Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Omniverse

A direct link to this video is at

"Just as we envision all of space as being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as being out there, as really existing too." - Brian Greene

Ever hear of the Omniverse?

If you haven't, look it up in wikipedia. This word attempts to deal with the linguistic problem presented to cosmologists, who had to start from the long established all-encompassing word "universe", coming from Latin roots which mean "everything turned into one". That was the problem: if the universe is already supposed to refer to everything, then what do you call more than one universe?

The word "multiverse" had been pressed into service as part of the attempt to imagine all universes together, but the word is used in multiple ways: some writers use it to describe the set of all possible timelines, or parallel universes (a la Everett's Many Words Interpretation) resulting from chance and choice for our own universe, while the word is also used to encompass all possible expressions of all possible universes.

The word "omniverse", on the other hand, is unambiguous. It takes all the universes, all the multiverses, all possible expressions of matter and energy, and the information that becomes reality (a phrase I've used many times now), and looks at all of that as a single whole.

Here's what I proposed in my last blog entry: if the underlying fabric of reality includes every possible different-initial-conditions universe, and all possible timelines for each of those possible universes, what is it that constrains our own universe, and keeps it from wandering off into the other parts of the "omniverse" where our version of physical reality becomes impossible? The answer, I would say, is that we are constrained by our position within the seventh dimension (or, as some cosmologists say, it is because our 3D universe is embedded within a three-dimensional and a seven-dimensional brane). In other words, we are already headed towards the natural equilibrium state where our universe enfolds into a single, balanced whole, which aligns nicely with the theories of physicist David Bohm.

So let's look at my way of visualizing the dimensions and fit these three words in:

  • A "point" in the fourth dimension would be our own spacetime universe at a particular instant.
  • A "point" in the seventh dimension is our universe's multiverse of all possible timelines or parallel universes for our universe, viewed simultaneously.
  • The tenth dimension, as I am visualizing it, can only be a "point", so the tenth dimension is the omniverse of all potential expressions of matter and energy, the underlying fabric of quantum reality in its unobserved state.
Does that mean "Imagining the Omniverse" would have been a better name for this project? Perhaps. But there are a great many terms used to refer to this same idea that I am encapsulating within the tenth dimension - the unobserved quantum fabric, the Teilhardian Omega Point, the Godelian "outside the system", the computational underpinnings behind digital physics, all of these ideas are about the same thing... the place where everything fits together into timelessness.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Further reading:
Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains
Hypercubes and Plato's Cave
You Can't Get There From Here
Boredom and Consciousness
How to Make a Universe
Song 4 of 26 - The Unseen Eye


Ben said...

This is awesome!!

jpsa said...

...According to The Omniverse Almanac, Johnny Depp is actually one of the few very cool people inhabiting this planet, along with Steven Splielberg, Riccardo Mariti, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, Angelina Jolie, Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawkings, Laurence Dale, the Dalai Lama...

Rob Bryanton said...

Talk about using google search to firmly establish a new meme! JP, I searched "Omniverse Almanac" in quotes, and I see you have commented on a huge number of blogs with very similar comments to this one. Is JP a single person? A team? I did follow the links to and read chapter one of The Omniverse Alamanac. Viral marketing for a new Stephen Spielberg film?? Since Chapter One seems to deal with so many of the ideas I have been talking about with my book and this blog, I'm interested to know more about what this is.

Ava said...


Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist