Wednesday, April 16, 2008

John Wheeler and Digital Physics

A direct link to the above video is at

We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago. We are in this sense, participators in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past and if we have one explanation for what's happening in the distant past why should we need more? - Physicist John Archibald Wheeler, who died just three days ago at the age of 96

Last blog, we talked about the omniverse: what if this project had been called "Imagining the Omniverse"? The omniverse is a term coined to imagine all of the possible universes, all of the parallel universes resulting from chance and choice for each of those universes, all of the possible expressions of matter and energy which exist simultaneously within the underlying quantum fabric of reality.

As mind-boggling as that concept is to hold in our heads all at once, there is still another way of looking at all of this: our specific universe is reflective of big-picture-memes, ways of organizing that omniverse's information that becomes our reality. Calling that "God", or a Quantum Observer acting within an O-region, or just the random assortment of implicate patterns responsible for distilling out one version of reality over another, has much more to do with mindset than the actual processes that we are thinking about: and this is how we got to David Bohm's idea of implicate and explicate order being reflective of how our universe came to be part of just one of the many multiverses that exist within the omniverse.

Ever hear of "digital physics"? Look that term up in wikipedia. Experts such as Seth Lloyd, John Wheeler (quoted above), and David Deutsch, all of whom I have mentioned regularly in this blog, are listed as proponents of digital physics, which advances the same theory that I have been promoting here: our universe is reflective of patterns that exist within timelessness, and time as we experience it is an illusion, only a tiny slice out of what's really happening "out there". Digital Physics does not require there to be extra dimensions, but I believe it ties very nicely to what I've been talking about here: the idea that our universe is created one planck length after the next, with our fourth-dimensional "line of time" twisting and turning in the fifth dimension is the way into that discussion.

Comparisons between digital physics, the universe as a hologram, and the idea that we as observers could "reverse fine tune" our universe are all connected to the way of visualizing reality that I'm promoting here. There are clear echoes of The Matrix in all of this as well, which make some people assume I'm talking about science fiction here: but the tenth dimension meme continues to grow, as more and more people begin to see connections between their own ways of understanding reality and what's being discussed here.

John Wheeler was a strong believer in the anthropic principle, which ties into the Omniverse idea I talked about in the last blog entry as well. As his quote at the start of this blog entry reveals, he also liked to talk about the role of the quantum observer in a "self-excited circuit" that creates the reality we see around us from out of the background of quantum indeterminacy, and that is a fascinating discussion by itself. Here are some previous blog entries where I've talked about how John Wheeler's theories can be related to my way of visualizing reality:

Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains
Song 24 of 26 - See No Future
Song 15 of 26 - What Was Done Today
Song 11 of 26 - The Anthropic Viewpoint
Boredom and Consciousness

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Coming up next: The Flipbook Universe

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