Monday 1 October 2012

A Beginner's Guide to Consciousness

You may be wondering why this project is called "The Dimensions of Consciousness"? For me, this title sums it up. I am presenting a whole new paradigm of consciousness; one in which consciousness is more fundamental than space or time. It is the ultimate building-block of everything! You could be forgiven for thinking that, perhaps, I was about to present some form of new religion. I am not.

Several people have told me that they find some of the topics I've covered so far a bit difficult. They can't see where I'm going with what seems like a science lesson! When I talk to them about my theories of consciousness, I quickly introduce spirituality into the conversation. That topic is going to be the next direction of this blog. So far I have simply (or maybe not so simply?) laid the scientific foundations for the blog. This post is therefore a round-up of the subjects I've covered to date. I describe how the latest thinking in science sounds more like science fiction and introduce some ideas that may at last link science and religion. I offer a definition of consciousness that could be accepted by both factions.

My background is in applied science and mathematics  but I'm also a spiritual person. I present my credentials for writing about this subject in my first post "About this blog and its author". I am a free thinker who ignores taboos and dares to think outside the box. I speculate about the philosophical meanings of scientific theories; in particular quantum theory. Such talk frightens some of the very people who created these theories and they run-scared-from or attempt to ridicule anyone who attempts to draw-out a meaning beyond the pure numbers.

This new understanding about the nature of consciousness comes from an interpretation of "String Theory" or "M-Theory". We can now, at last, explain the relationship between the science of the infinitely large and that of the infinitely small: a feat that even Einstein was unable to achieve before he died. There is one BIG issue to deal with, however: these theories require the universe to be ELEVEN dimensional!

The blog therefore begins with two posts that are intended to help you get your head round the theory. "Why we think there are multiple dimensions" explains how Einstein's special theory of relativity and quantum mechanics were originally unified using an elegant 10-dimensional mathematical model. The theoretical physicists who were involved with the development of string theory  became nervous when confronted by practical questions about what the extra dimensions might actually be.

One of those pioneers, John Hagelin stood out from the crowd and claimed that consciousness came from the higher dimensions and in fact, that consciousness was the "ground of all being". A Transcendental Meditation guru, Hagelin was disowned by some in the scientific community because he had dared to tackle one of the taboos of the conservative establishment.

The following post "10 spacial dimensions: what does that mean?" attempts to take you conceptually through an understanding of dimensions and introduces, for the first time, the amazing Rob Bryanton, whose project "Imagining the 10th Dimension" has caught the attention of millions of YouTubers around the world. His background as a musical artist has given him the vision to describe all 10 physical dimensions in terms that we mere 3D mortals can understand.

The 11th (non-spatial) dimension is Time and in the next two posts I attempt to offer clues as to what time might actually be. In "Is time a dimension?" I put the case for whether time should be thought of as a dimension. Rob Bryanton thinks it is but he's re-labelled it as "Duration" in order to get away from the idea that time only moves in one direction. The videos in this post show that even some of the top scientists in the world can't agree on a definition of time. My own frustration with defining time leads me to the conclusion that it's inextricably tied up with consciousness.

I examined that idea in the next post "A Subjective View of Time" I explained the "time dilation effect" which formed part of the theory of Special Relativity but then showed that this proven theory implies we all live in our own individual realities, separated by different Planck frames of time. There's something very strange about the whole concept of time. I think time requires a conscious observer because the only way to detect its passage is to compare two different points in time and, surely, a conscious record of each of the previous moments is required to do that? Notice that I have not suggested here that human consciousness is required for this.

Consciousness seems to be inextricably linked to reality. In my next post "The Quantum Observer" I described the well-known "double slit experiment" which seems to prove that the act of observation causes a particular reality to manifest from an infinite set of possible realities . The quantum observer doesn't have to be human: consciousness itself is the universal observer. In the posts that followed I renamed the human perception of consciousness as "conscious awareness" which is just a very narrow band of a much bigger spectrum of consciousness that underpins everything.

That leaves unanswered a very obvious question. If consciousness underpins everything, then everything must, in some way, be consciousness - even a rock. After several years of pondering this question, I announced my theory of the Spectrum of Consciousness in the post "A New Definition of Consciousness". No longer can we claim that we humans are so special that we invented consciousness! We are tuned-in to a small part of a whole spectrum. I suggested that the field of consciousness is one definition of God!

Of course, if we are to think of consciousness as originating outside the body, you have to ask what role does that leave for the brain? In "Consciousness and the Brain" I described the brain as a type of dynamic 3D holographic plate. When combined with the field of conscious energy, it produces a the representation of space-time which we perceive as reality. I acknowledge that we may never be able truly to understand what the brain is and how it actually generates the impression of conscious awareness, but I am adamant that the brain is NOT the source of conscious awareness (and obviously not the source of consciousness itself). It is the organ we use to interact with the field of consciousness and thereby, to give us our sense of being.

I spoke earlier of taboos and there's none so pervasively pernicious as the scientific establishment's dismissal of psi phenomena as a serious cause for study. There is so much experimental data that demonstrates that these phenomena exist that you have to conclude that it's downright unscientific not to accept that data and set up further studies to understand it. In "Fields of Consciousness", I discussed the scientific evidence and theories about the existence of supernatural phenomena. The Global Consciousness Project has proved with a probability of better than 1 an a billion that the human race collectively generates a field of consciousness that can be detected by fluctuations in the output stream of set of random number generators situated throughout the world. This in itself should be enough for similar studies to be undertaken without prejudice. Regrettably, scientific and religious taboos are still acting against such a move.

So, where is this blog going from here? I have offered a scientific framework that will allow us to understand the mysteries of consciousness which, until now, have been the exclusive domain of religion and esoteric philosophy. The addition of only one extra dimension is enough to explain almost all the supernatural phenomena which have been reported on Earth. We have an extra SEVEN to play with!

There are several ways in which we can describe the realm of the higher dimensions but as I will discuss in my next post, we should perhaps call it "The Spirit World".

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Fields of Consciousness

I my post entitled Consciousness and the Brain I introduced the idea by David Bohm and Karl Pribram that consciousness was the result of a holographic interplay of matter and forces both inside and outside the body. At the end of that post I promised I would return to discuss fields of consciousness, or in other words: consciousness acting at a distance.

Although I'm not averse to presenting theories of consciousness that are not yet verified by scientific experimentation, I am going to begin with irrefutable objective evidence that a field of consciousness exists. I am referring to The Global Consciousness Project, directed by Princeton professor Roger Nelson. This consists of a scientific experiment that has been continuously running since 1997 which has demonstrated statistically that human thought can and does influence the environment.

Nelson had previously worked on experiments that attempted to test whether human intention could be used to influence the outcome of random chance: in this case, the stream of ones and zeroes coming out of a random number generator. He showed that it is possible to change the output of a generator in the direction of the observers' intention by carefully statistically analysing the the results of thousands of independent trials.

Following on from this, Nelson posited that perhaps there was such a thing as global consciousness. If so then, if a single incident simultaneously aroused the attention of a sufficient number of minds, it might create a conscious field effect that modifies the randomness of the generated number streams. There are now scores of random number generators distributed around the world that continuously feed their "random" data back to Princeton 24/7/365. This means that for significant world events that cannot be predicted in advance which attract global attention, scientists can go back to the data and check if it deviated from random during that event.

I'll let Dean Radin explain the results:

Dean Radin: the Global Consciousness Project (09:43)

In 2008 when the above video was posted on Youtube, there had been around 200 world events that had been analysed and shown that indeed, an effect had also been observed by the experiment.

I spoke earlier of (as yet) unverified scientific experiments on fields of consciousness. Described as an "unorthodox" scientist, Rupert Sheldrake proposes that a "morphic field" exists which connects the consciousness of all living things. His theory of morphic resonance seeks to offer an explanation of behaviours such as the beautiful formations of flocking birds and shoals of fish and mass migrations of animals. In humans, morphic fields could account for the sense of being stared-at and the phenomenon of pets knowing when their masters are due to arrive home.

Sheldrake was interviewed by CMN TV. Notice how, even before the interview begins, he is presented as something less than a serious scientst.

Rupert Sheldrake Interview - trailer (02:28)

You would have to join the CMN site to see the whole video but there's much more Sheldrake material on Youtube.

Shedrake is treated as an outsider and a maverick by the conservative scientific establishment and several of his key research papers have been refused for publication in prestigious scientific journals because, I believe, when they are peer-reviewed prior to publication, the reviewers refuse to accept that his findings could be correct - in spite of the evidence. This is because as he says in his best selling book "Seven Experiments That Could Change The World" - the dogmatic views of science would have to be completely revised if it could be shown that fields of consciousness exist.

Dean Radin has himself been the victim of this wholly unscientific prejudice and I too expect to be included in this list of "outsiders", if my work gets taken-up more widely. As I said when I posted on this blog A new Definition of Consciousness there are taboos in science. The dogmatic resistance of scientific prejudice has held-back an objective study of consciousness for decades - just as the dogma of the Catholic Church held back astronomy for centuries by its insistence that the Earth was the centre of the universe. In those days you could be executed for suggesting that the Bible might be wrong.

Radin talks of the subjects we are not allowed to talk about in the following video:

Taboos in Science (03:51)

I think that string theory provides a mechanism to create a scientific framework to explain what are now considered to be "supernatural" events - higher dimensions. I understand why Richard Feynman (et al) insisted that we "just shut up and calculate" when higher dimensions were first proposed. There are so many uncomfortable "real world" implications from this beautiful mathematical theory that he must have feared for his reputation if these ideas were to be voiced. Well it's too late now Richard - I'm afraid Schrödinger's cat is now well and truly out of the bag!

If the video on taboos in science irritates you as much as it does me then take a look at Radin's 95 minute Google lecture on Science and the taboo of psi.

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

Monday 19 December 2011

Discovering The Higgs Boson

This post is not the one I was expecting to be writing today, but current events have prompted me into talking about the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle.

On December 13th 2011 The CERN team from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) announced, in effect, that they had discovered the elusive "God Particle", known to physicists as the "Higgs Boson" particle. From my perspective, if on the same day it had been announced that the holy grail had been found, the Higgs Boson story should still have taken first place in the headlines!

This news is important to this blog because, if this result is validated, it could represent the first real evidence for string theory and hence, for multiple dimensions. As this blog is predicated on the assumption that there are higher dimensions, it adds weight to my thesis about the origins of consciousness.

The search for the Higgs Boson was primarily aimed at validating the Standard Model of particle physics. This is the only particle predicted by the model that had not (until now) been observed experimentally. It's link to string theory - and hence to the existence of multiple dimensions is connected to the mass of the Higgs Boson.

The standard model cannot predict the mass of a Higgs Boson but string theory can. If the mass measured at LHC (approx 125GeV) is in line with the string theory value then this supports string theory.

To be fair, CERN's actual position on the "discovery" was expressed by a spokesperson on BBC radio as [sic] "the probability of the Higgs Boson particle NOT existing has diminished". So why is CERN being so careful not to shout out the news from the rooftops?

At the time of writing, the degree of confidence that CERN have in the validity of the result is about 1 in 1000: in other words there is only a 0.1% chance that these results are caused by random chance or error. Before they can declare the result to be confirmed, that confidence level needs to increase to 1 in a million. It will take time for enough experiments to be conducted to confirm the results. So we might expect a firm announcement about the Higgs Boson in 2012.

String theory suggests that the graviton particle would not be detected from a particle collision because it would have "jumped" into another dimension. So, if the graviton exists and the theory is correct, there should be a "gap" in the energy profile of all the particles ejected from the collision.

To understand this, think of breaking the pack of balls in a game of pool. The total energy of all the balls after the collision will depend on the force with which the cue ball was hit. So, after the collision, the energy of all the balls is measured and added-up to make sure it is the same as the energy of the cue ball. BUT - imagine that there is some energy missing, because one of the pool balls has "gone missing" - into a higher dimension.

In this video, physicist Brian Green outlines the origins of string theory and (at around 17:00) he states that the graviton could be detected at the LHC.

I look forward to CERN announcing the existence of the graviton some time in the next few years.

Next: I will return to the theme of consciousness acting at a distance.

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

Further Information
An explanation of the Higgs Boson by the (rather excited) Ross Exton

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Consciousness and the Brain

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake

The Spectrum of Consciousness, described in my previous post, gives us a new framework for understanding consciousness. But, if consciousness comes from outside the body - from the higher dimensions outside spacetime - what role does that leave for the brain?

In the first half of the following 27 minute video (the late) Michael Talbot talks about a holographic model of the brain that was suggested by David Bohm and Karl Pribram.

A 3D hologram can be created if you shine a laser light through a flat holographic plate. The plate contains patterns of information which create interference patterns in the laser light. These interference patterns generate the image. If you then break the plate into several fragments, the whole image is still contained in each fragment.

Michael Talbot:
Synchronicity and the Holographic Universe

At 04:30 Talbot says

"If the universe is a hologram, in some sense it suggests that there may be two very drastically different levels of reality: the concrete reality that we see when we look at [things]... and at some deep level there's a level of reality where everything dissolves into an ocean of energy that is holographically interconnected."

The holographic model is not an exact analogy but more of a metaphor. One interpretation is that the brain is the "holographic plate" and the vibrations of universal consciousness serve as the equivalent of the laser light. Another interpretation could be that the fabric of the universe is like a hologram and that the brain is the emitter of conscious energy which interacts with the holographic universe to create reality.

It could of course be a complex mix of these two models or something even more complicated and maybe outside our ability ever to understand. Is it actually possible to use our own conscious awareness to measure conscious awareness? As Alan Watts put it: can a car headlamp illuminate the cables that supply its power?

From 09:00 Talbot describes gruesome experiments on rats' memory aimed at discovering exactly where a specific memory is stored in a rat's brain. Regardless of which parts or how much of the brain are removed, a memory could never be removed. In other words, the brain stores information in a similar way to the holographic plate.

Unlike a holographic plate which represents a fixed 3D snapshot of a subject, a hologram inside the brain would be continuously updating itself as a result of input from the environment. We used to think that the brain was constructed with a fixed architecture although functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that it is actually very malleable. This process of structural and functional change in the brain is called Neuroplasticity.

Because it's a dynamic hologram, your brain is continuously producing a 4D (space-time) impression of the material world. In effect, it converts conscious awareness into an internal "film show" representing your own personal reality. We have scientific evidence that our awareness of "now" is in fact up to 500 milliseconds (half a second) behind the "real" now and I will return to the subject of "now" in a later post.

Consciousness generates a field effect, similar to an electromagnetic field. Like a magnet attracting a metal object without having to touch the object, consciousness is capable of interacting with things at a distance.

We have already seen evidence for a field of consciousness. In the double-slit experiment, it is a field of consciousness that collapses the wave function of sub-atomic particles and forces them to adopt a particular material state of existence.

But more tangible evidence exists of the field of consciousness and this is the subject of my next post.

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

Further Study

Because it's slightly off-topic for this post I didn't mention the "fish in an aquarium" analogy that Bohm used to explain quantum superposition (see 06:45 in the video). The "two fish" observed from the end and from the the side of the tank are actually the same fish, but you only get that understanding from a 3D perspective. Thus, two particles in superposition with one another in space time are actually, like the fish in the tank, the same particle viewed from a higher dimensional perspective.

The interview with Michael Talbot can be found on Jeffrey Mishlove's excellent online resource Thinking Allowed. I thoroughly recommend you spend some time indulging your curiosity on this site, or visit Jeffrey's Youtube Channel: ThinkingAllowedTV.

Sunday 23 October 2011

A New Definition of Consciousness

In my last two posts, A Subjective View of Time and The Quantum Observer, I described how our action as observers distorts reality at the quantum level.

In A Subjective View of Time, I described how an observer slips into a different time frame relative to the observed simply when one moves relative to the other. In The Quantum Observer I described the double-slit experiment that demonstrates how particles do not actually exist in any one place until they are observed.

Both effects seem absurd when we consider them from the perspective of what we normally perceive as day-to-day reality. Yet both are provable by regular scientific methods. The common thread is the observer. In this post I want to talk about my own personal interpretation of the quantum observer: it's not a person, but a thing.

In my view, the quantum observer is consciousness. The conventional definition of consciousness implies that it is a uniquely human property. For me, the aspect of consciousness that applies to humans should be called conscious awareness. I'm hereby introducing a new paradigm for the larger concept of consciousness of which conscious awareness is a tiny sub-set.

Think of consciousness as the fifth force of nature. It is a fundamental property of the universe.

In my post Why we think there are multiple dimensions, I included a video by John Hagelin, one of the founders of string theory in which he explained how consciousness is the fundamental unified foundation of the universe. I include this video again here because the ideas he puts forward are the basis of my explanation of consciousness.

Discovery of The Unified Field
(Part 1 of 5)

John is a leading member of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement and they refer to consciousness as the "ground of all being". There is an interesting synchronicity between me and TM which occurred back in 1996, around the time when I first realised that conciousness must exist in the higher dimensions outside space-time.

I was on a train that had broken down outside Durham station in Northern England. I was writing a business game on my grey-and-white screened laptop PC and a chap was sitting opposite me feverishly tapping away at his laptop. It took three hours to get our train pulled back to the station platform and within the first hour, both of our laptops had run out of power. We began talking about what we had been doing on our respective PC's. He said he was a writer specialising in TM and that he lived in the TM headquarters in Mentmore Towers in Leighton Buzard. For some reason I didn't spend long talking about business simulations but instead proceeded to tell him about "my theory" of consciousness.

He listened carefully and at the end of my revelation to him, he gently smiled and to my great surprise replied "yes that's correct"! He informed me that Mahereshi Mahesh Yogi (the founder of the TM movement) had produced a mathematical "proof" that the unified field was consciousness. This proof was posted on the wall of the foyer in Mentmore. He invited me to bring my wife to Mentmore for lunch with him and he would show it to me.

A few weeks later we arrived for lunch and as promised he showed me the poster. It was far too complicated for me, a mere operational research scientist, to comprehend, but I took it on face value from the obvious sincerity that it had been presented to me. I left feeling that I was now on a mission to pursue my ideas on consciousness so I could one day introduce them to the "ordinary person in the street". I never returned to Mentmore and didn't have any further contact with TM. I believe my guide died shortly afterwards as he was suffering with cancer at the time we met.

I will return to the subject of taboos in science in a later post but I believe one of the reasons that John Hagelin is not sufficiently revered by the scientific community for his discovery of one of the 10-dimensional unified field theories is because of prejudices against TM amongst certain members of the scientific community.

So what IS consciousness?

From a starting assumption that the origin of consciousness is outside of space-time, I've spent the last 15 years trying to get my head around how to describe or define it. If consciousness is a fundamental property of the universe, then this implies that everything in the universe participates in consciousness. Animals, plants, single-celled life forms, planets, stones, atoms: ALL of these things have an expression of consciousness. But how can this be?

Consider consciousness as if it were a force that is propagated via a spectrum of vibrational frequency, similar to the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS).

We humans are able to perceive only a very tiny fraction of the EMS with our senses: visible light. The following video puts light into context within the whole EMS.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Just as humans are only tuned-in to that band of the EMS corresponding to visible light, similarly we are only tuned-in to a very narrow band of the spectrum of consciousness. This is the band that corresponds to self awareness.

We obstruct a proper understanding of consciousness if we limit its definition to properties of human awareness. It would be as if we had limited the definition of the electromagnetic spectrum only to the frequencies of visible light that humans are capable of perceiving! Henceforth, when I use the word "consciousness" in the human context, I will refer to it as "conscious awareness" so as to differentiate it from the altogether bigger concept of the whole spectrum of consciousness.

So, in my new paradigm, consciousness acts universally. The late, great philosopher Alan Watts said that if you pick up two stones on a beach and knock them together, the particular sound they make may be considered as their way of expressing their primitive vibrational level of consciousness. Clearly, we need to re-think our understanding of how consciousness expresses itself at different vibrational levels.

By removing the reliance on humans as the sole agents of consciousness, the quantum observer no longer has to be human. The anthropic principle is therefore a non-starter in the debate about the true nature of the universe.

As this blog evolves, I will introduce you (via YouTube videos) to some of the greatest thinkers of the modern age who are trying to help us break out of our limiting beliefs about the nature of existence, awareness and mind.

Some of this may appear controversial if you are a scientific reductionist. On the other hand, those who have a leaning towards spiritual philosophy and "new-age" thinking may be excited to see how science is merging with their beliefs. There will be others with entrenched, institutional religious views who may feel threatened by the ideas of science encroaching on their territory.

Resistance to these new ideas is therefore inevitable, but paradigm changes never come easily! I dare even to suggest that this view of consciousness could represent a definition of "God". By placing consciousness separate from physical existence, we now have a scientific framework that can explain life after death.

How exciting!

The following video is a taster of what is to come.

Consciousness Drives The Universe

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

Thursday 22 September 2011

The Quantum Observer

In my last post A Subjective View of Time I showed how Einstein's time dilation effect implies that at the Planck scale, weird things happen. Parts of your body move into a different time frame - a different reality - just by virtue of moving them relative to the rest of your body. At the quantum level time doesn't appear to make any kind of practical sense. But that's just the start of it! Proven, repeatable scientific experimentation shows us that sub-atomic particles don't actually exist - until you observe them.

The classic example is called "the double-slit experiment". In this experiment, photons or electrons are fired at a pair of slits in a barrier and they emerge on the other side as wave fronts which then interact with one another to form an interference pattern on a screen on the other side of the slits. They continue doing this EVEN when they are fired one at a time through the slits.How can this happen when there are no other electrons to interact with? Somehow, each electron appears to be travelling through both slits at the same time and interfering with itself!

But that's not all! If you then observe each electron as it reaches the slits, its behaviour changes and it then only passes through the left, the right or neither slit - and no interference pattern is produced. The act of observation influences the outcome of the experiment. I'll let Dr. Fred Alan Wolf explain:

Dr. Quantum explains the Double-Slit Experiment"

When it's not being observed, the electron doesn't actually exist in any particular state. Instead, it exists only as a potential electron. All possible states of existence of the electron - passing through the left, right or neither slit - are realisable. This is referred-to as the electron being in a state of quantum superposition.

Mathematically, these states are described by probability equations which are referred-to as "wave functions". Fittingly the wave function behaves like a wave equation - and in this state the electron behaves like a wave. When observed, the electron is forced to drop-out of quantum superposition and adopt one measurable state in which it no longer behaves like a wave but rather like a particle. This process is described as the observer "collapsing the wave function.

At the quantum level, all particles exist in a state of superposition. So, as strange as it may seem, this experiment implies that nothing actually exists until it is observed. The so-called "quantum observer" causes matter to cease being in a superposition of potential states and to choose a particular state of existence in which it can be measured. But what rule determines which particular state it is going to be? If you want to make a physicist uncomfortable just ask him or her to explain this "measurement problem"! Some of the greatest names in quantum physics philosophy will now take you to the next stage:

The Observer Effect (Dr. Dean Radin)

"Who is the quantum observer?" You can be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that in some way, mankind is responsible for the existence of the universe merely by observing it (this is often referred to as "the anthropic principle") - but you would be wrong!

The effect of "observation" is caused by a field of universal consciousness. Humans merely participate in consciousness - we are not the source of consciousness.

Finally we have reached the point of this whole blog. I'm going to describe to you a new model for consciousness - one that blows the anthropic principle out of the water. That will be the subject of my next post.

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

Friday 5 August 2011

A Subjective View of Time

In my previous post Is Time a Dimension?, I presented a case that time is a dimension. I also pointed out that even the greatest minds in science can't agree on a single definition of time. I'm sorry to disappoint you if you thought I had discovered the holy grail of time! Like many other pundits I have my own ideas about time, however.

Let's start by thinking about how we perceive time. In our personal experience, we are aware of time passing - in one direction. We don't appear to be able to move backwards in time and seemingly can't move forwards in time (other than one day at a time). We can remember the past and we can visualise the (possible) future but we seemingly can't access it or interact with time other than in the present moment.

But what is the present moment? Can we ever hope to perceive the universe as it is NOW? The answer to that is a resounding NO! As I will now explain, time and space can cause optical illusions and time itself is different for every observer.

First, let's consider how distorted our perception of space can be due to the vastness of space and the speed of light.

The speed of light limits our ability to view the current moment

When we look out into the night sky, we are not seeing the stars as they actually are at this moment in time. The light from each celestial object has travelled to our eyes at a speed of 300,000 kilometres per second. The distance that each beam of light has travelled is so great that by the time it reaches our eyes, it may have been travelling for years, even centuries or more. We are seeing the light it emitted at a point in time equal to its distance from us divided by the speed of light. Because the stars are at different distances from the Earth, we are therefore looking at a time-distorted snapshot of the universe.

Light from the Moon takes just over a second to reach us and from the Sun, about 8 minutes and 19 seconds. The nearest star, Alpha Centauri is so far away that its light takes 4.27 years to reach us. We express cosmological distances in those terms, so we would say that Alpha Centauri is 4.27 light years away from the Earth. The furthest object ever observed to date is over 13 billion light years away! (However that can't be seen with the naked eye.)

Here's an interesting video by Carl Sagan from 1980 where he demonstrates how our view of the cosmos is not only distorted but changes through time due to the relative motion of the stars.

Travels In Space and Time

So, what we see in the sky is distorted because we are looking back a different length in time for every visible object. That may be reasonably easy to understand but there's an aspect to time that's a lot less easy to get your head around and that's the time dilation effect of special relativity.

There's no such thing as a universal "Now"

Probably one of the greatest scientific achievements of the 20th century was Einstein's theory of relativity. According to this theory, we can change our own unique time frame relative to one another, depending on our relative speed and the differing effects of gravity. This is called the time dilation effect. The theory states that the rate that your personal time frame elapses depends on the speed you are travelling and the amount of gravitational force you are subjected to. I'll let the following video explain this.

Time Travel: Einstein's big idea
(Theory of Relativity)

The faster you are travelling and the greater the gravitational pull you are experiencing, relative to someone observing you, the slower your time frame elapses relative to them. It's not just you that appears to slow down, but everything in your time frame: your own personal universe, if you like. You witness your own world elapsing at the "normal" rate, but someone observing you from a different relative speed or subject to a different amount of gravitational pull would see you moving more slowly Eventually you would appear to freeze in time as you approached the speed of light or when you were in a massive gravitational field such as at the event horizon of a black hole.

The time dilation effect has been proved to be correct in practice. As Renate Loll said in my last post, "satnav" satellites gain 45 billionths of a second a day due to their lower relative gravity. If the positioning calculations ignored this effect, then after a week your reported position would be 10 kilometers in error!

Most sources that describe time dilation patronise the reader by saying that its effects are only significant when the relative speed between observer and observed is a significant fraction of the speed of light. That may be enough to satisfy most practical situations, but what about the philosophical implications?

If you went on a long journey in a hyper-speed space craft, you might return to Earth years later to find that you had only aged a few years whereas I would now appear decades older than when you last saw me. Clearly you have moved into a different reality relative to the one you would have experienced had you stayed at home.

If you accept that argument then you should be able to see that if your time frame elapses only one Planck unit of time different to mine then the same principle applies. If you have moved in time at all at a different rate to me then when we meet again, we are no longer sharing the same reality as we did when our time frames were synchronous.

A Planck unit of time is about 5.4 x 10-44 of a second. I have calculated that if you walk away from me at a speed of one metre per second for only one second then you will have changed your time frame relative to me by more than 1026 Planck units by virtue of the time dilation effect! In my last post I offered one description of the present moment as consisting of a succession of "now-points": slices of 3-D reality at the Planck scale.

Now consider what this implies about the nature of of our perceived reality.

Every object that is in motion relative to other objects and every object that is subjected to a relatively differing gravitational pull is in its own time frame: its own reality.

So the idea of "now" is subjective for every observer. We all exist in our own unique reality. That's a stunning conclusion from a relatively simple mathematical equation!

So, when you look out into the night sky, even if you could see the stars in "real" time without time and distance distorting the picture due to the speed of light, you would only be viewing the heavens in a time frame that was real to you. Each planet, star and galaxy would be experiencing time elapsing at a different rate to your time.

We choose how time unfolds

Our subjective experience of time depends on the choices we make in terms of our speed of movement and location with a gravitational field.

At any particular now-point there is theoretically an infinite number of possibilities of what the next succeeding now-point might be from which we use our free will to make a choice. The vast majority of those possibilities would be unlikely to manifest themselves into your current reality because the historical series of now-points that led you to the current one make some options more likely than others.

Read that again if you don't quite get what I'm trying to say then consider this example.

So let's say you've graduated from university with a first class degree in mathematics. What will happen next? Will you take up a career in academia? Will you go into industry? Will you drop it all and become a musician instead; or will you decide to drop out and become a street bum begging money from passers-by? Each of these possible futures are possibilities but you can guess that the first two are more likely futures than the latter, given the path that you have taken so far. Which ever future you choose to aim for, the future that you will actually realise is influenced by the choices you are making in the current now-point.

OK, I understand that your future career isn't going to manifest itself in the next Planck frame of time! However, the unfolding of any particular version of your future is more (or less) likely depending on what the next now-point is and, having made that choice, the ongoing probabilities change on the basis of that choice, steering you ultimately in the direction of your intention.

In summary, the future consists of what mathematicians would call a probability space of possible futures and the one you experience is a result of your choices and the choices of those who affect you. This begs some important questions:

Q. What happens to the unrealised futures? Do they exist in any real sense?

You may be amazed to learn that theoretically the answer to this is "Yes"! In my post 10 spacial dimensions: what does that mean?, I left the door open to parallel 3-D worlds and I'll return to this subject in a later post.

I've reached a point where I want to stop discussing time and move on. However, there are numerous other questions that we could address at this stage. Here are jut a few.

Q. Does the past "exist" in any real sense? Q. If we don't have the ability to remember the past, would we be able to perceive time elapsing? Q. Do unchosen, unrealised futures not exist just because we are not currently witnessing them? Q. Could time actually be a human construct, imagined inside our minds?

In my next post I will introduce a dose of quantum weirdness by discussing the role of the observer in creating reality by describing the famous "double slit experiment".

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

More reading

Another video on Time dilation:
Time Dilation - Einstein's Relativity

For the mathematically minded reader there is a good source of information on time dilation and relativity on wikipedia: The Time Dilation Effect.

Monday 14 March 2011

Is time a dimension?

In my previous post I described the 10 spacial dimensions proposed by M-theory but the theory says there are actually 11 dimensions. The 11th dimension isn't spacial (or space-like) - it's time.

When I dare to think that I'm beginning to understand the bigger picture of reality, the definition of time always messes with my mind! When I try to consolidate my ideas about time, I always hit a new obstacle or paradox that perplexes me. This post is no exception! I am just about to publish and I still seem to have more questions than answers about time!

Question: What IS time?

The following video shows how the greatest minds in physics have still not tied down an answer to the question "What is time?".

(video 5 of 5)

Question: Does time behave like it is a dimension?

We speak of our perceived reality as "space time" and time is often referred-to as the 4th dimension.

But does time qualify as a dimension? Is it at right angles to space? Well, in order to be orthogonal to space, it must be possible to move in the direction of time without changing your co-ordinates in any of the other dimensions. So time satisfies that condition: standing on the spot, you move through time without moving through space.

In the Brian Cox video above (at 03:56) Dr. Fay Dowker describes time as "granular". She is proposing that time works as a series of finite 3D snap-shots - lets call them "now-points" - that evolve or grow from the current moment. She says that, in order that the future can evolve in an infinite number of possible different ways, it has to consist of discrete now-points at which choices can be made. If time were continuous, then there would be no now-points and no opportunities to choose. In other words, if time were continuous, that is the same as saying that the future is pre-determined and there is no such thing as free will.

This description of time as an infinite number of now-points stacked side by side is a similar to my previous description of a 1D line as a collection of zero-D points stacked side-by-side. Again, this supports the idea that time is a dimension.

Question: So, what IS time then?

I have just discovered this short video which introduces a new gravity model called "Quantum Gravity From Causal Dynamical Triangulation". The computer simulation of this model reproduces interesting "quantum foam" effects on the small scale and yet on the large scale, generates a universe that resembles our own.

(Utrecht University)

Renate concluded (at 09:35) with two preliminary findings:
(1) Time is fundamental: time and causal order exists at the smallest scale
(2) Time persists: it existed before the Big Bang when there is no space.

I interpret the first point to contradict Fay Dowker's idea that, at the Planck scale, time is granular. However, Renate did not expand on her conclusion so I'll have to come back to this point when I've had a chance get more information.

The second point seems to be saying that time lies outside of space and you could conclude from that that she is suggesting time is pan-dimensional. That would mean that time is infinite and does not have a beginning and an end as the Big Bang theory implies.

Renate says (at 11:32) that to fully understand time, we need a consolidated theory of quantum gravity and a theory of how we perceive reality. I hope to see others take up this philosophical challenge in the near future.

Question: Should time be the 4th dimension or the 11th?

I'll let my Twitter friend, Canadian philosopher Rob Bryanton tackle that one for me:


Rob points out how time is a bit tricky to deal with since it only seems to go one-way. He resolves this conundrum by stating that time is just a direction in the dimension that he calls duration and we have time and anti-time in the fourth dimension just as we have the directions up and down in the third dimension.

I like Rob's deductive reasoning and I will return to the elusive nature of time in future posts. By placing time at only the 4th level, we are saying it's a subset of the 5th and that the higher dimensions are therefore beyond time. Renate Loll (above) seems to be suggesting that we need to rethink this point and indeed our whole perception of time.

Question: Is time just a human construct?

This is a big question and I'll try to offer a few clues to the answer in my next post "A Subjective View of Time"

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

More Information
In the following link, a new theory of space time suggests that time does not exist as a dimension. It's interesting to see the level of angst in the comments to this post

You'll need to take a deep breath before watching the following video in which Rob explores some of the implications of time lines and granularity


Monday 21 February 2011

10 spacial dimensions: what does that mean?

In my previous post I explained why we think there are multiple dimensions. In this post I want to clarify exactly what I mean by "dimensions" and to try to give you a way of visualising what that means in practical terms. The word "practical" is hardly appropriate when we are referring to states of being - of existence - that are literally out of this world, but bear with me.

Esoteric science and spiritual definitions of dimensions include "vibrations" or "planes of existence". For example in the the theosophical and taoist traditions, there are seven named planes: the Physical, Astral, Causal, Akashic, Mental, Messianic and Buddhaic planes. Those who subscribe to a belief in Pleiadian extra terrestrials have a 12 "dimensional" definition of consciousness (more info about this at the foot of this post).

I want to make it clear that the dimensions referred-to in string theory are not (necessarily) the same. In this blog, when I refer to the word "dimension" I am using it as defined by the science of mathematics, unless stated otherwise.

In mathematics the dimensions of a point are the minimum number of co-ordinates necessary to define the position of that point. For now, forget the idea of space-time and try to imagine a dimensionless domain in which there exists a single point. That point has no height, width, depth or any other dimension that can define its position. This is the "zeroth" dimension.

Now define another point, anywhere, and join it to the first by a line. We now have a one-dimensional object that has length but zero width. Another way of thinking about this 1D line is that it consists of an infinite number of points stacked side-by-side in the direction of the first dimension.

Now stack an infinite number of 1D lines side-by-side, parallel to one another. The shortest distance between any two of these lines would be at right angles to the line, measured in the direction of the second dimension. You can imagine that all these 1D lines when placed side by side, define a flat surface or a 2D plane. It has length and breadth but zero height.

Now stack an infinite number of 2D planes on top of one another. The shortest distance between any two of these planes would be at right angles to the plane, measured in the direction of the third dimension. You can imagine that all these planes when placed one on top of another, define a three dimensional domain, like the one that we live in which we call "space".

It is a requirement of each new dimension that it must be at right-angles to all of the other dimensions. In mathematics we use an expression to describe the idea of all the dimensions being at right angles to one another. We say they are "mutually orthogonal".

A diagonal line on the 2D plan can't be a new, third dimension in its own right because any point on that line can be defined entirely using 2D coordinates. Tilt that diagonal line upwards, above the 2D plane and you still haven't defined a new dimension because the line isn't at right angles to the plane. Only when the line is orthogonal to the plane is it possible to move along it - in the third dimension without changing your co-ordinates in the first or second dimensions.

I'm using imagery to help you visualise higher dimensions one at a time, but now we have arrived at our familiar 3D space how can we visualise the 4th spacial dimension? I'll let physicist Carl Sagan do that for you in the following videos.

Part 1

Part 2

We can't easily conceptualise what a 4th spacial dimension might look like, but if you've followed my reasoning so far, you will appreciate that the 4th dimension consists of an infinite number of 3D spaces stacked parallel to one another at right angles. Perhaps these might be thought of as parallel worlds?

Continuing the idea, the 5th dimension is an infinite number of parallel 4D realms stacked together orthogonally, the 6th dimension is an infinite number of parallel 5D realms stacked together orthogonally and so-on until we reach the 10th spacial dimension which is an infinite number of parallel 9D realms stacked orthogonally.

The stacking order of the dimensions is important because each higher dimension consists of an infinite number of realms of the next dimension down.

Supposing some or all of the extra dimensions of string theory are below the first dimension? In other words, could they be a subset of 3D space? This would mean that our 3D space might actually be the 8th, 9th and 10th dimensions. The following video describes the model developed by mathematicians Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein in which a 4th spacial dimension is described as "curled-up" within 3D space. To my way of thinking, if they are contained within our space then they are lower dimensions.

The Extra Spatial Dimensions of String Theory

We can only speculate about what the individual characteristics of each additional dimension are and how it adds meaning to the ones below. I subscribe to Rob Bryanton's visualisation as described in his book "Imagining the 10th Dimension". His video (shown below) has certainly reached the imagination of the public having scored nearly 1.5 million hits on YouTube.

Rob Bryanton: Imagining the 10th Dimension
Part 1

Part 2

If you are confused by the fact that M-Theory states there are 11 dimensions and Rob is describing a 10-dimensional model, then realise that 10 dimensions are sufficient to describe reality and to unify gravity and quantum mechanics and that the 11th dimension is the one that explains why there are many possible 10D models. Rob has produced a vlog to discuss this in more detail - "Aren't there really 11 dimensions?"

The order of the dimensions is not important to my view of reality - specifically the role consciousness plays in the universe - but exactly where time fits-in is one of those questions that has caused me a great deal of wonderment. In my next post "Is Time a Dimension?" I will discuss this in more detail.

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall

More reading

Imagining other dimensions

David Roberts 12 Dimensions of Consciousness (Esoteric)

Sunday 20 February 2011

Why we think there are multiple dimensions

As promised in my introductory blog post, I now want to explain where this idea of multiple dimensions originated. I need to talk about mathematics and physics. At this stage, I don't want to go into detail about the implications and ramifications of multiple dimensions but merely to describe the scientific basis for the claim that there are several more dimensions than the ones we are immediately aware of.

Prepare yourself for an introduction to the leading edge of advanced mathematics! I promise I'll make it as easy to understand as I can, but don't worry if you don't follow everything. There are a couple of videos at the bottom of this post that may be of some help. The important thing is that you get to the end of this post with a realisation that all of this is for real. It's not a flight of fancy. Here goes....

Einstein's general theory of relativity beautifully describes the physics of the universe on a large scale. It is also referred-to as the theory of gravity. It describes the motions of an apple falling from a tree, the rotation of a planet around a star, a star round a galaxy and even the motion of a galaxy itself. The mathematics of geometry are used in its formulation. However, it breaks down on the small scale. For example, it can't describe the motion of an electron within an atom.

For that, we need to turn to a different theory: that of quantum mechanics. A "quantum" is the name given to the smallest unit of any physical entity that is involved in an interaction. Quantum mechanics uses (amongst other things) the mathematics of probability to describe the behaviour of sub-atomic particles and is widely regarded as the most validated branch of science. In particle accelerators such as the European Large Hadron Collider and the US Tocomac at MIT, it predicts the outcome of atom-smashing experiments to an incredible degree of accuracy.

Just as general relativity can't explain quantum interactions, quantum mechanics can't explain interactions at the cosmic scale. The two branches of scientific theory are at odds with one another and yet we know from experiments and observations that the different worlds they describe are actually part of the same universe: the one we live in.. There must therefore be a bigger, overriding theory that unifies them at all scales.

This was one of the major scientific quests of the 20th century and Einstein went to his grave without a satisfactory answer. This all changed in 1985 when theoretical physicist John Hagelin developed a revolutionary idea that finally appeared to solve the conundrum. The "Grand Unified Field Theory" as it was called (GUFT), used the vibration and rotation of one-dimensional superstrings to model the behaviour of sub-atomic particles and the four fundamental forces of physics: the nuclear strong force, the nuclear weak force, electromagnetism amd gravity. "String Theory" was thus born.

Within a few years another four, apparently different, competing 10-dimensional GUFT's were developed. Clearly the universe couldn't exist in all 5 states - or could it? In the early 1990's one of modern physics' most revered theoreticians, Professor Edward Witten put to rest the growing doubts about string theory by unifying the five unified theories into a single theory which he called "Membrane Theory".

He did this by adding yet another dimension to the model making it 11-dimensional. Each 10 dimensional GUFT could now be thought of as a different aspect of the higher dimensional model. Think of it like a 3D cube that that can cast a number of different 2D shadows on a flat surface. Each shadow is a different representation of the cube in the lower (2D) dimension. Witten subsequently became sceptical about membranes and the theory is now referred-to as just "M-Theory".

An argument soon broke out amongst those closest to string theory about how to - or even whether to - interpret M-Theory in practical terms. I will discuss the concepts and meaning of dimensions in detail in my next post but, for now, suffice it to say that another SEVEN dimensions beyond the familiar three spatial dimensions plus the dimension of time has deeply profound philosophical and religious implications when taken literally.

Internationally famous physicist, Richard Feynman is reputed to have retorted "Just shut up and calculate" when asked to speculate about the implications of a multi-dimensional universe. The 11D GUFT model was very good at mathematically verifying the results of particle collision experiments and as far as he was concerned that's as far as it goes!

Needless to say, this whole blog is predicated on the assertion that it is right and valid to interpret M-Theory in words. The implications are massive in terms of where we humans fit into the true picture of reality. When I was employed as a professional mathematician by the Coal Board in the UK, we created models of economic and logistical systems that fitted all the data that we knew. We then purposely interpreted the models to tell us things about those systems for which we had no hard facts. Sometimes the revelations were unexpected but they invariably proved correct in the longer term as more data became available.
I therefore have an answer for those who doubt the validity of interpreting M-Thory: "Shut up and stop being afraid of the child you have given birth to."

Before I end this post it would only be fair to point out that we don't know for sure that there are multiple physical dimensions outside of space-time. M-Theory is just a theory and there are other interpretaions that have been put forward that don't include multiple dimensions. Having said that, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is, as I write conducting experiments to try to test the theory, and according to a recent on-line news story the first tangible evidence may be discovered very soon.

My next post will be called "10 spacial dimensions: what does that mean?"
From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall :)

Further Information:

The Elegant Universe - Einstein's Relativity

Here is a 7 minute clip about Einstien's theory of relativity

Discovery of The Unified Field

And the great man himeself, John Hagelin talks about the unified field. Today he has moved on a long way and in fact is one of the major influences for the subject of this blog.

Friday 19 November 2010

About This Blog and its Author

My name is Jeff Hall and this is my new "existential philosophy" blog. I've summarised my background in my biog opposite.

I also publish an Alexander Technique blog and you can follow ne on Twitter @TheRealJeffHall.

In this this blog I want to discuss some ideas about the nature of physical reality and of consciousness. The latest thinking in physics, string theory, suggests that the universe is stranger than our wildest imaginings. Instead of just three spatial dimensions, there are more: another SEVEN more! This raises a number of interesting questions:
  • How can we interpret the meaning of string theory?
  • Do these extra dimensions actually exist in any sense that the human mind could grasp?
  • Is human consciousness located in these extra dimensions?
  • Could this be the first scientific confirmation that a spirit world exists?
  • Have we finally defined God mathematically?
  • Are there any clues from esoteric and spiritual writings that confirm the scientific theory from the other side?

To try to answer some of these questions, I will be linking to other resources including videos which you can also view on my YouTube "favourites" at TheRealJeffHall.

Although my interest in this subject began in 1988, it wasn't until 1996 that I started to bore the pants off my friends by talking about multiple dimensions. By 1998 I had started to write a book about the subject but at that time my understanding was increasing faster than my ability to write about it. I had another couple of attempts in the next 10 years but I never seemed to get enough time to complete the project. That's why I decided that a blog was the best way to publish.

At the time that I started, there weren't many online resources discussing real world interpretations of string theory but today there are numerous! I intend to pick a path through them pointing out the things that interest me most. One of particular note in the field of discussing the interpretation of string theory is a blog published by Canadian philosopher and musician Rob Bryanton, author of "Imagining the 10th Dimension" and "O is for Omniverse".

More about this later, but my contribution to this area of philosophy is in using string theory to get a new perspective on consciousness. I believe that consciousness is a field similar to the electromagnetic spectrum. We humans are tuned-in to a narrow band of the spectrum of consciousness, just as we are only tuned to a narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum - light.

I think this idea of a spectrum of consciousness is new. Well, I have been researching this field of knowledge for over 20 years and I haven't seen it anywhere else - yet! So, if someone else claims to have come-up with it first then I came to the same conclusion by independent means.

To persuade you that this isn't just a personal flight of fancy and as a starting point take a look at this YouTube clip "Who lives in the eleventh dimension? - Parallel Universes - BBC science" (apologies if an advert appears at the front end of the clip!)

In my next post I want to explain how string theory came about and why it is taken so seriously despite the fact that we don't yet have any firm evidence that it is true.

From the perspective of THIS universe, I am "The REAL" Jeff Hall :)