What If We're Living in a Holographic Universe? | Unveiled

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio
What if it's not just time that's an illusion, but reality itself? In this video, Unveiled covers the HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE THEORY. This is the idea that you, all your friends, and everything you've ever known is actually made up of a hologram beamed out from another, distant universe... and it could just blow your mind!

What If We Are Living in a Holographic Universe?

It’s generally said that we live in a three-dimensional world; that our universe has three spatial planes. Up and down, left and right, and forward and back. Look around you and you’ll see that it’s true. Whatever it is that you’re watching this video on, it’s 3D. Whatever you see outside your window, those same three dimensions are always there. But, what if they’re not? What if it’s not just time that’s an illusion, but reality itself?

This is Unveiled, and today we’re answering the extraordinary question; what if we’re living in a holographic universe?

The Holographic Principle is one of the most contested (and complicated!) scientific theories out there. It was devised in the 1990s and contributed to by a number of prominent scientists of the time. And, as with so much in theoretical physics, it all starts with black holes.

We know that black holes are where regular physics goes to just completely break down. Especially gravity. We also know that they appear to consume all of the stuff and information that gets past the event horizon. But there are so many unsolved problems with these things. One of which being that when information is consumed by them, it affects the black hole’s surface area more than its volume. Which is… weird. Science has reached this conclusion after years of observation. With most everything else in the universe, the opposite is true. Volume is affected most of all, and the surface area is affected by a much smaller fraction. But black holes, as they are so often prone to do, buck the trend. And in so doing, they force us to rethink what is (and isn’t) physically possible.

On the back of this, the Holographic Principle emerged as a new and alternative explanation of what the universe really is. Scientists argued that as with a black hole - which can seemingly be explained through just a 2D surface - so too the entire universe could emit from a 2D plane. This, that and everything else is a projection. A hologram. Originating from a far-off point, forever outside the observable universe. And this projection is so convincing that we literally live in it. Your life, the entire history of Earth, and all of the history of the universe has happened inside it.

This isn’t necessarily just another argument that nothing is real, however. It’s not necessarily the same as simulation theory, for example, which suggests that the universe is a digital construction controlled by a higher power. It could be the case that our hologram is being projected by a higher power - and we’ll get to that later on - but it’s not essential. If the universe is a hologram, then it is still the universe as we know it… it just started differently and exists for a different reason. A holographic universe flies in the face of the Big Bang Theory. It turns conventional, classical science totally on its head.

So, let’s now imagine that this is the answer to everything. That it was somehow proved beyond doubt that this reality really is a projection, and we’re all tiny, finely rendered parts of it. How would such an existential bombshell be received?

Well, if it was just headline news tomorrow, then there’d be widespread disbelief. Although the Holographic Principle is by no means a new idea, it isn’t exactly mainstream science, either. It took a long time for the Big Bang Theory to establish itself as the most prominent theory of the universe… so you can bet there’d be plenty of opposition to the revelation of a hologram world. Even if there was proof. How would you feel if you were told to discard everything you thought you knew? If you were told that you, as you live and breathe, were really a projection? That your friends and family were? That your place of work was? The day that we accept the holographic universe as truth would be a very strange day indeed!

After that, though, there’d be acceptance by some, perhaps by the majority. After all, what difference would it make? Currently, we don’t know with certainty why it is that we’re here; why it is that we exist. And the leading idea is that we and everything else progressed to this point after matter was released from one incredible singularity, during the Big Bang event. That’s already pretty phenomenal, when you think about it. So, the jump to accepting a Hologram Universe might prove easy for some people to make.

Elsewhere, though, there’d be panic. And chaos. And cause for existential crises the world over. We usually understand holograms to be an example of cutting-edge technology, or to be plot devices in old school science fiction movies. And they rarely seem all that substantial. They never seem especially permanent. So would proof of a holographic universe mean that we were also insubstantial and impermanent. Well, maybe… but no more so than we’ve ever been.

If we forget about the various grand and far out theories on the true nature of reality for a second… and just think about human life in the middle of the universe (as per the laws of nature). Human life is already extraordinarily fragile. We’re at the mercy of so many things beyond our control. Extreme weather events; asteroid strikes; vacuum decay; a passing black hole… all of these things could happen, and, in an instant, we’re gone. So, should the seeming fragility of a hologram really worry us? It will have lasted until this point, so that’s… something! Clearly if Holographic Universe theories proved to be correct, then this particular hologram is a far cry from those flickering, usually blue-ish communications devices we see in the films.

But therein would lie the last and overriding fear. Because if the universe is a hologram, then what creates that hologram? In this alternative model of the cosmos, there’s very definitely an outside. A great beyond. Another realm, somewhere past this vast and sprawling structure of stars and planets and galaxies that we call home. So, how does that work? If everything we’ve ever known is actually just the product of something else, then how did that other, even bigger structure come to be?

It could be that there’s some kind of ultra-advanced entity, viewing and controlling this hologram of ours… or that there are multiple holograms projecting out from the higher plane, each offering a different arrangement to the next, with different histories and different laws of physics. And, finally, what if our projection does just stop? What if it fails, or is somehow switched off? Perhaps we’d know about it, and there’d be tell-tale signs that our reality was falling apart. Or perhaps we’d know nothing at all; one moment we’d be here, and the next moment not.

As far as alternate realities go, this one completely overhauls even the most fundamental facts of the universe. But remember, it is grounded in established theoretical science. The Holographic Principle was born in the 1990s, but it’s still driving scientific study in the twenty-first century.

According to reports in 2017, for example, joint research conducted by universities in the UK, Canada and Italy found substantial evidence that our universe is holographic in nature. The team’s findings, which were published in the peer-reviewed journal “Physical Review Letters”, focused on the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation… with the researchers claiming that some irregularities hinted at a holographic structure, more than anything else. One contributor, Professor Kostas Skenderis from the University of Southampton, drew a comparison between the holographic universe and the hologram you find on a credit card, before saying that; “this time, the entire universe is encoded!”

In the modern world, we’re seeing the use of holograms - and the science of holography - become more and more a part of everyday life. Its applications can be seen in museums, where artworks and artifacts are being substituted for holographic replicas. Or in music, where hologram concerts are becoming more and more popular - sometimes even bringing artists back from the dead for new shows. And also in medicine, where students can now train using 3D, holographic representations of the body parts and organs they need to specialise in. The revolution is here… in pristine, projected form!

But could all of those holograms really exist inside of another one? One that’s far greater and more complex than anything we’ve imagined so far? It would force us to rethink everything we’ve ever known… but that’s what would happen if we lived in a holographic universe.