In other words, the inside view is the world hologram: this is the holographic form of the record of observations, as described in The World Hologram.

The record of observations is a hugely significant structure of information in quantum theory: this is the central feature of Everett’s famous many worlds theory, as described in Many Worlds.

The World of the Inside View

As described in World Superposition, your world hologram is present in a great number of worlds, all those in which you exist as a physical entity. But since all these worlds are coincident and superposed, this means that there is only one inside view in all of these worlds: when you superpose copies of a structure of information, you just get that structure of information. All this is explained in more detail in The Indeterminate World. And this means that to experience this inside view must be to experience all of these worlds, superimposed. In other words, the physical reality of this inside view is the superposition of all of these worlds. If this is the view of reality you are actually experiencing, then you live in a world superposition, it works exactly like QBism describes, and the great paradoxes of quantum theory are resolved. Of course, it also means that primarily you are not quite the same kind of entity you thought.

Identity

As physical entities, all the identical copies of you in different worlds are discrete entities. The many parallel worlds simply exist, next door to each other, and so do all the physical copies of you. But let’s say you are really the entity ‘in here’, the self-concept avatar figure. 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.

This seems unlikely because this is just a structure of information. The physical body 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. Objectively, on the outside view, all that is as true as it is obvious, 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. This is because your world hologram exists 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: a superimposed sum of all the ways it could be.

The Mind

Stranger still, the same is true of the mind. The world of the individual is the sum of all worlds with this world hologram in the neural network. Therefore, it is only those properties of the mind that have been observed in operation that are determinate. This really does sound very peculiar, but the logic is of course the same as for the body. Your world hologram exists simultaneously in versions of the body which have different neural processes going on unconsciously. But this still means that the real you, the whole of you as you know yourself to be, is real and determinate.

The world hologram is the record of experiences. Naturally, therefore, all the memory of one’s life is contained in the world hologram. But so too is 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 the things that are known 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.

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 in the unconscious one is constantly processing every possible variation of cognitive functioning, thinking, reasoning etc.. As explained in Quantum Computer this means that in effect the brain works like a quantum computer. 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 sounds like circular logic, but the further explanation given in Universe Consciousness provides the full explanatory principle in terms of logical type.)

It is the nature of the individual on the inside view that resolves all the terrible paradoxes. The measurement problem is the great show stopper in quantum theory. As explained in Measurement Problem it seems that physical reality behaves in a manner incomprehensible when it is observed. The resolution is that it is only the physical reality of the inside view that demonstrates this seemingly odd behaviour. In fact, the problem is that the wrong frame of reference is being addressed in the physics. The strange behaviour occurs only in the world superposition, the frame of reference of the conscious individual, a second-logical-type phenomenon.