Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Annotated Tenth Dimension Video

Over at YouTube, I've now posted a new version of the original video for Imagining the Tenth Dimension: this one takes advantage of YouTube's recently added annotation feature. YouTube also allows links to other YouTube videos within these notes - if you see a little button within a particular text box, there is another video you can link to with that button. The text below is a transcription of the annotations that have been added, as you will see these notes have been added as a response to the many questions that surround this "new way of thinking about time and space". Unfortunately, it appears that the annotations only work when the video is viewed at the YouTube site, so I can't embed it elsewhere: to watch the annotated version at YouTube, click on this link:

0:01 Many people around the world have watched this video and have assumed that this is all there is to the concept... but the video only presents the ideas from chapter one of the book "Imagining the Tenth Dimension".
0:05 Many of the questions that are asked about this video have been collected in the tenth dimension faq, type those three words into google to find that list.
0:16 One of the most often asked questions about this project is "aren't there really eleven dimensions?".
0:18 M-Theory says there are ten spatial dimensions plus one of time.
0:21 This project says that time is just a direction, not a full dimension, and that our observed reality is being created one planck unit after another by what Planck called "quanta".
0:26 If you count this "zero" (a point) that we started from and think of a series of points as our reality being observed in planck frames that obey the laws of entropy, you do indeed end up with ten spatial dimensions plus an eleventh which can be thought of as time.
0:32 For more about that idea, click here to watch a video blog called "Time is a Direction".
0:40 No matter what dimension we are thinking about, the "next dimension up" adds an additional degree of freedom which was not able to be reached from the current dimension. This is an important concept, and this logic continues throughout:
0:47 ...with this project, there is no arbitrary distinction between the dimensions we know as spacetime and the extra dimensions that are logically derived by this way of imagining how our reality is constructed.
0:54 This intuitive way of imagining how each dimension is derived is unique to this project.. but there are many mainstream science connections which can be drawn, and these notes explore some of those connections.
1:01 Edwin A. Abbott's 1884 novel "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" first introduced us to the idea of Flatlanders, and is a useful starting point for imagining how different dimensions might appear.
1:07 Another of the comments about this animation is that it shows the Flatlander's world from "above", in other words from the perspective of a 3D creature looking down onto the plane that the Flatlander is within.
1:14 If we were to actually show what our theoretical Flatlander sees, it would have to be a confusing jumble of lines all in the same plane. Think of it this way: draw your flatland creature on a piece of paper, now pick that piece of paper up and hold it horizontally at eye level, so that all you can see is the thin edge of that flat piece of paper.
1:26 Now you're starting to get an idea of a Flatlander's perspective - that "additional degree of freedom" that the third dimension adds allows us to see much much more than what a Flatlander would really see.
1:35 So, while what is being shown in this animation is what most books introducing people to the concept of other dimensions show in the discussion of Flatlanders, "what a Flatlander would really see" is even more strange than what we're portraying here in this introduction to these ideas.
1:43 Click here to watch a video blog that discusses more about the concept of Flatlanders.
1:45 Or click here to watch "What Would a Flatlander Really See?"
1:46 Or click here to watch "What Would a Linelander Really See?"
1:51 The voice we are hearing is Rob Bryanton, who also created the sound effects, wrote the script, and storyboarded the concepts for this presentation. The actual flash animation was created by the talented folks at OH!Media.
2:01 With the third dimension, and the idea of a Flatlander Ant disappearing and reappearing as a result of a "folding", we're starting to think about wormholes, a useful concept to look up in wikipedia.
2:07 According to the logic of this animation, different wormholes would have different effects depending upon the dimension being folded:
2:10 - so a third-dimensional wormhole would allow instantaneous teleportation (travelling to a different position in space with no passage of time),
2:15 - a fourth dimensional wormhole would allow time travel within our own specific spacetime,
2:19 - a fifth-dimensional wormhole would allow travel to other parallel universes that are logically consistent with our current position in spacetime,
2:23 - a sixth-dimensional wormhole would allow travel to other parallel universes that are still part of the basic physical laws for our particular universe but logically inconsistent with our current position in spacetime: for instance the version of our universe where it's 2008 but the attack on the twin towers did not take place,
2:33 - and a seventh-dimensional wormhole, according to the logic of this presentation, would be how you get to other universes springing from different initial conditions, where the laws of physics would be different from ours.
2:41 Click here to watch the video blog entry "Wormholes"
2:51 A central idea to this way of imagining is that "time" is a direction, not a dimension. New theories by physicists such as Sean Carroll can be related to this idea as well:
2:53 click here to watch a video blog discussing Dr. Carroll's ideas, called "Time in Either Direction".
2:54 or for another video about time reversal symmetry, click here to watch "Scrambled Eggs"
3:00 Or for a discussion of how our universe is being observed one planck length at a time, because time is not continuous but rather broken down into "quanta", click here to watch a video blog entry called "The Flipbook Universe".
3:10 YouTube has a number of animations showing fourth-dimensional hypercubes or tesseracts, click here to watch one of them.
3:14 For a discussion of how "time as a direction" and the fourth spatial dimension relate to what we're talking about, click here to watch the video blog entry "Hypercubes and Plato's Cave".
3:21 Author Bruce Sterling introduced us to his term "spime" - a very useful word to describe objects that exist as a set of data across space and time.
3:27 The "long undulating snake" that we're imagining ourselves as from conception until death can also be thought of as a "spime"- a four-dimensional object.
3:33 But this "spime" or "long undulating snake" is only how we would appear from the line of time, and "time" is one of the two possible directions in the fourth spatial dimension: look up time reversal symmetry in wikipedia for more about this idea.
3:51 The conclusion being drawn in this project is that our currently observed "now" is actually being observed within a fifth dimensional probability space.
3:55 The fifth dimension is where, way back in 1919, Kaluza proved and Einstein agreed that the field equations for gravity and electromagnetism can be resolved. Why is the idea that our reality comes from the fifth dimension not common knowledge?
4:01 You might want to watch some of these related video blog entries
4:02 The Fifth Dimension is a Dangerous Idea
4:03 The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic
4:04 Your Fifth-Dimensional Self
4:05 Being More Fifth-Dimensional
4:06 Are Animals and Kids More Fifth-Dimensional?
4:14 What we look back upon as the "line of time" gives us the impression that time's arrow had only one way to get to our current "now", and this makes some assume that there is only one possible future extending forward from our current "now", a school of thought known as "hard determinism".
4:16 For more about this, click here to watch "Dr. Mel's 4D Glasses"
4:17 or click here to watch "The Past is an Illusion"
4:24 Believe it or not, scientific experiments conducted by Dr. Anton Zeilinger and his team in Vienna are now proving that everything other than our currently perceived "now" is indeterminate and probabilistic.
4:31 Click here to watch a video blog about these startling results, called "Local Realism Bites the Dust".
4:42 In September 2007, a group of scientists at Oxford under the direction of physicist David Deutsch released an important proof that equates the branching probabilities of the quantum world with the parallel universes that result from chance and choice in our observed "macro" world.
4:54 What we are talking about here relates to the "Many Worlds Interpretation" of quantum mechanics, which was proposed by physicist Hugh Everett III in 1957 as his Master's Thesis.
5:01 Everett's innovative solution to the strange world of quantum probability was to propose that all possible worlds do actually exist within the underlying background of the quantum wavefunction, and that we are not actually "collapsing" the wavefunction, we are merely "observing".
5:13 According to Everett, and according to this way of imagining reality, then, all the other possibilities continue to exist, even though they are decoherent/inaccessible to the version of reality we are currently observing.
5:23 This project also proposes that that the "spooky action at a distance" properties of the quantum world which Einstein disliked are easy to explain if we accept that our current "now" (which we can think of as a point moving in the fourth dimension) is actually coming from a fifth-dimensional probability space, and this is where entanglement or instantaneous collapse of probabilities are actually taking place: like the Flatlander on the mobius strip, we can't directly perceive these 5D connections from our limited 4D perspective.
5:37 Popular books by theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Brian Greene talk in detail about the collapsing/observing of wavefunctions - both are quoted in the blog entry "The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic".
5:44 Thinking about the sixth dimension is also thinking about the versions of our reality that we are not able to get to from our current position in spacetime because of what has come before: click on any of these to watch video blogs about these discussions.
5:47 Time in 3 Dimensions
5:48 Anime, Gaming and Cusps
5:49 Magnets and Souls
5:50 Crossing Your Arms to Change Your Trajectory
5:51 Everyone Has a Story
5:52 Changing Your Genes
5:53 Changing Your Genes Part 2

6:02 Thinking about memes (patterns of information that connect across time and space) is also a very important part of this way of imagining reality.
6:07 Click on any of the boxes to the right to watch video blogs about how "memes" and consciousness tie into these ideas.
6:09 Disorders of the Mind
6:10 Making New Connections
6:11 The Geometry of Music
6:12 David Jay Brown and Psychedelics
6:13 Crossed Wires in the Brain
6:14 The Placebo Effect

6:19 Dr. Richard Dawkins first proposed the concept of "memes" (rhymes with "teams"). He also invited us to think of "genes" as a "River Out of Eden" - in both cases, these are enlightened, "big-picture" approaches to thinking outside of our linear spacetime, and are very useful as ways to help us envision the much broader underlying reality of timelessness.
6:30 genes
6:31 memes
6:32 spimes
6:33 - three powerful words for thinking about how information equals reality (click here for more about that idea), and how ultimately everything can be viewed as patterns within the underlying fabric of reality.
6:41 As part of this project, Rob also created 26 songs which tie to these concepts. The idea that there is an enfolded whole, an underlying equilibrium state of symmetry and indeterminacy, is key to this way of imagining reality.
6:47 Click here to watch a video for the first of the 26 songs, which is about that enfolded equilibrium state: "Everything Fits Together".
6:55 The book "Imagining the Tenth Dimension" is not about what you would currently learn in a physics course - it's about a "new way of thinking about time and space".
6:59 Author and psychobiologist David Jay Brown called it "brilliantly conceived and mind-stretching" - click here for more
7:00 Award-winning science fiction novelist Greg Bear had this to say about the book: "A fascinating excursion into the multiverse -- clear, elegant, personal and provocative."
7:05 Click here to watch a video blog entry discussing some of the new book reviews which have been posted for "Imagining the Tenth Dimension" at Amazon.
7:11 Now, let's look at some quotes from recognized experts Michio Kaku and Brian Greene:
7:14 "... if we could "see" the wave function of a person, it would look remarkably like the person himself. However the wave function also gently seeps out into space, meaning that there is a small probability that the person can be found on the moon. (In fact, the person's wave function actually spreads out throughout the universe.) "
- Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku, from his book "Parallel Worlds"
7:25 "After more than seven decades, no one understands how or even whether the collapse of a probability wave really happens.... it's an assumption fraught with conundrums. For one thing, the collapse does not emerge from the mathematics of quantum theory; it has to be put in by hand, and there is no agreed-upon or experimentally justified way to do this.
7:25 "For another, how is it possible that by finding an electron in your detector in New York City, you cause the electron's probability wave in the Andromeda galaxy to drop to zero instantaneously?"
7:25 - Theoretical Physicist Brian Greene, from his book "The Fabric of the Cosmos"
7:41 String theorists talk about our universe being embedded in a 3D brane and a 7D brane. Thinking of our 3D universe as being "locked in" at the seventh dimension is a related idea.
7:46 The number seven also appears in a number of spiritual/metaphysical systems as the highest level of attainment. In a sense, this way of imagining reality agrees with that: everything up to this "point" we're imagining in the seventh dimension contains all the enfolded possibilities for the specific universe with its specific fine structure constant in which we live.
7:50 For more about these more "out there" connections, click here to watch "Jake Kotze and Mystical Numbers"
7:56 Moving to some other position in the seventh/eight/ninth dimension is moving to other possible expressions of matter, energy and information.
8:02 Click here to watch the song "Seven Levels" which plays with this idea of our reality being defined at the seventh dimension.
8:11 Or click here to watch a video for "The Anthropic Viewpoint", another of the songs from this project, which says the other universes springing from other different initial conditions are just as real as the one in which we find ourselves.
8:20 And click here to watch a video for the song "The Unseen Eye", which advances the idea that not just time, but even the big bang, is an illusion - it's all just ways of observing the information that becomes reality.
8:31 Physicists often say that by the time we are thinking about the underlying structures of reality, the distinction between past, present, and future is meaningless - click here to watch a video for the song "Big Bang to Entropy" which is about thinking in those really-big-picture terms.
8:45 Here's a question then: if our 3D universe is locked in as a point (or brane) in the seventh dimension, then how did it come to be selected from all of these other possible universes that remain as other potential outcomes?
8:53 This project makes the point that this selection process can be thought of from the anthropic viewpoint, or can be thought of as the work of a higher organizing selection pattern (which, if you like, can be called God), or it can even be thought of as a conspiracy theory - if information equals reality, then what parts of the information conspired to make our universe the way it is and not some other way?
9:07 While the suggestion that our universe was created by a deliberate conspiracy is an amusing diversion, it is also useful as a way to think about how a lot of these interpretations have more to do with people's individual points of view: they're all different ways of describing the same set of data. Click here to watch the video for "Secret Societies", which takes the extreme point of view that absolutely everything is a conspiracy.
9:23 By the time we imagine the ninth dimension in its entirety, we are looking at a vast, roiling landscape of possible expressions of matter and energy: randomness punctuated by occasional sections of order that become organized into physical expressions in the dimensions below.
9:30 For more about this idea, you might enjoy the video blog entry Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains (click here for that entry).
9:32 Or Google, Memes and Randomness.
9:33 Or Randomness and the Missing 96 Percent
9:34 Or The Spacetime Tree
9:35 Or Unlikely Events and Timelessness
9:36 Or Dark Energy. Linelanders, and the LHC
9:37 Or Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Dark Information
9:42 What we are thinking about with this project is the "set of all possible states" for our universe and all other possible universes (expressions of mass, energy, or information). Some people know this concept as the "omniverse", look that word up in wikipedia to learn more.
9:49 Or click here to watch a video blog entry about "The Omniverse".
9:54 What we are also thinking about here is a multiverse scenario, and some reject such concepts as being "too extravagant": by the time we've tried to imagine our own observable universe of seventy sextillion stars (that’s 7 followed by 22 zeroes!) we've already surpassed what our minds are capable of visualizing: it's already incredibly extravagant!
10:02 To then take that unimaginably large volume of space and say that there are "copies" of it that represent every possible outcome can seem even more extravagant, and even more beyond our ability to imagine. Saying that there are then other completely different universes with their own unique spacetime trees confounds our ability to visualize such a thing even further.
10:13 The same could be said of trying to imagine an atom and simultaneously trying to imagine a galaxy: this is not something our minds are designed to do. But by working from one layer of meaning to another, we can find a way to describe those two concepts that puts them in context with each other.
10:15 (For more about this click here to watch "Why Do We Need More Than 3 Dimensions?")
10:22 And this is how any complex ideas can be communicated - by starting with the basic building blocks of knowledge, and constructing hierarchies of meaning, one layer upon another - that's how we learn, that's how we communicate.
10:34 Using a simple layering of meaning, starting from the basic geometry that we are all familiar with, this video builds one idea upon another, layer upon layer, and gives us a way to hold ten dimensions in our mind - something most people would have said was impossible.
10:41 While that's a mind-expanding experience, what does all this have to do with real life?
10:47 There are basic questions people ask themselves - why am I here? How do I fit into my world? Why is my world the way it is and not some other way? How much am I able to change what I don't like about the world I'm in?
11:02 By the time we've imagined the tenth dimension, we've imagined the underlying timelessness that our universe (or any other universe) springs from - this is the equilibrium state that Sean Carroll describes, and mathematicians are proving that symmetry is the underlying organizing pattern for subatomic particles, and many other aspects of our intricate and beautiful universe.
11:10 The theme of this project is "everything fits together" within an underlying symmetry, and that there are patterns that created our universe from out of the information that becomes our reality: Stuart Kauffman of Canada's Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics has written a book about those patterns. Click here to watch a video blog about these ideas.
11:15 or click here to watch "We're Already Dead (But That's Okay)"
11:16 or click here to watch "I Know You, You Know Me"
11:17 or click here to watch "You are Me and We are All Together"

11:39 For the latest ideas about this project, go to
11:42 You can also discuss these ideas with others at -- or in the comments area below right here at YouTube. Thanks for watching!

Next: The Spacetime Tree

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