“that’s what space-time is…[space-time is] consciousness traversing associations in this world of information creating the illusion of space and time.” —Jacques Vallee
Jacques Vallee is arguably the most important researcher on the question of UFOs (or as he prefers to call them UAP, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena). In this piece (perhaps a bit surprisingly) we’ll not be looking at that aspect of his work—that will come another day—but rather this intriguing talk he gave on the seemingly innocuous topic of the physics of information which nevertheless ends with Vallee arguing that physics should do away with the notion of dimensions altogether and ultimately offering an entirely new understanding of physics that incorporates synchronicities, time slips, and even precogntion. We’ll explore how he deftly and expertly maneuvers his way to that assertion but it’s worth noting here that Vallee’s thesis in this talk fits in with an overarching theme on this site: the idea that the so-called paranormal is not paranormal at all but rather normal.
Vallee is in essence making the physics-equivalent to Jack Hunter’s idea in anthropology of ontological flooding. A physics that takes as a normal feature of existence synchronicities, anomalous experience, high strangeness and might in fact completely naturalize them.
Vallee begins by making a key distinction between two branches of physics: energy and information.
The physics of energy (as Vallee points out) is the physics most people would think when asked what physics consists of—on the microscopic scale things like atoms, sub-atomic particles, quantum theory or on the macroscopic scale galaxies, planets, black holes, and general relativity theory.
Physics’ search to unify the four major forces in physics in the GUT (Grand Unified Theory) is still only on the side of physics of energy.* According to Vallee’s argument, that search is not all that GUT-worthy in that covers at most only half the story. The same goes for all attempts to reconcile quantum theory and general relativity theories as in for example string theory. This is why incidentally he titles his talk The Theory of Everything (else). The else in this case being the physics of information.
Along these lines Vallee makes another important point. He argues that as the physics of energy continues to create subatomic particles and sub-sub atomic particles like quarks it’s full on into the territory of epicycles. Epicycles occurred during the late medieval era when the prevailing cosmological paradigm continued to be that of Ptolemy and his geocentric theory. As more and more evidence came in that didn’t fit with the existing paradigm, astronomers and physicists of the day kept creating epicycles to make the numbers work. Rather than fitting the paradigm to accommodate the arising date, the data was forced into an arbitrary construction of epicycles. Eventually more and more epicycles had to be created (including epicycles of epicycles) to force the data to fit the increasingly rickety Ptolemaic worldview. Eventually Copernicus (and later Galileo) came along and offered a heliocentric theory for which the data fit much more seamlessly and all the epicycles were immediately deleted.
Vallee argues that the physics of information is basically stuck in epicyclic obsolescence. And remember based on his dichotomy between the physics of energy and the physics of information what’s he’s talking about is probably 99.9% of all physics done today!!!
The physics of information is, as he calls it, the missing little sister. It’s a bold claim but a potentially very devastating and accurate one. A prime candidate for contemporary physics’ version of epicycle would be the many worlds/Multiverse quantum theory. Where we can’t get our data to work so we invent (literally) other worlds to make the numbers fit which brings all kinds of attendant potentially problematic consequences (paging Avengers Endgame!).
Having sufficiently critiqued the physics of energy (and by extensions its attendant engineering and technological outlays) Vallee turns to the physics of information and what it might offer as a countervailing theory.
Valle briefly mentions the case of Facius Cardanus, a late medieval alchemist. Cardanus is said to have perfumed a magical rite which summoned two slyphs (elemental air entities). As a good alchemist-scientist-magician Cardanus asks these entities to reveal the secret of creation and the universe to him. One slyph says that God created the universe once and for all—this would more or less accord with the physics of energy view. The other slyph however answers that God creates the universe moment by moment. The universe is essentially blinking in and out of existing, dying and resurrecting (as it were) each moment. Then Vallee states that as a software engineer this latter view (moment to moment creation and recreation) makes total sense. It’s absolutely preposterous from the point of view of the physics of energy (the first slyph with it’s one-time creation of the universe and linear time) but from the perspective of the physics of information it’s very clear.
Vallee uses the analogy of storing of data (according to both models) with the example of a library. He mentions the Library of Congress with some roughly 33 million texts in it. He then compares that to Facebook, Google, Twitter, Youtube, etc. which he argues basically upload that much data in a day.
In the former system (represented by the Library of Congress) the system requires working with coordinates of XYZ and dimension (including time, the so-called 4th dimension). But in a software giga-library there is no such thing. It doesn’t work. In the software system all information is dis-aggregated into smaller bits and scattered statistically throughout the entire digital space. The information exists in a dimension-less all-space and all-time simultaneity. It’s the second sylph’s answer where God is creating the entire universe moment by moment and not sequentially in linear time.
So the information is broken up and sent across the entire digital-scape. A hashing code is then generated in order to retrieve all the relevant bits of data from the ether and coalesce them back together when needed. The hashing code and retrieval mechanism is itself statistical. Think of a google search which might generate many possible returns to the query: where’s the best taco joint around here?
Vallee then hypothesizes that perhaps events like meaningful coincidences, synchronicities, deja vus, feelings of precognition (aka time loops), archetypes, recurring symbols and so on are simply mechanisms from this “higher software plane” to indicate a matching search as it were. They would simply be the hashing code in this moment to moment created universe.
All of which culminates in Vallee’s concluding four points of a future physics of information. These are mind blowing and because of the (illusory?) time constraints of the TEDx format he basically drops them as intellectual bombs at the end at then quickly concludes. Here we can try to flesh them out a bit.
Here are the four propositions of an (already realized) future physics of information:
1. Recognize the universe we perceive as a subsystem of a meta-reality of information associations
2. Recognize dimensions as a cultural artifact and do away with them
3. Treat the present as over-determined
4.Consciousness traverses associations—thus generating the mind’s impression of space and time
We’re going to take this one at a time because each one is immense.
1.Recognize the universe we perceive as a subsystem of a meta-reality of information associations
In traditional mysticism this is known as the subtle realm, i.e. Plato’s World of The Forms or Plotinus’ Nous. The universe then is the gross manifest expression of this meta-intelligent creatrix (a subsystem as Vallee puts it). The notion of this realm as consisting of information associations jives with the traditions of dream interpretation, mystical vision, artistic inspiration (“The Muses”) as primary means of accessing this meta-reality and its information.
2. Recognize dimensions as a cultural artifact and do away with them
Number two follows directly from number one. Since there is a meta-reality that transcends space-time, dimensions are a human construct. It’s not that dimensions are wrong. Simply they are human cultural artifacts. As Vallee says throughout the talk the physics of energy has done wonders in terms of technology and engineering. But, just like buildings and roads and computers, dimensions themselves are human constructs. They are important cultural artifacts but limited in their ontological place and value. Dimensions are consequences of the universe we perceive which remember is a subsystem of a much larger meta-reality of information associating. To use philosophical-speak for a second, dimensions become de-limited. They are relativized. This de-limiting of dimensions brings with it massive consequences (points 3 & 4).
3. Treat the present as over-determined
Since the meta-reality of information processing is in a senior ontological position than the universe we perceive (with its culturally artifacted dimensions) then time is transcended in the meta-reality. This again accords with classical mystical insights by the way. In the meta-reality of information processing past, present, and future exist simultaneously. Vallee cites the work of Philippe Guillemant and his theory of double causality. We could also mention Eric Wargo’s book Time Loops on retrocausation. This is really another topic that deserves it’s own piece but for now it’s enough to say that both Guillemant and Wargo show that the future affects the present. That the future creates present effects that create future outcomes. The present of our perceived universe (the subsystem) is influenced by both the past and the future. Linear time in other words is a consequence of our human perception not a quality of reality itself. To wit:
4. Consciousness traverses associations—thus generating the mind’s impression of space and time
We now have a third element added into the mix: consciousness. We have the meta-reality of information processing (the subtle realm), the universe we perceive as a subsystem of that meta-reality (the gross) and now consciousness. Consciousness in the classical mystical traditions is known as the causal (the cause). Here we see that classical insight being replicated in terms of the physics of information.
Consciousness traversing associations is what creates the subjective experience of space and time. As mystical realizers have said for thousands of years time and the universe (perceived space) are not ultimate. Einstein argued that gravity was simply the result of the curvature of space-time. Even more radically what Vallee is arguing here is that space-time itself is simply the curvature of consciousness traversing associations in the meta-reality of information.
Here again we see why synchronicities, strange coincidences, presentinments, symbols and the like are so crucial—they are forms of consciousness traversing the associations of the subtle meta-realty of information of which our perceived universe is a subsystem.
Guillemant’s work on double causality—the future creating present circumstances that create the future outcomes which themselves cause the present outcomes that create the future outcomes—is an investigation of the topic of intention. Can intention (aka, directed consciousness) affect the meta-reality of information? If spacetime is the generated impression of consciousness traversing informational associations, can that be done consciously? And if so, how? Or if not, is it all an imprisoning artificial simulation like a gnostic cartoon? (This is a question also addressed in Wargo’s work on precognition).* That’s the thread I’d like to pick up in a followup piece. But for now what we have here is a very clearly articulated physics in alignment with classical mystical insight. If only we could now get biology out of it’s 19th century materialist purgatory.
It should be noted here briefly the direct link between Vallee’s physics of information and his aforementioned groundbreaking work on the UFO phenomena. For Vallee the UFO phenomena is a consciousness technology. It is a technology (e.g. craft) that affects human consciousness, arguably in ways which may or may not be beneficial to humans depending on the circumstances. It is a technology that in particular shows our views of physics are constructed and perhaps limited (as Vallee argues) because they act in ways that violate physics of energy principles (e.g. anti-gravitic propulsion). For Vallee the UFO is a consciousness technology which we arguably do not yet understand and perhaps one we may ever be able to understand but that might be, in part, because we fail to appreciate it's nature as a form of the subtle information processing creattrix (i.e. UFO as archetype, as Jung argued.)
* The four major forces are electromagnetism, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and gravity. Electromagnetism, the strong and weak forces have already been unified in the strong electroweak theory. Only gravity remains unintegrated with the other three.