Theorist suffering from a tendency to philosophize sooner or later encouters the strange self-referential question "Does my theory about Universe represent also itself as an aspect of the Universe?". For a dualist theory and reality are of course two different things. But are they? Could one make sense of the statement that theory is the reality, which it describes? Or more or less equivalently: epistemology is self-dual to ontology. This would be very nice, theory would not be something outside the reality. This must also relate closely to the question about observer in physics: in the recent quantum measurement theory observer is outsider affecting reality by quantum measuring it but is not described by the quantum theory.
TGD inspired theory of consciousness generalizes quantum measurement theory to a theory of consciousness and brings physicist part of the physical system. Indeed, the new view about state function reduction inspired by Zero Energy Ontology allows to identify "self" as a quantum physical entity and makes several testable killer predictions. In ZEO zero energy states are pairs of positive and negative energy states at the opposite light-like boundaries of CD. Self is identified as as a sequence of state function reductions at given boundary of CD - the members of state pairs at this passive boundary are not changed and the passive boundary itself remains unaffected: obviously this corresponds to Zeno effect.
What is new that the members of state pairs at opposite - active - boundary are changed and the active boundary receides from the passive boundary reduction by reduction so that the size of CD increases. This gives rise to the experienced arrow of geometric time identified as the proper time distance between the tips of CD. The first reduction to the opposite boundary is forced by Negentropy Maximization Principle to eventually occur, and means "death" of self and re-incarnation at the opposite boundary. Time reversal of the original self is generated and geometric time begins to flow in opposite direction.
This suggests that one could indeed see also theory as something not outside the physical world understood in sufficiently general sense.
What do I mean with theory? Can I imbed it to my tri-partistic ontology with three forms of existence: space-time surfaces as counterparts of classical states; quantum states as mathematical objects in ZEO ; quantum jumps as of building bricks of conscious existence giving rise to moments of consciousness and integrating to selves. This trinity is analogous to shape-matter-mind trinity. Let us call this holy trinity just A-B-C to reduce the amount of typing.
I want the equation Theory= Reality. There would be no separate reality behind theory. What would I mean with this statement?
The first attempt to give content to this equation is as equation Theory= quantum state as a mathematical object. Theory would be something restricted to the compartment B in A-B-C. Quantum state as quantum superposition of space-time surfaces ( implied by by holography implied General Coordinate Invariance) would be theory about reality, but there would be no distinct "physical reality" behind it. As far as conscious experiences are considered, this is enough since conscious experience is in the quantum jump between these mathematical objects.
One can however develop objections.
- Quantum state in ZEO is counterpart of only one possible quantal time evolution. The theory is therefore very restricted and not enough in quantum Universe in which quantum jumps re-create this reality again and again. A real theory must be able to describe counterparts of all possible time evolutions: the collection of these evolutions should define kind of unified theory. The space of WCW spinor field would be the next trial for a theory and quantum jumps between different evolutions - points of WCW by holography - make it possible to gather conscious information about this landscape.
- Theories involve also self-referentiality: statements about statements. Boolean algebra of set defining exponent set is the basic example and corresponds to binary valued from the set. Second quantization is what gives rise to a mathematical structure analogous to statements about statements. Many-fermion Fock states have the structure of quantum Boolean algebra.
But this is not enough. Theorists make also statements about statements. In particular, very strong statetements about theories of other theorists. This can generate entire hierarchy of highly emotional statements about statements about... known as scientific debate. This suggests that one should allow iterated second quantization emerging from the notion of infinite primes obtained by a repeated second quantization of arithmetic quantum field theory with supersymmetry by starting from boson and fermion states labeled by finite primes.
In a given quantization one obtains the analogs of both Fock states and even bound states purely number theoretically, and one can repeat this procedure again and again. This hierarchical process corresponds at the level of Boolean algebra formation of statements about statements about... It can be seen also as a hierarchy of logics with order labeled by non-negative integer n. Theories about theories about.... This hierarchy would have many-sheeted space-time as a space-time correlate with the hierarchy of quantizations assigned with the hierarchy of sheets.
- But can "theory" really reside only inside compartment B? Theory should contain also the mental images of theoreticians and documentations about these. The documentations are represented in term of classical space-time as a huge generalization of written language - this forces to include compartment A. Also subselves defining mental images of theoreticians and thus entire self hierarchy must be there: therefore also compartment C is needed.
Our equation would become Epistemelogy= Ontology in 3-partistic sense. Theory about what can be known would be equivalent to the theory about what can exist. This duality is self-duality rather than duality: the latter identification bothered me originally since the nex step would be to construct theory for theory and reader can guess the rest. Notice that this identification is not the physicalist's view saying that consciousness is an epiphenomenon since the ontology is monistic.
- Theories are never complete: they have all kinds of failures. How can reality=theory be incomplete? How can it have failures?
This is possible: the incompleteness is in conscious experience about theory, not theory. For some reason theorists have a strong tendency to erratically call it the theory. In tripartistic view about theory, incompleteness of the theory would be located at sector C. Conscious experience contains limited amount of information due to the presence of finite measurement resolution and cognitive resolution.
Finite resolution is necessary in order to avoid drowning into a sea of irrelevant information. Finite resolution leads to an ordering of bits (more generally pinary digits) by 2-adic (p-adic) norm. The realization of the finite measurement resolution is in terms of quantum criticality involving hierarchy of Planck constants and hierarchy of inclusions of hyper-finite factors to which one can assign a hierarchy of dynamical symmetry groups represented physically. Therefore finite measurement resolution is actually something very useful - many beautiful things follow just by being sloppy (but only with the non-significant bits!).
What Ontology=Epistemology implies that quantum states themselves provide a representation for the finite measurement resolution. It is not something characterizing only the measurement but also the target of measurement. This is very radical change of view point. This is realized quite concretely in the representation of quantum states in terms of partonic two-surfaces and strings connecting them. The large the number of partonic 2-surfaces and the number of strings connecting them, the better the measurement resolution.
- There is also an objection relating to self-referentiality. Quantum states provide a representation/theory about itself, are their own mirror images. Doesn't this lead to a kind of self-referential loop and infinite regression? If self is conscious about being conscious about something, one ends up to a similar infinite regression.
The resolution of the problem is that one self becomes conscious about contents consciousness for previous moment of consciousness. The infinite regress is replaced with endless evolution. Zero energy states become more and more complex as the information about previous moments of consciousness is represented quantum mechanically and classically. By NMP the universe is generating negentropic entanglement giving rise to kind of Akashic records and negentropy resources are increasing. Biological evolution and evolution of sciences are not just random thermodynamical fluctuations but coded to the basic laws of quantum physics and consciousness.
For a summary of earlier postings see Links to the latest progress in TGD.