Just over twenty years ago I made what at first seemed like a
small discovery: a computer experiment of mine showed something
I did not expect. But the more I investigated, the more I realized
that what I had seen was the beginning of a crack in the very
foundations of existing science, and a first clue towards a whole
new kind of science.
This book is the culmination of nearly twenty years of work
that I have done to develop that new kind of science. I had never
expected it would take anything like as long, but I have discovered
vastly more than I ever thought possible, and in fact what I have
done now touches almost every existing area of science, and quite
a bit besides.
In the early years, I did as I had done before as a scientist,
and published accounts of my ongoing work in the scientific literature.
But although what I wrote seemed to be very well received, I gradually
came to realize that technical papers scattered across the journals
of all sorts of fields could never successfully communicate the
kind of major new intellectual structure that I seemed to be beginning
So I resolved just to keep working quietly until I had finished,
and was ready to present everything in a single coherent way.
Fifteen years later this book is the result. And with it my hope
is to share what I have done with as wide a range of scientists
and non-scientists as possible. In modern times it has been almost
unheard of for genuinely new science to be presented for the first
time in a book that can be read by non-scientists. For progress
in science has mostly tended to take place in small steps that
cannot reasonably be explained without relying on specialized
technical knowledge of what has gone before.
But to develop the new kind of science that I describe in this
book I have had no choice but to take several large steps at once,
and in doing so I have mostly ended up having to start from scratch--with
new ideas and new methods that ultimately depend very little on
what has gone before. In some ways it might have been easier for
me to present what I have done in some kind of new technical formalism.
But instead I have chosen to spend the effort to take things to
the point where they are clear enough to be explained quite fully
just in ordinary language and pictures.
Unfortunately, however, this will no doubt mean that there are
some--particularly from the existing sciences--who will at first
assume that their existing technical knowledge must somehow already
cover whatever is in this book. And a few, I fear, will stop at
that point, and choose to learn no more. But many, I hope, will
at least look at the book long enough to begin to be surprised
by what it actually says.
At first probably they will think that parts of it cannot possibly
be correct--for they seem so at odds with existing science. And
indeed if I myself were just to pick up this book today without
having spent the past twenty years thinking about its contents,
I have little doubt that I too would not believe many of the things
But the computer experiments on which the science in the book
is ultimately based are easy to check on any modern computer.
And almost all the arguments in the book--while often not conceptually
simple--require no specialized scientific or other knowledge to
Yet it has certainly taken me years to come to terms with the
conclusions I have reached. And while I hope that all the effort
I have put into presentation in this book will make it easier
for others, I do not expect it to be a quick process. For to absorb
in any real way what the book has to say requires a fairly major
shift in intuition and thinking.
But the most important first step, I believe, is just to recognize
what is involved. For though there are connections of all sorts,
this book is first and foremost about a fundamentally new intellectual
structure, that needs to be understood in its own terms, and cannot
reasonably be fit into any existing framework.
It has been a great challenge for me to capture the things I
have discovered over the past twenty years in a book of manageable
size. And to do so I have often ended up compressing into a page
or even a paragraph the essence of what a chapter or even a book
could have been written about.
In the quarter million or so words of the main text my emphasis
is on communicating the core of my ideas and discoveries--as well
as indicating a little of how I came to them. The last three hundred
or so pages of the book--themselves another quarter million or
so words--supplement the main text with many historical and technical
notes, and also summarize more discoveries. The notes that begin
on page 849 address some specific issues about reading this book.
Throughout the book my primary concern is with basic science
and fundamental issues. But building on the foundations in the
book there are a vast array of applications--both conceptual and
practical--that can now be developed. No doubt some will come
quickly. But most will probably take decades to emerge. Yet in
time I expect that the ideas of this book will come to pervade
not only science and technology but also many areas of general
thinking. And with this its methods will eventually become a standard
part of education--much as mathematics is today. And in the end
most of what now seems surprising and remarkable in the book will
come to seem familiar and commonplace.
But for me what has always been most important is the actual
process of discovery. For I know of nothing as profoundly exciting
as to glimpse for the first time some new and basic truth. And
now that I have finished building the intellectual structure that
I describe in this book it is my hope that those who read these
words can share in the excitement I have had in making the discoveries
that were involved.