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 edge.org 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.

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Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist