Click here for the archive of polls 1 to 10.
Click here for the archive of polls 16 to 20.
Click here for the archive of polls 21 to 25.
Click here for the archive of polls 26 to 30.
Poll #11 - "Traditionally, each of us has one indivisible soul. While each person's individual experience is indeed unique, it's much more accurate to think of a 'soul' as being created by an interlocking system of patterns, shared across time and space. "(poll ended April 3 08)
76% said "I agree", while the remainder disagreed.
I've talked in this blog a number of times about Douglas Hofstadter's "I Am A Strange Loop", which was published well after my own book came out. In my book I refer to Hofstadter's previous masterwork "Godel, Escher, Bach", as well as Marvin Minsky's "Society of Mind". These ideas relate in similar ways to my current references to Hofstadter's "Strange Loop" concept: there are very good arguments for us to stop thinking of each of us as being a self-contained "soul". The above poll question is my attempt to sum up the viewpoint of experts like Hofstadter and Minsky... a viewpoint that aligns very nicely, in my opinion, with the way of visualizing reality that we're playing with in this project.
"I think there is so much more in existence besides matter, energy, and time" - Nobel Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis
"...information is never destroyed. More and more information is constantly being created, and it's not lost, and energy and matter are incontrovertible. So somehow there must be some survival, because one being represents a huge amount of information. So I can imagine that there is survival, but I'm not sure exactly what form it takes." - neuroscientist Candace B. Pert (famed discover of the brain's opiate receptors)
Are you the same person you were twenty years ago, or are there things about your beliefs and viewpoint that have changed? Do you ever marvel at how one person can change the mood of an entire room just by entering? Have you ever had an experience that made you suspect a loved one who had passed on might be trying to get a message to you? Each of these, to varying degrees, are examples of personal experiences many people in the general public have had. Finding that there are ways that we can visualize how our reality is constructed that allow for these hidden connections to occur is what we're trying to do with this project. And despite the dismissive attitudes of some in the scientific mainstream, experts like biologist Rupert Sheldrake (who I refer to briefly in my book), Nobel Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis (quoted above), and well-known neuroscientist Candace Pert (also quoted above) tell us there are numerous scientific studies that prove we are connected together across time and space in ways that might be surprising to acknowledge.
For more about this idea:
Song 25 of 26 - What I Feel For You
Song 6 of 26 - Connections
Your Sixth-Dimensional Self
Song 14 of 26 - I Remember Flying
Song 4 of 26 - The Unseen Eye
FAQ 11 - Is this about memes, creativity, connections?
FAQ 12 - Is this about consciousness and quantum observer?
Poll question 12 - ended April 18 08. "Our universe is not random, our universe is probabilistic, which means that only certain outcomes are available at a certain moment, and those possible outcomes are based upon patterns that exist within the underlying structures of timelessness."
75% agreed, while the rest disagreed, with this statement.
In "The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic", we talked about the standard example put forth by theoretical physicists such as Greene and Kaku that there is a small probability that any one of us could now pop out of existence here on earth and reappear on the moon. While the likelihood, these experts tell us, of such an event is so small that it would probably take longer than the life of the universe for this event to come to pass, that must also mean that it could happen right now - like any other lottery, it's just a question of playing the odds.
In the blog entry I'm referring to, I talked about the fifth dimension as "probability space", and the sixth dimension as "state space", and how those ideas relate to the possibility of one of us now appearing on the moon. This poll question was about the same idea: is the universe completely random, allowing one of us to now re-appear on the moon, or is that possibility more properly catalogued to be within the sixth dimension's state space?
There have been articles published in magazines like New Scientist lately indicating that quantum outcomes may not be random at all, and that our reality could actually be the result of "hidden variables" or underlying patterns in the quantum fabric: these are ideas that are central to my way of visualizing reality as well. For some related discussions, go to Rupert Sheldrake's www.sheldrake.org, and read about the fascinating controlled experiments by this best-selling author and biologist on telepathy, prescience, and the collective unconscious (it is at this point that some people will now stop reading this blog entry because a lifetime of training has conditioned them to reject such claims on the foregone conclusion that no scientific evidence for such things exists, but that's a whole other story).
If there are probabilistic outcomes that already exist within the fifth dimension, and we are each merely navigating towards a particular tiny subset of those possible outcomes, then all of the above becomes quite easy to imagine. There is a particular future for each of us one second from now which is more likely than all others to occur, but there are other futures contained within our fifth-dimensional probability space which any one of us could actually end up witnessing. Understanding that this probabilistic process is an effect at both the quantum and macro levels, and that what outcome each of us ends up witnessing must also be intimately tied to the trajectory each of us is on, was one of the ideas explored in my book, and in the recent blog entry "Crossing Your Arms to Change Your Trajectory".
Other blog entries that relate to these ideas:
Time in Either Direction
The Flipbook Universe
Time is a Direction
Hypercubes and Plato's Cave
Local Realism Bites the Dust
Poll #13: "0,1,2,3... keep counting, you're heading towards infinity. Take a number, divide it in half, divide the result in half, keep dividing... you're heading towards infinity Are each of those infinities the same, or is there more than one version of infinity?"
(Poll ended May 3 2008)
In the end, 53% said there is more than one version of infinity, and the remainder said all infinities are the same. This poll was nip and tuck right to the end, with each answer taking the lead over the other throughout the time the poll was running.
There has been a spirited discussion about questions related to single/multiple infinities at the tenth dimension forum: "Infinity, Eternity, Endlessness and Number System" has generated over 130 comments there so far. I believe part of the controversy here is merely language-related: when someone says "infinity", what exactly do they mean? Are they talking about a number, or a path to a number, or something else entirely?
Interestingly, doing a google search for the phrase "there can be only one infinity" (in quotes) returns mostly theological and philosophical sites. On the other hand, doing a google search for the phrase "multiple infinities" (in quotes) returns mostly math and physics sites.
Plus.maths.org and WorseleySchool.net say there's more than one infinity. PhysicsForums.com says there's different degrees of infinity. Maria Henderson's TCMTechnology blog (a teacher's blog about teaching college math) says there are countable and uncountable infinities, and this blog entry includes a great set of parody lyrics for the song "Hotel California" which explains some of the seemingly paradoxical ideas behind there being multiple infinities.
Robert Kaplan's "The Art of the Infinite: the Pleasures of Mathematics" says there can be infinite infinities. Rudy Rucker's Infinity and the Mind: the Science and Philosophy of the Infinite" is described by Martin Gardner as "a dizzying glimpse into that boundless region of blinding light where the mysteries of transcendence shatter the clarity of logic, set theory, proof theory, and contemporary physics". Click here for a site that talks about Cantor and his proposals that some infinities can be subsets of other infinities, while clicking on the following words takes you to a review of of the book "A Brief History of Infinity", which also mentions Cantor again and his idea that there are multiple infinities, and some infinities are larger than others. This blog says there can be small infinities and big infinities. And finally here is a mathematical dissertation that says there are many roads to infinity.
Infinity is not a number, it's a concept, and even though one infinite set can be a subset of another infinite set, ultimately all infinite sets are the same because they are all of indeterminate size... (just like the point we start from in the tenth dimension animation!). That's why I think "there are many roads to infinity" is a great phrase, as it shows us how different infinities can appear to be of different sizes as we travel towards them, and this is why saying that there are multiple infinities in the tenth dimension animation has strong roots in mainstream theory. In the animation, I say:
"but how can there be anything more than infinity? The answer is, there can be other completely different infinities created through initial conditions which are different from our own big bang."So, those different infinities we're talking about all come from the same background of unobserved quantum indeterminacy, which is the place where all infinities are the same.
There are many roads to infinity.
Poll Question 14: "Every direction has its opposite: up/down, east/west. For us, 'time' is a direction in the 4th spatial dimension: but even though the opposite direction exists our bodies never travel that way because they're made from thermodynamic chemical processes. (poll ended May 18 2008)
78% agreed, while the rest disagreed.
Like Kaluza's 1919 proof that our physical reality is defined at the fifth dimension, the concept of time-reversal symmetry is well-known in the scientific community but not something generally known to the public. The laws of physics make just as much sense if time travels in the opposite direction, so why don't we ever see "time's arrow" traveling from the target back to the archer's bow?
I suggest that our experience of time traveling only in one direction is tied to our role as conscious observers living in bodies made out of thermodynamic processes, and 78% of the visitors to this site were willing to agree with that statement (this also means, presumably, that they were willing to accept that "time" is a direction in the fourth spatial dimension, which is already a somewhat contentious viewpoint according to those who believe time should always be discussed separately from the other spatial dimensions). In my book, as a mental exercise I work through some scenarios of what might have happened if other forms of life were defined by the time-reversal symmetry versions of reality that science tells us are just as real as our own. What would it be like to meet a "reverse-time alien" who was riding time's arrow in the reverse direction, because that alien was constructed from time-reversal symmetry chemical processes?
Like many of the ideas I explore in this project, "time as a part of the observer effect" relates to concepts from quantum physicist John Wheeler, and from Digital Physics. This also relates to one of our most basic questions: what is life? According to this recent blog entry by Hazel Muir over at the New Scientist Blogs, there are 280 accepted definitions of life in the scientific literature. The question of "what is life" takes on greater significance as we discover more about our own solar system, and about the other planetary systems of our universe: any attempts to search for "life" should not assume that all life uses the same chemical processes or matter/energy distributions as life on Earth.
My simple definition of life is "any process that is interested in what happens next". By the time we are are thinking of an omniverse of possible expressions of matter, energy, and other patterns of information, we can think of a great many other ways that life might be able to express itself that have nothing to do with genes, and that might even be able to transcend the narrow boundaries of a three-dimensional space being observed one planck length after another to create the arrow of time.
Other entries that relate to these discussions:
Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains
Time is a Direction
How to Make a Universe
Hypercubes and Plato's Cave
You Can't Get There from Here
Poll Question 15: "We start with a point. We make another point. We join those points with a line. The line that passes through those points extends to infinity in either direction. Can we call those two directions positive infinity and negative infinity then?" (poll ended June 1 '08)
54% disagreed, while the rest agreed.
Poll Question 13 was another question that dealt with infinity, and that one came out pretty close to a tie. Even though the responses to this current question leaned very slightly more towards "no" throughout the polling period, it still didn't have a clear winner - which, I think (as with Poll 13) reflects the fact that there are a lot of different opinions out there as to what the word "infinity" really means.
With this current poll question, we find another way to wrestle with the mainstream science concept of there being "many roads to infinity", which I discussed in more depth in my discussion of Poll 13. These ideas also tie nicely into Gevin Giorbran's ideas of enfolded symmetry, which I've talked about so many times in this blog and at the tenth dimension forum, and in blog entries like John Wheeler and Digital Physics, Hidden Variables and the Seventh Dimension and Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Dark Information.
If we start with a geometric point of indeterminate size, and infinity is of indeterminate size, then can a point on a line encompass infinity? Usually, when people hear that a geometric point is of indeterminate size, they imagine this to mean that the point is infinitely small: which would make it yet another "road to infinity". With imagining the tenth dimension, we are wrapping all of those concepts together: this means that the point that we start from (at zero) and the point that we end up on (at ten) can, potentially, both be the same thing. Or, in the same way that the infinite set of all even numbers can be a subset of the infinite set of all whole numbers, the zero we start from can be a subset of the omniverse of all possible states of matter, energy, and information that we end up within. Images of Mobius strips, Klein bottles, and doughnut-shaped torus universes all have this same "wrapping back around on themselves" quality that we get to by the time we've imagined the zero and the ten being part of a Douglas-Hofstadter-style self-referential loop that creates consciousness and the world that each of us witnesses each day.
Enjoy the journey,
Next: Magnets and Souls