Thomas W. Campbell

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Thomas Warren Campbell (December 9, 1944) is a physicist, lecturer, and author of the My Big T.O.E. (Theory of Everything) trilogy, a work that claims to unify general relativity, quantum mechanics, and metaphysics along with the origins of consciousness. The work is based on the simulation argument, which posits that reality is both virtual and subjective. Campbell agrees with other notable philosophers and scientists including Hans Moravec, Brian Whitworth, [1] Marcus Arvan [2] and others who hypothesize that reality is akin to a simulation generated by a computer (or peer-to-peer network according to Aravan), [3] while Campbell contends reality evolved from a "digital big bang". These ideas are heavily influenced by the concepts of digital physics.

General relativity Einsteins theory of gravitation as curved spacetime

General relativity (GR), also known as the general theory of relativity or (GTR), is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1915 and the current description of gravitation in modern physics. General relativity generalizes special relativity and refines Newton's law of universal gravitation, providing a unified description of gravity as a geometric property of space and time, or spacetime. In particular, the curvature of spacetime is directly related to the energy and momentum of whatever matter and radiation are present. The relation is specified by the Einstein field equations, a system of partial differential equations.

Quantum mechanics branch of physics that acts as an abstract framework formulating all the laws of nature

Quantum mechanics,, including quantum field theory, is a fundamental theory in physics which describes nature at the smallest – including atomic and subatomic – scales.

Metaphysics Branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of reality

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among [the study of] the natural". It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics.


In 2017, Campbell et al. proposed several experiments aimed at testing the simulation hypothesis in their paper "On Testing the Simulation Theory". [4] In 2018 they started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the experiments, which reached $236,590, more than the required sum of $150,000. [5]

Work with NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense

Campbell has had a long career as a scientist and physicist. He received a B.S. in Physics as well as an M.S. in Physics. His Ph.D. work specialized in Experimental Nuclear Physics with a thesis in low-energy nuclear collisions. [6] He worked as a systems analyst with U.S. Army technical intelligence for a decade before moving into the research and development of technology supporting defensive missile systems. Subsequently, he spent the better part of 30 years working within the U.S. missile defense community as a contractor to the Department of Defense. [6] Campbell most recently worked for NASA within the Ares I program (follow-on to the Shuttle) assessing and solving problems of risk and vulnerability to insure mission and crew survivability and success. [6]

Technical Intelligence (TECHINT) is intelligence about weapons and equipment used by the armed forces of foreign nations. The related term, scientific and technical intelligence, addresses information collected or analyzed about the broad range of foreign science, technology, and weapon systems.

United States Department of Defense United States federal executive department

The United States Department of Defense is an executive branch department of the federal government charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government directly related to national security and the United States Armed Forces. The DoD is the largest employer in the world, with nearly 1.3 million active-duty service members as of 2016. More employees include over 826,000 National Guard and Reservists from the armed forces, and over 732,000 civilians bringing the total to over 2.8 million employees. Headquartered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., the DoD's stated mission is to provide "the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security".

NASA US government agency responsible for civilian space programs, and aeronautical and aerospace research

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

Work with Robert Monroe

After receiving his master's degree in physics in 1968, Campbell commenced on a Ph.D. program with a specialization in experimental nuclear physics. [6] During this time, Campbell enrolled in a Transcendental Meditation class and discovered an aptitude for it, a technique he says he would employ to discover errors in his computer code while working for U.S. Army Intelligence.[citation needed] Around this time, Campbell was introduced to Robert Monroe’s book, Journeys Out Of The Body, on out-of-body experiences. Upon learning that Monroe was looking for scientists to help him study altered states of consciousness, Campbell applied for the position and subsequently began working with Monroe at Monroe Laboratories. This research facility would evolve to become The Monroe Institute. Tom is the "TC physicist" described in Monroe's second book Far Journeys. [7] Both Campbell and electrical engineer Dennis Mennerich were instrumental in developing TMI's "Hemi-Sync" technology, based on the binaural beat method for creating specific altered states of consciousness within subjects. [8] Campbell believes his research with Monroe informed many of his insights into the nature of reality and mechanics of what he calls "the larger consciousness system".

Nuclear physics field of physics that deals with the structure and behavior of atomic nuclei

Nuclear physics is the field of physics that studies atomic nuclei and their constituents and interactions. Other forms of nuclear matter are also studied. Nuclear physics should not be confused with atomic physics, which studies the atom as a whole, including its electrons.

Transcendental Meditation silent mental practice of focus on a particular mantra to improve ones mind

Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of silent mantra meditation and less commonly to the organizations that constitute the Transcendental Meditation movement. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi created and introduced the TM technique and TM movement in India in the mid-1950s.

Computer code or program code is the set of instructions forming a computer program which is executed by a computer. It is one of two components of the software which runs on computer hardware, the other being the data.

My Big TOE (Theory of Everything)

The My Big TOE trilogy develops a complete derivation (in outline) of consciousness. This derivation begins with two assumptions and then proceeds to logically derive all the attributes, limitations, properties, qualities, and mechanics of consciousness – what it is, where it comes from, and how it works. The two assumptions are 1) that consciousness exists as a self-changing information system capable of evolving and 2) that evolution exists as a process of natural selection. Neither assumption is particularly remarkable, [9] and both fit comfortably within common experience and everyday scientific understanding. [9]

Natural selection Mechanism of evolution by differential survival and reproduction of individuals

Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the heritable traits characteristic of a population over generations. Charles Darwin popularised the term "natural selection", contrasting it with artificial selection, which in his view is intentional, whereas natural selection is not.

Since its publication, My Big Toe has garnered an international following with Campbell's videos, as of December 31, 2015 having had more than 2 million views on YouTube and 309 videos of his lectures, public appearances, interviews, and fireside chats explaining fundamentals, nuances, implications, and applications of his theory. He continues to lecture around the world, holding workshops on M.B.T., teaching workshops on the principles of simulation theory and speaking at conferences on the topic of consciousness. [10]

YouTube Video-sharing service owned by Google

YouTube is an American video-sharing platform headquartered in San Bruno, California. Three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—created the service in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google's subsidiaries.

Reception and criticism

Upon completion of My Big TOE, Campbell sent copies of the book to leading physicists, and fellow scientists, but received little response. This prompted Campbell to forgo enlisting support from "the top," in favor of reaching out to lay audiences as a better way to share and spread his ideas about consciousness and the nature of reality.[citation needed]

Similarity to work done by Donald Hoffman

Donald Hoffman is a cognitive scientist who has developed a theory he calls the multi-modal user interface (MMUI) theory of reality. [11] Like Campbell, he published a book laying out his ideas early in his career and has since spent much of his career promoting his theories. [12] Both theories draw on a simulation hypothesis of reality, both rely on conscious realism as an alternative foundation to physicalism and both theories rely on interpretive extrapolations of evolutionary theory. Additionally, both authors claim to have ways to test their theories. Campbell has put forth an experiment that he believes will show that reality is not what it seems. Donald Hoffman has done a variety of evolutionary simulations that he believes supports his own theory. [13]

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Theory of everything Hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics

A theory of everything, final theory, ultimate theory, or master theory is a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe. Finding a TOE is one of the major unsolved problems in physics. Over the past few centuries, two theoretical frameworks have been developed that, together, most closely resemble a TOE. These two theories upon which all modern physics rests are general relativity (GR) and quantum field theory (QFT). GR is a theoretical framework that only focuses on gravity for understanding the universe in regions of both large scale and high mass: stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, etc. On the other hand, QFT is a theoretical framework that only focuses on three non-gravitational forces for understanding the universe in regions of both small scale and low mass: sub-atomic particles, atoms, molecules, etc. QFT successfully implemented the Standard Model that describes the three non-gravitational forces -- strong, weak, and electromagnetic force -- as well as all observed elementary particles.

Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent, as opposed to that which is only imaginary. The term is also used to refer to the ontological status of things, indicating their existence. In physical terms, reality is the totality of the universe, known and unknown. Philosophical questions about the nature of reality or existence or being are considered under the rubric of ontology, which is a major branch of metaphysics in the Western philosophical tradition. Ontological questions also feature in diverse branches of philosophy, including the philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophical logic. These include questions about whether only physical objects are real, whether reality is fundamentally immaterial, whether hypothetical unobservable entities posited by scientific theories exist, whether God exists, whether numbers and other abstract objects exist, and whether possible worlds exist.

An interpretation of quantum mechanics is an attempt to explain how the mathematical theory of quantum mechanics "corresponds" to reality. Although quantum mechanics has held up to rigorous and extremely precise tests in an extraordinarily broad range of experiments, there exist a number of contending schools of thought over their interpretation. These views on interpretation differ on such fundamental questions as whether quantum mechanics is deterministic or random, which elements of quantum mechanics can be considered "real", and what is the nature of measurement, among other matters.

Philosophy of physics

In philosophy, philosophy of physics deals with conceptual and interpretational issues in modern physics, and often overlaps with research done by certain kinds of theoretical physicists. Philosophy of physics can be very broadly lumped into three main areas:

In physics, hidden variable theories are proposals to provide deterministic explanations of quantum mechanical phenomena, through the introduction of unobservable hypothetical entities. The existence of indeterminacy for some measurements is assumed as part of the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics; moreover, bounds for indeterminacy can be expressed in a quantitative form by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Brian Josephson Welsh Nobel Laureate in Physics

Brian David Josephson is a Welsh theoretical physicist and professor emeritus of physics at the University of Cambridge. Best known for his pioneering work on superconductivity and quantum tunnelling, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 for his prediction of the Josephson effect, made in 1962 when he was a 22-year-old PhD student at Cambridge University. Josephson is the only Welshman to have won a Nobel Prize in Physics. He shared the prize with physicists Leo Esaki and Ivar Giaever, who jointly received half the award for their own work on quantum tunnelling.

In physics and cosmology, digital physics is a collection of theoretical perspectives based on the premise that the universe is describable by information. It is a form of digital ontology about the physical reality. According to this theory, the universe can be conceived of as either the output of a deterministic or probabilistic computer program, a vast, digital computation device, or mathematically isomorphic to such a device.

Naïve realism philosophical theory of mind

In philosophy of mind, naïve realism, also known as direct realism, common sense realism or perceptual realism, is the idea that the senses provide us with direct awareness of objects as they really are. Objects obey the laws of physics and retain all their properties whether or not there is anyone to observe them. They are composed of matter, occupy space and have properties, such as size, shape, texture, smell, taste and colour, that are usually perceived correctly.

E. C. George Sudarshan Indian physicist

Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan was an Indian theoretical physicist and a professor at the University of Texas. Sudarshan has been credited with numerous contributions to the field of theoretical Physics including optical coherence, V-A theory, tachyons, quantum Zeno effect, open quantum system and Lindblad equation, spin–statistics theorem, non-invariance groups, positive maps of density matrices, quantum computation among others. His contributions include also relations between east and west, philosophy and religion.

<i>The Road to Reality</i> book by Roger Penrose

The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe is a book on modern physics by the British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, published in 2004. It covers the basics of the Standard Model of particle physics, discussing general relativity and quantum mechanics, and discusses the possible unification of these two theories.

Henry Pierce Stapp is an American mathematical physicist, known for his work in quantum mechanics, particularly the development of axiomatic S-matrix theory, the proofs of strong nonlocality properties, and the place of free will in the "orthodox" quantum mechanics of John von Neumann.

Bernard dEspagnat French physicist and philosopher

Bernard d'Espagnat was a French theoretical physicist, philosopher of science, and author, best known for his work on the nature of reality. Wigner-d'Espagnat inequality is partially named after him.

Quantum mysticism is a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence, spirituality, or mystical worldviews to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations. Quantum mysticism is considered by most scientists and philosophers to be pseudoscience or quackery.

<i>Programming the Universe</i> book by Seth Lloyd

Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes On the Cosmos is a 2006 popular science book by Seth Lloyd, professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The book proposes that the universe is a quantum computer, and advances in the understanding of physics may come from viewing entropy as a phenomenon of information, rather than simply thermodynamics. Lloyd also postulates that the universe can be fully simulated using a quantum computer; however, in the absence of a theory of quantum gravity, such a simulation is not yet possible.

The quantum mind or quantum consciousness is a group of hypotheses which proposes that classical mechanics cannot explain consciousness. It posits that quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may play an important part in the brain's function and could form the basis for an explanation of consciousness.

The simulation hypothesis or simulation theory proposes that all of reality, including the Earth and the universe, is in fact an artificial simulation, most likely a computer simulation. Some versions rely on the development of a simulated reality, a proposed technology that would seem realistic enough to convince its inhabitants the simulation was real. The hypothesis has been a central plot device of many science fiction stories and films.

Everything is all that exists; the opposite of nothing, or its complement. It is the totality of things relevant to some subject matter. Without expressed or implied limits, it may refer to anything. The Universe is everything that exists theoretically, though a multiverse may exist according to theoretical cosmology predictions. It may refer to an anthropocentric worldview, or the sum of human experience, history, and the human condition in general. Every object and entity is a part of everything, including all physical bodies and in some cases all abstract objects.

Quantum fiction is a literary genre that reflects modern experience of the material world and reality as influenced by quantum theory and new principles in quantum physics. The genre is not necessarily science-themed and blurs the line separating science fiction and fantasy into a broad scope of mainstream literature that transcends the mechanical model of science and involves the fantasy of human perception or imagination as realistic components affecting the every day physical world. Quantum fiction is characterized by the use of an element in quantum mechanics as a storytelling device. In quantum fiction, everyday life hinges on some aspect of the quantum nature of reality.

The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, also described as "consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]", is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement.

Quantum social science is an emerging field of interdisciplinary research which draws parallels between quantum physics and the social sciences. Although there is no settled consensus on a single approach, a unifying theme is that, while the social sciences have long modelled themselves on mechanistic science, they can learn much from quantum ideas such as complementarity and entanglement. Some authors are motivated by quantum mind theories that the brain, and therefore human interactions, are literally based on quantum processes, while others are more interested in taking advantage of the quantum toolkit to simulate social behaviours which elude classical treatment. Quantum ideas have been particularly influential in psychology, but are starting to affect other areas such as international relations and diplomacy in what one 2018 paper called a "quantum turn in the social sciences".


  1. Brian Whitworth (2017). "The Physical World as a Virtual Reality" (PDF). quantum realism . Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  2. "Marcus Arvan - Google Scholar Citations".
  3. "Scholar Citations By Google".
  4. Campbell, Tom; Owhadi, Houman; Sauvageau, Joe; Watkinson, David (June 17, 2017). "On Testing the Simulation Theory". International Journal of Quantum Foundations. 3 (3): 78–99.
  5. "Do we live in a Virtual Reality?". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Designing a Composable Geometric Toolkit for Versatility in Applications to Simulation Development (PDF)
  7. Thomas W. Campbell at Google Books
  8. MBTEVENTS (23 May 2010). "Tom Campbell and Dennis Mennerich Interview : Respect for All Life" via YouTube.
  9. 1 2 My Big Toe: Awakening, Discovery, Inner Workings: A Trilogy Unifying Philosophy, Physics, and Metaphysics Thomas W. Campbell at Google Books
  10. "Tom Campbell". YouTube.
  11. S. Dickinson, M. Tarr, A. Leonardis, B. Schiele (Eds.). Object categorization: Computer and human vision perspectives. Cambridge University Press. pp. 148–165.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  12. "Donald D. Hoffman - University of California, Irvine". Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  13. Hoffman, Donald D. Consciousness and the Interface Theory of Perception (PDF). Retrieved 21 February 2019.