The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Holographic Principle

Inspired by the fact that the entropy of a black hole is proportional to its surface and believing that the Planck length is one side of an area that can hold only one bit of information, Gerard't Hooft (“Cosmology in 2+1 dimensions”, 1993) generalized those ideas and proposed that the informational content of a region of space can always be equivalently expressed by a theory that lives on the boundary of that region (the so called “holographic principle”). Everything that  happens in a three-dimensional space is encoded in a two-dimensional surface.

In particular, the horizon of a black hole (a two dimensional surface) stores all the information that ever fell into the hole (the solution to Hawking’s paradox of information evaporation).

The Argentine physicist Juan Maldacena (“The Large N Limit of Superconformal Field Theories and Supergravity”, 1997) realized that one could represent a universe described by superstring theory functioning in an anti-DeSitter spacetime (a negatively curved spacetime) with a quantum field theory operating on the boundary of that spacetime. And viceversa.

In other words, one could imagine a two-dimensional universe with no gravity that exists on the boundary of a three-dimensional universe with gravity. The three-dimensional interior of the universe contains strings and black holes and is governed only by gravity, whereas its two-dimensional boundary contains elementary particles and fields and is governed by quantum laws. Quantum Physics does not exist inside, gravity does not exist outside. The two universes are equivalent. The three-dimensional universe which we perceive might indeed be encoded on a two-dimensional surface, like a hologram. This makes spacetime less “fundamental” than assumed if it can be reduced to something simpler.


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