Saturday, August 2, 2008

Unlikely Events and Timelessness

A direct link to this video is at

One of the stumbling blocks for mainstream science's willingness to embrace my way of visualizing how our reality is constructed is rooted in the difficulty in adopting a truly timeless perspective. In chapter 3 of my book I said this:

As we have been careful to note, our concept of time being a full spatial dimension is often not the accepted notion within the world of physics. Interestingly, science has a bit of a split personality when it comes to discussions of time. So, while Einstein’s theories (and the theories that follow from his concepts) seem to indicate that “space-time” is a tangible fabric which can be bent and stretched, there are many other examples where science treats time as being a completely separate entity: in other words, time becomes a quality which gets overlaid on top of the other spatial dimensions, rather than being just another dimension which is woven together with the ones above and below it.
In the wikipedia article on "time", we find this famous quote: "Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once". According to wikipedia, this quote has been attributed variously to John Archibald Wheeler, Woody Allen, and Albert Einstein. Einstein has many quotes that express similar concepts: for instance, "The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion". What are we talking about here? Timelessness: because that timeless perspective that some of the best minds of the past century have encouraged us to adopt is essential to understanding how this project portrays the underlying structures of reality.

A direct link to this video blog for The Spacetime Tree is at

Quantum Weirdness
In blog entries like The Spacetime Tree, we have talked about ways of visualizing that "timeless" perspective. In entries like "The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic" and "The Annotated Tenth Dimension Video", we quoted experts like Brian Greene and Michio Kaku, who talk about the strange quantum physics facts that seem unexplainable from our limited fourth dimensional perspective: how could entangled particles instantaneously affect each other, effectively at faster than the speed of light, even across huge distances? How can the wave function of a person include the highly unlikely possibility that they pop out of existence here and reappear on the moon? For me, these are examples of the strong indications that the timeless perspective has to allow for higher dimensional connections - just like imagining a Flatlander on a mobius strip, twisting and turning in the dimension above, our fourth dimensional line has connections, twists and turns that occur in the fifth dimension. We remain unaware of those twists and turns as we travel down our fourth dimensional line. Entanglement violates no laws of physics if it occurs as a result of fifth-dimensional connections, and a wave function that allows for unlikely possibilities is much easier to visualize if we place those "so unlikely they would take longer than the life of the universe to occur" possibilities in the sixth dimension.

One of the Greatest News Stories of 2007
New Scientist magazine named the David Deutsch team at Oxford's proof that parallel universes exist one of the greatest news stories of 2007. Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation is closely tied to this proof. Despite last year's proof, there are still many scientists who reject any Many Worlds type of portrayal as being too extravagant: this interpretation means that with every branching choice or random outcome, another copy of our universe is created. How can there possibly be room for all those universe? There certainly doesn't seem to be room for them in the fourth dimension, which already contains the unimaginably huge vista of seventy sextillion stars that we call our observable universe of spacetime.

The intuitive leap I am arguing for here is that trying to keep the wave function of a branching set of parallel universes that occur at both the quantum and macro level in a logical hierarchy becomes much simpler if we use a model that moves those branching possibilities into the fifth dimension, which is where Kaluza proved and Einstein eventually agreed our reality is defined. But doing so requires us to accept that time really is one of the two possible directions in the fourth spatial dimension, an idea also advanced by Sean Carroll in the June issue of Scientific American.

Scientific American on Timelessness...
In editor John Rennie's introduction to this issue, he talks about popular literature's various explorations of the fourth dimension. He mentions Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five", a wonderful book I have read and enjoyed several times, which includes as a plot element a science fiction race of aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. The Tralfamadorians, it turns out, really do have the timeless perspective we are talking about here; and they view the past, present, and future much as you and I would view a mountain range spreading out across the horizon. Why bring up science fiction as an introduction to an article by a serious physicist about the nature of time? Because that perspective of timelessness that Vonnegut attributed to his Tralfamadorians really is necessary to understanding the underlying nature of reality.

... and on Randomness
Last blog, we talked about randomness and the missing 96% our universe. In his Scientific American article, Sean Carroll also talks about randomness and the likelihood of events to occur:
Imagine that you pour milk into your coffee. There are a great many ways to distribute the molecules so that the milk and coffee are completely mixed together but relatively few ways to arrange them so that the milk is segregated from the surrounding coffee... if you waited for it to happen of its own accord as molecules randomly reshuffled, you would typically have to wait much longer than the current age of the observable universe.
But even Sean Carroll, who along with Jennifer Chen of the University of Chicago proposed the symmetrical-time multiverse scenario he is talking about in his article, occasionally seems to fall into the language traps that come from not completely embracing the timeless perspective. For instance, later in the article as he describes he and Jennifer Chen's theory, he says:
On ultralarge scales, such a multiverse would look statistically symmetric with respect to time--both the past and the future would feature new universes fluctuating into life and proliferating without bound. Each of them would experience an arrow of time, but half would have an arrow that was reversed with respect to that in the others.
The idea of a universe with a backward arrow of time might seem alarming. If we met someone from such a universe, would they remember the future? Happily, there is no danger of such a rendezvous. In the scenario we are describing, the only places where time seems to run backward are enormously far back in our past--long before our big bang.

A direct link to the video blog for Time in Either Direction is at

The Big Bang, Maximum Entropy, and Timelessness
As we said in a previous blog entry about Sean Carroll's article, "Time in Either Direction", the scenario he is describing is that our universe (or any other universe) is just a temporary deviation away from an underlying background equilibrium state, and I am proposing that the background state he is referring to is very easy to align with the indeterminate tenth dimension as I've portrayed it in my visualization of the dimensions. I would propose, then, that Dr. Carroll saying "long before our big bang" is not really adopting the timeless perspective. It would be more correct to say that those other time-reversal-symmetry universes exist not before, not after, but just "elsewhere" within the multiverse. Once you go "before" the big bang for our universe, and once you go "after" the final maximum entropy state for our universe, you are back into an underlying state where time has no meaning, because everything happens at once within that underlying fabric which we have also come to refer to as the Omniverse.

Likewise, when expert physicists like Greene and Kaku talk about events which have some likelihood of occurring, but they are so unlikely that they would take longer than the life of the universe, shouldn't the same thinking apply? "Longer than the life of the universe" means outside of spacetime, and into the vision of timelessness that we are peering into here. Saying, then, that a wave function event is possible but so unlikely that it occurs outside of spacetime, would, in my way of visualizing reality, mean that it occurs in the sixth dimensional version of our reality - the parallel universes which still exist as potential for the particular different-initial-conditions universe we are part of, but which are inaccessible from our current "now" within spacetime.

While we're talking about unlikely events, let's finish with a song about unlikely events which exist as potential but which we haven't witnessed yet: the song is called "The End of the World".

A direct link to this video for "The End of the World" is at

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Moving Dimensions and Synchromysticism

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