Science comes for reality, finally.

stephen marshall
8 min readJul 29, 2021
“We’ve made the rookie mistake of assuming that spacetime is the final reality.”

Professor Donald Hoffman is the undeniable front-runner in developing the scientific context for a paradigm shift in our understanding of reality. He equates our experiential realm — what we see, hear, taste, touch, smell — as akin to playing a video game like Grand Theft Auto.

Wherein we have an experiential layer that is easily comprehended by the human senses and navigable for all our wants and needs. But which is only the interface that lies ‘in front’ of the vast and complex computational sausage factory that generates it.

This is your brain on spacetime.

He has rooted his studies and theorem in evolutionary game theory and simulations which prove — through mathematical formulae — that historically, in evolutionary terms, this total mis-understanding of the nature of our ‘reality’ has been essential to our survival. As he writes in the Abstract for his 2014 paper The Origin of Time In Conscious Agents, the “interface theory of perception” proposes that:

Our perceptions are not windows on truth, but are more like the windows interface of a PC. The icons on the desktop of a PC allow us to use the computer without being distracted by irrelevant details about its internal structure and operation.

Similarly, our perceptions allow us to act adaptively in the world while being ignorant of its true structure.

Space-time is our species-specific desktop and physical objects are icons on that desktop. Space-time and physical objects are not insights into objective reality, but species-specific adaptations that allow us to survive and reproduce.

This requires a radical reformulation of our notion of the nature of objective reality…

Taking it further in a podcast with ZDogg (video embedded below), Hoffman says that in evolutionary terms “organisms that see reality as it actually is have lower odds of survival than organisms of equal complexity that see none of reality and are just tuned to fitness payoffs. In general, fitness payoffs destroy information about the structure of reality.”

For those of us who have been working — from a non-scientific basis — on the development of a new understanding of the actual operational nature of this spacetime reality, this has profound implications.


Because, we understand that humanity is locked into an extinction algorithm by the market and political authorities, and their proxies, which assert that we know all there is about reality and how to change it (voting, investing etc). And Hoffman’s theory offers a potential for accessing the ‘gears’ that generate our spacetime experience and working from the inside out — instead of the outside in as our current authorities prescribe. Which they do because it keeps us locked in a deterministic framework that they essentially manage and control.

As Hoffman rightly indicates during the podcast:

We’ve become Wizards at playing Grand Theft Auto (GTA). We’ve become stunningly good. We used to be really bad at playing our interface, and then we died. But over time, we’ve become wizards at GTA.

But now: I’m someone who discovers (our reality is just like) Grand Theft Auto; that it’s just a program on the screen, that you’re seeing. There’s all the circuits and software behind it, and they actually get access to the code. And they realize that they can hack the code. They can start to do stuff to Grand Theft Auto that the Wizards are going to go: “that is magical, I had no idea that you could do that.”

So the Wizards themselves will be left in the dust.

And that’s how this new level of seeing the conscious agents behind objective reality is going to open up a Pandora’s Box. It will be allowing us to get behind the screen and get into the source code of the game. And even change the parameters perhaps of space and time.

The technology that comes out of this is going to be truly truly stunning. All of our science and scientific tools have been about the interface and how it works. And we’ve been wonderful at that. The tools of science are up to the job of going beyond the interface and looking at this realm of conscious agents behind the interface and then reverse-engineering that whole thing and playing our interface.

So this is going to bring a lot of responsibility to us because once we understand the mapping from conscious agents into our space-time interface, we understand how to hack it, who knows what kind of technologies are going to open up.

It will leave current scientific technology in the dust. It is going to be a whole new level.


Historically, the study and illumination of the mechanisms which generate our experiential realm have been labeled and compartmentalized as ‘mystical’. The study and practice of accessing those mechanisms and manipulating reality have been known as ‘magic’, labeled heretical and punished barbarically.

It used to be torture and burnings, then ridicule and academic censure. Now they need us.

In this context, you can see why the past Authorities have done everything in their power to destroy any and all theorists or practitioners of magic and actual mysticism (not the banal and benign New Age kind), which they mostly did.

Or pushed it very far underground.

But with the failure of science to construct a viable theory of the nature of reality, we are now seeing unprecedented msm/scientific think pieces that are proposing new and entirely revolutionary ways of understanding reality. Just recently we saw this Salon piece on panpsychism which is another once-heretical theoretical deconstruction of our experiential reality (though one that Hoffman — who rooted his theory in mathematical theorem to fend off critiques — feels lacks scientific rooting). Or this, from Scientific American, which places the conundrum of quantum physics next to Plato’s Cave — though predictably mocking the ancient philosopher for his certainty about the nature of reality — which my readers know is one of my favorite mystical narratives.

Hence my renewed excitement about Hoffman, who I have been reading for years and who places himself outside of the regressive scientific academy that has captured his peers.

For thousands of years, we’ve only had words. Lectures. But no mathematically precise statements and predictions. Why shouldn’t we use the best tools of understanding that we have — namely the scientific method — to address the questions that are the most important to us as human beings?

Science is up to the task.

So what I want to see is an interaction between the genuine ideas that the spiritual traditions that come up with, and the new methods of science that take those ideas, make them absolutely precise, make rigorous predictions that we can test, and then go back and forth. That’s how we find out which of our ideas are the genuine insights on which were just nonsense.

If you are awakening to the dire truth: that we are responding to civilizational threats in highly authoritarian/deterministic ways that only serve to edify current desktop-paradigm hierarchies, this is your wake up call.

There is a vast new territory opening to those who authentically want to CHANGE reality instead of simply modifying our relation it with incremental adaptations that never impact the actual mechanism that generates it, while increasingly empowering those authorities who are most threatened by a paradigm shift that would enfranchise all people in a new level of agency and autonomy and… yes, reality creation.

For me, the impetus for this work is rooted in the learning or discovery of liberationist modalities. I am always surprised that we don’t see more (r)evolutionary movements investigating these scientific approaches to engineering new social, political, and economic outcomes for their people. Except of course, the Black Quantum Futurists, who are my absolute heroes and definitely on the bleeding edge of quantum liberationism.

[Which I write about 👇🏽]

So… are you going to be a muggle or a wizard?

What was once a fanciful and mostly rhetorical question is increasingly one we all need to consider as the time for deep system change moves toward us. As my readers know, this is something I relate to the surfacing hyperobject that is the quantum society.

In my view — as a neo-animist — we are indeed living in a profoundly complex and beautifully-rendered interface that overlays and masks the quantum engine that generates our reality. But this interface is not just a desktop, it is a sentient layer. Call it (big N) Nature. As the mystics have long told us, it has volition and purpose and is coded with its own set of game mechanics designed to entice its players to a new level of self- and ontological-awareness.

What is more beautiful than the idea of a cosmic mother urging her offspring keystone species to level up through the simulation of an experiential realm that is unraveling in cataclysmic proportions?

Our recorded history is one great evolutionary thrust, which has brought us to this moment of profound crisis but also, as Hoffman repeats ad nauseum, of great potential. Science has been miraculous in its applications — it got us this far, and (amazingly) with a vastly limited understanding the ‘meta workings’ of our world — and it is perfectly staged to embolden a new generation of pioneers who have the incentive to break from the dogmas of scientism and embrace an entirely new approach to decoding our world. This is our moment. We can either remain in our Cartesian mode and die with those ancient certainties… or break out of the orthodoxies of the old world to embrace a new approach that finally unites the false duality of science and spirituality, into a hyper-modern scientific spirituality, to solve the great mystery of our world.

And in so doing, secure our future within it.

GK 55

To be continued…



stephen marshall

system architect • quantum socialist • wonder junkie