How to Achieve Veridicality - The Rules of Dimensional Conversion

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A collage of cathedrals from around Europe.

According to the Dimensional Homesteading Act of 5766, citizens of the galaxy are now entitled to set up housekeeping in the unclaimed dimensional pocket of their choice.

This excellent and far-seeing legal measure has, however, singularly failed to produce a major exodus from the shared dimension. People stubbornly cling to the common reality - and this in the face of the myriad possibilities that lie out there.

The problem, of course, is that dimensional travel requires work - a deal-breaker, so far as your average space-time traveller is concerned. It is much easier to settle yourself in a dimension engineered by other, more energetic people…and simply smeg up their reality. Which is why our Common Reality is such a dismal place.

It is in the hope of getting some of our fellow galactic citizens to see the amazing potential of dimensional homesteading (and therefore leave the rest of us in peace) that the Galactic Council have called upon me to provide a few simple pointers for reality pioneers in spe. This I have agreed to do.

I enjoy peace and quiet as much as the next being.

Here, then, are a few tips for creating and maintaining your very own separate reality. A bibliography for further reading is supplied at the end of this essay.

Consumer Warning

Do not be misled by emessages offering leases on dimensions. These are, in a word, scams. There is an infinity of unreal estate out there. And, of course, the repeal of the Confederation Copyright Act of 4711 assures that it will be impossible for anyone to sue you, if, for instance, you name your new dimension Middle Earth.

You will merely confuse people, and be swamped with disappointed tourists wearing fake furry feet.

How to Start

Pick a dream. Any dream will do1. Tell it to your friends. If they suggest psychotherapy, or provide Jungian analysis, try again. When you have reached the Reichian stage, you're getting warm.

When your friends respond to your dream with, 'Oh, wow. I wish I'd been there,' you're onto something. Expand and expound. Talk it up. Go with the flow - feel it. Start composing your Dimensional Anthem2.

Now comes the hard part. You have to work the kinks out. To do that, you must recruit what the late (or possibly merely dimensionally converted) Carlos Castaneda called a nahual's party. Traditionally, such a party involves anywhere from a half-dozen to a few hundred people. But I have personally known of nahual's parties that encompassed whole civilisations. How gregarious are you?

The minimal size of the party is dependent on the complexity of the world you intend to inhabit. After all, there's no sense in wishing for a planet with ten major cities if the streets will be empty at noon - unless, of course, it is your heartfelt desire to be able to find a table at any restaurant in town.

The main problem, of course, is vectors - you have to have enough of them. Do not, under any circumstances, recruit only friends whose idea of a great time on a rainy day invariably involves tea3.

Because moving to another dimension is like facing an eternity of rainy days.

Test Your Hypothesis

Your hypothesis, of course, is that your dimension works - that it has enough vectors to keep going, if not indefinitely, at least until the shiny wears off. You need to test this.

In order to test this, you must play a game4. The game involves pretending that you're already there - rather like a spaceflight simulation, actually, only without the bulky hardware and Pierre Cardin shoulder pads usually considered de rigeur for such activities.

But here's the rub: your nahual's party must behave consistently. No deciding, in the middle of an imaginary trek across to the desert, to stop for ice cream. Slog on, footsore and weary though you may be, until an oasis is sighted. And be on the lookout for Tuareg tribesmen.

Which leads us to the next point - RCing.

We Have Piped, But You Have Not Danced

The rule about RCing - remote control of another's actions or emotions - is very simple: Don't Do It. Paws off. Nothing ruins dimensional vector analysis like telling other people what to do or think. See above: consistency alone will get you through. But without consistency, you're smegged, and your little group is headed to the place where the unpaired electrons go.

This is not a nice place, no matter what the Emperor Smith says.

Dance Me to the Rhythm of a Burning Starship Engine

The other rules are fairly intuitive - no killer robots, no blowing holes in your reality, no creating problems that can never be solved, no fair making a world in which only one person at a time is allowed to feel happy, or sad, or whatever…just common sense, really5.

Of course, the real problem isn't all that. It's the tendency of nahual's parties to shorten their vectors to Sitcom Point - a technical term for the convergence of meaning within a time frame of approximately 30 minims, with eight of those allowed for advertising6 Don’t try to solve all your problems at once. Let your universe be its own interpreter, and it will make it plain7.

Invite the Bad Fairy

This is really the most important rule. What is the Bad Fairy, I hear you ask? Read on, my children, and you will know.

Do you remember the story of Sleeping Beauty? Of course you do8. You all remember how the princess fell asleep for a hundred years, and was wakened by a kiss from Prince Charming.

But do you remember how the kingdom got into the mess in the first place? I suspect fewer of you do. It was because, at the christening of the baby princess, the proud parents forgot to invite the Bad Fairy. The Bad Fairy, of course, crashed the party, with disastrous results.

So. You must remember to account for the undesirables in your dimension…four-letter words…such as 'work'.

No fair making up work that's really a leisure activity. Your universe will know, you see. And make you pay for it.

To insure a sufficient Bad Fairy quotient in your dimension, be sure to invite complementary, but contrary, people into your nahual's party. The more the merrier, if they'll play by the rules. You aren't trying to achieve 'Mister Xarquodl's Neighbourhood'. You're trying to achieve veridicality.

The Sine Qua Non and the Ne Plus Ultra9

So how do you achieve veridicality? Very simple. You make a reality that won't go away, even when you wish it to.

As the late (or possibly merely dimensionally converted) Philip Kindred Dick once said, 'Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it.'

What needs to be realised - in both senses of the word - is that it takes two to tango. Veridicality is the goal because reality must be shared. No amount of rule-making or finger-pointing will make up for the fact that there must be a will, if there is to be a way.

Second Star to the Right, and Straight on Till Morning

So, you say, I've done all that. We're ready to go, right?


So…? When does the train leave?

You're asking me? Ask your dimension. When it's ready, it will let you know.

Oh…and bon voyage. Send us a postcard, will you?

For Further Reading

Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan: The Lessons of Don Juan, Simon and Schuster, 1972.

Philip K. Dick, A Maze of Death, Gollancz, 1970/2005.

William Golding, Pincher Martin, Faber and Faber, 1956.

1Fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber are referred to the information in the Consumer Warning. Leave me in peace.2Or crib one from existing sources. In addition to the repeal of the Confederation Copyright Act, remember: nobody in your dimension will ever have heard it before.3An excellent beverage, but highly overrated as a topic of conversation.4Commercial variants involving plastic avatars are not recommended. Use your noodle.5How uncommon common sense really is, don't you think?6Probably for prefab realities, complete with plastic avatars.7Or fancy, if you prefer. Tell me, where is fancy bred? Probably at the bakery down the street.8If not, the Emperor Smith has an excellent PowerPoint on the subject, with all the parts played by his followers.9For Latinophobes, the sine qua non is that without which you can't do (how's that for syntax?) and the ne plus ultra is, of course, the summum bonum.

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