What If…

Imagine, for a moment, that your world, and everything in it, is a dream… The car you drive, the house you live in, your job, all of it, nothing more than a trick of the mind. Take it even further and consider the chair you’re sitting in, the hand holding this book, the eyes you’re reading with… To think that everything in your world, including you, could possibly be some sort of mental projection might seem a bit off, or maybe even a bit crazy.

But is it?

What is really real? How do we define reality? It’s been said before that, if the only things we consider to be real are the things we can touch, see, hear, taste, and smell then our reality is nothing more than electrical impulses decoded and interpreted by our brains.

De Carte had a lot to say about this. He purposed that a person could doubt everything: objects, animals, other people, their own five senses, even their very existence. De Carte could doubt reality and everything in it… but what he could not doubt, the one and only thing he could not refute, was the fact that he was experiencing: “I think, therefore I am.”

So, what is reality and where do we fit in? The possibilities may astound you, if you’re curious enough to consider them…


What constitutes reality?

Our world, everything in it, and everything outside of it: we believe our universe is made up of clumps of matter and empty space. This is a pretty self evident fact. The solidity of the chair you’re sitting in is pretty self evident. We can’t walk through walls. We don’t fall through floors. Why? Because they’re solid matter. Knock on a table or a door and its firm and resistant; it’s real…

But is it?

When we bump into something, knock on something, sit or stand, we absently think that we just came into contact with that something. Some THING. It might astound you to find that the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth.

In our material world, we have been taught that atoms make up the universe. That when we come in contact with another object, the atoms, little balls of matter, squash up against other atoms and prevent us from merging with, or passing through, that object. But is this really the case?

Atoms, when scrutinized, are found to be made of particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. But these atoms are hardly solid. If you could blow up the nucleus of a hydrogen atom (just one proton) to the size of a basket ball (about a foot in diameter) the nearest electron would be about 333 football fields away. The rest? Just empty space. And so, if we contemplate the implications of that fact, we begin to see that solidity is a mere illusion.

But, if most of what constitutes mater is empty space, why don’t we slide through things? If we are mostly empty space, how can we shake hands, or even hug each other without all our atoms getting mixed up and jumbled? It seems that we should be more like ghosts. What produces this apparent solidity?

The answer is forces. Science has given us four forces that govern our universe and allow us, and everything around us, to “exist”. The strong force allows particles to stick together inside of atoms. The weak force breaks atoms apart into other elements. The electromagnetic force keeps atoms from oozing together and allows us to have light, magnetic poles, and many other things. Then there’s gravity, which doesn’t really fit it with the small forces, but its effects are readily apparent; after all, we’re not flying off into space.

It’s these forces, not matter itself, which give our world this illusion of solidity. And, make no mistake, it is just an illusion. For, within each atom is a vast no-man’s land of nothingness, and within each particle, each little building block of the atom, its much of the same.

This may seem irrelevant to your life right now, but just for a moment, consider the information. Our universe is 99.999999999999999% empty… Nothingness… When we look up at the sun or the moon or the planets and stars, we might think, “Wow. That big old ball of stuff is just floating out there…” But, it’s not a big old ball of stuff… It’s really just a big old ball of nothing just like everything else, and the only thing that makes it possible for anything to exist at all are these four little forces.

And so we see that the four forces play a major roll in our everyday life. But, they’re not only responsible for holding the outside world together… They also govern our inner world.

All animals, all life as we know it, is made of matter. And the matter inside us is the same as everything else: “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

Our bodies are made of the same stuff as everything else, they are part of the physical system, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise that they would be subject to the same forces, or the same physical laws, as everything else. This might not seem so astounding… That is, until we scrutinize the implications of this statement.

Think about this: your brain (the organ believed to contain who you are) consists of little more than three pounds of fatty tissues. Within this mushy gray blob are billions upon billions of neurological connections: little cells reaching out to one another, being driven by nothing more than chemical reactions. These reactions are just combinations of atoms coming in contact with other combinations of atoms. And, as we said before, nothing really “contacts” anything at all.

Whenever you have a thought, these compounds in your brain cells get close enough to one another that the forces governing them can take over. One molecule is deconstructed to form another, electrons spin off, and a little electrical charge is released: a neuron fires. This electric pulse travels along the cell and comes into “contact” with other compounds, changing them and causing them to release a spurt of chemicals to other surrounding neurons and the same thing happens, over and over, until you reach out a hand and turn the page…

Did you get that? Your brain is just a complex chemical/electrical machine, like a super complex computer, and every thought you’ve ever had or will have is just the result of billions of little switches responding to signals from your body and signals from the outside world. In a very real sense, you are just a little part of the giant machine that is the universe.

At this point, a lot of people will stop reading because that doesn’t sound good. It actually sounds pretty bad, and I know what you might be thinking; “But… if that’s true, if every thought, feeling, and action I ever made is just the playing out of predictable forces, where does my free will come from?”

Ahhh… Now, that’s a good question!


Where does free will arise from?

Free will. This puzzle has haunted humanity since the dawn of history. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and those before them pondered such ideas. Plato argued that if G-d was truly omnipotent, if G-d really knew everything, how could man have free will? Science can paint a similarly grim picture: if we live in, and are part of, a closed system governed by physical law, how can we possess free will?

Many have tried, and failed, to answer this. Some scientists have brushed the question off, deeming the quest to be unworthy because of the inability to find a concrete answer.

Many faiths out there just shrug and say, “It’s a mystery… Don’t think about it.”

Some psychologists and neuroscientists who choose to focus on free will claim that the answer lies in quantum physics, that we simply don’t have the tools to investigate that deeply.

And, in a way, they’re right.

Quantum Physics, the study of the smallest of the small, goes down into and beyond the level of atoms to look at the universe at the most basic, fundamental levels: the level of particles and force particles.

They’ve found that these particles (the things that make up the things that atoms are made of) consist of nothing more than vibrations in space. Just pure energy.

Yes, energy.

All this stuff around you right now, the sun, moon, and stars, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, you chair, your cloths, even YOUR BODY is made up of nothing more than energy: nothing more than teeny tiny vibrations of space/time. (Remember this, because it’ll be very important later. Much more important than you could ever know…)

And these little packets of energy have a way of playing with the scientists who try to look at them. What the scientists find is that these energy bundles don’t always do what we think they should do. Basically, they don’t operate by any real “laws”. They wiggle when they’re supposed to wobble. The juke when they’re supposed to go straight. Sometimes… Other times, they do what we think they should. The only real way we have to determine where they MIGHT go or what they MIGHT do is by shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Well, they’ll PROBABLY do this and they’ll PROBABLY do that.”

Probably. Probabilities. That is as definite as science can get when looking at the basic building blocks of our universe. And within this very fact lies the answer to our free will. It’s the key that unlocks us from our materialistic cage. But, the reason why is even more strange than anything we’ve gone over so far.


What are dimensions?

Most of us know that our world, our universe, is made up of three dimensions. But is it? Sitting in your chair right now, this seems pretty evident. All you have to do is move your head a little –

Up/Down: that’s one dimension.

Left/Right: there’s two.

Backwards/Forwards: three.

Three dimensions. But, if you’ve taken any high school science or math, you know that there is another dimension: the dimension of time.

Picture this: let’s say you tossed a ball in the air right now, could freeze time, then move about the room freely. The ball would hang in mid air. Any fly or bug buzzing around would be frozen. If your cat or dog was running through the room, it too would be motionless. You would be walking around in a 3D snapshot. This is a three dimensional cross section: one frozen moment in the infinity of moments that make up our fourth dimensional lives.

Take a second and let that sink in. Each and every moment we experience is just a three dimensional cross section (space) of our slide through the fourth dimension (time).

So you see, we don’t live in a 3D world. We live in a 4D world… Or do we?

4 dimensions. Is that where it ends? The answer, again, may surprise you.


What is the fifth dimension?

With the advent of string theory, theoretical physics has given us the notion that our universe is quite strange, indeed. These physicists claim there are eleven dimensions. This may seem odd to some or just downright loony toons. How can we picture eleven dimensions? How can we even picture five?

Let’s go back to our three dimensional cross section. So, you’re in the room, and the ball and bug and pet are frozen in the air. Now, imagine that you have a button in your hand that can start time back up… but before you click it, you notice that your pet is about to knock over a glass of juice onto the floor. You don’t want to have a mess, so now you have a choice: either push the button and let it knock over the glass, OR go move the glass while time’s still frozen, then push the button and allow him to go on his merry way, no harm done.

So, what do you do? Obviously, you move the glass, push the button, and everything is fine…

But, what if you hadn’t moved it?

You would have pushed the button, time would have started, and the glass with everything in it would have gone everywhere. What a mess!

The choice you make will effect the outcome and alter reality in one way or another. I know you’re thinking, “Well, duh…” but bear with me here.

Now, go back to before you pushed the button: the ball, bug, and pet are frozen, the juice filled glass about to be knocked over. Pretend you could float up and look down into the room, kind of like if you weren’t even there. And, let’s say you wanted to move the glass because you didn’t want to clean up… but, you also wanted to see what would happen if you didn’t move the glass. What could you do?

Well, since this is your imagination, we can do anything! So, like in a computer, you copy the room and paste the copy right next to the original so they’re side by side. In the right room, you move the glass, and in the left, you leave it alone. Then, you float back up, watch both rooms at the same time, and push the button…

Violá! You’ve successfully gone into the fifth dimension!

Basically, the fifth dimension is the level of all possibilities. Its the level of the universe where all the choices we make (consciously and unconsciously) coexist simultaneously… Instead of picturing your life on a time LINE, or a straight path, imagine a maze with infinite intersections at every point, and every intersection is a choice… or, to put it another way, every intersection is a set of PROBABILITIES… Ah ha!

Now, just like in a maze, because you go left instead of right, does that mean the way you didn’t go doesn’t exist? Of course not! You just can’t see it because you didn’t go that way.

Now we are beginning to see. This must be what babies feel like when they realize that, just because mommy walked out of the room, it doesn’t mean she disappeared. This is the same thing.

The fifth dimension, according to physics, is nothing more (and nothing less) than the infinite number of probabilities that arise from every three dimensional cross section at every fourth dimensional point in time. (And, just in case you’re wondering, the six other dimensions are just six more levels of possibilities.)

According to some philosophers and psychiatrists/psychologists, the fifth dimension is the realm of spirituality, and the human perception of the fifth dimension is the recognition of the infinite. Jung, in a round about way, said it was the place where synchronicities arise from.

And, in their own ways, they’re all right, because this level of reality defies our logic and is beyond words. We can describe it, but any description (even mathematical and scientific descriptions) will always fall short of what it actually is. The fifth dimension is the place where all past, present and future choices and their outcomes exist at the same time.

But… We already said choices require free will… And, in our universe where physical laws dictate everything, we have no freedom of choice… Apart from those teensy little probability clouds of energy… Which are the building blocks of the universe… Which EVERYTHING is made of!

Hmmm… Suddenly, our existence has changed from helpless predetermined experience into a limitless realm made of endless possibility!

Suddenly, you can see how G-d can know the past, present, and future while we retain our free will…


How do we navigate the fifth dimension?

So, let’s play the imagination game one more time. Picture the side by side 3D cross sections from before. You start time and in the right room the pet bounds away having spilt nothing, and in the left your pet knocks over the glass. In right room, everything continues as usual, and in the left someone yells at the pet and comes in to clean the mess.

What you are looking at seems to be two separate realities playing out… when in fact, they are just two pieces of the same reality, they simply exist at two different fifth dimensional points.

Our world is the same way.

Is your mind blown yet?

Think of it: somewhere out there is a physical version of you that did everything opposite from the way you have done it. All the wrong you’ve done, they did right, and all the right you’ve done, they did wrong. And every other combination of all the choices you’ve ever made and will make are our there too.

But… BUT… Your ego, your consciousness, your soul or your spirit (whatever you want to call the experiencing part of yourself) is here, at this one fifth dimensional point.

You see, as we’ve said over and over, these bodies we inhabit are actually a part of this fifth dimensional system. And, as a part of it, they exist in all the different fifth dimensional points that make up our lives. But (and this is a very important part) our consciousness, our souls, can only exist at one point at a time in the fifth dimensional maze.

So, you see, anything that is possible for you to achieve already exists, somewhere out there. You just have to make the right choices to get you there. You’re not happy and you want to be? You already are, somewhere. You just have to navigate through that fifth dimensional maze to that point. This is where the Torah come into play.

The Torah is G-d’s blueprint, or program, that was used to create this universe and all the dimensions in it. There are countless books on Jewish mysticism that out line and derive G-d’s plan for reality from the Torah. They break reality down into the Sefirot, the Tree of Life, the composition of the Aleph-Bet, etc, much like science and math break down reality into dimensions.

However, unlike science and math, the Torah provides us with a path through that maze. Anyone who’s ever looked at a blue print, a computer program, or a map will know that any and all secrets, short cuts, or just ways of moving harmoniously through the system are contained within the template.

The Torah is, literally, G-d’s fifth dimensional roadmap to happiness and success, to a good life. You just have to learn how to read it.


Why are we here?

So, the big question: why are we here? Why even bother with all this? Well, that’s a good question. Why, indeed!

If this is all a system, which we’ve shown it is, we can derive that answer pretty easily.

How, you ask? By simply looking at the system itself.

In any system, the purpose makes itself known through the analysis of its parts. Look at a watch; the gears and springs rhythmically tick away. You can easily derive that it’s meant to keep time. Or, look at a tv, with its speakers and pixels, and you can see that it’s meant to project sounds and light. Look at a car, with its tires, seats, and steering wheel. It’s obviously meant to ferry people around.

Now, look at our universe… What’s it made out of? Is it made of matter, of THINGS? Is it made of the tangible, physical objects? If it were, one might suppose that our purpose here is to accumulate and manipulate those things, and that’s it: “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” But that’s only the surface level. Is it intrinsically true that our universe is made of matter? No. Our universe, and everything in it (including us) is made of… ENERGY!

Energy. Not things. Not gold and silver, not goods and wears and property, not tangible stuff. No, those things do exist IN the system, they exist in the universe at a very basic perceptive level, but that’s not what it’s MADE OF. The universe, and everything in it, is made of energy.

So what does that tell us? Well, just like in deriving a watch’s, tv’s, or car’s purpose from its parts by figuring out their basic functions, we need to ask, “What does that energy do?”

Ok, so what does the energy do?

It gives rise, it elevates, it allows for something greater than the sum of it’s parts to come into being. That very energy GIVES RISE to forces and particles, which GIVE RISE to atoms, which GIVE RISE to chemical compounds, which GIVE RISE to our universe and everything we can touch and see and smell and hear and taste.

It gives. It gives and gives and holds nothing back.

And, what do we do? What is our purpose? Well, look back at our examples of the watch, the tv, or the car. The watch tracks time. Why? So we can keep time. The tv projects sound and light. Why? So we can watch and hear it. The car has seats and tires and a steering wheel so we can drive it.

The universe, G-d, gives. Why? So that we can receive! But, if that were the end of it, we’d be no better than the rest of creation. The universe, operating by its physical laws, is a giant machine. If all we were meant to do is receive, then we’d simply follow our base impulses at every fifth dimensional point, and there would be no need for a fifth dimension because there would be no free will or choice. We’d be bound, like the animals, plants, and the physical universe, to the urges of the physical: essentially, we’d be part of the machine, unable to rise above it. This is called the Yetzer HaRa: the evil inclination.

But, the Torah, being our road map, tells us the most important part: G-d made us in His image. He wanted us to be like Him. And the greatest thing that sets Him apart from His creation is His will: the ability to overpower the physical. This is called the Yetzer Hatov: the good inclination. And with it comes the fifth dimension: choice.

Without the urge to follow our physical desires and yearnings, we would not have a choice: we’d HAVE to do the right thing all the time. Contrariwise, if all we had were our animalistic desires, there would be no choice to do otherwise. We have something no other creature or creation has in this universe: a choice to remain receivers or to become givers.

So, what is the purpose of life? Why are we here? So that we can become givers like G-d. Ah ha!

And… how do we do that? Easy. We just follow the map he gave us: The Torah.

It may seem difficult to read the map, and sometimes it may not seem to make sense… but, like any map, just because you don’t understand it at first doesn’t mean its wrong: it just means you need to learn how to read it. Luckily, there are guides out there that can help: the Talmud, the Midrash, Gematria, Kabbalah, and many, many others.

And what is the Torah’s basic premise; what are the basic identifying signposts and landmarks along the path on our map? Good question.

There’s a story about a man who went up to a wise rabbi, Rabbi Hillel, and said, “If you can teach me the entire Torah while standing on one foot, I’ll devote my life to it.” The Rabbi looked at him deeply and said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your brothers. The rest is just commentary. Now, go study the commentary.”


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