New research suggests that neither you nor the world around you are real - none of this in reality exists at all …
How real are you? What if everything that you are, everything that you know, all the people in your life, and all the events were not physically there, and this is just a very difficult simulation?
A group of scientists has put forward the idea that our universe may self-change and begin to exist.
Earlier philosopher Nick Bostrom put forward a similar assumption in the article - Do you live in a computer simulation? - where he suggested that our entire existence could simply be the product of very complex computer modeling carried out by highly developed beings, whose true nature we will never be able to cognize.
Now a new theory has emerged that takes it one step further - what if there are also no advanced beings, and everything in "reality" is a self-simulation that generates itself from pure thought?
The idea that we could all live in computer simulations - a concept popularized by the movie The Matrix - is certainly not new, but now scientists at the Los Angeles-based Institute for Theoretical Physics have taken it one step further with a new hypothesis that will surely surprise you and make you think.
One important aspect that distinguishes this view is related to the fact that Bostrom's original hypothesis is materialistic, considering the universe to be inherently physical. For Bostrom, we could just be part of a posthuman ancestor simulation. Even the process of evolution itself may simply be a mechanism by which future creatures experience countless processes, purposefully moving people through levels of biological and technological growth. In this way, they also generate supposed information or history of our world.
But where does the physical reality that would give rise to simulation come from, researchers ask? Their hypothesis takes a non-materialistic approach, saying that everything is information expressed as thought. As such, the universe "self-actualizes" into existence based on its underlying algorithms and rule, which they call the "principle of effective language."
According to this proposal, the entire simulation of everything that exists is just one “great thought.” - How would the simulation itself come about? It has always been there, the researchers say, explaining the concept of "timeless emergence" (Emergence or emergence in systems theory is the appearance of a system of properties that are not inherent in its elements separately; the irreducibility of the properties of a system to the sum of the properties of its components).
According to this idea, there is no time at all. Instead, there is only overarching thought, which is our reality, offering a nested semblance of a hierarchical order, full of "sub-thoughts" that travel all the way down the rabbit hole to basic mathematics and fundamental particles. This is also where the rule of effective language comes into play, which assumes that people themselves are such "emergent sub-thoughts" and that they experience and find meaning in the world through other sub-thoughts (called "code steps or actions") in the most economical way
A new paper, titled "Interpreting the Self-Simulation Hypothesis of Quantum Mechanics," puts forward the idea that instead of living in a simulation generated by a complex computer system, perhaps our "reality" is a mental "self-simulation" generated by the universe itself.
This means that the world and everything in it does not physically exist, but is an expression of the consciousness of the Universe, that is, the cosmos "self-actualizes" into existence. This concept of reality also implies that time does not really exist; instead, the universe is made up of a hierarchical order of thought and subconsciousness that encompasses everything from people and things to fundamental particles and the laws of physics
Although many scientists believe materialism is true, we believe that quantum mechanics can give a hint that our reality is a mental construct, says physicist David Chester.
Recent advances in quantum gravity, such as the vision of spacetime arising from a hologram, is also a hint that spacetime is not fundamental.
"In a sense, the mental construct of reality creates space-time to effectively understand itself, creating a network of subconscious entities that can interact and explore the totality of possibilities."
Scientists associate their hypothesis with panpsychism, which sees everything as thought or consciousness. The authors believe that their "panpsychic model of self-simulation" may even explain the origin of the overarching panconconsciousness at the fundamental level of modeling, which "self-actualizes in a strange cycle through self-stimulation."
This pankconsciousness also has free will, and its various nested levels essentially have the ability to choose which code to update when making syntactic choices
What is the purpose of this consciousness? - Generate meaning or information
If all this is difficult for you to understand, the authors offer another interesting idea that can connect your everyday experience with these philosophical considerations. Think of your dreams as your own personal simulations postulating a team. While they are rather primitive (by the superintelligent standards of the future AI), dreams tend to provide better resolution than current computer simulations and are a perfect example of the evolution of the human mind.
As the scientists write - "What is most remarkable is the ultra-high accuracy of the resolution of these simulations based on reason and the accuracy of physics in them."
They especially point to lucid dreaming, where the sleeper is aware of what is in the dream, as examples of very accurate simulations created by your mind that may be indistinguishable from any other reality. Right now, as you sit here and read this article - how do you really know that you are not in a dream?
The authors of the scientific article also write: We must think critically about consciousness and some aspects of philosophy, which are inconvenient subjects for some scientists. When physicists humiliate those working on such important questions, it only limits the likelihood of important advances in fundamental physics. Accordingly, we share the opinion of the titans of modern physics, confirming the importance of this study:
Erwin Schrödinger: consciousness cannot be explained in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental.
Arthur Eddington: the substance of the world is the substance of the mind.
Haldane: we do not find obvious evidence of the existence of life or intelligence in so-called inert matter … but if the scientific point of view is correct, we will eventually find them, at least in rudimentary form, throughout the universe.
Julian Huxley: mind or something from nature like mind must exist in the entire universe. This, it seems to me, is true.
Freeman Dyson: The human mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree, not in nature, from the processes of choosing between quantum states, which we call "random" when they are made by electrons.
David Bohm: it is implied that in a sense, rudimentary consciousness is present even at the level of particle physics.
Werner Heisenberg: Was it completely absurd to look behind the ordering structures of this world for a “consciousness” whose “intentions” were precisely these structures?
Andrey Linde: will it not turn out that with the further development of science, the study of the Universe and the study of consciousness will be inextricably linked, and that final progress in one will be impossible without progress in the other?
John Bell: It is much more likely that a new way of seeing things will involve a creative leap that will amaze us.
Frank Wilczek: The relevant literature [on the meaning of quantum theory] is known to be controversial and unclear. I believe that this will continue until someone constructs an “observer” within the framework of the formalism of quantum mechanics; that is, a model entity whose states correspond to a recognizable caricature of conscious awareness.