formalism remain mysterious, it has increasingly come to be believed that any fundamental theory of physics must somehow be based on it.
Yet the kinds of programs I have discussed in this book are not in any obvious way set up to fit in with this formalism. But as we have seen a great many times in the course of the book, what emerges from a program can be very different from what is obvious in its underlying rules. And in fact it is my strong suspicion that the kinds of programs that I have discussed in the past few sections will actually in the end turn out to show many if not all the key features of quantum theory.
To see this, however, will not be easy. For the kinds of constructs that are emphasized in the standard formalism of quantum theory are very different from those immediately visible in the programs I have discussed. And ultimately the only reliable way to make contact will probably be to set up rather complete and realistic models of experiments—then gradually to see how limits and idealizations of these manage to match what is expected from the standard formalism. Yet from what we have seen in this chapter and earlier in this book there are already some encouraging signs that one can identify.
At first, though, things might not seem promising. For my model of particles such as electrons being persistent structures in a network might initially seem to imply that such particles are somehow definite objects just like ones familiar from everyday experience. But there are all sorts of phenomena in quantum theory that seem to indicate that electrons do not in fact behave like ordinary objects that have definite properties independent of us making observations of them.
So how can this be consistent? The basic answer is just that a network which represents our whole universe must also include us as observers. And this means that there is no way that we can look at the network from the outside and see the electron as a definite object. Instead, anything we deduce about the electron must come from processes that explicitly go on inside the network.
But this is not just an issue in studying things like electrons: it is actually a completely general feature of the models I have discussed. And in fact, as we saw earlier in this chapter, it is what allows them to support meaningful notions of even such basic concepts as time. At a