Imagine the human world tens of thousands of years ago. A tribal community lived together, farming, hunting, trading, and taking care of each other. There was plenty of land to support the community and as long as there were no strong forces driving them to move, they stayed where they were, content. As far as they knew, “all that there is” was just that community and the land that was required to sustain it. We might call this the Tribal Era.
But, at some point, for whatever reason – drought, restlessness, desire for a change of scenery – another tribe moved into the first tribe’s territory. For the first time, that tribe realized that the world was bigger than their little community. In fact, upon a little further exploration, they realized that the boundaries of “all that there is” just expanded to the continent on which they lived, and there was a plethora of tribes in this new greater community. The horizon of their reality just reached a new boundary and their community was now a thousand fold larger than before.
According to researchers, the first evidence of cross-oceanic exploration was about 9000 years ago. Now, suddenly, this human community may have been subject to an invasion of an entirely different race of people with different languages coming from a place that was previously thought to not exist. Again, the horizon expands and “all that there is” reaches a new level, one that consists of the entire planet.
The Ancient Greek philosophers and astronomers recognized the existence of other planets. Gods were thought to have come from the sun or elsewhere in the heavens, which consisted of a celestial sphere that wasn’t too far out away from the surface of our planet.
Imaginations ran wild as horizons expanded once again.
In 1610, Galileo looked through his telescope and suddenly humanity’s horizon expanded by another level. Not only did the other planets resemble ours, but it was clear that the sun was the center of the known universe, stars were extremely far away, there were strange distant nebulae that were more than nearby clouds of debris, and the Milky Way consisted of distant stars. In other worlds, “all that there is” became our galaxy.
A few centuries later, in 1922, it was time to expand our reality horizon once again, as the 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson revealed that some of those fuzzy nebulae were actually other galaxies. The concept of deep space and “Universe” was born and new measurement techniques courtesy of Edwin Hubble showed that “all that there is” was actually billions of times more than previously thought.
These expansions of “all that there is” are happening so rapidly now that we are still debating the details about one worldview, while exploring the next, and being introduced to yet another. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, a variety of ideas were put forth that expanded our reality horizon to the concept of many (some said infinite) parallel universes. The standard inflationary big bang theory allowed for multiple Hubble volumes of universes that are theoretically within our same physical space, but unobservable due to the limitations of the speed of light. Bubble universes, MWI, and many other theories exist but lack any evidence. In 2003, Max Tegmark framed all of these nicely in his concept of 4 levels of Multiverse.
I sense one of those feelings of acceleration with the respect to the entire concept of expanding horizons, as if our understanding of “all that there is” is growing exponentially. I was curious to see how exponential it actually was, so I took the liberty of plotting each discrete step in our evolution of awareness of “all that there is” on a logarithmic plot and guess what?
Almost perfectly exponential! (see below)
Dramatically, the trend points to a new expansion of our horizons in the past 10 years or so. Could there really be a something beyond a multiverse of infinitely parallel universes? And has such a concept recently been put forth?
Indeed there is and it has. And, strangely, it isn’t even something new. For millennia, the spiritual side of humanity has explored non-physical realities; Shamanism, Heaven, Nirvana, Mystical Experiences, Astral Travel. Our Western scientific mentality that “nothing can exist that cannot be consistently and reliably reproduced in a lab” has prevented many of us from accepting these notions. However, there is a new school of thought that is based on logic, scientific studies, and real data (if your mind is open), as well as personal knowledge and experience. Call it digital physics (Fredkin), digital philosophy, simulation theory (Bostrom), programmed reality (yours truly), or My Big TOE (Campbell). Tom Campbell and others have taken the step of incorporating into this philosophy the idea of non-material realms. Which is, in fact, a new expansion of “all that there is.” While I don’t particularly like the term “dimensional”, I’m not sure that we have a better descriptor.
At least until a few years from now.