The Holographic Universe as Explained by the CIA

Our reality could be a three-dimensional projection of a two-dimensional world, where time travel is really possible.

Zac Whelan
By Zac Whelan
7 Min Read
The Holographic Universe as Explained by the CIA
Image: Freepik

As the contemporary laws of physics would have us believe, we all exist in a four-dimensional universe; three dimensions of space and one of time. Otherwise known as the 3+1 dimensional universe.  Theoretical physicists have spent decades arguing over and theorising possible answers to one question: what is the nature of these four dimensions? And not only have academics attempted to tackle this question but the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) too.

A declassified 1983 study titled “Analysis and Assessment of Gateway Process,” funded by the CIA shows the US Government once attempted to research “altered states of consciousness,” using brain hemispheric synchronisation, or “Hemi-Sync” techniques. Their goal? To escape the “restrictions of time and space” and to “gain access to the various levels of intuitive knowledge which the universe offers,” the study authors wrote.

Further analysis of the paper indicates the CIA was also dabbling with an earlier version of the holographic universe theory. “Energy creates, stores and retrieves meaning in the universe by projecting or expanding at certain frequencies in a three-dimensional mode that creates a living pattern called a hologram,” the study authors wrote.

“Holograms are capable of encoding so much detail… For example, it is possible to take a holographic projection of a glass of swamp water and view it under magnification to see small organisms not visible to the naked eye.”

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Obviously — this sounds completely crazy. But as it turns out, the CIA were onto something; something big. And contemporary theoretical physicists say the holographic universe theory is not only entirely possible but a probable explanation for our universe at large.

The Holographic Principle

The holographic principle, first proposed by Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist Gerard ‘t Hooft, is one of many theoretical explanations of our reality. The universe is a hologram; “an image of reality coded on a distant two-dimensional surface,” infinitely far away, as Leonard Susskind, an American physicist, describes it.

Juan Marldacena, an Argentinian theoretical physicist, has since expanded on this theory with the most reliable form of holography to date, dubbed Ads/CFT correspondence, (Anti-de Sitter space/Conformal Field Theory correspondence). Ads/CFT, also known as Maldecena Duality or gauge/gravity quality, is a theoretical relationship between two alternative types of physical reality.

Ads, a quantum gravity theory, represents a 4-D hyperbolic plane with negative curvature; our 3-D physical reality, a type of geometry discovered by Merldacena and used by physicists to help model regions of spacetime. CFT, on the other hand, represents the lower dimensional surface from which our 3-D reality projects; a special type of quantum field theory that physicists use to understand the relationship between subatomic particles.

The significant difference between the two theories is gravity. The lower dimensional CFT experiences no gravity, whereas Ads, does. The best way to imagine it is by picturing two 2-D discs on either side of a tube. The space, or volume, in between, is our 3-D reality, with its information being encoded and projected from the 2-D discs.

“A 2-D surface that encodes the properties of the 3-D interior,” as PBS’s Space Time host Matt O’Dowd describes it.

The Holographic Universe as Explained by the CIA
A visualisation of (2+1)-dimensional anti-de Sitter space — Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

‘Now the fun begins’

The CIA’s Gateway Process methodology is about as controversial as it gets. And the deeper you look, the harder it becomes to believe it was a US Government funded study.

From holographic universe theory to the even more bizarre — the paper covers it all.

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Through the use of various brain wave manipulation techniques detailed throughout the paper, the study authors claim a range of metaphysical abilities is also possible that have “a sound, rational basis in terms of physical science parameters.”

These abilities include out-of-body movement, colour breathing, interdimensional travel and even time travel, dubbed “Focus 15: Travel into the Past.”

“Focus 15 is a very advanced state and is extremely difficult to achieve,” they wrote. Adding, “probably less than five percent of all participants in any given Gateway Experience actually fully achieve the Focus 15 state.”

But future time travel is where it starts to get really interesting, dubbed the “Focus 21” state.

“The last and most advanced of all the Focus states associated with the Gateway training program involves movement outside of the boundaries of time-space as in Focus 15 but with attention to discovering the future rather than the past.”

“The individual who has achieved this state has reached a truly advanced level. Except in unusual circumstances, it is probably not attainable except by those who have conditioned themselves through long application of meditation or by those who have practised… for a period of months if not years.”


The CIA paper not only makes for some entertaining reading but opens the door to alternative ways of visualising and understanding the nature of our universe. Are we really just a simulated three-dimensional hologram projected from a two-dimensional screen in some alien’s apartment? Possibly. But that sounds like a question better left to the psychonauts of the world.

Stories of metaphysical phenomena do come to light every so often. But if the CIA were researching these topics in 1983, one can only imagine what they are dabbling in behind closed doors today.

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Zac Whelan
Posted by Zac Whelan Founder & CEO at CONTX Media
Zac Whelan, an Australian art, science and technology lover, spends his spare time drinking gin and pondering on how today's innovations will impact the world tomorrow. A business law graduate from the University of Western Australia, Zac has extensive experience in social media marketing, online journalism and avoiding sharks at the beach.
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