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Friday, October 24, 2008

How To Materialize in a Parallel Universe

Consider what happens, mentally, when you buy a new car. You pick out this unique model with brilliant colors and feel there is something really special about it. In fact, you picked it out precisely because it was special. After signing some contract for payment, you leave the dealership and are driving down the highway, a flurry of other cars whip by you, but the ones that you notice are now the exact car and model that you just bought! Suddenly it seems like you have purchased the least-unique car of them all. All the rest of the automobiles that are whipping by are quickly ‘forgotten’ as mere noise or waves of red and white lights—your car, the one you are driving, is everywhere! The other cars really don’t catch your notice, just as you didn’t notice the one you just bought before you bought it. You feel a sinking in your stomach—the specialty of your purchase has suddenly been drained. Another example of this curiosity: let’s say you are a smoker. To justify that you are smoking a cigarette, your mind constantly scans the world around it looking for others like you that are also smoking. They are everywhere! It is almost a rule to you—so many people are smoking. But when you quit, when you stop smoking and really get it out of your system, all those cigarettes that you saw around you dangling from people’s fingers seemingly evaporate. When you look around as a non-smoker, no one is smoking—everyone has quit! Something strange is going on in these two examples, but what is it?

Your conscious mind has a certain power over the material world which has been verified and validated in another world currently being explored by physicists: the quantum world. When everything gets very small, a profound interplay exists between the observer and the observed that has disturbing consequences to science in general—it is like all prevailing and endearing scientific notions have suddenly manifested in the headlights of a quanta-mobile. It is a strange world indeed down here; particles apparently cease to exist--or exist only as a probability--unless someone actually comes along and observes them. Yes, In the quantum mechanics world, your car was a “probability wave” that took on a particle form because of your decision to make it a part of you and observe it. Your cigarette has taken on a particle form because of your decision to make it a part of you and observe it. You are therefore inventing (discovering) the car and inventing (discovering) the cigarette out of thin air. Scientists are disturbed by this because they are trying to discover (invent) an objective model of the world that doesn’t require an observer. I mean, are people smoking or not? Are other people driving this car or not? Does this particle exist or not? They cannot say. Disturbing indeed.

If you were to draw a circle around yourself and label it “the observer” and you were to draw another circle around your car and call it “the observed” you would feel as if you have drawn a pair of mutually exclusive things—you exist in your own circle, and your car exists in its own circle. The car does not ‘depend’ on you to exist, and you do not ‘depend’ on your car to exist. They are completely distinct and separate entities. But what research into quantum mechanics discovered is that at a microscopic level, you and your car are not independent of one another but exist as a result of the other, and if one of you were to go ‘poof!’ then so would the other. Just as your mind depends on the car to exist in the way it does, your car depends upon your mind to exist in the way it does. Since other people have died and the world has not gone ‘poof’, a tantalizing logical conclusion is that perhaps they have not gone ‘poof’ either!

To describe this interplay between mind and matter even further, picture yourself riding on a train with your head out the window. From your perspective, you are actually sitting still and it is the ground outside that is moving. Now, let’s rearrange that--if you were sitting on the ground and watching the train, from your perspective the ground is still and the train is moving. You have made a decision to either sit on the train or sit on the ground—your decision on what to observe and when to observe it contributes to your definition of reality.

Furthermore, if you furiously look for a reality outside of your own observations (as a scientist in search of an objective reality does quite fervently) by combining the results from multiple perspectives, you run into these obstacles. When you are sitting on the train, the ground might seem to be going 50 miles per hour south. When you are sitting on the ground, the train seems to be going 50 miles per hour north. If you then feel clever and put the two observations together, trumping the observations by standing above them both in some other dimension of time and space, you would realize that they cancel each other out and neither the ground nor the train would seemingly be moving to you at all because you are standing on neither! 50-50 =0. They would exist, motionless as particles or they would exist motion-full as two blurry waves. You cannot escape this trap when trumping contradictions, and as a result, you cannot discover a reality that exists independently from the mind of the observer.

When something is moving really fast, I can’t make out any details, not even its general shape. If I spin something on a table I might think I’m staring at a disk. When it stops I will see I am in error and am actually staring at a pen. When I cannot make out the details, I see this as an item in a wave-like state. When I can make out the details, I see this as an item that is in its particle state. To say something is a pen, I have to ‘resonate at the same speed’ as the pen. This happens when me or the disk slows down—I can’t tell which. To say something is a disk, I must ‘resonate at the same speed’ as the disk. This happens when me or the pen speed up—I can’t tell which. If I try to tell which is speeding up—me or the pen--or if I try to tell which is slowing down—me or the disk—I run into the same obstacles as when I try to trump the perceptions of the moving train and/or the moving ground.

So, is it a disk or a pen? Am I speeding up or is the world around me slowing down? Which is doing which? You might think this is a silly question, that the pen is obviously the one speeding up to form the disk because I twisted it myself. But when I was a child, I had this plastic toy given to me for Christmas called a “Sit N Spin” where I could twist a steering wheel in the center and my whole body spun around the base. While seated upon it, it felt that obviously I was spinning the wheel in the center and the ‘spinning wheel’ was making me rotate. While watching someone else seated upon it, I could see that obviously the steering wheel never moves and it was ‘spinning base’ around it that moved instead. They were exclusive perceptions that contradicted. If you apply the same toy concept to the pen, when I twist it like the steering wheel, have I spun the universe or spun the pen? You might think that the universe is much too heavy to be spun, but if the universe is supposedly not resting upon any other matter to give it some gravity, to my consciousness which seemingly exists elsewhere, isn’t it weightless?

Physicists haven’t given up, however, on defining the objective world that comes to light when studying things like the particle and wave-like relative states of the universe. What they have done is try to trump the model as we tried to do with the train, but instead of creating a model where there is just one ‘outside of the system’ observational point, they have started their equations with the notion that they are resting on every observational point at once and seeing what it does to their calculations and universal views. But what has happened is not the creation of more understanding but less. We now have parallel universes and multi-dimensions where time moves backwards and forwards and things can break the rules of the speed of light. Nothing makes sense anymore when trying to handle this connection between mind and matter. They have created a model of a universe with absolutely no permanency but extreme power, where every point in the universe is a folded up miniature model of every other point, so the whole is contained in the part and the part in the whole, and to an anthropic mind, it just seems so impossibly surreal, difficult to grasp, and distant. The universe now resembles a pastry puff of potentiality, each layer being a possibility, all contradicting with one another yet existing side by side, and every layer being seemingly supported and verified by laboratory experimentation.

This potentiality is fascinating precisely because of the power it gives us, yet it contains humbling ramifications. Quantum physicists are realizing that they can ‘particlize’ mathematical constructs into matter simply by attempting to measure for them. In that sense, their math is inventing electrons, neutrons, protons, anti-matter, and their laboratory experiments are backing up their claims.

But this ‘reality invention’ process is not reserved for physicists alone. In fact, we are ‘materializing’ things every day, pulling them out of thin air and bringing them into existence without even realizing it just through our own will to observe them. Case in point: let’s say you want to believe in karma. When you look around you for evidence of karma, you will see it. It is there. But when you are not looking for karma, when it is not a part of your world view, there is no evidence of it at all. Karma means something to you in one universe and has given you context—but not in mine. In other words, I don’t drive the same car as you, so I don’t notice it as much while driving. To me, it just doesn’t exist.

In contrast to the relative nature of everything, there is a ‘bunching process’ upon some of these layers of potentiality which give some particles a larger sense of ‘really being there’ merely because there are more people doing experiments to prove in the existence of these shared observations. In addition, networks of shared consciousness are set up to support these claims. What we read in the mainstream media seems to be more real than those on the fringe since more people are reading the mainstream media stories, and we know this. Suddenly, editors thus really do become these gatekeepers to a shared reality, at least to those who care to observe reality through them, increasing their strength and making this shared reality resonate stronger for others. But the reality is still a shared agreement, and if you want to get rid of the gatekeeper influence, switch your focus upon them—their influence evaporates. Some may say that this is a pipe dream, that their influence doesn’t evaporate because even if you don’t personally read the mainstream media, other people do read it. But this argument is geared towards conscious minds attempting to maintain the shared reality in which the media is the most influential. If you want to live in a universe where their influence evaporates, it really will evaporate—you just have to find where to stand.

I am reminded time and time again of this particlization of different realities merely because I habitually place my own life out of context. I was born into a Midwestern church-going family that loved its guns and hardworking “fend for yourself” ethics. I loved reading, writing, and the arts. I ended up in an eastern Buddhist-like family who wouldn’t touch a gun, married to an Asian woman in Australia, programming for a living. I have done so almost on purpose—to see reality for what it truly is, that we are all making it up. I hate math, yet cannot stop reading the words of mathematicians. I love art and literature but am considered by many to be cold and distant with no artistic flair whatsoever. I speak to very few people, wear bland clothes and do not like to travel, yet I feel a connection with everything that doesn’t require words, and mentally I go places in my own mind which people don’t even seem to be beginning to discover. This has come across to many that I am ultra-conflicted and opaque, but if you were travelling the same speed as me, you might see me as a multidimensionally colorful universal traveler like yourself. Perhaps if you, like me, are capable of absorbing all potential universes like colors, you would in fact also appear opaque to an outside observer, just as when you look out into the universe through a telescope, all those potential universes sandwiched on top of one another appear opaque as well—I mean, the multiverse is black, is it not? Some people are like prisms, distinguishing one color from the next, dividing the world into its constituent parts. Others take all those separated colors and put them back together again. It is all perspective and personal choice, and we make up the ‘personal choice‘ bit like everything else as we go along.

I am resonating at a particular wavelength when I see these things and sense these things around me, just as when I see the spinning disk instead of the pen. I also have difficulty finding people who can see the same things as me or relate to me when I do this. That ‘bunching process’ doesn’t seem to occur so much here on this level. But no level is greater than any other, just as no color in a rainbow is any greater. They’re just different. I am here and seeing these things because I am making the personal choice to see them. I am reporting to other conscious minds of the differences in these parallel universes as a traveler would report what it is like in distant lands. A traveler’s true home is the road, you see, and infinity is a journey that never stops—when it does, when we pretend we have found our place in life and build our nests, we’re really just making it up. There’s still a long way left to go.

Written By: Jeff Behnke



Anonymous said...

A nicely crafted piece. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and must commend you for your grasp of the subject and the comprehensible way you describe it.

Believers in the MWI (many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics) reads like a who’s who of science. They include Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman.

One notable dissenter is the renowned Sir Roger Penrose. He concedes that the tenets of quantum physics drives you to accept the MWI but his sense of logic won’t permit it.

To my mind, his argument is actually an argument for the MWI because his views against are based on personal prejudice.

Some scientists cannot abide the notion of the MWI of quantum physics. But every time they try to exclude it from the maths it doesn’t work out. The maths insists upon the MWI. So now they come up with other theories, all designed to eliminate the MWI. There’s string theory which poses problems of its own, and brane theory which does allow the maths to equate, but whose concept doesn’t quite cut it.

I also have a credibility problem with the MWI, I must confess. I accept its validity on an intellectual level but the doubts surface when I stop to think about its implications on an everyday level.

The twin-slit experiment is a powerful argument for the MWI which we simply cannot brush aside. No physicist I'm aware of can explain the behaviour of those subatomic particles which comprise us and everything else in the universe in any way which excludes the MWI.

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