"‘In the beginning, He created...’, or an informational black hole

Chapter 7 of the essay 'The Kabbalah of Information on Freedom of Choice, Tzimtzum, and the Physics of Spacetime'

Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al. (photo credit: screenshot)
Event Horizon Telescope collaboration et al.
(photo credit: screenshot)
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According to the Kabbalah of Information, 'in the beginning [G-d] created information, Creation is an integral informational space within which our evolution unfolds' (Ratzo V'Shov).
Hence the author believes that the laws of Creation are universal for all its domains and can be expressed in terms of the concept of information.
It from Bit
The greatest advocate of the idea that information is the basis of reality was John Archibald Wheeler, an outstanding physicist of the 20th century, who introduced the 'it-from-bit' principle. He expressed his ideas most fully in his book At Home in the Universe. You can find below a few excerpts clarifying Wheeler’s position.
Wheeler's manifesto as follows: 'I, like other searchers, attempt formulation after formulation of the central issues and here presents a wider overview, taking for working hypothesis the most effective one that has survived this winnowing: It from Bit. Otherwise put, every it – every particle, every field of force, even the spacetime continuum itself – derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely – even if in some contexts indirectly –  from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes or no questions, binary choices, bits.
It from Bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that what we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.'
Wheeler further writes, 'Because what we call existence is an information-theoretic entity. But how come existence? Its as bits, yes; and physics as information, yes; but whose information?'
Let me highlight the final, extremely important part of this quote: ‘Whose information?’ Wheeler proceeds to ask questions: 'Will we someday understand time and space and all the other features that distinguish physics – and existence itself – as the similarly self-generated organs of a self-synthesized information system?' While fully agreeing with Wheeler's concept, the author contends that the concept 'self-synthesized' is fundamentally wrong. In the conclusion of his book Wheeler formulates his vision of the evolution of physics:
1) We need to build physics on the foundation of informational bits.
2) We need to express quantum theory and Einstein's theory in the language of the bits.
Wheeler goes on to formulate the ultimate objective of the program, 'what we call existence, we will know better what we mean both by bit and by existence.'
The Informational Black Hole

Black Holes
Black Holes are unique objects in our Universe. A Black Hole is a region of spacetime in which gravity is so strong that nothing – no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light – can escape it. All particles of matter falling into a Black Hole disappear permanently. In fact, spacetime also disappears in a Black Hole. The law of conservation of baryon and lepton numbers ceases to apply; only gravity remains.
The No-Hair Theorem states that a Black Hole is characterized only by mass, electric charge and angular momentum.
The boundary of a Black Hole is a surface of points of no return, known as the 'event horizon'. The distance between the centre of a black hole and its event horizon, called the Schwarzschild Radius, is proportional to the Black Hole's mass.
Experimental data on black holes are extremely scarce. In fact, they are limited to a few photographic images of the black hole ring in Galaxy M87.
A significant step forward confirming the existence of black holes, was the detection of gravitational waves, which were the result of the merger of two black holes, im the Ligo experiment. The existence of gravitational waves was predicted by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity.
It is important to note that, despite a large number of theoretical studies, there is no consensus among scientists on the structure and properties of black holes.
According to the GTR, there is a singularity in a Black Hole where spacetime ceases to exist. The very concept of singularity is an insurmountable challenge to understand. This raises a question: if a singularity is where spacetime ceases to exist, then where is it located? It should be noted here that some scholars deem the prediction of singularity to constitute a fact that testifies to the inapplicability of General Relativity under certain extreme circumstances. Other scholars maintain that singularities exist and offer a rare opportunity for research in a new, hitherto unknown direction.
There are three approaches in physics on how to define a singularity in a Black Hole:
1) ‘Incomplete path.’ What is meant here is that spacetime contains certain paths that cannot be completed.
2) ‘Missing points.’ A singularity is interpreted as a region devoid of spacetime points.
3) Singularity is a spacetime curvature pathology.
It is extremely important to bear in mind that the 'maximality' of spacetime is a necessary for the existence of singularities. This means that spacetime has to be 'maximally extended' – that is, not to be part of a greater spacetime. Another critically important point known as the Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis states that there is no such thing as a 'naked' singularity. In reality, a singularity in a black hole is always 'hidden' behind the event horizon, so it is unable to destroy all spacetime. Both these points are extremely important.
Ein Sof – the Only Singularity
The Infinite Being (Ein Sof) in His Essence – unto Himself and unto His Creation – is the fundamental concept of relativity in Kabbalah. The concept of Ein Sof was first introduced by Isaac the Blind, one of the originators of the modern Kabbalah, and his disciple Azriel of Gerona.
The concept of the Infinite Being in His Essence (Ein Sof) transcends human understanding entirely, He is unknowable. He has no attributes.
We encounter several names of G-d in the Torah: YHVH, El-him, El, Ad-nai and others. They all express manifestations of Ein Sof in Creation. And yet, it is claimed that neither the Written nor the Oral Torah contain any references to the Infinite Being in His Essence. However, that is not the case.
In his commentary on the Book of Formation, Sefer Yetzirah, Aryeh Kaplan cites the opinion of early Kabbalah scholars, attesting a reference to Ein Sof in the very first line of the Torah. Their opinion is substantiated by the fact that the word 'He' is frequently omitted in Hebrew. With that in mind, the first line of the Torah may be read as, 'In the beginning [He – Ein Sof] created El-him, along with the heaven and the earth.' In this reading, El-him denotes the quality of Gevurah (contraction, concealment), while heaven and earth stand for information. Therefore, we can conclude that the process of the Tzimtzum, which we have discussed above and will discuss further on, is referred to in the very first line of the Torah.
The first verse of Sefer Yetzirah reads, 'With thirty-two mystical paths of Wisdom [He — Ein Sof] engraved Yah’.
Here, the name Yah is associated with one of the Sefirot, Chokhmah (Wisdom), and the word 'engraved' (chakak in Hebrew), in the opinion of Aryeh Kaplan, characterizes a certain withdrawal of materials and derives from the words 'chok' and 'chukah', meaning 'law' or 'decree'. The essence of any law or rule is to remove some of the individual's freedom of action. Aryeh Kaplan argues that the first line of Sefer Yetzirah refers to the process of the Tzimtzum, and the writer hereof fully agrees. Following our brief revisitation of Kabbalah, let us return to the concept of 'maximal extendedness of spacetime', which is the prerequisite of singularity.
The author contends that the condition of maximality is inapplicable to the spacetime of our Universe. Creation is a hierarchy of informational realms, which differ in their order and the level of concealment of the information of Almighty. Therefore, the entire Creation and each individual realm incorporate the concept of spacetime, from our physical world, Asiyah, through the worlds of Yetzirah, Beriyah and Atzilut, all the way to Ein Sof.
Thus, only the Ein Sof is maximal, and Ein Sof is the only singularity in the entirety of Creation.

From this standpoint, a Black Hole singularity is not truly a singularity. Rather, failing to fulfil the condition of 'maximality', it represents a kind of a borderline state between the spacetime of the world of Asiyah and that of the world of Yetzirah.
Before we seek further understanding of the informational essence of Creation, let us invoke science once again.
Lost Information
Jacob Bekenstein, a theoretical physicist, tremendously enriched the understanding of the structure and properties of Black Holes by showing that black holes are in fact thermodynamic entities.
Bekenstein showed that a Black Hole has an entropy that is proportional to the surface area of its event horizon. In its turn, the surface area of a Black Hole event horizon is proportional to the Schwarzschild radius (the distance between the centre of a Black Hole and its event horizon), and the Schwarzschild radius is proportional to the Black Hole’s mass. Therefore, the entropy of a Black Hole is proportional to its mass.
On the other hand, the essence of a Black Hole’s entropy is the amount of information lost in it.
In his book At Home in the Universe, Wheeler writes, ‘...the Bekenstein number ... tells us the number of ... bits that would be required to specify in all detail the configuration of the constituents out of which the black hole was put together. Entropy is a measure of lost information.'
There are no clear definitions for concepts such as mass, energy or matter in physics.
Bearing in mind that the entropy of a Black Hole (i.e., the quantity of information lost) is proportional to its mass, I can hypothesize that the physical concept of mass (energy) may be defined as 'quantity of information'.
Bekenstein showed that for every region of space enclosed within an area S there exists a maximum entropy value that equals the entropy of a Black Hole, in relation to which S is the area of the event horizon. Hence, the following conclusion can be drawn: since maximum entropy equals the entropy of the Black Hole, defined by its surface area (Schwarzschild Radius), and, eventually, by its mass, then any distance in space may be expressed in terms of the mass of a black hole (maximum quantity of information within the given space), in relation to which that distance constitutes its Schwarzschild Radius.
Another crucial implication carried by the notion of maximum entropy is the absence of infinite divisibility. This corollary is in tune both with the ideas of quantum gravity and the positions of Judaism. In his book The Guide for the Perplexed, Maimonides writes, ‘There are no infinite magnitudes, and there are no infinite amounts of finite magnitudes’. According to Kabbalah, all Creation is finite, except Ein Sof.
The reader may wish to pose a legitimate question: how do the positions presented above relate to the issue of informational space and freedom of choice?
In my opinion, they are closely related.
The Informational Black Hole in the Creation
The known properties of black holes suggest that an observer on the event horizon would be able to see all 'objects' falling into the black hole.  However, once the 'object' passes the event horizon, it is lost irretrievably, the process cannot be reversed, and information exchange with the 'object' ceases.  Information about the objects remains in the observer's memory.
We can describe our evolution in the informational space in a similar way. At every moment, we receive information from the future, which irreversibly turns into the past but is retained in our memory.
Thus, we are always on the event horizon of an information black hole that constantly draws information from the future.
The information black hole makes up the entirety of the information from the moment of the act of Creation until now and is constantly expanding.
This process is as irreversible as the swallowing-up of 'objects' by a physical black hole.
The only absolute centre of gravity in the information black hole of Creation is Ein Sof.  Here we can see a full-fledged analogy to the Cosmic Censorship Hypothesis, which speaks of the concealment of a singularity behind the event horizon.
The 'Informational Magnitude' of Creation
The analogy is as follows: to give Creation the opportunity to be manifested, Ein Sof, during the second stage of the Tzimtzum, concealed information about Himself behind the event horizon which, according to the Kabbalah of the Rabbi Isaac Luria, may be conceived as the boundary of the 'hollow' space (Tehiruh) thus formed.
A similar idea was expressed by Aryeh Kaplan in his commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah. Inter alia, he writes, “The truncation of the Divine Essence did not occur in physical space, but rather, in conceptual space.  It is 'hollow' insofar as it contains the potential for information but not actual information.”  This writer does not quite agree with this statement; indeed, the absence of information is also information.
In the light of the above, the author considers it possible to rethink the Tzimtzum process within the conceptual framework of the Kabbalah of Information.
Let us investigate the Tzimtzum process step by step.
1) 'Know that before any emanations were emanated or any creations created there was one simple supernal Light that filled all existence.' This stage corresponds to unlimited dissemination, which in Kabbalah corresponds to an act of Chesed.
2) '...He constricted His Infinite Essence to the point at the centre, in the very centre of His light. ... So that there remained a void, a hollow empty space (Tehiruh).' This stage corresponds to the act of Gevurah (contraction, concealment).  This writer shares the opinion of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi that the notion of 'hollow space' should be interpreted as space wherein the information of En Sof was concealed.
3) '...He emitted a single straight ray of light from His infinite surrounding light, from above to below, into the void. This ray descended in stages into the vacated space. The upper extremity of the ray touched the infinite light of the Ohr Ein Sof, and the lower extremity was in the void.'  This stage corresponds to a limited act of Chesed.
The Kabbalah of Information's perspective on the Tzimtzum process:
1) The emitted ray (Kav HaMidah) was finite, delineating the metrics and the size of the informational space of the entire Creation – its upper extremity corresponds to the infinite disclosure of the Ein Sof's information, while its bottom extremity corresponds to finite, minimal disclosure.
2) At the same time, the ray served as a channel through which all information of Creation was formed and actualized.
3) From the very first moment of Creation, the actualized information went beyond the event horizon into the atemporal area (the past). It can be concluded from this that the formed space (Tehiruh) in terms of its information capacity matches the maximum amount of information in Creation, as planned by Ein Sof.
In other words, from the very first instant of Creation, the action of Ein Sof, which is an act of Gevurah, caused the rise and subsequent expansion in (informational) volume of the information black hole, in which the amount of information absorbed may not exceed the total informational capacity of the Tehiruh.
The model was thus set for the informational space of Creation and the information pulsations: Chesed-Gevurah-Chesed-Gevurah.
The above leads us to the conclusion that the parameters of Creation were set in its first instant: the degree of concealment of information of Ein Sof, defined by the ray (Kav HaMidah), and its maximum information capacity, defined by the hollow space formed (Tehiruh).  This is the vantage point from which we ought to view our evolution in the informational space, the fixation of the future, backwards causation and matters of freedom of choice.
The reader may certainly wonder to what extent it is legitimate to extrapolate our knowledge of the Universe unto all Creation or, conversely, deduce the laws of our Universe from the provisions of Kabbalah.  It is my conviction that the Torah and science are mutually complementary instruments of learning, given to us by HaShem.
Commenting on a passage on the Great Deluge in the Zohar, “...and the heavenly and earthly springs debouched,” the seventh Rebbe of Chabad Lubavitch writes that the 'heavenly springs' denote the Torah and the 'earthly springs' are our scientific knowledge. Only the conflation of the two will pave the way for the Mashiach.
It is also relevant to recall the saying of the sages: 'As below, so above.’
This writer contends that Creation is a single informational space with preset dimensionality and uniform universal laws, which have identical structure throughout Creation.

< See chapter 6 | Continue to chapter 8 >  | See all chapters
To purchase Eduard Shyfrin’s book ‘From Infinity to Man: The Fundamental Ideas of Kabbalah Within the Framework of Information Theory and Quantum Physics’ please click here.   
To purchase Eduard Shyfrin’s book ‘Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind’ please click here.