6. SELF-EXCITED CIRCUIT
Wheeler’s vision of the universe is like a “self-excited circuit,” to use a metaphor from electronics. To say the universe is “self”-excited is to say it is not “other”-excited, which is to say that rather than depending upon an external agent, god or deity, the universe is self-creating and self-referential─i.e., able to refer to, reflect and act upon itself, and hence, endlessly re-create itself anew.
Seen as a self-excited and self-actualizing circuit, the physical universe bootstraps itself into existence, laws and all. As a self-excited circuit, the universe gives rise to observers who, in completing the circuit, potentially give meaningful reality to the universe. Wheeler says,
“The universe is to be compared to a circuit self-excited in this sense, that the universe gives birth to consciousness, and consciousness gives meaning to the universe.”