Information Realism: Physicists Suspect Physical Reality Is An Illusion


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A provocative new article in Scientific American floats the idea of Information realism. It suggests that the fundamentally real basic in the universe — it’s actual and base reality — isn’t the quantum phenomena or quarks and fields that seem to comprise it. Instead, scientist and philosopher Bernardo Kastrup postulates that some people are starting to suspect that matter itself is an illusion — and that the only real thing in this universe is information.

The rudimentary idea is that the physical universe exists because we perceive it. It is like a mass hallucination we use to make sense of the mathematical relationships of objects.

According to Kastrup, this a pretty far-out idea is gaining ground.

Physicist Max Tegmark boldly claims in his 2014 book, Our Mathematical Universe, that, “Protons, atoms, molecules, cells, and stars are all redundant baggage. Only the mathematical apparatus used to describe the behavior of matter is supposedly real, not matter itself”.

According to this abstract notion of information realism, matter arises from information processing and not the other way around.

Kastrup wrote, “To some physicists, this indicates that what we call ‘matter,’ with its solidity and concreteness — is an illusion; that only the mathematical apparatus they devise in their theories is truly real, not the perceived world the apparatus was created to describe in the first place”.

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