Observation occurs when a quantum wave collapses in a physical event that restarts it again, so the first physical event was the first observation, probably by light on an infinitesimal scale. This occurred before matter or information existed, so they didn’t cause it.
A photon of light also chooses where it hits a screen from its options. Physics calls it random, as if it had no value, but this choice gives our attention so it is worth having. Why call a photon’s choice random but not ours? Simpler to say that photons choose on a quantum scale, so choice existed from the beginning. Quantum theory requires observation and choice in physical events, so the first observer of our universe was its first creation – light.
Light is a stream of photon units, or quanta, but what makes that unity? Physical waves that spread and dissolve back into the sea have no unity, but quantum waves that spread and restart do. A photon’s existence wave can spread over a galaxy then restart again at a point, so it is an entity.
What then is the photon? It isn’t quantum waves, as they disappear in the collapse before the restart, so something else must choose its restart point. If an entity’s being is what it really is, we can say that a photon’s being chooses where it restarts. If photon are beings that choose and observe, then being is what observes and chooses, a definition that applies to us also.
A photon is immortal because, like the phoenix, it is reborn from the ashes of its collapse, but if our observing-self ends when the brain dies, we aren’t. Yet if the photon is an infinitesimal being, all later beings could derive from this primal ground by entanglement.
In quantum realism, our universe began when a quantum entity passed its activity to others, creating one photon in one unit of space. The “big bang” that followed was a blast of light creation that continued until expanding space stopped it. The result was what computing calls a server-client relation, which is one source activating another. For example, when a laptop prints a document, it is a server activating a client printer to produce pages. The laptop is a server that uses a printer or screen client to manifest a file that we interact with. If a photon is a server entity manifesting waves on a client network, the wave can be restarted, just as a laptop reboot can restart a screen if it hangs. This division into server and client separated quantum reality into:
1. Server entities, that generate quantum waves and observe their interactions, and a
2. Client network, that manifests quantum waves lawfully interacting in physical events.
This isn’t dualism, that two realities exist, but that one reality divided into server and client, to become observer and observed. We can call it being and manifestation, where being is what you are and manifestation is what you observe. Instead of dividing physical reality into mind and matter, quantum reality divides into manifestation and being, so even a photon is a being. This division operates as follows:
1. Server entities generate quantum waves that spread on the client network.
2. These waves interact to overload a client node in an observed physical event.
3. The physical event restarts the quantum entities involved at a network point.
4. Restarting at the same point entangles them into a larger quantum entity that can observe more – if it survives.
5. The observed reality only exists as observation events, so it is virtual.
For example, when electrons interact in a physical event, their quantum waves overlap in an overload that restarts and entangles them into an entity that spreads waves again. That they are the same entity lets them observe each other at that moment, giving observation a quantum origin. Each observation is just a one-cycle snapshot, as countless quantum cycles lead up to it. If it was a camera, a physical event would be like taking a photo of reality every million years or so.
Figure 6.41 expands Wheeler’s observing-eye universe to include the observer. It divides quantum reality into quantum beings that observe and a client network that is our physical space. Initially, tiny physical events only gave tiny observations but over time the universe (U) found ways to increase observation by finding entanglements that survived. Most entanglements collapse quickly but some survived as electrons, quarks, atoms, molecules, and macro-molecules like RNA. Each step in the evolution of matter increased being and observation.
Biological evolution began as simple cells, that led to complex cells, then plants, animals, and eventually sentient beings like us that can think about what they observe. Sentient beings have nerves that process sensory data and can synchronize their firing to evoke a single observer. To refer to oneself as “I” requires a unitary observer as well as brain functions like language.
In conclusion, part of a universe of light became matter, some matter became life, and some life became sentient. Most of the universe isn’t sentient but the trend to increase observation is clear. Observation built up step-wise until now, billions of years later, we can observe the scale of what made us (Figure 6.42). We are beings observing other being’s manifestations by means of our own, but where then is the observer that does that?