Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wrapping It Up in the Tenth Dimension

"Why isn't there nothingness? Nothingness would have been decidedly elegant. In the Ultimate Multiverse, a universe consisting of nothing does exist. As far as we can tell, nothingness is a perfectly logical possibility and so must be included in a multiverse that embraces all universes."

- Brian Greene, discussing a concept which with this project we have called the Omniverse, in his book The Hidden Reality

At the end of the Introductory chapter of my book, I said this:
"...the point of this exercise will be that by imagining all ten dimensions, we will have imagined a fabric that can account for all aspects of reality. A tall order! Let’s begin."
How do we get to the tenth dimension from the ninth? As with every other dimension, we envision a point that encompasses the entire ninth dimension, and call that a "point" in the next dimension up. Persons familiar with my animation know what I say next:
"...if we’re going to imagine the tenth dimension as continuing the cycle, and being a line, then we’re going to have to imagine a different point that we can draw that line to. But there’s no place left to go! By the time we have imagined all possible timelines for all possible universes as being a single point in the tenth dimension, it appears that our journey is done."
But is our journey really done? Far from it. The ramifications of this way of visualizing the dimensions are many indeed, and that's why I continue to find things to discuss about this project in my blog, and that's why I've published about four hundred videos at my youtube channel over the past five years since this project was launched. Some of the ideas that we haven't even touched on yet since we started this latest series two months ago include the following:

1. Some people suggest it's arbitrary to stop at ten dimensions. Did we run out of fingers so we decided there couldn't be any more? Indeed, if you're not assigning any meaning to the individual dimensions, then the point-line-plane postulate allows you to keep adding as many dimensions as you want. People also ask Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions? In my book and my blog I've insisted that ten is really all you need to consider all aspects of reality, and that supporters of M-Theory acknowledge that there are ways in which the 11 dimensions they are talking about are functionally equivalent to the ten dimensions string theory is talking about. The graphic at right comes from New Scientist magazine, in a recent special feature called "Instant Expert: Theory of Everything", please do follow the link to read the whole article.

Another way of showing this equivalence is to say that M-Theory proposes ten spatial dimensions plus time. With my project, I say that time isn't a dimension, it's a way of describing change from state to state within any  dimension: so the tenth dimension with no time is the Ultimate Ensemble that Max Tegmark spoke of, or the timelessness that Gevin Giorbran spoke of in Everything Forever, or the Ultimate Multiverse that Brian Greene refers to in the quote with which we started this entry. As I said in my original animation, if there were no superstrings vibrating in the tenth dimension, there would be no reality precipitated in the dimensions below: no time means no vibrations, no change. And because every one of the spatial dimensions we're looking at here are mutually perpendicular to the others, change in the tenth dimension automatically affects the entire system in various ways.

2. A number of people who have watched my animation notice that by the time you get to ten in its unobserved state, in a way you're back to where you started - with a point of indeterminate size. As I've said before, this was the intent of the helix logo created for this project - the 0 (or nothingness) and the 10 (or the Omniverse) really are connected concepts, and that's why I represent them as being on a line inside the other dimensions as you can see in the animation below. Would this connection allow for a repeating cycle effectively creating infinite dimensions? Though some people have suggested that idea, it doesn't feel quite right to me. The idea that there are really no dimensions, that there are just infinite vectors within one underlying fabric which is dimensionless, actually resonates more strongly for me, because that's a way of describing the tenth dimension using a different mindset. But personally, I still believe there are good reasons to believe in the existence of extra dimensions beyond space-time, and that there are good opportunities within these paths to the infinitely large and the infinitesimally small for us to consider the continuously repeating recursion that relates conceptually to Douglas Hofstadter's I Am a Strange Loop, or John Wheeler's  description of the universe as a self-excited circuit. In Imagining the Ninth Dimension, we looked at Stuart Kauffman's idea that there is a force for ceaseless creativity in the natural universe, and we'll return to ideas related to all this further on in this entry.

Photobucket3. This takes us to a very big question. If we're trying to build an image which reflects "all aspects of reality", how do life and consciousness fit into this picture? Erwin Schrödinger's definition of life is that it's "a unique process which creates pockets of negative entropy". Physicists talk about the beginning of the universe being the most highly ordered/lowest entropy version of our universe, and how the "arrow of time" represents an overall climb in the amount of entropy, despite the efforts of life within these little pockets where (as Dylan Thomas put it so beautifully) it 'rages against the dying of the light'. This theme of life and consciousness being like a fire, a spark, that somehow engages with space-time and our fifth-dimensional probability space to keep itself moving forward is the theme of a number of the 26 songs I created for this project. I talked about those songs and this way of thinking about life and creativity in a blog entry called Novelty.

4. The phrase "self-excited circuit" comes from a paper published in 1979 by physicist John Wheeler, you can read about it in the wikipedia article on Digital Physics. As part of his "Cognitive-Theoretic Model of the Universe (CTMU)", Christopher Langan (who some readers will know as "the smartest man in America") has published an animated version of the simple drawing Wheeler created for his paper on the self-excited circuit, showing a "U" (standing for universe), incorporating an eyeball representing the quantum observer, looking at its "tail" that represents the "information" side of the "information equals reality" concept that we talk about regularly with this project. Wheeler also coined the phrase "'it' from 'bit'"which ties nicely to these discussions. That animation is pictured below.

So is the universe itself a self-excited circuit, that was most excited at the big bang and is slowly winding down from there? Or was the universe in a superposition of possible states until life first emerged somewhere, and began observing more organized versions of the universal wave function from that point on in the world line? The Biocentric Universe theory supports the latter idea. Perhaps Stuart Kauffman's God 2.0 supports the former? I think there's interesting evidence for both ideas, but ultimately I lean more towards the idea that there are organizing patterns in the extra dimensions which exist outside of time and space which have selected this (or any other) universe, and which keep the universe from dissolving into chaos. Gravity and Love is a blog entry from this past December which takes this idea out to a more metaphysical level if you're interested. I have used similar logic to argue for dark matter and dark energy as evidence of extra dimensions.

In my follow-up book to Imagining the Tenth Dimension, which is a collaboration with visual artist Marilyn E. Robertson called O is for Omniverse, we devoted the letter "J" to John Wheeler:
j is for John Wheeler, a famous physicist
who drew a strange eyeball looking at its tail
as a way to imagine that some branches of our line
might be changed in the past as we look back from today
so the branching tree that extends from "now"
is even more surprising: it branches either way
Here's a video showing the letters "I" and "J" from that book, you can see a lot more if you go to

A direct link to the above video is at

5. If the universe had the least amount of entropy at its beginning, does that mean that in a sense Schrödinger thought it was the most "alive" back then? Gevin Giorbran's remarkable insight, in his book Everything Forever, was that we're not moving from low entropy to high entropy with our arrow of time: instead we're moving from a high grouping order to a high symmetry order. I like this because it allows for a way to imagine a universal creative force which expresses itself throughout the world line of the universe, and which makes sense when we view our universe as a single data set from a timeless perspective. From our own vantage point, then, both time and anti-time represent the same thing: a naturally occurring return to balance. Ultimately our universe or any other arises from a breaking of symmetry, and "outside" of this system is a return to the underlying fabric of reality: the unobserved tenth dimension, the Ultimate Ensemble, the Teilhardian Omega Point, the Godelian "outside the system", the computational underpinnings behind digital physics or Tegmark's Mathematical Universe Hypothesis, ultimate enlightenment, or the Omniverse. And that's what we're visualizing with every single dimension in this project - how can we perceive any dimension from "outside" of itself, from the truest perspective, which is timelessness?

6. One of the surprises for me with this project was how many people from the psychedelics community have embraced this way of visualizing the dimensions: for instance, author and research scientist David Jay Brown, a world-renowned expert on psychedelics, said this about my book: "Imagining the Tenth Dimension is one of the most brilliantly-conceived and mind-stretching books that I've ever encountered." With no psychedelics experience myself, I find this particularly fascinating: in this blog, I've talked about Graham Hancock's amazing book Supernatural, which advances the idea that persons around the world and throughout human history have had experiences and visions when they are in altered states of consciousness (whether those are self-induced trance states, or through the use of psychoactive substances) that show remarkable similarities. Do such experiences "lift the veil" so to speak, and allow people to see actual aspects of the extra dimensions? It's a possibility I find very attractive. In my book and this blog I've explored many other more "out there" concepts that can tie to this: are prescience, deja vu, out of body experiences, lucid dreaming, perhaps even ghosts and spirit voices all examples of how there are patterns of awareness which exist outside of our limited space-time window into reality?

7. Another of the surprises for me with this project was the people who looked at my helix logo and presumed this was all about Kabbalah, because of the similarities to The Tree of Life (pictured at left). Yes, I see the connections, but I don't recall ever seeing the Tree of Life until after my book was published and comments started to come my way about this coincidence. What I find particularly interesting is that there are schools of thought within the Kabbalah which  teach that we can divide our reality into three triads, which can be summed up as the material, the moral, and the intellectual. In the last chapter of my book, I reached a similar conclusion that there are three systems interacting through constructive interference, all of which in their unobserved state can be assembled into the tenth dimension as a "point" of indeterminate size. Those three systems are 1) the physical world, 2) the quantum observer who through constructive interference is actively engaged in observing specific aspects of the other two systems, and 3) the "information equals reality" world of memes, patterns of grouping, or waveforms. Likewise, it's interesting to relate this to Popperian cosmology: philosopher Karl Popper proposed that there are three worlds: the physical, the mind which observes, and mental patterns of information (I talked about all this in greater detail in my blog entry Three Becomes One). Is this recurring idea that there is a physical world, a world created by observation/participation, and an underlying realm of information another example of how Imagining the Tenth Dimension plugs into some deeper truths about our reality? I believe it is. And constructive interference is an important phrase to keep in mind through all this, as it applies to quantum mechanics, the universe as a hologram, Wheeler's self-excited circuit, and the role of life and consciousness in creating this universe or any other.

8. Let's look at this idea more carefully: "a world created by observation/participation". In Imagining the Eighth Dimension, we mentioned a concept from a paper published by Lee Smolin and others at, which proposes that we can have a deeper understanding of general relativity if we accept that "different observers construct different spacetimes, which are observer-dependent slices of phase space". And with this project, we keep returning to Everett's idea that there is an unchanging "set of all possible states" or "phase space" which exists outside of spacetime, and that quantum mechanics makes the most sense when we understand that this is not a process of collapse we are talking about here, it is only a process of observation. Does that mean then that we, as quantum observers, are each creating our own reality? And if so, how much control do we have?

There's no question that each of us is at the center of the observed universe, and even though that might sound like a return to ancient thinking that the sun revolves around the earth, the cosmological horizon is real, and this fact would be just as true for an observer on the other side of our currently observed universe - they too would find themselves to be at the center of a space-time sphere, with their very own unique version of the cosmological horizon.

So here I am in a unique universe created through my participation as a quantum observer, which is part of a 5D probability space (as we discussed in Imagining the Fifth Dimension). Does that mean I'm a part of Wheeler's self-excited circuit, the universe observing itself? Does that make me part of a universal creative force, or as Einstein referred to it, "the Old One"? In fact, am I an aspect of God, observing some unique aspect of My creation? Or am I part of an underlying life force which creates pockets of negative entropy, pushing against the natural decline of the universe? These are all different ways of thinking about the same idea, use whichever one you're the most comfortable with if you feel so inclined. For me, the most important part of this discussion is not what label you place upon this process, but the fact that this way of visualizing our reality presents a strong argument for free will. Yes, there is ultimately only one underlying form, one underlying geometry, but you and I (and all living things) are within something much more interesting. We are each moving points within a fifth dimensional probability space, observing a shared consensus reality which connects us all together, but also each observing our own unique version of that space.

For persons trapped in negative loops of abuse or addiction, this is particularly important to understand. If free will is an illusion, then how can we hope to break out of these patterns? The fifth dimension shows the way. As I say in my song Addictive Personality:
Every day is a new day
Every day you’re back to one
And today can be the new day
When you say you’re finally done
Not all habits are bad, of course, and it's in our nature to be attracted to things that make us feel good. The addictions we're talking about here are the ones that are the opposite of the universal creative force, the ones that conspire to extinguish that "spark" of life which Schrödinger described. Each of us, with our free will, have to be the one to decide whether we're on the path we want to be on, and to recognize that we have the power to change that path if we choose to do so. Does that mean we're magical creatures, capable of changing anything about our reality? Does it mean a starving child in Africa can become rich and famous simply by thinking better thoughts? No. But it also means that we are not the powerless automatons that the hard determinists would have us believe ourselves to be, and that there is a constantly evolving "best possible version" of ourselves that already exists within our fifth dimensional probability space which we each have the potential to get to with the choices we're able to make.
9. One of the 26 songs I attached to this project is called "Automatic". In it, I talk about the powerful idea put forth by Julian Jaynes in his groundbreaking book "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind". Jaynes proposed that until about 3,000 years ago, humans lived their lives with their conscious and subconscious minds fully integrated. When the subconscious developed a plan or had an intuition, humans heard this as a "voice" inside their heads, which they often interpreted to be the voices of gods or ancestors. Then something happened: the "narrator" voice of the conscious mind assumed dominance, and the subconscious mind's processes became more submerged. Still, there are a great many activities which we perform better when we can quiet our "narrator voice": driving a car, hitting a golf ball, playing a musical instrument or typing on a keyboard all go better when we can get our narrator voice to stop conducting traffic, saying "do this, now do that", and just let things flow. And yet, despite the advantages of this mode of operation, most of us have been taught to be suspicious of those moments when we stop narrating: we're told to stop daydreaming, get our minds back in the game, and so on.

Most of us are comfortable with the idea that there is some kind of duality to our consciousness. The difference between left brain/right brain approaches to processing the data coming in from our senses is well documented. And with this project, we have often talked about the "me" that is attached to the physical body, and the other parts of our awareness that are more connected outside of space and time. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's book My Stroke of Insight is amazing to me because it blends these two ideas so beautifully - is the right brain more connected to those larger patterns that are outside of our physical reality? Dr. Taylor provides a compelling personal narrative that tells us this is so.

Here again is where we get into those more metaphysical ideas - that what I call "me" is much more than the collection of memories attached to my physical body, and instinct, intuition, inspiration, creativity, and the underlying processes of life itself are part of the gigantic patterns that exist outside of our physical reality. This is a dynamic system we're talking about, with each of us assuming new patterns of awareness, discarding old ones, becoming entrained and entraining others with the wave-like interactions of constructive and destructive interference that are occurring within the extra dimensions to create our observed reality. Is it possible for these patterns to exist completely separate from a physical body? Proponents of out-of-body experiences and lucid dreaming would say yes, and anyone with a sufficiently convincing supernatural story to tell will also be much more likely to accept this possibility.

Anthony Peake's work puts a tighter focus on these ideas - in his 2008 book The Daemon, he offers evidence that each of us have a left brain/physical consciousness called the Eidolon; and we each have a right brain/metaphysical awareness called the Daemon, which has the foreknowledge of what is to come and sometimes "steers" the physical body into better outcomes. In terms of Everett's Many Worlds and my approach to visualizing the dimensions, could this Daemon be an awareness operating from the sixth dimensional phase space of all possible outcomes for our universe, traveling from conception to death with each version of a unique individual as they physically navigate the possible world lines of their fifth dimensional probability space?

10. This project keeps coming back to quantum mechanics: the fact that our reality is divided into quantum "frames" and not continuous, the branching probabilistic outcomes of Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, and the idea that everything is potentially connected within the underlying quantum world is central to this "new way of thinking about time and space". Ultimately, does everything fit together through instantaneous quantum superposition across space, across time, and across all of the different versions of our universe or any other? Is it startling to think that the point of indeterminate size that we start from is also where we end up with this project, and to consider that the nested hyperspheres of each additional dimension can also be encompassed by this point of indeterminate size? No matter where we end up, we need to acknowledge that quantum mechanics is the most successful theory of reality devised so far, so whatever Theory of Everything we're trying to get to, we should keep in mind the truth about the underlying quantum nature of the universe we're in.

So as we think about there being a duality to our awareness (a left brain/physical, and a right brain/metaphysical), it's interesting to think of our physical existence as it's defined by branching paths within the fifth dimensional probability space and the quantum wave function. In a blog entry called Entangled Neurons, we looked at a new scientific study indicating that quantum entanglement is intrinsic to the process of memory creation, and in Entangled Awareness and OBEs, I said this:
...right at this instant, I am part of a cloud of probabilistic "me"s that are all continuing on the same general path, the same branch. That's true at the quantum level, and it's true at the macro level: all of the tiny random occurrences and inconsequential decisions (shall I put my hand here or here when I push that door open?) tend to cancel each other out, to keep us moving in the same trajectory. It's only when our choice, or chance, or the actions of others create an event that really does split us onto a new fifth-dimensional path that a long-term memory is created. 
For years, scientists have been fond of saying that quantum physics has nothing to do with the warm and wet world of living things, but that opinion is now changing. A paper published last year at suggests that DNA is held together using quantum entanglement. In other blog entries like The Quantum Observer and Creativity and the Quantum Universe, we've looked at new evidence that photosynthesis and bird navigation are also utilizing quantum processes. Ideas such as these are the first inklings of a new science called quantum biology, and this all ties very nicely to the idea that life itself is a unique process which is engaged with our space-time in ways that transcend the limits of the "here" and the "now", in the same way that quantum entanglement and superposition seem supremely mysterious until we accept that there is more to the universe than the limited space-time reality we see around us.

Likewise, the new buzz around the evidence that neutrinos have been detected that arrived 60 billionths of a second earlier than the speed of light is very interesting, but I would caution people who says this disproves Einstein's Theory of Relativity: in my opinion, this would only be the case if you don't believe in the existence of extra dimensions. But if these neutrinos somehow took a tiny shortcut outside of spacetime, and essentially "burrowed" through the fifth dimension to arrive a little earlier, that would not violate relativity, and if this effect were proved and confirmed by other experimenters this could well be the first direct evidence of the existence of extra dimensions. How cool would that be??

As I say in song number 1 of the 26 songs I created for this project: Everything Fits Together. I hope that this project has helped to awaken your senses to the possibilities of just how true that phrase really is.

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: New Video - Is Energy Not Conserved?

Imagining the Ninth Dimension
Imagining the Eighth Dimension
Imagining the Seventh Dimension
Imagining the Sixth Dimension
Imagining the Fifth Dimension
Imagining the Fourth Dimension
Imagining the Third Dimension
Imagining the Second Dimension

1 comment:

Vaishnav Reddy said...

The neutrino experiment's result was proven to be due to the result of faulty calibrations Perhaps an edit is in order?

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist