Today’s post isn’t going to be the usual improvement fanfare of productivity, habits and communication skills. Instead it’s going to be a long-winded self-indulgent post about something that has been on my mind lately. That is: what is the nature of reality?
Looking back as young as twelve I’ve been trying to come up with theories for how life works, how the universe works and how the two fit together. My often naive and highly speculative theories are always in a state of flux as I get new ideas and evidence from people far smarter than myself.
Today I’d like to tap into a few of those smarter people to tell me why I’m wrong. I don’t mean this as a challenge, but as a plead. I thrive on being shown why I’m wrong as that starts the theoretical gears in motion once again. So if you’ve got a lot of opinions and at least a modest level of intelligence, please read through my post and tell me why I’m a simple-minded fool.
First Some Citations…
Although I’m claiming this is my theory of everything, that’s hardly the case. In reality I’ve stolen almost all the pieces from other people way smarter than me, picked the bits I liked and ignored the rest. Scott Adams, Rob Bryanton, Steve Pavlina, Brian Greene and too many I forget.
My Big Theory of Everything
In this theory I’d like to cover three major points: what the universe is, what life and consciousness are and finally how the two fit together. If I confuse anyone along this journey please ask for clarifications so I can straighten things out.
There are a lot of theories on how the universe works. Big bangs, gods, multiverses, alternate dimensions and not to mention a flying spaghetti monster. For me, all these explanations lack completeness. They go so far as to explain what we see, but they don’t really answer why this and not something else.
Why did the big bang happen? What created god? Where did all these alternate universes come from? These all fail the 5-year old test.
What’s the 5 year old test? It’s when you have a conversation with one of those annoying kids who asks “Why?” to every answer you give without end. I feel any explanation of the universe that can probe another “Why?” is incomplete, despite how well it explains what we see.
Recently, however, I’ve hit upon a few ideas that seem to elegantly solve the 5-year old test. That is, they reach a conclusion which is so obvious, asking why becomes ridiculous. To save the suspense the obvious conclusion is this:
The Universe is nothing and everything. Zero = Infinity. It is not only nothing, but everything possible and impossible. So much everything that the word ‘everything’ doesn’t conceptually wrap around the idea.
In being everything and nothing, asking why becomes pointless. Why necessitates that there is something to differentiate answers. When you have everything = nothing, why becomes an irrelevant question.
Now how do you arrive at this point?
10-D Universe With a Somewhat Scientific Perspective
Before I explain how I reach my why-stopping conclusion, I’d like to point out that these ideas are philosophical, not scientific. I’m going to reference scientific concepts of which I have no formal training. Even if I had a PhD, the idea itself is unscientific. It can’t be demonstrated with experimental evidence.
First, quantum physics. Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with tiny particles. And, since it began, quantum physics has baffled scientists. The theories it uses predict experimental data perfectly. The problem is, nobody understands why they should work.
Quantum physics predicts that particles move around randomly and don’t actually have a fixed place until you look at them. This queer behavior has deeply unsettled scientists for years. Einstein himself was quoted as saying, “God does not play dice.”
The best example of quantum queerness told to me is a famous experiment. This is an experiment where two slits are cut and light was shown through them to a back wall. When this happens, the light creates an interference pattern. This is where the waves of light amplify and cancel each other.
Interference can be best demonstrated by making two splashes in water. When the waves touch some of the crests hit other crests, making big crests. Some crests hit troughs where they cancel each other.
Now lets say instead of flashing millions of waves of light, we flash one photon at a time. Even if you fire them like bullets, one at a time, an interference pattern builds up. This says light is a wave.
But, for arguments sake, let’s do something sneaky. Let’s put a sensor inside the slits so we can tell which one it goes through. If it really is a wave, it needs to go through both, not just one. However, as soon as we put the sensors in place, the interference pattern disappears. It’s as if the photons say, “Hey! Someone’s watching us… Behave like particles!”
Explanation for Quantum Queerness – Add Another Dimension
The best way I see to explain the weird properties of tiny particles is to have a fifth dimension. What’s the fifth dimension? Let’s start by explaining our basic spacial dimensions:
Everyone is aware of the basic three dimensions: vertical, horizontal and depth. The fourth dimension only takes a bit of mental construction, it’s time. So our 4-D universe consists of vertical, horizontal, depth and time. Make sense?
Now a fifth dimension would be saying that instead of time flowing along a straight line, it actually flows along a plane. A time-grid instead of a timeline.
Conceptually this explains a bit of the quantum queerness (as I understand it from a layman’s perspective). Particles can jump in an out of existence and move randomly because, they are moving along different longitudes of the time-grid. What appears to be a particle disappearing might just be a shift into a different part of the time-grid.
One Step Closer to the Why-Stopper – Introducing the Time-Cube
Hopefully my transforming of the timeline into a time-grid made sense. Because I’m going to make it even worse. Now imagine that instead of a time-grid, it were a time-cube.
Similar to our spacial cube, the time cube would mean you can move right/left, up/down and past/future. Keep in mind that these dimensions are overlaid on top of our current three. So for every point in the time cube you would have a fully three dimensional universe.
What would the time-cube look like?
I’d speculate that it would look like everything that is possible in what we call our universe. Every possible outcome and permutation of quantum randomness would exist in the time-cube. Spots would exist where you are a billionaire and you are a street urchin. Spots would exist where life never happened at all.
The only limitation on the time-cube would be the laws of physics. This would be the initial starting mixture of constants, particles and rules that define what our universe is.
Reaching the Why-Stopper – The Universe Cube
As unimaginably vast and complex a 6-D time-cube universe would be, I don’t believe it stops there. I believe on top of this time-cube, rests what I’m going to vaguely define as the universe-cube to bring the dimensions up to nine.
The universe-cube would itself be a variation on the ingredients that define each time-cube. In our time-cube, it is suspected that we started with a big bang, that gravity attracts and that there are four fundamental forces. But in the universe cube, you could have any number of different starting conditions, constants or even physical make-ups.
The universe-cube would have no limitations. It would be the definition of infinity, comprising everything, beyond the semantical limitations of the word.
What Happens When You Add a Tenth Dimension?
The next question is what happens when you add the tenth dimension. Now you’ve reached something spectacular. That big ball of infinity, of everything possible and impossible, becomes a single infinitesimal point.
When you have a single infinitesimal point, you have nothing. Nothing at all, zero, emptiness. Emptiness also does not conceptually wrap around the idea of just how nothing it is.
Hence, in a 10-D Universe you have everything equal to nothing and smacking you right in the face is the ultimate why-stopper.
How Does This Apply to Life?
Now to continue my long-winded discussion of reality and life, I’d like to talk about how this ten-dimensional why-stopper narrows in on the essence of consciousness and life itself.
First, let me start with a little assumption. You are essentially a pattern. Information stored on a medium of cells, matter and energy. Your ‘soul,’ if you want to call it that, is essentially the pattern that defines your existence.
In a deceptive way this somewhat justifies a metaphysical dualism where the mind is separate from the body. Except that it would also say your mp3 files are ‘souls,’ so I don’t know where you want to draw the line.
What Comprises Your Pattern?
Here we stumble into the question of identity. What, if changed, would no longer make you yourself? This is difficult to say. Some people would argue that your brain stores the pattern. Your hands, liver and hair aren’t an essential part of your identity.
Some might argue that your body and brain are the pattern. That external rocks, buildings, friends and relatives don’t comprise of the pattern. Both of these explanations seem like poor line-drawing in an issue where no natural boundaries exist. Either everything must stay exactly the same for you to remain you, or everything can change.
If you side with the first perspective, this would justify the now-perspective argued by teachers like Eckhart Tolle and The Buddha. That means that your past and future aren’t you and so they shouldn’t play a part in *your* reality.
I’d like to take a somewhat different stance. I’d like to argue that the pattern’s identity is determined by itself. In other words, when anything that interrupts the pattern enough for it to not believe it is the same pattern, it is no longer the pattern. So if a change happens and you (the cognitive computations designed by the pattern) still believe that you are you, then you are you.
If you were to suddenly wake up in Tokyo, you would probably still believe you were you. However, if all your memories were changed and the universe were adjusted to provide no evidence of the old you, that would probably be sufficient to say that you aren’t yourself anymore. Confused yet?
Pattern Jumping the 10-D Everythingness
First let’s look at my founding assumptions:
- Information Assumption – You are only a pattern. (i.e. there is no *essence* inside a particular pattern beyond the information it stores)
- Infinity-Zero Assumption – You are currently located inside a small sliver inside space, overlaid in the time and universe cubes.
- Identity Assumption – You are you to the degree to which you believe you are you. (e.g. teleporting to Tokyo doesn’t make a different person, but a different memory and world history does)
Now let’s say that you were to die this instant. A nuclear bomb goes off a mile from your house disintegrating yourself and the fragile pattern stored on the squishy medium that is your brain.
The question is: What happens to the pattern?
The answer is simple: you jump to the next location in the everythingness that contains a copy of your pattern sufficiently similar for you to believe you are still you. This happens because in a universe that contains everything, there will be another place in a random section that has a replica of your pattern.
Since you are the pattern, not the medium it was stored on, the ‘you’ will resume in the new pattern even if the matter that previously held it disintegrated.
A real-life equivalent of this would be backing up your hard-drive and then setting your laptop on fire. With a back-up, the pattern of information still exists, even if the computer has melted. Think of an infinity-zero universe as being the ultimate back-up device.
Broader Implications of Pattern Jumping
There are a couple broader implications that can be derived from pattern jumping:
- Your pattern can’t ever “die” it will simply resume in a new part. I’m still unsure of the specifics of this. Whether you would resume in an identical location, or if we take my identity assumption, you would randomly begin in a pattern that has sufficient you-ness.
- Your reality is essentially consciousness. Since you can jump between sections of the everythingness, this somewhat justifies the concept of subjective reality presented by Steve Pavlina and Law of Attraction proponents. By changing the internal recognition parameters for what you-ness is, you essentially sculpt where your pattern will flow and, in theory, the fragment of universe you experience.
- Anything is possible. Based on my assumption that the universe contains everything, you could theoretically jump anywhere, so there are no restrictions on what the universe my unfold towards you.
- God Exists (As well as the spaghetti monster) – So my previous statement of atheism needs to include the caveat that a 10-D universe would include, however disproportionately improbable, every manifestation of a deity possible. I still believe theistic arguments are too narrow to fit this broad context because each god would be infinitesimally small parts of the everythingness.
Until now all the spiritual arguments I’ve heard like this use naturalistic, almost magical, terms to justify themselves. But I’d like to make it clear that I’m not talking about something magical. I’m talking about something that is fundamentally rational and mechanical. I believe that a sufficiently self-aware computer program would pattern jump and experience consciousness just as the squishy software in your brain does.
I’m also consciously avoiding optimism-bias in my theory formulation. Although this explanation makes me feel better about how life works, I’ve previously had many theories that were far more bleak. I can’t fully avoid optimism, but if I come across a theory that is entirely depressing, but more convincing, I’ll go with it.
Now please tear all my arguments into pieces. Go.