From duality to unity 2/3

The holographic universe : the underlying unit


« You’re not a drop in the ocean, you’re the ocean in a drop. » [1]


« I think my life in phy­sics is divi­ded into three per­iods… At first I thought it was all made of par­ticles … Then, that eve­ry­thing was made of fields (…). In the end, my impres­sion is that it’s all about infor­ma­tion. » [2]          


The holographic principle

All is information

holographic-principleImagine you want to buy a house. One of the first things you’re pro­ba­bly going to do is to draw up a list of selec­tion cri­te­ria. Objective cri­te­ria – such as per­haps sur­face area, price, loca­tion, etc. – from which you will select the houses to visit. As you visit, if you set these cri­te­ria aside for a moment and sim­ply pay atten­tion to how you feel inside each home, you will pro­ba­bly notice dif­fe­rences. They may range from a sense of secu­ri­ty or well-being to varying degrees of dis­com­fort. And a prio­ri, you will have no ratio­nal expla­na­tion for these fee­lings.

This may be why you will be pla­cing more empha­sis on objec­tive cri­te­ria. After all, unlike fee­lings, they are tan­gible and direct­ly obser­vable. However, that would be unde­res­ti­ma­ting the infor­ma­tion your inner fort sends you. But if you did, it would not change the fact that, from an infor­ma­tion point of view, all these data – the objec­tive cri­te­ria and the way you feel – are of equal value. That is to say : whe­ther it comes from an inner fee­ling or your inter­pre­ta­tion of the out­side, this data is sim­ply infor­ma­tion.

Before it was a house as you see it, it was thought out, then archi­tect and future owners dis­cus­sed it, and final­ly work­men sha­ped it. All the infor­ma­tion ema­na­ting from the house as you see it has the­re­fore at one time or ano­ther been « pro­jec­ted from the inside out », if such a dis­tinc­tion exists [3]. Those who have not expe­rien­ced this fate would still be infor­ma­tion. They would sim­ply not be visible, they would not have been mani­fes­ted in any tan­gible way.


Memory and resonance

Thoughts, words and actions make up the tota­li­ty of the events that have taken place in this house since it has exis­ted. They have hel­ped to shape it as you see it, and as you even­tual­ly feel it. They can also be assi­mi­la­ted to infor­ma­tion. There is more infor­ma­tion inside a room than on its walls, since, from a phy­si­cal point of view, there is more space – of par­ticles, in fact – in a volume than on the sur­face that contains it.

holographic-information-cdHowever, there is a prin­ciple in phy­sics cal­led the holo­gra­phic prin­ciple. What does it tell us ? That all the infor­ma­tion contai­ned in a volume is sto­red on the sur­face that contains it, up to a quar­ter of that sur­face. A bit like recor­ding the music pro­du­ced by a whole orches­tra on the sur­face of a CD. The CD contains infor­ma­tion about the music pro­du­ced but of course not the orches­tra itself. Thus all the infor­ma­tion of a room is sto­red on its walls, floor and cei­ling in a holo­gra­phic way. Or, to put it ano­ther way, eve­ry sur­face keeps the memo­ry of the events that took place in the volume it contains. The infor­ma­tion about these events being holo­gra­phi­cal­ly pro­jec­ted onto the sur­face.

This is why, depen­ding on the rela­tion­ship that will be esta­bli­shed bet­ween the infor­ma­tion sto­red on the walls of a room and you, you will be able to have as many dif­ferent sen­sa­tions as the houses you visit. You will reso­nate – or not – with cer­tain infor­ma­tion, depen­ding on your per­so­nal his­to­ry. Since each of us is unique, we will reso­nate with more or less dif­ferent infor­ma­tion. A per­son like Madeleine (see My Story) will be able to « retrieve » infor­ma­tion just by pas­sing her hand over the walls of the house. It will thus be aware of events that have taken place there.


What’s a hologram ?

The holo­gra­phic prin­ciple owes its name to an ana­lo­gy with holo­gra­phy. It was dis­co­ve­red in 1948 by the Hungarian phy­si­cist Dennis Gabor and ear­ned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971. Holography is a phy­si­cal pro­cess that makes it pos­sible to record on a sur­face – using a spe­ci­fic type of light, the laser – infor­ma­tion about the volume of an object. This infor­ma­tion is recor­ded on a holo­gra­phic plate. If it is later illu­mi­na­ted with the same type of light, it will then gene­rate the holo­gram of the object, whose volume will be pro­jec­ted vir­tual­ly into space.

hologramAll infor­ma­tion about the object is ful­ly recor­ded at each point on the holo­gra­phic plate. Therefore, if this sur­face is bro­ken down into even bil­lions of pieces, each piece will always contain – in a smal­ler ver­sion – the ori­gi­nal image in its enti­re­ty. In other words : the whole is engram­med in the part, and the part is inclu­ded in the whole.

It was the phy­si­cist Gerard ‘t Hooft who ori­gi­na­ted the concept of the holo­gra­phic prin­ciple. This applies to the three blacks and can be defi­ned as fol­lows : 

« All the infor­ma­tion contai­ned in the volume of a black hole can be expres­sed in terms of infor­ma­tion (…) on the hori­zon of the black hole [4], thus pre­ser­ving the infor­ma­tion as a « holo­gra­phic fin­ger­print »  » [5]

Interestingly, Nassim Haramein consi­ders that the uni­verse is only made up of black holes at dif­ferent scales (see the article The frac­tal and holo­gra­phic uni­verse). This prin­ciple can the­re­fore be applied very wide­ly and even to the uni­verse itself.


David Bohm, science and philosophy

David Bohm is one of the first phy­si­cists to have put for­ward the hypo­the­sis of a holo­gra­phic Universe. By the time I lear­ned about his theo­ry, I was alrea­dy well on my way to phy­sics. However, I was not yet fami­liar with the works of Nassim Haramein, nor those of the phi­lo­so­pher Michel Bitbol. I then thought I was light years away from the phi­lo­so­phy and spi­ri­tua­li­ty that had mar­ked the begin­ning of my inves­ti­ga­tion of conscious­ness. I had no idea David Bohm would lead me straight to… Jiddu Krishnamurti. And even fur­ther from ima­gi­ning that the two men had been friends.

Actually, it was David Bohm who intro­du­ced me to Krishnamurti. Might as well say I was sho­cked. I found it incre­dible that rela­ti­vis­tic phy­si­cists and quan­tum phy­si­cists could not agree, but that a phy­si­cist and a phi­lo­so­pher could. And share a com­mon vision of life and the uni­verse. They even set out their reflec­tions in two books : The Limits of Thought [6] and Abolished Time [7].

Then I found out that Eckhart Tolle was very ins­pi­red by Krishnamurti. I then sud­den­ly had the strange sen­sa­tion of having advan­ced in my explo­ra­tion of conscious­ness without having left my star­ting point. Specifically, I had retur­ned to my star­ting point by having chan­ged. As the uni­verse final­ly does in its lear­ning pro­cess [8]. It took me a while to reco­ver from that dis­co­ve­ry. With eve­ry rea­son to be par­ti­cu­lar­ly inter­es­ted in the theo­ry of the holo­gra­phic uni­verse.


Implicate and explicate order

« I’ve never been able to see a sepa­ra­tion bet­ween science and phi­lo­so­phy. »


This sta­te­ment by David Bohm, who has made impor­tant contri­bu­tions to quan­tum phy­sics, theo­re­ti­cal phy­sics and phi­lo­so­phy, forms the basis on which he built his theo­ry. For this scien­tist who col­la­bo­ra­ted with Einstein, there is sim­ply no sepa­ra­tion bet­ween conscious­ness and mat­ter. There is only a sem­blance of sepa­ra­tion bet­ween the two.

Concretely, David Bohm consi­de­red that rea­li­ty as we appre­hend it with our senses or other mea­su­ring ins­tru­ments is only an expres­sion of ano­ther level of rea­li­ty. An under­lying level. He thus spoke of an expli­cate (or expli­cit) order and an impli­cate (or impli­cit) order of rea­li­ty.


A perpetual exchange

explicate-order-david-bohmIn the expli­cate order, the shapes appear to us as sepa­ra­ted from each other. But this is only a mis­per­cep­tion of the impli­cate order – from which these forms are extrac­ted – and in which eve­ry­thing is uni­ted, in per­pe­tual exchange with itself and the­re­fore in per­pe­tual upda­tingimplicate-order-david-bohm. Everything in the uni­verse would constant­ly go from impli­cate to expli­cate. Specifically, any repre­sen­ta­tion in the expli­cate order would be a holo­gra­phic expres­sion of the impli­cate order. This flow, cal­led holo-movement, would explain the rela­tion­ship bet­ween mat­ter and conscious­ness… through conti­nuous feed­back bet­ween the two. David Bohm said : 

« What is implied here is that even this « new whole » will reveal itself as an aspect of ano­ther « new whole » later on. Holonomy should not be seen as the fixed and final goal of scien­ti­fic research, but rather as a move­ment in which « new eve­ry­thing » is conti­nual­ly mani­fes­ting itself. » [10]


To explain the impli­cate order, David Bohm used three ana­lo­gies :

The aquarium fish filmed from 2 different angles

Fish-david-bohm-1The idea of this expe­riment was to show that two things can appear to us as sepa­rate sim­ply because we look at them from two dif­ferent points of view. So if we look at two video screens, on each of which the same fish appears fish-david-bohm-2 fil­med simul­ta­neous­ly from two dif­ferent angles, we can think that they are two dif­ferent fish. However, after care­ful obser­va­tion of the move­ments of « the » fish, we will rea­lize that they are one and the same fish. Thus, the sepa­ra­tion was only due to a mis­per­cep­tion of a uni­fied phe­no­me­non.


The insoluble drop of ink diluted in glycerine

This expe­riment invol­ved a box with a crank handle contai­ning gly­ce­rine and a drop of ink. When you tur­ned the crank, you could see the drop stret­ching until it disap­pea­red. But if the move­ment was rever­sed, then a tri­ckle of ink would begin to re-form until it became the ori­gi­nal drop again. Thus the ink, in its expan­ded state (dilu­ted in gly­ce­rin), kept an unfol­ded order (contai­ned in a drop). An order like­ly to reoc­cur.


The hologram

For David Bohm, the impli­cate order would be like a giant holo­gram, a dis­tri­bu­ted yet indi­vi­sible whole. Why ? Because each frag­ment that would be extrac­ted from it would still contain all the ori­gi­nal infor­ma­tion. Any form of sepa­ra­tion would the­re­fore only be a decoy, due to the limi­ted view­point of the obser­ver. At a dee­per level of rea­li­ty – the impli­cate order – eve­ry­thing would actual­ly be connec­ted.


Brain and hologram

Shortly before David Bohm pro­po­sed his holo­gra­phic vision of the uni­verse, ano­ther theo­ry based on holo­gra­phy was deve­lo­ped in a com­ple­te­ly dif­ferent field. In 1969, the Austrian phy­sio­lo­gist Karl Pribram put for­ward a fas­ci­na­ting hypo­the­sis : the brain uses holo­gra­phic models in its pro­cesses of per­cep­tion and res­ti­tu­tion of its envi­ron­ment. In an almost amu­sing way, one can see in the way these two theo­ries have mani­fes­ted them­selves a concrete appli­ca­tion of the holo­gra­phic concept. Indeed, it implies that a change in one area becomes imme­dia­te­ly and impli­cit­ly avai­lable eve­ryw­here else. And the­re­fore be like­ly to mani­fest itself in ano­ther area.


Non-localized memory

A pio­neer in research on the cere­bral cor­tex, Karl Pribram has wor­ked exten­si­ve­ly in the field of memo­ry. His work has led him to move from a mecha­nis­tic concep­tion of memo­ry, accor­ding to which cer­tain types of memo­ries are sto­red at spe­ci­fic loca­tions in the brain, to a non-localized memo­ry, which the­re­fore does not rely on this type of cor­res­pon­dence. To deve­lop his theo­ry, he drew on the work of Dennis Gabor. To create the first holo­grams, he used a com­plex series of equa­tions. These are known as Fourier trans­forms, and owe their name to the 18th cen­tu­ry French mathe­ma­ti­cian and phy­si­cist Joseph Fourier.

According to Karl Pribram, the brain converts fre­quen­cies into objects in our rea­li­ty, as he explains :


« Different brain cells react at dif­ferent fre­quen­cies and the brain func­tions as a fre­quen­cy ana­ly­zer that breaks down com­plex fre­quen­cy pat­terns into their com­po­nents, which are then conver­ted into « objects » of « phy­si­cal rea­li­ty » in a pro­cess simi­lar to illu­mi­na­ting an inter­fe­rence pat­tern with a laser beam. » [11]


Holograms and fractals

This ana­ly­sis of inter­fe­rence pat­terns is mathe­ma­ti­cal, and depends on Fourier’s theo­rem. This states that any non-sinusoidal per­io­dic signal can be consi­de­red as the sum of an infi­nite num­ber of sine waves of dif­ferent ampli­tudes and fre­quen­cies. These waves are cal­led har­mo­nics of the ori­gi­nal signal because they are mul­tiples of the fre­quen­cy of this signal.

So, for example, a signal with a fre­quen­cy of 10 Hz is com­po­sed of a wave with a fre­quen­cy of 10 Hz, itself com­po­sed of a wave with a fre­quen­cy of 20 Hz, itself com­po­sed of a wave with a fre­quen­cy of 30 Hz etc. The har­mo­nic cor­res­pon­ding to the same fre­quen­cy as the ori­gi­nal signal is cal­led the first har­mo­nic or fun­da­men­tal har­mo­nic. The fol­lo­wing are cal­led second har­mo­nic (twice the fun­da­men­tal fre­quen­cy), third har­mo­nic (three times the fun­da­men­tal fre­quen­cy) and so on. In other words, Fourier trans­forms are frac­tals, the ana­ly­sis of which allows the decom­po­si­tion and recons­truc­tion of a signal without loss of infor­ma­tion




Karl Pribram lin­ked this work to ano­ther dis­co­ve­ry : that of John Eccles, known for his work on the synapse and win­ner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1963. This Australian neu­ro­phy­sio­lo­gist has demons­tra­ted the very loca­li­zed pro­pa­ga­tion of elec­tri­cal waves around each of the thou­sands of synapses in each of the brain’s neu­rons. Karl Pribram’s idea at the time was to consi­der that the bil­lions of waves gene­ra­ted in the brain for­med holo­grams. And that these could serve as a bio­phy­si­cal sup­port for the pro­cesses of thought and memo­ry.

He has also made a major contri­bu­tion to research on engrams, i.e. « [the] imprint [s] left in the brain or ner­vous sys­tem by some event and capable of being reac­ti­va­ted by appro­priate sti­mu­la­tion » [12]. Pour lui, en somme, un holo­gramme serait une mise en mémoire sous forme vibra­toire. For him, in short, a holo­gram would be a vibra­to­ry memo­ry. This amounts to tal­king about the holo­gra­phic prin­ciple and, as in the ana­lo­gy of the house, the infor­ma­tion sto­red on the walls of the rooms.

I now invite you to dis­co­ver the third and final part of our jour­ney from dua­li­ty to uni­ty : Unity, from ether to space.



Key points


  • Every sur­face keeps the memo­ry of the events that took place in the volume it contains (holo­gra­phic prin­ciple).

  • The holo­gra­phic prin­ciple applies to black holes. It the­re­fore applies very broad­ly accor­ding to the theo­ry of Nassim Haramein, who consi­ders that the uni­verse is made up only of black holes at dif­ferent scales.

  • The brain would use holo­gra­phic models in its per­cep­tion and res­ti­tu­tion pro­cesses of its envi­ron­ment.





Notes and references

[1] Jalal al Din Rumi, Mystical Poems of Rumi, University of Chicago Press, 2009, free trans­la­tion
[2] WHEELER John Archibald, Geons, Black Holes & Quantum Foam – A Life in Physics, tra­duc­tion libre, New York : W. W. Norton & Company, 2000 (new edi­tion), p.63
[3] See the first article in this series Objectivity and sub­jec­ti­vi­ty : the uni­fied per­cep­tion.
[4] The event hori­zon is the limit beyond which the attrac­tion of the black hole is consi­de­red irre­ver­sible.
[5] MISTAIEN Marc. (nov/dec 2013). Et si Nassim Haramein avait rai­son (And if Nassim Haramein was right), In : Nexus n°89, p.28, free trans­la­tion
[6] KRISHNAMURTI Jiddu et BOHM David, Les limites de la pen­sée, Paris : Le livre de poche, 2006, free trans­la­tion
[7] KRISHNAMURTI Jiddu et BOHM David, Le temps abo­li, Monaco : Editions du Rocher, 1989, free trans­la­tion
[8] See also the article How do we learn ? on this sub­ject
[9] BOHM David et PEAT David, Science, order, and crea­ti­vi­ty, Taylor & Francis e‑Library, 2010, intro­duc­tion p.Xi
[10] BOHM David, La plé­ni­tude de l’univers, Monaco : Editions du Rocher, 1987, p.167, free trans­la­tion
[11] PRIBRAM Karl, quo­ted by DUTHEIL Brigitte, L’univers super­lu­mi­neux, Paris : Ed. Sand, 1994, p.127, free trans­la­tion
[12] According to the WIKTIONARY.



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