Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In the Beginning, There Was the Signal

Science's Digital Chickens Come Home (err...to the Library) to Roost

For those of you who know me well, you've probably heard some of my metaphysical and "deep physics" ideas about the structure of the universe.

Here's one of my favorites: The true fundamental building block of the universe is Information.

When you peer down, deeply down, into the fundamentals of matter (and energy) you find…nothing. Nothing concrete, that is. Quantum physics - the most successful theory in the history of the science* - tells us that elementary particles are not particles at all. The "Copenhagen Interpretation" (Neils Bohr & company) states that "there is no deep reality" beyond the illusion of the particles and waves (and they are illusions). Pretty weird.

I have always felt that there was something amiss with the Copenhagen Interpretation ("Gee, really?").

I've pondered this gap for a number of years, starting early in my career in the network technology business. Back then, I learned about something called "Information Theory" - actually the theory of how information (and how much information) can be stored or carried using certain technologies. And one part of it (the Nyquist Rate, for those who care) caught my attention, and looped me back to this problem of deep reality.

I got this crazy notion that deep reality, that which was beyond the illusory "material" world, was actually information. A probability wave is not an object, but an aspect of design, a blueprint so-to-speak. A field is not a "thing", but an expression of an effect (perhaps, of an "intent").

When you dig down deeply enough, you go beyond matter and quantized energy into a domain of description, of information. Of design. From there, one might say that all the blueprints of the Universe are stored in that mysterious vault often called the Akashic Records. Physicists just might agree.

For you science folks who are still with me, here's a snip from Wikipedia:
The Akashic Records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning "sky", "space" or "aether") is a term used in theosophy (and Anthroposophy) to describe a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence. These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos.
The other day I saw an article in the Februay 2012 issue of Scientific American.  Craig Hogan and a crew at FermiLab is digging around in just this domain.

From the article,
"Physicists have, over the past couple of decades, uncovered profound insights into how the universe stores information - even going so far as to suggest that information, not matter and energy, constitutes the most basic unit of existence."
Ahhh, that feels good! And from here, the first words of the Gospel according to John make a whole lot more sense.

*Quantum Theory has never failed to accurately predict an experimental result (even when the predictions are so screwy that the physicists dread to discover that the universe actually works that way...)

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