Matt Rouge gives us another insightful guest post, this time exploring the possibilities inherent in higher dimensions of reality. Enjoy!
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When we ask ourselves whether the Afterlife exists and make attempts to explore its nature and properties, we are, by implication, trying to explain Reality itself. Thus, it’s no surprise that Michael has written many posts about the nature of Reality on this blog, one of which was the recent The VR Thing. This post dealt with different levels of reality: is our experience “less real” at a lower level (this world) but “more real” at a higher level (the Afterlife)?
In the post, Michael provides several famous quotes that reflect this view, as well as a concise summary of his virtual reality model:
[E]arthly life is a fully immersive role-playing game. This game is designed by our higher self, with which we are in only tenuous contact while embodied. The game is meant to be challenging and instructive. The stakes are, in one sense, real — we gain real wisdom and personal growth. In another sense, the stakes are illusory —[film critic Roger] Ebert's “elaborate hoax.”
As so often happens, this post led to an interesting discussion in the comments, with many concurring to some degree with the view that “realness” can vary. The question was also raised of how the game-like aspect of the model can jibe with the seriousness of human suffering.
On the whole, the VR model appeals to me as a New Ager. We regularly talk about “dimensions” and “Ascension,” the process by which we as individuals and the physical world is rising through dimensions and increasing in vibration. I think the concept of dimensions matches well the VR model, which requires at least two: the less real or “hoax” dimension and the more real or “Higher Self” dimension. Since VR is based on some concept of information, could it be that information itself transforms based upon the dimension in which it is experienced or “presented”? Further, is it possible that our perception of “less real” and “more real” is based upon the interrelationship of information and dimension?
I think so.
Most of us have probably played the video game Tetris at some point. Pieces come down from the top of the puzzle, and the player must to rotate them so that they form solid horizontal lines, which disappear, making room for more falling pieces. Let’s take a look at the pieces:
In the second dimension, the three pieces on the left have no chirality (they are the same as their mirror image), whereas the four on the right (two pairs) do have this property (they are different from their mirror image). Those who have played Tetris will know that it is easier to deal with the three pieces on the left than the four on the right: the latter require more brainpower to understand what spaces they will fit when rotated.
Yet, the four pieces on the right completely lose this limitation in the third dimension, since we can simply pick them up and flip them over. In 2D, the green L-shaped piece is an object different from the yellow reversed-L-shaped piece. In 3D, aside from their color, they are the exact same object.
Chirality also exists in the third dimension. I first learned the word when I worked in the drug industry, as molecules can be chiral. A good everyday example is gloves: a glove for the left hand is the same for the right, except for chirality; yet this simple difference prevents a glove for one hand from being worn on the other. In the fourth dimension, however, a glove for the left hand can simply be “flipped over into” a glove for the right hand. The “flipping” process is very difficult for us to imagine, since we are used to 3D geometry; nevertheless, in 4D, a left-handed glove is the exact same object as a right-handed glove.
These are examples from geometry, but the properties of higher dimensions, as we New Agers understand them, are not limited to those pertaining to physical space. Further, “information,” as understood in the VR model, refers to much more than concrete objects and mathematically definable objects; the term would relate to virtually (no pun intended) everything we can experience, including emotions, abstractions like “justice” and “beauty,” and thought itself. Chirality, or an analogous property (binary or otherwise), could apply to any aspect of or thing within Reality; indeed, even to the category of real/unreal itself.
For an example of this, we turn to the book Reimagination of the World: A Critique of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture by David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson (Bear & Company, 1991). (I was turned onto this book by a very smart guy named Jason Wingate, who has commented on this blog in the past.) The two authors have been leaders in the New Age movement, and their intellectual depth is impressive. Although the book is 25 years old (and some of its content comes from lectures older than that), I am pleasantly surprised at how consistent it is with current New Age thought. Or perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised if in fact our philosophy and model of Reality is “right” or “righter,” relatively speaking, than some others.
On page 120, David Spangler writes,
You may remember the story of Flatland, in which a two-dimensional square encounters a three-dimensional sphere. At first, the square cannot comprehend what the sphere is because it has no experience of that third dimension along which part of the sphere’s being extends. Viewing the sphere along the linear dimension of the two-dimensional plane that is the square’s home, the sphere appears cut up into a succession of ovals. Our experience of higher dimensional beings can be very similar.
When we try to imagine these beings, we often leave out these additional dimensions. The result is to flatten them into human caricatures. This may be important for us to initially contact and understand one of these entities, but we should remember that it is a simplified representation, often bearing as much relationship to the real entity as a stick figure does to one of Michelangelo’s paintings.
I’ll note in passing that Michael has cited on multiple occasions on this blog the novel Flatland by Edwin Abbot (1884). On page 130 of Reimagination, in a different chapter that comes from a lecture, there is this interesting exchange that deals directly with the matter of “realness”:
AUDIENCE PARTICIPANT: Are you saying that the beings who come through channels, like Ramtha and Ma Fu and Lazarus, aren’t real or are only psychological crutches? […]
DAVID: […W]hether these beings are real or not is less important to me than the impact our images of these beings can have in our lives. […] The job of the inner worlds is not to tell us how to live but to empower our ability to unfold our own higher dimensionality. We are not born individuals so we can turn our individuality over to another being, becoming a clone of his or her opinions, beliefs, and attitudes. We are individuals so that we can add a unique perspective to the universe and make a unique contribution to a higher geometry of co-creation and compassion.
Whether these beings are real or not in themselves, as they enter into our nested sphere, into our dimensionality, they must take on characteristics that allow communication to take place. In many instances, this means entering into a body of manifestation that is built up from the unconscious needs and desires of the channel and of the audience. In this instance, the being speaks to us through an interface that is part window, part mirror. […]
Channeling is an art. We oversimplify it when we think of it as an entity entering into a person’s body. That image really belongs to an earlier conception of the body and soul as truly separate things. These images abound in our spirituality and metaphysics: the body as vehicle, the soul as driver, and so on. The relationship is really more subtle and complex. The body is part of the soul and vice versa. They interrelate and co-create each other in profound ways, and both are aspects of a larger geometry that might be called our spirit. […]
Wow. There is nothing here that doesn’t sound completely fresh, modern, and insightful to me. In the space of a few paragraphs, he has cogently commented on many issues that this blog has explored, including the “transmission model” of consciousness (I think he implies here the hybrid model, which I myself believe). Further, I think Spangler’s words have deep implications for the VR model itself: instead of there being a pure dichotomy of hoax versus real or game versus higher purpose, we may be experiencing tiered co-creation in which the levels are interdependent and the hierarchy can find itself turned on its head. His use of the word “interface” is perhaps also not coincidental.
Let’s look at an example of how a channeled entity that is “unreal” here could be “real” in a higher dimension. Leonora Piper (I cited the Psi Encyclopedia!) was a famed medium whose “control,” or guide to the spirit world, in many sittings was “Phinuit.” This spirit talked about himself as though he had been a real person on earth, but research failed to provide verification of his actual existence (there is a lot about this issue at the link).
Spangler’s viewpoint, however, shows us how a spirit like Phinuit could still be “real” on some level. Phinuit could be both window and mirror, a co-creation of himself, Piper, and the sitters.
Further, going back to the example of chirality, from the viewpoint of the spirit in his higher dimension, it may appear that the “unreal” facts of his life on earth are no different than facts that to us are “real.” As we progress to higher dimensions, some differences may disappear, yet new ones may appear. The chirality of Tetris pieces disappears in 3D, but the chirality of gloves appears (since 3D objects can’t exist in 2D) and then disappears in 4D. Similarly, some distinctions between real and unreal may appear and then disappear as we go up from 3D.
The issue of human suffering may also transform as we progress through the dimensions. If you grew up a Christian as I did, you probably heard something to the effect that God would right all wrongs and dry all tears. This may be a metaphor for what I speculate “actually” happens: the “information” of suffering does not disappear in higher dimensions but rather transforms into something bearable, perhaps even desirable. Frequent commenters Art and Bruce tend to emphasize Oneness and Love as the ultimate Reality. In contrast, among the regulars here, Eric and I have tended to insist that evil is an actual issue that can’t be waved away (though I would also say we do not necessarily disagree with Art’s and Bruce’s observations, generally speaking). Perhaps we are all correct. Perhaps Oneness and Love are the “end result,” not because other aspects of reality simply go poof, but because they exist in a different manner in higher dimensions.
Obviously, this is a big topic, and I find it hard to think of any neat conclusion to my speculations and observations above. Perhaps, in a higher dimension, one already exists.