I love staring at the stars and moon. I can get lost in a sweet mix of aesthetic appreciation, sublime wonder at the intricacies of nature, and a strange sense of communion with a vast universe. My joy doesn’t stop at looking at a beautiful night sky. It extends into trying to understand the formation of it all; the nature of evolution, the fate of the universe, and the meaning of existence. One of the more interesting ideas to come out of theoretical physics and astronomy is that of the holographic universe. When I first read about the idea that our reality is a kind of “pop up book” springing from a 2 dimensional plane that is encoded with information I was fascinated by the mechanics of it. It appeals to me on an existential psychological level also…to a sense that everything we see and experience is a bit tenuous..ephemeral. If it is true that our universe is holographic, how would that change our concept of reality, ourselves and the physical world? Would it be the newest shake up to our long line of egocentric hidebound models?
One of the problems with string theory (not that I understand it all…because hardly anyone does!) is that it seems to exist in a realm of pure abstraction and math. Without any kind of empirical way to test it, it becomes a kind of Freudian approach of the physics world; intriguing and full of potential insights but without verifiable or falsifiable experimentation. Now there is a new study that shows some evidence backing up the holographic theory of the universe. Computer simulations have been done that seem to indicate this model has validity. It has a real appeal in that it seems to resolve some of the discrepancies between quantum theory and Einsteins’ theory of general relativity. Incidentally any part of a hologram contains the information of all of it..not unlike how each part of us (our cells) contains the information for all in the form of dna. Interesting how nature has a fractal quality. I may go look at some Jackson Pollock paintings now.
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
― William Blake Auguries of Innocence
For more on Pollock and fratals: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3124832/
- The universe might be a hologram (news.techeye.net)
- Physicists discover ‘clearest evidence yet’ that the Universe is a hologram (independent.co.uk)