The following model of the universe does not have a very good reputation. “Real” physicists want to roll their eyes. While I can’t provide any serious math to back up any of the musings that follow, the concept feels right. Perhaps it just hasn’t been explained adequately or developed far enough.
The nature of fractals is that their structure is similar at all scales. Physical features will look alike if viewed up-close or from afar. That is the basis for this model. The universe is, at some inconceivable scale, a photon or quanta.
Usually when describing this “model” stars and solar systems are equated to atoms. I’d rather avoid the pitfall of trying to identify subatomic particles with astronomical objects. Instead, let’s just say that scale is infinite in all directions. That means that one could go up and out infinitely or down and in infinitely. Further, that the essential structures one encounters along the way remain fundamentally the same.
That leaves us with our known universe, the one generated by the Big Bang, as not the final limitation. There is “more” beyond it but the scale is one that we don’t usually discuss and needs to be defined later. And it leaves us with an infinite inner-space where physicists hunt for quarks, muons, and other elementary particles. This space too is not a final “level” but continues on infinitely. It is in this inner space that quantum effects operate.
One of the most nagging questions about quantum effects are why don’t they appear to have an effect on us at the scale in which we live? No one experiences quantum entanglement yet particles as large as atoms do. Are quantum effects experienced at other scales? Apparently, the answer is yes. Scientists are puzzled by the first moments before the Big Bang, when the singularity was an undefined point of infinite potential. Quantum theory does not account for such a singularity.
It then makes more sense to say that it was a quantum system, as it is today. If the “singularity” wasn’t truly that but as photons are, “relative to our scale”, quantum objects, then it existed in that yet-to-be-defined scale of the super universe. There it was subject to the same or similar physics that govern our photons.
So now we have quantum effects at both ends of the stretch of scale we can observe. I believe that quantum effects are present at our scale too. The reason we cannot detect them is that we are “within” them. After all, so much of the universe is an illusion. Matter is energy yet we are very solid objects. Because we cannot perceive the energy that makes us up is not to deny it. Similarly, there may be quantum effects at work on our scale but our perception of them is limited by the necessity of living within it. At some level we are inside the illusion, a part of it and that prevents us from seeing it as an observer at another scale would.
My final observation about the implications of this fractal model of the universe is that if the universe is a quantum system then it is both a particle and a wave. It was then and it is now.
Scale Is Everything
Despite appearances the universe has only a few tricks with which to generate itself. It has that most fundamental building block, the quanta and it has scale. And that’s about it. Fortunately, it has literally, an infinite supply of these two resources. Using an infinite number of quanta at an infinite set of scales you achieve universe.
This leads me to believe that, since all the forms are similar in appearance except for their scale then what we call the Universe is a scaled quanta and that which we (at our scale) call a quanta is a universe.