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August 4, 2010

God, Science & The Secret Doctrine

IV - 7.  The Universe as a Hologram

In August of 2003, Scientific American published an issue posing the question “ARE YOU A HOLOGRAM? (Quantum physics says the entire universe might be).”   In a fascinating article, Information in the Holographic Universe, Dr. Jacob D. Bekenstein discusses some of the unusual features of modern information and holographic theory and the physics of black holes.  The holographic principle is being proposed as the possible Holy Grail of physics—providing an approach to quantum gravity theory which reconciles quantum field theory and quantum loop theory, as well as string theory and M-theory. (Smolin, 2001) 

7a. Information as Third Force

   “Ask anybody what the physical world is made of, and you are likely to be told “matter and energy.”  Yet if we have learned anything from engineering, biology and physics, information is just as crucial an ingredient.  ... a century of developments in physics has taught us that information is a crucial player in physical systems and processes.  Indeed, a current trend, initiated by John A. Wheeler of Princeton University, is to regard the physical world as made of information, with energy and matter as incidentals.  (Bekenstein, 2003, p. 59)

 Professor Bekenstein regards “information” as a third force underlying the manifestations of matter and energy within time and space.  This is similar to Bohm’s ‘pilot waves’ and the ‘quantum potential’ permeating space, as information fields of the implicate orders that inform transformations of matter and energy.

In another Scientific American article, Black Hole Computers, Lloyd and Ng similarly emphasize the importance of ‘information’ as the third force in the new physics, noting:

 to a physicist, all physical systems are computers. Rocks, atomic bombs and galaxies may not run Linux, but they, too, register and process information. Every electron, photon and other elementary particle stores bits of data, and every time two such particles interact, those bits are transformed.  Physical existence and information content are inextricably linked. As physicist John Wheeler of Princeton University says, It from bit.”  (November 2004)

The statement “it from bit,” suggests that ‘it,’ meaning a material and energetic system, comes from ‘bit,’ meaning bits of information.  In modern physics, information is now regarded as a primary element in nature.  From this perspective, everything is a computer, as everything processes bits of information—whether an electron, a black hole, a cell or a human heart.  Thus, a trinity of intelligence, energy and matter is basic to the new science—as it is to mystical orientations and The Secret Doctrine.   According to Lloyd and Ng, the universe itself is a giant computer and not only that, but a quantum computer.  They quote physicist Zizzi, “It from qubit,” –or quantum bit, as a variation on Wheeler’s “It from bit.”


7b.  A Tale of Entropies and Black Holes


In “Information in the Holographic Universe,” Dr. Bekenstein explains aspects of information theory as apply to black holes and the emerging holographic theory.  He suggests that: “Theoretical results about black holes suggest that the universe could be like a gigantic hologram.”

In his analysis, Dr. Bekenstein explains that the law of entropy traditionally applied to material and thermal processes can also be applied to information processes.  In 1877, physicist Ludwig Boltzmann defined thermodynamic entropy as the number of distinct microscopic states that particles in a body of matter could be in:  For example, consider all the possible arrangements of the gas molecules in the room around you and their possible positions and momentum.  It was in 1948, that Claude Shannon defined entropy in terms of information theory.  The Shannon entropy is the number of binary bits needed to decode the information content within a message. The two measures and concepts of entropy are “conceptually equivalent” (under higher degrees of freedom), although they are expressed in different units—either ‘units of energy divided by temperature’ for thermal entropy, or as ‘bits’ which are “essentially dimensionless” for information entropy.  The conservation of information is also demanded within quantum mechanics.

  According to the Generalized Second Law of Thermodynamics, the loss or gain of entropy in a material/energetic system must be compensated for by changes in the entropy of information—as one balances the other in order to maintain an overall GSL   Bekenstein explains a consequence of this principle as it applied to the physics of black holes:


… when matter falls into a black hole, the increase in black hole entropy always compensates or overcompensates for the “lost” entropy of the matter. More generally, the sum of black hole entropies and the ordinary entropy outside the black holes cannot decrease.  This is the generalized second law—GSL for short. (p. 62)

This implies that when the matter and energy of a quantum system are absorbed into a black hole, huge amounts of information should spew out or be made available within the deep substrates of space. Scientific America (November 2004) featured an article on Black Hole Computers, and states:  “Stephen Hawking was Wrong.  Matter goes in.  Answers come out.”  The loss of entropy which occurs as matter and energy are absorbed into a black hole is compensated for by an increase of the entropy of the information—thus, answers come out—like the 0 and 1 sequences illustrated here as emerging from a mini black hole processor.

In an article on Black Hole Computers, Lloyd and Ng (November, 2004) explain that in the 1970s, Hawking proposed that when matter fell into a black hole, the radiation produced was simply random.  However, the newer view now endorsed by Hawking is that the outgoing radiation is not simply random but “a processed form of the matter that falls in.”  The authors thus declare: “Black holes, too compute.” (p. 54) Furthermore, the authors note: “… a black hole is nothing more or less than a computer compressed to its smallest possible size.”  Thus, when matter falls into a black hole past the event horizon, it cannot leave but the “information content can.”

The total storage capacity of a black hole is proportional to its surface area.  Susskind (2008) states the principle: The entropy of a black hole, measured in bits, is proportional to the area of its horizon, measured in Planck units. (p. 155) The illustration thus depicts the black hole as having its surface or horizon divided into bits, triangular sections containing 0’s or 1’s.  This is counter-intuitive, as one might have expected that the information content of the black hole would be related to its interior volume.  However, this is not so and instead the information is encoded on the surface of the black hole—on a two dimensional surface instead of in the 3 dimensional interior volume.

Paradoxically, this physics of black holes suggests that as a physical system of matter and energy collapses down to the level of Planck units at 10-33 cm and beyond, the amount of information potentially contained within a volume of space becomes huge—if there are indeed such mini-black hole dynamics.   Bekenstein considers the amount of information contained within 'a Planck area' which is the square of two Planck lengths of 10-33 cm—or 10-66 cm2.  At Planck’s level, at zero point levels in the quantum vacuum or aether, the information content and capacity is potentially huge.  Bekenstein states: "The entropy of a black hole one centimetre in diameter would be about 1066 bits, roughly equal to the thermodynamic entropy of a cube of water 10 billion kilometres on a side."  (pp. 62-3)


            Dr. Bekenstein argues that there seems "to be no limits to how densely information can be packed-and that our universe might be like a giant hologram."  In Bekenstein's model, the more we penetrate into the heart of being, vast amounts of information might be contained within the seeming emptiness and there might be such complex inner worlds and black hole dynamics.  Black holes have both mass and rotational or spin properties, are capable of being electrically charged, and they could function as the ultimate mini-computers, processing immense amount of information at Planckian levels. Everything computes in the new science of information theory, including black holes.

Diverse new views of black holes suggest also that they are not such simple structures as once conceived.  In string theory, they are regarded as:


… composite bodies made of multidimensional structures called branes, which arise in string theory.  Information falling into the black hole is stored in waves in the branes and can eventually leak out.    Mathur … and his collaborators modelled a black hole as “a giant tangle of strings.” This “fuzzyball” acts as a repository of the information carried by things that fall into the black hole.  It emits radiation that reflects this information.

            Lloyd and Ng report the work of Horowitz suggesting that this information has another “escape hatch” out of a black hole—that of ‘entanglement,’ whereby the properties of two systems inside and outside of the black hole remain correlated across spacetime: 

 Entanglement enables teleportation, in which information is transferred from one particle to another with such fidelity that the particle has effectively been beamed from one location to another at up to the speed of light. …  The annihilation of the infalling photon acts as a measurement, transferring the information contained in the matter to the outgoing Hawking radiation. (p. 57)


Scientists are arriving at complex views of reality at zero point levels, looking at the information processor capacities of black holes and other structures at Planck’s levels.

            Lee Smolin, in Three Roads to Quantum Gravity. (2001) describes the world according to the holographic model emerging in physics:

 The world must be a network of holograms, each of which contains coded within it information about the relationships between the others.  In short, the holographic principle is the ultimate realization of the notion that the world is a network of relationships.  Those relationships are revealed by this new principle to involve nothing but information.  Any element in this network is nothing but a partial realization of the relationships between the other elements.  In the end, perhaps, the history of a universe is nothing but the flow of information.  (Smolin, 2001, p. 178)

 Smolin describes the atomic or quantized structure to space in terms of spin networks, information and relationships.  Certainly, this is a profoundly alternative model of deep reality at zero point levels!  It is almost as if an Omniscience might thrill throughout every finite point of the universe, if everything were parts of such larger holograms based on holes dug in higher dimensional space!  Modern theoretical holographic physics certainly considers the most usual of ideas—quite relevant to Blavatsky’s descriptions of seven invisible “holes dug in space,” as the means by which higher dimensional intelligences inform material processes through the energetic activities of Fohat running circular motions.  The zero point laya centres within the Stanzas of Dzyan might similarly follow such dynamics, spewing out information and radiation, and having mass, spin, magnetic and electric properties. 

            Dr. Bekenstein comments on the direction of modern physics towards finding deeper and deeper levels of structure at zero point levels:


Many physicists today consider electrons and quarks to be excitations of superstrings, which they hypothesize to be the most fundamental entities.  But the vicissitudes of a century of revelations in physics warn us not to be dogmatic.  There could be more levels of structure in our universe than are dreamt of in today's physics.  ... the deepest level of structure I shall refer to as level X. ... (p.60)    

Black Holes &
Alternate Space Dimensions

This image is based upon that used within Scientific American to depict the most unusual ideas of the holographic model in physics.  The interior of this sphere represents a “5 dimensional anti-de Sitter spacetime” and the circumference of the sphere, the shell, represents the “four dimensional flat spacetime (hologram).” Bekenstein explains that if the physics of the universe is holographic, then different sets of physical laws that apply in the de-Sitter spacetime (the shell surrounding the black hole) and the anti-de Sitter spacetime (within the sphere) are rendered equivalent.  Thus, the “conformal field theory of point particles” applies on the two dimensional surface of the sphere (the holographic boundary or shell) and it is rendered equivalent to a physics of superstrings elements and black holes within the “5 dimensional anti-de Sitter spacetime” (within the interior of the sphere).  Thus, what manifests in the physical realm is rendered equivalent to metaphysical processes in an alternative higher Space dimension (in this case the interior 5 dimensional anti-de Sitter spacetime).  

            The activities of a black hole in the interior of the anti-de Sitter space is rendered equivalent to swarms of particles on the boundary surface of the spacetime sphere.  This was illustrated by Scientific American in 2005.  The black hole at the centre is equivalent to a swarm as interacting particles on the boundary surface of spacetime.

Thus, quantum field theories and ideas about point particles might apply on the outer shell, but inside, superstrings and black hole physics apply.  The holographic principle renders these two theories equivalent.  The outer shell or surface of the sphere is compared to a two dimensional holographic plate which records or embodies processes occurring within the interior space.  Bekenstein writes:


Creatures living in one of these universes would be incapable of determining if they inhabited a 5-D universe described by string theory or a 4-D one described by a quantum field theory of point particles.


Bekenstein suggests that in this case, the three dimensional physical world is projected from a flat boundary or screen, the shell of the sphere, just like a holographic image is projected out into space from a flat two dimensional holographic plate.  He notes:

  “… our universe, which we perceive to have three spatial dimensions, might instead be “written” on a two-dimensional surface, like a hologram. Our everyday perception of the world as three-dimensional would then be either a profound illusion or merely one of two alternative ways of viewing reality.” (2003, p.60)

 In this image, clouds of quarks and gluons on the boundary surface describe related complex objects such as an apple in the interior.  The object in the interior experiences gravity even though such a gravitational attraction does not exist on the surface of the sphere.  It turns out that the mathematics of particle physics are almost the same as the mathematics of string theory.  What is so startling about this, is the fact that these phenomena are on such divergent orders of scale.  The protons and neutrons can be 1020 times larger than the fundamental strings and they vibrate 1020 times more slowly.

           Scientist L. Susskind similarly concludes:


the three-dimensional world of ordinary experience—the universe filled with galaxies, stars, planets, houses, boulders, and people—is a hologram, an image of reality coded on a distant two-dimensional surface.  This new law of physics, known as the Holographic Principle, asserts that everything inside a region of space can be described by bits of information restricted to the boundary.  … everything inside this giant shell is an image of microscopic bits spread over the shell.  … everything taking place in the interior of the region is a holographic image of the pixelated boundary.  … the world … is pixelated, and all information is stored on the boundary of space.  (pp. 298-299)


Susskind notes that of this most peculiar holographic principle: “Getting our collective head around the Holographic Principle is probably the biggest challenge that we physicists have had since the discovery of Quantum Mechanics.”  (p. 305)

On the surface of the sphere, quantum theories and point particle analysis applies, but these reflect an even deeper metaphysics of membranes and strings, matrices and spin networks in higher dimensional space.  Finally, at the centre of the holographic system is a black hole information processor in this alternate space dimension. This is analogous to how Blavatsky depicts material/energetic processes as based upon zero point foundations—‘holes dug in Space’—established within an underlying seven skinned Eternal Parent Space.  

Of course, Bekenstein and Susskind do not consider that such a model might be applicable to human beings—as their focus is on the black holes, information theory and the holographic principle within physics.  It is not immediately evident how one might jump from the levels of Planckian units and elementary quanta in physics to the dimensions of human existence.  However, the mystical idea—that the microcosm embodies the nature of the macrocosm—suggests the rationale for applying these concepts to the inner cosmos of consciousness.  These concepts are all particularly significant in light of Blavatsky’s description of seven such ‘holes dug in space’ as the means by which the Gods and other invisible powers ‘clothe themselves in bodies.’


7d.  The Illusion of Gravity

            A holographic view of physics offers an alternative perspective on the nature of ‘gravity.’ In a Scientific American article on The Illusion of Gravity, J. Maldacena (November, 2005) explains:

 … the theories predict that the number of dimensions in reality could be a matter of perspective: physicists could choose to describe reality as obeying one set of laws (including gravity) in three dimensions or, equivalently, as obeying a different set of laws that operates in two dimensions (in the absence of gravity).      A hologram is a two-dimensional object, but when viewed under the correct lighting conditions it produces a fully three-dimensional image.

 Gravity … would be part of the illusion: a force that is not present in the two-dimensional world but that materializes along with the emergence of the illusory third dimension.  (p. 57)

Maldacena describes a quantum theory of gravity as the “holy grail for a certain breed of physicist” and explains that string theorists have developed such a “complete, logically consistent, quantum description of gravity in what are called negatively curved spacetimes—the first such description ever developed.  For these spacetimes, holographic theories appear to be true.” (p.59) 

The anti-de Sitter space is the simplest of such negatively curved spaces.  They are neither expanding nor contracting, but look the same at all times.  Maldacena explains the equivalency of the physics of these alternative dimensions in the interior of the sphere to those upon its boundary:


… the boundary of four-dimensional anti-de Sitter space at any moment in time is a sphere.  This boundary is where the hologram of the holographic theory lies.  Simply stated, the idea is as follows: a quantum gravity theory in the interior of an anti-de Sitter spacetime is completely equivalent to an ordinary quantum particle theory living on the boundary.  If true, this equivalence means that we can use a quantum particle theory (which is relatively well understood) to define a quantum gravity theory (which is not).  (2005, p. 61)


Thus, gravity, which can be accommodated within string/M-theory in the interior of the sphere, can be unified with the particle theories which apply on the holographic boundary on the circumference of the sphere.

In reference to the ‘illusion of gravity,’ Maldacena explains:
… gravity in four dimensions is an emergent phenomena arising from particle interactions in a gravityless, three dimensional world.  … physicists have known since 1974 that string theory always gives rise to quantum gravity.  The strings formed by gluons are no exception, but the gravity operates in the higher-dimensional space.  (p. 62)

According to this formulation, “gravity operates in the higher-dimensional space.”  This is in accord with H. P. Blavatsky who argued that the underlying causes of gravity lay within the higher seven dimensional Eternal Parent Space and within the ethers of the Solar system—the electromagnetic ocean of life.  The views of holographic physics and higher space dimensions illustrate the types of dynamics suggested by Blavatsky.  Gravity is not simply due to non-sentient physical mass but has an underlying metaphysical nature, as all things adhere within the Aether of Spaces through zero point dynamics. 

In physics, the holographic principle is a primary contender for the ultimate theory of everything—incorporating gravity with quantum theory.  Gravity is incorporated within the alternate spacetime within superstring/M-theory (and black holes physics), while quantum theory (involving the triune electro-weak and strong forces) applies on the flat holographic boundary.  Although there are many unresolved issues and problems to be faced in understanding this paradigm, it is a rich alternative model of how lower dimensional physics are an outward form or manifestation of a higher dimensional physics in an alternative Space dimension.  This is the basic premise of The Secret Doctrine with its zero point ‘holes dug in space’ as being the foundations for the laws of nature.

 The conjunction of an anti-de Sitter spacetime to accommodate string theory and black holes and produce the phenomena of gravity, and the de Sitter spacetime to accommodate the three other quantum forces of nature—produces a profound new model of higher dimensional physics.  The fool existing within the spacetime bubble in this illustration exists within a four dimensional spacetime while the surrounding surface of the sphere is three dimensional.

It certainly seems that it is a strange universe we live in, wherein such vast amounts of information might be available at sub-atomic or zero point levels, which might surround a mini-black hole, or spinning ‘holes dug in space.’  Further, there exists an alternative higher dimensional Space, whether or a 5-dimensional anti-de Sitter space—or some other formulation, such as a 7 dimensional Eternal Parent Space.  This is exactly what Blavatsky was attempting to articulate, that the laws of physics evident within the material world, were really the end products of a higher dimensional physics in an underlying hyperspace and this includes gravity. 

The holographic paradigm thus combines string theory and M-theory in higher dimensions which can incorporate gravity with quantum theory depicting particle interactions.   Of course, there are many enigmas and uncertainties about these issues but scientists are certainly arriving at complex worlds underlying familiar reality.  The authors of these articles do not really elaborate upon the implications and applications of their theories as they might apply to understanding our familiar reality—but illustrations using human examples are often used to depict the themes.

The physics within the interior of this realm of the anti-de Sitter space has other ‘strange properties’ according to Maldacena.

Physics in anti-de Sitter space has some strange properties.  If you were freely floating anywhere in anti-de Sitter space, you would feel as though you were at the bottom of a gravitational well.  Any object that you threw out would come back like a boomerang.  Surprisingly, the time required for an object to come back would be independent of how hard you threw it.  The difference would just be that the harder you threw it, the farther away it would get on its round-trip back to you.  If you sent a flash of light, which consists of photons moving at the maximum possible speed (the speed of light), it would actually reach infinity and come back to you, all in a finite amount of time.  This can happen because an object experiences a kind of time contraction of ever greater magnitude as it gets farther from you. (Scientific American, Nov. 2005, pp. 60-61)

 Within the anti-de Sitter space, the person is at the centre of a gravitational well and anything thrown out eventually returns to the source within a finite period of time. The negative space-time curvature in the anti-de Sitter space creates a gravitational field that pulls objects to the center, whether or not there is anything there.  If a mass is displaced towards the boundary, it is then pulled back. 

            Certainly, if the outward physics on the holographic boundary reflects that of the hidden inner metaphysics, then we would predict that any effects produced in the physical world would similarly return to their source, just as must occur within the interior space.  As above, so below:  This might indeed lead us to hypothesize that the universe similarly will follow this boomerang principle and return to its source or gravitational well.  This same logic might actually support another fundamental teaching of The Secret Doctrine, that of the law of Karma.  Karma is just such an inevitable cosmic law, whereby the results of actions and inactions come back upon us.  It is only a matter of time. 

All of these concepts from modern holographic theory are helpful in trying to understand Blavatsky’s archaic teachings about invisible zero point centres, circumgyrating holes dug in an Eternal Parent Space, information emerging from zero point levels and the principle of Karma as an intrinsic cosmic law, a metaphysical principle of higher dimensions.

Thank you Zeljka Zupanic, from Croatia for original graphics.

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