Sunday, August 19, 2007

Living in the Fifth Dimension

We live in the fifth dimension. Kaluza proved it way back in 1919, and Einstein eventually agreed: the field equations proposed by Einstein and Maxwell for gravity and light can be united if they are calculated in the fifth dimension. But what does that mean to us? And why do most of us continue to believe that our universe exists within four rather than five dimensions?

Quantum mechanics tells us that the building blocks that create our reality are wavefunctions being observed in certain states. At the quantum level, these particles can exist simultaneously in multiple states, but by the time we view our physical reality we are only witnessing one state or another. What causes the dividing line between the strange world of quantum physics and our observed physical reality? This has been one of the great mysteries of the past one hundred years.

As Richard Feynman demonstrated, at any moment in time there is always a probability space that shows what the most likely paths are for how a subatomic particle got to its current position, and where it is most likely headed from here.

What happens if we imagine that the probability space of the quantum world exists within the fifth dimension? If we believe that those other possible states for all of the particles in our universe do actually exist, then we can see how the act of observation collapses the indeterminate state of those particles within the fifth dimension into the specific fourth dimensional line that we perceive ourselves to be on. And if we believe, as many physicists have proposed, that time really is an illusion, then we have a way to imagine how the line of time that we are moving on right now is really just a cross-section out of a multiverse of possible quantum states which continue to exist, but which are decoherent and therefore inaccessible to our own physical reality.

But quantum mechanics goes even further than that. In his book “Programming the Universe”, quantum computer scientist Seth Lloyd shows us how reality and information are interchangeable at the quantum level, and that the big bang can be thought of as the very first binary yes/no of the quantum computer that is our universe and the multiverse it is within. So now let’s take that idea and superimpose it on our fifth-dimensional probability space.

Let’s start with the indeterminate sea of quantum information which exists prior to (or more correctly, "outside of") the big bang – all possible states for all possible particles existing simultaneously within timelessness. Even though this fabric contains the potential for every possible universe within it, Seth Lloyd points out that it would take zero bits to describe. Now, let’s imagine the big bang – the longest lowest wavefunction that joins the beginning of our universe to the end of our universe across the probability space within timelessness. What appears to be a multi-dimensional field of vibrations, though, can also be seen as a binary push/pull, with our fifth-dimensional node always being the dividing point between what is currently possible and what is inaccessible from within our specific observed universe. In this way, we can see how the dimensions above the fifth are unavailable to us because they are part of the binary push away from our reality, while the dimensions below are part of the push back towards the beginning, which from our vantage point appears to be the big bang.

Finally, consider this. If we bend the fabric of a particular dimension, it takes on aspects of the dimension above. Bend a one-dimensional line and it takes on a two-dimensional aspect. Bend a two dimensional plane and it takes on a three-dimensional aspect. What happens if we are imagining Einstein's image of gravity causing a bending of fourth-dimensional spacetime? Aren't we imagining that our fourth-dimensional spacetime is taking on a fifth-dimensional aspect through that bending? Since Kaluza, Einstein, and later Kaluza-Klein all agreed on our existence within the fifth dimension, I would propose that is exactly what Einstein was trying to get us to imagine. I would also propose that the fifth dimension is where the probability space of the quantum wavefunction comes from, since it gives us a way to see how multiple simultaneous branches (or quantum wavestates) could be accessible from our fourth dimensional spacetime.

We live in the fifth dimension.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton


Ankur Dnyanmote said...

Seems like I bumped into an eventuality. All the thoughts, all the ideas and all the dreams - at this point - have led me to "these" ideas and thoughts and dreams. The eventuality of the infinite seems to be a point of nothingness, from where in it will pulse like the duality of one.
- Thank you

Rob Bryanton said...

Thank you ankur. It sounds like you might agree with a previous blog of mine then: "everything fits together in the zero at the end". Which might sound like mumbo-jumbo to some, but which also agrees with where modern physics is headed.

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