Are we living in a holographic universe? A Philosophical Journey

What you are about to read is shocking and admittedly has not been “proven” yet. But most of Einstein’s theories ― now widely accepted ― weren’t proved during his lifetime either. So, allow yourself to at least consider the possibilities you are going to read because they may well become mainstream in a few years and you will have to change your beliefs and your life accordingly, either now or then….

SHOCKER #1: According to some of the most well-respected and well-known physicists in the world, and based on the latest research, we are living in a hologram: Our “reality” is a virtual image, an illusion that isn’t real.

Described as one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century, David Bohm was an American-Brazilian-British scientist who believed “that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity, the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram.”

Amit Goswami is a theoretical nuclear physicist and member of The University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics since 1968…. “Quantum mathematics — which is, in our belief, the most fundamental mathematics, the most accurate mathematical description of nature that we have discovered — this mathematics shows us clearly that the movements of objects are describable only in terms of possibilities, not the actual events that happen in our experience.”

And here is what Dr. Leonard Susskind, professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University, said in one of his lectures in 2011…

“There’s a quote that I like… very much that comes from a famous intellectual by the name of Sherlock Holmes, and it says, ‘when you have eliminated all that is impossible, whatever remains must be the truth, no matter how improbable.’

“The thing I am going to tell you tonight is one of those things which seems nutty; It seems wildly improbable. But it wasn’t just something that some of us — I wasn’t alone in saying this — that some of us just said one day, ‘Oh, maybe the world is a hologram.’ That’s not the way it happened. The way it happened was exactly this way: when you eliminate everything that’s impossible, whatever is left over must be the truth.

“Good. Okay. What is this thing which Sherlock Holmes might have eventually concluded after trying everything else? And the answer is that in a certain sense, in a certain peculiar sense, the world is a hologram.
“Now… the idea that the world is a hologram is a wild idea, or at least a seemingly wild idea. But that is what we now believe, and there’s an enormous amount of very very sharp mathematical evidence for this. It’s not something that was just made up for fun… ‘Oh, the world is a hologram, or a black hole is a hologram.’ There is very sharp mathematics to it…. And what I’m going to tell you next is it’s not just black holes which are holograms. But in a certain sense the entire universe can be represented as a hologram, or any finite region of the Universe, any big chunk of the Universe can be represented as a hologram.

“Is the three-dimensional world an illusion in the same sense that a hologram is an illusion? Perhaps. I think…I’m inclined to think Yes, that the three-dimensional world is a kind of illusion, and that the ultimate precise reality is the two-dimensional reality at the surface of the universe.”

Dr. Jacob D. Bekenstein, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said, “An astonishing theory called the holographic principle holds that the universe is like a hologram…. The physics of black holes — immensely dense concentrations of mass — provides a hint that the principle might be true.”

There is a TV series on the Discovery Channel called Nova, and in November of 2011 they broadcast a show called “The Fabric of the Cosmos: What is Space.” It was hosted by Brian Greene, theoretical physicist and professor of physics at Columbia University, who wrote the book called The Fabric of the Cosmos. He said…

“Surprising new clues are emerging that everything — you and I, and even space itself — may actually be a kind of hologram. That is, everything we see and experience — everything we call our familiar three-dimensional reality — may be a projection of information that’s stored on a thin, distant two-dimensional surface.

“Now, holograms are something we’re all familiar with, from the security symbol you find on most credit cards. But the universe as a hologram? That’s one of the most drastic revisions to our picture of space and reality ever proposed.”

“Here’s a way to think about this… imagine I took my wallet and threw it into a black hole. What would happen? We used to think that since nothing — not even light — can escape the immense gravity of a black hole, my wallet would be lost forever. But it now seems that may not be the whole story.

“Recently, scientists exploring the math describing black holes made a curious discovery. Even as my wallet disappears into the black hole, a copy of all the information it contains seems to get smeared out and stored on the surface of the black hole, much the same way that information is stored in a computer.

“So, in the end, my wallet exists in two places. There’s a three-dimensional version that’s lost forever inside the black hole, and a two-dimensional version that remains on the surface as information. The information content of all the stuff that fell into that black hole can be expressed entirely in terms of just the outside of the black hole. The idea then is that you can capture what’s going on inside the black hole by referring only to the outside.

“And in theory, I could use the information on the outside of the black hole to reconstruct my wallet. And here’s the truly mind-blowing part. Space within a black hole plays by the same rules as space outside a black hole, or anywhere else. So, if an object inside a black hole can be described by information on the black hole’s surface, then it might be that everything in the universe — from galaxies and stars, to you and me, even space itself — is just a projection of information stored on some distant two-dimensional surface that surrounds us.

“In other words, what we experience as reality may be something like a hologram. The idea that we live in a hologram probably sounds absurd, but it is a natural extension of our best understanding of black holes, and something with a pretty firm theoretical footing. It has also been surprisingly helpful for physicists wrestling with theories of how the universe works at its most fundamental level.”

And Dr. S. James Gates, Jr., who holds the Clark Leadership Chair in Science with the physics department at the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, put it this way….

“This is a real disconnect, and it’s very hard to get your head around. Modern ideas coming from black holes tell us that reality is two-dimensional, that the three-dimensional world — the full-bodied three-dimensional world — is a kind of image of a hologram on the boundary of the region of space…. This is a very strange thing! When I was a younger physicist, I would have thought any physicist who said that was absolutely crazy.”

Michael Talbot, author of The Holographic Universe, explained it this way: “Creating the illusion that things are located where they are NOT is the quintessential feature of a hologram…. If you look at a hologram, it seems to have extension in space, but if you pass your hand through it, you will find there is nothing there…. Despite what your senses tell you, no instrument will pick up any energy or substance where the hologram appears to be hovering. This is because a hologram is a virtual image, an image that appears to be where it is not…. It is relatively easy to understand this idea of holism in something that is external to us, like an apple in a hologram. What makes this difficult is that we are not looking at the hologram; we are part of the hologram.”

To which Amit Goswami suggests: “This is the only radical thinking that you need to do. But it is so radical, it is so difficult, because our tendency is that the world is already ‘out there,’ independent of my experience. It is not. Quantum Physics has been so clear about it.”

It’s hard to argue with the impressive, heavyweight firepower behind the idea that we’re living in a beautifully conceived and constructed hologram ― like we’re inside one of our best video games available today. But so what? What if we are living in a hologram? What difference does it make?

I think you’re going to find it makes all the difference in the world when you understand, accept, and apply the knowledge that what you see “out there” is not real ― the very definition of a hologram.

Want to learn more?

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