A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkGlig_wqYs
What's south of the south pole? The same thing that's north of the north pole. This really relates to how each additional spatial dimension allows you to get to a state which is impossible to get to from the current dimension - no matter what dimension you're discussing, adding another dimension must add another degree of freedom, allow you to get somewhere that you couldn't get to from your current dimension.
What's before the big bang? The same thing thing that's after the end of the universe. Again, the meaning of the words requires you to think of something that doesn't exist within the dimension you're examining. The words really have no meaning within the current context, which is why we often use quotes in these questions. What's "before" the beginning? What's "south" of the south pole? Nothing. You can't get there from here.
What we have to get to is understanding that saying nothing is "before" or "after" our universe requires us to abandon the limits of our current dimension - in this case sequential spacetime, the fourth dimension. We have to imagine a dimension which enfolds our spacetime entirely, where before and after have no meaning because in that dimension everything happens at the same time. When we visualize such a state, we can see that even thinking of the big bang as a beginning is a limited way of thinking about what really happened - because from that dimension's perspective, all possible states for our universe, right from its beginning to its end, already exist.
Such thinking sometimes leads people to conclude this means free will doesn't exist, because the past, present, and future have already been decided and we're like passengers on a train, observing the scenery but with no way to change what we're going to see next. Understanding that we still have a certain amount of control requires us to accept a multiverse, and the parallel universes of Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation, which says that at this instant we are each observing one state out of many possible states that already exist simultaneously.
What's south of the south pole? What's outside of our system? Simultaneity. Timelessness. A perfectly balanced symmetry state, enfolded together into a big beautiful zero. Getting "outside" of our 4D spacetime allows us to see how our universe is a temporary deviation from symmetry, as physicist Sean Carroll said in Scientific American last year. This is an idea I've been explaining to any friends who will listen for the last twenty-five years, and have been presenting to the world since Imagining the Tenth Dimension launched in 2006.
Enjoy the journey,
The Long Undulating Snake
The Big Bang is an Illusion
Does the Multiverse Really Exist?
The Holographic Universe
What's Before and After?
Gevin Giorbran - Everything is Forever
Time in Either Direction
The Big Bang and the Big Pie
Next: The Map and the Territory
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
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Posted by Rob Bryanton at 3:07 AM