The universe as a hologram?

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darren
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The universe as a hologram?

Post by darren » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:45 pm

Really interesting article I came across earlier.

http://www.etresoi.ch/Denis/hologram.html

"As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion.

We are really "receivers" floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract from this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but one channel from many extracted out of the superhologram."

goatboy
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Post by goatboy » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:28 pm

interesting but is it a belief?

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darren
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Post by darren » Fri Sep 14, 2007 6:47 pm

Yeah course it is. Lot's of things are but they're still interesting.

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Post by goatboy » Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:25 pm

I am interested in the nature of reality but
there is no liberation in it, it is unknowable and
a bottomless pit. :)

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Seancho
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Post by Seancho » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:51 pm

Heres another take on the same theme that was recently the #1 most popular article on nytimes.com.

For some reason, reading this article made me feel for the first time like we are living in a new millenium. Theres always been Vedanta, Gnosticism and more recently The Matrix, but when the stately paper of record here in the US is seriously questioning the reality of reality, you know we are entering interesting times!

Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch
New York Times August 14, 2007

Until I talked to Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at Oxford University, it never occurred to me that our universe might be somebody else’s hobby. I hadn’t imagined that the omniscient, omnipotent creator of the heavens and earth could be an advanced version of a guy who spends his weekends building model railroads or overseeing video-game worlds like the Sims.

But now it seems quite possible. In fact, if you accept a pretty reasonable assumption of Dr. Bostrom’s, it is almost a mathematical certainty that we are living in someone else’s computer simulation.

This simulation would be similar to the one in “The Matrix,” in which most humans don’t realize that their lives and their world are just illusions created in their brains while their bodies are suspended in vats of liquid. But in Dr. Bostrom’s notion of reality, you wouldn’t even have a body made of flesh. Your brain would exist only as a network of computer circuits.

You couldn’t, as in “The Matrix,” unplug your brain and escape from your vat to see the physical world. You couldn’t see through the illusion except by using the sort of logic employed by Dr. Bostrom, the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford.

Dr. Bostrom assumes that technological advances could produce a computer with more processing power than all the brains in the world, and that advanced humans, or “posthumans,” could run “ancestor simulations” of their evolutionary history by creating virtual worlds inhabited by virtual people with fully developed virtual nervous systems.

Some computer experts have projected, based on trends in processing power, that we will have such a computer by the middle of this century, but it doesn’t matter for Dr. Bostrom’s argument whether it takes 50 years or 5 million years. If civilization survived long enough to reach that stage, and if the posthumans were to run lots of simulations for research purposes or entertainment, then the number of virtual ancestors they created would be vastly greater than the number of real ancestors.

There would be no way for any of these ancestors to know for sure whether they were virtual or real, because the sights and feelings they’d experience would be indistinguishable. But since there would be so many more virtual ancestors, any individual could figure that the odds made it nearly certain that he or she was living in a virtual world.

The math and the logic are inexorable once you assume that lots of simulations are being run. But there are a couple of alternative hypotheses, as Dr. Bostrom points out. One is that civilization never attains the technology to run simulations (perhaps because it self-destructs before reaching that stage). The other hypothesis is that posthumans decide not to run the simulations.

“This kind of posthuman might have other ways of having fun, like stimulating their pleasure centers directly,” Dr. Bostrom says. “Maybe they wouldn’t need to do simulations for scientific reasons because they’d have better methodologies for understanding their past. It’s quite possible they would have moral prohibitions against simulating people, although the fact that something is immoral doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”

Dr. Bostrom doesn’t pretend to know which of these hypotheses is more likely, but he thinks none of them can be ruled out. “My gut feeling, and it’s nothing more than that,” he says, “is that there’s a 20 percent chance we’re living in a computer simulation.”

My gut feeling is that the odds are better than 20 percent, maybe better than even. I think it’s highly likely that civilization could endure to produce those supercomputers. And if owners of the computers were anything like the millions of people immersed in virtual worlds like Second Life, SimCity and World of Warcraft, they’d be running simulations just to get a chance to control history — or maybe give themselves virtual roles as Cleopatra or Napoleon.

It’s unsettling to think of the world being run by a futuristic computer geek, although we might at last dispose of that of classic theological question: How could God allow so much evil in the world? For the same reason there are plagues and earthquakes and battles in games like World of Warcraft. Peace is boring, Dude.

A more practical question is how to behave in a computer simulation. Your first impulse might be to say nothing matters anymore because nothing’s real. But just because your neural circuits are made of silicon (or whatever posthumans would use in their computers) instead of carbon doesn’t mean your feelings are any less real.

David J. Chalmers, a philosopher at the Australian National University, says Dr. Bostrom’s simulation hypothesis isn’t a cause for skepticism, but simply a different metaphysical explanation of our world. Whatever you’re touching now — a sheet of paper, a keyboard, a coffee mug — is real to you even if it’s created on a computer circuit rather than fashioned out of wood, plastic or clay.

You still have the desire to live as long as you can in this virtual world — and in any simulated afterlife that the designer of this world might bestow on you. Maybe that means following traditional moral principles, if you think the posthuman designer shares those morals and would reward you for being a good person.

Or maybe, as suggested by Robin Hanson, an economist at George Mason University, you should try to be as interesting as possible, on the theory that the designer is more likely to keep you around for the next simulation. (For more on survival strategies in a computer simulation, go to http://www.nytimes.com/tierneylab.)

Of course, it’s tough to guess what the designer would be like. He or she might have a body made of flesh or plastic, but the designer might also be a virtual being living inside the computer of a still more advanced form of intelligence. There could be layer upon layer of simulations until you finally reached the architect of the first simulation — the Prime Designer, let’s call him or her (or it).

Then again, maybe the Prime Designer wouldn’t allow any of his or her creations to start simulating their own worlds. Once they got smart enough to do so, they’d presumably realize, by Dr. Bostrom’s logic, that they themselves were probably simulations. Would that ruin the fun for the Prime Designer?

If simulations stop once the simulated inhabitants understand what’s going on, then I really shouldn’t be spreading Dr. Bostrom’s ideas. But if you’re still around to read this, I guess the Prime Designer is reasonably tolerant, or maybe curious to see how we react once we start figuring out the situation.

It’s also possible that there would be logistical problems in creating layer upon layer of simulations. There might not be enough computing power to continue the simulation if billions of inhabitants of a virtual world started creating their own virtual worlds with billions of inhabitants apiece.

If that’s true, it’s bad news for the futurists who think we’ll have a computer this century with the power to simulate all the inhabitants on earth. We’d start our simulation, expecting to observe a new virtual world, but instead our own world might end — not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a message on the Prime Designer’s computer.

It might be something clunky like “Insufficient Memory to Continue Simulation.” But I like to think it would be simple and familiar: “Game Over.”
If you stop believing in fear, is it still scary?

ninjin

Post by ninjin » Fri Sep 14, 2007 10:26 pm

The idea is probably not their own just check out 13th floor or eXistenZ.
And the connection better and faster computers=consciousness is just plain stupid. Some philosophers should be put under whatever stone some dumby pulled them out of.

The hologram thing is like it said quite old. Don't really know it's status anymore. All I know is a lot of scientists don't know crap and most theories is based on the assumption that the "natural laws" are constant.

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Seancho
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Post by Seancho » Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:14 am

Ninjin you suprise me. I thought you were a materialist. Dont you believe that consciousness is caused by the brain? And what is the brain if not a biological computer? Isnt DNA a digital code?

What happens when we start building computers equal in complexity to our own bodies?
If you stop believing in fear, is it still scary?

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summer
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Post by summer » Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:36 am

My guess is that consciousness exists independently of the brain. It is in the very air that we are all breathing right now. If this form that I am living in now, were to stop breathing, consciousness would still be alive and well.

Seancho,

How would you design a computer that has the ability to love in the way that all animals, and plants, and humans do?

goatboy
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Post by goatboy » Sat Sep 15, 2007 11:48 am

its like a scientist trying to split a rose to pieces
trying to find beauty. leave it :)

ninjin

Post by ninjin » Sat Sep 15, 2007 11:59 am

Seancho i do believe consciousness is caused by the brain but the assumption that being able to compute more and bigger numbers per second is any way to go is wrong.
First the human brain works nothing like a computer they aren't even comparable. The human brain is a network of cells that all work independantly and together. Cut the brain in half and one half takes up the tasks of the other half. Cut a computer in to and it goes offline.
Also our brain is a pattern recognizing machine. We live by patterns computers all work by comparing what they know with what they see.
For example if a computer would see a door it would compare this object to all other objects in its database. We see a door pattern. Thats why we can open doors that doesn't even look like regular doors. Can sit on stones instead of chairs and so on.

But the main reason why bigger computer doesn't work is we can't even create computers with the same capability as dumb animals.

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Seancho
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Post by Seancho » Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:44 am

Oh, Im not advocating for a computer simulated universe. Its an interesting idea is all. And it doesnt strike me as all that unlikely in the long run considering what we've done up to now.

That idea, simulation, seems like a big part of who we are. And what ultimate limit is there really to what we can imagine and create?

Humans have been making reproductions of reality for as long as they have been banging rocks together. I wonder why?

From charcoal on cave walls to oil paintings, photographs to movies, holograms and virtual reality. We are animals fascinated by the making of reproductions and simulations of reality.

With computers its even more fun, because now we can interact with the simulation. Video games. Virtual reality. Sims. Second Life. World of Warcraft.

Who's to say we arent living in a giant version of the Sims? Ever get so involved in a painting, picture, movie, game that you forgot where you were? Or even who you are?

And as for how to make a computer powerful enough to simulate a universe? Thats easy, we already have one. We already have the ultimate virtual reality machine. The human brain. We appear to be living in a universe that spontaneously produces virtual-reality-capable biocomputers. but who knows, maybe the brain is just another simulation.

The 'real' universe simulates itself, through us.

I dont know how consciousness gets into the machine, or how the machine gets into consciousness. But I am struck by one thought...

If, as so many weirdos in all times and places have suggested, and by weirdos I mean the mystics, saints, messiahs, poets, hindus, buddhists, gnostics, shamans, hippies, schizophrenics, science fiction writers, and now computer scientists, if all of what we are experiencing is a dream, drama, stage, movie, picture, hologram, video game, matrix, maya, simulation....

then existence is easy. We dont have to do anything about anything. It doesnt matter what happens. All bets are off. There is absolutely nothing to worry about because nothing we experience is real.

Wouldnt that be a relief?

that Times article kicked it in for me, I got this flash... what the 20th century, relativity and quantum mechanics did to unravel the concept of absolute time and space, the science and technology of our current century is going to do to unravel the theory of a single material universe.

What happens when the inhabitants of the 'game' stop believing in the simulation? What happens when the matrix wakes up?
If you stop believing in fear, is it still scary?

ninjin

Post by ninjin » Wed Sep 19, 2007 10:59 am

It's real as long as your here and what is now is important.
They are not saying that the universe is an illusion but our interpretation of it is. The you and everyone and everything else duality.
Like I've said in other discussions. Who says its Maya and why should we trust that?

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Seancho
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Post by Seancho » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:37 am

Ninjin, once again you suprise me. I never took you for a man of faith!

Upon what evidence do you base your belief that this universe of yours exists anywhere aside from your own mind?
If you stop believing in fear, is it still scary?

ninjin

Post by ninjin » Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:55 am

What you experience is real while you experience it whether its in your head or not.
Maybe I'm only experiencing 0.0001% of the universe. But that 0.0001% is just as real as the other 99.9999%.

A question you can ask yourself faced with such questions as what is real and what is not. Have you met people a lot more intelligent, smarter and more experienced?
If you have then the universe is not in your head. Why you might ask.
Because everything that is experienced in the head are limited by the head.
My experience of the universe is unique that is true but a unique perspective does not equate with only one perspective. You have your experience of the universe that is unique too you. All these unique perspectives equates to a fairly large amount of evidence that the universe is real (it's anecdotal evidence but we disregard that=).

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Post by Dongle » Wed Sep 19, 2007 3:52 pm

hehe..

The universe is an individual's reality alone, each of us has one, from the perspective of mind, that is, you have and so does every other human being, they are not perspectives of the same thing, they are separate. Sure they have similarities, but each universe is an entity unto itself, such that you are your universe and what you perceive, everything is you. Or if you like a reflection of you. This is what it is to live in the mind. Nothing exists aside from yourself. There is only you. This is the inherent human selfishness, the human condition as I understand it.

When you are present, the self dissolves and you truly perceive what reality really is. This is what is important, and there can never be a scientific mind based explanation of it. As such seeking an explanation is futile. I giggle every time I contemplate this I spent years trying to understand what reality is and how it works. Now that I no longer mind, I have been given glimpses of reality that have been immensely liberating.

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