One thing science has taught us is reality often isn't what it seems to be. Our world is not flat. Solid objects are mostly made up of empty space. And time is relative.
Einstein's General Relativity led us to the mind-bending conclusion that singularities must exist in our universe (having since been verified as black holes). In the very same sense, one of the implications of String Theory is that the universe may be a projection stemming from the event horizon of a black hole.
This is known as the Holographic Principle.
Put aside for a moment what the scientific implications of this are and ask yourself, "How likely are you to believe that the reality you experience is actually in two dimensions instead of three?"
Everything about your life suggests the opposite. You experience reality in three distinct physical dimensions.
Yet when you look in a mirror, a 2-dimensional plane, you have no issue perceiving depth. If you enter certain movies equipped with a particular pair of flimsy glasses, you can experience 3D on a 2-dimensional movie screen. There's even 3D sidewalk chalk art so convincing that you have to do a double take to clarify what you just saw.
All this means is that your mind is capable of experiencing three dimensions even when only two exist. So you know you can be fooled.
Yet you can't interact with the 3rd dimension in any of these scenarios. This is how you differentiate reality - or is it?
Consider how you experience the physical world. Your brain takes in a number of sensory inputs and does its best to make sense of the data.
Your eyes absorb light that send electric signals to your brain via your optic nerve. Your ears receive vibrations of sound and translate them to electric signals sent to your brain through your auditory nerve. Even your sense of touch is a massive amount of receptors sending electrical impulses to your brain.
What you think of seeing, hearing, and touch is not at all what your brain is doing. There is no "sound" or "light" in your brain. Your brain is not observing anything.
The reality you observe around you, from your brain's perspective, is merely made up of a massive amount of electrical impulses.
You perceive depth because your brain is capable of interpreting the different bits of data it receives. This is one of the benefits of having two eyes.
Trying covering one up for a while and looking at something you're not familiar with, like a parking lot with lots of movement. Though your brain is great at filling in the gaps due to a lifetime of experience, it doesn't take long to notice that even though its slight, what you perceive with one eye is not exactly the same as with two.
This doesn't suggest that reality changed - only your perception of reality changed.
Of course, depth isn't solely about vision. You can distinguish three dimensions with your eyes closed just by feeling around.
But how would you know the difference between your muscles, tendons, and sensors working together to push on your finger versus the feeling of pressing your finger into a wall. Either situation would require the same receptors sending information to your brain about what you are experiencing.
If you find this hard to imagine, consider wearing a virtual reality suit programmed to push back on you when you reached an imaginary wall. We may not have the technology yet to do this so convincingly as to be equated with reality, but does your brain?
The fact is, you have no way of knowing if you are experiencing reality in three dimensions or only in two dimensions giving the appearance of three.
So What's the Point?
Fear not. Nothing much changes in your everyday life whether you live in a holographic universe or not.
What's exciting about this possibility is that like any projection, there is ultimately a limit of clarity. Even the best digital image imaginable is a collection of pixels.
Ultimately, you can always zoom in until the image becomes too pixelated ("fuzzy*) to even know what you're dealing with anymore. Yet what's important is that you could conceivably get down to a single pixel.
If reality is a hologram, what would it mean to identify the pixels of the universe?
More importantly, what might it be that is actually projecting the pixels?
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