A direct link to the above movie is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbplSTSK3mY
In Alien Mathematics, we talked about the work of cosmologist Martin Rees, who proposed that there are only six basic structures underlying our reality. A few entries later, in The Map and the Territory, we looked at the difficulties in trying to map the extra dimensional patterns that create our reality, because a map becomes less useful when it tries to represent too much. A map with a scale of 1 to 1, for instance, should be able to faithfully capture absolutely every detail about a landscape, but a much smaller map is going to be significantly more useful as a guide.
Think about this, then. What if there were an ancient mapping system which boiled down our current position within the multiverse to only six parameters? This takes us, tangentially, to a territory that some readers of this blog won't be comfortable with, but which has enough connections to the big picture ideas we've been playing with that I believe it's worthy of consideration: this ancient system of mapping our reality is called the I Ching. Victor Robin, a student of the I Ching from California, explained it to me this way:
This is the Ancient Chinese way of viewing the Universe as energy, or Qi, moving through us and everything around us. (sounds familiar, huh?)Here's a few quotes from the wikipedia article on this subject:
The Yi Jing (I Ching) is a compilation of centuries of ascetic observation put into a format that intentionally invites the participation of present timespace. The most common way people use the Yi Jing is by tossing coins to determine which verses are appropriate for the user to read at his point in "time." The user prepares to throw the coins by mentally focusing on a "question" for the Yi Jing to "answer."
I love how those three ideas sum up trying to think of our universe of genes, memes, and spimes from a perspective which is "outside" of our spacetime, a running theme in this project (see Information Equals Reality, You Have a Shape and a Trajectory, and The Big Bang is an Illusion
The I Ching is a "reflection of the universe in miniature." The word "I" has three meanings: ease and simplicity, change and transformation, and invariability. Thus the three principles underlying the I Ching are the following:
- Simplicity - the root of the substance. The fundamental law underlying everything in the universe is utterly plain and simple, no matter how abstruse or complex some things may appear to be.
- Variability - the use of the substance. Everything in the universe is continually changing. By comprehending this one may realize the importance of flexibility in life and may thus cultivate the proper attitude for dealing with a multiplicity of diverse situations.
- Persistency - the essence of the substance. While everything in the universe seems to be changing, among the changing tides there is a persistent principle, a central rule, which does not vary with space and time.
for a few examples). The I Ching also fits nicely with another subject we've touched on in this blog a number of times, sacred geometry. Here's more from that wikipedia article:
Thinking of the I Ching as a road map of our available probability space, then, leads to its use for divination:
Richard S. Cook reported that that the I Ching demonstrated a relation between the golden ratio (aka the division in extreme and mean ratio) and "linear recurrence sequences" (the Fibonacci numbers are examples of "linear recurrence sequences") :
...the hexagram sequence, showing that its classification of binary sequences demonstrates knowledge of the convergence of certain linear recurrence sequences ... to division in extreme and mean ratio... that the complex hexagram sequence encapsulates a careful and ingenious demonstration of the LRS(linear recurrence sequences)/DEMR (division in the extreme mean ratio relation), that this knowledge results from general combinatorial analysis, and is reflected in elements emphasized in ancient Chinese and Western mathematical traditions.
The I Ching has long been used as an oracle and many different ways coexist to “cast” a reading, i.e., a hexagram, with its dynamic relationship to others. In China the I Ching had two distinct functions. The first was as a compendium and classic of ancient cosmic principles. The second function was that of divination text. As a divination text the world of the I Ching was that of the marketplace fortune teller and roadside oracle. These individuals served the illiterate peasantry. The educated Confucian elite in China were of an entirely different disposition. The future results of our actions were a function of our personal virtues. The Confucian literati actually had little use for the I Ching as a work of divination.
John Thomas Bryant (who you will recall from his fascinating Astrotometry project), pointed out this hexagram, number 24, to me. Here's one version of the descriptive text for that hexagram: "A movement is accomplished in six stages and the seventh brings return".
The idea that our universe has six degrees of freedom, which are then constrained at the seventh dimension, seems very related to all this. There are, of course, many other systems of divination, and I realize how easy it is for people to dismiss all this as superstition. Like many other aspects of Imagining the Tenth Dimension, though, I'm willing to entertain the possibility that ancient wisdom may have figured some things out about our reality which science has yet to catch up to. As more and more physicists embrace the idea of a multiverse, and as Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics also sees increasing support, we see that ultimately everything about our universe exists simultaneously as a wave function that is outside of space and time. If so, then connections such as those explored thousands of years ago by Chinese scholars may not be as much of a stretch after all.
Have you ever had your palm read, or a tarot card reading, or a personal astrology analysis done? Was it all absolute bunk? If so, then the rest of this blog will be of no interest to you. On the other hand, if you have ever had the experience that many people around the world have had, where the reader seemed to know things, have insights, even specific knowledge that surprised you with its details, then you may be willing to consider that this is more than just lucky guesses that we're talking about here. Clearly, some people who do readings like these have strong intuitive capabilities, and regardless of the system of divination they use, that intuition helps them to be more effective at telling people's futures. I would say, then, that dismissing such events as coincidence, or worse still the deliberate deceptions of scam artists is too harsh a judgment: if we really are navigating our way through a probability space of unique outcomes that are available from our current "now", and those outcomes already exist within a timeless set of states that exist outside of our spacetime, then I don't think it's that hard to imagine that some people are more able to intuitively "see" the map of that upcoming information space than others.
We'll continue even further with this discussion about divination and superstition in an upcoming blog where we look at some fascinating reports from Norway, that entry will be called Norway's "Reverse Deja Vu". To close, here's a video for one of the 26 songs that go along with this project, a song about our ongoing quest to figure out the secrets of the universe: "What I Feel For You".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w06IRgChaMY
Enjoy the journey,
Next: Roger Ebert on Quantum Reincarnation
Poll 40 - Now vs. the Future
The Holographic Universe
Predicting the Future (Here Come the Aliens)
Dr. Mel's 4D Glasses
We're Already Dead (But That's Okay)
Unlikely Events and Timelessness
Poll 12 - Possible and Impossible Outcomes
Poll 7 - Can We Predict the Future?
Your Sixth-Dimensional Self
What Do You Want to Change?
Remembering the Future