Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Photons and Free Will

A direct link to the above video is at

(or should I call this one "Photons and Phree Will"? Hey, I'm just a sucker for alliteration!)

A direct link to the above video is at

This new video accompanies one of my favorite blog entries of 2010, Light Has No Speed. This one has already generated a lot of interest and discussion over at my YouTube channel.

We talked about one of the central ideas in the above entry last week in At Right Angles to Spacetime, where I showed you two intersecting arrows. Here's that diagram again, this time with a little more explanatory text added:

(you can click on the above picture for a higher resolution version)

Understanding that our reality is actually a continually evolving series of "points" in the fifth dimension, representing the intersection between the above two lines, is key to understanding my approach to visualizing the extra dimensions. Think about these ideas:
  • From a photon's point of view, there is no space, no time. The "time" it takes for light from a distant star to reach our eye does not exist for a photon - from its perspective it took no time to reach us. In that sense, thinking of this photon's path is like thinking of the "long undulating snake" we think of in my project, or the "spime" concept that Bruce Sterling likes to talk about - it's a data-set that connects the past to the future, viewed from outside of spacetime.
  • If that photon had not reached our eyes, it could have continued on into the future, traveling from that distant star many light years away with the light that from our perspective is already from many years ago: but even from the perspective of a photon coming from the very beginning of our universe traveling to the very end of our universe, this would still all happen simultaneously: for such a photon, the entire life of our universe would be one single event.
  • This reveals the contradiction in believing in free will and believing that there is nothing beyond our 4D spacetime: from this photon's perspective, then, there is only one single past, one single future, and everything is inevitable: including the dogged insistence that the free will we believe we're experiencing is real, when in fact it's only an illusion.
But thinking of our spacetime universe as having only one path from its beginning to its end leaves us with no easy way of understanding non-locality or quantum entanglement: these effects seem mysterious, unfathomably weird. This "photon's perspective" we're talking about here doesn't have room for such "spooky actions" (as Einstein referred to them) to occur, and yet quantum theories have been confirmed through experimentation to a higher degree of accuracy than any other theory about the underlying structures of our reality.

In Time's Illusions, we talked about the two kinds of "now" that are shown in my above diagram, and we started a poll question to see which kind of "now" people think of as applying to our space-time reality. Then, with At Right Angles to Spacetime I started another poll question, asking if people agree with that blog's title as a definition of light.

Here's the kicker - in both cases, there's a third "all of the above" answer I should have provided, but chose not to because it would have been so easy for people to select it without thinking about the other options. That answer, as I hope I've made clear with my blog entries this month, is that our spacetime "now" is in the fifth dimension, not the fourth, so both versions of "now" are correct depending upon your perspective. And because both light and gravity push against each other to create our reality, whether you think one or the other is at right angles to spacetime also depends upon your frame of reference. As I've said before, it's the same with the third dimension - calling the directions added by the third dimension up/down, or forward/backward, or left/right, or whatever doesn't change what you're adding, because these are just labels that are defined by the frame of reference already established.

Likewise, what we call the additional degree of freedom afforded by the fifth dimension can change depending upon your frame of reference, or which of the two "now" arrows pictured in the above diagram, you choose to assign to the fourth dimension.We'll talk about how our reality is defined at the fifth dimension through constructive interference more next time, with Cymatics.

Enjoy the journey!

Rob Bryanton


JuliaS said...

So interesting, Rob. From this I wonder if we can deduce that whatever light we see is based on either what we choose or where we are moving around in the dimensions. In other words, we are creating reality by choosing to see only certain aspects of light selectively.

Of course this is true with the human eye, but taken in the broader context our bodies are a moment-to-moment (if you will) creation of *the observer*, who- or whatever that is.

As always, it boils down to that question nobody has ever answered to my satisfaction... "who or what is the observer". And then, "who or what created the observer?"

I'd settle for understanding more of how this all works, peeling back the layers a bit at a time. It's fun, thanks for working on that and sharing with us in layman's terms.

Unknown said...

Hello Rob,
Just became familiar with your work recently,
thoroughly enjoy listening to your perspective on extra dimensionality and there interplay with the ones our physical senses are wired best to perceive. Having experienced interaction with conscience awareness to some degree of the 5th, I wanted to table a question for you. It is off topic but I did not know where else to begin. A little back ground first,
given mankind's evolutionary experience of his surroundings, his eventual understanding of the forces and laws in play at each level which have enabled us to go from a literal "flat" world paradigm to circumnavigation of a sphere larger than could be perceived at the time, then moving into the exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum beyond the visible realm, then seemingly "defying" gravity by manipulating the thin invisible fluid called "air" to rise above the ground and "fly" etc, this gives rise to the next obvious Q.

With our expanding understanding of the 5th and further dimensions, will man be able to also manipulate through mechanical means these additional dimensions for useful purposes of macro value beyond cramming more bits on a hard disk and the like? What do you imagine the real possibilities could be?

Or, being closer to a bio-centric universe as I believe we are, these other dimensions and their use will only be leveraged to their greatest potential through the individual points of observation "individually and or collectively", through the "minds and brains" the Omni-verse has already provided for us to access it? Like a more accurate use of the law of attraction vs a quantum car to get me to work in zero time as a silly example?

Much more to share and explore but I will lead with this. Appreciate your comments.

john harvey

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