Sunday, February 4, 2018

Visualization and Parallel Universes

This is a follow up to two recent postings: The Visualization Fallacy and Visualization Fallacy Redux.

It might seem like I use this Slog to explain things to readers. I do not. I use it to explain things to myself. As I write, connections are made and insights arise. It's discovery, not explication. I step out of the way.

I started my "Visualization Fallacy" posting to describe an interesting fallacy I'd noticed, and, as I wrote, it kept expanding until I realized it had become a sort of cosmology. I'm still rereading those postings to come more fully to terms with them.

Slog reader Paul Trapani kindly left some comments on the first installment, prompting me to expand and clarify. Our dialog deserves its own entry, so here's a lightly edited version. It will read like gobbledygook unless you quickly review the previous two postings first.

Take it away, Paul....


Paul Trapani said...
Some interesting and thought-provoking stuff. I'm still pondering the parallel universe aspect, though. As an analogy, I think it's great, but not sure about actually shifting to a parallel universe. Whenever I think of parallel worlds I'm OK on the theoretical aspect of it - in that these are all hypothetical worlds that could occur after a given point - but not sure about their "existence" in the same way that our world exists. Or maybe they do exist but are inaccessible to us. Of course I get the point that trying to say "our world" is also illusive, as there are billions of "our worlds".


Jim Leff said...
"Existence" is the trickiest word in all existence. In fact, my whole piece (at least the voluminous italicized digression) is an argument that we project even the the world we consider the most existent of all. We project and inhabit this world of symbols, shortcuts, and generalizations, hardly investing the least attention/focus into What Is. Not one of us lives even 1% of our time in what we generally term "the real world". We languish in Worldworld!

(Extra snaky digression: we can't truly exist in any given World, anyway - not any of them. No one has ever lived in "A World". You're not in a world now; you're in a chair, reading a screen, and your world, for the moment, ends there - and even that chair, per previous argument, is a symbol, not an actual aggregation of matter. We only live in the slice of a given World that we frame our attention around. It's ALL framing! All the way down!)

Our world radically changes - qualitatively and quantitatively - depending on how we internally frame it. You can't say it doesn't. Sure, it's assumed by human beings that there's reality and then there's imagination, but I defy you to find any demarcation point in light of the above. All there is is framing. Attention pivots, zooms, and retracts in a highly creative infinity of moves (though we get stuck in a few habitual ones). That's what gives rise to the impression of movement, time, and rich manifestation amid what's actually a piano smash*. In other words, possibilities are apparent and available if you merely reframe your attention.

* - A "piano smash" is when you sit at a piano and use both forearms to mash down all the notes. If you do so, and keep holding all the keys down (or pushing the sustain pedal), you'll hear every note at once...and you can use your attention to pick out melodies. Any and every melody, really, and harmony, too. All of music is encoded and present in a piano smash, and you can create the illusion of dynamic movement by reframing your internal attention. It is my belief that the universe is a piano smash, with all possibilities present and available for framing, and that internal framing creates the impression of all dynamic movement and change.

Our infinite framing latitude obviously offers infinite universes. It's especially clear given that the universe you and I inhabit is almost entirely abstracted/symbolized/generalized, and so untethered in reality that computers (which are GOOD at working with symbols!) can't begin to parse it. We've framed this apparent universe, in a quite obvious way. Depressives, cut off from the world and infinitely mulling in their dark internal realms, create a different universe via different framing. Forgetting you're in a movie theater is yet another. This is what humans do: reframe and immerse in order to shift realities.

You have created Worldworld via your framing. And you've seen that the world (even what you think of as "external", which is merely signals registering through slits in your head) changes radically depending on your framing. Framing is obviously the paramount factor.

The fact that nobody talks about framing is a clue that it's paramount. They also never talk much about the non-moving part: the presence that's always peered out from your eyes (call it "True Nature" or "Pure Awareness" or "Witness", but shmancy terms are unnecessary). The things that matter are the least discussed.


Paul Trapani said...
Thanks that was helpful, particularly "piano smash." I was considering parallel universes to be like isolated parallel lines never touching, so I looked at it as if I was in World X and then somehow would move to World Y. It makes more sense as a cacophony of possibilities, with attention reframing onto a specific one.


Jim Leff said...
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"I was considering parallel universes like isolated parallel lines never touching"

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You may be experiencing the visualization fallacy I was discussing in the first place! :)

But, really, the "isolated parallel lines" thing works just as well. It's as good a metaphor as any. It isn't incompatible with piano smash.

With a piano smash, you tune your attention here or there. Nobody has bandwidth to experience the entirety at once (remember how the world contracts into your screen and, maybe, your partial, mostly abstract chair). This "tuning" is what I'm calling reframing.

You can describe the tuning as attention directed to isolated parallel lines, or to elements within a disorganized cacophony. The structure doesn't matter. We're talking about infinity, so any manifestation is not only possible but compulsory. The tuning itself is the interesting part, the rest is just the infinitude of yadda-yadda. The important thing is the scanner, not the scanned.

Resist the impulse to pay attention to the sexier, more dynamic, objects. What's way more interesting (though utterly un-verbalizable) is subject. The Tuner.

The thing that doesn't make sense in multiverses is the notion of "going somewhere". "Traveling to a new world", etc. It's pretty juvenile. Sure, we're talking about worlds, which we associate with a round globe thing. But whatever heaven and hell are, or Earth/Paul-23398 is, you sure as heck don't travel to get there. Nor do we pack our lunch and venture to Worldworld, nor to our dream world, nor to Depressive Obsession World nor to the town of Deadwood. It's a flip of one's attention; a tuning to a different note. That's the sweet spot. The crux is the subjectivity of it.

So, cacophony or parallel lines or whatever...it doesn't matter. But the one element you can absolutely rule out is the thing most people can't shake (due to Visualization Fallacy): of it being about GOING somewhere. Of a PLACE. There's no place but "here" (or, per the cliche, "Wherever you go, there you are"). Our here-ness is the only solidity amid the kaleidoscope of infinite manifestation.

For a helpful metaphor of the banal simplicity of the actual point of tuning - the eternally here-present pole star around which the infinitude of manifestation roils, and the nowhere/everywhere from which disembodied Subject selects, frames, identifies itself with, and inhabits Object - see "The Fan"


Next in this series: Is Subject Time Still Time?

If you enjoyed this discussion of cosmology, you might want to consider my theology.


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