A while back I concocted a physics theory. It’s more likely mysticism dressed in physics terminology, but on the off chance there’s something to it…
I’m calling the theory ‘Observer Acceleration.’ OA posits that dark energy is observation of the universe. In other words, observation of the universe is accelerating expansion.
Observation by photon
Experiments have confirmed that observation affects quantum systems (double slit, Zeno, etc). I know this doesn’t mean observation by consciousness. It means interaction with another particle, like a photon—but if enough brains were using particles to collapse wave functions, it might impact the universe in a novel way.
Probably a coincidence
The emergence of life as far as we know was about 4 billion years ago. Accelerated expansion began 5 billion years ago. The universe is 13.8 billion years old.
A far-reaching effect
Quantum entanglement allows for instantaneous data transmission across vast distances. This could allow for a unified field of observation.
Collapsing the wave function
If the entire universe were a wave function, the ‘collapse’ of that wave function might look like accelerated expansion.
Dark energy as a kind of reflection—accelerated expansion reflecting accumulated knowledge and awareness. As brains gather knowledge of the cosmos, the universe responds with greater complexity. Dark energy as an information field.
The mystic circle is incomplete
Consider a circular continuum where the quantum scale, or something below it, comes back around to the macro scale, in terms of observer effects. In that gap is consciousness. Is consciousness quantum? Are there particles of it? Discrete, disconnected brain-states? Everything is quantum, supposedly. There are even particles of spacetime.
In my fiction, so-called “higher” consciousness imparts greater acceleration to the cosmos. Human observation, and/or knowledge-gathering, takes the lion’s share of the blame—but that’s just fiction. I don’t really believe in higher/lower consciousness. If OA was real, a slug might impart as much acceleration as a dolphin.
I did get to wondering if different kinds of observation had different effects. Is gazing at your toenail on par with scientific study or stargazing? What about reading a book? Smelling a fart?
I came up with OA in 2017 or ’18, I think. It soon crept into various sci-fi musings. The first of these to be published was my short story ‘Salvage’ (Interzone Jan/Feb 2020, The Year’s Top Hard Science Fiction Stories #5 edited by Allan Kaster, & The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume 6 edited by Neil Clarke).
I’ll be using OA once more in fiction before I move on with my life.