My hunches and conclusions to Life, The Universe and Everything

In my quest to figure out existence, I felt it liberating to sum up my conclusions and hunches this far in the most concise form possible. Although none of my conclusions are permanent, they serve as stepping stones for further research. My hunches are mere pointers to research directions.

Question Hunch Conclusion
Is space and time discrete? Yes – and this is supported by what I consider to be the most promising cosmological theory to date, “Loop Quantum Gravity”.
What is gravity? It is the force mediated by the spin 2 boson “Graviton”. Einstein’s “space curvature” is in reality gravitons acting on matter and time.
What is dark matter? Gravitons have tiny mass and may even be self-interacting. This cater for the lacking gravitation pull needed to explain why galaxies can rotate faster than the visible matter would allow for.
What is dark energy? Dark energy is a name to describe why the universe seems to accelerate over time. This may be explained by the combination of vacuum energy with a graviton of non-zero mass.
Do black holes really exist? Perhaps, but without any singularity. Quantum laws such as the Pauli Exclusion Principle stops gravity from collapsing fermions into a singularity. An event horizon may still exist, though.
Will we ever devise a Theory of Everything? No. A ToE is described as “a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe”… which was proven impossible by Kurt Gödel and his Incompleteness Theorems.
Is the universe infinite? No. But there is no end to it – as long as consciousness creates more, there is more universe to be observed.
Is the universe real? No, it is created every discrete moment by consciousness. We see what we see because we create it. The universe is the sum of a massive co-creation of all consciousnesses involved.
Is there free will? Yes. Potential free will, when exercised is consciousness which in turn observe its own creations. Existence is not pre-determined or deterministic.
What happens when I die? I get a reboot – out of and into the game of life. I arrive back at a higher understanding and get to participate in the game of life with a different identity in a different body. Much like ending a computer game only to start another.
Higher level of understanding? Are there many such “levels”? It’s not “levels” per se, but rather many plateaus or layers like an onion. The movie “Matrix” is an excellent metaphor for my fractal view of existence.
Which world view is ultimately the correct one? All of them

… To be revised and revised and re…

hcg87_gmoss_960

What if everyone was right?

What if Christianity was right? What if Islam holds the truth? And Buddhism? And Hinduism and the Native Americans and the Inca and Scientology and atheism? What if Science also got it right? All at the same time.

Perhaps all viewpoints are correct. Perhaps they represent their own unique view of truth.

Of course it would be hard to fully reconcile two diametrical different viewpoints of “God exists” and “God does not exist”. Or perhaps not.

While each ideology or world view tend to hold their own as the Only Truth, it would be interesting to see if a more universal view could be uncovered by treating each view as looking at truth from but one angle.

Back in 1991 I was interviewed by a student of the Theological Faculty of the University of Oslo. He was doing his master thesis on “Reincarnation in Christianity”. While he didn’t believe in reincarnation himself, he was fascinated with the 19 references left in the Bible after diligent purges were conducted early on in the book’s history. He knew I believed in reincarnation and wanted my views and my past life stories. This example goes to show that seemingly opposing views could be reconciled.

matrix_eye_by_kibarutovs-d571hir

A crude attempt at unification of world views could go like this: The universe is created. Continually. There are causes and there are effects. A higher cause may be called God. Different versions of this cause can go by different names. There are lesser causes and some animate bodies and bring them to life. In doing so, the causes form identities. These identities die when the body dies and what you consider you is no longer. But keeping with the conservation of information (related to “unitarity” in quantum mechanics), the information you carry is never lost. The core of you, the cause, the soul, passes on “to the other side” or a “higher understanding” where this cause can decide to once again forge an identity and participate in experience. There may be several or even infinite levels of such “higher understandings” forming a fractal universe. The movie trilogy, “Matrix” may serve as an artist’s representation of this. Identities from higher causes may be seen as Gods, angels or the like. But none are omnipotent, only potentially so – as taking on an identity exchanges potential for actuality and experience. In keeping with Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, the physical universe is not complete – it is not all there is. There is always more truth to be uncovered, more realms to understand. The journey never ends and the journey is the destination.

This crude example would make the core of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, all ancient mythologies, new age, angels, spirits and the physical sciences into aspects of truth. Their sum could be even closer to truth. A more complete truth may evolve as more aspects of world views are unified.

Instead of starting with “that viewpoint must be wrong”, perhaps truth is better uncovered by “how can that viewpoint be right”?

On timelessness and death

I have found this quote by Ludwig Wittgenstein intriguing:

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits.

Kill your presentations with Powerpoint

In the mid 90s, I decided to drop slides in my presentations. With few exceptions I have managed to stay away from that crutch while inspiring small or large crowds. In 2000, I was asked by IBM to hold a presentation to 35 important customers. And they demanded slides. I gave them one. It was a white slide with big, black letters, “This is a boring slide, look at the man who’s talking”.

The particle physics magazine, Symmetry reports that six months ago, organizers of a biweekly forum on Large Hadron Collider physics at Fermilab banned PowerPoint presentations in favor of old-fashioned, chalkboard-style talks. Quoting the article:

Without slides, the participants go further off-script, with more interaction and curiosity,” says Andrew Askew, an assistant professor of physics at Florida State University and a co-organizer of the forum. “We wanted to draw out the importance of the audience.”
In one recent meeting, physics professor John Paul Chou of Rutgers University presented to a full room holding a single page of handwritten notes and a marker. The talk became more dialogue than monologue as members of the audience, freed from their usual need to follow a series of information-stuffed slides flying by at top speed, managed to interrupt with questions and comments.
“We all feel inundated by PowerPoint,” Askew says. “With only a whiteboard, you have your ideas and a pen in your hand.

Yup. Less constraints, more freedom. The opposite can turn really ugly.

crazy-powerpoint_afghanistan_stability

In 2010, when General McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown the above slide, he dryly remarked “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”

Is our universe really a giant computer simulation?

I thought this quite pertinent for a discussion on this blog; copied from Slashdot:

Mathematician Edward Frenkel writes in the NYT that one fanciful possibility that explains why mathematics seems to permeate our universe is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world.

According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. This may strike you as very unlikely writes Frenkel but physicists have been creating their own computer simulations of the forces of nature for years — on a tiny scale, the size of an atomic nucleus. They use a three-dimensional grid to model a little chunk of the universe; then they run the program to see what happens.

“Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not,” writes Frenkel. “If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them — presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones.

Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one.” The question now becomes is there any way to empirically test this hypothesis and the answer surprisingly is yes. In a recent paper, “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation,” the physicists Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage outline a possible method for detecting that our world is actually a computer simulation (PDF).

Savage and his colleagues assume that any future simulators would use some of the same techniques current scientists use to run simulations, with the same constraints. The future simulators, Savage indicated, would map their universe on a mathematical lattice or grid, consisting of points and lines. But computer simulations generate slight but distinctive anomalies — certain kinds of asymmetries and they suggest that a closer look at cosmic rays may reveal similar asymmetries. If so, this would indicate that we might — just might — ourselves be in someone else”s computer simulation.

Time and the incomplete universe

It seems the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was ahead of Kurt Gödel by a few centuries with his hunch:

There is no law governing all things.

Statue of Giordano Bruno, Campo de’ Fiori, Rome

He also made an interesting statement regarding time:

Time is the father of truth, its mother is our mind.

Which brings me to a notion that I share with the Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov:

I confess, I do not believe in time.