Friday, January 23, 2009

Slices of Reality

A direct link to the above video is at

This stunningly surreal shot of an airplane's spinning propeller was taken using an iPhone, which has the unique property of working more like a scanner than a traditional still camera: on an iPhone the image is assembled using sequential vertical "slices" moving from the left side to the right side of the image, a very rapid process that in most cases would give you a completely normal-looking photograph, but in situations like these it gives you something quite extraordinary. Clearly, this is the tip of the iceberg, and now that that this has been noticed we should soon be seeing lots of artistic shots like this one of various fast moving objects. Would a hummingbird's wings become deconstructed in a similar way? I have no idea what will work and what won't (and since I don't own an iPhone I'm not going to find out any time soon), but I was immediately drawn to this picture in the context of my project.

One of the basic ideas from Imagining the Tenth Dimension is that reality is not continuous: what we think of as our "line of time" is actually being assembled one planck length after another from a wave function, a probability space, which I propose exists within the fifth dimension and above. Thinking about waves and patterns from the extra dimensions which manifest themselves down here in spacetime is something we've talked about many times, in entries like Hypercubes and Plato's Cave and The Flipbook Universe: but trying to visualize how interlocking oscillations and patterns in the higher dimensions could manifest as separate particles, physical objects, and living creatures within the physical reality we're part of is still not an easy thing to do. Can you see that the strange shapes representing the spinning propeller in this photograph are an interference pattern, created by the "slices" of the camera's picture-taking process interacting with the rotational spin of the prop? In the same way, the "slices", or quanta, of our line of time are an important part of the processes that create our reality.

Moiré Patterns

The above video was posted on YouTube by alecmartindeleon, you can find it at

In the concluding chapter of my book, I focused on constructive interference patterns as a way to imagine how our reality and the mysterious spark of life are akin to the dancing moiré patterns that happen when repeating patterns of information are interacting with each other - and the important concept I've spoken about before, "that which ceases to change ceases to exist" is tied to that idea as well. Thinking of "life" as something that springs into being through the interference patterns of memes (selection patterns from the extra dimensions) and spimes (space-time objects, which would include genes and the DNA helix in the case of life on Earth) is one of the more "out there" conclusions I've reached with this project, and I haven't spent much time talking about that idea in these blogs because it's quite a stretch for most people to visualize how such a thing could be possible.

More metaphysical/spiritual ideas of imagining an extra dimensional meme-space that connects us all together and yet gives us each our unique experience as individuals is also something I've talked about, in entries like I Know You, You Know Me, and You are Me and We are All Together. But a picture can speak a thousand words, and I think this amazing iPhone picture gives us a very useful visualization tool for all of the above ideas.

I would like to give credit where it's due, but...

The above iPhone picture has been making the rounds for the last week or so, but I'm not sure who created the original shot. I found it at, and in that blog entry the picture's creator is not named but a link is provided to, which currently only shows a drawing of a windup toy monkey (perhaps links have been temporarily pulled down because of a sudden and expensive spike in traffic to the site?). I would love to know more about this picture and how it was taken, just how fast the propeller was spinning, etc., but this is all I have to go on at the moment.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed looking at this picture while thinking about interference patterns and the nature of reality.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: The Holographic Universe

No comments:

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist