Saturday, August 29, 2009

Polls Archive 43 - Is the Multiverse Real?

A direct link to the above video is at

There is a multiverse of other "different-initial-conditions" universes out there, and they are not just theoretical, they are equally as real as the universe in which we live. Poll ended July 9 09. 85.7% agreed, while 14.3% disagreed.

While no one would ever take a simple opinion poll on the internet as being some kind of scientific proof, I do find the results of this poll very interesting: when I launched my project over three years ago, I'm sure we would have seen a lot less people comfortable with this idea. What has changed? What has caused experts like physicist Brian Greene (of "The Elegant Universe" fame) to state the following just a few months ago in New Scientist magazine?

"You walk along a number of pathways in physics far enough and you bang into the possibility that we are one universe of many. So what do you do? You smack yourself in the head and say, 'Ah, maybe the universe is trying to tell me something.' I have personally undergone a sort of transformation, where I am very warm to this possibility of there being many universes, and that we are in the one where we can survive."
I discuss all this in more detail in the blog I put up the same time as I started the poll we're looking at now: "Does the Multiverse Really Exist?". Here's the video I put up on youtube for that blog entry just a few days ago:

A direct link to the above video is at

When I wrote my song "The Anthropic Viewpoint" back in 2002, even fewer people were willing to accept the idea that the other universes are just as real as the one we live in. Regular readers of my blog will already know this song but for those newer readers who haven't come across it yet, here's one of the videos. Follow this link for lyrics and further discussion about this concept that Brian Greene is now finally saying he embraces: that those other universes are just as real as our own, they just don't happen to be the one that we find ourselves to be within.

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 44 - The Biocentric Universe Theory

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top Ten Tenth Dimension Blogs - August 09 Report

Previous lists:
. April 08 . May 08 . June 08 . July 08 . August 08
. September 08 . October 08 . November 08 . December 08 .
Top 100 Blog Entries of 2008 . May 09 . June 09 . July 09 .

Based upon number of views, here are the top blogs for the last thirty days. As always, the number in brackets is the entry's position in the previous month's report.

1. Alien Mathematics (new)
2. The Long Undulating Snake (new)
3. Just Six Things: The I Ching (new)
4. The Biocentric Universe Part 2 (new)
5 . An Expanding 4D Sphere (new)
6. The Flexi-Laws of Physics (new)
7. Roger Ebert on Quantum Reincarnation (new)
8. The Map and the Territory (new)
9. Ice Age in 4D (new)
10. Norway's "Reverse Deja Vu" (new)

And as of August 26th, 2009, here are the twenty-six Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog entries that have attracted the most visits of all time.

1. Creativity and the Quantum Universe (1)
2. Slices of Reality (2)
3. Augmented Reality (3)
4. The Holographic Universe (4)
5. Urban Garden Magazine (5)
6. Modern Shamans (6)
7. Scott McCloud and the Brothers Winn (7)
8. The Comedian (8)
9. The Shaman (9)
10. Astrotometry (10)
11. Our Non-Local Universe (11)
12. Going to the Light (12)
13. You have a shape and a trajectory (14)
14. "t" Equals Zero (13)
15. New Translations of Imagining the Tenth Dimension (15)
16. Illusions and Reality (16)
17. Dark Gravity Across the Dimensions (17)
18. The Musician (18)
19. Where Are You? (19)
20. The Time Paradox (20)
21. Google Suggestions - March 09 Update (21)
22. Tenth Dimension Polls Archive - 31 to 40 (23)
23. The Big Bang and the Big O (22)
24. The Invariant Set (24)
25. Imagining the Omniverse - Addendum (25)
26. News from the Future (26)

By the way, if you're 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. If you are interested in the 26 songs attached to this project, this blog shows a video for each of the songs and provides more links with lyrics and discussion. 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.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 43 - Is the Multiverse Real?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Polls Archive 42 - Does Twitter Connect or Distract?

A direct link to the above video is at

Poll 42: "With which statement do you more agree?
1: Twitter connects people together more and helps new ideas spread more quickly.
2: Twitter distracts people from being productive and is mostly a waste of their time."
Poll Ended June 24 09. This one was close throughout the poll, ended up with 53.8% saying Twitter distracts from productivity, and 46.2% saying it helps to spread ideas more quickly.

Love it or hate it, twitter has established itself as another tool for connecting people together which can't be ignored. Here's a link to a popular presentation created a while back by Marta Kagan, and here below is her followup to that presentation, "one year later". This is the first time I've embedded a "slideshare" presentation in my blog, just wanted to make sure you notice that this is not a movie, it's more like a powerpoint presentation: so you can click through the slides at your own reading speed or just sit back and watch the presentation at the more languid pace that has been programmed in.

A direct link to the above presentation is at "What the Fk is Social Media One Year Later".

As we deal with the rising flow of information coming at us from all directions, presentations like this one can help to remind us that it's all about connections, and seeing how Everything Fits Together is the basic goal of my project. Are we all swimming in an increasingly broad and deep "stream" of richly linked data? That's what web 3.0 pioneer Nova Spivack has proposed. Here's the video for my previous entry about that idea, "The Stream".

A direct link to the above video is at

Poll 42 also relates to another previous blog entry, "Mindwalk and Twitter". If you like movies like My Dinner With Andre and Waking Life, you might enjoy the thoughtful blending of philosophy and quantum physics in the 1990 movie by Bernt Capra called "Mindwalk". In Mindwalk and Twitter I embedded a Google Video copy of that movie, check it out.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 43 - Is the Multiverse Real?

PS - by the way, I do have my own twitter feed, check it out!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tenth Dimension on Boing Boing

A direct link to the above video is at

Check it out! Famous author, blogger and creative commons enthusiast Cory Doctorow has just posted my original animation at !

As usual, the comments are a mix, with some people angrily dismissing the whole thing as drivel, and a smaller contingent of people who appear to "get" where I'm going with my project. Here's the comment I posted at Boing Boing:

Hi, Rob Bryanton here, I made this much-discussed video, and as a long time fan of Boing Boing this is quite an honor. Thanks very much to Cory Doctorow and Bowloftoast for their interest, and thanks to those of you in the comments who understand the intent of this animation: as I say at the end, this is not the explanation for string theory, but it does have interesting connections to a lot of different schools of thought for a lot of people, and that's why it continues to be watched, and why it has been translated into so many other languages. Do I hope that this video has started people thinking about big picture ideas, and encouraged some to learn more about cosmology, the multiverse, and quantum mechanics? Of course I do! And every day I hear from people thanking me for waking them up to these possibilities.

When I came up with this way of visualizing spatial dimensions twenty-five years ago, I had not heard of the point-line-plane postulate, but it is very related. That postulate is accepted as a way of conceiving of any number of spatial dimensions, and that is what we are talking about here - spatial dimensions, each one at a new "right angle" to the one before. Trying to view a representation of a 4D hypercube without using "time" to rotate that object is a good way of thinking about how time, for us, is just one of the two possible directions in the fourth spatial dimension.

I published my book and this animation in 2006. In 2007, physicist David Deutsch supervised a team of scientists at Oxford to publish a proof equating the branching possibilities resulting from chance and choice with the probabilistic outcomes of the quantum world. New Scientist magazine went on to call this one of the most important science news stories of the year.

The Deutsch team's proof and my video both show a way of visualizing Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. Everett proposed that the quantum wave function is not actually collapsed, but merely observed in different states. In that regard, this way of thinking shows how free will can exist and yet all possible outcomes could already exist within a timeless underlying fabric. Physicist Tim Palmer's "Invariant Set" is receiving a lot of attention this year because it also confirms the validity of this approach: has just published a very positive story about Palmer's work:

This year well-known physicist Brian Greene has come out to say that he now accepts the idea that the other different-initial-conditions universes are not merely theoretical, but just as real as our own. This "multverse" is another idea that is central to my approach to visualizing the dimensions which was much less in vogue back in 2006.

Another important point to note is that this way of visualizing the dimensions does show a way of visualizing how the fifth dimension and above are "curled up at the planck length" from our perspective - it's because our spacetime reality is not continuous, but rather divided up into quanta. For more about this:

There are a few questions that come up again and again with my project:
What would a flatlander really see?
Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?
Why Stop at Ten Dimensions?

If you go to my website you will find many more connections.

And as has already been mentioned in the comments above, I have a youtube channel where I've posted 250 different videos that discuss the huge cloud of ideas that can be connected to this way of visualizing the dimensions:

Since my day job is composing music and designing sound for films and television shows, you will also see that my project has 26 songs attached to it. Here's one of those songs: "The Anthropic Viewpoint".

For those of you who are angered by a non-physicist trying to get people to think about cosmology and the really big picture, I can only say that the goal of my project is to stimulate people's brains into considering new possibilities. My next book is called "O is for Omniverse", and it boils all these ideas down into what looks like a children's alphabet book, full of brightly colored pictures and bouncy poems. My most popular blog entry of all time is called "Creativity and the Quantum Universe" and that's what this is all about for me: creativity.


Rob Bryanton

According to wikipedia, Cory was the first person to release a novel under the Creative Commons license. I'm sure he had would be happy to see that my books are also being freely distributed on bit torrent:

Isn't it amazing how more and more people around the world are coming to this project? As I said last month, by the time I'm being satirized on it seems that we're crossing some kind of threshold here. Cool!

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Poll 42 - Does Twitter Connect or Distract?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Polls Archive 41 - Is Creativity a Quantum Process?

A direct link to the above video is at

Poll 41: "Life uses quantum physics effects such as tunneling and entanglement to engage with reality 'outside' of spacetime, and this is true of all creative processes". Poll Ended June 10 '09, 83.2% agreed while 16.8% disagreed.

I suggested the wording for this poll in my blog entry accompanying "Poll 36 - Do Plants Use Quantum Effects?". Both this current poll question and that previous poll 36 are connected to my blog entry Creativity and the Quantum Universe. I will post the videos for both of those down below. In those entries I talked about the scientific experiments that have shown ways in which life is engaged with more than the "now" of our 4D spacetime. This time around, I'm going to talk mainly about creativity.

Here's a video from the TED Talks series featuring author Amy Tan (best-selling author of The Joy Luck Club). Amy takes us on a similar exploration to the areas my project regularly delves into, blending ideas from quantum mechanics and cosmology with her own thoughts on free will, chance, and creativity. This presentation is light and fun, but underneath Amy is dealing with some heady concepts.

A direct link to the above video is at

There continues to be mounting evidence that we operate "outside" of the limited little window we call "now". Here's some articles about recent research that shows there are processes which let us decide what we're about to do before we are consciously aware of the decision:

Here is another author speaking at Ted Talks about creativity: this is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth has some very wise things to say about the negative connotations sometimes attached to the role of being a creative person: the myth that creative people have to suffer for their art is dangerously destructive. Last entry, in "When's a Knot Not a Knot?", I ended by asking that we think about loops and knots, and that we ponder the loops and knots that keep us from our goals. My song Addictive Personality is about those same patterns that we can let ourselves be trapped into, and Elizabeth adds some very important points to this conversation.

A direct link to the above video is at

Here's videos for those previous blog entries I mentioned above. "Poll 36 - Do Plants Use Quantum Effects?":

A direct link to the above video is at

"Creativity and the Quantum Universe":

A direct link to the above video is at

Addictive Personality:

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: Tenth Dimension on boingboing

Monday, August 17, 2009

When's a Knot Not a Knot?

A direct link to the above video is at

Have you got 16 minutes? Then take a look at the following movie, divided into two parts.

A direct link to the above movie is at

A direct link to the above movie is at

Last blog, in "An Expanding 4D Sphere", we talked about how tricky it can be to imagine extra dimensions. I mentioned the recently proved Poincaré Conjecture (which would now more correctly be known as the Poincare Theorem), which says our universe is a 3D sphere on the surface of a 4D hypersphere! That's not an easy image to hold in the mind. These ideas and the above videos are all related to the study of topology: and since all of the extra dimensions are spatial, looking at topology as a way to help us imagine extra-dimensional shapes and patterns makes perfect sense.

The wikipedia article on Knot Theory takes these ideas about n-dimensional shapes and patterns even further, if you're interested in the explorations above please read that article.

For me, the point of looking at these extra-dimensional shapes is it helps us to imagine how extra-dimensional patterns representing memes, genes, and spimes could rise and fall in the same way that a hypercube would grow, mutate, and shrink as it passed through our 3D world. In one of my most-discussed blogs of all time, Hypercubes and Plato's Cave, I showed an animation of a rotating 4D hypercube, check that blog out if you're not familiar with those kinds of visualizations. How would our own reality look if you could see more than just 3D? Watch this interesting video and think about how similar it is to watching a rotating hypercube.

Have you got 10 minutes to just meditate on some interesting images that tie into these ideas about imagining shapes that are outside of our normal spacetime? This video was created by a youtube user called 77GSlinger, and it is related to Walter Russell's idea of twin opposing vortices that create our observed universe and its underlying patterns.

A direct link to the above video is at

Imagining the rotating helix used for my project's logo as incorporating these ideas is something I talked about in my blog entry on Nassim Haramein: while the other dimensions are involved in the creation of more specific patterns, at the core of this image is a line joining the zero to the ten, and we can think of the zero as representing the drive towards the infinitely small and the ten as representing the drive towards the infinitely large. Everything else is just cross sections, interference patterns created by those two interlocking patterns. Though neither of these gentlemen are talking about extra dimensions, Nassim Haramein and Walter Russell appear to be talking about similar ideas to mine in that regard: and in The Holographic Universe, we took a look at an example of just how far this idea of our reality coming from interference patterns can be taken.

77GSlinger attaches the following note to the above video:

The physics of Russell's Cosmology also explains the Free Energy Implosion Technologies of the great Austrian Water Wizard, Viktor Schauberger. Schauberger invented Implosion Turbines in the 30's and 40's in Austria and Germany.

This implosion physics defies academic physics and makes academic theory provably obsolete and the professors pushing these socially engineered lies as well.

For a detailed account of the free energy technologies of Viktor Schuaberger and Walter Russell, Implosion Physics, Bio-mimicry, Scalar Mechanics and the many types of Free Energy Technologies currently in existence please see:
As regular readers of this blog know, I wrote 26 songs to accompany this project about ways of imagining how our reality is created. To finish, let's look at my most popular youtube music video: this one is about conspiracies, and the patterns that underlie our universe. As I've said elsewhere: when we're looking at these complex interactions, sometimes it can be hard to extricate what is really a conspiracy and what is "just a bunch of stuff that happened".

And likewise, sometimes it can be very difficult to say when a knot is not a knot. What's keeping you from getting to the best possible you that already exists within the multiverse?

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Secret Societies:

A direct link to the above video is at

Next: Polls Archive 41 - Is Creativity a Quantum Process?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An Expanding 4D Sphere

A direct link to the above video is at

How old is the universe? Most scientists currently peg it at around 13.7 billion years. A light year, of course, is the distance light travels in one year. If I look through a telescope, then, what's the furthest I should be able to see? Intuitively, we would presume it to be no more than a distance of 13.7 billion light years. Here's a video that explains how cosmic expansion complicates this: because everything is moving away from everything else as the universe expands, currently observable particles can theoretically be as far away as 42 billion light years in any direction, and early stars can be as much as 36 billion light years away in any direction.

A direct link to the above video is at

In The Holographic Universe, I showed a way of visualizing how our spacetime is not completely flat, but instead has a very slight curve to it. It's easy to confuse this statement to think we're saying that space has a slight curve to it, and this can be the start of some confusion. In the above video we see that we're at the center of a 3D sphere with a radius of as much as 42 billion light years. If we're thinking about 4D spacetime, though, we're thinking about how that 3D sphere is on the surface of a 4D hypersphere (this relates to the recently proved Poincare Conjecture, which we talked about in "Why Do We Need More Than 3 Dimensions?"). In the video for The Holographic Universe, I showed how this slight curvature could create the observable universe horizon that we're talking about above - if time has a slight curve to it, then it's like we're in the middle of the ocean, and the horizon we see around us is the furthest distance back in time we're able to see. In the wikipedia article on The Cosmological Horizon, it says this:

it has been said that the observable universe is many orders of magnitude smaller than the greater universe that lies beyond the limits of our perception.

Imagine that the entire cosmological horizon is modeled by a sphere that is the diameter of a quarter (24.26 mm in diameter). If Alan Guth's inflationary model of early era cosmology is correct, the universe that lies beyond this “quarter-sized” horizon would conservatively be a sphere as large as the Earth globe itself.
If this is really the scale of curvature we're talking about here, then spacetime for our purposes is flat: if our universe were the size of a quarter and its curvature was the equivalent of the curvature of the earth's surface, imagine how sensitive a measurement you would have to make to be able to register that curvature! But spacetime does indeed have a slight curve to it, and that's an important piece of the puzzle we're putting together.

A direct link to the above video is at You can watch the video from about 5:50 if you want to jump to the section where I show a way of visualizing how our spacetime is curved.

In What's South of the South Pole? and The Map and the Territory, we looked at how tricky it can be to create useful visualizations of concepts like these. Visualizing a 3D sphere on the surface of a 4D hypersphere boggles the mind. The beauty of the approach I'm using with this project is that these are all really spatial dimensions that we're talking about: this means that as per the point-line-plane postulate, which can be used to visualize any number of spatial dimensions, we can simplify this concept to imagine that our 3D universe is a point, moving on the surface of an expanding 4D plane, and that plane has a slight curvature to it which takes it into the fifth dimension. That slight curvature gives us the impression that our universe has a certain size, but that size is an illusion - like the boat in the middle of the ocean, looking at a horizon all around them, we have to understand that there is still much more beyond that horizon which exists -- even though we can't see it from our current point of observation.

In Where Are You? I made the point that each of us is right at the center of our own version of the universe, and as metaphysical as that may sound, the above discussions show a scientific reason for why this is so.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: When's a Knot Not a Knot?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Norway's "Reverse Deja Vu"

A direct link to the above video is at

A direct link to the above video is at

A youtube user from Norway calling themselves BlueSkyFish sent me some interesting information about a phenomenon that is part of that country's folklore: the "Vardauger", which is also spelled "Vardøger". Here's an excerpt from the vardauger article in wikipedia:

Stories typically include instances that are nearly déjà vu in substance, but in reverse, where a spirit with the subject's footsteps, voice, scent, or appearance and overall demeanor precedes them in a location or activity, resulting in witnesses believing they've seen or heard the actual person, before the person physically arrives.
How's your Norwegian? There's a much more extensive entry about this subject in Norway's version of wikipedia.

Last entry, we looked at Roger Ebert's take on quantum mechanics, and what the ramifications are if all possible versions of our universe already exist simultaneously within a timeless underlying fabric. Just prior to that, in Just Six Things: The I Ching we looked at an ancient Chinese system as a possible way of tracking our trajectories, seeing where we are right now in the multiverse and what possible parallel universes from Everett's Many Worlds might be approaching... and this was an extension of the preceding blogs to that one, The Map and the Territory and What's South of the South Pole?.

The vardauger seems like an easy concept to tie into all this - if some people are more sensitive to the possibilities coming towards us from our fifth dimensional probability space, then a foreshadowing of an approaching person's form might be one of the ways this sensitivity could express itself. In entries like Are Animals and Kids More Fifth-Dimensional? and Magnets and Souls, we've talked about the work of biochemist Rupert Sheldrake and his book Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home. Could these animals be sensing a vardauger of their owners, a reverse deja vu of their impending arrival? Interesting thought.

Here's a Google Tech Talks presentation featuring Rupert Sheldrake, as he makes an almost two hour long presentation on "The Extended Mind - New Experimental Evidence".

A direct link to the above video is at

BlueSkyFish had some other interesting information for us as well: she tells us that interest in psychic phenomena has become much more mainstream within the last few years in Norway.
Click here to read a BBC new story about Norway's Princess Martha Louise, fourth in line to the throne, who says she has psychic powers and can teach people to communicate with angels. Or click here to read a story from earlier this year about Norway's health minister, Bjarne Håkon Hansen, who has gotten a lot of media attention for promoting a psychic healer who calls him Snåsakallen (the "snåsa man"), stating that the snåsa man healed the health minister's baby son from colic over the phone. According to this same article, many Norwegian politicans share minister Hansen's belief in alternative medicine, among them half of the members of the committee of Health and Care Services. And finally, here's an article from late last year about Saera Khan, one of Norway’s members of parliament, who ran up huge phone bills calling clairvoyants, not just for personal advice, but also for advice on political matters.

I find it very interesting that my book has sold well in the Scandinavian countries, which include Denmark, Sweden, and Norway: perhaps BlueSkyFish is pointing us to one of the reasons for why this could be? I 've wondered before what our world would be like if other industrial and political leaders of the world were to openly embrace a more metaphysical perspective: in my blog entry News From the Future (the video for which we saw at the start of this entry), I showed a possible future when major corporations will change their approach, when it becomes apparent that there are patterns which exist outside of our observed reality which connect what we each think of as our unique "soul" to a larger whole.

In entries like Creativity and the Quantum Universe, Our Non-Local Universe, and Where Are You? we've looked at other ways of thinking about how our reality is inter-connected in ways that are "outside" of our 4D spacetime, and with my project I continue to suggest that these "spooky" ideas (as Einstein referred to them) make much more sense when we realize that our "now" is not in the fourth dimension, but the fifth.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton

Next: An Expanding 4D Sphere

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Roger Ebert on Quantum Reincarnation

A direct link to the above video is at

First, go read Roger Ebert's blog entry published a couple of weeks ago, called "The Quantum Theory of Reincarnation":

Mr. Ebert gets an awful lot of things right here, and in ways very similar to what I've been saying with my project since it launched over three years ago. I wonder how he would react to my original animation about how to imagine ten spatial dimensions? Or to the amusing College Humor satire published last month blending my way of visualizing the spatial dimensions with a movie trailer?

Over at YouTube, my most popular video blog entry is currently "Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?", which helps to solidify some of what Mr. Ebert is talking about: if, in the underlying structures of reality, time has no meaning and everything happens simultaneously, then the additional dimensions all have to be spatial rather than temporal for extra dimensions to make sense.

A direct link to this video is at

As Mr. Ebert mentions, our reality is not continuous, despite what our senses tell us. Rather, it's sliced up into planck-unit-sized pieces of not just space, but spacetime. In The Holographic Universe, I expanded upon this idea further with an exploration of the growing mountain of scientific evidence that our particular reality comes from the fifth dimension rather than the fourth:

A direct link to the above video is at

Coincidentally, a week or so before Mr. Ebert's blog entry went up I published a video blog at YouTube called "Could I Meet My Incarnation?", which explores very similar territory: what is it that makes each of us unique, and what is it that connects us all together?

A direct link to the above video is at

My most popular blog entry of all time was published earlier this year, and it also relates to Mr. Ebert's exploration of how the quantum world relates to the reality we see around us: "Creativity and the Quantum Universe". Here's the video for that entry:

Roger Ebert is one of the most widely read columnists on the planet. With his blog entry we looked at here today, he shows us he is part of a growing surge of interest in these ideas, and as I approach five million unique visitors who have been to my tenth dimension website, I'm so very pleased to have played my own small part in helping to move people towards this new understanding. Bravo, Roger Ebert!

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Norway's "Reverse Deja Vu"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just Six Things: The I Ching

A direct link to the above movie is at

In Alien Mathematics, we talked about the work of cosmologist Martin Rees, who proposed that there are only six basic structures underlying our reality. A few entries later, in The Map and the Territory, we looked at the difficulties in trying to map the extra dimensional patterns that create our reality, because a map becomes less useful when it tries to represent too much. A map with a scale of 1 to 1, for instance, should be able to faithfully capture absolutely every detail about a landscape, but a much smaller map is going to be significantly more useful as a guide.

Think about this, then. What if there were an ancient mapping system which boiled down our current position within the multiverse to only six parameters? This takes us, tangentially, to a territory that some readers of this blog won't be comfortable with, but which has enough connections to the big picture ideas we've been playing with that I believe it's worthy of consideration: this ancient system of mapping our reality is called the I Ching. Victor Robin, a student of the I Ching from California, explained it to me this way:

This is the Ancient Chinese way of viewing the Universe as energy, or Qi, moving through us and everything around us. (sounds familiar, huh?)

The Yi Jing (I Ching) is a compilation of centuries of ascetic observation put into a format that intentionally invites the participation of present timespace. The most common way people use the Yi Jing is by tossing coins to determine which verses are appropriate for the user to read at his point in "time." The user prepares to throw the coins by mentally focusing on a "question" for the Yi Jing to "answer."
Here's a few quotes from the wikipedia article on this subject:

The I Ching is a "reflection of the universe in miniature." The word "I" has three meanings: ease and simplicity, change and transformation, and invariability. Thus the three principles underlying the I Ching are the following:

  1. Simplicity - the root of the substance. The fundamental law underlying everything in the universe is utterly plain and simple, no matter how abstruse or complex some things may appear to be.
  2. Variability - the use of the substance. Everything in the universe is continually changing. By comprehending this one may realize the importance of flexibility in life and may thus cultivate the proper attitude for dealing with a multiplicity of diverse situations.
  3. Persistency - the essence of the substance. While everything in the universe seems to be changing, among the changing tides there is a persistent principle, a central rule, which does not vary with space and time.
I love how those three ideas sum up trying to think of our universe of genes, memes, and spimes from a perspective which is "outside" of our spacetime, a running theme in this project (see Information Equals Reality, You Have a Shape and a Trajectory, and The Big Bang is an Illusion
for a few examples). The I Ching also fits nicely with another subject we've touched on in this blog a number of times, sacred geometry. Here's more from that wikipedia article:

Richard S. Cook reported that that the I Ching demonstrated a relation between the golden ratio (aka the division in extreme and mean ratio) and "linear recurrence sequences" (the Fibonacci numbers are examples of "linear recurrence sequences") :

...the hexagram sequence, showing that its classification of binary sequences demonstrates knowledge of the convergence of certain linear recurrence sequences ... to division in extreme and mean ratio... that the complex hexagram sequence encapsulates a careful and ingenious demonstration of the LRS(linear recurrence sequences)/DEMR (division in the extreme mean ratio relation), that this knowledge results from general combinatorial analysis, and is reflected in elements emphasized in ancient Chinese and Western mathematical traditions.

Thinking of the I Ching as a road map of our available probability space, then, leads to its use for divination:
The I Ching has long been used as an oracle and many different ways coexist to “cast” a reading, i.e., a hexagram, with its dynamic relationship to others. In China the I Ching had two distinct functions. The first was as a compendium and classic of ancient cosmic principles. The second function was that of divination text. As a divination text the world of the I Ching was that of the marketplace fortune teller and roadside oracle. These individuals served the illiterate peasantry. The educated Confucian elite in China were of an entirely different disposition. The future results of our actions were a function of our personal virtues. The Confucian literati actually had little use for the I Ching as a work of divination.

John Thomas Bryant (who you will recall from his fascinating Astrotometry project), pointed out this hexagram, number 24, to me. Here's one version of the descriptive text for that hexagram: "A movement is accomplished in six stages and the seventh brings return".

The idea that our universe has six degrees of freedom, which are then constrained at the seventh dimension, seems very related to all this. There are, of course, many other systems of divination, and I realize how easy it is for people to dismiss all this as superstition. Like many other aspects of Imagining the Tenth Dimension, though, I'm willing to entertain the possibility that ancient wisdom may have figured some things out about our reality which science has yet to catch up to. As more and more physicists embrace the idea of a multiverse, and as Everett's Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics also sees increasing support, we see that ultimately everything about our universe exists simultaneously as a wave function that is outside of space and time. If so, then connections such as those explored thousands of years ago by Chinese scholars may not be as much of a stretch after all.

Have you ever had your palm read, or a tarot card reading, or a personal astrology analysis done? Was it all absolute bunk? If so, then the rest of this blog will be of no interest to you. On the other hand, if you have ever had the experience that many people around the world have had, where the reader seemed to know things, have insights, even specific knowledge that surprised you with its details, then you may be willing to consider that this is more than just lucky guesses that we're talking about here. Clearly, some people who do readings like these have strong intuitive capabilities, and regardless of the system of divination they use, that intuition helps them to be more effective at telling people's futures. I would say, then, that dismissing such events as coincidence, or worse still the deliberate deceptions of scam artists is too harsh a judgment: if we really are navigating our way through a probability space of unique outcomes that are available from our current "now", and those outcomes already exist within a timeless set of states that exist outside of our spacetime, then I don't think it's that hard to imagine that some people are more able to intuitively "see" the map of that upcoming information space than others.

We'll continue even further with this discussion about divination and superstition in an upcoming blog where we look at some fascinating reports from Norway, that entry will be called Norway's "Reverse Deja Vu". To close, here's a video for one of the 26 songs that go along with this project, a song about our ongoing quest to figure out the secrets of the universe: "What I Feel For You".

A direct link to the above video is at

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Roger Ebert on Quantum Reincarnation

Related blogs:

Poll 40 - Now vs. the Future
The Holographic Universe
Predicting the Future (Here Come the Aliens)
Dr. Mel's 4D Glasses
We're Already Dead (But That's Okay)
Unlikely Events and Timelessness
Poll 12 - Possible and Impossible Outcomes
Poll 7 - Can We Predict the Future?
Your Sixth-Dimensional Self
What Do You Want to Change?
Remembering the Future

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Map and the Territory

A direct link to the above movie is at

Image from wikipedia: René Magritte's famous painting, subtitled "This is not a pipe"

Chuck Salyers pointed me towards a fascinating wikipedia article on "The Map Territory Relation". Here's a few excerpts from the article, but please do read the whole thing:

The expression "the map is not the territory" first appeared in print in a paper that Alfred Korzybski gave at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1931:
  • A) A map may have a structure similar or dissimilar to the structure of the territory...
  • B) A map is not the territory.
The Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte illustrated the concept of "perception always intercedes between reality and ourselves" in a number of paintings including a famous work entitled The Treachery Of Images, which consists of a drawing of a pipe with the caption, Ceci n'est pas une pipe ("This is not a pipe").

This concept occurs in the discussion of exoteric and esoteric religions. Exoteric concepts are concepts which can be fully conveyed using descriptors and language constructs, such as mathematics. Esoteric concepts are concepts which cannot be fully conveyed except by direct experience. For example, a person who has never tasted an apple will never fully understand through language what the taste of an apple is. Only through direct experience (eating an apple) can that experience be fully understood.

Lewis Carroll, in Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (1893), made the point humorously with his description of a fictional map that had "the scale of a mile to the mile." A character notes some practical difficulties with such a map and states that "we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well."

In a sort of counterpoint to Lewis Carroll, the University of Cambridge economist Joan Robinson (1962) emphasized the disutility of 1:1 maps and other overly detailed models: "A model which took account of all the variegation of reality would be of no more use than a map at the scale of one to one."

Last blog, in "What's South of the South Pole?", we discussed the difficulty of envisioning things that are not part of the system we are within. With "the map and the territory", we have a way of thinking about how any representation of the system we are within is more useful if it finds ways to distill the elements, to avoid the uselessness of a map drawn to a scale of 1 to 1.

This is the power of the way of visualizing our reality as coming from ten dimensions as I've been portraying them - we have an intuitive way of encapsulating concepts that are much too big, much too all-encompassing, for us to be able to process without using representational maps. Which is not to say there is no value to the calculations physicists use to prove how our reality comes from the fifth dimension (as we explored in "The Holographic Universe"), or to deny the string theory idea that the potential for 10 to the power of 500 possible universes is contained within ten spatial dimensions (see "Does the Multiverse Really Exist?"): but rather, to return to the quote we've looked at before (in "Aren't There Really 11 Dimensions?") from physicist Michio Kaku:
In science, a physical picture is often more important than the mathematics used to describe it.
- Michio Kaku, in his book Physics of the Impossible
As we've said before, in recent entries like Logic vs. Intuition, Computers and Consciousness, Do Shamans See Other Dimensions?, and Our Non-Local Universe: with Imagining the Tenth Dimension, we are using intuition to hold concepts in our mind that by all rights are really much too large to fit. Using Alfred Korzybski's analogy, we can say that's because this project is looking at an abstract representation: and looking at a map can be much more productive than looking at this unfathomably large territory that we're exploring.

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

Next: Just Six Things: The I Ching

Tenth Dimension Vlog playlist