Other reports on this blog:
. April 08 . May 08 . June 08 . July 08 . August 08 .
. September 08 . October 08 . November 08 . December 08 .
. Top 100 Blogs - 2008 Report . End of 1st Quarter 09 .
. May 09 . June 09 . July 09 . August 09 . September 09 .
. October 09 . November 09 .. December 09 .
Happy 2010! What an exciting year 2009 has been for this project. Marilyn E. Robertson and I published a followup book, O is for Omniverse. I released my first book in mp3 audio format, and compiled a 6 DVD set of my video blogs. I published an article in Urban Garden magazine. My studio, Talking Dog, developed expertise in the exciting new world of augmented reality, a technology that has interesting tie-ins to the discussions we've been having here. We passed the five million mark for unique visitors to the tenth dimension website, and if you type the name of my book "Imagining the Tenth Dimension" in quotes into google you will see there are now about 1.8 million references to my project throughout the internet! Over at revver.com, where I first started showing my 11 minute animation, that video has now climbed to be within the top 30 most watched videos of all time at that site, with over 1.3 million views. There were recommendations for Imagining the Tenth Dimension on the well-known geek site boingboing and in famous author Scott McCloud's blog, and also in the tweets of Brendon Urie, lead singer of the popular band Panic! At the Disco . There was a parody of my original animation on College Humor, and there were even requests from New Scientist magazine to play my original animation on their website for a special feature they were doing on extra dimensions. It seems the ideas in this project are definitely moving closer and closer to the mainstream!
As we see up at the top here, I've been posting monthly reports with "top ten blogs of the month" and the latest top 26 blogs of all time for almost two years now, and at the end of 2008 I published a "top 100 of all time" list. I'd like to continue that tradition this year, so the list below is in the same format as last year's, showing the month the blog entry originates from. Thank you tenth dimension fans for your support!
Now, as we enter the new year, what do you think about 10/10/10: is October 10 2010 going to be a significant date for our planet? That's our new poll question, you can find it in the column over to the right.
1. Jumping Jesus (October 09)
2. Creativity and the Quantum Universe (February 09)
3. Augmented Reality (January 09)
4. The Holographic Universe (January 09)
5. Slices of Reality (January 09)
6. What's Around the Corner? (October 09)
7. An Expanding 4D Sphere (August 09)
8. Just Six Things: The I Ching (August 09)
9 . Poll 44 - The Biocentric Universe Theory (September 09)
10. Urban Garden Magazine (February 09)
11. Roger Ebert on Quantum Reincarnation (August 09)
12. Modern Shamans (February 09)
13. Alien Mathematics (July 09)
14. The Comedian (March 09)
15. When's a Knot Not a Knot (August 09)
16. Scott McCloud and the Brother Winn (March 09)
17. The Shaman (February 09)
18. The Quantum Solution to Time's Arrow (September 09)
19. Our Non-Local Universe (March 09)
20. Astrotometry (February 09)
21. The Big Bang is an Illusion (July 09)
22. Seeing Time, Feeling Colors, Tasting Light (September 09)
23. Going to the Light (January 09)
24. Poll 43 - Is the Multiverse Real? (August 09)
25. Beer and Miracles (September 09)
26. Norway's "Reverse Deja Vu" (August 09)
27. Poll 46 - Big Bang an Illusion? (September 09)
28. New Translations of Imagining the Tenth Dimension (March 09)
29. You Have a Shape and a Trajectory (March 09)
30. "t" Equals Zero (January 09)
31. The Long Undulating Snake (July 09)
32. The Map and the Territory (August 09)
33. Poll 45 - Conscious Computers (September 09)
34. Illusions and Reality (April 09)
35. Suffering in the Multiverse (July 09)
36. Dark Gravity Across the Dimensions (April 09)
37. The Statistical Universe (September 09)
38. The Fifth Dimension if Spooky (October 09)
39. The Flexi-Laws of Physics (July 09)
40. Poll 41 - Is Creativity a Quantum Process? (August 09)
41. Mandelbulbs (December 09)
42. Where Are You? (March 09)
43. The Musician (March 09)
44. What's South of the South Pole? (July 09)
45. Tenth Dimension Books on Bit Torrent (July 09)
46. The Biocentric Universe Part 2 (July 09)
47. Ringing in the Brain (October 09)
48. Tenth Dimension on boingboing (August 09)
49. Poll 48 - Amazing Psychic Readings (September 09)
50. News From the Future (May 09)
51. Ice Age in 4D (July 09)
52. Google Suggestions - March 09 Update (March 09)
53. Nassim Haramein (June 09)
54. Computers and Consciousness (June 09)
55. The Time Paradox (April 09)
56. Do Animals Have Souls? (June 09)
57. Poll 42 - Does Twitter Connect or Distract? (August 09)
58. Logic vs. Intuition (June 09)
59. Surveillance (June 09)
60. Temporal Mass (October 09)
61. World Builder (April 09)
62. Quantum Suicide (October 09)
63. Augmented Reality - Crazy Wakeboarder (July 09)
64. Poll 32 - Is Time a Direction? (April 09)
65. Mindwalk and Twitter (May 09)
66. Doritos Augmented Reality (April 09)
67. Connecting It All Together (July 09)
68. The Big Bang and the Big O (January 09)
69. The Stream (May 09)
70. Poll 47 - Pictures More Important in Science? (September 09)
71. Tenth Dimension Audio Book (October 09)
72. Poll 34 - God? Or the Multiverse? (April 09)
73. Imagining the Omniverse - Addendum (March 09)
74. The Invariant Set (April 09)
75. The Biocentric Universe (May 09)
76. Happy Birthday Paul (June 09)
77. Poll 39 - Can Memories Be Transplanted? (May 09)
78. Does the Multiverse Really Exist? (May 09)
79. O is for Omniverse - Introduction (October 09)
80. Placebos and Nocebos (June 09)
81. A Hug From Another Dimension (October 09)
82. Augmented Reality - 10thdim Music Videos (June 09)
83. Poll 36 - Do Plants Use Quantum Effects? (May 09)
84. Poll 31 - What's Before and After? (April 09)
85. Wikipedia (April 09)
86. Poll 37 - Do Shamans See Other Dimensions? (May 09)
87. Poll 35 - Do We Come From a 5D Hologram? (April 09)
88. Poll 33 - Could I Meet My Incarnation? (April 09)
89. Alien Life and Sea Dragons (November 09)
90. O is for Omniverse - New Book! (October 09)
91. How Big Is... Augmented Reality (October 09)
92. Evolution's Fast Lane (May 09)
93. Poll 40 - Now vs. the Future (May 09)
94. Poll 38 - Do Musicians Have More Empathy? (May 09)
95. Poll 49 - Are We a 3D Sphere on a 4D Hypersphere? (November 09)
96. O is for Omniverse - G to J (November 09)
97. How to Time Travel (December 09)
98. O is for Omniverse - A and B (November 09)
99. O is for Omniverse - C and D (November 09)
100. Poll 28 - Ever Seen an Aura? (January 09)
Our world is changing, and as it changes more and more people are becoming interested in this project. To everyone out there, I send you my best wishes and fond regards for the upcoming year. Enjoy the journey in 2010!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Other reports on this blog:
Posted by Rob Bryanton at 4:56 AM
Monday, December 28, 2009
Click here for the archive of polls 53 to 73.
As I've remarked before, the number 26 has had a special significance in string theory and cosmology in the past, and for that reason I've been using it in various lists. Since we're now at twice that number with the polls we've talked about, we're going to pause and look back at all of the first 52 poll questions that have appeared here at the Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog. Thanks everyone for your participation!
Poll #1: What is "Imagining the Tenth Dimension" about?
(poll ended Oct 25 2007)
A useful starting point. About half of our visitors voted for the answer I'm aiming for ("All of the Above"), while a third said this project is about Physics and Cosmology, and a fifth said it's about Philosophy and Spirituality. There weren't a huge number of participants in this first poll so a single additional vote would still have caused these relative percentages to jump around somewhat, but nonetheless this helped to make the point I was hoping for: people come to this project with their own sets of interests, some have more specific areas they respond to, some are generalists. All are welcome, but of course this means not everyone will come away from this with the same impression of what it is I'm trying to do here.
Poll #2: Was Kaluza right? Is our physical reality really being defined at the fifth rather than the fourth dimension?
(poll ended Nov. 9 2007)
I was somewhat surprised to see that three quarters said "Yes, we're in the fifth", while one quarter said "No, we're in the fourth". Kaluza's groundbreaking proposal, submitted to Einstein in 1919, suggested that the field equations for gravity and light could be united if they were calculated in the fifth dimension. Einstein eventually gave the idea his full endorsement, and after some additional input a few years later by Oscar Klein, the resulting Kaluza-Klein Theory is well known. While that may be the case, the general public hears very little about the fifth dimension, which is why I was surprised to see such a strong showing for the fifth dimension in this poll. It would appear that since I've been banging the "our reality comes from the fifth dimension" drum for almost two years now, that meme may be more familiar to regular visitors to this blog than it is to the general public!
Poll #3: Will Dark Energy and/or Dark Matter eventually prove the existence of higher dimensions?
(poll ended Nov 29 2007)
The contentious issue of whether we really need extra dimensions above the four of spacetime to describe everything about our reality is an ongoing debate. Experts believe that 96% of the universe is invisible and undetectable dark energy and dark matter! This is the great scientific mystery of our time. While there are hopes that the Large Hadron Collider will reveal more about the underlying structures that might be responsible for some (or all) of the "missing" parts of our reality, I remain convinced that higher dimensions are going to factor into the solution to this very large conundrum for modern physics and cosmology. Eventually we are going to have definitive proof that the extra dimensions are real, and not just a mathematical construct in the minds of theorists.
Poll #4 - In a multiverse filled with every possible timeline, there must be branches we're not on where some of the "End of the World" doomsayers throughout history were right. For our timeline, will 2012 be the real deal or just another Y2K-like fizzle?
(poll ended Dec. 13 2007)
A dead heat, split right down the middle on this one! 50% said "real deal" and 50% said "fizzle". I did get some flack on this poll for the way I worded the question: proponents of the Mayan calendar's accelerated consciousness approaching 2012, or fans of Kurzweil's predicted Singularity, object to being lumped in with doom and gloom end of the world predictions like Y2K, and I accept that. Persons familiar with my writing will know that I have used this example before, and that my song "The End of the World" also mentions positive predictions like "attaining our star bodies". The point here is not whether the prediction of an upcoming break or a Shift for our planet is good or bad, but rather that the multiverse scenario doesn't allow us to look at predictions that have failed in our own past and use that as the argument for why the latest prediction will never come true. I return to this idea several times in my book, here's what I say in chapter 6:
But eventually the deadline for all good predictions of the end has to arrive, and like the celebrated Y2K scenario, its promoters are then left looking a little foolish. In the anthropic viewpoint, we can imagine how those people also exist on different timelines where their predictions did come true. The reason we’re here on our current timeline to question what went wrong with their predictions is because on the timeline where they were right, we would no longer be here. Perhaps there were also people in Atlantis, or Mu/Lemuria, or in the ancient sunken ruins off of Cuba or south of Okinawa, who issued dire warnings of impending disaster, and who got to say one last “I told you so” before the end of their civilizations really did come to pass?
Poll #5: In the Many Worlds Interpretation, as proven by Deutsch's team at Oxford, probabilistic branches exist at both the quantum and macro levels. Do you believe that each choice you make creates parallel universes - the one you're in and the others you're not?
(poll ended Jan 2 2008)
Yikes, quite the wordy poll question! 91% said "yes", the rest said "no". Did I intimidate people into answering with the response I was hoping for, by putting so much of the argument for why I personally would say "yes" into the question? Okay, perhaps I had some influence there... but the idea that there is a parallel universe where I walked out my front door this morning and turned left rather than right seems like such an outlandish claim when you put it in those really simple terms that I confess to wanting to make sure visitors realized we were talking about something which some major physicists do actually support! And while my additional layer I have added to this discussion - that the "bush-like branching structure" of those branches of chance and choice exist in the fifth rather than the fourth dimension - really isn't a requirement for believing Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation, I believe that it's just a matter of time before mainstream science begins to see the light on this one. Our reality comes from the fifth dimension, Kaluza proved it, and those parallel universes resulting from choice, chance, and circumstance become much easier to visualize when we fit them into the picture I've created.
Poll #6 - 2008 is the tenth anniversary of google, our world's premium meme-tracker. How would you say google has changed the way you interact with the information that is our reality?
(poll ended Jan 17 08)
Admittedly this will seem like an odd way to phrase the question if you are not familiar with my favorite quantum mechanics phrase "information equals reality", which I believe is very useful in helping us to understand the underlying fabric of reality, where everything that could happen has already happened - this is the set-of-all-possible-states that Gevin Giorbran described so well in "Everything Forever". From the first three dimensions we build space, from the second set of three we build a spacetime tree of all possible timelines, and in the third set of three we reach the increasingly abstract set-of-all-possible-states where the "information" side of the information equals reality equation becomes dominant.
What does that have to do with google? Because google has, more than any other tool, found ways to quickly organize and catalog information for us, and if information equals reality then the implications of where google could end up really are staggering.
Not too surprisingly, 95% said Google has made their interaction with information "better, more immersive", while the rest said it is "worse, more superficial". Also not surprisingly, no persons voting clicked on "no change from 10 years ago". Google has definitely changed a lot about the world we live in!
Poll #7: From this current "now", there are probabilistic outcomes. In a previous poll 91% said choice creates parallel universes. Do you believe it's possible to predict the future?
(poll ended Feb 1 08)
The answers provided were:
- Yes, because its potential already exists (50% voted for this)
- Only sometimes, and never very far (26% votes for this)
- Never, and if it seems we can it's coincidence (23% votes for this).
For me, this was an interesting question, because everyone has to have some ability to predict the future or they couldn't survive - if I step in front of that speeding bus, it will run me over and I will die. That's the kind of prediction that all of us make every day without even thinking about it, and in some ways that's the process we all have to go through as young children: we learn that hot things burn, that some animals are dangerous, that jumping off of high things can cause bones to break and so on. Most kids, through parental guidance and their own trial and error, develop their predictive capabilities well enough that they make it to adulthood, but darkly amusing projects like the Darwin Awards show us that not all adults appear to have developed their ability to predict the future well enough to avoid doing fatally dangerous things.
This poll questions asks us to consider the possibility that this process of prediction can be integrated into the parallel universes mindset of Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation. And saying that there are probabilistic branches from this moment forward (and backward!) also acknowledges that all of us are probably very lucky to be here, because all of us have near-miss moments in our past where, through bad luck, bad choices, or the actions of others, the more probable outcome was that we didn't survive! That's what my songs "Thankful" and the "The Anthropic Viewpoint" touch on as well: we are all very lucky to live in the universe that we live in.
Poll #8 - Have you ever had an experience where you thought you might have glimpsed a different dimension (through meditation, hallucinogens, dance, intuition, etc)?
(poll ended Feb 18 08)
80% said yes, the rest said no. My song "From the Corner of My Eye" is about this very idea. This is one of the central ideas to this project - if we really are experiencing one timeline out of many, observing a quantum wavefunction which exists at both the quantum and macro level (and Everett preferred to say that we are "observing" rather than "collapsing" the wavefunction because the other possible states continue to exist as potential), then might there be subtle visual or sensory hints that tell us our brain/consciousness is participating in that process? Admittedly, this is one of the more metaphysical concepts, but I was pleased to see how many visitors to this blog were willing to consider this as a possibility. This would also tie to the previous poll question - is it possible to sense the future, and could that be because the possible future outcomes available from our current "now" already exist as potential probabilistic branches?
Poll #9 - Philosophers have said it for millennia, now there are physicists saying it too. But what about you? Do you believe "time is an illusion"?
(poll ended Mar 4 08)
87.8% answered yes, while the remainder said no.
So. We've been imagining a set-of-all-possible-states, a multi-dimensional configuration space which simultaneously encompasses every possible expression of matter, energy, and information. Inside that omniverse of all possible universes, our own particular spacetime is only the smallest of slivers, and this very instant that you read the word "now" is an infinitesimally tinier sliver carved out from that.
One "now" after another, one planck unit after another, we experience time as a probabilistic set of outcomes, but viewing this all from the big picture of timelessness and the underlying fabric of quantum indeterminacy, we can see that what we think of as "time" is really only a very limited viewpoint of where our reality comes from. Does that sound more like philosophy than science? To some it does, but there are a great many scientists in the world today who truly believe this phrase: "time is an illusion". The way of visualizing reality that we're exploring here presents another version of the same idea: time is the way you change from one state to another, and that's true no matter what dimension you're examining. No matter what dimension you're in, how do you get from one state to another? By moving through the next dimension up. That's why we three-dimensional creatures tend to believe time is in the fourth dimension. If we lived in the seventh dimension, we would move from one constrained set to another by moving through the eighth dimension, and therefore tell ourselves that time is the eighth dimension.
So: saying "time is an illusion" is not intended to say that change doesn't happen, or that there aren't useful assumptions that can be drawn from our observations of timelike processes. Rather, "time is an illusion" is our way of acknowledging that there is much more about the underlying nature of reality than just a simple, inexorable and inevitable (!) movement from moment to moment.
Poll #10 - Do you believe that our three-dimensional reality can be thought of as "shadows" of higher dimensional patterns, whatever those patterns end up being proven to be?
(poll ended Mar 19 08)
86% said yes, while the rest said no.
In poll #3, we asked if dark energy and dark matter will eventually be shown to prove the existence of higher dimensions. What we're really talking about here, though, is not just dark energy and dark matter, but absolutely all aspects of our reality being defined as logical subsets from higher dimensional potentials. Poll question 10 was created as a companion to several blogs I created earlier this month: Hypercubes and Plato's Cave, Hypercubes and Plato's Cave (expanded version) and Shadows of Higher Dimensions. This idea also relates to some previous blog entries, like "How to Make a Universe" and "You Can't Get There from Here": it's all about trying to visualize how our particular unique universe is chosen from the set of all possible universes: the reality we see right now is a "shadow" of the higher dimensional shapes and patterns that contribute to its selection from the set-of-all-possible-states, which I refer to as the tenth dimension in its unobserved state, and which can also be thought of as the underlying fabric of quantum indeterminacy.
Does that mean that not just the perceived universe, but every element within it, every expression of mass and energy can be described this way? Absolutely! As I like to say, I am a three-dimensional shadow of shapes and patterns within the higher dimensions... and so are you.
You can also work through these poll archives one poll at a time, start by clicking here, and each entry ends with a link to the next. Again, thanks to all who participated in these polls and I look forward to more of your opinions in the months to come.
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.
Poll #16 - Zero plus zero equals zero. What does infinity plus infinity equal?
(poll ended June 16 08)
5% said "zero", 70% said "infinity", 15% said "two infinities", and 8% said "none of the above".
This poll is a continuation of similar questions asked in the preceding couple of polls, where you will find some useful discussion about the "many roads to infinity" concept that can make questions like the one in this current poll seem contradictory. The first answer, "zero", for instance, would make sense in the following context: if I start with a line, and place a point on the line, all of the values heading in one direction on that line would be heading towards infinity. Meanwhile, all of those values in the opposite direction would also be heading towards infinity. Is there such a thing as "positive infinity" and "negative infinity" when we look at things in this way? If there were, then adding those two values (or concepts) together should cancel each other out and leave us with zero as the answer. My preference with this project is to say that because infinity is not a number, the infinity that you head towards in either direction on any particular line in any particular direction is ultimately heading towards the same thing: infinity. But keeping in mind the idea of a perfectly balanced equilibrium state which in this project is the tenth dimension in its unobserved state, an idea which also ties to the work of Dr. Sean Carroll which we've been talking about in this blog, does give us a way to think of how a point of indeterminate size, a perfectly balanced equilibrium, and "zero" all are interconnected ideas.
Other blog entries discussing infinity, timelessness, and Dr. Sean Carroll:
Unlikely Events and Timelessness
The Spacetime Tree
The Annotated Tenth Dimension Video
What Would a Flatlander Really See?
Time in Either Direction
Poll #17 - Max Planck said: "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
(Poll ended June 30 08)
70 % agreed while the rest disagreed.
Another more succinct version of this quote is "science progresses by funerals".
As a person with an unusual approach to thinking about how our reality is derived, which some people embrace and some people reject as bunk, I of course take some comfort from Max Planck's idea presented in this quote. Will my dimensional hierarchy's connections to mainstream science ever be embraced by the mainstream or will this remain nothing more than an intellectual curiosity? Only time will tell. History is full of naysayers and established experts who ridiculed new ideas: there are many famous quotes that have been gathered in various places around the net. Michio Kaku, in his new book Physics of the Impossible, starts each chapter with quotes from famous historical figures and their comments on new ideas. This one, from a respected physicist just over a century ago, is typical of the kind of thinking that Max Planck is referring to:
"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." - Physicist Lord Kelvin, 1899
Poll #18 - Max Planck said: “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”
Poll ended July 14 2008
70% agreed while the remainder disagreed.
This relates to so many ideas we have looked at with this project, but most notably Godel's incompleteness theorum, which says it is impossible for us to get "outside the system" we are part of and describe the system in its entirety. The equilibrium state of the underlying quantum fields in their unobserved state is equivalent to how I am describing the tenth dimension - and, as I have always said, attempting to observe any part of the tenth dimension immediately collapses you into some part of the other dimensions. Tying this concept to string theory ("if no strings are vibrating in the tenth dimension, no reality is created in the dimensions below") is one of the interesting connections I see between my way of visualizing how our reality is constructed and mainstream scientific theory.
POLL 19 and 20
Poll # 19 - The LHC is going to be successful in proving the existence of extra dimensions.
Poll ended July 28 2008. 71% agreed while the rest disagreed.
Poll # 20 - The LHC will reveal the source of dark matter and/or dark energy.
Poll ended August 8 2008. 63% disagreed while the rest agreed.
Very interesting! While neither of the questions had a resounding victory, this blog's readership are leaning towards the LHC finding proof of extra dimensions, but more readers also believe the LHC will not find the source of dark matter and dark energy. What can we make of this?
These two poll questions relate to discussions in my blog from a couple of weeks ago: Dark Energy, Linelanders, and the LHC, as well as Randomness and the Missing 96 per cent. There are many articles out there about the Large Hadron Collider, which is scheduled to go online this month, and what it may or may not find. Will it reveal the Higgs Boson, called by some the "God Particle"? Will it reveal evidence of extra dimensions, or the source of dark energy? Naturally, I am rooting for the extra dimensions discovery, as the whole discussion of extra dimensions in an environment where some mainstream physicists are claiming their existnce is unprovable conjecture would be finally laid to rest. My biggest fear for the LHC is that it will only reveal another forest of tinier and tinier particles, leaving science with the task of coming up with an even larger and more powerful particle collider for further experiments in the decades to come.
The July 21st edition of New Scientist magazine had an interesting article related to all this, here are some quotes:
Awaiting a messenger from the multiverseby Stephen BattersbyAT THE most powerful particle accelerator in the world, the twin colliding beams of protons have been switched off for a few hours. All seems quiet, but both the giant machine and the foundations of physics are about to be shaken by a tiny time bomb. Hiding within a copper plate deep inside one of the accelerator's massive detectors is a peculiar interloper: a particle that is waiting to explode, and with its incandescent fragments write a message from beyond our universe.If this particle does appear at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, it could change the nature of physics. Physicists might have to abandon their goal of explaining the fundamental basis of our reality and just accept that the properties of matter and energy in our universe arose at random. It could mean not only that we live on a small planet in an insignificant solar system in one of a trillion galaxies in the universe, but our own universe is just one insignificant slice of an unimaginably vast and diverse multiverse.
To many physicists, that is anathema; but not to Savas Dimopoulos of Stanford University in California or his colleague Nima Arkani-Hamed at Harvard University. In 2002, they first began to wonder what a multiverse might mean for particle physics.
This was at a time when the multiverse was being discussed, albeit reluctantly, as a solution to a cosmic problem. Astronomers had discovered a repulsive force pushing the galaxies apart, caused by an inherent energy present in space. Often called the cosmological constant, no one knows what is generating this force.
On the face of it, physics has a ready-made explanation. According to quantum theory, the vacuum, or the space between particles, is not totally empty. It is home to short-lived "virtual" particles that flicker in and out, created by the fundamental quantum fuzziness of the world. Although that might be a hard concept to swallow, it is an enormously successful idea. The calculations of quantum field theory show that these virtual particles cluster around the ordinary, solid, long-lived particles of matter, changing their properties in ways that accurately match many experimental observations.
It is relatively easy to devise a model of particle physics in which virtual particles with positive and negative energies cancel out exactly to zero, but why they should almost cancel each other out, leaving us with a tiny residual energy, is much harder to see.
One physicist had already predicted this, however. In the 1980s, Steven Weinberg at the University of Texas in Austin adopted a controversial line of argument called the anthropic principle, which roughly states that the universe has to possess properties that make it hospitable to life, otherwise we wouldn't be here to see it.
He started by pointing out that if our cosmological constant were only 100 times as big as observed, we would be in trouble. Its repulsive force would have stretched out the thin gas of the early universe, preventing it from ever collapsing into stars and planets. But if you have a lot of universes, each with a random value of the cosmological constant, there's going to be at least one with an energy density of roughly a few joules per cubic kilometre. That would enable the existence of planet-dwelling life forms who would then be in a position to observe this value of cosmological constant.
Such a range of universes might sound like wild speculation, but some respected cosmological models imply that there could indeed be many universes, perhaps even an infinite number. In the theory of eternal inflation, for example, our own universe is just one offshoot of an endlessly growing "tree" of universes.
Those of you familiar with my project will recognize many common themes in this article that relate to this ideas I have been promoting with Imagining the Tenth Dimension. Here are some related blog entries:
The Spacetime Tree
Unlikely Events and Timelessness
Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains
So: will the LHC find proof of extra dimensions, but not the source of dark matter and dark energy, as this blog's participants have predicted? The idea I have promoted with this project (in my book and in blog entries like Dark Energy, Linelanders, and the LHC) is that dark matter and dark energy come from the combined gravitational effects of the neighboring parallel universes in the fifth dimension (for dark matter), and the combined "pull" from other expressions of matter and energy in the sixth dimension and beyond (for dark energy). Will the LHC push us further towards such an understanding? Only time will tell.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YymBvChrcTc
Poll 21 - "This project uses lines, branches, and folds as a way to visualize the relationship between dimensions. A "wormhole" can be thought of as a dimensional folding." Poll ended August 22, 2008.
The image below is from the wikipedia article on "wormholes", and it appears to visually confirm what most visitors to this blog are willing to agree with - 97% agreed that a wormhole can be thought of as a dimensional folding.
It's interesting how some of the greatest minds of the twentieth century - Einstein, Wheeler, Feynman, Hawking, etc. - tried to get everyone to perceive that in the big picture the distinctions between past, present and future are meaningless, because ultimately there is an underlying fabric in which all of those states exist simultaneously. The concept of wormholes, then, which is not just from science fiction but which has been seriously explored by modern physicists such as Kip Thorne and Stephen Hawking, shows us what might happen when that fabric is "folded".
My own project also asks people to use "folding" as one of the ways to visualize the dimensions, and in fact when any dimension is folded it must be folded through the dimension above. This is easy to picture with a flat piece of paper - if that paper were two-dimensional we could fold it through the third dimension to allow instantaneous transportation from one position to another.
So, as Gevin Giorbran so ably demonstated, "timelessness" is another way of describing that simultaneous underlying fabric that Einstein and those that came after him were trying to get us to imagine. I've been waving a large flag to point out that Einstein eventually agreed with Kaluza that the field equations for gravity and light are resolved in the fifth dimension, and if we are imagining that our 4D spacetime is being bent or folded, what is it being folded through? The fifth dimension. For some reason, that's an idea whose time has not come yet, but when it does I believe many of the mysteries of quantum entanglement, "spooky action at a distance" and other more metaphysical questions will have an answer - it's because our 4D reality comes from a fifth dimensional probability space.
In my blog entry "Wormholes", I played with this idea further - since my way of visualizing the dimensions assigns unique characteristics to each dimension, then that would mean that wormholes through one dimension or another would have different effects. To close, here's the video for that blog entry.
A direct link to this video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mi2Nh_C8Pzk
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbz-CefzT-g
Poll 22 - "Why stop at ten? There are really an infinite number of dimensions." Poll ended September 6, 2008. Votes were split right down the middle, half agreed while half disagreed.
This is one of those polls that could probably have used an "I Don't Know" option - until confirmed evidence comes forward to prove that anything more than the third or fourth dimension is real, how can any of us say for sure?
"After that, it's turtles all the way down"
No matter how many dimensions we care to imagine, I believe there needs to be an ultimate state that, in the same sense that Godel's Incompleteness Theorem uses the phrase, is "outside the system". Otherwise you're stuck in endless repetitions, because no matter where you stop, someone can then ask "but where did that come from". The phrase "turtles all the way down", then, comes from a story demonstrating this concept of "infinite regression", which is one of the ways of thinking about infinity.
Ah, infinity. This is one of the questions that comes up sometimes after people watch my animation about visualizing the dimensions: "infinity" is one of those words, like "universe", that seems to have a contradiction built into its definition. How can there be more than one universe when the word was intended to define all that there is? Likewise, how can there be more than one infinity? How can there be infinite divisions between zero and one, an infinite set of numbers from the sequence starting one, two three, and yet another infinite set of numbers from the sequence starting two, four, six? I've come to love the phrase "there are many roads to infinity".
Directions within the Omniverse
In my blog entry "Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains" I talked about the idea my friend Michel from Norway reminded me about: parallel lines meet at infinity. This is more than just a useful device for drawing pictures in proper perspective! This is what really happens. Two parallel lines meet at infinity... and not just once but in either direction.
And this is where I have pointed to the work of physicist Sean Carroll, who a few months ago in Scientific American advanced a very similar idea - time makes sense in either direction, and once you get "outside" time you are in the same enfolded symmetry state that some call the "omniverse", which would be the same both "before" the big bang and "after" the end of the universe.
Infinite in All Directions
So, what it comes down to is that with the way of visualizing the dimensions we're talking about here, every single dimension extends to infinity within its own set of possibilities. The first dimensional line... travels to infinity in both directions. The second dimensional plane... infinite in four directions. And so on, all the way up.
As with "turtles all the way down", some people argue that you could keep adding dimensions forever, until you reach an infinite number of dimensions, at which point you've reached the same idea that I'm talking about - those infinite dimensions, viewed as a whole, would be the thing that just "is", the thing that is "outside the system".
Each piece is connected to the whole
We've talked in my book and in this blog before about physicist Juan Maldacena's theory that our universe is really a hologram. I believe this concept is easily imagined within the construct - because every single dimension already extends to infinity, the idea that each "point" you observe contains/is connected to the whole is already in there. Here's what it comes down to for me: whether you believe there are three dimensions, four, seven, ten, twenty-six, or even an infinite number of dimensions, at the place you stop you need to be able to say "now I have defined the background state from which everything else is derived". For me, my way of visualizing the dimensions achieves this at the tenth dimension. But regardless of what you prefer to call it, what we are talking about here is the underlying, unobserved fabric from which we can generate all other possible expressions of matter, energy, and information: Gevin Giorbran called it timelessness.
Here's the Point
The "point" of indeterminate size, then, becomes an amazingly powerful idea because no matter where you place that point, and no matter what dimension you place that point within, it is at the center of infinity! Here's a way to think about that idea: no matter where you place a point on an infinite line, there are values extending to infinity and "negative infinity" in either direction which cancel each other out... in other words all of those possible values on either side of the point always add up to zero.
Everything Fits Together
Which gets back to the dangerous idea of "zero". When you add every possibility for reality together, what does it add up to? Zero. All states enfold together, and our universe doesn't spring from "nothing", it springs from "everything". As Gevin Giorbran liked to say, the zero (the enfolded symmetry state that is outside the system) is the pie, and our universe is a tiny slice of that pie.
And that's a powerful idea.
Related blog entries:
What Does Infinity Plus Infinity Equal?
Positive Infinity and Negative Infinity
Forward to Giorbran's Acclaimed Book
Everything Fits Together in the Zero at the End
Why Do We Need More Than 3 Dimensions?
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVxaYk3CBJk
Poll 23 - "Why is it impossible to exceed the speed of light? Because our universe is being created one planck length at a time, at the speed of light." Poll ended September 20th, 2008. 66% agreed while the rest disagreed.
I wonder if some people disagreed with the above statement because of my choice of the word "created": terms like this can be confusing when the universe we're imagining is really just being observed one planck length after another from out of a wave function of probably outcomes. As Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation has it, and as this project also has it, the other possible universes continue to exist out there within timelessness, they're just not the version that we're observing at this "now" within spacetime. In quantum mechanics, then, references to "collapsing" the wavefunction through observation are really just talking about "observing" the wavefunction: according to this way of thinking, whether you use one term or another, you are really talking about the same process.
The Speed of Light Cannot Be Exceeded within Spacetime
In my book I talk about the speed of light being an independent constant: no matter how fast you travel, no matter how close to the speed of light you get, light continues to travel at the speed of light away from you. In my book I suggested that this is because of our reality is really being created (or observed) by quanta, "slices" of the universe that each exist one planck unit of spacetime away from the next. I also described how this effect would be the same not only with your speed but your direction in time: and in a fanciful mental exercise, we imagined some "reverse time aliens" constructed from the chemical processes that make just as much sense in time's opposite direction. Those reverse-time creatures, then, would also experience the speed of light as an independent constant, and even if they were to travel at close to the speed of light in time's opposite direction, they too would find that the speed of light didn't change and it would continue to move away from them at the same speed.
The October issue of Scientific American has an article on Loop Quantum Gravity, which talks about a concept called "atoms of spacetime". While atoms is an unfortunately confusing term to use in this discussion, it is the same idea that my way of visualizing the dimensions uses: our reality, and our experience of time and space, appears to be continuous, but in fact it is created by a mesh of quanta, or "atoms" of spacetime that are each one planck length away from the next: my entry "The Flipbook Universe" is one of a number of blog entries that talk about this idea.
Plus or Minus
According to Michio Kaku in his thought-provoking "Physics of the Impossible", Einstein's most famous equation is not accurately represented: rather than E = mc squared, the more correct representation is E = ±mc squared. In "You Are Me and We Are All Together" I also talked about the idea that physicists generally agree that antimatter is just matter traveling in time's reverse direction. All of these ideas tie together into a deeper understanding that our experience of time's arrow is really not the full picture of reality, and this is something I've discussed in blog entries like "Time is a Direction" and "Time in Either Direction".
One of my most popularly viewed blog entries in the last couple of months here has been "Moving Dimensions and Synchromysticism", in which I talk about the mind-bending work of Jake Kotze, and the mind-bending Moving Dimensions Theory (MDT) of Dr. Elliott McGucken, the brief summation of which I will quote again here:
This idea is easily related to my way of visualizing the dimension, I believe, and gives us an intuitive way to understand the quandary of why the speed of light doesn't change, no matter what direction in space you travel, and no matter whether you're traveling forward or back in time. Bravo, Elliot McGucken!The only way to stay stationary in the fourth dimension is to move at the speed of light. Ergo the fourth dimension is expanding at the rate of "c" relative to the three spatial dimensions.
To close, here's the video blog for another entry which talks about Moving Dimensions Theory. A direct link to this video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzlRuygMGHY
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfDBW1Smu58
Poll 24 - "The Deutsch team at Oxford have proved that parallel universes resulting from chance and choice really exist. In a number of those, each of us have already died." Poll ended October 4, 2008. 79% agreed, while the remainder disagreed.
The critique of many worlds is shifting from 'it makes no sense and I hate it' to simply 'I hate it'.If you're familiar with Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, then I'm hoping that you recognized that concept when I used it in my original Imagining the Tenth Dimension animation. The idea that there are many possible outcomes from any particular "now" is easy to understand, everyone deals with that idea every minute of their life. What if I had stepped out in front of that car? What if I had won that lottery? What if I had talked to that person I recognized rather than pretending I didn't see them? Our lives are continually about a mix of choice, chance, and the actions of others.
- Cosmologist Max Tegmark of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
What Everett's theory proposed is that each of those other possible branches really do exist out there within the quantum wave function, and that we are merely observing one reality out of the many that continue to exist: the important part of this idea is that those other universes continue to exist, they're just not within the part of the wave function that we're currently observing. Everett presented this concept way back in 1957, and although great minds like Everett's thesis advisor John Wheeler liked the idea, many others within the scientific mainstream ridiculed it and the theory ending up languishing for many decades. Within the last few years though, Everett's Many Worlds theory has received much more attention, and (as I've said many times now in this blog) the Deutsch team's 2007 proof confirms that my use of the Many Worlds idea in my animation and my book is now more solidly based in science than it was when my project was first introduced to the world.
The quote above comes from the September 21 2007 article in New Scientist Magazine about this proof: written by Zeeya Merali, the article is entitled "Parallel Universes Make Quantum Sense". Click here for that article. You will see that that article talks a lot about Everett's Many Worlds, and the article takes the new Oxford team's proof very seriously. So seriously, in fact that a few months later when New Scientist was doing a roundup of the most important science stories of 2007, this proof ended up in the list, and you can click here for that article.
As you'll see in this second article, thinking about branching parallel universes that make sense for our universe can be fun. I've often given examples like "the version of our universe where it's 2008 and Elvis is still alive" or "and dinosaurs still walk the earth". But this idea also has a serious side: if the Everett interpretation and the Deutsch team's proof are to be believed, then the conclusion proposed in this poll question must be true - there must be versions of the universe where it's 2008 and I, or you, dear reader, are already dead. In my blog entry "We're Already Dead (But That's Okay)", we talked more about what that could mean to each of us as the "non-dead" versions of ourselves within the many possible parallel universes that exist for our universe.
In Randomness and the Missing 96%, and Unlikely Events and Timelessness, we also talked about the amazing set of unlikely circumstances that have resulted in the world you or I are witness to right now. This is the conclusion I reached at the end of chapter one of my book as well:
In any dimension lower than ten, all that can be viewed of reality is cross sections. But that is what makes our existence so interesting: not the infinite “white noise” of possibilities; but that out of all those possibilities that could be, we are in this very specific one, right here, and right now.As the quote from Max Tegmark indicated at the start of this entry, the Many Worlds Interpretation elicits a strong and sometimes visceral response: even when there is evidence that Everett's Interpretation actually reflects how our reality comes into being, there are some people who react strongly against this idea. One of my most popular blog entries over the last couple of months has been "Daily Parrying" which talks about why negative reactions like this can happen.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddj360e4sZk
Poll 25 - "The placebo effect is real - people who think they are getting medicine are more likely to get better. This demonstrates that we have more control over our health than we realize." Poll ended October 18, 2008
This has been one of the central ideas behind the Imagining the Tenth Dimension project. If I were more interested in marketing this project and less interested in being true to these ideas, I would be telling everyone that my book shows people a secret way of understanding reality, and all they have to do is visualize the Ten Dimensions and all of their deepest wishes will be realized.
This project is not about easy answers, though,because what we're talking about is a complicated interaction between choice, chance and circumstance. Nonetheless, with blog entries like Crossing You Arms to Change Your Trajectory, Changing Your Genes, Changing Your Genes 2, Magnets and Souls, Everyone Has a Story, and The Placebo Effect we've talked about the surprising scientific evidence that we each have much more control over our own well-being than we have traditionally been led to believe.
Is there a certain power in understanding why things are the way they are, and understanding that change from our current trajectory is easier than we might realize within a many-worlds universe of branching options? Unquestionably. And since so many visitors to this blog were willing to agree with the idea that we have more control over our individual health than we've traditionally been led to believe, it sounds like this idea is not that big a stretch for people to wrap their minds around.
Poll 26: "I agree with Gevin Giorbran - our universe is not winding down from a highly ordered beginning to a meaningless heat death, it is moving from grouping order to symmetry order". Poll ended November 2, 2008.
I can always tell which polls could have used an "I Don't Know" button because fewer people are willing to commit. But hey, since we're just theorizing and philosophizing about the nature of reality, it's more important to me to hear from the people who actually have an opinion one way or the other. I have to admit, though, that I'm surprised that as many visitors to this site were willing to agree to the proposal - perhaps a year and a half of me singing Gevin's praises has had an effect on the regular readers of this blog? 70% were willing to agree, while the remainder disagreed.
Gevin Giorbran's way of visualizing our reality as a move from one kind of order to another resonates so strongly with my own project that it's like the two theories should really be thought of as being part of the same overall construct. I'm very proud to say that Gevin was my friend, and I await the day when mainstream science will catch up to notions that he introduced us to with "Everything Forever - Learning to See Timelessness". Last month I published a blog entry which includes the Foreword, Introduction, and opening three chapters of his book: please click here to read that entry. And if you haven't heard my unusual story of Gevin's death, click here to read that entry.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrS_UnfmVYU
Poll 27 - "Feynman was right - there is really only electron in the universe, whizzing backwards and forwards within timelessness, and the trillions of identical electrons we see at any "now" are just that single electron over and over again."(Poll ended November 16 08. As you can see, the jury was so close on this one that we should probably declare it a tie.)
This poll question was connected to a number of blog entries created around the same time, some of which I will link to at the end of this entry.
When Michio Kaku's book Physics of the Impossible introduced me to Feynman's fascinating idea I felt a strong resonance, because it fits so nicely into the general thrust of this project. What I've been trying to get people to imagine is that there is a way of viewing and understanding reality which is outside of time and space, where everything happens simultaneously and all possible outcomes exist as potential. As mystical as that concept may appear to be, there are sound scientific reasons for supporting such an idea, and if ancient mysticism and modern cosmology happen to agree on something doesn't that only strengthen the argument for this being the truth?
There have also been some news stories lately that ask this question: do you believe in God, or do you believe in the multiverse? Here's a link to one of those stories:
Let's look at the opening paragraphs of the above article, which was written by Mark Vernon:
Is there a God or a multiverse? Does modern cosmology force us to choose? Is it the case that the apparent fine-tuning of constants and forces to make the universe just right for life means there is either a need for a "tuner" or else a cosmos in which every possible variation of these constants and forces exists somewhere?
This choice has provoked anxious comment in the pages of this week's New Scientist. It follows an article in Discover magazine, in which science writer Tim Folger quoted cosmologist Bernard Carr: "If you don't want God, you'd better have a multiverse."
Even strongly atheistic physicists seem to believe the choice is unavoidable. Steven Weinberg, the closest physics comes to a Richard Dawkins, told the eminent biologist: "If you discovered a really impressive fine-tuning ... I think you'd really be left with only two explanations: a benevolent designer or a multiverse."
Imagining the Tenth Dimension, of course, fondly embraces the idea of a multiverse, the Many Worlds Interpretation as first proposed by physicist Hugh Everett III, and ultimately a concept known as the "omniverse" which blends together the many varying ways that the term "multiverse" can be used. It also places this quixotic goal for itself - is it really necessary to choose between God and the multiverse? Is there not a way where both can be shown to be different ways of describing the same thing?
Here are some of my past blog entries which explore the idea of everything being connected together, in the same way that Feynman imagined there being only one electron zooming back and forth within timelessness.
Elvis and the Electrons
A direct link to the above video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=hWysfIj-ebM
A Point Within the Omniverse
A direct link to the above video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=X_Oq-bVkyQc
You are Me and We are All Together
A direct link to the above video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=GbGAPR70tTY
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF3aiPWIgXI
Poll 28 - "Some suggest that an 'aura' might be a way of seeing a part of a person that exists outside of their body, and possibly connects to other planes or dimensions. Have you ever seen a person's aura?" Poll ended December 1st, 2008.
I have to presume that any regular visitors to this blog have an open mind, and even a certain willingness to embrace ideas which are outside of the mainstream. Nonetheless, I have to admit I was surprised to see that 44% of the visitors responding to this poll say they have seen a person's aura, that is higher than I would have expected. Poll 30, on the other hand, asks if visitors have ever had an experience which led them to believe in ghosts, or spirits of the departed that carry on after death and somehow have contact with our world: on that poll, 43% of the respondents said "Yes", and that's a number that's lower than I expected. Why? Because I only know a few people who have seen auras, but I have lots of family and friends who at some point in their life have had some kind of a supernatural experience which led them to at least be willing to consider the possibility that some part of a person carries on after death.
Here's the logic I've worked through with this project, and some of the past blogs where I've explored these ideas, which of course are also central to the book this project is based upon.
In Information Equals Reality, we discussed how this phrase which is being used by quantum physicists also relates to the more metaphysical concepts we're talking about here: ultimately, genes, memes and spimes are all ways of thinking about our reality from outside of our limited space-time viewpoint.
In entries like Magnets and Souls and Daily Parrying we looked at projects like Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight, and the general problem projects like mine can run into: centuries of training have encouraged scientists to reject anything that acknowledges our participation within the reality we are part of. Science, they will tell you, needs to remove spirit and the soul from the discussion, otherwise you are back in the world of alchemists intoning incantations over their experiments to ensure their success: look up "magick" in wikipedia for more about this.
In entries like I Know You, You Know Me, and You are Me and We are All Together, we took these ideas even further, into a way of using concepts from quantum physics and Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation to show how we are all connected together. And most recently, in Auras, Ghosts, and Pareidolia, we made the bold suggestion that patterns each of us senses within our reality are always part of a continuum - "pareidolia" is the word used to describe patterns our minds perceive within randomness, but since the main function of our minds is to make sense of the disorientingly large amount of input coming into our senses, we should never be too quick to dismiss those perceived patterns.
To finish, here's the video for Auras, Ghosts, and Pareidolia. Enjoy the journey!
A direct link to this video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=qZkTVhzBgNk
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxfyCiieubE
Poll 29 - "An electron is a point-like particle. This means, just like the "point" we start the tenth dimension visualization with, an electron is 'of no size, no dimension'." Poll ended December 16 2008. 41% agreed while 58% disagreed.
This poll question relates to some blog entries that were published around the same time: "We Start With a Point", "A Point Within the Omniverse", and "Elvis and the Electrons".
Here's a link to the wikipedia article on electrons. As it says in the article: "Electrons are believed to be point particles with no apparent substructure. They are identical particles that belong to the first generation of the lepton particle family."
So: all electrons are identical, and all electrons are point particles. Here's the first couple of sentences from the wikipedia article on point particles:
"A point particle (or point-like particle, often spelled pointlike particle) is an idealized object heavily used in physics. Its defining feature is that it lacks spatial extension: being zero-dimensional, it does not take up space."
Thinking of an electron as having no size and being zero-dimensional, then, is the correct approach as far as modern physics is concerned. And yet, conceiving of an electron in those terms is not an easy thing for us to wrap our heads around, as 58% of the people responding to this poll showed us.
"We Start With a Point"
My animation, which has now been seen by millions of people around the world, starts with these five words: "we start with a point". Building one idea upon another, we end up with a way to visualize all aspects of reality as contained within the ten dimensions, a mind-blowing journey that makes people want to watch this animation over and over again. When author David Jay Brown called my book "brilliantly conceived and mind-stretching", he was celebrating the large cloud of ideas that spring from the starting point of this way of visualizing reality. Here in this blog, there are a great many tangents that we've explored, all of them stemming from the point of indeterminate size that the original animation both begins and ends with.
Envisioning that the entire universe really contains only one electron, then (a fanciful idea from celebrated physicist Richard Feynman which we discussed most recently in Poll 27) requires us to stretch our minds even further. And as we just discussed in Poll 28, stacking on top of that the idea that our perceived reality is being created through the pattern-recognition powers of our minds builds a conceptual tower which some are still not willing to climb!
To those of you who are not ready to embrace the more "out there" notions that this project sometimes gets into, I'm fine with that. At the core of these discussions, though, is what I believe to be an essential truth about the nature of reality, and as each of us come with our pre-conceived notions and our own experiences which frame our worldview, this project is about ways of showing how we are all connected together: in a very real way, we are like Feynman's single electron, existing simultaneously within a reference frame which is completely outside of time, outside of space. Think of this: the spark within each of us that some call consciousness, and some call "soul", or "spirit", is like a point-like particle when perceived within each "frame" of space-time, but it's also part of a much larger wave function which exists across timelessness. As I've said before: "you are the point".
To finish, here's my song "Connections", which ties these ideas together in its own way.
A direct link to the above video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=J25WhT8WZQ4
Poll 30 - Do You Believe in Ghosts?
A direct link to the above video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=WN6Qi9jhses
Poll 30 - "Have you ever had an experience which led you to believe in ghosts, or spirits of the departed that carry on after death and somehow have contact with our world?" Poll ended December 30 2008. 43% said yes, while the rest said no.
This poll question relates to poll 28, which asked if visitors to the blog had ever seen a person's "aura". The results for both polls were very similar in terms of percentage for yes and no, although I think it's also noteworthy that a substantially larger number of people responded to this poll question than the other - this seems to confirm that a lot of people have an opinion about what happens to us after death, while less of us have an opinion about auras.
Continuing that idea, here's a link to an article from a recent issue of Scientific American Mind, called "Never Say Die - Why We Can't Imagine Death". In a "Key Concepts" summary, the editors boiled down Jesse Bering's article to these three points:
What does this last point mean? This is quite easy to relate to if you've ever had a general anaesthetic. The surgeon asks us to count down from ten, we make it through a few numbers and then our experience of reality just "stops". Completely unlike the process of sleep, where we are still dimly aware of our surroundings, and able to roused if need be, the patient on the operating table simply has a hole in their awareness, for them the surgery did not happen until they wake up in the recovery room. In the way of thinking that this project plays with, it's like their awareness was simply folded across the fourth dimension, creating a discontinuity where they simply "jumped" from the moment in spacetime where they were being put under, to the moment in spacetime when they start to come to afterwards. Here's a paragraph from Jesse Bering's article:
- Almost everyone has a tendency to imagine the mind continuing to exist after the death of the body.
- Even people who believe the mind ceases to exist at death show this type of psychological-continuity reasoning in studies.
- Rather than being a by-product of religion or an emotional security blanket, such beliefs stem from the very nature of our consciousness.
Consider the rather startling fact that you will never know you have died. You may feel yourself slipping away, but it isn’t as though there will be a “you” around who is capable of ascertaining that, once all is said and done, it has actually happened. Just to remind you, you need a working cerebral cortex to harbor propositional knowledge of any sort, including the fact that you’ve died—and once you’ve died your brain is about as phenomenally generative as a head of lettuce. In a 2007 article published in the journal Synthese, University of Arizona philosopher Shaun Nichols puts it this way: “When I try to imagine my own non-existence I have to imagine that I perceive or know about my non-existence. No wonder there’s an obstacle!”The article also talks about the concept of "person permanence" - something that delights babies is the surprise of playing "peekaboo", and young children soon learn that the people around them continue to exist even when they can't be seen. Person permanence, then, also gives us all a deep-seated intuition that some part of a person carries on after death. In this blog I've recommended Douglas Hofstadter's "I Am a Strange Loop" many times, because it offers some clear-headed discussions of the patterns and connections that carry on after a loved one dies.
So: there are many very logical reasons for why any of us can believe that some part of a person's spirit carries on after death, and perhaps a great many more visitors would have said "yes" if my question had been as simple as that. But what I was asking for was more specific than that - it's one thing to believe some part of us carries on, and it's quite another to admit to having had a supernatural/paranormal experience which seemed to confirm that idea.
How many of us have heard stories like this one - "I remember the day Grandma died, she appeared at my window and smiled at me. The phone rang a few minutes later telling me she was gone, and all I could say was 'I know'." Anyone who has had an experience like that will tell you they know for sure that there are parts of us that continue on, and all of the above dispassionate discussions about person-permanence and consciousness will not convince them otherwise.
In blog entries like Auras, Ghosts, and Pareidolia, I've talked about how these ideas can be integrated into my way of visualizing reality. Our minds are very sensitive to patterns within the noise, and personally I have no trouble accepting the idea that parts of our consciousness exist within timelessness, connecting us all together across the spacetime of the fourth dimension, the probability space of the fifth dimension, and beyond. To close, here's my song about death and what carries on: "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep".
A direct link to the above video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=PeClGTuhCy4
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkGZgxeKSCU
"Physicist Sean Carroll says our universe is a temporary deviation from symmetry. This means that "before" the beginning and "after" the end of our universe, then, is really the exact same state: enfolded symmetry." Poll ended January 13 2009. 70% agreed, while the rest disagreed.
I've talked many times about Gevin Giorbran's amazing book, Everything Forever - Learning to See Timelessness. The fact that Gevin is no longer with us but asked me to take over the promotion of his book since his death has nothing to do with my mentioning it here: as I've been saying since I first came across Gevin's work a couple of years ago, his is a groundbreaking text about the nature of the multiverse, and he provides us with remarkable insights into understanding the underlying enfolded symmetry state that our universe both comes from and is headed towards.
Gevin's work dovetailed very nicely with the logical way of visualizing the ten spatial dimensions I've shown to the world with my project, and Gevin was even so kind as to devote a few pages of his book towards describing how well he thought our two approaches fit together. In the almost three years since my book was published, I have been using this blog and the tenth dimension forum to catalog the many advances that have happened in the work of theoretical physicists that appear to be moving us towards the same understanding that Gevin and I had been talking about when we wrote our books. In fact, I've been doing this not just with science, but with a great many other subjects, including ancient spirituality, mysticism, and philosophy, and it's been remarkable to see how many of these threads can be pulled together.
On the science front there are many theories out there as to the mysteries of dark matter, dark energy, gravity, the multiverse, extra dimensions, and so on. When I see a viewpoint that has resonances with what Gevin and I pointed towards, I promote it. Does that mean that I'm picking and choosing, and when I come across a new theory that might oppose the direction Gevin and I were heading in, I generally don't report it? Of course! In the same way, a scientist who is adamantly convinced that there are no extra dimensions is more likely to pursue theories which exist only within the four dimensions of spacetime.
Which brings us to physicist Sean Carroll, whose work I paid tribute to in a blog entry called "Time in Either Direction":
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0j8oYNFFbw
I also talked about Sean's ideas in my entry "Scrambled Eggs"...
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZVd_Ez23g
...and in my blog entry "The Big Bang and the Big Pie".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiP12-u2GYY
Our poll question we're looking at here is about a theory which Scientific American attributed to Sean Carroll, but his theories are easily connected to an idea that has been promoted by myself, and by Gevin Giorbran. I would sum the idea up like this: there is a way of thinking about the fabric of reality which is outside of spacetime, in a place where the wave function of all outcomes for our universe happens simultaneously (as we mentioned last blog entry, physicist Tim Palmer has just published a paper where he calls this idea "the invariant set"). Once you have that image in your mind, it becomes possible to visualize how our universe is a temporary deviation from an underlying symmetry state, which exists both "before" and "after" our universe, in a state that is "outside" of space-time.
Here's a link to a powerpoint presentation from Dr. Carroll in which he talks about the nature of time and space and how a universe as unlikely as our own could spring from the multiverse: http://preposterousuniverse.com/talks/time-colloq-07/. Sean Carroll is also a regular contributor to the science blog Cosmic Variance, a good place for lively discussions, check it out.
Notice how Sean calls his site "preposterousuniverse.com"? Let's finish with a song of mine about our highly unlikely universe: "The Anthropic Viewpoint":
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfe_3bEH-jE
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEU48-0a5r0
Poll Question 32 - "In the same sense that "up" is not a dimension, "time" is a direction, not a dimension. Poll ended January 28 2009. 56% agreed while the rest disagreed.
These polls can be very instructive to me - some concepts that I think will be contentious end up with much more agreement, and some - like this one - that I think the majority will be willing to agree to come out close to a tie.
Let's talk a little more about this question.
What dimension is "up" a dimension within? If we call the first dimension length, the second dimension width, and the third dimension depth, is "up" in the first dimension? This is where the confusion begins. What dimension is "east" a direction in? What dimension is "forwards" a direction in? None of these questions make sense, because a direction can be in any dimension, and the direction only makes sense as a dimension when we consider the opposite direction at the same time.
Okay then, in what dimensions do we find "up/down"? "East/west"? "Backwards/forwards?" The questions still don't really make sense, because we need even more context. Depending upon your orientation within 3D space, any of these words could apply to any vector within that space: but as soon as you arbitrarily establish one of those sets as being your current orientation, you then bring to mind two additional sets of directions that make sense within that context, and each of those sets is at right angles to the others.
Discussions of the fourth spatial dimension, then, are bothered by all the same possible miscommunications. Is "time" a direction in the fourth spatial dimension? Sure, it could be one of them, but depending upon your orientation within that space, you could just as easily say that "up", "forwards", or even "east" is a direction within 4D space. As soon as you pick one of those words, you then limit what you can call the other directions. As it says in the wikipedia article on the fourth dimension, one of the proposed sets of names for the two new directions in the fourth spatial dimension would be "ana" and "kata". For our own entropy-driven reality riding the "arrow of time", I've been encouraging people to think of the two directions in the fourth spatial dimensions as "time" and "anti-time", and to think of that dimension as a whole as "duration".
If "up" can be a direction in any spatial dimension, does that mean that "time" could be as well? Sure! It just depends upon your orientation, your frame of reference. This is why I say that for a 2D flatlander, they would perceive "time" to be in the third spatial dimension. Generally speaking, I would say that "time" is a direction in the next dimension up from the one you're examining, but that is only one of the possible ways of describing how one spatial dimension relates to another.
This is an idea I'm passionate about, as it's central to this way of visualizing the dimensions. In "Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?" I show how important this is: the ten dimensions that physicists talk about are spatial dimensions. Spatial dimensions have a clear relationship to each other, each is at right angles to the one before, which means (as hard as this is to visualize) that all spatial dimensions are at right angles to each other. One useful way of thinking about this is with a set of nested spheres, with each new dimension enfolding all of the other previous ones.
Another way of approaching this idea is to think of those ten spatial dimensions as a tower, but if the fourth dimension is "time" rather than a full spatial dimension encompassing the two directions of "time" and "anti-time", then that tower is built on a shaky foundation. No wonder there are still scientists who refuse to believe that there are any extra dimensions at all!
Here's the video for "Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?", which includes an animation showing this "tower" visualization.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfhOBevrN2U
Based upon the results of the above poll question, it looks like this is a flag I'm going to have to continue waving. Some of the other videos where I've talked about the idea that time is just a direction in the fourth spatial dimension include Hypercubes and Plato's Cave, Time is a Direction, Dr. Mel's 4D Glasses, Time in 3 Dimensions, Wormholes, and "t" Equals Zero.
To close, here's one of my songs about trying to achieve that perspective where, as Einstein, liked to say, the distinction between past, present and future is meaningless. The song is called "Big Bang to Entropy".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-atlgyfQkOc
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD-LRUptxFU
Poll 33 - "If, as Einstein said, the distinction between past present and future is only an illusion, then I could meet another incarnation of myself right now." Poll ended February 12, 2009 - 54% agreed while the remainder disagreed.
Last poll, I remarked upon how instructive these polls can be for me - for instance, I would have thought the idea that "time is a direction, not a dimension" would have gotten a lot of people to agree, since it's central to this way of visualizing reality, but that poll came in with very similar results to this current one. On the other hand, I would have thought that the idea that one could meet an incarnation of themselves right now would have seen more disagreement, since this is one of the more unusual ideas from my project. 54% of the visitors to this forum are willing to agree with that notion? I'm pleasantly surprised.
This is one of those ideas that occurred to me many years ago as an extension to my way of visualizing the dimensions of reality stacked one upon another, a concept that I had been showing to anyone who would listen for the last twenty-five years or so. Back in 2002, I wrote about 50 songs that explored the tangents that come from this way of visualizing reality, with the plan that I would pick my favorites and record a CD. I was also thinking that I would write a little booklet to accompany the CD in which I would explain how this "new way of thinking about time and space" tied all of the songs together.
When I actually got around to writing the CD booklet in 2005, it grew to 220 pages, and that "new way of thinking" eventually became my popular 11-minute animation which has been seen by millions of people around the world. Since the book's publication in 2006 my songs have become somewhat secondary to the project, which is fine, but I believe there are still ways that song lyrics can make these ideas more accessible. One of the 26 songs I attached to this project is called "Connections". The last verse of that song went like this:
I think I met myself todayLikewise, with my song "Burn the Candle Brightly", I was thinking about the patterns representing us that carry on after death:
I think I saw my eyes
Another me in another body
Livin another life
So when this journey is over... and my song "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" also talks about this idea from the first person perspective:
And that beautiful spark is finally gone
We can see that the vessel is empty
But we know that the light carries on
Now I lay me down to sleepOne of the books I've referred to a number of times in this blog is Douglas Hofstadter's "I Am a Strange Loop". Let me quote a few paragraphs from this enlightening and inspiring book, much of which is about the structures and forms that create the mysterious "I" of consciousness. In the latter part of the book, though, he expands these ideas into what it means to have a representation of other people - your spouse, your children, your parents, a very close friend - held within those same structures. Specifically, how much of that can be thought of as being an actual part of what it is that makes that person uniquely who they are? And if any part can be thought of in that way to any degree, then what happens when the real person dies? Hofstadter writes:
To rest my weary head
If I should die in slumber deep
Remember what I said
It’s not the end of the world
It’s not the end of the dream
It’s just the end of a body
Not the end of a soul
The bond created between two people who are married for a long time is often so tight and powerful that upon the death of either one of them, the other one very soon dies as well. And if the other survives, it is often with the horrible feeling that half of their soul has been ripped out. In happier days, during the marriage, the two partners of course have individual interests and styles, but at the same time a set of common interests and styles starts to build up, and over time a new entity starts to take shape.And later on...
The following should be a much easier question (although I think it is not actually easier). What was the nature of the "Holden Caulfield symbol" in J. D. Salinger's brain during the period when he was writing Catcher in the Rye? That structure was all there ever was to Holden Caulfield -- but it was so, so rich. Perhaps that symbol wasn't as rich as a full human soul, but Holden Caulfield seems like so much of a person, with a true core, a true soul, a true personal gemma, even if only a "miniature" one. You couldn't ask for a richer representation, a richer mirroring, of one person inside another person, than whatever constitutued the Holden Caulfield symbol inside Salinger's brain.In my own book, I suggest that what each of us think of as our unique "soul" is actually a large and interconnected set of memes, some of which rise and fall in prominence over a lifetime, and memes by their very definition are patterns of information that exist across space and time, connecting together in ways that are beyond the physical limitations of the world we see around us. This leads me to some conclusions that are related to what Mr. Hofstadter is talking about, but I go a little further out on the same conceptual limb:
Here’s another way to look at this idea: if each of us has a unique soul, where are all the new souls coming from? Our planet’s population has exploded in numbers, so there must be new “soul material” being created from somewhere (if there really are only a certain number of souls allocated to this planet, then the chances of any one of us being the reincarnate soul of a person who lived here in the last few thousand years are approaching the chances of winning a lottery!).And later on:
In the New Age community, theories abound regarding what that source of all those new souls might be. All of those theories may be held within the version of reality that we are advancing here: if our soul is a conglomeration of memes that exist outside of time, then other versions of that soul could exist in other universes, in other locations within our universe, in other parts of the history and future of our universe, and even right now in other parts of our own world. The idea that it’s possible to meet another incarnation of yourself right now may take some getting used to, but it is an important aspect of the version of reality we are exploring.
It may appear, then, that if we imagine a particular meme that has existed since the perceived beginning of our universe, collapsing a specific version of reality out of the wave of potential universes through the act of its observation, that we are imagining an aspect of the Creator-God. But there is a second way to view this puzzle. Could the feeling of “self” that each of us holds within us also be “just geometry”? In other words, what if this interlocking web of memes were exactly like the interlocking web of physical realities implied by the Many Worlds theory? This would mean that the potential for all ways of viewing the world, and the potential for all the different systems that we think of as being our own soul, are also held within an indeterminate wave of potential at the tenth dimension that has always existed, and will always exist.In entries like Everyone Has a Story, Being More Fifth-Dimensional, You are Me and We are All Together, The Big Bang and the Big O, and Going to the Light I've continued my exploration of how ideas from cosmology and philosophy, from science and spirituality, can be blended together into an understanding of our reality which embraces a timeless perspective. Once we've arrived at an appreciation of the timelessness that exists outside of our spacetime, an enfolded symmetry state from which our universe or any other arises, it becomes easier to think about how it really could be possible to meet another person right now who is basically you, living another life, in another body, experiencing the world with their own unique perspective but intimately connected through those underlying information patterns which exist outside of spacetime.
Other recent blogs about enfolded symmetry:
Dreaming of Electric Sheep
Imagining the Omniverse
We Start with a Point
A Point within the Omniverse
"t" Equals Zero
Going to the Light
The Invariant Set
Illusions and Reality
To finish, here's one of the songs we quoted from above: "Burn the Candle Brightly".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ydru-VYfybU
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ1fwxqqLQI
Poll Question 34 - "Do you believe in God? Or the Multiverse?" Poll ended February 25 09. Interestingly, this poll saw the most participants so far of any of the polls we've had here: it seems people have strong opinions whenever the word "God" comes up in a question. 13% picked "God" as their answer, 32% for "Multiverse", 14% for "Neither", and 39% picked the most popular answer, "Both".
In Polls Archive 27, in which we discussed the question of whether there is really only one electron since they are all completely identical, we talked a bit about recent news items like the following, which suggest we may have to choose between "God or the Multiverse". Here's the opening two paragraphs of Mark Vernon's article, which appeared in the December 8 '08 issue of guardian.co.uk:
Is there a God or a multiverse? Does modern cosmology force us to choose? Is it the case that the apparent fine-tuning of constants and forces to make the universe just right for life means there is either a need for a "tuner" or else a cosmos in which every possible variation of these constants and forces exists somewhere?Just ten days ago, the same conversation was brought up again in a New York Times opinion piece called "God and the Multiverse".
This choice has provoked anxious comment in the pages of this week's New Scientist. It follows an article in Discover magazine, in which science writer Tim Folger quoted cosmologist Bernard Carr: "If you don't want God, you'd better have a multiverse."
This is a good question, but a complicated one. There's a 45 minute interview on YouTube where Tom Huston, one of the editors of What is Enlightenment magazine, discusses similar questions with me:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MteowQVkEHs
In the above interview I explain how I believe that there are selection patterns that created our universe, which depending upon your point of view are God, or just naturally occurring patterns that exist within timelessness, and in that sense I am thinking of a God that fits in with "deism". Our universe is so amazing, huge, complex, detailed, unlikely, that even if we don't ascribe consciousness to those selection patterns they are still something so humbling and intricate that they're worthy of our gratitude and praise.
Unlikely Events and Timelessness:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=CA&hl=en&v=Hpf3y_EdHco
I also believe that consciousness is connected together in ways we can't directly see from down here in spacetime, and that connectedness is something that some people think of as God. So phrases like "I am an aspect of God" or "God is in me" make sense within that context. Douglas Hofstadter's book "I am a Strange Loop" and Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's book "My Stroke of Insight" both tie very easily to that concept as well.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5HyTz9xaBc
I Know You, You Know Me:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfq5kKkA6pw
You are Me and We are All Together:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbGAPR70tTY
As I say in my entry "Daily Parrying", though, this doesn't really support the idea of a God who you can pray to and He will make the other football team lose and your team win just because that's what you asked Him for. I talk about this in my book:
The reader may notice here that it would be very easy to substitute “God” or “The Creator” in place of “the observer” in the above paragraphs. In fact, if the reader is comfortable with the concept of each of us being an expression of God, “created in His/Her image”, each with a holy spark within, then the two viewpoints are quite compatible. On the other hand though, the image of a God who is separate from, standing in judgment of, and meting out punishment to us all is much less compatible. What we are describing here is a reality where each of us is creating an expression of a specific aspect inferred within the “white noise” of the tenth dimension through our individual roles as quantum observers. If the reader finds it easier to accept the phrase “I am an aspect of God” than they do the previous sentence, then they should feel free to use that as their jumping off point instead. As we discussed before, the tenth dimension as we are conceptualizing it here is really the boring part of our discussion, because it simultaneously contains all possibilities. If we choose to imagine a Creator-God who is manifesting Himself/Herself through each one of us, we are imagining an observer who is cutting cross-sections out of the tenth dimension to examine the much more interesting and highly detailed subsets of reality which are contained within the dimensions below.God 2.0:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Y4xseftgQ
With this project, I've been trying to show people that there are ways of aligning a spiritual viewpoint with the traditionally atheistic scientific viewpoint. If I say "I believe in God" that immediately creates an image in someone else's mind which may be completely different from what I'm trying to convey, so I tend to not want to say things as simply as that. To finish, here's a song that says whether you believe we come from God or the multiverse, there is still something amazing, complex, and wonderful about the universe in which we live: "Thankful".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIfN1RM9X6I
A direct linke to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YG3qo4BJmk
Poll Question 35 - "Our 4D universe comes from a 5D hologram." Poll ended March 10 2009. 71% agreed, while the remainder disagreed.
This poll question connects to two blog entries published in January. The first, "Slices of Reality" talked about interference patterns and provided a fascinating visualization of just such a pattern that resulted from the unique way an iPhone takes its pictures. The blog entry that followed, "The Holographic Universe", talks about the exciting new evidence from the GEO600 project that appears to confirm one of the central ideas my project is based upon: our reality is not continuous. Rather, it is divided into planck-unit sized "frames" of space-time. Some people look at this and presume it only refers to the planck length, 10 to the minus 35 meters, but that's only a measurement of 3D space. A 4D "frame" of space-time has length, width, depth, and duration, and its size in all four dimensions is determined by Planck's Constant. Understanding this immediately gives us a way to understand the string theory idea that our experience of the fifth dimension and above is "curled up at the planck length" - it's because of the granular nature of space-time, which means we can only view the fifth dimension through these planck unit sized "grains" of spacetime which occur one after another on our 4D line of time, giving us the illusion of the continuously existing reality we see around us.
There's much more to discuss about all this, please read my entry The Holographic Universe for more. Or, here are the "vlog" versions of those two entries, and these are part of a collection of over 200 videos I've posted over at my youtube channel.
Slices of Reality:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nheaNclVe2Y
The Holographic Universe:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMLVjFrtq6Q
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODAjIzHyzhk
Poll 36 -"Plants use quantum physics effects in photosynthesis, and this is why it is such an efficient energy conversion process." Poll ended March 25 2009. 72% agreed, the rest disagreed.
This was another poll created as a companion to a specific blog entry, in this case "Creativity and the Quantum Universe". That post was inspired by an article published in the February Issue of Discover Magazine which really caught my eye - written by Mark Anderson, it was called Entangled Life. The article is an interesting summary of lab experiments and serious theoretical propositions that suggest plants do use quantum effects to make photosynthesis such an efficient process, and that such effects as entanglement and tunneling could also be imparting unique fragrances to molecules that are almost identical, imparting healing qualities to substances like green tea, and perhaps even directly contributing to consciousness.
Here's the video for "Creativity and the Quantum Universe":
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBNv8LMbEPA
Essentially, then, with this poll question I was asking whether visitors agreed with the suppositions advanced in Mark Anderson's article and reported in my blog, and I'm pleased to see how many were willing to agree with this idea. While I would encourage you to go back and read my blog entry and that Discover magazine article mentioned above, let me underline the interesting parallel I suggested back then.
Paragraph from Discover Magazine article:
Instead of haphazardly moving from one connective channel to the next, as might be seen in classical physics, energy traveled in several directions at the same time. The researchers theorized that only when the energy had reached the end of the series of connections could an efficient pathway retroactively be found. At that point, the quantum process collapsed, and the electrons’ energy followed that single, most effective path.
My paraphrased version to show how creativity might be a quantum process:
Instead of haphazardly moving from one idea to the next, as might be seen in work that has no focus, creative ideas travel in several directions at the same time. By simultaneously exploring a set of connections, the "eureka" of a new inspiration can be found. At that point, the exploration process is "collapsed", and the creative person follows the new idea that they find most inspiring.
Several weeks later, in Our Non-Local Universe, I continued the discussion of how our world is connected together in hidden ways that transcend the limited "now" of space-time, and how the principle of non-locality is an accepted fact in mainstream science. With this project, I am insisting that this non-locality is direct evidence of extra dimensions, and that a great many other seemingly mysterious processes can also be understood when we see how the information that underlies our reality exists in additional dimensions. I find it fascinating that this "timeless" perspective is gaining ground, as more and more people accept that our universe is just one of a multiverse of many other universes, and that perhaps all of those universes and multiverses might be assembled into one perfectly balanced underlying symmetry state which physicist Tim Palmer has recently called The Invariant Set and which I (and others) have referred to as The Omniverse.
Which leads back to the parallels I drew above, between the accepted viewpoint that our universe is non-local, between scientific evidence that plants use non-local effects for photosynthesis, and my notion that all life is a creative process, and which means that creative processes are non-local. While 79% agreed with the non-local nature of photosynthesis being what makes it so efficient, I wonder how many visitors to this blog would be willing to follow me further out on that same limb if I were to re-write the poll question in the same way that I re-wrote the above paragraph. What if I were to ask for agreement/disagreement on this statement?
Life uses quantum physics effects such as tunneling and entanglement to engage with reality "outside" of space-time, and this is true of all creative processes.For me, this statement logically follows, and is a very important part of understanding the way of visualizing the dimensions that I'm exploring with this project. As I say in my book and have repeated in this blog, I would define "life" as any process that is interested in "what happens next", in other words that finds ways to use the non-local nature of our universe to allow itself to thrive and continue. That would be just as true of the first chemical reactions that became the seeds of life in the primordial soup as it is for you and I. Would you agree? Let's find out. You will now find a poll question over to the right here at the tenth dimension blog which asks that question.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kWjfkFIQCk
Poll 37 - "In his book 'Supernatural', Graham Hancock notes the remarkable similarities between ancient cave paintings from across tens of thousands of years and around the world. This shows that ancient shamans were able to see patterns from other dimensions." Poll ended April 11 2009. 38% agreed while the rest disagreed.
I've only recently finished reading this book. (At almost 500 pages, Supernatural is not a book you read in a night!) Along the way, I've alternated between wrestling with my own in-grained skepticism and a feeling that Hancock is lifting the veil on extremely important material. His work connects to a number of the ideas I've promoted with my project: that our reality is connected together in ways unseen, that there are patterns that exist outside of spacetime that are participating in the ongoing process of creation, and that there are a number of ways for people to become more sensitized to these hidden processes. In my book, I lumped altered states resulting from meditation, trance, repetitive tribalistic activities like dance and drumming, and visions seen under the influence of hallucinogens as all being part of the same kinds of processes that could be allowing people to glimpse these patterns, and my song "From the Corner of My Eye" is also about that supposition. In my blog entry The Shaman I added more traumatic experiences such as fasting or intense pain to that list (as these are also not uncommon in shamanistic practices from around the world), but while doing so I noted that even though all of these altered states I've listed may somehow be related, many people immediately jump to the conclusion that any discussion of altered states is really just talking about drugs. This, I think, is unfortunate because it can allow some people to jump to the conclusion that altered states are "unnatural".
For the last century in particular, most of us have had it drummed into us that anything seen under the influence of mind-altering drugs is not to be taken seriously, that it is merely the chemistry of the brain being disrupted, and no good will come of it. When I was writing my book, including psychedelics in the list of useful altered states for sensing extra dimensions was an intuitive leap based upon reading other's reports, since I have no experience with these substances myself. Still, as I've documented elsewhere, I was surprised upon the release of my book to be contacted by so many people who had taken LSD, mushrooms, and so on, telling me that what they saw under the influence of these substances seemed easier to explain within the context of my way of visualizing the dimensions. Nonetheless, I have to admit that most of what I thought they were talking about were geometric patterns and time-shifted artifacts... glimpses into the fifth spatial dimension. Almost six months after launching my project, I decided to set up an "altered states" area over at the tenth dimension forum as people with seemingly-related drug experiences kept contacting me. Since then, I've heard more and more stories from persons using DMT, ayahuasca, salvia divinorum and other drugs, and those people have described some really mind-boggling visions: but to me these were no more mind-boggling than the insights revealed, for instance, in Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's journey into the connections of her own mind to the universe that she recounted in her marvelous "My Stroke of Insight".
In Supernatural, Graham Hancock provides a context to altered states of all kind that is much deeper than what I had suspected, but now that he has done so I see more of the same connections in the stories I have been told by people writing to me in emails or at my forum. He makes some very persuasive arguments that the visions seen under those states have remarkable connections and similarities across tens of thousands of years and around the world, and this highly-detailed repetition alone indicates that our minds are really being allowed to "tune in" to other modalities of existence that actually do exist, but which were inaccessible without entering these altered states (in the same way that a radio can "tune in" to different radio stations - the waveforms coming from those other stations are already out there, just waiting to be heard).
To be clear, what Hancock is referring to here is not just similarities in geometric shapes or visions of bright lights, he has a long list of iconic images and creatures that occur again and again from the recorded visions of ancient man right up to modern time. He makes the bold assertion that these experiences are at the root of the development of civilization, and that all of the world's religions have as their source the ecstatic visionary experiences of those who shared their visions of these "other worlds" with others around them.
I would suggest reading the following blog entries, in the order below, if you would like to follow my reasoning for supporting the challenging conclusions of Graham Hancock's groundbreaking book. And if you have read the above paragraphs and decided to reject these ideas outright (as did 61% of the visitors answering the above poll question), I have some sympathy for that position: it is only through the process of reading Mr. Hankcock's book that I have come around to an acceptance of these ideas, and I am almost certainly not going to convince any skeptics in a few paragraphs when it took Mr. Hancock almost 500 pages to carefully lay out his case for these ideas.
The Holographic Universe
You Have a Shape and a Trajectory
Creativity and the Quantum Universe
Where Are You?
Our Non-Local Universe
Illusions and Reality
To finish, here's a somewhat tongue-in-cheek song about those ancient mysteries that connect ancient shamans to you and I: "What I Feel for You".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w06IRgChaMY
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gVNysRC6l4
Poll 38 - "Learning to play a musical instrument can rewire your brain in ways that make you more empathetic, more sensitive to other people's emotions." Poll ended April 27 2009. 91% agreed while the remainder disagreed.
This poll was created as a companion to a series of blogs created in March that focused on empathy, and in particular an entry called "The Musician", in which I quoted from an article written by Hazel Muir which appeared in the March 5th edition of New Scientist magazine:
Musicians are fine-tuned to others' emotionsTo read a longer excerpt from the article, please refer back to my blog entry The Musician. Based upon the above poll results, the idea that learning to play a musical instrument might heighten a person's ability to feel empathy seems to have already "struck a chord" with visitors to this blog, so I'll not belabor the point here. For further reading, here's a collection of some of my previous blog entries where we explored how empathy fits in with this way of visualizing reality:
Musical training might help autistic children to interpret other people's emotions. A study has revealed brain changes involved in playing a musical instrument that seem to enhance your ability to pick up subtle emotional cues in conversation.
"It seems that playing music can help you do all kinds of things better," says Nina Kraus from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. "Musical experience sharpens your hearing not just for music, but for other sounds too."
Are Animals and Kids More Fifth-Dimensional?
Local Realism Bites the Dust
The Big Bang and the Big O
Where Are You?
Illusions and Reality
To finish, here's a song about vibrations, entrainment, and empathy: "Positive Vibes".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzUIpJzCjNI
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTdGVci6Ebo
Poll Question 39 - "Is it possible that a person who has received a heart transplant could take on bits of the memories or behaviors of the donor?" Poll ended May 12 2009. 43% agreed that this could be "Possible", while the rest said "Impossible".
Back in Poll 33, we asked whether this way of visualizing reality could allow for the possibility of meeting another version of yourself, living another life, right here in the present. The question we're looking at here is somewhat related to that concept, but does require us to make another major conceptual leap if we're going to accept this additional supposition.
Check out the following set of videos, which is from a program shown on the Discovery Health channel a few years ago. This is from a documentary series called Mindshock, and the episode is called "Transplanting Memories?".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sudmW97FZA0
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky6eEiVbgMg
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei6FmA6-N14
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SY5SiWHDInQ
As we can see from the poll results, the idea that a heart transplant patient might take on memories or behaviors from the donor is pretty "out there", and more people disagreed than agreed with this as a conjecture. Would the poll results have been somewhat different if every person answering the poll were obliged to watch at least part of the above documentary? Perhaps. Certainly, for many of us this is a new idea: and to be clear, this "transplanting memories" concept is not a conclusion I arrived at in my book or have promoted with my project up to now. The idea does seem to be connected to Rupert Sheldrake's ideas about morphic resonance, though, and Sheldrake's work has received some attention in my book and in this blog. Here are some of the past blogs where I've talked about related ideas:
Are Animals and Kids More Fifth-Dimensional?
Souls as Interlocking Patterns
Magnets and Souls
"Transplanting Memories" is not without its detractors - like many of the other ideas we've explored here in this blog, there are skeptics who automatically ridicule the above documentary, and that extends to any suggestions that there could be unseen connections linking our reality together. Setting those knee-jerk reactions aside, though, requires us to think about the possible consequences of this - if some imprint of a certain organ's previous owner remains, does that mean a heart from a murderer or a suicidal person could dramatically alter the behavior of the recipient? The mind boggles at the implications.
In blog entries like Auras, Ghosts and Pareidolia, Do You Believe in Ghosts?, Ever Seen an Aura?, and Going to the Light, I've looked at some of the possible ways that a person's unique patterns might continue on after death. For me, the idea that a transplanted heart from a murderer could cause the recipient to become one too seems too far-fetched. It seems more possible to me that some parts of the donor's awareness might continue to focus on the timeline of the recipient and exert some minor influences , but I'm reminded of what hypnotists say - no person in a hypnotic state can be induced to do something that goes against the basic morals of that person. I think the same could be true of the subtle influences seen in these situations: the patient might find themselves becoming interested in a new food or willing to listen to a kind of music that previously held no interest for them, and there are transplant recipients interviewed in the above documentary who experienced just such effects. But like the hypnotized subject, these people are not going to take on any new characteristics that they wouldn't already have been willing to accept regardless of where they came from.
Although the source of these new influences might seem troubling, when you stop and think about it this is not particularly different from the process of growth, discovery and taking on new patterns that each of us goes through within our lives each and every day. As I say in my song Change and Renewal:
Every minute of every dayAm I the same person I was twenty years ago? No! And neither are you. We learn, we change, we grow. But there are threads that connect us each to our previous selves, and the unique journey each of us is on is what makes this all so interesting.
I keep changing, I keep changing
Nothing ever stays the same
All replacing, rearranging
Every cell that’s in me now
Was not the same when I was born
In an endless constant flow
Renewing when they’re old and worn
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khTlSGfZWiU
Poll 40: "People who focus on the "now" rather than their possible future paths are more likely to be moody, indecisive, and envious." Poll ended May 26 2009. 45% agreed while the majority disagreed.
A number of visitors to the blog had some trouble accepting this supposition, which relates to a specific entry I published last month called "The Time Paradox". In it, I talked about a book of the same name by Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University. In a promotional video for his book he tells us that tests given to children showed a clear link years later to which of them were more successful and well-adjusted as they entered adulthood: four-year-olds were offered the choice of a marshmallow right now, or two marshmallows if they were willing to wait for twenty minutes. Those children who jumped at the single marshmallow rather than thinking about the greater future reward coming if they would wait, to use Dr. Zimbardo's words, grew into young adults who were more likely to be "moody, indecisive, and envious". Those who did wait went on as adolescents to score an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and to be much more likely to be rated by independent examiners as "competent" or "attentive", while those who were not able to delay gratification were more likely to be described as "sulky" or "irritable".
As I mentioned in my previous blog about the Time Paradox, the difficulty some people have in accepting these results may be connected to the current popularity of Ekhart Tolle's writing: The Power of Now, he tells us, is better than the ego-based striving for tomorrow and fretting about the past. Sometimes, though, living in the Now is living in a trap of endlessly repeating negative patterns, and that is not the way to make your life better. Who would disagree that "attitude affects outcome"? What psychiatrist would disagree that healing can't really start until it comes from within? What entrepeneur would disagree that "the eye of the tiger" is how you get to the future version of yourself that you hold as your heart's desire? What athlete would disagree with the power of positive visualization techniques? What health care provider has not seen people who lose their interest in tomorrow, their will to carry on, and death follows?
All of these are related to the processes of engaging not just in the "now", but in the branching future paths that exist as potential for each of us. In The Placebo Effect I talked about the surprising results of medical studies showing how difficult it can be to test new drugs when patients given placebos will also do better because of their assumption that they are being given some new treatment. In Changing Your Genes Part 2 I talked about the amazing new science of epigenetics, which proves that people can actually change their own gene expression through changes in lifestyle and attitude. And in Creativity and the Quantum Universe, I talked about how this "engaging in the future paths" concept has been proved to be basic to our universe and to the basic structures of all living things.
And where are all these future paths that hold this amazing promise, these powerful tools that people around the world are using to moving beyond a "now" that is not to their liking and to a possible "then" that exists within their set of all possible future states? According to my way of visualizing, this is all within the fifth dimension, within a probability space that connects to Everett's Many Worlds and the hidden patterns of the universe, and which each of us are navigating within one planck after another right at this very "now".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lMsPnYKFjc
Poll 41: "Life uses quantum physics effects such as tunneling and entanglement to engage with reality 'outside' of spacetime, and this is true of all creative processes". Poll Ended June 10 '09, 83.2% agreed while 16.8% disagreed.
I suggested for the wording for this poll in my blog entry accompanying "Poll 36 - Do Plants Use Quantum Effects?". Both this current poll question and that previous poll 36 are connected to my blog entry Creativity and the Quantum Universe. I will post the videos for both of those down below. In those entries I talked about the scientific experiments that have shown ways in which life is engaged with more than the "now" of our 4D spacetime. This time around, I'm going to talk mainly about creativity.
Here's a video from the TED Talks series featuring author Amy Tan (best-selling author of The Joy Luck Club). Amy takes us on a similar exploration to the areas my project regularly delves into, blending ideas from quantum mechanics and cosmology with her own thoughts on free will, chance, and creativity. This presentation is light and fun, but underneath Amy is dealing with some heady concepts.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D0pwe4vaQo
There continues to be mounting evidence that we operate "outside" of the limited little window we call "now". Here's an article about recent research that shows there are processes which let us decide what we're about to do before we are consciously aware of the decision:
Here is another author speaking at Ted Talks about creativity: this is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth has some very wise things to say about the negative connotations sometimes attached to the role of being a creative person: the myth that creative people have to suffer for their art is dangerously destructive. Last entry, in "When's a Knot Not a Knot?", I ended by asking that we think about loops and knots, and that we ponder the loops and knots that keep us from our goals. My song Addictive Personality is about those same patterns that we can let ourselves be trapped into, and Elizabeth adds some very important points to this conversation.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA
Here's videos for those previous blog entries I mentioned above. "Poll 36 - Do Plants Use Quantum Effects?":
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODAjIzHyzhk
"Creativity and the Quantum Universe":
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBNv8LMbEPA
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFvsd6IUoH4
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMqJjc9Q4Fw
Poll 42: "With which statement do you more agree?
1: Twitter connects people together more and helps new ideas spread more quickly.
2: Twitter distracts people from being productive and is mostly a waste of their time."
Poll Ended June 24 09. This one was close throughout the poll, ended up with 53.8% saying Twitter distracts from productivity, and 46.2% saying it helps to spread ideas more quickly.
Love it or hate it, twitter has established itself as another tool for connecting people together which can't be ignored. Here's a link to a popular presentation created a while back by Marta Kagan, and here below is her followup to that presentation, "one year later". This is the first time I've embedded a "slideshare" presentation in my blog, just wanted to make sure you notice that this is not a movie, it's more like a powerpoint presentation: so you can click through the slides at your own reading speed or just sit back and watch the presentation at the more languid pace that has been programmed in.
A direct link to the above presentation is at "What the Fk is Social Media One Year Later".
As we deal with the rising flow of information coming at us from all directions, presentations like this one can help to remind us that it's all about connections, and seeing how Everything Fits Together is the basic goal of my project. Are we all swimming in an increasingly broad and deep "stream" of richly linked data? That's what web 3.0 pioneer Nova Spivack has proposed. Here's the video for my previous entry about that idea, "The Stream".
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz2Lx4DLNUQ
Poll 42 also relates to another previous blog entry, "Mindwalk and Twitter". If you like movies like My Dinner With Andre and Waking Life, you might enjoy the thoughtful blending of philosophy and quantum physics in the 1990 movie by Bernt Capra called "Mindwalk". In Mindwalk and Twitter I embedded a Google Video copy of that movie, check it out.
There is a multiverse of other "different-initial-conditions" universes out there, and they are not just theoretical, they are equally as real as the universe in which we live. Poll ended July 9 09. 85.7% agreed, while 14.3% disagreed.
While no one would ever take a simple opinion poll on the internet as being some kind of scientific proof, I do find the results of this poll very interesting: when I launched my project over three years ago, I'm sure we would have seen a lot less people comfortable with this idea. What has changed? What has caused experts like physicist Brian Greene (of "The Elegant Universe" fame) to state the following just a few months ago in New Scientist magazine?
"You walk along a number of pathways in physics far enough and you bang into the possibility that we are one universe of many. So what do you do? You smack yourself in the head and say, 'Ah, maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.' I have personally undergone a sort of transformation, where I am very warm to this possibility of there being many universes, and that we are in the one where we can survive."I discuss all this in more detail in the blog I put up the same time as I started the poll we're looking at now: "Does the Multiverse Really Exist?". Here's the video I put up on youtube for that blog entry just a few days ago:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9187JKkKxx4
When I wrote my song "The Anthropic Viewpoint" back in 2002, even fewer people were willing to accept the idea that the other universes are just as real as the one we live in. Regular readers of my blog will already know this song but for those newer readers who haven't come across it yet, here's one of the videos. Follow this link for lyrics and further discussion about this concept that Brian Greene is now finally saying he embraces: that those other universes are just as real as our own, they just don't happen to be the one that we find ourselves to be within.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=du86lNCvOdA
Before we get started today - here's a shout out to Brendon Urie, lead singer of the popular band Panic! At the Disco who has been saying some nice stuff about my project in his twitter feed over the last day or two. Thanks Brendon!
The "Biocentric Universe Theory" says that without life there is no time, no space, no cosmos. Do you agree with this idea? Poll ended July 23 09. 40.9 % agreed while the remainder, 59.1% disagreed.
This blog, of course, relates to an entry I published a few months back in my blog called The Biocentric Universe. There was a followup to that entry called The Biocentric Universe Part 2 which is also part of this discussion.
Coincidentally, I just posted the video blog version of The Biocentric Universe on youtube a few days ago, here's the video:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4S9hAkGbyY
It's interesting to me how some people can't wrap their minds around this concept because they are so mentally trapped in the "cause and effect" reality of the world they see around them. Trying to visualize how life could retroactively "fine tune" the basic physical structures of our universe seems like a chicken and egg scenario - how could life fine-tune the universe if the universe hadn't already had its initial conditions fine-tuned to allow life to come into existence in the first place? It boggles the mind.
In entries like Why Stop at Ten Dimensions? , I've talked about similar "turtles all the way down" loops which don't seem to make sense until you can find a way to divorce yourself from our linear 4D spacetime perspective of cause and effect: if the difference between past, present, and future is meaningless once you get out to the proper viewpoint "outside" of spacetime, then questions like "which came first" no longer have any relevance. In my popular blog entry Creativity and the Quantum Universe, we discussed other new lab experiments which appear to prove that life is a process which operates beyond the limits of our narrow one-planck-length-at-a-time window into the information that becomes our reality.
Interestingly, Why Stop at Ten Dimensions? has became one of my most popularly viewed videos of all time on youtube: let's take a look at that video now:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbz-CefzT-g
Is there any other proof that life exists outside of spacetime? What if I told you there was evidence that the "spark of life" I'm always talking about can lie dormant for not hundreds, not thousands, not millions, but tens of millions of years and still arise and flourish when conditions are right? Would that convince you that life is a process which, at its core, exists outside of our limited 4D spacetime reality? We'll talk about that more in an upcoming blog.
Here's a couple of my songs about that mysterious, timeless spark which each of us carry within us.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J25WhT8WZQ4
Burn the Candle Brightly:
A direct link to above video is at:
There's a mind-boggling new theory that has just been proposed by theoretical physicist Lorenzo Moccone, currently at MIT, which may tie into all this as well. We look at his theory in "The Quantum Solution to Time's Arrow".
Other related blogs:
The Long Undulating Snake
The Big Bang is an Illusion
Happy Birthday Paul
Placebos and Nocebos
"By 2020 we will see computers that exhibit signs of consciousness that make them able to deal with complex and contradictory input in the same ways that humans do." Poll ended August 6 2009. 35.4% agreed, 9.7% said it was impossible, while 54.9% said it was possible but will take longer than the 2020 target date suggested in this poll.
Wow, a new winner for the most number of votes. The previous winner was Poll 34 - God? Or the multiverse?, which received 258 votes, this one received 277. What is it about the idea of computers becoming conscious that elicits such a strong response in people? If a computer were to achieve consciousness, would that mean that we human beings are not as special, not as uniquely gifted, as we've traditionally believed?
In Logic vs. Intuition, I described how famous physicist Erwin Schrödinger pointed out that within our universe life is a unique process which creates pockets of "negative entropy" or increasing order: and within that context, consciousness and creativity can also be described the same way. In my recent blogs The Quantum Solution to Time's Arrow, and The Statistical Universe, I've also talked about the role the reversal of entropy might play in the creation of our observed universe, and new scientific theories that support that idea. Is consciousness a force that reverses entropy, that acts as a force pushing against disorder?
I would say that if a computer algorithm can become conscious, then the idea that consciousness could exist in other living things, or even within other extra-dimensional shapes and patterns that exist outside of our limited spacetime, all move a step closer towards being accepted concepts. A conscious computer would be a big deal! I find it interesting that so few people responding to this poll thought such a leap will never ever occur.
Last month my good friend. Argentina's Mariana Soffer (of the amazingly diverse blog Dream Your Own Lullaby sent me a link to a blog called "The Mutiverse According to Ben" (a title which of course already makes my ears perk up even before I visit the blog) which introduced me to the term Artificial General Intelligence, or "AGI". According to wikipedia, AGI is also known as "Strong AI", which to my layman's eye looks an awful lot like "Artificial Intuition" as promoted by Monica Anderson, of artificial-intuition.com fame, who I talked about in the original blog that inspired this poll, Logic vs. Intuition. Whether my interpretation is accurate or not, what I see in both approaches is a desire to transcend basic computer logic, and apply creative leaps that better approximate the processes the human mind implements as it deals with the incredibly complex and often contradictory input it receives from the world around it.
Would such a computer be conscious? If a computer some time in the near future said to you "yes, I am conscious", and email conversations with it convinced you that it was conscious, would that mean this ideal had been achieved? That, of course, is the essence of the Turing Test, which I've talked about in entries like 41 - Is Creativity a Quantum Process? , Norway's Reverse Deju Vu, and Computers and Consciousness.
Ultimately, I would say that processes like life, creativity, and intuition are engaged with our spacetime in wider windows that our limited one-planck-length-after-another experience, and that's where the magic starts to happen. Last blog, in Beer and Miracles, I showed you my definition for a miracle: "Any dramatically unlikely occurrence is indistinguishable from a miracle". Next time we're going to look at a poll surrounding another dramatically unlikely event: The Big Bang.
Other blogs that talk about unlikely events include:
Randomness and the Missing 96%
Unlikely Events and Timelessness
Poll 46: "Many of the great physicists have said that "time is an illusion". In the same sense, does that mean the big bang is an illusion?" 47.9% agreed, while 52.1% disagreed. Poll ended August 20, 2009.
One of the quotes I've used most often with this project was this one from Einstein: " this separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion". Did Einstein accept that time was an illusion, and that there is a way of viewing our reality "outside" of time where everything happens simultaneously? You bet!
As regular readers of my blog will know, I was entrusted with the care of Gevin Giorbran's book "Everything Forever: Learning to See Timelessness" after his untimely death last year. Here's a blog from Gevin's website, everythingforever.com (which I am now paying to keep running as a tribute to Gevin's great ideas) which explores Einstein's attitude towards timelessness in much more detail:
Gevin's words still carry a lot of weight for me, and regular readers of my blog will recognize how connected Gevin's ideas are to my own. If you'd like to buy a copy of Gevin's book, it's available at online book sellers, or I have it at my tenth dimension store. I also have a downloadable pdf version of it available at the tenth dimension digital items store. Profits from the sale of Gevin's book will go to the Gevin Giorbran Memorial Fund.
"Physicist Michio Kaku says 'In science, a physical picture is often more important than the mathematics used to describe it.' Do you agree with him?" Poll ended Sept 4 2009. 80.6% said "yes", while 19.4% said "no".
Last blog, in Is the Big Bang an Illusion?, we quoted an essay by Gevin Giorbran, which showed a way of thinking about time as being a direction in space. There were no equations, and no pictures to speak of, but essentially what Gevin was describing was a way of visualizing the underlying forms of our reality.
Gevin, like me, also quoted from a number of the experts who do deal in those heady equations to arrive at the ideas we discuss here, and I think that's important to do only to the extent that it shows that the ways of visualizing reality we're discussing here are not just flights of fancy, but connected to (or at very least extrapolated from) mainstream science. For instance, when Stephen Hawking talks about there being another kind of time that is at right angles to our own time, that idea connects very strongly to my insistence that our reality comes from the fifth dimension, which is the dimension which is at "right angles" to spacetime. Calling the fourth dimension "time" and the fifth dimension "imaginary time" (as Hawking does) does manage to fit these ideas into a vocabulary that is accessible to more people, but it also confuses things somewhat, since the fifth dimension that physicists talk about is not a temporal dimension, but rather a spatial one.
I've talked before about how each new spatial dimension is at "right angles" to the previous one, but if we're talking about pictures being more important than equations here I don't have an easy way to draw you a picture showing what fifth dimensional space looks like. What I can do is use the point-line-plane postulate to draw you pictures to show how if the third dimension is thought of as a point, the fourth dimension can be like a line, and the fifth dimension can be like a plane, and that is an accepted way in science to imagine any number of spatial dimensions. But here's an important concept: in Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions, I pointed out that saying there are ten spatial dimensions only makes sense when people accept that the fourth dimension is just as much a spatial dimension as all the others, and we get to that conclusion by accepting that for us "time" is just a way of moving within a particular spatial dimension, from one state to the next in a causal chain, and that there are other ways of moving within the fourth spatial dimension which make just as much sense. Time is a direction, not a dimension. The opposite direction to time can be called anti-time, and is no different than thinking about up/down or east/west as being other words we use to describe the opposing directions within some specific spatial dimension. Plus, the fourth spatial dimension has additional easily-visualized spatial dimensions on top of it, as we discussed in Time in 3 Dimensions.
Here's three videos for you to look at that include animations that extend the visualization from my original Imagining the Tenth Dimension animation. I hope you will keep the Michio Kaku quote we looked at here today in mind as you watch these presentations.
What Would a Flatlander Really See?
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73IGTygl_Q4
Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfhOBevrN2U
The Holographic Universe
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMLVjFrtq6Q
"Have you ever had your fortune told, or a psychic reading done, where you were surprised to hear information about yourself the person doing the reading couldn't possibly have known?" Poll ended September 19 2009. 36.6% said yes, while 63.4% said no.
In "Norway's Reverse Deja Vu", we talked about a phenomenon from that country's beliefs called the "Vardauger", which is also spelled "Vardøger". Click here if you'd like to read an excerpt from the vardauger article in wikipedia. This mystical concept is akin to deja vu, except that it is more external than internal - witnesses to the Vardauger phenemenon report seeing, hearing, or feeling evidence of the arrival of a person before that person actually physically gets there. In that same blog and some other previous ones, we've talked about the work of biochemist Rupert Sheldrake, whose ideas about morphic resonance would seem to tie into such a phenomenon nicely. Here's an interesting Google Tech Talks presentation delivered by Dr. Sheldrake on very related topics:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnA8GUtXpXY
As for the poll question,we can see that just over one third of the respondents to our poll reported having had some kind of a mystifying insight being provided to them by a psychic. Does that seem high or low to you? I think the discussion of such experiences is absolutely equivalent to discussions we've had about ghosts or auras - it doesn't matter how scientific or rational you believe your worldview to be, if you've ever had such an experience yourself it must have caused you to at least wonder a bit. And on the other hand, if you've never had such an experience then it will always be much easier for you to say that others' reports are either imaginary or the result of skillful manipulation from a charlatan.
Have you ever had an experience with a psychic, or with a supernatural phenomenon such as a ghost, or a premonition, and so on, that made you less in doubt about such possibilities? Please feel free to post your experiences as a comment to this blog entry.
Here's some of the other blogs where we've looked at related topics:
Can Memories Be Transplanted?
Going to the Light
Auras Ghosts and Pareidolia
Magnets and Souls
Do You Believe in Ghosts?
Are Animals and Kids More Fifth-Dimensional?
"Our observable universe is an expanding 3D sphere on the surface of a 4D hypersphere." Poll ended Oct. 3 2009. 74.6% agreed, while 25.4% disagreed.
I'm pleased to see how many visitors to my blog were willing to agree with this idea: I suspect a sampling of the general public would show a much lower acceptance of this mind-boggling concept. Imagining a 2D circle being mapped onto a 3D sphere is easy enough for us to do, but our brains tend to hit a conceptual roadblock when we take that up a dimension and try to imagine a 3D sphere being mapped onto a 4D hypersphere! We've talked about the Poincaré Conjecture a few times now, in entries like When's a Knot Not a Knot?, Why Do We Need More Than 3 Dimensions?, and An Expanding 4D Sphere.
In Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions, I suggested that the slight curvature of our 4D hypersphere is what creates the cosmological horizon, and I've talked many times now about how that relates to the fifth dimension. In my blog entry about Nassim Haramein, we looked at how fractals give us a way to visualize how an infinite number of recursions could be contained within a finite space. This time we're tying those two ideas together.
Extra-dimensional spheres are important to all this because they show how our universe could effectively be infinite, but in reality be finite but unbounded. In other words, with each of the dimensions we've been talking about, there are always certain restrictions to that dimension, and you need to move up to the next dimension to move beyond those restrictions. This idea was discussed most recently in What's South of the South Pole?. Here's the video for that entry.
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkGlig_wqYs
Let me give you and example of what "finite but unbounded" means. If I were to start moving on the surface of the earth, I could keep moving forever, but every now and then I would end up back where I started again. If I had some kind of magic telescope that followed the curvature of the earth, then with sufficient magnification I should be able to look through that telescope and see the back of my head!
Those examples are from topology, where we are effectively thinking about a 2D surface on a 3D sphere. While we're on that 2D surface it appears that we can keep moving in any particular direction forever, but it's the slight curvature of that surface through the next dimension up that prevents us from being able to see that eventually we're going to end up back where we started. Moving those concepts up to each additional spatial dimension gets harder and harder to visualize, but the Poincaré Conjecture (which should now more correctly be referred to as the Poincaré Theorem since it was proved in 2006 by Grigori Perelman) shows that this logic works for 3D manifolds on 4D hyperspheres as well.
Does that mean that if there were some super-Hubble telescope I should be able to look out into space and see the back of my head? No, because the further we look out into space, the further back in time we're looking: in other words, that's not space we're looking at but space-time. If we really were able to look out into space without time being a factor, then we would be seeing that star that's a thousand light years away as it's going to look to us a thousand years from now! It's so easy to forget this important fact.
Which takes us back to the idea that the cosmological horizon, which prevents us from being able to see any further back into 4D spacetime than the cosmic microwave background, is directly equivalent to the horizon we see when we're in the middle of the ocean. Both are the result of a slight curvature. The ocean is effectively a 2D surface mapped onto a 3D sphere. Our 3D universe at this particular instant is mapped onto a 4D hypersphere which we call spacetime, and cosmologists generally agree that our universe is expanding at an accelerating rate so with each new planck length expression of our 3D universe it is slightly larger than it was one unit of planck time before.
With my project, we take that idea one further. Quantum mechanics and Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation tells us there are multiple "world lines" that could have been traveled to get to this moment, and there are multiple "world lines" that branch out from here. Why can't we see those multiple paths from here? Because our 4D hypersphere is moving on a 5D hypersphere, and just as with those other examples, those other possibilities are "just over the horizon" in the fifth dimension. We know those other world lines exist, and we can move towards the available world lines or recognize that there are multiple previous world lines we could have traveled to get to "now", but we can't see them from our current vantage point. Like the land that is just over the horizon as we're in the middle of the ocean, we know these fifth dimensional branches exist even though we can't see them from here, and it's the slight curvature of our 4D spacetime that gives us our small window into a much larger 5D reality. Why, then, do string theorists say that the fifth dimension is tiny? Because from our 3D/4D perspective it is, just as the ocean appears to be a relatively tiny circle that surrounds us when we're out in the middle of it.
Spheres within spheres, wheels within wheels. Branching possibilities that allow us to see the way out of loops that we want to change. Enjoy the journey!
"45-million-year-old brewer's yeast, trapped in amber and dormant, immediately sprang back to life when growing conditions were provided. This proves that life is, at its core, a process that is engaged with our reality 'outside' of spacetime." Poll ended October 18, 2009. 56.3% agreed, while 43.7% did not.
This poll question went up around the same time that my blog entry "Beer and Miracles" was posted, which told the amazing story of these ancient yeast cells. I don't have much to add to this idea here, except to say that it's interesting to me how sometimes my arguments seem to have swayed a lot of people (as I believe we just saw in the previous poll), while in this case close to half of the visitors to this blog still have trouble buying the idea that life might be a process that is very similar in nature to the strange connections of the quantum world.
In both cases, I've been proposing that these processes make more sense when we see that they come from the hidden folds made possible by the fifth dimension, which provides an additional degree of freedom beyond the limits of our 4D space-time.
My video for "O is for Omniverse - K and L" explores these connections between the fifth dimension, quantum physics, and life, if you have 86 seconds give this one a look:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLpVEE0AQ7A
Poll 51: "Do animals have souls? Choose (1) for 'yes', (2) for 'no, only humans have souls', or (3) for 'there's no such thing as a soul'. Poll ended November 1 2009. 59.1% picked choice number 1, 8.7% went for choice number 2, and the remaining 32.2% said "there's no such thing as a soul".
Interesting results! This means that fully two thirds of the visitors to this blog at least accept the notion of there being something we can call a "soul", although if they have been regular readers of this blog then they will know that my definition of "soul" is not nearly as specific as some people's, which might have affected the results here. This poll question harkens back to a blog entry from June of the same name, Do Animals Have Souls?. Here's the video version of that blog entry:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM5VFnirTmg
We continued on to related ideas in the next few blogs that followed: Computers and Consciousness, Connecting It All Together, Suffering in the Multiverse, and The Biocentric Universe Part 2, all looked at the relationship between consciousness and the quantum wave function, free will and how our universe is created, and the role "life" (or "soul" if you're willing to apply that term) plays in those processes. Beer and Miracles, one of my personal favorite blogs from the last few months, wrapped this all up with a discussion of how unlikely events, Everett's Many Worlds, and life all are part of the same dance that creates the universe each of us are witnessing right now. To the extent that it matters, I believe that to be just as true whether you're an ancient yeast cell, a fruit fly, a human being, or a seventeen-year-old mostly-Bichon named Buddy.
Enjoy the journey!
PS - On the subject of the unique universe each of us is witness to, here's a thought-provoking blog from Sentient Developments that offers the suggestion that as each event that could have ended life on our planet passes us by without incident, we may start to notice things around us becoming increasingly strange!
You might also enjoy Unlikely Events and Timelessness and Randomness and Missing 96% for further discussion of the weird world in which we live.
Poll 52 - "Quantum entanglement's instantaneous effects prove that our "now" exists one planck frame after another not within 4D spacetime, but in the 5th dimension where distant points can be directly connected together without violating the speed of light limit." Poll ended November 15 2009. 84.5% agreed while 15.5% did not.
There's a definite thread connecting this question to the last few poll questions that have been posed at this blog:
49 - Are We an Expanding Sphere on a 4D Hypersphere?
50 - Ancient Yeast and Extra Dimensions
51 - Do Animals Have Souls?
Even though these each looked at quite different ideas, they all keep coming back to the same central theme of the fifth dimension, and how the "now" that we're in from instant to instant is part of a fifth dimensional probability space that we are experiencing one planck frame at a time. With this poll question, we are again talking about the fifth dimension, but this time only as it relates to our quantum world.
I've talked a number of times about how quantum mechanics tends to be portrayed to the public as being unimaginably strange, formidably incomprehensible. Don't the parallel universes that arise from Everett's Many Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics seem to defy logic? How can we imagine that our fourth-dimensional spacetime could hold such mind-boggling variations resulting from chance and choice? And doesn't quantum entanglement violate Einstein's rules about "no faster than light travel in our universe"? The answer to all of the above, I would say, is simple: relativity and logic are not being violated if we imagine that our reality is in five dimensions, where the additional degree of freedom offered by that dimension allows all of those "spooky" connections to easily take place (for more about all this you might enjoy The Fifth Dimension is Spooky.
String Theory (or M Theory) is the theory of reality that is still, despite the protests of a noisy minority, the dominant paradigm today. In my new book O is for Omniverse, my goal was to boil the ideas from Imagining the Tenth Dimension down into a package that is easy as possible for everyone to consume: with that in mind, in O is for Omniverse I don't talk about any dimensions beyond the fifth.
After all, extra dimensions are not just about string theory, there are many other areas of cosmology and physics that also see promise there, particularly in the great mysteries surrounding dark matter and dark energy. A friend of mine on Facebook, Adam McKay, recently sent me a link to a five-day WORKSHOP ON GENERAL RELATIVITY that happened November 16th to 20th at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, on the campus of New York's Stony Brook University. Here's a list of the presenters and the titles of their presentations:
Robert Bartnik: Mass-Minimizing Metrics and Critical Points of the Energy Functional
Hubert Bray: On Dark Matter, Spiral Galaxies, and the Axioms of General Relativity
Mihalis Dafermos: The Black Hole Stability Problem
Michael Douglas: Effective Potentials for Kaluza-Klein Theories
Michael Eichmair: Some Results on Scalar Curvature Rigidity
Greg Galloway: Marginally Trapped Surfaces in 2+1 and Higher Dimensional Gravity
Gary Gibbons: Antimatter in the Looking Glass
Gary Horowitz: Uniqueness of Extremal Kerr and Kerr-Newman Black Holes
Gerhard Huisken: Monotonicity and Rigidity Estimates for the Evolution of Hypersurfaces
James Isenberg: Gluing at Asymptopia and the Relativistic N-body Problem
Sergiu Klainerman: Formation of Trapped Surfaces I
Hans Lindblad: The Weak Null Condition and the Asymptotic Behavior of Solutions to Einstein’s Equations
Igor Rodnianski: Formation of Trapped Surfaces II
Richard Schoen: On the High Dimensional Positive Mass Theorem
Yuguang Shi: Geometric Problems Related with Quasilocal Mass In General Relativity
Avy Soffer: Price Law for All Angular Momentum
Robert Wald: Derivation of Gravitational Self-Force
Mu-Tao Wang: Limit of Quasilocal Energy-Momentum at Infinity
Now, I'm not for a moment suggesting that I understand all of the above topics, but it's good to know that there are brilliant people like these out there that are thinking deeply about the underlying structures of our reality, and in a number of cases relating that to discussions of extra dimensions. There's more to our reality than what we see around us, and it's waiting there for our discovery!
Enjoy the journey,
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjR69ddBK78