Friday, April 25, 2008

The Fifth Dimension is a Dangerous Idea

A direct link to the above video is at

I'm pleased to tell you that Urban Garden Magazine has now published Issue No. 6, and inside on page 70 you will find an article entitled "Why the Fifth Dimension is a Dangerous Idea" by yours truly. This magazine is available free in the UK in stores dedicated to indoor growing supplies and hydroponics. It's also available free online at .

This article takes a lighter tone than most of my writing has so far, and I would like to thank editor Everest Fernandez for his valuable input in that regard. And to be clear, just because we're having a little more fun in this article doesn't mean I'm any less serious about this project as a valuable insight into visualizing the extra dimensions!

Persons familiar with this project will recognize some of my favorite recurring themes in this article. While we're talking about big ideas, I also wanted to quote a comment I just discovered at a blog called A Smartass Education, which is one of the blogs in my Interesting Links collection. This blogger posted a link to my animation, and, as usual, the comments were many and varied: some people get what I'm trying to do here, some people don't, that's the way it is. But a comment from "googleyes" really summed up things nicely, and I would like to end with a full quote from that user's comments about my way of visualizing the dimensions:

First you have to realize that these ten dimensions express a different perspective of space than our classical approach. The dimensions don’t assume a block of space in which time occurs, rather it considers single directions in space, and builds from one direction to others. This is actually a very genius approach if you think about it. A basic mistake of human thought is to assume things about reality. We assume there is this three dimensional world around us when all that we experience is our own passage through time (which can be seen as a direction in space). The famous Richard Feynman recognized time as a direction in space. Bryanton’s single spatial direction spans outward and becomes a larger space, but it doesn’t become a full block of space until the last dimension. This is actually accurate of an expanding universe moving away from the big bang, expanding and moving increasingly nearer to becoming empty space. It is hard for people to get out of a classical perspective, especially when they think their perspective is science based, but actually people rarely have a correct conception of, for example, what Einstein’s Relativity tells us about space and time. Actually this is true even among scientists. For example, Einstein and a few other scientists in his day recognized that the key conclusion one should draw from GR was that there is no real separation between past, present and future. Very few physicists today appreciate this fact. This video provides a timeless view of all times and all universes, and any such view should be taken very seriously.

Thank you to all of the people linking to this project, to A Smartass Education for being one of those links, and to googleyes, for your great comment.

And thank you, Urban Garden Magazine, for giving my project the opportunity to reach a new audience of deep thinkers and big dreamers who like to think about the nature of reality!

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Geometry of Music

One of my favorite phrases I have quoted from people's reviews of my book is from K. Flekkoy, who had this to say at "an imaginative and strangely 'musical' way of imagining superimposed dimensions". I was strongly reminded of that phrase today when I saw the picture at left, which was created by Dmitri Tymoczko of Princeton University. I came across the picture in an article published a few days ago by, click here for the full story.

The article is about three music professors -- Clifton Callender at Florida State University, Ian Quinn at Yale University and Dmitri Tymoczko at Princeton University -- who (to quote from the article) "have devised a new way of analyzing and categorizing music that takes advantage of the deep, complex mathematics they see enmeshed in its very fabric."

Their system uses colors and a five-dimensional grid to analyze and portray the differences and similarities between one piece of music and another: "geometrical music theory", as they are calling this new system, provides a rich set of visualization tools that analyze elements like rhythm, melodic density, and chord structure, in a sense boiling a piece of music down to its essence and providing ways of visualizing that essence.

In this picture, the red dot at the center represents a diminished seventh chord, and the other nearby dots are some of the chords we would be most familiar with. As an analysis method, it appears their system is more suited for chordal music, and "Western" sensibilities as opposed to the music of other cultures, but within that context these professors are saying this graphing method might be able to show the differences between the composition style of Lennon versus McCartney, or how classical compositions from centuries past are related to modern-day pieces.

It's All About Connections
Persons familiar with the Imagining the Tenth Dimension project will recognize one of my central themes here: what gives a piece of music its innate power, its emotional and cultural resonances? Thinking of music as being created from interlocking sets of memes that are connected across time and space is an important key, and it appears these three researchers are now providing us with new tools to categorize those musical memes.

Another related fascination for me is the rhythm of language, and how different cultures have their own patterns of pitch, rhythm, and grouping. How does emotion translate into speech in different languages, and are there universal physicalities for communicating sorrow, happiness, fright, (and so on) that transcend language? Might such connections be able to be tracked and coded with a similar visualization tool to the one we're looking at above?

A blog entry at Cosmic Variance talks about the work of researcher Diana Deutsch, who specializes in the psychology of music. There is a real audio interview embedded into that blog entry, listen to the first four minutes or so for a fascinating example of how music and language are so easily intertwined. When we begin to see ourselves as being part of patterns that exist across time and space, this all ties in nicely.

Edit: A few days after I published this entry, Millsley (one of the regular contributors to the tenth dimension forum) posted his latest list of fascinating links that fit into the Everything Fits Together paradigm. This collection of podcasts from WNYC about music as patterns was one of those links.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Other entries related to this:
Waveforms in the Ten Dimensions
Music and the Dance of Creativity
Song 19 of 26 - Positive Vibes
Song 6 of 26 - Connections
Seeing Eye to Eye

Monday, April 21, 2008

Top Ten tenth dimension blogs - April report

I was surprised to learn today that typing just the word "tenth" into Google returns my book as the number 2 search result. Cool! Likewise, the word "Imagining" and the word "Dimension" each return pages attached to this project within their top ten results. Thank you to all the tenth dimension fans around the world for making this project the success that is!

This got me thinking about this blog and what parts of it may be attracting more or less attention. So here we go: as of April 21 2008, here are the ten Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog entries that have attracted the most visits of all time:

1. Hypercubes and Plato's Cave
2. 26 songs
3. The Google Suggestions Time Capsule Project
4. Google, Memes and Randomness
5. Tenth Dimension TagCrowd
6. Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains
7. Shadows of Higher Dimensions
8. The Tenth Dimension FAQ
9. Gevin Giorbran - Gone but Not Forgotten
10. Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Dark Information

And here are the blogs that have been viewed the most in the last 30 days:

1. Google Suggestions Time Capsule - First Quarter '08
2. Googling in the Tenth Dimension
3. Tenth Dimension Polls Archive 1 to 10
4. Imagining the Sixth Dimension
5. The Omniverse
6. Time is a Direction
7. Hidden Variables and the Seventh Dimension
8. Hypercubes and Plato's Cave
9. Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Dark Information
10. John Wheeler and Digital Physics

This project is about memes, spimes, and genes, and the place where physics and philosophy can meet in the middle. It's about imagining our universe as arising from an indeterminate background (the omniverse, where Information Equals Reality), and how everything about our consciousness and our observed physical reality could just be shadows of higher dimensional patterns. In this context, the above lists are about more than just what's proven to be popular with this project: they're about ideas that resonate and connect us all together. And since "time is just a direction", I plan to publish new versions of this list every month as part of the exploration of the meme-space we're all moving through.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

The May 08 version of this list is here.
The June 08 version of this list is here.The July 08 version of this list is here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Flipbook Universe

A direct link to this video is at

The "flipbook universe" analogy says that our spacetime universe is being created one planck frame at a time. Without this change from frame to frame, I would say we revert back to the information side of the information equals reality equation (type "information equals reality" into google for more about this idea, which also relates to the field of "digital physics" we discussed last time). Modern theories of cosmology like loop quantum gravity are based upon this same idea: what we experience as "time", even though it feels continuous to us, is actually granular, or quantized in nature.

The additional layer that I have added to this idea is that our 4D spacetime is actually being created from probability sets that exist within the fifth dimension, which is where Kaluza proved and Einstein eventually agreed that the field equations for gravity and light for our universe can be united. The string theory concept of the fifth dimension being "curled up at the planck length" from our 4D perspective can then also be easily incorporated into this way of visualizing reality: it only appears that way because our physical "window" into the fifth dimension is just one planck frame at a time.

Here's a phrase I coined years ago which I have used in my book, the tenth dimension forum, and this blog: "that which ceases to change ceases to exist". If something is in "this" set of pages from our flipbook universe, then stops being in the probabilistic set of upcoming pages, it has ceased to change, ceases being part of our observed timeline: it ceases to exist. That's true whether you're talking about a rock, a planet, a person...

... or a gene or a meme.

And by the time you start to imagine genes and memes within the context of the omniverse, you are thinking about something very big indeed. Last blog, we reviewed some of physicist John Wheeler's ideas about how living creatures or quantum observers might actually have fine-tuned indeterminate parts of the initial conditions of the universe through a reverse causal effect: a challenging idea that takes some getting used to. Dr. Wheeler passed away just a few days ago, but as a respected and visionary leader of the physics community, his ideas will live on for years to come. There are three ideas from Imagining the Tenth Dimension that I would like to touch on right now:

1. As per Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation, multiple timelines exist from this moment forward. Those timelines are not random, they are based upon probabilistic wavefunctions, but our free will is part of what creates which timeline each of us ends up traveling upon.

2. As per Feynman's "sum over histories" or "sum over paths", there are also probabilistic branches that we could have travelled upon to get to this moment in time: and while "sum over paths" tells us there is one path that is the most likely, that may not be the path that was actually taken. Since the Oxford team under the direction of Dr. David Deutsch have proved this "branching parallel universes" concept is just as true at the macro level as it is at the quantum level, this should mean there is more than one way any one of us might have been able to get to this moment in time.

3. John Wheeler encouraged us to think of the two above ideas in the really big picture - not only are we creating our future, but we might also be able to fine tune our past. This is not to say that my free will can allow me to jump to the parallel universe where it's the end of April 2008 and John Wheeler is still alive, but is to imply that there might be other subtle ways that we each can change our trajectories as we twist and turn in the fifth dimension, creating our flipbook universe one planck length at a time: and a particular future might become more probabilistically likely if we were to fine-tune our past through the quantum observer processes John Wheeler was suggesting.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

P.S.: Another blog entry that talks about the Flipbook Universe concept is Tens, Google, and the Expanding Universe

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

John Wheeler and Digital Physics

A direct link to the above video is at

We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago. We are in this sense, participators in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past and if we have one explanation for what's happening in the distant past why should we need more? - Physicist John Archibald Wheeler, who died just three days ago at the age of 96

Last blog, we talked about the omniverse: what if this project had been called "Imagining the Omniverse"? The omniverse is a term coined to imagine all of the possible universes, all of the parallel universes resulting from chance and choice for each of those universes, all of the possible expressions of matter and energy which exist simultaneously within the underlying quantum fabric of reality.

As mind-boggling as that concept is to hold in our heads all at once, there is still another way of looking at all of this: our specific universe is reflective of big-picture-memes, ways of organizing that omniverse's information that becomes our reality. Calling that "God", or a Quantum Observer acting within an O-region, or just the random assortment of implicate patterns responsible for distilling out one version of reality over another, has much more to do with mindset than the actual processes that we are thinking about: and this is how we got to David Bohm's idea of implicate and explicate order being reflective of how our universe came to be part of just one of the many multiverses that exist within the omniverse.

Ever hear of "digital physics"? Look that term up in wikipedia. Experts such as Seth Lloyd, John Wheeler (quoted above), and David Deutsch, all of whom I have mentioned regularly in this blog, are listed as proponents of digital physics, which advances the same theory that I have been promoting here: our universe is reflective of patterns that exist within timelessness, and time as we experience it is an illusion, only a tiny slice out of what's really happening "out there". Digital Physics does not require there to be extra dimensions, but I believe it ties very nicely to what I've been talking about here: the idea that our universe is created one planck length after the next, with our fourth-dimensional "line of time" twisting and turning in the fifth dimension is the way into that discussion.

Comparisons between digital physics, the universe as a hologram, and the idea that we as observers could "reverse fine tune" our universe are all connected to the way of visualizing reality that I'm promoting here. There are clear echoes of The Matrix in all of this as well, which make some people assume I'm talking about science fiction here: but the tenth dimension meme continues to grow, as more and more people begin to see connections between their own ways of understanding reality and what's being discussed here.

John Wheeler was a strong believer in the anthropic principle, which ties into the Omniverse idea I talked about in the last blog entry as well. As his quote at the start of this blog entry reveals, he also liked to talk about the role of the quantum observer in a "self-excited circuit" that creates the reality we see around us from out of the background of quantum indeterminacy, and that is a fascinating discussion by itself. Here are some previous blog entries where I've talked about how John Wheeler's theories can be related to my way of visualizing reality:

Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains
Song 24 of 26 - See No Future
Song 15 of 26 - What Was Done Today
Song 11 of 26 - The Anthropic Viewpoint
Boredom and Consciousness

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Coming up next: The Flipbook Universe

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Omniverse

A direct link to this video is at

"Just as we envision all of space as being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as being out there, as really existing too." - Brian Greene

Ever hear of the Omniverse?

If you haven't, look it up in wikipedia. This word attempts to deal with the linguistic problem presented to cosmologists, who had to start from the long established all-encompassing word "universe", coming from Latin roots which mean "everything turned into one". That was the problem: if the universe is already supposed to refer to everything, then what do you call more than one universe?

The word "multiverse" had been pressed into service as part of the attempt to imagine all universes together, but the word is used in multiple ways: some writers use it to describe the set of all possible timelines, or parallel universes (a la Everett's Many Words Interpretation) resulting from chance and choice for our own universe, while the word is also used to encompass all possible expressions of all possible universes.

The word "omniverse", on the other hand, is unambiguous. It takes all the universes, all the multiverses, all possible expressions of matter and energy, and the information that becomes reality (a phrase I've used many times now), and looks at all of that as a single whole.

Here's what I proposed in my last blog entry: if the underlying fabric of reality includes every possible different-initial-conditions universe, and all possible timelines for each of those possible universes, what is it that constrains our own universe, and keeps it from wandering off into the other parts of the "omniverse" where our version of physical reality becomes impossible? The answer, I would say, is that we are constrained by our position within the seventh dimension (or, as some cosmologists say, it is because our 3D universe is embedded within a three-dimensional and a seven-dimensional brane). In other words, we are already headed towards the natural equilibrium state where our universe enfolds into a single, balanced whole, which aligns nicely with the theories of physicist David Bohm.

So let's look at my way of visualizing the dimensions and fit these three words in:

  • A "point" in the fourth dimension would be our own spacetime universe at a particular instant.
  • A "point" in the seventh dimension is our universe's multiverse of all possible timelines or parallel universes for our universe, viewed simultaneously.
  • The tenth dimension, as I am visualizing it, can only be a "point", so the tenth dimension is the omniverse of all potential expressions of matter and energy, the underlying fabric of quantum reality in its unobserved state.
Does that mean "Imagining the Omniverse" would have been a better name for this project? Perhaps. But there are a great many terms used to refer to this same idea that I am encapsulating within the tenth dimension - the unobserved quantum fabric, the Teilhardian Omega Point, the Godelian "outside the system", the computational underpinnings behind digital physics, all of these ideas are about the same thing... the place where everything fits together into timelessness.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Further reading:
Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains
Hypercubes and Plato's Cave
You Can't Get There From Here
Boredom and Consciousness
How to Make a Universe
Song 4 of 26 - The Unseen Eye

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hidden Variables and the Seventh Dimension

In my recent entry "Imagining the Sixth Dimension", and its more expanded followup post "Time is a Direction", we talked about the concept of each dimension being at "right angles" to the one below, and we arrived at a way of imagining the sixth dimension that accounts for every branching timeline possible for our universe, including the ones that are not currently accessible to us from the fifth-dimensional ray creating our four-dimensional line. Now, here's a few quotes from an article by Mark Buchanan published in the March 22 2008 edition of New Scientist Magazine.

Quantum Randomness May Not Be Random

...most quantum researchers celebrate the notion that pure chance lies at the foundations of the universe.

However, a sizeable minority of physicists have long been pushing entirely the opposite view. They remain unconvinced that quantum theory depends on pure chance, and they shun the philosophical contortions of quantum weirdness. The world is not inherently random, they say, it only appears that way. Their response has been to develop quantum models that are deterministic, and that describe a world that has "objective" properties, whether or not we measure them. The problem is that such models have had flaws that many physicists consider fatal, such as inconsistencies with established theories.

Until now, that is. A series of recent papers show that the idea of a deterministic and objective universe is alive and kicking. At the very least, the notion that quantum theory put the nail in the coffin of determinism has been wildly overstated, says physicist Sheldon Goldstein of Rutgers University in New Jersey. He and a cadre of like-minded physicists have been pursuing an alternative quantum theory known as Bohmian mechanics, in which particles follow precise trajectories or paths through space and time, and the future is perfectly predictable from the past. "It's a reformulation of quantum theory that is not at all congenial to supposedly deep quantum philosophy," says Goldstein. "It's precise and objective - and deterministic."

...Goldstein and others have tried to develop modified versions of the theory... Their work began in the 1980s and 90s as part of an effort to develop Bohmian models that describe not only quantum particles but quantum fields as well, which provide the basic framework of all modern physics. In these models, the universe consists both of particles following precise trajectories and of continuous fields that, like classical magnetic or electric fields, also evolve in a deterministic way. Over the past decade, Goldstein, working with Dürr and physicist Nino Zanghi of the University of Genoa in Italy, has shown that this picture gives a consistent view of relativistic particle processes, while reproducing the accurate predictions of quantum field theory (Physical Review Letters, vol 93, p 090402).

The most promising result to come out of this framework was published last year by Ward Struyve and Hans Westman, both at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. They developed a Bohmian model that matches one of the most accurate theories in the history of science - quantum electrodynamics, the theory of light and its interactions with charged particles. In fact, Struyve and Westman found that a number of Bohmian models can easily account for all such phenomena, while remaining fully deterministic (Proceedings of the Royal Society A, vol 463, p 3115).

...Goldstein and others have also solved another nagging problem for Bohmian models: elucidating how a deterministic theory can give rise to the fuzziness observed in quantum experiments in the first place. The uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics states that measuring the position of a quantum particle limits your knowledge of its momentum, and vice versa. The standard explanation is that the particle's state is undetermined until you measure it, but in Bohmian mechanics the state is always well defined. The trick, Goldstein says, is that measuring one variable stirs up uncertainty in the other due to interactions between the measuring device and the particle, in a way that matches the uncertainty principle.

In the early 1990s, Goldstein, Dürr and Zanghi were able to show that the statistical observations of quantum theory could reflect an "equilibrium" of underlying hidden variables. They found that in many circumstances it is natural to expect those hidden variables to evolve so as to produce that equilibrium, and thus quantum theory as we know it. But their work also suggested that in some situations the hidden variables might be out of equilibrium, in which case Bohmian predictions would differ from those of conventional quantum theory.

...The debate over whether the universe is random or deterministic is not likely to end before such experiments become possible. That won't stop physicists and philosophers from continuing to examine whether or not the logical structure of quantum theory demands randomness, or might instead rest on some deeper deterministic layer. In the latter case, predicting the future would be as simple as knowing the fundamental quantum rules and current conditions in enough detail. But even if we could do that, would we really want to? A deterministic universe might just be a little too boring.

The "Bohmian mechanics" described above refers to theories originated by physicist David Bohm, who Gevin Giorbran often quoted as having strong connections to both Gevin's and my own way of visualizing reality. Here's where this all aligns with what I've been saying with this project: Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation says that we are not collapsing the quantum wavefunction, we are merely observing the wave in one particular state out of the many that continue to exist. The David Deutsch team have proved that this is the case at both the quantum and the macro level. Here's the question that my way of visualizing reality helps to provide an answer for: if the underlying fabric of reality includes every possible different-initial-conditions universe, and all possible timelines for each of those possible universes, what is it that constrains our own universe, and keeps it from wandering off into the other parts of the "omniverse" where our version of physical reality becomes impossible? It's because we are constrained by our position within the seventh dimension (or, as some cosmologists say, it is because our 3D universe is embedded within a three-dimensional and a seven-dimensional brane).

If, as the Bohmian models suggest, there is an equilibrium state where hidden variables lie to create our seemingly random but ultimately predictable universe, then where would I suggest we can find those hidden variables? In the specifically located "point" in the seventh dimension, where every possible state for our particular universe can be found simultaneously, enfolded into the equilibrium that creates the specific conditions for the universe in which we live.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Time is a Direction

A direct link to this video is at

One can think of ordinary, real, time as a horizontal line. On the left, one has the past, and on the right, the future. But there's another kind of time in the vertical direction. This is called imaginary time, because it is not the kind of time we normally experience. But in a sense, it is just as real, as what we call real time.

From a lecture by Stephen Hawking

For us, time is a direction in the fourth spatial dimension. That's one of the ideas that is central to the way of visualizing reality that I have advanced in my book and its well-known animation.

In the third dimension, we might visualize the first three dimensions this way:

1st dimension: left/right
2nd dimension: backward/forward
3rd dimension: up/down

There's many other sets of words we could use, but the basic idea will always be the same: within the third dimension, if we think of it as having three dimensions of length, width, and depth, then each of those dimensions has a positive and negative direction. I can stand at a city intersection and visualize north/south, east/west, elevation/submergence: three dimensions, six directions. In an airplane or a spaceship, I can think of pitch, yaw, and roll, and apply positive/negative values to each of those: three rotations, six directions. Look at a wii controller while somebody plays the boxing game: up/down, left/right, forward/backward, all elements combined describe a full range of all possible motions.

Six Directions
By combining those ideas together we arrive at a way to describe any orientation within the third dimension. Is left/right the first dimension, or should it be forward/backward, or up/down? Whatever you prefer. The important thing is not what words we use, but that all three dimensions are at right angles to each other, and once those three dimensions are combined, we arrive at six directions that can encompass all aspects of three-dimensional space.

Do a google search on the words "six directions" and you will see how deeply embedded that concept is into various spiritual/metaphysical systems. Do a google search on "six dimensions" and you will find an interesting mix of musings about business/social connections (the six degrees of separation concept), geometry/physics, and other discussions about the nature of reality from the viewpoint of ancient spiritual systems.

In the way of visualizing reality that we're playing with here, "time" is a direction within the fourth dimension, but all of the above ideas apply again: if "forward" is described as a direction in the first dimension, it is just as much a direction in the third dimension. Here's where I'm going with this: we can use this jumping off point of what we know from the first three dimensions to see how time is a direction in the fourth, fifth, and sixth dimension, and what dimension we choose to place it within has more to do with our point of view than it does with the "direction" we're examining.

Let's Go Back
If the 1st dimension is described as forward/back, then we could build our analogy by calling the fourth dimension time/anti-time. Look up "time reversal symmetry" for more about this concept: even though the phrase "anti-time" is more commonly known from science fiction, you will find the idea of time being a process that makes just as much sense in the reverse direction is an accepted scientific viewpoint.

Now, if we think of the second dimension as left/right, what would the fifth dimension be? No matter what dimension we're talking about, we should be able to make a new dimension by moving at right angles to the current one. Naturally, this gets harder and harder to visualize as the number of dimensions grow, but Stephen Hawking's idea quoted above ties into another basic idea I have promoted here: if fourth-dimensional spacetime is like a flat plane until it is bent by gravity, what is it being bent into? I would say, the fifth dimension. If there are parallel universes being created by choice and circumstance (as per the David Deutsch team's proof I have quoted in this blog so often), then the bush-like structure of those branches would be, in a sense, at right angles to the fourth dimension of time, so those branches must be in the fifth dimension. Everything about our observed reality, then, is being knit together, one planck length at a time, at the fifth dimension into what we think of as a fourth-dimensional line of time.

What More Can There Be?
Kaluza-Klein theory, and the underlying granular nature of spacetime, and the idea that the higher dimensions are, from our vantage point in the fourth dimension, curled up at the planck length... all of these ideas tie together into this way of understanding the fifth dimension. Now let's go one step further - what's at right angles to the fifth dimension?

If we can accept that our fourth-dimensional line of time is analogous to the first dimension as the direction "forward", and the fifth dimension's probabilistic branches coming towards us (and extending out behind us!) are like the "left/right" of the second dimension, what would be the corresponding "up/down"? Let's think back to us standing on the street corner. The north/south, east/west plane of the first two dimensions gave us a way to locate ourselves at a particular intersection, but we needed the third dimension to describe the up/down of "I'm on the third floor" or "I'm in the basement". So, to imagine the sixth dimension, we have to try to imagine what we have described in the fifth dimension, and what it is impossible for us to get to get to without adding an additional dimension, which would again be at "right angles" to the ones below.

You Can't Get There From Here
This is one of the central ideas of this way of visualizing the dimensions. By taking our astonishingly large universe encompassed by the third dimension, then treating that as a line of time being created by quanta that are one planck length after another to imagine time as a direction in the fourth dimension, we are already holding a mind-boggling amount of information in our minds. By imagining that the fifth dimension is a "ray", or a bush-like branching structure of parallel universes at both the quantum and the macro level, we have exceeded what most people are able to hold in their minds simultaneously. The human brain is not built for holding so many differently-scaled concepts in our head at once - we prefer hierarchies of information, groupings, layers of meaning. So, while we know that the fourth dimension is not really as simple as a first-dimensional line, and the fifth dimension is not really as simple as a second-dimensional plane, by taking these higher concepts and simplifying them, this way of visualizing allows us to continue building ideas on top of each other, one layer of meaning stacked upon the next.

Here's the question, then. If our four-dimensional universe of spacetime is being created from a set of choices within the fifth dimension, what choices are not available to us? Now you're starting to think about the sixth dimension.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Here are some other entries relating to these ideas:
What Was Done Today
See No Future
Big Bang to Entropy
You Can't Get There From Here

Friday, April 4, 2008

Imagining the Sixth Dimension

By taking our astonishingly large universe encompassed by the third dimension, then treating that as a line of time being created by quanta that are one planck length after another to imagine time as a direction in the fourth dimension, we are already holding a mind-boggling amount of information in our minds. By imagining that the fifth dimension is a "ray", or a bush-like branching structure of parallel universes at both the quantum and the macro level, we have exceeded what most people are able to hold in their minds simultaneously. The human brain is not built for holding so many differently-scaled concepts in our head at once - we prefer hierarchies of information, groupings, layers of meaning. So, while we know that the fourth dimension is not really as simple as a first-dimensional line, and the fifth dimension is not really as simple as a second-dimensional plane, by taking these higher concepts and simplifying them, this way of visualizing allows us to continue building ideas on top of each other, one layer of meaning stacked upon the next.

Here's the question, then. If our four-dimensional universe of spacetime is being created from a set of choices within the fifth dimension, what choices are not available to us? Now you're starting to think about the sixth dimension.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: a more expanded version of this entry - "Time is a Direction".

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Googling in the Tenth Dimension

Last blog, we looked at the "Find Chuck Norris" joke that appears if you type those three words into Google and press the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. The page that comes up seems at first glance to be a Google error window, but further examination reveals that the page is not affiliated with Google, and there are links at the bottom of the page to some interesting discussions about this as a viral marketing technique.

I have talked in this blog before about the disconnect that seems to be happening, where the internet can have popular phenomena that go unreported by the mainstream media. The "Find Chuck Norris" gag works because that page is Google's number one search result for those three words, and that popularity has happened purely through the internet equivalent of word of mouth. With millions of people visiting, it's not surprising that typing "Imagining Tenth Dimension" and clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky" takes you directly to the tenth dimension website. After poking around a bit, though, I was surprised to see just how many different phrases you can type into a Google search and see a tenth dimension related page come up in the top position. As I said in the last blog, is this because of any sort of deliberately viral manipulation of the search results? Not at all. It's because there are people all over the world visiting the tenth dimension website, its forum, its animation, its songs, and this blog on a regular basis.

Imagining the Tenth Dimension became popular within days of its launch in July 2006. Almost two years later, it continues to average millions of hits a month. Why do people keep coming back? Because so many of us are fascinated with discussions about the nature of reality, and our place within it. This project has a wide range of ideas that are tied together by that theme, and the list of search terms listed below that reveal this project as the number one search result helps to give a peek into just how wide the scope of those discussions has been.

After almost two years of success, I have no doubt that in the months to come some of these searches listed below will cease to reveal pages related to this project in the number one position, while other new phrases from the project will rise to the top... so I release the following list as a snapshot of the huge cloud of memes that circle around Imagining the Tenth Dimension at this moment in time. I'm sure there are many others I've missed, please let me know if you find any unusual ones worthy of note.

And thank you, Imagining the Tenth Dimension fans around the world, for continuing to make this project the success it has been.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Single word:

Two words:
tenth faq
tenth animation
tenth dimension
tenth dimensions
ten dimensions
ten dimension
spacetime tree
Plato hypercube
insidious trends
imagining omniverse
imagining superstrings
indeterminate wave
memes spimes
soul spimes
anthropic viewpoint
binary viewpoint
possible timelines
keystone world
thankful dimension
conspiracies anthropic
bicameral spimes
bicameral tenth
indeterminacy tenth
multiverse tenth
observer tenth
spimes dimension
spimes tenth
tagclouds tenth
tagclouds dimension
timelessness tenth
visualizations tenth
determinism tenth
spirituality tenth
determinism tenth
googleverse dimension
googleverse tenth
multiverse waveforms
multiverse dimensions
multiverse tenth
multiverse spimes
time spimes
imagining dimensions
imagining tenth
imagining memes
imagining spimes
imagining hypercubes
Giorbran tenth
Giorbran dimension
Hofstadter tenth
memes Bryanton
genes Bryanton
imagining Bryanton
tenth Bryanton
dimension Bryanton

three words:
tenth dimension reviews
information equals reality
Everything Fits Together
The Unseen Eye
I Remember Flying
Burn Candle Brightly
imagining higher dimensions
bang entropy dimension
seven levels dimension
automatic tenth dimension
senseless violence dimension
addictive personality dimension
blind faith dimension
positive vibes dimension
hard determinism dimension
strangely musical imagining
strangely musical dimension
turquoise white tenth
turquoise white imagining
turquoise white dimension
soul imagining tenth
imagining enjoy journey
souls selfish memes
change renewal dimension
corner eye dimension
intuition tenth dimension
spirituality tenth dimension
consciousness tenth dimension
conspiracies tenth dimension
matter tenth dimension
dark tenth dimension
death tenth dimension
determinism tenth dimension
enlightenment tenth dimension
googleverse tenth dimension
indeterminacy tenth dimension
life tenth dimension
Deutsch tenth dimension
Lloyd tenth dimension
imagining David Deutsch
imagining Greg Bear
imagining Michio Kaku
imagining quantum observer
imagining superstring vibrations
Hofstadter tenth dimension
Seth Lloyd dimension
Seth Lloyd tenth
tenth dimension blog
imagining tenth blog
imagining dimension blog
free will Bryanton
worlds tenth dimension
meditation tenth dimension
memes tenth dimension
multiverse tenth dimension
music tenth dimension
observer tenth dimension
philosophy tenth dimension
physics tenth dimension
quantum tenth dimension
song tenth dimension
spimes tenth dimension
tagclouds tenth dimension
tenth dimension FAQ
timelessness tenth dimension
vibrations tenth dimension
visualizations tenth dimension
see no future dimension
26 songs dimension
26 songs tenth
26 songs imagining
consensual reality tenth
fourth dimension memes
fifth dimension memes
fifth dimension spimes
sixth dimensional self
sixth dimension memes
seventh dimension memes
eighth dimension memes
ninth dimension memes
tenth dimension memes
wrinkle time spimes
memes spimes 2012
E8 semantic web
seventh dimension God
memes spimes genes
multiverse dark matter
probability space dimension
imagining standard model
gravity light memes
infinity Boltzmann Brains
google memes randomness

four words:
many worlds tenth dimension
quantum observer tenth dimension
society mind tenth dimension
dark matter tenth dimension
dark energy tenth dimension
big bang entropy dimension
google suggestions time capsule
eye to eye multiverse
hang a left lights
feel for you dimension
imagining society of mind
dimensions enjoy the journey

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist