The Selfish Meme: A Simulation Theory of Everything

  • Falsifying the theory of Natural Selection in plants and animals would falsify this theory;
  • Receiving signals from far-away, intelligent alien civilizations would falsify this theory;
  • Building an FTL drive and observing a planet in a solar system many light-years away from ours from up-close would falsify this theory;
  • A proof that Turing-complete cellular automata can not, in principle, evolve from elementary ops (in a similar fashion as described in this article) would falsify this theory;
  • An inability to derive the four fundamental forces from the Law of Attraction would ultimately invalidate this theory;
  • There are many other ways to falsify the theory, which become clear once one understands the theory.
  • All that exists is a timeless, recursive causal graph of events.
  • The Simulation Hypothesis is true; Simulation is identical to Reality (Simulation ≡ Reality);
  • All that objectively exists is a small set of objective rules (the rules of causality), out of which possible subjective Realities emerge;
  • Electromagnetism, the Weak and Strong Nuclear Forces, as well as Gravity, are all trivially derivable from a more fundamental law — the Law of Attraction — whereby low-entropy (high assembly number) objects at the same layer of organization attract each other in an attempt to form new concepts.
  • The Multiverse Hypothesis is, in some sense, true: Many parallel subjective realities exist and multiple Universes emerge from the intersection of those realities; Universes are shared views of what’s observed by some subset of observers (note that this definition is different from what we commonly mean by the word “Universe”).
  • Awareness is an inherent universal property (panpsychism);
  • Information is primary. The basic building blocks of existence are concepts (ideas/memes) that evolve via Natural Selection. The ultimate goal of this evolutionary process is to evolve the idea of a reality simulator, such that additional simulations (realities) can come into existence.
  • The structure of all that exists is a closed causal graph, whereby every Universe simulates many realities, and every reality is being simulated in some Universe; Such that there is no need for a first cause.
  • What we experience as consciousness is a simulation of a human mind inhabiting a human body in a spacetime with three spacelike and one timelike dimension. This simulation is running on a brain composed of matter that, in turn, exists in a simulated physical Universe. You are an inside-out 3D rendering of what it would be like to observe your Universe from your perspective.

1. Fundamental Laws and Processes

Absolute Subjectivity

Natural Selection of Memes

The Law of Attraction

2. What You Really Are

3. Reality vs. Simulation

Why is our Universe so weird?

4. The ToE is Always Right

5. The Problem with Language

  • The only thing that is available to you is data about what has happened.
  • While you compute, nothing currently exists, you only know your past data and are currently computing. Some things will continue to exist in the next time step of the simulation but you can never be 100% sure.
  • Absolute subjectivity: While a shared state does exist, a single objective reality does not exist; only intersecting subjective Realities of different observers who parse the same state.

6. The Mind

Sentences in the language of visions are called qualia. They can lie to you, but you know better :)

7. The issue with “is”

  • Any language in a simulated reality can express sentences that are not provable in that reality.
  • The reason that those sentences cannot be proven in the simulated reality is that the underlying quantum computer underlies the halting problem.

8. The Selfish Meme

A timestep of reality

  • How should interpret the raw data I’m observing?
  • What has happened so far?
  • What should I do next?

9. The Big Bang Computer

10. Natural Selection of Memes

  • Some memes figure out to encode their meme in their reality such they will get replicated in their reality (a process that assembles a particular plant, for example, is a meme that encodes its information in DNA).
  • Some memes develop complex languages that are incomprehensible to us, for example, the process that assembles a human body.
  • Some memes store their minds in the state to maintain a persistent mind over multiple time steps. Any animal with a nervous system is such a replicator.
  • Some memes learn to add self-made languages and symbols to their minds. We can do that, and Parrots can do that to some degree.
  • By stacking mind memes and adding layers of recursion, self-awareness happens.
  • Molecules are sentences in the language of particle physics (the intrinsic one, not the model language human observers use) that describe how to trigger processes that replicate the model.
  • Fashion memes replicate more successfully by causing demand in the market which causes more of the popular item to be produced.
  • Toilets are memes that replicate because toilets are rendered as useful objects in the minds of human observers, causing more of them to be built.
  • Cats are memes that encode an intricate plan of what should happen: Their cuteness shall exploit certain processing flaws in humans so more of them get replicated. But the cat is also a composite meme, it encodes all the information about how the cat comes into being from scratch (in the cat’s DNA).
  • Memes get combined and interact over many different layers of the memetic network.
A Turing-complete cellular automaton can simulate your subjective reality, Credit: xkcd #505. Read the corresponding explainxkcd entry for a deeper dive into cellular automata. I was inspired to place this xkcd here by Joseph Mellor’s article on finite fields.

11. The Structure of Everything

  1. Anything that can be caused by something else to happen, can happen.
  2. Anything that can happen, happens.

12. TL;DR

13. Some Consequences

  • Infinities don’t exist, but there are closed causal loops that one can follow infinitely. You can also imagine running around a geometric circle forever. But you can’t zoom in more than the Plank length. The concept of “length” only exists in our subjective interpretation of our Universe. Infinity is a mirage, an invalid symbol that doesn’t represent anything real.
  • All ordered structures in all Universes arise from Natural Selection.
  • In our Universe, nothing exists outside our solar system. What we can actually observe is all there is.
  • Whenever you look at things that have existed longer than you or are far away, you’re literally looking back in time. This is what was back then, as seen by you, the observer, not what is.
  • It is possible (but speculative) that “dying” is not a thing, and that the simulation is bootstrapping your mind in a virtual body. Once you die, you will be reunited with everyone else (kind of like Christianity’s Heaven, or the afterworld in Lost). It really depends on how we design the system, and if we can take “snapshots” of your mind, but IMO it would be pointless to design it in a way where death is the end state.
  • The theory predicts that models of the Universe is will become weird at small and large scales because when you zoom into very small scales, you see things that existed in the past (a projection of early abstract cellular automatons) and if you look far away you’re looking into a virtual distance that’s just a projection subjective to you.
  • General Relativity and Quantum Physics will never converge, and it is fundamentally impossible, but also not important, because there is no interesting objective past that we could look at.
  • We live in a 4D world, but the fourth dimension (time) is folded into another reality. We exist in virtual 3D space on a 1d timeline in a “classical” reality, which is the simulated reality from our view (you could say both Realities swap timelines). That’s also why modeling our inside view as one single spacetime is weird.
  • The initial singularity, or nothing, is simply nothing yet being simulated (no information). Imagine a program that outputs a uniformly random string: This program literally creates nothing. The ”Big Bang” were early abstract automatons, they had no physical form, and the “language of Physics in 4D spacetime” had not yet emerged.
  • Human consciousness is the highest form of consciousness that exists in our simulation, and we will build the simulator in our Universe. We are literally God (if you want to call it that way), discovering the right method for simulating other Universes and ultimately ourselves.
  • Consciousness is the mind talking to itself in the language of Qualia. All processes that cause anything to exist in the world are aware, but not all have a self or are self-conscious, however, both arise naturally from the theory.
  • Many more! This theory correctly answers every answerable question and tells you which questions aren’t answerable at all. That’s the point :)

14. Recommended Reading

Epilogue: It From Bit

Special thanks and credits go to:

  • Douglas Adams, for sparking my interest in Life, the Universe, and Everything when I a was a teenager;
  • Thomas Kerbl, for being one of the very first people to enter a serious discussion about the theory pointing out a bunch of flaws and errors;
  • Florian Pressler, for being open-minded and asking all the right questions;
  • Stefan Streichsbier, for a long discussion about the theory and for raising an objection that many intelligent people come up with.
  • Ted A. Human (a.k.a. a.rambler on Discord), for co-writing a (yet unreleased) FAQ for this ToE, despite disagreeing on its implications;
  • Joscha Bach, for being the only reputable scientist to engage in any kind of reasonable discussion following the release of the theory;
  • Charles Cooper, for continuously informing me about related concepts and writings;
  • … future credits will go to people who help refine the theory and formally derive its laws (e.g., figure out how exactly Gravity relates to the entropy of Physical objects, create hardware/software specifications for the simulator, or other tasks).




Hackers (1994) fan • Aspiring composer • Angel Investor • Art Collector • P(G(F)) = ∀y q(y, G(F))

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Bernhard Mueller

Bernhard Mueller

Hackers (1994) fan • Aspiring composer • Angel Investor • Art Collector • P(G(F)) = ∀y q(y, G(F))

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