Saturday, June 30, 2007

Selfish Genes and Selfish Memes

Quantum physics tells us everything is information. Memes and genes are both patterns in a specific fourth dimensional line that stretches from the beginning point (which in our universe's biggest picture of all is the big bang) to the ending point (which in our biggest picture of all is absolute zero and timelessness). Those memes and genes, in the indeterminate future/past of quantum mechanics, fan out into the fifth dimension, which is where Kaluza proposed and Einstein eventually agreed that our physical reality exists.

In smaller sections, selfish genes through the ages are really just a fourth (or fifth) dimensional pattern, and the rise and fall of species attached to those genes through the ages is just as easy to imagine as is it is to imagine the rise and fall of ideas: either can be visualized as shapes that have a beginning and an ending, once you have gotten used to the Tenth Dimension way of imagining reality. This is an important idea which I have referred to before: everything has a beginning and ending, and that's just as true whether you're talking about dinosaurs, the Macarena, or what we think of as the spirit or the soul.

That's also true whether you're talking about things that can be considered evil: which takes us to the idea that there is a global awakening from a bad dream that is beginning to happen right now. No question, that's a very political idea... but it is also a hopeful idea. This awakening is going to represent a big change from the power structures that we have suffered under for the last century or two. George Harrison got it right, All This Must Pass before we can get on to better times.

Web 2.0 has an awful lot to do with that, something that mainstream media is having trouble assimilating. How does the first guy in line for the iPhone end up being one of the most talked about celebrities in the world? Celebrity for the sake of celebrity gives ambitious people like Mr. Packer the fifteen minutes of fame promised to him by Andy Warhol. But this is not just about the new generation's media. What do the currently rising popularity of people like Deepak Chopra and Paul McCartney have in common? Their work speaks to the underlying truths that define our reality.

Imagining the Tenth Dimension is also part of that picture - it has done more than just capture the attention of an audience of almost two million. By showing people who were previously without hope that indeterminacy and the multiverse tell us that there are other versions of our lives where we do better than we are doing right now, it gives us an easier target to strive towards. And that's especially true for people who are trapped in repeating loops of addiction or negative behavior. Unfortunately it's much less true for the starving child in Africa, but that could be changing soon as well.

Last blog we looked at the question What Do You Want to Change? Realizing how everything fits together is an important part of that idea, and that's true whether we're talking about memes, spimes, or our shared consensual reality. Next blog, we'll talk about the Wii Generation and how that has the potential to tie into the new awakening.

Enjoy the journey,


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What do you want to change?

Last blog ended with the big question: what do you want to change?

One of the big ideas Imagining the Tenth Dimension has been pushing is memes. This term, introduced to us by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, refers to ideas and beliefs that propogate themselves across time and space in much the same way that our genes have done so since the beginning of life on this planet. I have been arguing that memes (rhymes with "teams") are more than just an intellectual concept. If, as Anton Zeilinger, professor of physics at the University of Vienna has been quoted to say, "quantum physics requires us to abandon the distinction between information and reality", then memes are just another way of looking at the information that creates the multiverse from which our universe is a slice.

As the social networking world of Web 2.0 starts to become more and more integrated and cross-connected, we are finding ways to instantaneously track the rising and falling of memes which shape our world. This is a paradigm shift which seems completely natural to the under twenty-fives of the western world, who have spent all of their lives with computers in their homes, and were part of BBS communities long before the internet rose to prominence. This generation are comfortable with a feeling of inter-connectedness through Web 2.0 which the baby boomers (of which I am one) can only begin to dream. How much longer will it take before this connection to people of similar interests around the world finally corrects the free-fall in under-30 voter turnout we have been seeing for the last thirty years? That change is already beginning.

All around the world, people who felt powerless are starting to realize that they have more control of their futures than the highly-concentrated power structures of the twentieth century had taught them to believe. As people wake up, the clamor for the latest football to the groin video on YouTube is gradually being joined by a connected world with serious concerns about the future of this planet. As these memes start to become more dominant, we can see how they are like any other waveform in the information that creates our reality - resonance and entrainment starts to kick in, and tipping points that change our consensual reality become more and more possible.

In the physical world, books like Steven Strogatz's "Sync : the Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order" have shown us how vibrational patterns can be transmitted across rooms, causing pendulum clocks to fall in synchronization with each other, or across fields and valleys, causing huge swarms of fireflies to blink off and on in unison. New developments such as WiTricity are showing how resonance can be used to induce an electric impulse without wires, giving us hope for electronic devices that will some day charge themselves.

In the world of ideas spreading across the internet, new initiatives are springing up daily. Sites like have done much to bring new intellectual explorations to the forefront, including books like "What We Believe but Cannot Prove". John Ondrasik (of Five for Fighting fame) has created a site called "What Kind of World Do You Want" which encourages people to post videos about their hopes and dreams, and promises to donate money to one of six charities as people watch these videos. Microsoft is promoting their "I'm Making a Difference" campaign, which donates money every time people registered with the program use Windows Messenger. The Fire the Grid project goes even further, inviting people around the world to meditate on peace and healing for the planet at a certain time on July 17th... could the initiative which moves our world into a new phase really be that close?

Let's ask ourselves this: what stands in the way of us as a planet reaching a tipping point, a chaos-theory-style bifurcation, where enough people can desire a specific change that our consensual reality is affected through resonance and entrainment? Projects like Julius Popp's Bit.Fall (which tracks common words from the internet and puts them into visually stunning computer controlled waterfalls), We Feel Fine (which track the emotional words that bloggers use associated with the word "feel" and creates fascinating real time animations of how, where and when these words are being used) are pointing the way to the future of cloud tagging. Newly popular YouTube videos from younger contributors, like "Stand Up For World Peace" are showing how simple ideas can be imaginatively presented (Norman McLaren style in this case) and create a huge amount of conversation and response in the Web 2.0 world. And the video "Prometeus - The Media Revolution" gives us a plausible scenario for how things could develop over the next few decades.

I believe that Imagining the Tenth Dimension has the potential to be part of that change. Almost two million people have visited the tenth dimension website and seen my new way of imagining reality, plus the hundreds of thousands more who have seen copies of the video at revver, youtube, and so on. I have been hearing from people all over the world who are excited about its implications. A few video bloggers (like this one and this one) have posted their thoughts on YouTube. A tenth dimension fan from Greece has translated the voiceover into Greek subtitles and posted the result at Google Video. The book has been sold in dozens of countries around the world, and discussions are now beginning for translation of the book into other languages. As we approach the first anniversary of the launch of the tenth dimension website, the tenth dimension meme shows no sign of slowing down, and for that I am very grateful.

Enjoying the journey,


PS - here, just for fun, are some more videos of some of the songs from the tenth dimension project.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Conspiracies and quantum mechanics

Last blog I mentioned "Quantum Enigma", a book by two physics professors from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, which takes a serious look at the role of consciousness in quantum physics. Here are a couple of interesting quotes from the website dedicated to their book:

"Quantum mechanics is the most battle-tested theory in all of science. Moreover, one third of our economy depends on things designed with it. Fine! But it also tells us that by your conscious choice you can bring about either of two contradictory situations. This is so far demonstrated only with small things, but it is today being shown true for larger and larger objects. And it is generally accepted by physicists that quantum mechanics applies to everything."

"For the most part, in our teaching of quantum mechanics we tacitly deny the mysteries physics has encountered. We hardly mention Niels Bohr's grappling with the encounter between physics and the observer and John von Neumann's demonstration that the encounter is, in principle, inevitable. We largely avoid the still-unresolved issues raised by Albert Einstein, Erwin Schrödinger, Eugene Wigner, David Bohm, and John Bell. Outside the classroom, physicists increasingly address these issues and often go beyond the purely physical. Consciousness, for example, comes up explicitly in almost all of today's proliferating interpretations of quantum mechanics, if only to show why physics need not deal with it. The many worlds interpretation, for example, is also referred to as the many minds interpretation, and a major treatment of decoherence concludes that an ultimate understanding of the implications of quantum mechanics would involve a model of consciousness."

Now I'm not for a moment suggesting here that Rosenblum and Kuttner subscribe to my visual way of imagining the dimensions, but there are many direct parallels between what they are describing above and the conclusions I reach in my book.

Anton Zeilinger, professor of physics at the University of Vienna has been quoted to say "quantum physics requires us to abandon the distinction between information and reality". If what we are navigating through right now is a sea of information across the dimensions, observing one slice out of all the possible slices as we travel down our limited line in the fourth dimension, then the patterns we are observing have as much to do with our role as quantum observers as they do with the sequence of events that got us to today.

So, if there is a multiverse of universes out there, and apparently infinite branching timelines within each of those universes, then there should always be a sequence of events that we could track from the beginning of the universe to now that tells us why "this is the way things are" as opposed to "this is the way things aren't". I'm only being somewhat frivolous in my book (and in my song "The Anthropic Viewpoint") when I say that we are living in the Hydrogen Conspiracy: what hidden agendas and preferences for one reality over another caused hydrogen to be the most popular atom in our universe?

Which is not to say that conspiracies are bogus, but rather that if quantum physics requires us to abandon the distinction between information and reality, then there will always be two ways of looking at how we got to our current situation, only one of which requires us to believe in conspiracies. Personally, I'm inclined to agree completely that our consensual reality in the last hundred years has been manipulated by the powerful to make themselves even more powerful. I also believe that we are nearing the end of that time - as we and web 2.0 wake up, it's going to become increasingly difficult for games that got our world to the precipitously bad situation it is currently in to be played any longer.

In my song Everything Fits Together, there is a chant section that sums this idea up:

There’s a reason why, there’s a reason why
There’s a reason why you feel the way you do
There’s a reason why you do the deeds you do
There’s a reason why you feel the needs you do
There’s a reason why, there’s a reason why

Which is not to say that we are helpless, but rather that the knowledge of how we got to where we are right now can help us to understand what is our own fault and what is the result of other forces acting upon us. The question then becomes: what do you want to change? As Joe Jackson so eloquently put it, "You Can't Get What You Want Till You Know What You Want". I would say those are wise words indeed.

Enjoy the journey,


A link to this video can be found at

A link to this video can be found at

A link to this video can be found at

A link to this video can be found at

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quantum Theory and the Multiverse

One of the things that has made my eleven minute animation so popular is that it gives the general public a way to imagine the extraordinary implications of quantum physics, and the multiverse, something that many would have thought impossible. Having worked their way through these ideas gives some people a new sense of wonder about the incredible universe in which we live. On the other hand, others have reacted with knee-jerk outrage, dismissing the entire project as "new age What the Bleep hippie crap".

From the outset, I have made it very clear that this is a work of creative exploration and intuition from a non-scientist. Hoping to get over the label of "crackpot" so that we can discuss these unique ideas in their proper context, I have embraced the term: in the scientific community, a crackpot is one who advances ideas even though they have no formal training in the area they are speaking about, and that is a fair description. What I have created is not a theory, it is a framework for discussion, and the almost two million unique visitors who have flocked to the tenth dimension site show that these ideas have strong resonances for a great many people from around the world.

Does acknowledging that I am a composer, not a physicist, make this an easy target for naysayers assuming that this is some sort of a scam, or that my ideas must automatically be wrong? Would I have been smarter to conceal my background and let people assume that this new way of imagining the dimensions is already accepted by mainstream science? My feeling was that these ideas showed too much promise to be discarded, and I have made every effort to be forthright from the outset of this project about my qualifications.

In the current issue of "What Is Enlightenment?" magazine, senior associate editor Tom Huston had some very kind words to say about this project. From a 2 1/2 page article entitled "Your 3-D Universe is So Passé", here are some of his comments:

"...the highlight of the site is a delightfully lucid Flash animation... explaining how each successive dimension builds and expands on the dimensions below it.... and by the time we arrive at the tenth dimension, which comes across as a kind of Teilhardian Omega Point encompassing absolutely every possible timeline of every possible universe, 'there's no place left to go'."
"...the simplicity of Bryanton's ten-dimensional model is striking, and he points out at the beginning of his book that what he's proposing has little to do with the incredibly intricate mathematical formulas comprising the theories espoused by Greene, Randall, and other professional physicists. His multiple dimensions are purely speculative and built on logical consistency, requiring nothing more than a basic grasp of high school geometry to understand."
"His argument hangs together surprisingly well, testifying to the more than two decades of thought he put into his model before revealing it to the world. In chapters with such diverse titles as "The Quantum Observer", "The Paradoxes of Time Travel", and "Memes, Music and Memory", Bryanton's multidimensional matrix manages to make sense out of more mysteries than any one theory should justly be able to handle."
"Some forum participants have remarked on the similarity between Bryanton's model and the ten sefirot of Kabbalah, which represent the hierarchical gradations of divine creation, while others have suggested that the whole thing is just a novel elucidation of the paradoxical wisdom of Zen"
"Bryanton's Imagining the Tenth Dimension is conveying the concept of alternate dimensions to an audience that might never pick up a book on cosmology, string theory, or quantum geometry. And judging from some of the comments it has been garnering in the blogosphere, it's expanding worldviews, blowing minds, and provoking plenty of philosophical and spiritual inquiry as well".

This project is about the interesting ways that physics and philosophy seem to be traveling towards agreement as to the nature of reality. I have compared it to an amazing science fiction book I read as a child, Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time". That book awakened my eight-year-old brain to the possibilities of there being much more to our reality than what we see before us, in the same way that Imagining the Tenth Dimension is doing so for a new generation of thinkers and dreamers. Teachers who have shown my animation to their students have used it as a jumping off point for discussions of multidimensional topology, political theory, philosophy, and cosmology.

As a way to awaken curiosity and challenge narrow thinking, this project has proven to be very effective. As one fan wrote to me, "this isn't string theory, but it's right" (my blog entry about Intuition is, in a way, a response to those kind words). Anyone who has wrestled with the challenging implications of quantum physics, entanglement, the multiverse, and the role of the observer should come away with a sense that we are only beginning to understand how rich and strange our reality and our place within that reality really is. Please check out the book " Quantum Enigma" by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, two physics professors from the University of Santa Cruz, for a level-headed discussion of consciousness and its relation to quantum mechanics.

Enjoy the journey,


Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist