Saturday, November 5, 2011

Observers and Addictions

Last time, we looked at a recurring idea that comes from a number of different schools of thought: that there is a physical world, a world created by observation/participation, and an underlying realm of information. This time, let's look at one of those ideas 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 arxiv.org, 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.

Last entry, in Psychedelics and Surprises, we looked at an article published a few days ago in New Scientist, entitled Drug Hallucinations Look Real in the Brain.  The article talks about a new study which demonstrates that - as far as the brain is concerned - there is no difference between what a person sees with their eyes, and what a person sees when taking ayahuasca, a psychoactive drug used weekly by some Brazilian religious groups, and which we talked about in David Jay Brown and Psychedelics. The New Scientist article goes on to explain that ayahuasca shows good promise in the treatment of addiction, which reminded me of this interesting coincidence: as regular readers of this blog will know, I have lived in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan all my life.  My province was where some of the most leading edge research into the use of psychedelics to treat addiction was conducted back in the 50's and early 60's, until the new "war on drugs" made it impossible for that research to continue back then.

With my project, I have tried to promote drug-free ways of visualizing what's "outside" of our reality. As a person who has never taken psychedelics and has no plans to do so, I am fascinated by the possibility that having a deeper intuitive understanding of the extra dimensions might actually help someone dealing with addiction or depression. But as I've said before, I'm also grateful to psychedelic experts like David Jay Brown who have embraced this project as another way into a deeper understanding of reality and our participation within its construction.

Next: Duality and Consciousness

Previously in this series:
Wrapping it Up in the Tenth Dimension
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

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