Saturday, September 29, 2007

Probability Space

Last blog I mentioned that David Deutsch and his team at Oxford have now published a proof that shows mathematically that the bush-like branching structure created by the universe splitting into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes. Some links to different articles about their proof can be found here, here, and here.

What has me so excited about this proof it appears to substantiate one of the core ideas of my book and the popular tenth dimension animation - that quantum superposition, often portrayed as unimaginably strange and impossibly obscure, can be equated with the branching choices that occur in our macro world through choice, chance and circumstance, creating what is often known as Everett's multiverse. In other words, free will and quantum mechanics are both aspects of the same way of portraying what is really happening around us as we experience our amazing world.

As regular readers of this blog know, my book ends with the lyrics to 26 songs (26 being a number of some historical interest to string theory fans), a number of which I have been releasing over the last month or two as videos, created very simply with me sitting at my old piano. These videos are being freely released for the enjoyment of anyone interested in my artistic ramblings about how quantum physics and philosophy can be tied together.

A link to this video can be found at

One of the things that has been a hot topic this week at the tenth dimension forum ( is whether the fifth dimension and the sixth dimension (as per my way of imagining the dimensions) are really the same thing. Clearly, if the fifth and sixth dimension really are completely equivalent, then this would blow some major holes in the logic of my popular animation.

For me, the concept of "probability space" is the difference between the two dimensions. So, if we imagine a version of the fifth dimension that starts at the big bang (or the first quantum observation or yes/no/both collapse from superposition, if that's how you prefer to think about the beginning of our universe), then that particular version of the fifth dimension could encompass every possible timeline that could possibly be experienced by our specific different-initial-conditions universe of 4D spacetime. And in the sense that time is an illusion, this would indeed be the case: as I say in the animation, you can eventually travel through the fifth dimension's branching structures to get to any of the different potential versions of yesterday, today or tomorrow, but it would always be "taking the long way". What I have tried to make clear is that the factors of choice/chance/circumstance create different versions of our fifth-dimensional probability space from there on for our physical world. This means that for where we are right now, on our fourth-dimensional line observing the coming fifth-dimensional possibilities that are available to us at both the quantum and the macro level, there are many possibilities which might have been available to us back at the beginning of our universe, but right now at our point 13.7 million years into our journey, there are a great many potential timelines which are simply no longer available to us, because of what has come before. My song "What Was Done Today" starts with that idea and runs with it.

words and music (c) by Rob Bryanton (SOCAN)

All the tiny little hurts
All the sad little tales
All the wounds that turned to scars
That never went away

All the evil in the world
All the bad turns of fate
All the ignorance and sloth
That never let things change

They steal something precious
They open up a hole
In the lines of possibility
To keep us from our goals
They steal something precious
I see it drain away
Tomorrows that can never be
Because of what was done today

Now if all things are possible
It still must be clear
Because of chance or circumstance
Sometimes you can’t get there from here

And it’s nice to have your wishes
And it’s great to have your dreams
But for a starving child in Africa
They hardly mean a thing
How can they mean a thing?

We’ve all got something precious
A wondrous tiny spark
That drives us to continue
And to fight against the dark
But they’re stealin something precious
I see it drain away
Tomorrows that can never be
Because of what was done today

Big Money
Can’t hear you
Big Power
They don’t care
Big reasons
To change the system
Revolution’s in the air

Enjoy the journey,



David said...

Having stumbled on your Tenth Dimension animation, which was thought provoking, especially that jump from the 4th to the 5th and even more so the 8th to the 9th, I now find you can write a pretty ditty as well!
Relating philosophy to emotions can be helpful in understanding a cosmological concept. I found the final stanza a bit obscure though and moved the song away from contemplation on how our every action (or inaction!) destroys possible events and creates others. Still, I was impressed, entertained and educated. Not bad for taking a chance on a random website!

Rob Bryanton said...

Thanks for your kind comments, David. As for the final stanza, that's what I was referring to when I said I take the branching possibilities concept and "run with it".
Regarding the last stanza: I'm suggesting that big money and big power structures have created the world we live in and the specific set of choices available/not-available to us within our current position in probability space. I'm suggesting that the increasingly connected world we live in today makes it more difficult (but still completely possible) for big money/big power to manipulate these branching possibilities to their benefit, but the more we all can see how we're being manipulated, the more in control of our own destinies each of us can (and will) be.

If you liked this blog entry, you might also enjoy some of these:

Conspiracies and Quantum Mechanics
The Anthropic Viewpoint
The End of the World


Rob Bryanton

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist