by Iona Miller and Richard
Prepared for Nexus Magazine
“The key idea, the central
core of all the quantum paradoxes,
is that possibilities-universes conspire.
It’s a quantum
Fred Alan Wolf
So you think you have “boundary issues”?
We have been challenged to
overcome provinciality and learn to think regionally, nationally and
globally. Global thinking is still a challenge. Now the siren call
of Mystery invites us to explode our cosmic boundaries.
The limits of our observable universe (14 billion light-years and
roughly 100 billion galaxies) have erupted out the top end and
penetrated the infinitely small. Our universe may be even older, but
time as we know it did not exist, nor can we see through the Big
Bang to gauge it.
This universe is characterized by certain interacting
life-supporting values (Rees):
The strength of the force
that binds atomic nuclei making atomic structure possible
The strength of the forces that hold atoms together
The density of material in the universe
Cosmic antigravity that controls the expansion of space
The amplitude of ripples in the expanding universe that
seeds macro-structures such as galaxies, solar systems, and
The number of spatial dimensions (3-D)
How can it be a “uni-verse” if ours is
only one of many?
Universe used to mean “All that there is.” That
attribution has been co-opted by the term
technically there can be many multiverses. We are reluctant to
believe that parallel universes are a true description of nature.
Still, we (along with our myriad of virtual clones and alters) are
invited to embrace this wider canvas, this grander vision. Our
vision of the multiverse is more vast than even a few years ago as
there is evidence for many possible forms a universe can take.
There is a greater collective, more than one universe embedded in
higher dimensional space or hyperspace. Our worldview must change to
a multiverse view, even though it may be difficult to wrap our minds
around the notion. The multiverse is the set of all possible
universes throughout time, including our observable universe.
Physicists say the multiverse resembles boiling water with bubbles
that form and rapidly expand.
Our place in cosmic history depends on the delicate interplay
between the very big and the very small. Chaos and complexity theory
have shown us that patterns tend to repeat and persist (like
fractals) at all levels of observation: “As above; so below.”
There is a hierarchy of observational levels:
At both ends of this
open-ended spectrum, we can infer what we may not observe.
We have found other worlds looking both ways, through the lenses of
cosmology and quantum physics.
Observations demand we change our
worldview to include these parallel universes. Whether we look above
or below, we see our universe with its 100 billion galaxies embedded
in an even larger reality - the multiverse, with separate closed
volumes of space and time.
Infinite space far exceeds the limits of our observable universe.
Webs of parallel universes are equally possible. We can image them
like balloons connected to one another by rubbery necks of spacetime
- wormholes. The regions inside and outside the balloons and
wormholes are outside spacetime. They don’t exist.
In shows like Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Quantum Leap, and
the heroes traverse wormholes and black holes, travel through time,
enter alternate dimensions, battle their own alter egos, or
mysteriously begin living different life stories. Many of our common
ideas about the nature of parallel universes come from these
well-worn sci-fi themes.
We get the idea we might be able to detect them, share information
with them, interact with them, even pop in and out of them. Most
people embrace a single simple notion of parallel universes, if any.
But there is no convergence of alternate views of parallel
The truth of these theories is that they are far more complicated
and numerous than any sci-fi, comic or movie has depicted, including
Jet Li’s “The One,” LeGuin’s The Lathe of Heaven, or the
Carl Sagan storyline, “Contact.”
As you read this you could be
splitting into a virtual infinity of alternatives, unseen worlds
each unaware of the others.
In most theories, you are unlikely to see your other selves, even if
you can imagine their existence. Physics calls this their
“non-fungible” nature, which means they cannot be viewed or
experienced. But don’t worry about comprehending this; it has
nothing to do with fungi although many-worlds seem to sprout like
mushrooms. Perhaps in some parallel universe, you’ve already gotten
If you find the notion of an endless progression of universes
sprouting from one another hosting an infinity of unconscious
doppelgangers unsettling and hard to fathom, you are not alone. Even
physicists who embrace the concept find the idea deeply disturbing.
Most researchers now believe the many worlds hypothesis is an
accurate view of reality, backed by well-tested theories such as
relativity and quantum mechanics.
It makes our paradigm of the
observable universe obsolete, even though only a century ago we
couldn’t see out of the Milky Way or into the atom.
Many Worlds -
There is not just one theory of parallel universes, but a variety of
them ranging from bubble universes, accelerating universes,
expanding universes to branching universes.
We are confronted with
self-reproducing universes, mini-universes, chaotic universes,
alternative universes, quantum universes. The fabric of our universe
is flat, as shown by the acceleration of space (Goldsmith).
Nearly every luminary in the field, from cosmologists to theoretical
physicists, seems to suggest a different variant. That is hardly
surprising since there are also a variety of theories about the
fundamental nature of the known universe. Different theories account
for different assumptions and observations, make different
predictions, and lead to different conceptual and mathematical
For example, Princeton’s Paul Steinhardt argues for the “ekpyrotic
model,” an extension of string theory called M-theory. In M-theory
fundamental objects are two-dimensional membranes living in
eleven-dimensional space-time. It can contain objects of
In M-theory our universe and others result from collisions between
membranes in this 11-dimensional space. Unlike the universes in the
“quantum multiverse”, these universes can have completely different
laws of physics - anything is possible; all potentials can be
Before the Big Bang our universe consisted of two perfectly flat
four-dimensional surfaces. One of these sheets is our universe; the
other is a parallel universe. Random fluctuations in this unseen
companion universe caused it to distort and reach toward our
universe. The energy of the collision was transferred into the
matter and energy of the Big Bang.
In superstring theory there are 10 dimensions, but most of them are
thought to be tightly curled up. Now scientists say the extra
dimensions aren’t as small as they originally thought. One or more
of the extra dimensions could be perhaps a millimeter across.
If so, our visible universe is one of “parallel universes” crammed
into this unseen space. It looks big in three dimensions, but could
be tiny in other dimensions. We can’t travel between them, since the
matter and energy of our universe are confined to our standard three
dimensions. But, many big universes could fit in such a small area,
like sheets of paper stack together.
Another theory, “quantum cosmology” seeks to marry the
irreconcilable theories of relativity with quantum mechanics, which
it claims applies to the entire universe at all times and to
everything in it. There is no fundamental difference between
observer and observed. The wave function of the entire universe
can’t collapse each time an observation is made.
In cosmology there is only one system that is measured only once. In
quantum cosmology, the universe appears from quantum fuzz, tunneling
into existence and then evolving classically. Both the no boundary
and tunneling proposals predict the conditions necessary for
Together parallel universe theories constitute a virtually unbridled
proliferation of universes, dimensions, membranes, superpositions,
timewarps, Hilbert and hyperspaces. Splitting and merging, some are
near; others impossibly far off.
Some are similar to our local
universe, others quite bizarre.
Cosmologist Max Tegmark (2003) has classified different types of
parallel universe theories into four levels:
LEVEL I (“Beyond the Cosmic
Is that of your alter egos and some of these worlds
with our duplicates are far off in our local universe.
cosmic expansion is accelerating you will never see your alter
ego. Almost all universes of the Level I multiverse are empty
Even with the same laws of physics, different initial conditions
yield different results. All histories not forbidden by
conservation laws are virtually mandatory - they will occur in
unquestionably real regions. Imagine our lives have an infinite
number of alternative scripts. If we try to see what’s going on,
everything changes to complementary possibilities.
LEVEL II (“Postinflation
Is that of Andre Linde’s and astrophysicist Trinh Xuan
Thuan’s self-reproducing bubble universes, breeding more and
more inflationary universes, which we cannot contact.
There is a
rich froth of bubble universes infinite in space and time. Space
as a whole is stretching forever, but some regions stop and form
In this infinite set of Level I multiverses there are different
particles, physical constants and spacetime dimensionality
perhaps due to different symmetry breaking. In Steinhardt’s
M-theory model the multiverse is produced by the cycle of birth
and destruction of universes, reminiscent of the Hindu myth of
Vishnu dreaming up an eternal chain of Brahmas, each an
innumerable creator of a universe.
Lee Smolin suggests another multiverse that mutates and sprouts
new universes through black holes rather than through brane
physics. Our universe is a calm bubble in an infinitely large,
chaotic eternally-inflating multiverse. Linde likens the
universe to a growing fractal, sprouting self-reproducing
inflationary domains which spread and cool into other universes.
Bubbles are created from the quantum foam of a “parent
universe.” Bubbles may also originate from false vacuums, which
decay producing new “bubble” universes at an accelerating rate
on an infinite tree of bubbles. Our universe is a typical branch
on the tree in a real wider space.
LEVEL III (“Quantum Many
Is the many worlds of Everett’s interpretation of
Tegmark says this multiverse level adds
nothing new to I and II except more indistinguishable copies of
the same universes. Tegmark assigns this level to the
superposition of classical worlds, located “elsewhere,”
embodying different ways events could have unfolded.
The same stories play again and again in unreachable quantum
branches. Each story line we follow meaningfully connects a
single future event to a past event. We can’t predict the future
because we become aware only of the story line with the greatest
probability. MWI is a two-way street: not only do we exist in
more than one world, every event in the universe affects us.
Everett never explained why we are stuck on just one branch.
When we see things with a fresh eye, we enter a parallel
universe, reinventing ourselves. Only our viewpoint changes but
new meaning emerges. Intimately involved with our histories,
countless parallel universes accommodate all the possibilities
that quantum physics contains. Containing all possibilities,
these universes are static, so change and time are illusions.
paradox of Schrodinger’s Cat is used to illustrate this
interpretation. When an observation is made, new universes are
created from among all possible outcomes. When two parts of the
universe interact, all possible results (superpositions) become
Our copies remain unaware and uncontactable in worlds of their
own. Only one reality lasts long enough for us to notice. We
switch realities with every passing moment as our wave function
is repeatedly split due to interaction with quantum systems, but
all we notice is slight randomization, uncertainty.
LEVEL IV (“Other Mathematical
Is that of pure mathematical structures, a sort of
Platonic paradigm of ideal forms but based on different laws of
physics and altogether different equations. Mathematical
structures, such as a dodecahedron, are abstract, immutable
entities existing outside of space and time.
Every mathematical structure is a parallel universe, according
to Tegmark. But, “the elements of this multiverse do not reside
in the same space but exist outside of space and time.” This is
the realm of abstract geometries, manifolds, vector spaces,
tensor spaces and other equations. In Level IV, entities aware
enough can subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a
physicaly “real” world, according to Tegmark.
Plato thought mathematical forms were the true reality, but that
we perceive reality imperfectly as in his allegory of the
shadows on the wall of a cave. His notion was a top-down theory.
We may or may not eventually find a mathematical structure to
match our own universe. Instead we may find the limits of the
effectiveness of mathematics.
Rudy Rucker also claims this mindscape exists as a physical
reality. Like Plato, he believes in a world of ideas separate
from the mental and physical. Consciousness can explore this
realm of all possible thoughts just like the body explores the
universe. We all share the same mindscape just as we share the
Our virtual duplicates are like our everyday universe, occupying a
region of spacetime, containing conventional and exotic matter,
galaxies, stars and perhaps life. Only some parallel universes
foster the emergence of life.
A major proponent of Level III many
worlds, physicist David Deutsch argues this point on his list serve
(Fabric of Reality, August 16, 2003):
“It is uncontroversial that, of all
the environments that exist and have ever existed, only a tiny
proportion are suitable for life to evolve. However, there are
vastly more in which life can survive once, for whatever reason,
it is present there. For instance, life (in the form of
astronauts) has survived on the moon - and there seems little
doubt that it would be possible for life to survive indefinitely
on the moon even in the absence of support from earth. In fact,
I think it is a reasonable working hypothesis that life can
(given enough knowledge) survive in almost every
“If that is so, then it puts a different light on the first
statement, that only a tiny proportion of environments are
suitable for life to evolve. For by “suitable for life to
evolve” we mean that there is a reasonable probability that life
will evolve there. However, there is presumably always a
non-zero probability that life will form spontaneously in any
“And [there is] a much smaller - but still non-zero - probability that [life] will form spontaneously with any given
finite amount of knowledge. And hence there is always a non-zero
chance of life coming into existence in almost any environment
and thriving there. . .’tapering’ realities in the multiverse do
not count as universes because they do not correspond to a
quasi-autonomous information flow.”
“Anyway, the upshot is that it is quite plausible that life,
worthy of the name, has existed and thrived, somewhere in the
multiverse, since the big bang. It is also quite plausible that
Some theories of parallel universes
emerge from cosmology, others from quantum mechanics.
All of them
represent attempts to model our universe accurately with the known
laws of physics. The trouble is, our knowledge of nature’s laws is
incomplete, and our theories of Cosmos suffer from our blind spots.
We don’t know the conditions or constraints for the generation of
universes. Nature isn’t confined to the limitations of our
perceptions. Our theoretical models are incomplete.
Stretching the boundaries of empirical knowledge, recent findings
have forced the idea of multiple universes on scientists.
have inferred that many worlds exist, some with potentially
different physical conditions, laws, and matter. Their existence,
implied by cosmological observations, solves some difficult
paradoxes in quantum physics and cosmology. To deny them complicates
physics even more.
Astronomer Royal, astrophysicst Sir Martin Rees (2000, 2001)
“…no complex entities could evolve
in universes that lasted only for a short time, that were always
in thermal equilibrium, that contained nothing but radiation, or
that had only two spatial dimensions.”
Parallel universes might be utterly
unlike our own, having different particles (such as mirror matter or
dark matter) and forces.
Perhaps they are confined to membranes with
fewer or more dimensions. They may have identical properties to our
own universe, yet be folded to appear very distant.
could be composed of ordinary matter, even ordinary stars and
galaxies, shining brightly on their own fold, yet emitting no
apparent light in our universe.
Image - A Gallery of Multiverses
In Buddhism, the universe is perceived as timeless, eternal with no
beginning or end. It is rooted in the Void.
In Vedic cosmology, ours
is one of countless universes clustered together like foam on the
surface of the Causal Ocean. An enveloping shell of subtle primeval
elements separates each. In the Judeo-Christian vision the universe
begins with Light.
Some modern theories mirror these metaphors, but multiverses are
more than metaphorical. In the beginning was nothing but hyperspace
with fluctuations in nothing. Bubbles emerged and began expanding
rapidly, producing our universe.
As Kaku (2003) says,
“The Judeo-Christian genesis takes
place within the Buddhist nirvana, all the time, and our
Multiverse percolates universes.”
Shall we imagine chains of universes,
bubbles within bubbles, endless proliferations of universes
reiterating in fractals? Do baby universes sprout from black holes
or are there isolated island universes in other dimensions?
take the top-down view of cosmology and superspace.
John Wheeler’s original name for what is now called quantum foam. It
consists of pure massless charge flux, pure scalar waves.
Or, we can take the bottom-up view of the infinitely small quantum
worlds, or string-theory.
Are there anti-matter universes?
meta-universes divergent or aligned with our own?
Are they close at
hand or far, far away?
Are there more multiverses as
time goes by?
Alan Guth of MIT created the inflationary theory of
ever-expanding universes. As the visible universe expands, it gives
birth to new universes.
Since inflation is eternal, the creation of
new worlds is also eternal and,
“in an eternally inflating universe,
anything that can happen, will happen,” he says. “In fact, it will
happen an infinite number of times.”
The multiverse already has an infinite history, far exceeding that
of our local universe, which is around 14 billion years old.
Everything that can happen does, somewhere in dimensions we will
probably never fathom.
In the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, all
possibilities exist and simply are. Life only exists in a small
subset of the sets of universes. Not every embryonic universe forms
hydrogen or carbon essential for molecular biology, life as we know
Hugh Everett III first proposed his many worlds theory in the
1950s to overcome the need for an observer to collapse the wave
function of the Copenhagen interpretation. The wave function rotates
in an abstract infinite-dimensional space called Hilbert space.
Collapse is a change in our knowledge of the system through
measurement, and interaction of observer and observed. The wave
function is a quantity that encodes the probabilistic information
about such variables as position, momentum and energy.
In Everett’s theory (the “relative state” formulation), the universe
is one holistic wave function. There is no collapse from possible to
actual, just a set of amplitudes in which all possibilities
throughout spacetime remain as superpositions. Each world splits
into equally real multiple possibilities after each and every event.
Our doppelgangers live on other quantum branches in infinite
All possibilities are physically real in their own dimension, though
virtual entities to an observer in another dimension. Ordinary
existence, from possible to actual, arises from quantum decoherence.
Decoherence mimics wave function collapse, but preserves unity.
Decoherence is the term for disappearance of the multiple additional
possibilities. Interaction of object and environment destroys
certain states faster than others. Vacuum fluctuations generate
superpositions of all possible initial conditions. They coexist
simultaneously, but decoherence causes them to behave classically
viewed within separate quantum branches.
David Deutsch, who developed quantum computing, is the most
prominent supporter of Everett’s many worlds interpretation (MWI).
Quantum computers theoretically use atoms from parallel universes
for their calculations.
Deutsch says that different times are the
same as different universes.
“The universes we can affect we call
the future. Those that can affect us we call the past.”
This reminds of Einstein’s statement:
“The distinction between past,
present and future is only an illusion, even if a stubborn one.”
many-worlds branch toward the future creating an apparent arrow of
In the branching tree of alternative histories, the outcome of one
branching profoundly affects probabilities of subsequent branching,
and even the nature of alternatives subsequently available.
Different possible histories each have their own probability
according to Murray Gell-Mann.
In Andrew Gray’s History Selection formulation of MWI,
history is selected over all space and time. Particles “decide”
which equi-probable branches to take by choosing the least
destructive path avoiding interference with another particle at some
stage in the future.
The particle seems to “know” what will happen if it goes one way or
another, and chooses the highest “survival” potential. It somehow
seems to perceive the whole of its space-time world line with its
actions now influenced by what can happen in the future. They
somehow avoid interference in a non-causal way by selecting from all
We cannot control the fates of our other selves in the multiverse.
But if someone dies, they can still be alive in another universe.
This suggests intriguing questions about free will, reincarnation,
immortality, and perhaps the supernatural.
Shall we take comfort that there are
some worlds where we don’t make our worst mistakes, where we don’t
lose our loved ones or die prematurely?
Sprouts, Strings, Bubbles, and Handshakes
Our universe could be just one of a manifold of all possible
universes. Perhaps the universe tunneled from nothing. Quantum
tunneling allows objects to pass through barriers that are
impassable according to Newton’s classical laws of physics.
In 1962 John Wheeler discovered the Einstein-Rosen bridge, later
Sidney Coleman, theoretical physicist from
Harvard, investigates the nature of the vacuum and its relation to
the cosmological constant.
Wormholes are tube-like regions of space that connect one region of
the universe to another.
Wormholes may contribute information to our
universe in the form of values for the constants of nature, or fix
the energy density of the vacuum - the cosmological constant.
“the cosmological constant is zeroed out by wormholes;
invisible, submicroscopic rips in the fabric of space-time that
tunnel out of our universe, linking it to an infinite web of other
Dark matter, the invisible gravitating substance that possibly makes
up part of the missing mass of our universe may reside in parallel
Such matter would affect our universe’s gravity and is
necessarily “dark” since our species of photon is stuck on our
membrane (flat universe). Photons cannot travel across the void from
the parallel matter to our eyes, though it may look normal to
inhabitants of its own universe.
Stephen Hawking invented quantum wormholes in 1988. Just as
quantum mechanics says there is a certain probability that particles
can appear from nowhere in a vacuum, quantum cosmology says there is
a certain probability that a small chunk of space and time can
suddenly pop into existence.
A wormhole is a fluctuation in the space-time field, just as a
virtual particle is a fluctuation in an energy field. The wormhole
can connect to any of an endless number of preexisting parallel
universes otherwise inaccessible to us. In 1989, Kip Thorne showed a
region of space containing a negative mass-energy could stabilize
David Bohm’s notion of the
holomovement includes an enfolded and manifest world, and a
something-from-nothing philosophy. Is there one massive holographic
field that actually exists in nature?
Specific waveforms can be exact representations of spatiotemporal
objects. Does the non-material implicate realm underlie our reality,
an immense multidimensional wave function? Bohm also invokes the
notion of the “pilot wave” in his interpretation claiming a quantum
wave guides particles along their trajectories.
Thomas E. Bearden is the
darling of the ZPE (zero-point energy; vacuum potential) free-energy
He is a stalwart defender of crosstalk with other dimensions,
which interact with our own in extraordinary circumstances. He has
concentrated on the properties of the vacuum as spacetime. He
describes a hyperworld as a 3-space or 4-space rotated one or more
orthogonal (90 degree) turns away from the ordinary world,
constituting an entire subquantal level in a virtual state.
What appears real in one parallel world is a virtuality in its 90
Excalibur Briefing, he uses his model as a
theoretical framework for vacuum energy, mind, and matter. He
describes the relation to hyperspace of the panoply of paranormal
phenomena from UFOs and cattle mutilations, to the whole range of psi abilities, apparitions, and psychotronic weapons that add
hyperdimensional aspects to their function.
Moving beyond simple inflationary models, Andrei Linde of
Stanford created a self-generating universe theory with complex
elements. He calls it “the self-reproducing inflationary universe.”
He views our universe as one of many sprouts of a growing fractal,
sprouting inflationary domains that sprout more inflationary
domains, each spreading and cooling into a new universe.
According to this theory our universe came from a singularity.
universe can come from as little as an ounce of vacuum. Universes
sprout into existence by the billions in dimensions we can’t see.
Those with excessive gravity are crushed; with weak gravity no stars
form. In an expanding bubble closed universe, inside is normal
space, outside is energy super-saturated space of the initial
conditions. Connections are possible only through wormholes.
Maybe our universe is just a bubble in an endless chain of big
bangs, bubbles within bubbles. Each new universe is a separate
closed volume of space and time. Quantum fluctuations in
inflationary expansion have a wavelike character.
When these waves “freeze” atop one another, their effects are
magnified. These stacked-up quantum waves disrupt scalar fields - the underlying field that determines the behavior of elementary
particles. They exceed a sort of cosmic critical mass and start
birthing new inflationary domains.
Bubble universes are presumed approximately uniform. The laws of
physics are the same in most of them. Multiverse has a common time
for the primordial froth as a whole. Because of the infinity of
universes, therefore stars and planets, Earth-like planets must
exist in infinite number. That implies also infinite numbers of each
of us. Right now an infinity of all humans exists in all possible
John Cramer describes a transactional theory where information
passes backwards and forwards through time. Quantum handshakes
between the future and the past create reality. Past emitters and
future absorbers interlace past and future together. The non-linear
collapse of these wave/particle complementary pairs creates a single
world history, but past events are not causal.
Greene and others have invoked string theory, suggesting that rather
than particles, matter is the resonating tip of vibrating strings or
tiny one-dimensional filaments curled up into virtual nothingness in
7 dimensions in addition to our three common dimensions of space
plus time. In superstring theory we live in a nine-dimensional
We notice three of them while the others remain curled up so
tight they are unnoticeable.
Hyperspace, Michio Kaku
describes the 10 dimensions of universe with string field theory.
Strings have just one dimension, length. Fundamental objects in this
theory are one-dimensional strings living in 10 dimensional
spacetime. The vibrating string drives all subatomic particles. When
they collide they create atoms and nuclei, jump-starting chemistry.
“If you kick the string, then an
electron will turn into a neutrino. If you kick it again. . .it
will turn from a neutrino into a photon or a graviton. And if
you kick it enough times, the vibrating string will then mutate
into all the subatomic particles.”
String fans tend to be particle
In Surfing through Hyperspace, Clifford Pickover,
(physicist and mathematical artist), conjectures on the nature of
“A 4-D being would be a god to us.
It would see everything in our world. It could even look inside
your stomach and remove your breakfast without cutting through
your skin, just like you could remove a dot inside a circle by
moving it up into the third dimension, perpendicular to the
circle, without breaking the circle.”
“A hyperbeing can effortlessly remove things before your very
eyes, giving you the impression that the object simply
disappeared. The hyperbeing can also see inside any 3-D object
or life form, and if necessary remove anything from inside. The
being can look inside our intestines, or remove a tumor from our
brains without ever cutting through the skin.”
Fred Alan Wolf, (1988) also helps
us speculate about all the wild ramifications and paradoxes of such
views. In Parallel Universes he delves deep into the mysteries of
the various theories. We live in a cloud of positional universes;
the fog of time is parallel universes.
“we need all the points in the cloud
to have any stable universe, in the same way that we need a
single electron to exist as a cloud in an atom in order that the
atom have a stable energy.”
“The key idea, the central core of all of the quantum paradoxes,
is that possibilities -- universes conspire. It’s a quantum
conspiracy,” among the infinite worlds.
The whole world is connected through the
existence of all these parallel universes. But many nuances have
developed in the last 15 years since Wolf’s publication.
experiments and observations have been made. Both Michio Kaku
(Parallel Worlds) and Sir Martin Rees (Multiverse) have new books on
the multiverse coming out soon.
As Above - So
Hermetic philosophers used an axiom attributed to Hermes
Trismegistus as the basis of their metaphysical worldview.
axiom, “As Above; So Below,” implied that what is true of the most
exalted or superior realms of nature is also true of the most
finite. They also believed in finer planes of consciousness: a
plenum filled with hierarchies of supernatural beings, some far
removed, and others close at hand.
They spoke of a branching Tree of Life filled with primordial
dynamics, and a spiritual field with four levels of force that
permeates all. In their vision the universe of energy and matter
emanated from the primordial state, impenetrable veils of negative
existence, becoming progressively denser.
They attributed existence
to resonance and the transformations of Light and Sound. They
recognized four primary elements, which we can correlate with the
four fundamental forces: strong force, weak force, gravity, and
Even though superstition filled gaps in knowledge about the nature
of these other worlds, in essence they are surprisingly close. Only
in the last century has science been able to affirm these ancient
intuitions. As man looked inside himself, he saw the basic essence
of reality and struggled to describe it in common terms. Even in
science, there is always a gap between reality and the descriptions
But the multiverse is not metaphysical (notions that cannot be
proved or disproved), but quite scientific. It is studied in the
fields of quantum cosmology and high energy physics. The normal laws
of physics were “unborn” at the birth of this universe, because of
the incredible density of energy.
Some physicists speculate that
compacting a mere ounce of matter could ignite a big bang that would
create a universe we could never see.
These ancient intuitive ideas are echoed in another scientific
creation theory: In the beginning was the Void.
originated in the first instant of the universe’s life, when the
cosmos underwent an extraordinary expansion. No one really knows
what drove it, but by stretching the very fabric of space, it
magnified a weird subatomic phenomenon - the spontaneous
materialization of particles from a complete vacuum. Vacuum
fluctuation underlies both cosmology and quantum processes.
Vacuum-spawned particles flickering into existence from the void
were energized by the Big Bang to remain in the real world. This
sudden influx of countless particles from the vacuum was like
throwing a stone into the dense particle pond of the early universe.
It sent out ripples. These pressure waves rippling through the gas
were nothing more than sound waves. The entire universe rang like a
The particle fog cleared and the universe became transparent. There
was no longer enough pressure to support the sound waves. But now
photons traveled freely through space, (“Let there be Light”).
Before fading forever, those echoes of creation’s thunder left their
mark on the cosmic microwave background. These sound waves
compressed the particle soup in some regions of the cosmos and
rarefied it in others. The resulting temperature patterns show the
universe just as it was when the particle fog - and the sound waves
The first moments of cosmic history show the ambient energy was so
great that the entire universe was in a false vacuum state. The
energy of the false vacuum acts as a kind of antigravity, and caused
space to balloon at an exponential rate. During inflation the
universe was nearly empty, its energy content having been swallowed
up into the false vacuum.
Once it decayed to a classical vacuum, its excess energy
precipitated like raindrops into the myriad hot particles of the Big
Bang. The universe has never stopped inflating and is actually
accelerating space and expanding the cosmos faster than we believed
likely before 1998.
When scientists look backward in deep time and try to look through
the Big Bang, they cannot apply normal rules. Even the bizarre
notions of quantum mechanics don’t apply, let alone the mechanistic
rules of Newton. Some speculate that our universe came either from a
void, or a white hole -- a singularity (Hawking).
Others suggest it is the result of the collision of two bubble
universes in a frothing stew of similar self-contained bubbles (Linde).
Still others contend it comes from a non-material realm of pure
information (Siegfried). Bohm’s implicate order is actually a
quantum fuzz or superdense quantum vacuum.
We know the Big Bang
happened because the universe is still expanding, even accelerating
Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi mystic poet said,
“The nature of reality is this: It
is hidden, and it is hidden, and it is hidden.”
Physical reality is not absolute.
Materialism is as dead as communism.
Science has tried to find the
fundamental building blocks of matter, but has been stymied. It
simply depends on the assumptions and theory you use with the level
of observation: cosmological, molecular, atomic or subatomic. Now
the quark (theoretically point-sized), long thought the smallest
unit discernable, is giving way to finer distinctions - a whole new
level of the makeup of matter.
The Quantum Brain, Jeffrey Satinover describes,
“a world in which one can
comfortably argue the dynamics of interference among multiple
universes both forward and backward in time; can ask seriously,
as did Feynman and Wheeler, whether every electron in the
universe is the same one, just reappearing through multiple
loops in time…”
Lee Smolin is not a fan of MWI,
but he describes its anomaly:
“…only an observer who lived outside
the universe who had somehow the same relation to the whole
universe that we may have towards some atoms of gas in a
container, could observe this quantum state of the universe. .
.it is only such an observer who could know all of reality.”
Creation may come from nothingness (ex
nihilo), but it doesn’t travel very far from it when closely
It only and ever manifests as quantum potentiality, though
it appears particle-like. This includes both the so-called organic
and inorganic matter. The universe is more like a dream than
In fact, there is no such thing as solid matter at all, no hordes of
tiny particles. All manifestations are reduced to probability waves
in quantum mechanics. We have suggested elsewhere (see “Helix
to Hologram”) that the so-called material world is a
projection of a frequency domain, fields within fields, tuned with
resonance, light and sound.
This holographic concept of reality
requires the unperceived information background as its basis. Both
particle and field exist only in the implicate order.
Light is even more ephemeral. As Wolf (2000) describes,
“When we see light, we really don’t
see light at all; we see an effect appearing as a result of
light pushing and pulling on the matter making up our sensory
bodies. We see matter moving. Light itself is really out of this
world and, as far as I can tell, out of any parallel world we
wish to think about.”
The most theories provide is the best
Explanation not prediction is the point of science. We
explain the world in terms of embedded hierarchies of substructures
and superstructures. Each appears as a thing in itself with
specialized functions and dynamics. Physics determines what can be
computed, including the information capabilities of matter and
energy underlying physical dynamics and deeper sub-quantal levels.
Reality consists of continually diverging and converging waves
unfolding from the information level, but that is another story, as
is the physics of consciousness. The mind arises from the laws of
matter. While some scientists are trying to describe matter as
consciousness others are trying to reduce consciousness to matter.
A thought of a thing is not that thing, but it is not nothing
either. Our thoughts about the ultimate nature of reality affect
that reality at the metaphysical level. As intuitive Jorge Luis
Borges said, “Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures.”
All that can happen, must happen.
The outdated notion of our universe is an idea, not a reality. As an
idea it has been proven obsolete.
Bearden, Thomas (1988);
Excalibur Briefing; San Francisco: Strawberry Hill Press.
Borges, Jorge Luis (1941), “The
Garden of the Forking Paths” in The Garden of the Forking
Deutsch, David (1997); Fabric of
Reality; London: Penguin.
Edelman, Gerald M. and Giulio
Tononi (2000); A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter
Becomes Imagination; New York: Basic Books.
Gell-Mann, Murray (1994); The
Quark and the Jaguar; New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.
Goldsmith, Donald (2000); The
Runaway Universe; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Books.
Greene, Brian (1999); The
Elegant Universe; New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Hawking, Stephen (1988); A Brief
History of Time; N.Y.: Bantam.
Kaku, Michio (1994); Hyperspace;
Kaku, Michio (2003); “Parallel
universes, the Matrix, and superintelligence”;
KurzweilAI.net, June 26, 2003.
Lemly, Brad (2000); “Why is
there life?” Discover, Vol 21, No.11, Nov. 2000.
Miller, Iona (2000); “Exotic
Matter and Energy: Surfing the Primordial Gravity Waves”,
Miller, Iona and Miller, R.A.
(2001); “As Above; So Below: the Mysteries of Quantum
Overbye, Dennis (2002); “The
universe: Is ours one of many?” New York Times, Oct. 31,
Pickover, Clifford (19); Surfing
through Hyperspace; Oxford University Press.
Rees, Martin (2000); Just Six
Numbers; New York: Basic Books.
Rees, Martin (2001); Our Cosmic
Habitat; Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Satinover, Jeffrey (2001); The
Quantum Brain; New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Siegfried, Tom (2000); The Bit
and the Pendulum; New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Smolin, Lee (1997); The Life of
the Cosmos; London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Tegmark, Max (2003); “Parallel
Universes”, SciAm, Vol. 288, Number 5, May 2003, pp. 40-51.
Thuan, Trinh Xuan (2001); Chaos
and Harmony; N.Y.: Oxford University Press.
Wolf, Fred Alan (1988); Parallel
Universes, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Wolf, Fred Alan (2000); Mind
Into Matter; Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Moment Point Press.
“Taming the Multiverse”; New
Scientist, July 26, 2001
“Parallel Universes”; BBC,