The principle of efficient language states that the universe tends toward expressions that use minimal geometric symbolism for maximal meaning. And there are two general classes of meaning that it recognizes: geometric (physical) meaning, such as a triangle formed by three particles, and emergent virtually transcendent meaning, such as humor. The system is intelligent enough to register both types of meaning. And it can register meaning, via its sub-systems (sub-consciousnesses of the universal consciousness), such as humans.
Fundamental physics is a language – a code made of geometric symbol types (fundamental particles) and organizational/syntactical rules (force interactions allowing certain relationships between particles). And, as with all codes, there is freedom (particle degrees of freedom) within the syntax. This language expresses the geometric meaning of physical systems.
Geometric algorithms can evolve to high levels of complexity reminiscent of patterns in nature. This is the case with cellular automata (Wolfram). Such algorithms can be fully deterministic or have non-deterministic variable choices at certain steps (converting a mere algorithm into a code/language). We call these free choices “hinge variable” steps. A simple example of language and the hinge variable idea is this code: Take two moves forward on a checkerboard. Then choose one step right or left and then take two more steps forward and so on. The choosing of steps (right or left) at the hinge variable, can be done randomly or by the strategy of an intelligent code user.
It is generally presumed that the hinge variable degrees of freedom in the language of nature are operated randomly by an intrinsic randomness in nature. That is, wherever rules don’t force a particle’s position (e.g., two equally low energy wells that are each an equal distance from an approaching particle), pure randomness will determine it. And quantum mechanics goes even further, speculating that the appearance of all particles at any location is always random.
If nature is truly a language because it is non-deterministic and yet has rules and a finite set of object types, there are only two choices for how the decisions at the hinge variable free steps in a language can be made: Randomness or conscious strategic choice. The case for conscious choice “steering” of the hinge variable is made easily in situations with humans. For example, let’s say you creatively invent a reason to step to your right instead of left. By doing so, you orchestrate countless trillions of actions in the particle based physical code. Imagine that the hinge variable options of particles in your body are acted on by pure randomness. If so, when you creatively steer your body to walk right instead of left, you “break the symmetry” of the randomness and bias the system to your purposes – your freewill intention. The system of your body can no longer be said to have evolved as randomly as before you started making freewill choices. In other words, some of the previously random hinge variable choices in the physical particle language are now neither random nor algorithmically determined. Instead, they are steered or indirectly chosen by your freewill action to walk to the right.
However, it is difficult to conjecture that randomness ever existed in the code in the first place, even before you chose to walk right. There is no good experimental evidence for randomness. This fact is known by many scientists but not the public. However, there is reasonable scientific evidence for freewill.
So here we have an interesting idea. If we presume a natural code/language of physical reality exists, we can come to the conclusion that human freewill can hijack some of the hinge variable freedom within the code – taking it away from previously random influence.
There is no known upward limit on emergent consciousness and freewill. So, in principle, all of the matter and energy of the universe can self-organize into intelligent sub-systems, like humans, that are capable of hijacking every formerly random hinge variable code choice in the Planck scale building blocks of the fabric of spacetime. That is, of course, if the choices were ever random in the first place.
The takeaway so far in this story is this: If the universe operated according to a code, there are hinge variables in the code. A code is any algorithm with hinge variable degrees of freedom, such as English. For example, rules force you to use an adjective at the blank in the following sentence but give you hinge variable freedom of which adjective you can choose: “The dog ran _____”. The objective with codes is to use them efficiently in order to express maximal meaning with minimal symbolism or choices. A code of physical reality expresses geometric meaning. According to emergence theory, the base symbols at the pixilated substructure of space are geometric – regular tetrahedra. And they are organized according to a code. The actions of change in the code need to be conserved efficiently, according to the principle of efficient language, so that maximal physical meaning is achieved with minimal code actions. This idea mirrors the fundamental principle of least action in physics.
So, would the system ever make hinge variable choices by also registering meaning that is non-physical? That is, would non-geometric (non-physical) meaning, the transcendent meaning that humans are experts at creating, break the balance of an ordinarily pure geometric system of meaning? Yes, the double slit experiment is evidence of this. Humans are highly emergent sub-systems of this universal system. We ourselves ascribe meaning. We create it. More than any other known part of the universe, a human is exceptional at creating abstract emergent meaning. For example, consider just a few types of meaning an experimenter adds to realty as she conducts a double slit quantum experiment in her lab: (1) the significance of the meaning of the particle going through one slit versus the other, (2) the competing theories relating to quantum particles versus waves and (3) the delight at the thought of her supervisor seeing she was able to register that particular recording of a particle going through a given slit. There are many abstract meanings we ascribe to things that go beyond brute-simple physical meaning – that is, the pure geometric information or meaning of the code. When this extra meaning is “pumped” into the system of reality by an animal such as a human, the purely physical “symmetry” of the system is broken in some sense. An asymmetry of meaning occurs with respect to the hinge variable choices in the geometric quantum gravity code occurring around the two slits. The human is able to add additional meaning to reality itself about a particle going through one slit if he/she can devise an experiment that provides the meaning about the path of that particle through one of the slits. The hinge variable aspects of the code are then steered or directed in some sense by the human adding this new meaning into the system. But, mathematically, the collective consciousness based substrate of the code operates the actual hinge variable choices in the code. The purpose of any code/language is to convey meaning. And any good code user, whether nature, via the principle of least action, or a human code user, seeks to generate maximal meaning from minimal instances of symbol choices. A spoken language analogy of a system with an efficient ratio of symbols to meaning is a play on words, such as a double entendre or poem, where a small number of words can have multiple meanings. A physical example of a single symbol playing a rule in multiple instances of meaning is a quasicrystal. A change of an atomic position at one coordinate encodes information in multiple 1D Fibonacci chain strings of binary code.