Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tenth Dimension Polls Archive - 31 to 40

Poll 31 - What's Before and After?

"Physicist Sean Carroll says our universe is a temporary deviation from symmetry. This means that "before" the beginning and "after" the end of our universe, then, is really the exact same state: enfolded symmetry." Poll ended January 13 2009. 70% agreed, while the rest disagreed.

I've talked many times about Gevin Giorbran's amazing book, Everything Forever - Learning to See Timelessness. The fact that Gevin is no longer with us but asked me to take over the promotion of his book since his death has nothing to do with my mentioning it here: as I've been saying since I first came across Gevin's work a couple of years ago, his is a groundbreaking text about the nature of the multiverse, and he provides us with remarkable insights into understanding the underlying enfolded symmetry state that our universe both comes from and is headed towards.

Gevin's work dovetailed very nicely with the logical way of visualizing the ten spatial dimensions I've shown to the world with my project, and Gevin was even so kind as to devote a few pages of his book towards describing how well he thought our two approaches fit together. In the almost three years since my book was published, I have been using this blog and the tenth dimension forum to catalog the many advances that have happened in the work of theoretical physicists that appear to be moving us towards the same understanding that Gevin and I had been talking about when we wrote our books. In fact, I've been doing this not just with science, but with a great many other subjects, including ancient spirituality, mysticism, and philosophy, and it's been remarkable to see how many of these threads can be pulled together.

On the science front there are many theories out there as to the mysteries of dark matter, dark energy, gravity, the multiverse, extra dimensions, and so on. When I see a viewpoint that has resonances with what Gevin and I pointed towards, I promote it. Does that mean that I'm picking and choosing, and when I come across a new theory that might oppose the direction Gevin and I were heading in, I generally don't report it? Of course! In the same way, a scientist who is adamantly convinced that there are no extra dimensions is more likely to pursue theories which exist only within the four dimensions of spacetime.

Which brings us to physicist Sean Carroll, whose work I paid tribute to in a blog entry called "Time in Either Direction":

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0j8oYNFFbw

I also talked about Sean's ideas in my entry "Scrambled Eggs"...

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZVd_Ez23g

...and in my blog entry "The Big Bang and the Big Pie".

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiP12-u2GYY

Our poll question we're looking at here is about a theory which Scientific American attributed to Sean Carroll, but his theories are easily connected to an idea that has been promoted by myself, and by Gevin Giorbran. I would sum the idea up like this: there is a way of thinking about the fabric of reality which is outside of spacetime, in a place where the wave function of all outcomes for our universe happens simultaneously (as we mentioned last blog entry, physicist Tim Palmer has just published a paper where he calls this idea "the invariant set"). Once you have that image in your mind, it becomes possible to visualize how our universe is a temporary deviation from an underlying symmetry state, which exists both "before" and "after" our universe, in a state that is "outside" of space-time.

Here's a link to a powerpoint presentation from Dr. Carroll in which he talks about the nature of time and space and how a universe as unlikely as our own could spring from the multiverse: http://preposterousuniverse.com/talks/time-colloq-07/. Sean Carroll is also a regular contributor to the science blog Cosmic Variance, a good place for lively discussions, check it out.

Notice how Sean calls his site "preposterousuniverse.com"? Let's finish with a song of mine about our highly unlikely universe: "The Anthropic Viewpoint":

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kfe_3bEH-jE

Poll 32 - Is Time a Direction?

Poll Question 32 - "In the same sense that "up" is not a dimension, "time" is a direction, not a dimension. Poll ended January 28 2009. 56% agreed while the rest disagreed.

These polls can be very instructive to me - some concepts that I think will be contentious end up with much more agreement, and some - like this one - that I think the majority will be willing to agree to come out close to a tie.

Let's talk a little more about this question.

What dimension is "up" a dimension within? If we call the first dimension length, the second dimension width, and the third dimension depth, is "up" in the first dimension? This is where the confusion begins. What dimension is "east" a direction in? What dimension is "forwards" a direction in? None of these questions make sense, because a direction can be in any dimension, and the direction only makes sense as a dimension when we consider the opposite direction at the same time.

Okay then, in what dimensions do we find "up/down"? "East/west"? "Backwards/forwards?" The questions still don't really make sense, because we need even more context. Depending upon your orientation within 3D space, any of these words could apply to any vector within that space: but as soon as you arbitrarily establish one of those sets as being your current orientation, you then bring to mind two additional sets of directions that make sense within that context, and each of those sets is at right angles to the others.

Discussions of the fourth spatial dimension, then, are bothered by all the same possible miscommunications. Is "time" a direction in the fourth spatial dimension? Sure, it could be one of them, but depending upon your orientation within that space, you could just as easily say that "up", "forwards", or even "east" is a direction within 4D space. As soon as you pick one of those words, you then limit what you can call the other directions. As it says in the wikipedia article on the fourth dimension, one of the proposed sets of names for the two new directions in the fourth spatial dimension would be "ana" and "kata". For our own entropy-driven reality riding the "arrow of time", I've been encouraging people to think of the two directions in the fourth spatial dimensions as "time" and "anti-time", and to think of that dimension as a whole as "duration".

If "up" can be a direction in any spatial dimension, does that mean that "time" could be as well? Sure! It just depends upon your orientation, your frame of reference. This is why I say that for a 2D flatlander, they would perceive "time" to be in the third spatial dimension. Generally speaking, I would say that "time" is a direction in the next dimension up from the one you're examining, but that is only one of the possible ways of describing how one spatial dimension relates to another.

This is an idea I'm passionate about, as it's central to this way of visualizing the dimensions. In "Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?" I show how important this is: the ten dimensions that physicists talk about are spatial dimensions. Spatial dimensions have a clear relationship to each other, each is at right angles to the one before, which means (as hard as this is to visualize) that all spatial dimensions are at right angles to each other. One useful way of thinking about this is with a set of nested spheres, with each new dimension enfolding all of the other previous ones.

Another way of approaching this idea is to think of those ten spatial dimensions as a tower, but if the fourth dimension is "time" rather than a full spatial dimension encompassing the two directions of "time" and "anti-time", then that tower is built on a shaky foundation. No wonder there are still scientists who refuse to believe that there are any extra dimensions at all!

Here's the video for "Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?", which includes an animation showing this "tower" visualization.

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfhOBevrN2U

Based upon the results of the above poll question, it looks like this is a flag I'm going to have to continue waving. Some of the other videos where I've talked about the idea that time is just a direction in the fourth spatial dimension include Hypercubes and Plato's Cave, Time is a Direction, Dr. Mel's 4D Glasses, Time in 3 Dimensions, Wormholes, and "t" Equals Zero.

To close, here's one of my songs about trying to achieve that perspective where, as Einstein, liked to say, the distinction between past, present and future is meaningless. The song is called "Big Bang to Entropy".

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

Poll 33 - Could I Meet My Incarnation?

Poll 33 - "If, as Einstein said, the distinction between past present and future is only an illusion, then I could meet another incarnation of myself right now." Poll ended February 12, 2009 - 54% agreed while the remainder disagreed.

Last poll, I remarked upon how instructive these polls can be for me - for instance, I would have thought the idea that "time is a direction, not a dimension" would have gotten a lot of people to agree, since it's central to this way of visualizing reality, but that poll came in with very similar results to this current one. On the other hand, I would have thought that the idea that one could meet an incarnation of themselves right now would have seen more disagreement, since this is one of the more unusual ideas from my project. 54% of the visitors to this forum are willing to agree with that notion? I'm pleasantly surprised.

This is one of those ideas that occurred to me many years ago as an extension to my way of visualizing the dimensions of reality stacked one upon another, a concept that I had been showing to anyone who would listen for the last twenty-five years or so. Back in 2002, I wrote about 50 songs that explored the tangents that come from this way of visualizing reality, with the plan that I would pick my favorites and record a CD. I was also thinking that I would write a little booklet to accompany the CD in which I would explain how this "new way of thinking about time and space" tied all of the songs together.

When I actually got around to writing the CD booklet in 2005, it grew to 220 pages, and that "new way of thinking" eventually became my popular 11-minute animation which has been seen by millions of people around the world. Since the book's publication in 2006 my songs have become somewhat secondary to the project, which is fine, but I believe there are still ways that song lyrics can make these ideas more accessible. One of the 26 songs I attached to this project is called "Connections". The last verse of that song went like this:

I think I met myself today
I think I saw my eyes
Another me in another body
Livin another life
Likewise, with my song "Burn the Candle Brightly", I was thinking about the patterns representing us that carry on after death:
So when this journey is over
And that beautiful spark is finally gone
We can see that the vessel is empty
But we know that the light carries on
... and my song "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" also talks about this idea from the first person perspective:
Now I lay me down to sleep
To rest my weary head
If I should die in slumber deep
Remember what I said

It’s not the end of the world
It’s not the end of the dream
It’s just the end of a body
Not the end of a soul
One of the books I've referred to a number of times in this blog is Douglas Hofstadter's "I Am a Strange Loop". Let me quote a few paragraphs from this enlightening and inspiring book, much of which is about the structures and forms that create the mysterious "I" of consciousness. In the latter part of the book, though, he expands these ideas into what it means to have a representation of other people - your spouse, your children, your parents, a very close friend - held within those same structures. Specifically, how much of that can be thought of as being an actual part of what it is that makes that person uniquely who they are? And if any part can be thought of in that way to any degree, then what happens when the real person dies? Hofstadter writes:
The bond created between two people who are married for a long time is often so tight and powerful that upon the death of either one of them, the other one very soon dies as well. And if the other survives, it is often with the horrible feeling that half of their soul has been ripped out. In happier days, during the marriage, the two partners of course have individual interests and styles, but at the same time a set of common interests and styles starts to build up, and over time a new entity starts to take shape.
And later on...
The following should be a much easier question (although I think it is not actually easier). What was the nature of the "Holden Caulfield symbol" in J. D. Salinger's brain during the period when he was writing Catcher in the Rye? That structure was all there ever was to Holden Caulfield -- but it was so, so rich. Perhaps that symbol wasn't as rich as a full human soul, but Holden Caulfield seems like so much of a person, with a true core, a true soul, a true personal gemma, even if only a "miniature" one. You couldn't ask for a richer representation, a richer mirroring, of one person inside another person, than whatever constitutued the Holden Caulfield symbol inside Salinger's brain.
In my own book, I suggest that what each of us think of as our unique "soul" is actually a large and interconnected set of memes, some of which rise and fall in prominence over a lifetime, and memes by their very definition are patterns of information that exist across space and time, connecting together in ways that are beyond the physical limitations of the world we see around us. This leads me to some conclusions that are related to what Mr. Hofstadter is talking about, but I go a little further out on the same conceptual limb:
Here’s another way to look at this idea: if each of us has a unique soul, where are all the new souls coming from? Our planet’s population has exploded in numbers, so there must be new “soul material” being created from somewhere (if there really are only a certain number of souls allocated to this planet, then the chances of any one of us being the reincarnate soul of a person who lived here in the last few thousand years are approaching the chances of winning a lottery!).
In the New Age community, theories abound regarding what that source of all those new souls might be. All of those theories may be held within the version of reality that we are advancing here: if our soul is a conglomeration of memes that exist outside of time, then other versions of that soul could exist in other universes, in other locations within our universe, in other parts of the history and future of our universe, and even right now in other parts of our own world. The idea that it’s possible to meet another incarnation of yourself right now may take some getting used to, but it is an important aspect of the version of reality we are exploring.
And later on:
It may appear, then, that if we imagine a particular meme that has existed since the perceived beginning of our universe, collapsing a specific version of reality out of the wave of potential universes through the act of its observation, that we are imagining an aspect of the Creator-God. But there is a second way to view this puzzle. Could the feeling of “self” that each of us holds within us also be “just geometry”? In other words, what if this interlocking web of memes were exactly like the interlocking web of physical realities implied by the Many Worlds theory? This would mean that the potential for all ways of viewing the world, and the potential for all the different systems that we think of as being our own soul, are also held within an indeterminate wave of potential at the tenth dimension that has always existed, and will always exist.
In entries like Everyone Has a Story, Being More Fifth-Dimensional, You are Me and We are All Together, The Big Bang and the Big O, and Going to the Light I've continued my exploration of how ideas from cosmology and philosophy, from science and spirituality, can be blended together into an understanding of our reality which embraces a timeless perspective. Once we've arrived at an appreciation of the timelessness that exists outside of our spacetime, an enfolded symmetry state from which our universe or any other arises, it becomes easier to think about how it really could be possible to meet another person right now who is basically you, living another life, in another body, experiencing the world with their own unique perspective but intimately connected through those underlying information patterns which exist outside of spacetime.

Other recent blogs about enfolded symmetry:
Dreaming of Electric Sheep
Imagining the Omniverse
We Start with a Point
A Point within the Omniverse
"t" Equals Zero
Going to the Light
The Invariant Set
Illusions and Reality

To finish, here's one of the songs we quoted from above: "Burn the Candle Brightly".

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

Poll 34 - God? Or the Multiverse?

Poll Question 34 - "Do you believe in God? Or the Multiverse?" Poll ended February 25 09. Interestingly, this poll saw the most participants so far of any of the polls we've had here: it seems people have strong opinions whenever the word "God" comes up in a question. 13% picked "God" as their answer, 32% for "Multiverse", 14% for "Neither", and 39% picked the most popular answer, "Both".

In Polls Archive 27, in which we discussed the question of whether there is really only one electron since they are all completely identical, we talked a bit about recent news items like the following, which suggest we may have to choose between "God or the Multiverse". Here's the opening two paragraphs of Mark Vernon's article, which appeared in the December 8 '08 issue of guardian.co.uk:
Is there a God or a multiverse? Does modern cosmology force us to choose? Is it the case that the apparent fine-tuning of constants and forces to make the universe just right for life means there is either a need for a "tuner" or else a cosmos in which every possible variation of these constants and forces exists somewhere?

This choice has provoked anxious comment in the pages of this week's New Scientist. It follows an article in Discover magazine, in which science writer Tim Folger quoted cosmologist Bernard Carr: "If you don't want God, you'd better have a multiverse."
Just ten days ago, the same conversation was brought up again in a New York Times opinion piece called "God and the Multiverse".

This is a good question, but a complicated one. There's a 45 minute interview on YouTube where Tom Huston, one of the editors of What is Enlightenment magazine, discusses similar questions with me:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MteowQVkEHs

In the above interview I explain how I believe that there are selection patterns that created our universe, which depending upon your point of view are God, or just naturally occurring patterns that exist within timelessness, and in that sense I am thinking of a God that fits in with "deism". Our universe is so amazing, huge, complex, detailed, unlikely, that even if we don't ascribe consciousness to those selection patterns they are still something so humbling and intricate that they're worthy of our gratitude and praise.

Unlikely Events and Timelessness

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=CA&hl=en&v=Hpf3y_EdHco

I also believe that consciousness is connected together in ways we can't directly see from down here in spacetime, and that connectedness is something that some people think of as God. So phrases like "I am an aspect of God" or "God is in me" make sense within that context. Douglas Hofstadter's book "I am a Strange Loop" and Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's book "My Stroke of Insight" both tie very easily to that concept as well.

Daily Parrying:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5HyTz9xaBc

I Know You, You Know Me:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfq5kKkA6pw

You are Me and We are All Together:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbGAPR70tTY

As I say in my entry "Daily Parrying", though, this doesn't really support the idea of a God who you can pray to and He will make the other football team lose and your team win just because that's what you asked Him for. I talk about this in my book:
The reader may notice here that it would be very easy to substitute “God” or “The Creator” in place of “the observer” in the above paragraphs. In fact, if the reader is comfortable with the concept of each of us being an expression of God, “created in His/Her image”, each with a holy spark within, then the two viewpoints are quite compatible. On the other hand though, the image of a God who is separate from, standing in judgment of, and meting out punishment to us all is much less compatible. What we are describing here is a reality where each of us is creating an expression of a specific aspect inferred within the “white noise” of the tenth dimension through our individual roles as quantum observers. If the reader finds it easier to accept the phrase “I am an aspect of God” than they do the previous sentence, then they should feel free to use that as their jumping off point instead. As we discussed before, the tenth dimension as we are conceptualizing it here is really the boring part of our discussion, because it simultaneously contains all possibilities. If we choose to imagine a Creator-God who is manifesting Himself/Herself through each one of us, we are imagining an observer who is cutting cross-sections out of the tenth dimension to examine the much more interesting and highly detailed subsets of reality which are contained within the dimensions below.
God 2.0:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Y4xseftgQ

With this project, I've been trying to show people that there are ways of aligning a spiritual viewpoint with the traditionally atheistic scientific viewpoint. If I say "I believe in God" that immediately creates an image in someone else's mind which may be completely different from what I'm trying to convey, so I tend to not want to say things as simply as that. To finish, here's a song that says whether you believe we come from God or the multiverse, there is still something amazing, complex, and wonderful about the universe in which we live: "Thankful".

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIfN1RM9X6I

Poll 35 - Do We Come From a 5D Hologram?

Poll Question 35 - "Our 4D universe comes from a 5D hologram." Poll ended March 10 2009. 71% agreed, while the remainder disagreed.

This poll question connects to two blog entries published in January. The first, "Slices of Reality" talked about interference patterns and provided a fascinating visualization of just such a pattern that resulted from the unique way an iPhone takes its pictures. The blog entry that followed, "The Holographic Universe", talks about the exciting new evidence from the GEO600 project that appears to confirm one of the central ideas my project is based upon: our reality is not continuous. Rather, it is divided into planck-unit sized "frames" of space-time. Some people look at this and presume it only refers to the planck length, 10 to the minus 35 meters, but that's only a measurement of 3D space. A 4D "frame" of space-time has length, width, depth, and duration, and its size in all four dimensions is determined by Planck's Constant. Understanding this immediately gives us a way to understand the string theory idea that our experience of the fifth dimension and above is "curled up at the planck length" - it's because of the granular nature of space-time, which means we can only view the fifth dimension through these planck unit sized "grains" of spacetime which occur one after another on our 4D line of time, giving us the illusion of the continuously existing reality we see around us.

There's much more to discuss about all this, please read my entry The Holographic Universe for more. Or, here are the "vlog" versions of those two entries, and these are part of a collection of over 200 videos I've posted over at my youtube channel.

Slices of Reality:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nheaNclVe2Y

The Holographic Universe:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMLVjFrtq6Q

Poll 36 - Do Plants Use Quantum Effects?

Poll 36 -"Plants use quantum physics effects in photosynthesis, and this is why it is such an efficient energy conversion process." Poll ended March 25 2009. 72% agreed, the rest disagreed.

This was another poll created as a companion to a specific blog entry, in this case "Creativity and the Quantum Universe". That post was inspired by an article published in the February Issue of Discover Magazine which really caught my eye - written by Mark Anderson, it was called Entangled Life. The article is an interesting summary of lab experiments and serious theoretical propositions that suggest plants do use quantum effects to make photosynthesis such an efficient process, and that such effects as entanglement and tunneling could also be imparting unique fragrances to molecules that are almost identical, imparting healing qualities to substances like green tea, and perhaps even directly contributing to consciousness.

Here's the video for "Creativity and the Quantum Universe":

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBNv8LMbEPA

Essentially, then, with this poll question I was asking whether visitors agreed with the suppositions advanced in Mark Anderson's article and reported in my blog, and I'm pleased to see how many were willing to agree with this idea. While I would encourage you to go back and read my blog entry and that Discover magazine article mentioned above, let me underline the interesting parallel I suggested back then.

Paragraph from Discover Magazine article:
Instead of haphazardly moving from one connective channel to the next, as might be seen in classical physics, energy traveled in several directions at the same time. The researchers theorized that only when the energy had reached the end of the series of connections could an efficient pathway retroactively be found. At that point, the quantum process collapsed, and the electrons’ energy followed that single, most effective path.

My paraphrased version to show how creativity might be a quantum process:

Instead of haphazardly moving from one idea to the next, as might be seen in work that has no focus, creative ideas travel in several directions at the same time. By simultaneously exploring a set of connections, the "eureka" of a new inspiration can be found. At that point, the exploration process is "collapsed", and the creative person follows the new idea that they find most inspiring.

Several weeks later, in Our Non-Local Universe, I continued the discussion of how our world is connected together in hidden ways that transcend the limited "now" of space-time, and how the principle of non-locality is an accepted fact in mainstream science. With this project, I am insisting that this non-locality is direct evidence of extra dimensions, and that a great many other seemingly mysterious processes can also be understood when we see how the information that underlies our reality exists in additional dimensions. I find it fascinating that this "timeless" perspective is gaining ground, as more and more people accept that our universe is just one of a multiverse of many other universes, and that perhaps all of those universes and multiverses might be assembled into one perfectly balanced underlying symmetry state which physicist Tim Palmer has recently called The Invariant Set and which I (and others) have referred to as The Omniverse.

Which leads back to the parallels I drew above, between the accepted viewpoint that our universe is non-local, between scientific evidence that plants use non-local effects for photosynthesis, and my notion that all life is a creative process, and which means that creative processes are non-local. While 79% agreed with the non-local nature of photosynthesis being what makes it so efficient, I wonder how many visitors to this blog would be willing to follow me further out on that same limb if I were to re-write the poll question in the same way that I re-wrote the above paragraph. What if I were to ask for agreement/disagreement on this statement?
Life uses quantum physics effects such as tunneling and entanglement to engage with reality "outside" of space-time, and this is true of all creative processes.
For me, this statement logically follows, and is a very important part of understanding the way of visualizing the dimensions that I'm exploring with this project. As I say in my book and have repeated in this blog, I would define "life" as any process that is interested in "what happens next", in other words that finds ways to use the non-local nature of our universe to allow itself to thrive and continue. That would be just as true of the first chemical reactions that became the seeds of life in the primordial soup as it is for you and I. Would you agree? Let's find out. You will now find a poll question over to the right here at the tenth dimension blog which asks that question.

Poll 37 - Do Shamans See Other Dimensions?

Poll 37 - "In his book 'Supernatural', Graham Hancock notes the remarkable similarities between ancient cave paintings from across tens of thousands of years and around the world. This shows that ancient shamans were able to see patterns from other dimensions." Poll ended April 11 2009. 38% agreed while the rest disagreed.

I've only recently finished reading this book. (At almost 500 pages, Supernatural is not a book you read in a night!) Along the way, I've alternated between wrestling with my own in-grained skepticism and a feeling that Hancock is lifting the veil on extremely important material. His work connects to a number of the ideas I've promoted with my project: that our reality is connected together in ways unseen, that there are patterns that exist outside of spacetime that are participating in the ongoing process of creation, and that there are a number of ways for people to become more sensitized to these hidden processes. In my book, I lumped altered states resulting from meditation, trance, repetitive tribalistic activities like dance and drumming, and visions seen under the influence of hallucinogens as all being part of the same kinds of processes that could be allowing people to glimpse these patterns, and my song "From the Corner of My Eye" is also about that supposition. In my blog entry The Shaman I added more traumatic experiences such as fasting or intense pain to that list (as these are also not uncommon in shamanistic practices from around the world), but while doing so I noted that even though all of these altered states I've listed may somehow be related, many people immediately jump to the conclusion that any discussion of altered states is really just talking about drugs. This, I think, is unfortunate because it can allow some people to jump to the conclusion that altered states are "unnatural".

For the last century in particular, most of us have had it drummed into us that anything seen under the influence of mind-altering drugs is not to be taken seriously, that it is merely the chemistry of the brain being disrupted, and no good will come of it. When I was writing my book, including psychedelics in the list of useful altered states for sensing extra dimensions was an intuitive leap based upon reading other's reports, since I have no experience with these substances myself. Still, as I've documented elsewhere, I was surprised upon the release of my book to be contacted by so many people who had taken LSD, mushrooms, and so on, telling me that what they saw under the influence of these substances seemed easier to explain within the context of my way of visualizing the dimensions. Nonetheless, I have to admit that most of what I thought they were talking about were geometric patterns and time-shifted artifacts... glimpses into the fifth spatial dimension. Almost six months after launching my project, I decided to set up an "altered states" area over at the tenth dimension forum as people with seemingly-related drug experiences kept contacting me. Since then, I've heard more and more stories from persons using DMT, ayahuasca, salvia divinorum and other drugs, and those people have described some really mind-boggling visions: but to me these were no more mind-boggling than the insights revealed, for instance, in Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's journey into the connections of her own mind to the universe that she recounted in her marvelous "My Stroke of Insight".

In Supernatural, Graham Hancock provides a context to altered states of all kind that is much deeper than what I had suspected, but now that he has done so I see more of the same connections in the stories I have been told by people writing to me in emails or at my forum. He makes some very persuasive arguments that the visions seen under those states have remarkable connections and similarities across tens of thousands of years and around the world, and this highly-detailed repetition alone indicates that our minds are really being allowed to "tune in" to other modalities of existence that actually do exist, but which were inaccessible without entering these altered states (in the same way that a radio can "tune in" to different radio stations - the waveforms coming from those other stations are already out there, just waiting to be heard).

To be clear, what Hancock is referring to here is not just similarities in geometric shapes or visions of bright lights, he has a long list of iconic images and creatures that occur again and again from the recorded visions of ancient man right up to modern time. He makes the bold assertion that these experiences are at the root of the development of civilization, and that all of the world's religions have as their source the ecstatic visionary experiences of those who shared their visions of these "other worlds" with others around them.

I would suggest reading the following blog entries, in the order below, if you would like to follow my reasoning for supporting the challenging conclusions of Graham Hancock's groundbreaking book. And if you have read the above paragraphs and decided to reject these ideas outright (as did 61% of the visitors answering the above poll question), I have some sympathy for that position: it is only through the process of reading Mr. Hankcock's book that I have come around to an acceptance of these ideas, and I am almost certainly not going to convince any skeptics in a few paragraphs when it took Mr. Hancock almost 500 pages to carefully lay out his case for these ideas.

The Holographic Universe
The Shaman
You Have a Shape and a Trajectory
Creativity and the Quantum Universe
The Comedian
Where Are You?
Our Non-Local Universe
Illusions and Reality

To finish, here's a somewhat tongue-in-cheek song about those ancient mysteries that connect ancient shamans to you and I: "What I Feel for You".

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w06IRgChaMY

Poll 38 - Do Musicians Have More Empathy?

Poll 38 - "Learning to play a musical instrument can rewire your brain in ways that make you more empathetic, more sensitive to other people's emotions." Poll ended April 27 2009. 91% agreed while the remainder disagreed.

This poll was created as a companion to a series of blogs created in March that focused on empathy, and in particular an entry called "The Musician", in which I quoted from an article written by Hazel Muir which appeared in the March 5th edition of New Scientist magazine:
Musicians are fine-tuned to others' emotions

Musical training might help autistic children to interpret other people's emotions. A study has revealed brain changes involved in playing a musical instrument that seem to enhance your ability to pick up subtle emotional cues in conversation.

"It seems that playing music can help you do all kinds of things better," says Nina Kraus from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. "Musical experience sharpens your hearing not just for music, but for other sounds too."

To read a longer excerpt from the article, please refer back to my blog entry The Musician. Based upon the above poll results, the idea that learning to play a musical instrument might heighten a person's ability to feel empathy seems to have already "struck a chord" with visitors to this blog, so I'll not belabor the point here. For further reading, here's a collection of some of my previous blog entries where we explored how empathy fits in with this way of visualizing reality:

Are Animals and Kids More Fifth-Dimensional?
Local Realism Bites the Dust
The Big Bang and the Big O
The Comedian
The Musician
Where Are You?
Illusions and Reality

To finish, here's a song about vibrations, entrainment, and empathy: "Positive Vibes".

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

Poll 39 - Can Memories Be Transplanted?

Poll Question 39 - "Is it possible that a person who has received a heart transplant could take on bits of the memories or behaviors of the donor?" Poll ended May 12 2009. 43% agreed that this could be "Possible", while the rest said "Impossible".

Back in Poll 33, we asked whether this way of visualizing reality could allow for the possibility of meeting another version of yourself, living another life, right here in the present. The question we're looking at here is somewhat related to that concept, but does require us to make another major conceptual leap if we're going to accept this additional supposition.

Check out the following set of videos, which is from a program shown on the Discovery Health channel a few years ago. This is from a documentary series called Mindshock, and the episode is called "Transplanting Memories?".

Part 1:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sudmW97FZA0

Part 2:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ky6eEiVbgMg

Part 3:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei6FmA6-N14

Part 4:

A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SY5SiWHDInQ

As we can see from the poll results, the idea that a heart transplant patient might take on memories or behaviors from the donor is pretty "out there", and more people disagreed than agreed with this as a conjecture. Would the poll results have been somewhat different if every person answering the poll were obliged to watch at least part of the above documentary? Perhaps. Certainly, for many of us this is a new idea: and to be clear, this "transplanting memories" concept is not a conclusion I arrived at in my book or have promoted with my project up to now. The idea does seem to be connected to Rupert Sheldrake's ideas about morphic resonance, though, and Sheldrake's work has received some attention in my book and in this blog. Here are some of the past blogs where I've talked about related ideas:

Are Animals and Kids More Fifth-Dimensional?
Souls as Interlocking Patterns
Underlying Patterns
Magnets and Souls

"Transplanting Memories" is not without its detractors - like many of the other ideas we've explored here in this blog, there are skeptics who automatically ridicule the above documentary, and that extends to any suggestions that there could be unseen connections linking our reality together. Setting those knee-jerk reactions aside, though, requires us to think about the possible consequences of this - if some imprint of a certain organ's previous owner remains, does that mean a heart from a murderer or a suicidal person could dramatically alter the behavior of the recipient? The mind boggles at the implications.

In blog entries like Auras, Ghosts and Pareidolia, Do You Believe in Ghosts?, Ever Seen an Aura?, and Going to the Light, I've looked at some of the possible ways that a person's unique patterns might continue on after death. For me, the idea that a transplanted heart from a murderer could cause the recipient to become one too seems too far-fetched. It seems more possible to me that some parts of the donor's awareness might continue to focus on the timeline of the recipient and exert some minor influences , but I'm reminded of what hypnotists say - no person in a hypnotic state can be induced to do something that goes against the basic morals of that person. I think the same could be true of the subtle influences seen in these situations: the patient might find themselves becoming interested in a new food or willing to listen to a kind of music that previously held no interest for them, and there are transplant recipients interviewed in the above documentary who experienced just such effects. But like the hypnotized subject, these people are not going to take on any new characteristics that they wouldn't already have been willing to accept regardless of where they came from.

Although the source of these new influences might seem troubling, when you stop and think about it this is not particularly different from the process of growth, discovery and taking on new patterns that each of us goes through within our lives each and every day. As I say in my song Change and Renewal:
Every minute of every day
I keep changing, I keep changing
Nothing ever stays the same
All replacing, rearranging
Every cell that’s in me now
Was not the same when I was born
In an endless constant flow
Renewing when they’re old and worn
Am I the same person I was twenty years ago? No! And neither are you. We learn, we change, we grow. But there are threads that connect us each to our previous selves, and the unique journey each of us is on is what makes this all so interesting.

Poll 40 - Living in the Now vs. The Future
Poll 40: "People who focus on the "now" rather than their possible future paths are more likely to be moody, indecisive, and envious." Poll ended May 26 2009. 45% agreed while the majority disagreed.

A number of visitors to the blog had some trouble accepting this supposition, which relates to a specific entry I published last month called "The Time Paradox". In it, I talked about a book of the same name by Philip Zimbardo, professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University. In a promotional video for his book he tells us that tests given to children showed a clear link years later to which of them were more successful and well-adjusted as they entered adulthood: four-year-olds were offered the choice of a marshmallow right now, or two marshmallows if they were willing to wait for twenty minutes. Those children who jumped at the single marshmallow rather than thinking about the greater future reward coming if they would wait, to use Dr. Zimbardo's words, grew into young adults who were more likely to be "moody, indecisive, and envious". Those who did wait went on as adolescents to score an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test and to be much more likely to be rated by independent examiners as "competent" or "attentive", while those who were not able to delay gratification were more likely to be described as "sulky" or "irritable".

As I mentioned in my previous blog about the Time Paradox, the difficulty some people have in accepting these results may be connected to the current popularity of Ekhart Tolle's writing: The Power of Now, he tells us, is better than the ego-based striving for tomorrow and fretting about the past. Sometimes, though, living in the Now is living in a trap of endlessly repeating negative patterns, and that is not the way to make your life better. Who would disagree that "attitude affects outcome"? What psychiatrist would disagree that healing can't really start until it comes from within? What entrepeneur would disagree that "the eye of the tiger" is how you get to the future version of yourself that you hold as your heart's desire? What athlete would disagree with the power of positive visualization techniques? What health care provider has not seen people who lose their interest in tomorrow, their will to carry on, and death follows?

All of these are related to the processes of engaging not just in the "now", but in the branching future paths that exist as potential for each of us. In The Placebo Effect I talked about the surprising results of medical studies showing how difficult it can be to test new drugs when patients given placebos will also do better because of their assumption that they are being given some new treatment. In Changing Your Genes Part 2 I talked about the amazing new science of epigenetics, which proves that people can actually change their own gene expression through changes in lifestyle and attitude. And in Creativity and the Quantum Universe, I talked about how this "engaging in the future paths" concept has been proved to be basic to our universe and to the basic structures of all living things.

And where are all these future paths that hold this amazing promise, these powerful tools that people around the world are using to moving beyond a "now" that is not to their liking and to a possible "then" that exists within their set of all possible future states? According to my way of visualizing, this is all within the fifth dimension, within a probability space that connects to Everett's Many Worlds and the hidden patterns of the universe, and which each of us are navigating within one planck after another right at this very "now".

Welcome to a better future you. And enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: Nassim Haramein

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