Monday, March 5, 2007

The End of the World 1

I’d be curious to know how many cultures there are in the world where it’s appropriate to yell “shit!!” when one sees impending death approaching. The phrase might also have been “dirt!!”, or “dust!!”, or the more florid “oh no, the impending doom I see potentially laid before me is going to remove me from this life and return me to the eco-system as my component parts!!”… in other words, I am about to become shit.

Throughout history, there are always doomsayers who are predicting that we are all about to become shit. The end of the world is upon us! The end is nigh! Here’s what I say in the book about this idea:

Usually it’s some conveniently distant amount of time away from the present to be a cause for concern, but not so close as to immediately leave the person spreading the news with egg on their face (as I write this in 2006, the Mayan calendar’s December 21 2012 looks like a good upcoming contender for an end-of-the world focal point some portion of the public are likely to become caught up with).
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?
From the anthropic viewpoint, then, it seems we become like Schrödinger’s Cat, simultaneously alive and dead. The fact that we don’t actually perceive ourselves as being dead is because if we were dead we wouldn’t be here to ask the question.

Which brings us back to one of the reasons I first conceived of this model for Imagining the Tenth Dimension – as a child, I was trying to explain to myself why some moments in our lives seem so heavily significant, so deeply ingrained in our memories, while other moments quickly fade. I came to the conclusion that it was because those moments were when important “cusps” occurred: moments when our possible future paths diverged significantly. My friend Ron Scott told me of a moment he once had where he stood on an empty street, and absolutely nothing significant happened, but the moment seared itself into his memory. Perhaps, I would suggest, that was the moment where, in a number of the fifth-dimensional branches available to him at that instant, something bad happened… a drunk driver careened around the corner and mowed him down, or a nearby building exploded, or a satellite fell from the sky and took him out (a trivia moment for my fellow Northern Exposure fans).

Sure, everybody remembers where they were when they first heard about the planes striking the towers in New York. No question, on that day everyone on the planet had their fourth-dimensional timeline wrenched into a new direction from the available fifth-dimensional paths, and as a significant cusp moment each of us will remember that day for the rest of their lives. But each individual life has such moments, and important branches need not be nearly as devastating as that one. Why do so many of us like to look at the picture of the latest lottery or big game show winner? It’s not that different from craning your neck to see the car crash as we drive by - we recognize and are drawn to the cusp moments in other people’s lives. And perhaps some of our most cherished memories are ingrained because of the bad cusps which our fifth-and sixth-dimensional selves recognize that we managed to avoid in this particular version of reality.

This takes us back to the anthropic principle and the multiverse, as my version of the tenth dimension portrays these concepts. So now, here, for your viewing pleasure, is another video for my song “The Anthropic Viewpoint.”

A link to this video can be found at

On a side note, the Google Books listing for Imagining the Tenth Dimension has now become active. Clicking on this link allows you to search for any word or phrase that interests you within this book, or within all books participating in the Google Books program. Since the index for my book is also listed there, this gives people an easy way to browse. Finally, for anyone who is confused about my background or my intentions with this project, I would invite you to read the introduction to my blog, linked here, as well as the "About Me" over to the right of this blog.

Enjoy the journey!


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