Is there something that the forest and the cosmos have in common? What if we could look at the hidden fabric of the organic structure and the connections in the endless cosmos filled with myriads of stars and galaxies? Are there similarities and is there a network that will challenge our idea of reality? Science-fiction series as Star Trek – Discovery even suggest a similarity between the network of fungi in the forest and hidden gateways in the Universe.
An important discovery in biology coined the term “wood wide web”. This refers to the so called Mycorrhizal networks. These are underground connections between plants and trees and allow the exchange of nutrients, water, carbon and even information. Fungi create this underground network which resembles in some way the world wide web.
The mycorrhizal network is a hyphal network. This is a branching filamentous structure. The hyphal network is created by fungi. It looks like a basic structure model or a concept with strong similarities as the branches of trees, the structure inside leaves, the neural web inside the brain or on a large scale the connections between clusters of galaxies in the universe.
However the Star Trek Discovery creators brought this concept to another level. Here it is not only a sort of similarity. What if there is kind of a sub-dimension with such a network which allows teleportation between far distances within the universe? It would have been interesting to see the faces of decision-makers when the series’ writers pitched the idea of the spore drive in the first place. The whole concept is even for the most open-minded sci-fi fans hard to buy.
The idea in Star Trek Discovery is indeed that there is similarly to the “wood wide web” a network of fungal spores throughout the universe called the “mycelium”. What’s so special about them is that they could also permeate “sub space”. A ship which could have some “interface” with this network could travel from space to subspace and back again to space. Ethan Siegel described the concept excellently in a recent Forbes article.
Five Dimensions and Dune as a precursor
Of course, there is strong criticism about this concept, but if you add a fourth spatial dimension it could work as Ethan Siegel emphasised. Actually you have to think of a five-dimensional-reality (including time). It is indeed true that modern spacetime concepts include more than four dimensions. The root-network with the mycelium might indeed sound a bit far-fetched however it is less absurd if we take the idea not too literal.
Most of all this is not a new idea. Instant space travel between far distant points in the universe without a “journey” is a basic concept of Dune. In Dune there is the so-called Holzman-effect, which is also responsible for this kind of space travel. Furthermore there is a connection between biology and technical space travel: In Dune the “Navigators” are enabling this kind of travel. In Star Trek Discovery its the creature (the space tardigrade) in the first place and later the scientist.
The Fifth dimension is also part of Interstellar (even a Fifth Dimension is not mentioned in Dune and Star Trek – Discovery).
Is there a real cosmic root network like the Mycorrhizal networks?
We don’t know. The fourth spatial dimension is a theoretical concept. We can’t enter this higher dimensions so far. We have no clue that any “highways” or “networks” actually exist. However it would explain a lot of phenomena like suddens disappearances. Could people accidentially “fall” into that fourth spatial dimension and get caught in the network? Wild speculation. But what we see is that there is a tendency of self-similarity in the structures of the universe. Tree branches resemble neuronal webs. Neuronal webs resemble clusters of galaxies.
Another important factor is the idea that there could be physical and biological entities which exist not only in our dimension but in that higher fourth spatial dimension. They could travel instantly from one place to another and create any kind of supernatural effect in our dimension. It only needs to have some interface or interdimensional gates. Maybe a creature itself could become an interdimensional gate.
It might be a good model to explain many cases of high-strangeness and anomalies on Earth as orbs, mountain lights, strange experiences of extra dimensions, maybe even visionary experiences.