**Authors:** Armin Nikkhah Shirazi

Ever since quantum mechanics was first developed, it has been unclear what it really tells us about reality. A novel framework, based on 5 axioms, is presented here which offers an interpretation of quantum mechanics unlike any considered thus far: It is postulated that physical objects can exist in one of two distinct modes, based on whether they have an intrinsic actual spacetime history or not. If they do, their mode of existence is actual and they can be described by classical physics. If they do not, then their mode of existence is called actualizable and they must be described in terms of an equal-weight superposition of all possible actualizable (not actual) histories. The distinction is based on an axiom according to which there exists a limit in which spacetime reduces to a one-dimension reduced version, called areatime, and that objects which merely actualizably exist in spacetime actually exist in areatime. The operational comparison of the passage of time for such objects to the passage of time for a spacetime observer is postulated to be made possible by what is called an angular dual bilateral symmetry. This symmetry can be decomposed into the superposition of two imaginary phase angles of opposite sign. To mathematically describe the spacetime manifestation of objects which actually exist in areatime, each actualizable spacetime history is associated with an actualizable path, which in turn is associated with the imaginary phases. For a single free particle, the complex exponent is identified with a term proportional to its relativistic action, thus recovering the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics. Although based on some highly unfamiliar ideas, this framework appears to render at least some of the usual mysteries connected with quantum mechanics amenable to simple conceptual understanding. It also appears to connect the foundations of quantum theory to the foundation of the special theory of relativity while clarifying its relationship to the general theory of relativity and yields a testable prediction about a type of experiment, as yet unperformed, which under the current paradigm is utterly unexpected, namely, that the gravitational field of radiation is zero. The paper concludes with some speculations about how the theory may be extended to a metatheory of nature.

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[v1] 7 Oct 2011

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