Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Universe is a Holographic Gem

Some physicists think the universe is a hologram. Some neuro scientists think the brain operates by generating holograms. This would make the mind a hologram built within a hologram, which is perfectly acceptable from a technical point of view. Holograms seem like complex things but the basic idea is very simple - they are high dimensional spaces that can be used to describe or compute things (this is usually portrayed in movies or on tv by showing 3d visual holographic imagery but holograms can be used for any information). In addition to the possibility that holograms underlie all  physical and mental phenomena, they can also be used as a way of thinking about ones own place in the universe and how suffering works. Think of the universe as a high dimensional gem (or a hypersphere if you like math). You are a vector in that gem, that is you are a straight line from the surface to the centre of the gem. Metaphorically, this could correspond to looking into the gem from a particular point on its surface. Since everyone is a different vector, everyone will see things aligned differently when they peer into the gem because they look from different angles. This image can be used to understand suffering in ourselves and in others. Specifically, a lot of saints and bodhisattvas got a lot of happiness helping the poor (e.g., consider Saint Francis and the Lepers). For them, the suffering of others was an opportunity, a gift from God or a Karmic reward. But when put in this way it sounds like they exploited the suffering of others, or that God or Karma created suffering in one person to benefit another person. However, if we use the gem metaphor then we can see that the same situation will be different for each actor. As actors we can be aware of this and understand that for someone else the situation involves suffering but if we help them it can also be a blessing or merit for ourselves. It’s really a win/win situation. We help another and also benefit from this. This is also a way of seeing how we are all separate and different but all equally important and valid. We are all the gem, just from different angles. Anyway, I hope this gem metaphor works for people who are unfamiliar with the idea of high dimensional spaces. I know the holographic stuff sounds a bit crazy but it's really serious science.

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