Thomas W. Campbell
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, Marcus Arvan and others who hypothesize that reality is akin to a simulation generated by a computer (or peer-to-peer network according to Aravan), while Campbell contends reality evolved from a "digital big bang". These ideas are heavily influenced by the concepts of digital physics.
In 2017, Campbell et al. proposed several experiments aimed at testing the simulation hypothesis in their paper "On Testing the Simulation Theory". In 2018 they started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the experiments, which reached $236,590, more than the required sum of $150,000.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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".
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, and both fit comfortably within common experience and everyday scientific understanding.
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
- Brian Whitworth (2017). "The Physical World as a Virtual Reality" (PDF). quantum realism. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- "Marcus Arvan - Google Scholar Citations". scholar.google.com.
- "Scholar Citations By Google".
- 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.
- "Do we live in a Virtual Reality?". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
- ntrs.nasa.gov: Designing a Composable Geometric Toolkit for Versatility in Applications to Simulation Development (PDF)
- Thomas W. Campbell at Google Books
- MBTEVENTS (23 May 2010). "Tom Campbell and Dennis Mennerich Interview : Respect for All Life" – via YouTube.
- My Big Toe: Awakening, Discovery, Inner Workings: A Trilogy Unifying Philosophy, Physics, and Metaphysics Thomas W. Campbell at Google Books
- "Tom Campbell". YouTube.
- 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)
- "Donald D. Hoffman - University of California, Irvine". www.cogsci.uci.edu. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- Hoffman, Donald D. Consciousness and the Interface Theory of Perception (PDF). Retrieved 21 February 2019.