The Universe Computes Its Own Survival
by James Jaeger

The terminal speed of light is one of the things that makes me extremely suspicious that we are in an ancestor simulation, or in a universe that's seeking to compute its own survival -- just like any other living organism.

You could look at it this way: in the "reality" known as a "computer screen" there is no actual motion -- nothing actually MOVES across your screen. Your cursor only appears to "move" because pixels turn on and off and create a PATTERN that we perceive as "motion." So why not apply this same principle to the physical universe and what we call empirical reality?

When we experience something that we say is "in motion" but that motion has a terminal "velocity" (i.e., the speed of light or a change in position in space of 186,000 miles per second), all we are really saying is that the "pixels" that make up "physical reality" (i.e., sub-atomic particles, the quantum foam or possibly strings) can't "turn on and off" more quickly than X times per Y second to create an illusion of motion "faster" than 186,000 miles per second. Thus aren't we really talking about the processing speed of the physical universe or MIPs? If so, there seems to be a processing speed-limit to the universe, NOT so much a VELOCITY speed-limit. This limit, then, may be evidence of computation -- at least for this particular universe. Perhaps there IS a multitude of universes and the clock speed is what fundamentally defines each.

So if the universe IS a computational device or organism, WHAT is it computing? It would seem to me it is computing products, the most fundamental product being space itself. After all, given the observation of red-shift, it seems that we can infer that the universe is creating space, its "product." The universe is producing, or computing, space.

If this is so it would seem to me that SPACE is more fundamental than matter, energy or time because, for one, matter nor energy can be created or destroyed, so far as we observe. Maybe, if we can figure out WHAT space is -- without resorting to the circular logic of having to define it in terms of matter, energy and/or time -- we could then get a better handle on exactly WHAT we mean by matter, energy and time and, more importantly, WHY we have the exact constants we find in nature.

If the universe IS computing space -- and this is its primary product (or service) -- it would seem that such things like matter, energy, MOTION and TIME were simply EMERGENT properties OF space, or OF each other.

It's a no brainer that time does NOT really exist; that time is merely an emergent property of matter in motion, but what does THAT mean -- matter in MOTION? I am willing to bet that motion is also an emergent property like time and if we can figure out what motion is, we can figure out what we mean by "time." I am also willing to bet that we will find out that time and motion are one in the same thing or flip sides to the same coin, as are matter and energy.

So let's forget about both of them for now and seek to answer the questions of WHAT is SPACE and whether space gives birth to matter/energy and/or motion/time.

If the universe is computing/producing space, WHY is it doing that? Or HOW is it able to do that? What motivates it to do that? It would seem to me for the universe to create/produce/compute space it would take a lot of energy. If so, where is it getting this energy? If matter and energy are interchangeable, maybe it's getting it from the matter that gravity has crushed down into black holes. So this matter pops out in white holes as energy that fuels the expansion, the computation, of space. If true, where does the matter come from in the first place and why does there seem to be at least two categories of matter: baryonic and dark? Is there a continuum between baryonic matter and dark matter and even into dark energy and space? What is the exact continuum between SPACE and MATTER?

Perhaps space is what causes gravity. If so this might explain how space ultimately fuels its own production. Does matter displace space? If it does, then the only "place" where there is "no" space is in the interior of matter. It might follow that the only place where there is also "no" space is in the interior of energy? It's easier to see what we mean by the "interior" of matter, but what do we mean by the "interior" of energy? The "interior" of energy may be the "source" of energy, such source being the Big Bang. But does that really tell us anything? Where did the Big Bang come from and WHY?

But getting back to the idea that space is what may cause gravity, how could it do this? Universal gravity may be the "natural reaction" to the universal "expansion of space." By expanding space universally, the universe may be creating a universal "pressure" on all the places where there is not space, i.e., in the interior of matter or at the source of energy. Thus all the matter in the universe seeks to squeeze together, the emergent property being gravity, or universal attraction. In actuality all the matter is attempting to do is "move" away from the endlessly created space by the computation of the universe. The only place it can thus "move" is toward itself, towards its interior.

And this may give us a hint as to WHY we have "motion" is. Motion may simply be an emergent property of gravity, this universal attraction. Gravity, the tendency of matter to escape from space, provides an infinite array, an infinite motivation and infinite potential paths for matter to fulfill its tendency to return to a static equilibrium. This might explain WHY things everywhere seem to MOVE relative to the static of gravity. After all, what makes humans different from rocks? We move. Or at least we MOVE more quickly. Thus, it would seem that LIFE itself was simply an emergent property of MOTION. After all, ALL biology, and intelligence for that matter, is involved with motion and motion alone. To DO is to live. To live is to DO. To DO is to MOVE. You can't DO unless your are A LIVE, a life. You can't live unless you do, if only at the bio-chemical level. Thus all life is concerned with motion. You crack the WHY of motion and you may crack the WHY of life. Who cares WHAT life is, or WHERE life is or isn't I want to know WHY life is. The answer to this should also give us the PURPOSE for life, your life.

So getting back to the ostensible product of the universe -- its creation of SPACE -- it would seem that the act of creating space sets in motion a string of sub-creations and emergent properties that eventually may lead to an explanation of WHY Life exists.

But WHY is motion in the physical universe limited by the 186,000 mile per second rule? Could it be because LIFE itself is limited, or could it be TO limit life in the physical universe? WHY would a universe have a "speed" limit? Isn't that suspicious? And why would the universe SEEM so large? Is it large? Same order of suspicion. All of this points to the strong possibility that we may in fact be in some sort of a universal computing machine and that this machine, a.k.a., the physical universe, has a clock speed of the speed of light.

WHY can't we "move" matter from one point in space to another point in space more quickly than at a certain RATE? Again, a computer analogy comes in perfectly. A certain RATE indicates bus speed or processing speed. The universe can't move matter around any faster than the speed of light because it may take more energy than the universe can spare or create. And maybe what it can spare or create is related to the amount of space it creates, or computes, in a given cubic mega-parsec of space in a given unit of time. What happens when it tries to exceed this limit? Well what we see happening "down here" on Earth is the extra energy we place into a chunk of matter to move it more quickly, instead of manifesting increased velocity, simply manifests increased mass. This increased mass exerts increased inertia, thus absorbing the increased energy and maintaining the terminal velocity. But the question is: WHY do we observe -- at least in the microcosm (all observations from Earth are microcosmic compared to the universe, given you acknowledge the universe is "large in size.") -- excess MOTION convert into excess MATTER?

What IS matter anyway? What's it's purpose. WHY does it exist? Perhaps MATTER is the universe's method of storing DATA or information. When the universe wants to "remember" something, it converts part of its energy into "matter." The fact that matter is more discrete than energy or space, it can be used MARK events. In other words, if I place a bunch of atoms into a PATTERN, I can use that pattern to "remember" some event. Memory is thus just a pattern of positioned atoms which symbolize events. Thus, the patterns we see all over -- people, rocks, planets, galaxies -- are nothing but computational memories of the physical universe's former states of existence. And since it robs the universe of energy to maintain these patterns, they eventually fall back into randomness. Thus matter in its random state IS energy. This may explain the need or tendency for the universe to continuously seek a higher state of entropy.

So when we note that the transfer rate of the physical universe can't exceed the speed of light, what we are really saying is the universe can't transfer information any faster than it can create space, the actual medium OF that transfer.

If the universe transferred information faster than its ability to create space, it would no longer be ABLE to create space and hence would "die." After all, if an entity or organism isn't growing, it's dying. The universe is thus an organism, alive and living no different than you and I, no different than any other living organism in its realm. The universe seeks to survive, as do you, and will not violate its complex balance of energy.

If one looks at the universe as a living organism, complete with motivations no different than we as humans have, then one might be able to understand WHY it does what it does rather than WHAT it is doing. Sure, finding out WHAT it is doing has been a supreme challenge of humanity the past several thousand years, but hasn't this quest been mainly reductionist in nature? Asking WHAT something is made of seems to me to be reductionist. Asking WHY something does what it does as a whole may give us a better understanding of the universe, thus opening the door to HOW the universe does what it does -- such topic I have been dealing with above.

Unless you are willing to concede that matter, energy, space and time are all the same phenomena, or flip sides of the same coin, then they should each be defined in terms other than themselves.

Again, the observations that...

1. Light-speed is some sort of speed-limit indicator;
2. Space is expanding;
3. Dark energy seems to be dominant and omni present;
4. The universe itself seems to be "big"

... should all be red flags as to the fact that something VERY suspicious is going on.

But having spent much collective scientific man-hours on addressing WHAT is out there, and looking at each one of the many parts of the machine in a reductionist way, maybe we should spend more time trying to crack open WHY the universe is doing what it's doing from an overall point of view. Asking the question, WHAT motivates the universe to be WHO it is may open the door to the questions of WHY it does what it does;

WHY is space expanding?

WHY does it seem that information can't be transferred from point A to point B any faster than 186,000 miles per second.

WHY might 98% of everything we perceive be invisible?

Then WHY can we perceive it?

WHY does the universe seem so large? Is it really? Or is the universe really tiny?

And WHY do we perceive "size" anyway? Is anything in the universe REALLY any bigger than anything else? Why do we define "size" just quantitatively? Why do we say that something with 10^3 atoms is smaller than something with 10^80 atoms when atoms are made up of energy that's not measured in "size" but measured in potential?

We need to direct our attention to some more WHY questions otherwise we will wander around in the comfort of circular logic forever or answer all of our unanswerable questions with the WHY is God.

12 October 2007

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