Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Omniverse Almanac

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suHQcnCL_GU

Last week, we talked about The Placebo Effect, and new studies indicating that persons taking a placebo who are convinced they are taking helpful medicine will often see a statistically significant improvement in their health. As we discussed, this can make blind drug trials much more complicated to interpret. It also shows that we each may have much more control over our own health than we realize.

A few weeks ago I talked about The Omniverse Almanac, a fictional trilogy that addresses a number of ideas that are near and dear to my heart. You can preview the prologue at extramarbles.com, and I invite you to do so. The range of ideas explored even in this introductory section is extremely broad, so I would like to focus in on just a few short excerpts here:

...The Omniverse Almanac drifted through the cold darkness of space for millennia, entered Earth's gravitational field, plunged through the stratosphere, and materialized on the passenger seat of a Volkswagen Beetle traveling along the Santa Monica freeway on the outskirts of Los Angeles... Due to certain peculiar invariables brought about by the effect of the Big Bang on sub-quantum space, the Omniverse Almanac had survived the Big Bang intact.

...The Omniverse Almanac, which was compiled over long millennia by a race of beings who knew a thing or two about really important matters, states in bold type on the cover underneath the title that:
There is nothing that can enslave a man
as much as the offer of an afterlife

Julia Horner, the driver of the Beetle, was born twenty-six years earlier in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Her father was a Methodist preacher and her mother lectured on philosophy at Duke University, a combination from which she had never fully recovered. However, Julia's parents had instilled in her from a tender age with an inquisitive spirit, which had led her to California in search of the meaning of life.

What exactly is the meaning of life? Well, on the very last page of the Omniverse Almanac, just before the bit that reads THE ABSOLUTE AND UTTER END, is an enigmatic answer to this seemingly unanswerable question. "The meaning depends entirely on what you mean by the question, and what you mean by the question depends on what you mean by life."

There is a certain tongue-in-cheek humor to this writing style that I find very appealing. Based upon the excerpt quoted here one might assume the trilogy is going to be similar to the writing of Douglas Adams, but as you'll see when you read the entire text sample the author has provided, there are some very deep issues of metaphysics and sociology which this trilogy will be pursuing. In short order within this opening section, our heroine Julia finds herself being mistakenly processed for the afterlife, talking with a transcendent being about all the suffering in the world, traveling in time through the bush-like branching structure of possible futures, and more. Meanwhile, we are rapidly introduced to a cast of strange and wonderful characters who will no doubt figure into the story to come.

As a work of fiction, of course, The Omniverse Almanac can play by its own rules. As I have talked about many times in this blog, the scientific definition of the omniverse is somewhat different from that which this book uses, and that matters not a bit. The ideas surrounding souls, forms of awareness from other dimensions, and what happens after we die, though, that you will see when you read the full excerpt are clearly very connected to the world of ideas that I have been playing with as part of Imagining the Tenth Dimension.

Those ideas are also tied to Gevin Giorbran and his book "Everything Forever - Learning to See Timelessness". It was Gevin who first introduced me to the term "omniverse", and it was Gevin who introduced us all to an intuitive way of envisioning the "set of all possible states" that the enfolded symmetry of the omniverse represents. Next blog, we'll discuss Gevin's untimely death in more detail, and we'll see how the ideas we talked about in this blog have some connections to that event.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

PS - This project is about thinking about the really big picture. Song 1 of the 26 songs attached to this project sums this up with what could be described as the theme song for this project: Everything Fits Together. A direct link to this video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7aRH0imFe0

Next: Gevin Giorbran - Everything is Forever

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why Do We Need More Than 3 Dimensions?

A direct link to this video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzlRuygMGHY

Here's another way of describing the Imagining the Tenth Dimension visualization that answers a commonly asked question: when we look around we see a three-dimensional world. Why do we need to think about any more than that? Isn't every dimension past those first three unnecessary? This time around we'll discuss that question.

So. Why do we need more than 3 dimensions? Because the third dimension is filled by the universe in its current state. We need to add a fourth dimension to get to the universe in some other state. The combination of these four dimensions is commonly called "space-time", but this project says that "time" is just one of the possible directions in the fourth dimension, and the accepted concept of time-reversal symmetry shows us that time's opposite direction is just as scientifically valid.

Then why do we need more than 4 dimensions? Because the fourth dimension is filled by the time line (or "world line" as physicists sometimes call it) representing our universe from its beginning to its end. We need to add a fifth dimension to get to the bush-like branching structure of possible futures and pasts that extend out from our universe in its current state. After spending two years pondering the idea of our observed reality being defined in five dimensions, Albert Einstein come out in full support of Theodor Kaluza's startling proof of that idea way back in 1921. This project uses its own logic to arrive at the same conclusion: our observed reality comes from the fifth dimension.

Then why do need more than 5 dimensions? Because the fifth dimension is filled by the world lines that are logically compatible with our universe in its current state, right from its beginning to its end. We need to add a sixth dimension to get to all of the events that physicists tell us are part of the over-all wave function for our universe but which are so unlikely they take longer than the beginning to the end of our universe to occur. This includes the version where one of us pops out of existence right now and reappears on the moon, and it also includes the version where it's 2008 and Madeleine L'Engle (the author of one of my favorite books from childhood, "A Wrinkle in Time") is still alive. A theory devised by German physicist Burkhard Heim was recently brought to my attention, and the original formulation of that theory was based on the idea of our four dimensions of spacetime being augmented by two more "timelike dimensions". To be clear, Heim Theory now has extended versions created by his associates which postulate 8 and even 12 dimensions, but as we discussed in a postscript to my blog entry "Time in 3 Dimensions" the idea of a scientific theory based upon dimensions four through six as being different parts of a wave function representing "time" in all of its possible expressions seems like a noteworthy connection for further exploration.

Okay. Why, then, do we need more than 6 dimensions? Because the sixth dimension is filled by all the world lines for all possible versions of our universe. We need to add a seventh dimension to get to the other universes that are completely decoherent to our own, that have a completely different fine structure constant and initial conditions. Once we get to one of those other universes, each will have its own unique expression within the first six dimensions, filling those six dimensions up with their own unique wave function patterns which will be completely inaccessible and decoherent to our own universe's wave function - much like tuning in a radio station, all of those other patterns continue to exist out there within timelessness, but each universe will be tuned into their own "channel", their own starting/ending position within the omniverse that creates their unique patterns in the dimensions below.

Then why do we need more than 7 dimensions? Because the 7th dimension is filled by all of the possible universes that, like our own universe, have locked-in fine structure constants. There are even more exotic universes possible, though, and that would be those strange and unlikely universes built from oscillating or gradually changing fine structure constants. In that sense, the eighth dimension can become like "time" for the seventh dimension: much as the fourth dimension gives the third dimension a way to change from one state to another, the eighth dimension can give a way for a point within the seventh dimension to change to (or within) different states. Garrett Lisi's E8 rotation also shows some interesting connections in that regard, as it appears an 8-dimensional geometry may be what provides an underlying structure that defines all possible subatomic particles for the universe we are in.

Then why do we need more than 8 dimensions? Because the eighth dimension is filled by all the possible physical expressions of matter and energy that could ever be expressed. We need to add a ninth dimension to get to the organizing patterns in the information that cannot be expressed as matter or energy, and the patterns that could become a reality but which exist only as potentials. Quantum physicists sometimes talk about a continuously burbling "quantum foam"as being the underlying structure for all reality, and that would be another way of thinking about the ninth dimension. This project has called those patterns that spring into existence in the ninth dimension the "big-picture memes" that can be used to define or select one pattern over another in the dimensions below.

Then why do we need more than 9 dimensions? Because the ninth dimension is filled by all of the organizing patterns and random fluctuations that could or could not become universes or coherent structures of any kind in the dimensions below. We need to add a tenth dimension to get to the enfolded symmetry state where all of those potentials are summed together and balance each other out, which gives us a logical and natural way to understand where our universe or any other universe or any other organizing pattern naturally comes from. In that sense, the tenth dimension is the Omniverse, or what Gevin Giorbran (in his acclaimed book Everything Forever) referred to as the Set of All Possible States for our universe, or for any other universe. As we discussed in my blog entry Time in Either Direction, physicists like Sean M. Carroll have shown us how this underlying symmetry state can be used to imagine how our universe (or any other universe) is really just a temporary deviation away from that perfectly balanced symmetry that exists both "before" the big bang, and "after" the end of the universe: a return to enfolded symmetry, the absolute zero that our universe's accelerated expansion is now moving us towards more and more quickly.

In entries like Hypercubes and Plato's Cave, we've talked about how the reality that we are witnessing down here in spacetime can be thought of as the shadows of higher dimensional shapes and patterns. As we've discussed here today, we can see how we move from the very general choices that are made from a starting point in the highest dimensions. Then, we can see how the patterns and shapes of each dimension below brings the shadows of those patterns into more and more specific focus, until we arrive at the sharply delineated reality which is the beautiful 3D universe we are witnessing in each quantum frame, one planck length after another. Fractals and helix shapes of the natural world, the universe as a hologram, the Poincaré Theorem's proof that our universe is the 3D surface of a 4D hypersphere, the Deutsch team's proof of the bush-like branching structure of parallel universes created through chance and choice being equivalent to the quantum wave function... these ideas and many more can be tied into this way of visualizing reality. And when you add in the mysteries of how consciousness, memes and spirit are also part of the specific observation of our 3D reality, the "now" that each of us is uniquely traveling within at this very instant, you have arrived at a very big idea indeed!

Why do we need more than 3 dimensions? To hold all of those possibilities. 3 dimensions are simply not big enough to hold the timeless whole of enfolded symmetry that our reality ultimately comes from.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: The Omniverse Almanac

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Placebo Effect

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve3xtIKiyRs

placebo :
1 a: a usually pharmacologically inert preparation prescribed more for the mental relief of the patient than for its actual effect on a disorder b: an inert or innocuous substance used especially in controlled experiments testing the efficacy of another substance (as a drug)
: something tending to soothe
- from the Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary
In entries like Changing Your Genes and Changing Your Genes Part 2, we've talked about the surprising new scientific research that indicates people can change which genes are expressed purely through changes in lifestyle. The idea that each of us are dealt a certain genetic hand of cards at conception, then, which destines us to a particular future of good or poor health depending upon our genetic luck of the draw, is an old idea with much less weight than it used to have. In Crossing Your Arms to Change Your Trajectory, we talked about a different scientific study showing that something as simple as changing your physical stance will have an effect on the decisions you make and the paths you choose.

In my book, the chapter "How Much Control Do We Have" wrestled with a related set of ideas, and as we just discussed in my blog entry We're Already Dead (But That's Okay), even if we do have a surprising amount of control there are still a combination of factors that cause us to have one life or another from out of the bush-like branching structure of possible futures that extends out for each of us from our current "now". It's a balancing act, as we live out a life where each of us have free will, but are also affected by a certain amount of randomness and the actions that have come before.

There was an interesting article by Michael Brooks in the August 23rd issue of New Scientist Magazine about "The Power of the Placebo Effect", which discusses research being conducted by doctors Luana Colloca and Fabrizio Benedetti of the University of Turin in Italy. Here are some excerpts from that article:
...Benedetti and others are now claiming that the true nature of placebo is far more complex. The placebo effect, it turns out, can lead us on a merry dance. Drug trials, Benedetti says, are particularly problematic. "An ineffective drug can be better than a placebo in a standard trial," says Benedetti.

The opposite can also be true, as Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard Medical School in Boston points out. "Often, an active drug is not better than placebo in a standard trial, even when we can be confident that the active drug does work," he says.

Some researchers are so taken aback by the results of their studies that they are calling for the very term "placebo" to be scrapped. Others suggest the latest findings undermine the very foundations of evidence-based medicine. "Placebo is ruining the credibility of medicine," Benedetti says."The findings threaten the very credibility of modern medicine"

How did it come to this? After all, the foundation of evidence-based medicine, the clinical trial, is meant to rule out the placebo effect.

If you're testing a drug such as a new painkiller, it's supposed to work like this. First, you recruit the test subjects. Then you randomly assign each person to one of two groups to ensure both groups are alike. One group gets the painkiller, the other gets a dummy treatment. Then, you might think, all you have to do is compare the two groups.

It's not that simple, though, because this is where the placebo problem kicks in. If people getting an experimental painkiller expect it to work, it will work to some extent... If the control group know they're getting a dummy pill whereas the other group know they're getting the "real" drug, the experimental painkiller might appear to work better than the dummy when in fact the difference between the groups is entirely due to the placebo effect.

So it's crucial not to tell the subjects what they are getting. Those running the trial should not know either, so they cannot give anything away, creating the gold standard of clinical trials, the double-blind randomised controlled trial. This does not eliminate the placebo effect, but should make it equal in both groups. According to conventional wisdom, in a double-blind trial any "extra" effect in the group given the real drug must be entirely down to the drug's physical effect.
Later on in the article, it talks about a study involving a specific painkiller called a CCK-antagonist" that was known to be effective. The article continues:
...Now comes the mind-boggling part. When Benedetti gave the same drug to volunteers without telling them what he was doing, it had no effect. "If it were a real painkiller, we should expect no difference compared to the routine overt administration," he says. "What we found is that the covert CCK-antagonist was completely ineffective in relieving pain."

If you don't know you have been given the painkiller, it has no effect."
Please click on this link to read this whole article, there are many more surprises revealed. One of the most important things, the article tells us, in determining the effectiveness of a treatment is whether the patient has confidence in their treatment. Homeopathic remedies and other oft-ridiculed alternative medicines, then, take on a different light in the face of this evidence, as do the suppressed information that psychedelics or meditation may actually be helping people to live happier, healthier lives: and all of this points to the idea that we, as observers of a quantum wave function representing our possible future selves, may have much more control over our own well-being than we've been led to believe.

This is the current poll question, then, here at the tenth dimension blog, and it is based upon the New Scientist article we've been looking at today:
The placebo effect is real - people who think they are getting medicine are more likely to get better. This demonstrates that we have more control over our health than we realize.
Do you agree or disagree?

Clearly, the power of the placebo effect does not say modern medicine is bunk. What it does say, though, is that a doctor or caregiver who has the confidence and trust of their patients is going to be more successful in helping those people find their way to good health, and that's an inspiring scientifically proven fact.

Finally... for fun, here's one of the 26 songs attached to this project, and it's about the conundrum of how much control we have as we move one planck frame after another through the bush-like branching structure of possible futures. It's called "Making It Up As I Go". A direct link to this video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpkehQ97ltA

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Related Entries
Song 15 of 26 - What Was Done Today
David Jay Brown and Psychedelics
Crossed Wires in the Brain
Your Fifth-Dimensional Self
The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic

Next: Why Do We Need More Than 3 Dimensions?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Top Ten Tenth Dimension Blogs - September Report

Click on any of the following to see previous versions of this list:
April 08 . May 08 . June 08 . July 08 . August 08

As of September 21st, 2008, here are the blogs that have seen the most visits in the last 30 days. Please note, for both of the following lists, the number in brackets is the position that blog held in the report for the previous month.

1. David Jay Brown and Psychedelics (new)
2. Twisted Dimensions (new)
3. Jake Kotze and Mystical Numbers (new)
4. Randomness and the Missing 96% (10)
5. John August and The Nines (new)
6. We're Already Dead (But That's Okay) (new)
7. Time in 3 Dimensions (new)
8. Tenth Dimension Polls Archive 16 to 20 (new)
9. Changing Your Genes - part 2 (9)
10. Unlikely Events and Timelessness (8)

And as of September 21st, 2008, here are the twenty-six Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog entries that have attracted the most visits of all time. Since there are some exciting new movers in the list this month, they are marked in bold.

1. Time is a Direction (1)
2. Tenth Dimension Polls Archive 1 to 10 (2)
3. Video Feedback (26)
4. The Google Suggestions Time Capsule Project (3)
5. The Flipbook Universe (4)
6. The Fifth Dimension is a Dangerous Idea (7)
7. Tenth Dimension TagCrowd (5)
8. Infinity and the Boltzmann Brains (6)
9. Daily Parrying (new)
10. The Omniverse (8)
11. Magnets and Souls (25)
12. Google, Memes and Randomness (9)
13. The Annotated Tenth Dimension Video (new)
14. Googling in the Tenth Dimension (10)
15. Hypercubes and Plato's Cave (11)
16. Wormholes (new)
17. Moving Dimensions and Synchromysticism (new)
18. 26 songs (12)
19. Flatlanders on a Line (14)
20. Visualizations (13)
21. Dark Energy, Linelanders, and the LHC (new)
22. Everyone Has a Story (18)
23. What Would a Flatlander Really See? (new)
24. Your Fifth-Dimensional Self (17)
25. Anime, Gaming and Cusps (19)
26. Changing Your Genes (new)

By the way, if you are new to this project, you might want to check out the Tenth Dimension FAQ, as it provides a road map to a lot of the discussions and different materials that have been created for this project. The Annotated Tenth Dimension Video provides another cornucopia of discussion topics to be connected to over at YouTube. And as always, here's a reminder that the Tenth Dimension Forum is a good place to converse with other people about these ideas.

Are you enjoying the journey?

Rob Bryanton

Next: The Placebo Effect

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crossed Wires in the Brain

A direct link to the above video is at http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=VGbIgllpUUA

The above video is connected to a recent New Scientist magazine article about "synaesthesia" (click here for the article).

This is one of the things I have talked about here from other perspectives: each of us has our own unique grid of awareness - a way of observing that makes us each who we are. In my book I talked about the difficulties this causes for science fiction stories of mind-melds and personality transplants:

Marvin Minsky’s “Society of Mind” shows how many small processes can be linked together in hierarchies and feedback loops to create what we think of as “the mind”. These processes start in the womb and become increasingly multi-layered and intricate as we approach adulthood. But there are many, many ways to achieve that network of mental processes that becomes a functioning individual.

A common fallacy, then, is to presume that everyone sees and hears the same way you do. The fact is, each person has different ways of processing the data that is entering through their senses. What would it be like to drop into the mind of the dinosaurs we saw in the film Jurassic Park who (as explained in the movie) could only see things that are moving? The science fiction idea of dropping into someone else’s mind or trying to download someone else’s memories (ideas explored a number of times in the writing of Philip K. Dick) could be just as alien as trying to enter the mind of a T-Rex. For instance, some humans have a great deal more difficulty processing foreground sounds if there are too many simultaneous background sounds. Others will focus to the point where they may not even be aware that other sound sources (or echoes of the foreground sounds from surrounding reflective surfaces) are there. Some people experience a condition called synaesthesia, where their senses are mixed in surprising ways: they taste textures, or they see sounds, for instance.
In my book I also talked about the marvelous book by Dr. Oliver Sacks, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For His Hat", which chronicles various examples that show us just how strange and complex the process of consciousness and "mind" can be. Recently in my blog entry David Jay Brown and Psychedelics, we talked a bit about the idea that hallucinogens might also be able to reveal information about how our consciousness and the underlying patterns of reality are inter-related. And in blog entries like Magnets and Souls and Daily Parrying I've talked about Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's book "My Stroke of Insight", which reveals some fascinating truths about how our interface with reality is so strongly mediated by separate and distinctly different patterns or grids of awareness that co-exist within what we've traditionally called "the mind".

Here is a link to a story from the UK's Daily Mail a few weeks ago about some other exotic examples of crossed wires in the brain. Persons mentioned in the article:

- Richard Murray of Birmingham, England, who 3 years ago suffered a stroke, had to re-learn how to speak, but mysteriously now finds that he speaks with a French accent.
- James Wannerton, a synaesthete who can taste words.
- Tommy McHugh, a builder who suffered a massive brain hemorrhage in 2001 and suddenly became a prodigious artist.

Looks go back to where we started. Here's that opening animation again, all by itself:

As it suggests at this CalTech page about this animation, just try clicking the animation over and over, and see if you think you hear a sound (obviously this test is best done in a quiet environment, free from other distractions). For that small percentage of the population who actually have some forms of synaesthesia, the effect should be immediate and obvious. For others like myself, they might be able to convince themselves that they hear a faint "hissing sound" associated with the motion after repeated viewings, but this is where the line between imagination and perception can become very tricky. In the above New Scientist article, it's suggested that synaesthetes who hear sounds associated with visual input might even have a certain advantage because of their blending of the senses: the article reports that most of us are better at remembering sound patterns than visual patterns. In a test that compared persons known to have sound/visual synaesthesia with a control group, everyone was about 85% accurate on the sound trials. With visual patterns, however, the control group remembered only 55% of the visual patterns correctly, while synaesthetes remained steady at 85%. Clearly, people who can "hear" visual patterns can actually be helped by their unusual ability in certain situations.

In items like Music and the Dance of Creativity, The Geometry of Music, and Information Equals Reality, I've tried to tie all these ideas into what the power of music reveals about how our brains are so finely tuned to memes that connect across time and space. "Crossed wires in the brain" give us another way of thinking about the patterns that create our reality, and how important our participation as quantum observers is in that process.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Top Ten Tenth Dimension Blogs, September Report

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time in 3 Dimensions

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4FpPp8MPIQ
In Twisted Dimensions, we talked about a way of imagining how our 3D world is constrained by a D3-brane and a D7-brane, and how that relates to the way of visualizing reality that we've been playing with here. In entries like You Can't Get There From Here and What Would a Linelander Really See? I've tried to describe in more detail how there might be conceptual similarities between one group of dimensions and another. In my book I suggested that our reality can be broken down into what I called self-similar "triads", and this basic concept is encoded into the helix I had created for this project:

The repeating line, branch, fold metaphor that we use with this project gives us a powerful way to keep imagining one spatial dimension stacked upon another. If we look at the helix diagram, we see that the one, the four, and the seven are connected, as are the two, five, and eight, and as are the three, six, and nine, and this is part of the mental trick we use to allow ourselves to imagine many more spatial dimensions than most would have thought possible. This time I'd like to talk more about the idea that "time" (which is not a dimension but a direction) is part of an enfolded structure that encompasses the fourth through sixth dimension, and this structure shares many of the characteristics that we are familiar with from our experience of 3D space. Please note, though: when we talk about the third dimension, we are automatically talking about the second and first dimension: in other words, a 3-dimensional object has length, width, and breadth, so the first and second dimension are automatically included in a discussion of the third dimension. Likewise now, when we speak of the sixth dimension, this means we are then automatically considering the fourth and fifth dimension which are part of the sixth (and by extension, the first through third as well).

And why do I insist that all of the different possible timelines for our universe are not just in the fourth dimension, where science has traditionally allocated them? I believe this relates to the quantum physics idea of every possible aspect of our reality being represented by a wave function.

Events that are so unlikely they are outside spacetime
Here is a quote I have used before from recognized physics expert Michio Kaku, which represents the established viewpoint of quantum mechanics:

"... 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"
With this project, I'm proposing that our reality comes not from the fourth dimension, but the fifth, which is where Kaluza proved and Einstein eventually agreed that the field equations for gravity and light for our universe are resolved. What I have often suggested in the past is that the "wave function of all possibilities for our universe" that quantum mechanics experts like Dr. Kaku talk about must come from the sixth dimension rather than the fifth, and that the often-used "small probability of appearing on the moon" example is much easier to understand when we see that this is true. After all, if every completely unlikely event exists as part of the wave function of our reality, then even if the likelihood of those events is astonishingly small, the number of those unlikely events is also astonishingly large: surely the two factors must balance each other out somewhat, in which case there should be events each of us have witnessed within our lifetimes which should fall within that astronomically unlikely realm of "nearly impossible" events for our universe, and many of those would be even stranger than people popping out of their homes and reappearing on the moon.

Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation and Unlikely Events
A similar argument is often used for the evidence of extraterrestrial life: even if the odds of some other race having risen to dominance in the universe are astonishingly small, the universe is astonishingly large, so why are we not constantly being bothered by alien visitors? One possible answer is that we are but that information is somehow being hidden from us. Here's another more likely answer: that particular possibility does indeed exist within the wave function of all possible outcomes for our universe, but it is not part of the wave function that you or I are currently observing. This brings to mind the Anthropic Principle, which is central to my project, and which coincidentally is receiving renewed interest now that there are more mainstream scientists willing to consider the following idea which is central to my project: all of the other different-initial-conditions universes--and all of the other parallel universes resulting from chance and choice for our own universe--do exist within the multiverse (or ultimately, the omniverse), and are just as real as our own.

But why can't we see them? Why aren't people reappearing on the moon, why don't we wander into other universes where gravity has a different value, why aren't we part of the universe where alien invaders have destroyed the planet, or where it's 2008 and Elvis is still alive?

"Time" as a Sphere
The answer, I believe, is within my way of visualizing how our reality is constructed: in a sense, time is 3-dimensional, and the fifth dimensional reality we are witnessing is like the 2D image we see on a screen. If I look at a picture, it seems completely normal to me that I can't see through walls or around objects: unless we start moving around in 3D dimensions, which then allows us to see "behind" and "around" the objects on the screen. If we imagine time as a sphere, then we can suppose that our 3D reality as we're experiencing it at this very instant is at the south pole, and the timelines of possibility extend out northward. All of the possible (entropy-driven) futures that could extend from "now" are visible to us, up to the equator. But the other half of the sphere, from the equator and northward, are hidden from view. They exist as part of the sphere, but there's no path visible to us to see how to get to those other points that exist as part of our sphere: it's like they're on the dark side of the moon.

Imagining what's at "right angles" to the 3rd dimension
Does this metaphor work completely? I believe that it does within Dr. Elliot McGucken's Moving Dimensions Theory, which expands our minds with the knowledge that our 3D universe is already moving through a 4th dimension which is effectively expanding one planck length at a time at the speed of light. If we can imagine that each one of those new quanta, or frames, that represent our 3D universe are the south pole of a new 3D time sphere, we can see how that constantly revised sphere can ultimately encompass the wave function of all possible states within the entirety of that "time-sphere", but this visualization explains why only a certain subset of those possible states are accessible to us from our current position within spacetime.

To be clear, though, that 3D "time-sphere" we are imagining is much more mind-boggling than just a round ball: because that south pole point we have imagined is at the center of a hypersphere, extending out in the fourth dimension and beyond! For more about that idea, please read my entries Hypercubes and Plato's Cave, and Time in Either Direction.

To wrap this entry up, here, for fun, are the karaoke versions of three of the 26 songs I have created for this project, and these are relevant to the discussion we've just had: the songs are "The Anthropic Viewpoint", "The Unseen Eye", and "Everything Fits Together".

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB3MzLoB5uw

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHr_IVxtfgs

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqvpDMtnehk

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

PS - for further exploration of the idea that "some events are so unlikely that they will take longer than the life of the universe to occur" must place those events in the sixth dimension, read Unlikely Events and Timelessness. For the surprising connections between this project's use of "triads" as a concept and the Kabbalah, read Jake Kotze and Mystical Numbers. And for more explanation of why this project insists that our reality comes from the fifth dimension rather than the fourth, read entries like The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic, or Your Fifth-Dimensional Self.

PPS - yesterday on the tenth dimension forum, member "nimblesquirrel" mentioned Heim Theory, which started out based upon our four dimensions of spacetime, plus two additional time-like dimensions: another way of connecting to what we've just talked about in this blog. Heim Theory was then extended to eight dimensions, which I have talked about here in this blog as being the highest dimension where any physical expressions of reality might occur. The theory has also been extended to a 12-dimension version - whoops, no correlation there, but interesting to read about nonetheless.

Next: Crossed Wires in the Brain

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We're Already Dead (But That's Okay)

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQMO1eyMRuM

Here's something I've said before: things become less interesting to us as the number of choices multiply. If, as I've proposed with this project, the sixth dimension includes every possible expression of the wave function for our universe, then it includes the version where I went crazy, shot up my town, died in a hail of bullets. Do I ever want to even witness that particular version of reality? No thank you!

Nine dimensions, three triads, enfolded into the tenth dimension
Last blog, we talked about how dimensions four through six can be called the "moral" triad. It's that narrowing down of possibilities, through the moral decisions I've made so far, that have created the fifth dimensional subset that I have access to from this "now" forward--and that will continue to be true for the rest of my life. If you are fully engaged with that process, what could be more exciting? Every instant we are observing new possibilities from a fantastically complex wave function that exists across the dimensions, but which are also uniquely defined by our own personal set of experiences.

Some people like to make fun of this idea, but this is essentially true: we are each creating a version of the universe through our role as quantum observers, and the path that each of us takes is unique. But we're each also participating in a consensual reality that has been created by the other people we share this reality with, which means their moral decisions are also part of my probability set. This is the hard part, because it means someone else can still choose to kill me, or they can do things that limit my access to possible futures I'd like to get to.

Thinking about Parallel Universes
Which takes us to the craziest part of this idea: each of us have already died through bad luck or bad choices made, that's just not the part of the multiverse that we're currently witnessing. Believe it or not, that's the idea that started this all for me back when I was seven, but it has taken me many years of thinking and reading to arrive at the conclusion that this crazy idea is supported by science!

I've written many times about the proof published by the Oxford University team under the direction of physicist David Deutsch, a proof which New Scientist magazine listed as one of the most important scientific stories of 2007: the bush-like branching structure of our quantum wave function, and the parallel universes that result from chance and choice for each of us are provably equivalent. This means the universe where I took five minutes longer to get out of bed this morning is part a different parallel universe, which is just as real as the one I'm currently witnessing, it just happens to not be the version I'm traveling within. Mind-boggling? You bet. But also, as it turns out, completely compatible with what I've been claiming since I first came up with this way of visualizing reality over twenty years ago.

I'm a Spime and So Are You
In the original tenth dimension animation, we imagined a person's body as if it were a spime: a four-dimensional object. In the animation, we said this:

If you were to see your body in the fourth dimension, you would be like a long undulating snake, with your embryonic self at one end and your deceased self at the other.
If there were only one possible timeline from the beginning to the end of a person's life, that would be the end of the discussion. But as we explored in my book and blog entries like The Spacetime Tree, I'm proposing that our reality actually comes from the probability space of the fifth dimension, and it's easy to envision the branching structures that result from chance and choice as being part of a tree-like structure in the fifth dimension.

Souls as Systems
With this project, we're imagining a person's "soul" not as a single self-contained unit, but rather as being a multi-layered system of memes, a "society of mind" across the dimensions. Now we're talking about a set of parallel universes where, in many of them, bad things have happened that resulted in our deaths: but since everyone reading this blog is alive and not dead (I presume), we know that those branching timelines are not part of the parallel universe we're each currently witnessing. Yikes! What does this all mean?

How unlikely is the "Now" we're each currently in?
In Randomness and the Missing 96%, we talked about the idea that dark matter and junk DNA might be telling us more than we realize about how unlikely our current reality really is. And if we add up all of the bad luck and deliberate actions of others that could have resulted in each of us being dead by now, don't we arrive at the same conclusion? When you consider how many situations exist within all of the possible parallel universes for our universe where events conspired to result in each of us dying, it really does seem like a marvelous thing that we get to experience this reality which must be way out on the edge of the bell curve, a highly unlikely universe where each of us have managed to survive... for now.

So now, let's think about that "long undulating snake" that is our body not just in the fourth, but in the fifth dimension. From conception to death, there is the actual 4D "line of time" we have followed, and (as the Deutsch team have proved) there is the bush-like branching structure of possible outcomes extending out from our current "now". So we have something like a dandelion gone to seed held in our minds, with a single stalk representing the past and a "ray" of possible futures at the head.

But what about that missing 96%? Does it factor into the equation here as well? If we're thinking about all of the many possible paths that we have traveled upon up until now which, in a multiverse of possible timelines must include those times when we've already died, we can see in the past a great many other branches which extended off from the main stalk and ended. In my book I said this:
For each of us, we will be able to remember moments of malicious, random, or foolish action that could have done us in. It’s hard to forget that moment where a large object falling or a silly risk taken might have resulted in our death if we had only been in a slightly different place and time. According to the worldview we’re exploring, all of those things did actually happen: that drunk driver you saw last year came over the hill and smashed into you head on, and now you’re dead.
Asking the Big Questions
This is a question people ask themselves all time: what happens to us when we die? One interesting proposal I saw recently suggested maybe whatever we expect to happen is exactly what does happen! If you believe there will be nothing, that's what you get. If you believe that you will be able to continue to watch this particular version of the universe and see what happens to your loved ones, that's what happens. If you believe you will be enfolded back into a white light of all patterns and frequencies, that's where you'll go. And so on! By the time we're "outside" of the arrow of time, there's no reason to assume that these options are mutually exclusive, either: free from the limitations of a physical body riding along an entropy-driven timeline, a person's awareness could explore every parallel universe simultaneously if that was what they wanted to do!

I've quoted from Douglas Hofstadter's I Am a Strange Loop before with his well-considered musings on what parts of the pattern that represents a person might continue on. Now here's a different way of thinking about this idea: if there is a fifth-dimensional spacetime tree of other possible timelines for our universe, and each of us has timelines where we've already died, then could it be that there are parts of our consciousness, the interlocking patterns that make up our "society of mind" that chose to jump on to our current timeline because they wanted to see what would have happened if they hadn't died? The old adage "once bitten, twice shy" takes on a whole new meaning - if there are tiny voices in my head saying "remember how I died last time I tried that!" then perhaps next time I will be less likely to take a silly risk.

My song "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" is a meditation on the question of what happens to us when we die. To finish, here's a video of me sitting at my old piano singing that song.

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeClGTuhCy4

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

For related discussion of these ideas:
Unlikely Events and Timelessness
The Spacetime Tree
The Fifth Dimension Isn't Magic
John August and The Nines

PS: Have each of us already died in other parts of the multiverse? That's one of our poll questions right now. And a few blog entries ago I mentioned a project called The Omniverse Almanac, some interesting fiction writing which explores a similar world of ideas, check it out!

Next: Time in 3 Dimensions

Friday, September 5, 2008

Jake Kotze and Mystical Numbers

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWswxIJuMxI

In Moving Dimensions and Synchromysticism, I wrote about the creative explorations of Jake Kotze, who writes about the connections between popular culture and our reality. Jake published his own blog entry about my project, click here to read about his thoughts on how my way of visualizing the ten dimensions might be tied into the mythos he's been mapping.

One of the connections he makes note of is the importance of the number ten in the system of Jewish Mysticism known as Kabbalah, and its Tree of Life. The graphic below is from the wikipedia article on the subject, but if you search in google for "tree of life" you will find many similar diagrams.

Jake's proposal is that artists and writers, as they create new storylines and visual imagery, might be plugging into hidden patterns that reveal more about the underlying connections behind our reality than they might realize. For instance, he has mapped out the many images of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers that began appearing in popular entertainment in the years prior to 9/11. Coincidence? Or an example of resonances that connect across space and time? You really have to spend some time reading through Jake's blogs to appreciate that this is much more than an idle diversion for him: he has created a huge body of work that boggles the mind.

Since my project is not just about dimensions, but a way of understanding the relationship between consciousness and the patterns within the information that becomes our reality, there are some obvious connections between our two projects. The idea of combining synchronicity with mysticism is really not that big a stretch - anyone who has experienced a moment of surprising synchronicity has already had a taste of a mystical experience. A bit of synchronicity happened to me not long after my book was published, when people began asking about the strong visual similarity between the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and the helix I had created as an icon for my project:

I had to admit that I knew nothing about Kabbalah, but the connection did seem fascinating. Another surprise happened earlier this year when I heard from a fan about the notion of "triads" within the Kabbalah. "Triads" is also the word I chose to refer to the groups of three dimensions that are created by the line/branch/fold metaphor I use in my visualization of the dimensions.

In my book, chapter four is about what I call the "binary viewpoint": this is the tendency for us to try to categorize things into "this is what it is" and "this is what it isn't". By the end of that chapter I discuss an idea that comes from both quantum physics and ancient mysticism: there is always a third state to consider along with that binary yes/no or on/off: both states simultaneously (which, in a kind of a zen flip, is essentially the same as no choice being made). Thinking about the third dimension, then, is really thinking about the first three dimensions simultaneously, as a triad. The fourth through sixth and seventh through ninth also have a certain self-contained quality within my way of visualizing, so we end up with three triads, and in my project those three triads then become one in the tenth dimension.

An online document called "An Introduction to the Kabbalah for Beginners" is where someone first pointed me to, to show me that system's use of the term "triads". Here's what it says:

The Tree of Life contains three Triads. The first triad has been called the Intellectual World or Olahm Mevshekal, the second is called the Moral World or Olahm Morgash, and the third is called the Material World or Olahm Ha-Mevetbau.
Starting from the top of my helix logo, it's easy to superimpose these words onto my triads. The Intellectual triad is the seventh through ninth dimensions - readers familiar with my project will recognize how many times I have said this is where "Information equals reality", and this is where the "big-pictures memes that prefer one kind of reality over another" reside. The second triad, the fourth through sixth, can very easily be referred to as the Moral triad, since this is where the different parallel universes resulting from "choice, chance, and the actions of others" (another phrase I've used so often with this project) would be found. And the Material triad, obviously, would be dimensions 1 through 3, where we find the actual physical atoms and molecules that make up our universe.

What can I say? I knew nothing about Kabbalah when I created this project: this is synchronicity at work. Memes that connect across time and space, providing simultaneous inspiration, communicating meaning through shared experiences which may not even be our own. As I said in David Jay Brown and Psychedelics, I am continually humbled by the people from around the world who say they see connections between my way of visualizing reality and their own impressions of how things really work.

Here, to finish is one of my 26 songs attached to this project, another one of the simpler productions with me sitting at my old piano. This song is about the quandary you always end up with when you're trying to explain where it all comes from: whether you call it God, Indeterminacy, the Tenth Dimension, or something else, you have to end up following the cause and effect, the chickens and eggs and eggs and chickens, back and back through the links of the chain until finally, you arrive at something that has always just "been".

My song about this idea is called "Blind Faith".

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vppy4BOdSJ0

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: We're Already Dead (But That's Okay)

Monday, September 1, 2008

John August and The Nines

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg0cs2qbUCM
In my last blog entry "David Jay Brown and Psychedelics", I spent some time talking about the various connections that we all find in our lives, memes of synchronicity or shared experience that connect us all together. When I recently watched John August's film The Nines, I was amazed at all of the ideas I saw behind this wonderful movie that connected to my own ways of understanding how our reality is constructed, and how the universe we observe could be just another layer of illusion triggered by the shadows of higher dimensions. As I've discussed in entries like Hypercubes and Plato's Cave and Anime, Gaming and Cusps, that could really be all we're talking about here - that ultimately there is a seemingly random background of information, and (as Gevin Giorbran revealed) there are natural processes of grouping and symmetry that reveal patterns within that information... and the patterns that become one organized reality or another are natural occurrences from within that data. In entries like God 2.0, Unlikely Events and Timelessness, and Randomness and the Missing 96%, I've tried to show how the idea that those patterns that create our reality and seem to have selected our universe from out of the multiverse (or omniverse) of all other possible universes can be called many things: and ultimately what we call those patterns is irrelevant, because those patterns that selected our universe exist no matter what we call them.

My Mini-Review of The Nines...
The Nines is a lovely and entertaining exploration, and that's all I want to say about this film because to reveal more about the surprise twists and turns of its multi-layered plot only ruins the experience. Go out and rent it, go out and buy it, I loved this film.

... and The Fountain...
I was discussing this film with Jake Kotze (of "synchromysticism" fame), and he reminded me of another wonderful film about the nature of reality: Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain. The Fountain is a hugely ambitious film, the story that it sets it out to tell is as large as any we can imagine, and I am in awe of what Aranofsky achieved with this film.

... and Terry Gilliam's Brazil...
But while I'm ranting about great films, when is the last time you watched Terry Gilliam's Brazil? This is still one of my all-time favorite films, and the fact that I was lucky enough to co-write a song that appeared on one of Gilliam's later films has nothing to do with that. With all the discussions about parallel universes resulting from different sets of chance and choice, a film that is set "somewhere in the 20th century" but is apparently not part of our own universe has got to be part of my list of great films about the nature of reality.

... and The Omniverse Almanac
Here's a new project I just came across: "The Omniverse Almanac". This is currently an unpublished literary trilogy, but which may be coming to a major movie screen near you some time in the next few years. I could quibble about the use of the word "Omniverse" in this project (since, as I've made it clear with many previous entries, according to its scientific definition the Omniverse is not really another universe with creatures and planets, but rather, it's the indeterminate background, an enfolded symmetry state from which all other possible universes and expressions of matter and energy spring), but we'll chalk that up to literary license. Follow this link and read the opening excerpt from this series of books, and please tell me if you don't see some insightful explorations of the nature of reality and consciousness wrapped up into an entertaining package.

Connecting the Dots
What is it that connects one person to another, and makes a particular artist's creation resonate so strongly for different people across the planet? Last blog I attached my song "Connections", which is about this idea. In a blog entry published last year I explored those ideas from my book a little more: do I have a "grid of awareness" which is unique to me, but which also shares a number of elements with other people around the planet? Is it those commonalities that will make me love the same music, the same books as those people? And if the task of any great artist is only to create things that they personally feel a strong affinity towards, then won't the artists who are most plugged into a grid that a lot of people around the planet share be most likely to achieve a large fanbase?

My project is certainly a good example of that. With virtually no promotion, and no coverage whatsoever in the mainstream press, my Tenth Dimension website has generated 50 million hits since its launch 2 years ago. What is it about this project that continues to attract new people to the site? Clearly, some of the high-falutin' ideas I'm discussing here are not something that your average person on the street will be interested in, but there is still that shared "grid of awareness" that connects a certain subset of the world together through this project, and for that I'm very grateful.

Insidious Trends
With the instantaneous connections that people can make across the world via the internet, those memes that connect us all together and rise and fall across time and space are more powerful, more self-reflective, and therefore more active than ever. Something can zoom to popularity one day and be submerged a week later. My song "Insidious Trends" is about that idea: it's always possible for some crazy new concept to suddenly vault to popularity around the world. This song is about that game and how it's been played up to now, and the vintage commercials from archive.org cut together by Ryan Hill reinforce that part of the idea. But this is not just about advertising: ultimately we all enjoy participating in a shared experience, whether it's the latest goofy video on YouTube, the latest Stephen King novel, the latest outlandish thing Stephen Colbert said to a guest, or the latest politician caught in a lie. Regardless of how an idea rises to prominence we are social creatures who love to connect to each other through whatever our circle of friends and associates is now interested in, and some of those insidious trends can even make our lives better.

A direct link to this video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCMe9uGs8iA

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Related Entries:
Information Equals Reality
Music and the Dance of Creativity
The Geometry of Music

Next: Jake Kotze and Mystical Numbers

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist