Monday, November 24, 2008

Dreaming of Electric Sheep

A direct link to the above video is at

"Life is but a dream"
- English Nursery Rhyme, Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Ever hear of Let me quote from the website:
Electric Sheep is a free, open source screen saver created by Scott Draves. It's run by thousands of people all over the world, and can be installed on any ordinary PC or Mac. When these computers "sleep", the screen saver comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as "sheep". The result is a collective "android dream", an homage to Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

Here's a YouTube video by Scott Draves called "165 Star Oasis" which uses Electric Sheep images. If you'd like to buy a DVD of Scott's stunning animated imagery, click here.

A direct link to the above video is at

With this blog entry and the next one, we're going to talk about trying to visualize moving around within the place where, as quantum physicists like Zeilinger and Lloyd tell us, "Information Equals Reality": this is the place we were just trying to think about in "The Big Bang and the Big Pie". Now - try watching some of these Electric Sheep animations and imagine that it's you, as a free-floating observer, moving your viewpoint through this incomprehensibly large data set that we've been calling the omniverse. Try to visualize how a change in trajectory or reference frame can take what seems like noise and chaos, and cause shifting shapes and patterns to come into and move out of focus, and sometimes cause the data to coalesce into a very specific stable pattern. We're thinking here about how it's not the data that's changing, it's that you as an observer are changing the way you view different parts of the data. In that sense, what we're imagining ourselves doing is similar to Mandelbrot set animations like this one which we looked at in a previous blog, where we're zooming in on a fractal set, revealing more and more detail as we keep navigating through the data.

From the background of timelessness, where every possible universe and pattern exists simultaneously, it's this kind of shift in focus that would be how something as beautiful and complex as our universe can be distilled from the seemingly random "white noise" or "white light" of all possibilities, which Gevin Giorbran called the "Set Of All Possible States", and which in my way of visualizing is the tenth dimension. We've also been talking recently about how this "white light" of all possible states adds up to a big beautiful zero, which is not empty, but full, of all the other possible patterns that can result from the breaking of that underlying symmetry.

In my recent entry "Why Stop at Ten Dimensions?" we talked about the mind-blowing idea that if every dimension extends to infinity within the directions available for that particular dimension, then there's a way to think about how any point within any dimension is directly at the center - which also means, then, that if our universe is of infinite size, no matter where we are in the universe we're right at the center! This can also be related to the idea that, for each of us, our consciousness is a point moving within and connected to the entire wave function for our universe: we touched on this in "You are Me and We are All Together". But this seemingly crazy idea that we're each at the center of our own universe still has to find a way to be connected to the idea that our universe springs from a breaking of the symmetry that is found within the enfolded symmetry state that our universe or any other universe springs from.

Thinking about these Electric Sheep animations, then, as a visual metaphor for the idea that Information Equals Reality leads to this: once we arrive at one of these more coherent structures, we're looking at something that can be described as arising from a selection pattern - and that selection pattern can be thought of as being a naturally arising organizing force that prefers one kind of universe over another (and as we discussed in Tom Huston Interviews Rob Bryanton, the selection pattern that chose our universe from out of the omniverse has many different names depending upon who you talk to and what their own frame of reference might be). A selection pattern that prefers destruction over order, for instance, might select from a part of the omniverse that has a very low value for gravity, creating a universe that immediately flies apart into nothingness. Elsewhere within the omniverse, there could be a selection pattern that prefers stability over creativity. That particular pattern might select a universe with high entropy right from its beginning, where nothing much changes over the life of that particular universe (and physicist Lisa Randall explores very similar ideas about different regions of the multiverse establishing different universes with different constants in her book Warped Passages).

Each of those universes has a spacetime tree, a wave function of possible outcomes, and each of those universes and many many more exist within different regions of the multiverse, and all of those different regions considered at once are "outside the system" in the enfolded symmetry that we're navigating within.

How can what looks like randomness generate something as wonderful and complex as the universe we see around us? This is the idea that Gevin Giorbran explained so well in his book "Everything Forever - Learning to See Timelessness". There are patterns that arise as we navigate through all of the possibilities of the omniverse - and those patterns are really just ways of organizing the information that could become our reality or any other. To understand how these patterns could arise from the underlying state that exists "outside" of our time and space, we only need to think about two words -

grouping and symmetry.

If I were to toss a coin a hundred times, and get heads the first 50 throws, and tails the second 50 throws, I would have demonstrated perfect grouping order. If my results instead had happened to be heads, tails, heads, tails, alternating back and forth for all 100 throws, I would have achieved perfect symmetry order. Both of these scenarios are, of course, extremely unlikely to occur. What is much, much, more likely to happen is that I would get a random assortment of heads and tails - but if I were to look more closely at the entire list of results, I'd still find little pockets of grouping order, where I might have thrown heads three times, then tails three times; and I'd find little pockets of symmetry order where I might have thrown heads, tails, heads, tails, heads, tails at some point within my 100 throws. Around these pockets of grouping and symmetry order, I'd see regions with much more random and disorganized looking results.

In this way, even though we know that the background state of enfolded symmetry exists (just as the possibility of throwing heads 50 times then tails 50 times exists), the natural process is for that background to be continually bubbling away, with random fluctuations creating particles and energy, apparently out of nothing - and, like throwing dice, we know that there are going to be parts of the resulting outcomes that are inconsequential noise, a chaotic quantum sea of tiny outcomes that don't amount to much at all. As creatures living within an ordered universe, those aren't the parts of the omniverse that interest us - we are drawn towards patterns, and the idea that our universe is a pattern that just "happened", regardless of how you describe what caused such an outcome to occur, is what fascinates us. It's what we're good at - seeing the patterns within the noise. We're going to talk about our natural abilities to see patterns within noise in another blog entry coming up.

Finally, one of the things I like about these generated images from Electric Sheep is the recurring use of fractals, helix patterns, and waves, and the "organic" way these elements are constantly evolving as they're integrated into the animation - anyone familiar with the concepts of sacred geometry, biology, or cosmology is familiar with the importance of such patterns. With this project, I've been insisting that our observed reality is really just shadows of higher dimensional shapes and oscillations, and we are seeing those shadows down here in spacetime as we observe our universe and the amazing world we're living in right at this very instant.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

P.S. - Here's a short documentary from Scott Draves about his Electric Sheep projects, Scott is definitely thinking some thoughts that are easily related to my above discussion:

A direct link to the above video is at

P.P.S - The first three chapters of Gevin Giorbran's book can be previewed here, or purchased here, or a downloadable pdf can be purchased here. Everything Forever is also available from online booksellers like Amazon.

Next: Imagining the Omniverse


C. Om said...

I am amazed and impressed with not only this entry, but everything and all the information your project presents. I share your perspective on consciousness and how science, philosophy, and spirituality are really different approaches to the same content. Thank you for your work.

Please stop by my blog sometime and let me know what you think.

Peace and blessings.

Rob Bryanton said...

Hi C. Om, thanks for your kind words. I've placed a link to your blog in my "Interesting Links" section of my Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog, and I look forward to spending more time with your ideas.

I agree - it's very exciting to watch the ways in which physics and philosophy, science and spirituality can be shown to be really describing the same things using different terminologies. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Warm regards,

Rob Bryanton

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