Monday, November 19, 2007

Holographic Lives

What you see to the left is a four-dimensional sphere--a tesseract. Basically, the idea is that the object is larger from the inside than from the outside. Either way, it a different way of looking at our spatial dimensions. String theorists claim that our universe has another six dimensions or so along with the dimension of time. For the most part those dimensions are too small to see; wrapped up in the strings that form the subatomic particles of the universe. Now that alone is quite interesting but not the point of this particular missive.
I've taken some inspiration from both watching Heroes and reading Warren Ellis' Planetary. My moment-in-the-shower thought was what if one of the dimensions of the universe was a one dimensional informational plane? Ellis toyed with the idea in Planetary with the claim that we are all three-dimensions holograms of a one-dimensional informational plane. Where I got sidetracked was with the character Charlie from season one of Heroes and her ability to pick up on information intuitively.
To make information a fundamental part of the universe is actually quite brilliant because information differentiates one object from another, one particle, person, building and anything else from another. Sure, the means by which we measure information is subjective but the fact that the information exists is made no less real by that. Moreover, it says that there is an underlying structure to the universe holding everything together by giving it different informational properties. Information becomes the new aether, the substrate that the universe rests upon.
Another interesting (and this is where my mind starts going wonky) element to labeling information as a dimension is that it answers Heidegger's old question of why is there something instead of nothing? Nothingness becomes impossible in a way since to use the label of nothingness is to ascribe an informational fact. Nothing becomes something because you can call it something. I still can't quite wrap my head around that idea because I believe that nothingness is possible, the absence of existence, of information, but much like the waveform collapse or Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, nothingness remains only until observed.
The strange thing about turning information into a dimension is the question of how large of a dimension it is. Personally, I believe that the information dimension is one-dimensional and spans the entirety of the universe. Information is constantly holding up the universe by constantly providing informational facts to the rest of the dimensions. The way the character Charlie was able to pick up on information so quickly shows that there are informational channels we can attune ourselves to much like we can see a wavelength of light. Micha, another character, can read technological information in much the same way. The Drummer from Planetary can do much of the same thing.
What I don't believe is that the information-dimension is deterministic, i.e. I don't believe that it locks each of us into a particular set of facts that we can never remove ourselves from. Instead I believe that the information-dimension allows for many different facts to take shape, and like the uncertainty principle, doesn't resolve itself until measured. Time has no internal means of measurement nor does length, width or height. Thus information does not become determine precisely until it is observered.
I think this is an idea that I will kick around in my head for a few days. I warn you that another post may come along, but so be it.

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