Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tenth Dimension Polls Archive 9

Poll #9 - Philosophers have said it for millennia, now there are physicists saying it too. But what about you? Do you believe "time is an illusion"?
(poll ended Mar 4 08)
87.8% answered yes, while the remainder said no.
So. We've been imagining a set-of-all-possible-states, a multi-dimensional configuration space which simultaneously encompasses every possible expression of matter, energy, and information. Inside that omniverse of all possible universes, our own particular spacetime is only the smallest of slivers, and this very instant that you read the word "now" is an infinitesimally tinier sliver carved out from that.
One "now" after another, one planck unit after another, we experience time as a probabilistic set of outcomes, but viewing this all from the big picture of timelessness and the underlying fabric of quantum indeterminacy, we can see that what we think of as "time" is really only a very limited viewpoint of where our reality comes from. Does that sound more like philosophy than science? To some it does, but there are a great many scientists in the world today who truly believe this phrase: "time is an illusion". The way of visualizing reality that we're exploring here presents another version of the same idea: time is the way you change from one state to another, and that's true no matter what dimension you're examining. No matter what dimension you're in, how do you get from one state to another? By moving through the next dimension up. That's why we three-dimensional creatures tend to believe time is in the fourth dimension. If we lived in the seventh dimension, we would move from one constrained set to another by moving through the eighth dimension, and therefore tell ourselves that time is the eighth dimension.
So: saying "time is an illusion" is not intended to say that change doesn't happen, or that there aren't useful assumptions that can be drawn from our observations of timelike processes. Rather, "time is an illusion" is our way of acknowledging that there is much more about the underlying nature of reality than just a simple, inexorable and inevitable (!) movement from moment to moment.

Next: Poll 10 - Is our three-dimensional reality just the "shadows" of higher dimensional shapes and patterns?

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