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March 3, 2009


have recently become fascinated by this :: Our world may be a giant hologram :: and the mysticism that surrounds it. :: this book has been recommended to me on the subject ::

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Comments (9)

Great. Now you've got that Def Leppard song stuck in my head again. Thanks!

Posted by: fancycwabs at March 3, 2009 3:50 PM

Oh, the synchronicity. I actually just recently started reading Michael Talbot's "The Holographic Universe". If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It starts in science and moves rather quickly to speculation, albeit really cool and interesting speculation. Some of the citations can be taken with a large dose of salt, but the spirit of what the book is saying is profound, and its implications are staggering. I'm about halfway through the book, and the really crazy thing is that a friend of mine sent me the very link that you posted in an IM conversation earlier today.

I'd be interested to know more of what you think of the theory and its surrounding ideas. To me, the explanation seems to make a lot of intuitive sense. The idea of an "implicate order" makes sense when you remove the anthropocentrism of our understanding of reality. Our brains are taking in certain information, ignoring other information, and assembling that information into what appears to be a reality. If you think of the human perceptive mechanism as something that takes raw data and turns it into a meaningful experience, then our "inviolate" assumptions about reality fall apart. At this point, it's all very interesting to think about, but it makes me want to spend some time hanging around with Tibetan monks and learn to actually experience some of this mind-bending altered reality stuff myself.

I hear that you can find that on the street for a few hundred bucks, but I'm more keen on finding the key to the door rather than tearing it open with a crowbar.

This response is a bit wandering and rambly. You'll have to forgive that. I'm just excited to suddenly be able to discuss this with someone as I've just picked up the book myself.

Posted by: Steve at March 3, 2009 3:59 PM

It makes a fairly elegant "theory of everything." I would be cool with being a hologram, even though it makes me feel a bit like a character in Flatland, frustrated by the fact that I can't fully visualize a different dimension to things.

So if we live in a consensus reality, can we change that consensus?

Posted by: Robin at March 3, 2009 4:25 PM

Another thing I wanted to say was that I find it interesting that people are interpreting this theory to say that the universe is a hologram. Reading the book, it sounds like what he's saying is that the universe shared certain properties with our idea of a hologram. I've read some descriptions that say that our universe is a 3D projection based in 2D source material. That description feels oversimplified to me. If anything, the source material should have more than three dimensions, not fewer.

The idea that consciousness plays a role in the manipulation of the implicate order and is simultaneously *part* of the implicate order begins to raise the question of where consciousness ends and inanimate matter begins. It raises the notion that consciousness and inanimate matter are made of the same thing.

It feels a bit like we're making something out of nothing. We're taking energy that is nonlocal and indivisible and creating the illusion that that energy represents discrete solid objects in specific locations at specific moments. It reminds me of how computer games work. A computer game is essentially a complex interplay between information and instructions. You have a program, which is basically a bunch of data represented as a series of magnetic signatures. You have a computer, which is basically a perceptive mechanism that knows what that data means and how to turn it from a series of signatures into a user experience. Write a complex enough program, and suddenly you have a game with avatars, swords, taverns, monsters, the whole bit. The idea of "location" is simply a set of attributes in the data representing an object. On the disk, location is meaningless. In the game world, location is represented in a very real way.

So in a sense, the universe isn't just a hologram. It's a computer game :)

Posted by: Steve at March 3, 2009 4:25 PM

I emailed this to my (mathematician) girlfriend and she replied:
"i wonder if the 2d 'surface' from which our '3d-feeling' world is reflected is actually a projection from a 1d point. and whether there a many 1d points from which 'hologram' universes form, and what happens when these 'holograms' interfere with each. What happens when you overlay holograms? "

Posted by: Hadyn at March 3, 2009 4:50 PM

i'm ridiculously happy that you're back.

blog crush. what can you do?

Posted by: ingrid at March 3, 2009 5:47 PM

pfft this guy is totally breaking the rules. philosophy isn't supposed to be real or make actual sense!

Posted by: Mike at March 4, 2009 7:13 AM

The New Scientist article is fascinating. I've done a little holography, and I can't wait to see this theory develop further. Regarding mysticism though, the each-part-of-the-hologram-containing-the-whole thing is a bit of a myth. Each tiny speck does contain the whole scene, but only from that speck's point of view. The selective reality might just be a matter of focusing the information until it's sharp.

Posted by: TieDyePie at March 4, 2009 8:01 PM

Ze's back! doot-dee-doooooooooooo!!! :D

This is neat. I love it when someone adds to the "describe the universe" set :) More stuff to think about in the car...

Posted by: Marianne at March 5, 2009 6:03 PM

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