Religious belief and other spiritual explanations about life generally do not require rigorous theoretical and practical verification by their adherents. Instead belief relies on the convictions of faith and personal experience. Science has always been the opposite. Hypotheses have required experimental verification to pass into the realm of the proven.
However, if you aren’t a physicist or mathematician, some of the more fantastic theories proven experimentally have to be taken on faith. This is especially true of the world of theoretical physics which is arguably a field of study that underpins all that we know and understand. This is because theoretical physics is closing fast on the things that defy experimental verification. One of these is the concept of superstrings.
Superstring theory presents a head-turning look at what the universe really is all about. String theory, and more precisely superstring theory, describes the assortment of elementary particles such as quarks and leptons, and the gauge bosons responsible for mediating forces in a unified manner as different modes of vibration of a single extended string. Superstring theory reduces the essential building blocks of all matter and energy to things called “superstrings” and unifies all known forces and interactions.
These superstrings have length. They can form loops. They can interact with other strings. They also vibrate or wiggle back and forth.
The theory says that when these strings vibrate and interact with each other, the vibrations manifest themselves (in our universe) as everything that we see and experience. An analogy is a vibrating guitar string. It will produce different sounds depending on the frequency at which it vibrates. Depending on the “frequency” at which the superstring vibrates, it will produce different manifestations of matter and force!
That means that everything - light, sound, planets and us - is the result of the vibrations and interactions of superstrings.
Even more mind-bending is the observation that everything is just a superstring expressed a different way. The universe is the result of the vibrations and interactions of this superstring substrate.
This gets even more interesting because up to this point we have been discussing the superstrings as if they were in three dimensions of space (ie width, depth and height) and in one dimension of time. In fact, superstring theory requires more than the four dimensions we are familiar with (length, width, depth and time). In order to work mathematically superstring theory requires 10 (maybe more) dimensions!
The other 6 dimensions are not obvious to us by direct observation but are through mathematical theory. The theory describes these 6 dimensions as being very small, and curled-up. They have no known observable impact on our four dimensional universe. Molecules, atoms, light, sound, and forces cannot move back and forth between them and our dimensions. Some have theorized that the only thing that can move back and forth through these other dimensions is the most elemental part of gravity, the graviton.
Now this is all theory and is not going to be verified experimentally anytime soon at least by conventional means. The problem is that the smaller the level of sub-atomic particle being investigated, the higher levels of energy required. The energy level required to study superstrings is 1017 times higher than the sorts of energies probed by the largest particle accelerators but there is recent speculation that maybe the highest energy level particle smasher, the Large Hadron Collidor being built right now in Switzerland will be enough.
So we must wait. However, superstring theory has been attracting more attention as a suitable theory of everything because it provides solutions that are not available in other theories and lots of mathematicians and theorists are working way at it.
In order to frame the discussion of extra dimensions think about the physical dimensions we can observe in our 3D reality. For example, think about a 2D world. The 2D world is like a piece of paper that has width and length but no depth.
A 2D creature observing the passage of my finger through its 2D surface would see a point that appears suddenly as if by magic from nowhere when the tip of my finger just touches the 2D surface. The point then transforms into a line that grows to the size of my finger's diameter before decreasing back to a point and disappearing again when I pull my finger back.
Recall those ancient drawings in Egyptian tombs of the pharaohs, or the Flintstones cartoons that awkwardly represent or omit the proper representation of depth perspective. These characters are only represented in profile, looking right or left but never out of the picture directly at you. They are 2D creatures. It's like being stuck in an incredibly thin hallway where you have to crawl over someone to get past them. A 2D creature can't have a digestive tract with a mouth and anus because it would bisect the creature!
Now try to think about a 4 dimensional object. We don't actually observe the extra dimensions directly but we can see 3 of its dimensions … similar to what the 2D creature observes when my finger moves through its realm. We can also intellectually describe them. For example, there are drawings of what 4D "cubes" look like in 3D. This is just like how a 3D creature can be drawn as a 2D creature.
Now imagine the extra 9 physical dimensions that the string theory requires to work properly. We can't actually observe the other 6 dimensions but we can describe them intellectually because they are so small that they are not observable. Multi-dimensional theories speculate that these additional 6 physical dimensions are "compactified" or "curled-up" which means they are very, very small.
However, just as a 3D finger can "enter" into a 2D world, it is reasonable that any of the additional 6 physical dimensions can "enter" our 3D world. But how is the interaction conducted and manifested?
There have been many attempts to describe the whole structure and function of our bodies in a way that integrates it with the spiritual realm. One of the more pervasive has been related to the concept of auras.
Auras have been described as layers of energy that surround all matter (people, animals, grass, rocks, etc) by many religions and mystical explanations throughout history. Some people claim to be adept at seeing these and many of these have independently provided detailed descriptions (both corroborative and conflicting) of what they observed.
Those who believe in auras speak of levels or dimensions being "lower" or "higher", but often say that the terms used only to differentiate amongst them. All All layers of the auras are said to co-exist within the same space. They are not separate at all and influence and interact with each other.
These interactions are described as being achieved in somewhat the same way that the unique sound of a musical chord is created by combining different tones, each of which can be distinguished by a trained ear. The experience of listening to music is an analogy used, because the differences between the subtle fields are described as essentially harmonic in nature. Each dimension of consciousness has its range of frequencies, and plays a particular part in the total orchestration of a human being.
Recently medicine and psychology have opened up to the mind-body relationship in disease. There are some who recognize the credibility, sincerity, and veracity of clairvoyants who "see" in a different manner. I started out above with the spiel about religious belief and other spirituality because I wanted to try to draw similarities between the fantastic subject matter they discuss with the equally fantastic theories being developed by rigorous scientific investigation (ie superstring theory). Consider the following crude attempts at relating religious or mystical esotericism with scientific theory:
|Religious or Mystical Esotericism||Scientific Theory|
The power of positive thought can change the world.
Believe and it shall be so.
|Heisenberg uncertainty principle: it is impossible to specify simultaneously the position and momentum of a particle, such as an electron, with precision. The theory further states that a more accurate determination of one quantity will result in a less precise measurement of the other. In essence, the observer influences the position or momentum simply by observing.|
|Many religions and mystical beliefs proclaim that everything is interconnected.||The string theory hints that everything is a manifestation of tiny superstrings. The big bang theory posits that everything came from a singularity.|
There are heavens and hells.
There are spirit worlds.
|Scientific theories include the concepts of multi-verses where other physical realities exist in other dimensions or in infinite series of universes.|
|Telepathic or spiritual links between people.||Quantum entanglement: They send the two particles, called an entangled pair, off in opposite directions until they are far apart from each other. The scientists then measure the spin of one of the particles, fixing its value. Instantaneously, the spin of the other particle becomes known and fixed. It is no longer a fuzzy probability but must be the opposite of the other particle, so that their spins will add to zero. It is as though the first particle communicated with the second. This apparent instantaneous passing of information from one particle to the other would violate the rule that nothing, not even information, can travel faster than the speed of light. The two particles do not, however, communicate with each other|
The extra "hidden or small dimensions in the string theory are described as infinitesimally small or curled up so that they are not visible (to us in our 3D and time reality, at least). Theoretically we can deduce their existence, but so far it has not been experimentally proven. But what if the extra hidden or small dimensions in the string theory could somehow be observed. What observations would we in our 3D world have off the multiverse?
Recently, I met a woman finishing a Barbara Brennan energy healing course. During the time I met her I was also reading The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory by Brian Greene (great reading for lay person!). One day this woman was describing auras to me in some detail. Got me to thinking that if there were such things as auras (I've never observed one) they would result from the same basic physical interactions that bring about physical matter and energy ie., quantum physics, etc.
I made some vague connections between the number of "layers" commonly reported in auras with the number of dimensions given by the string theory. What I thought was interesting was that of the 11 or so dimensions in the string theory, 6 were curled up. There are also 8 layers of auras, of which 7 are described as outside of the physical realm. Both are in the same ball park … and really, neither physicists nor the aura-people claim to be certain on numbers.
Also, the aura people say that you are not a physical body with an aura surrounding you. Rather, you are an aura with a physical body in the middle of your aura. This reminded me of the "Russian doll" concept of matter and energy existing in multidimensional form.
Anyways, I just started thinking about these things in a real sci-fi way. What if the extra hidden or small dimensions in the string theory were being observed as auras?
I then began searching for more information on superstrings and one of the things found an abstract for a Randall and Sundrum paper called "An Invisible Dimension" (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2 December 1999).
Immediately, I seized on the concept presented in this paper that gravity was the only thing that could move, even if just barely, between dimensions. I began to muse that if the only thing passing between these dimensions were gravitons, perhaps the fluctuation in gravitons was what was being detected by the mediums and healers as auras!
Rigorous scientific investigation of auras has focused on measuring electromagnetic aspects. Really nothing has been detected to affirm that auras are electromagnetic in nature. There are some "investigators" who claim to have measured auras electro magnetically but these are inconclusive.
Einstein predicted that gravity would "bend" light when it passed by a huge mass such as our sun. This effect has been proven numerous times to-date. Maybe the effect of minor gravimetric fluctuations due to graviton exchange between the curled up dimensions and our dimensions can be detected. Maybe each dimension varies in graviton exchange resulting in different layers observed in the auras. Maybe what the healers and mediums are observing are the other dimensions, but as they appear in our 3D world.
Maybe theoretical string physicists should get mediums and healers into the lab and have them perform blind tests in which they can confirm or deny hypothesis.
If the superstring theory is right, then there is the universe is really just superstrings vibrating and interacting to form me, you, light, sound and everything.
So really, our world is really just part of an unseen multidimensional whole. To try to elucidate this concept further I think of water flowing around a rock in a stream. As long as the rock is in the water, there is a constant pattern of flow around it. There is no real substance to the water flow other than the fact that it is flowing around the rock. In a similar way, the universe results from some "rock" in the flow of superstrings. That means you and I, trees, light, sounds, etc are patterns caused by the unknown rock or disturbance in the superstring flow.
So, I think the bigger mystery is what the heck is the "rock" in the water? Even better, knowing that the universe is a dynamic, chaotic place, what is it that keeps the superstrings vibrating the right way to make sure I don't dissolve? Is the thing that causes the superstrings to vibrate the real me?
Maybe the universe is just the result of "rocks" in a cosmic superstring river forming patterns that sustain themselves for a while before fading.
Water flows, chemical processes, etc follow physical laws. Once set in motion they conduct themselves as obliged until they are at a state of equilibrium. Maybe the superstrings have an analogous obligation. Once set in motion, the whole thing plays itself out as these laws allow. That really says "fate", doesn't it. Maybe free will enters the picture when, whatever the heck it is that makes the superstrings vibrate, and resists the physical laws.
This could be analogous to kayaks navigating a raging river, able to micro-maneuver but inexorably drawn with the current. This still begs the question what is behind fate and free will. Infinity and endless causal loops suck.
The concept of reincarnation or achievement of spiritual nirvana (heaven) takes on interesting implications following the argument of the obligation to follow the laws. Your "rock" keeps getting thrown back into the river (thus recreating you for one more kick at the can) if your pattern in the flow has not completely met its obligations.
To introduce another cosmological event the "big bang" is my individual existence a big bang of sorts. It begins as a seed of unlimited energy that is rapidly transformed into matter as we expand into the physical realm (as your rock is thrown into the river) only to contract back into the singularity that coincides with our physical death (when your rock is removed from the water).
Maybe the big bang that cosmologists believe was the beginning of our universe was the result of a universe rock being thrown into a lake of superstrings. The splash waves, ripples and rebounding and intersecting waves create energy and matter and electromagnetic force, hydrogen, carbon and us. Then after following the "laws of a lake of superstrings suddenly disturbed by a big universe rock", the superstrings stop their sloshing around, and energy and matter disappear. Maybe God is just a big, fat cannonballer, crashing into his backyard pool.
some other guys ramblings
The question now becomes - what animates the superstrings?
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