- THE ALL IS MIND, the Universe is mental -
Let's dive in the deep end right away for this article: its aim is to start exploring the reasons and implications of a consciousness based reality model (in other words, a virtual reality, a digital reality, a simulated reality...). It is good to read this in conjunction with the bird's eye view of Yoga series, to get a proper contextual frame, but this is by no means an obligation.
Many spiritual traditions (Kabbalah, Hermetism, Advaita Vedanta and possibly the mystic currents of mainstream monotheism...) hold a monist view (as opposed to a dualistic view) of reality, where the absolute reality is a form of mind or consciousness or a dreamworld. Yet a very recent way (in evolutionary terms) to approach reality, the western based scientific method, has yielded for the past 500 years practical results that beat hands down (as far as materiel results are concerned) the previous 'colorful' but much less rational approaches.
The scientific method holds a simple view: physical realism. It states that the only real thing is objective matter and everything else derives from it, consciousness included. Our minds are an emanation of our brains. Somehow the physical reality can 'see itself', since we are reflexive beings engaged in this physical reality. And in light of the tremendous advances in science since this paradigm change, this option can and should be seriously considered.
Another widely held view is that of dualism: somehow, two separate realities coexist, a spirit world and a physical world. The spirit world can see and knows everything about the mechanical physical world, and there are tangential points where it influences the physical. This model is convenient for people who want their cake and eat it too, like scientifically trained people who would like to retain a belief in God or traditional religious teachings that still serve to fill the gap of what we don't know yet. Dualism presents many logical inconsistencies that we won't get into here.
The last model, quantum realism, posits that our lives are spent in a computed reality, a rendered on-demand virtual 3D experience with a time component. This view is, as of today and on pure logical grounds, as valid as physical realism. As a matter of fact, there is a real possibility that both the explanatory and predictive powers of this view go beyond our much beloved physical model. Yet, as it was outrageous to suggest a heliocentric model of the Earth in Copernicus time, the virtual reality model will most likely meet with a lot of resistance initially: it is after all another big blow at our species ego. Yet contemporary advances in computing today provide us not only with a very rational way to consider the virtual reality possibility, but Occam's razor now cuts in the direction of virtual realism as opposed to physical realism (what does this say about this much beloved tool, am not sure...).
Many physicists today are in a race to come up with the proof, but the idea has been hanging. In the below, I will freely borrow from the excellent articles of Brian Whitworth on quantum realism. Brian Whitworth is an academic physicist with a fully recognized mainstream pedigree.
So without further ado, 10 reasons why we live in a computed, virtual reality.... Our Universe...
... has a beginning
The most accepted view by far today (2017) is that our Universe started with a Big Bang about 14 Billion years ago, when space-time-matter-energy-gravity etc... all just appeared. It is interesting that a story as irrational as this one is now widely accepted, when it has the same logical value as stating that a God created the world 6000 years ago. This universe didn't fill a pre-existing space, and wasn't waiting for the appropriate time to do so, since there was neither space nor time without it. A complete physical universe cannot begin, since by definition there is nothing outside of it, and to create itself, it would have to exist before it began. Yet a virtual reality has a boot up that creates its 'pixels' and space-time one shot, based on nothing within itself.
... has constant and maximum speed of light
In our Universe, time, space and mass dilate whereas the speed of light is a constant that can't be exceeded. If a spaceship goes at half the speed of light and light leaves it, in an objective reality, the light should have a speed of 1.5 the supposed constant. It is not the case. In a computed reality, pixels are refreshed at a constant speed, and the rendered objects slowdown if lots of computational power is needed, eerily reminiscent of those time/mass variations.
... is digital
Everything at the quantum level is quantized, meaning it is constituted of irreducible chunks: time and space being no exception. The smaller unit of time is the Planck time, 5.5 x 10e-44 seconds, and the smaller unit of space is the Planck length, 1.6 x 10e-35. Each pixel (in our case, each cube of Planck's length side) would be refreshed at each cycle of Planck's time, giving us a constant speed of light.
... entangles entities
What Einstein famously called spooky action at a distance, the fact that photons appear to be linked no matter what space separates them, which maximum speed of light should not allow. In contrast in a virtual reality, any pixel on the screen can be instantly altered, regardless of 'how far' it is to another one in the computed reality.
... curves space
For a space to curve on itself (as Einstein suggested), it needs an extra dimension to do it. In quantum realism, our 3-D space is just a 'surface' (in mathematical terms) that can curve into a fourth dimensions.
... dilates time
In an objective world, time is fixed, but in ours, time slows down the faster we go. Every computer user knows that the frame rate refresh of a computer slows down the busier the CPU is.
... has randomness
There is randomness in our universe that no 'prior' physical story can explain: for example, radioactive atoms emit alpha particles randomly. Yet the processor of a virtual construct can 'choose' which quantum state becomes a physical state in a quantum collapse.
...has a non-empty empty space
In an objective reality, space should be nothing but our space exerts a pressure. The simplest explanation could be null processing, like when a computer is idle and does nothing with a 4 GHz clock: it still processes nothing at 4 gigs.
... has waves as particles
In the infamous double slit experiment, an electron does not exist as matter as long as it is not observed by an observer, and behaves as a probability wave in the meantime. This might be the most studied incomprehensible quantum conundrum. A program or a processing can easily spread instances of itself like a wave but still restart at one point to arrive like a particle at one point.
... has identical electrons
In our world, photons, electrons, quarks are indistinguishable from each other, just as object-oriented code generates limitless instances of a specifically defined object.
Here goes for this teaser... Those ideas are probably a huge meal that can leave one bloated. Here, we'd like to approach them with a 'mise en bouche' manner, bite-sized chunks that, like quantization, are both edible and digestible :-)