I claim no scientific accuracy in what I have discussed below. Considering how I thought up most of what I thought were the key points while sitting amazingly bored in a train, I urge you to correct all the errors you may find in this article. And yeah, have fun.
It’s the inexplicable that has always tempted our curiosity the most. And it’s such an inexplicable idea that’s the has me curious enough to write this now. So as to order my thoughts and find a possible solution in the order that comes out of the chaos that is my mind.
The point, line, branch, fold postulate explained and used by Rob Bryanton while explaining his method of “imagining the ten dimensions”(<<watch this for the whole write up to make some semblance of sense. And oh yeah, the leading version of string theory requires the existence of at least 10 dimensions and preferably 11 for it to make any sense, or rather, for it to hope to be anything more than a theory someday), is currently the best method I have seen by far that makes it possible for us, those imprisoned to only the lower dimensions, to imagine the dimensions above. That is, till we find a proper illustration for a perpendicular drawn to the whole of 3D space. So, let me get on with my rambling having given you my reasons for why, at the foundation of it, this monologue is very much reliant on the above mentioned method of seeing the dimensions.
Whenever you take a journey, it’s important that you take the first step. So for us, seeing as how we traverse in three dimensions, our first step to understanding higher dimensions start with the fourth. Interestingly, even that step’s a bit of a doozy. Mostly every other person you meet who’s in to these topics of discussion would probably jump ahead of you and say, “ It’s time, of course. The fourth dimension”. And you’d probably say, “ Bravo! Right you are! But it’s actually duration, you know, both time and anti-time. Back and forth in duration. ‘Time’ is about going forth and anti-time is the other way.”. But I would like to question that. Is it? Is time, or rather duration, the fourth dimension?
Come, time for a thought experiment. Imagine you’re a flatlander. An imaginary 2-D being living in a 2-D universe. It has no depth, but it has the property of time, else the progression becomes something that’s not assessable to us. Because every observation we make becomes impossible to us, if not for time. Indeed if not for time, we would be as animate as drawings on a paper, and not the kind you see in the Harry Potter movies. You see, motion is a function of time, however small the motion is. Even thoughts are impossible without time. Light too. There would, in essence, nothing to observe and assess not would there be any method for the same. Sorry for deviating, but yeah, our 2D universe, the flatland, has time. And you’re a flatlander.
Now tell me, if I asked you when you have no knowledge of depth or even a thought of a higher dimension of movement and existence, if I asked you what you thought would be a higher dimension of movement and existence, what would your answer be? I will give you some time to think. Four lines ought to do, yes? Take your time going through them.
Now, before you answer, as a 3D being, let me tell you the possible reasons why you think time is the fourth dimension(assuming that you haven’t thought about this much more than me).
1. Another guy whom you know to be smart told you so.
2. Time is the only other thing around you that seems to have any direction whatsoever and you seem to be moving in and with it, so it’s as good a candidate as any.
3. What else could it be?
Ok, I am not even going to entertain the first answer. Appeal to authority has no place in a scientific discussion and holds no merit as proof. The third answer, which is a raised question, I admit I have no answer to yet, as no other dimension has made itself apparent to me. That brings us to the 2nd point. And a very valid point it is, too.
Now go back to being a flatlander and answer the earlier question. If I have shoved your thoughts enough in the direction I hoped to or if you yourself understood already what I am about to ask you to understand, the answer should be clear in your head. It’s time. Duration is the third dimension. But of course it isn’t! It’s depth. Returning from the thought experiment, we know it’s depth. We live in the 3D universe. So why is the answer of the thought experiment different? It’s simple. I didn’t have the answer to the third question that was posed earlier as a flatlander, the was no other dimension that made itself apparent or possible to me other than time. But as a 3D being answering the same question, it’s rather simple. “Depth, you ignorant flat creature!”, I scream to my 2D self. But the flat me doesn’t even understand the concept. Time is the third dimension as far as the flat me is concerned. It’s much more convenient anyways.
Thus it is, that out of convenience, we chose duration as the fourth dimension. Is there something else before that, is duration even a dimension? Well, I don’t know. But it is possible that there is and we would never know or comprehend.
Anyways, now that I have impressed on you that our first step, the fourth dimension, is rather a leap of faith rather than solid science, let’s solidify it with our hopes and beliefs. If duration is a dimension, we can travel in it, back and forth, thus gratifying the hopes and wishes of the masses of being “Timelords” (DW FTW!). We can learn things about ourselves, even possibly settle disputes about the creation of the universe. So many things fall within our reach. If only we can access the fourth dimension… See, all warmed up to duration being the fourth dimension.
Now, if you’re familiar to Rob Bryanton’s method of imagining higher dimensions (video link above, which I urge you to watch yet again), you’ll know that the first step to imagining fourth dimension is freezing the whole of 3D space at a particular instant of time and considering it a point. Now consider another frozen entirety of 3D space as another point. But it was frozen at another point in time, maybe 5 minutes later? Now we have two points. And because of our love for geometry and apparent lack of anything else to do with these points, we join them with a line. This line segment would comprise the infinite frozen points of 3D space that existed between the first point and the point of five minutes later. And the line would contain all points of time, ever. From the beginning of time in this 3D space to the proverbial end of time. This would be a line in the 4th dimension.
If you’re still with my ever distracted writing that’s literally all over time and space, give yourself a pat on the back, cause we made it to the fourth dimension just a while back. Now, honestly, the fifth is a simple matter of extrapolation. Finding a point where time duration is still the basic measure but doesn’t exist on the line we just drew in the fourth dimension, which we’ll call timeline from now. So, in the timeline you are sitting and reading my ramblings right now. So what if, instead of reading this when you saw it, you decided to have some coffee instead? You’d be blissfully having that coffee right now. But you’ll not find that point of time in this timeline. That point lies on a timeline that branches from this one at the point of time your decision was made to have coffee instead. And this branch, in turn can exist only because of the fifth dimension, the dimension that allows and makes space for choices and multiple eventualities that arise from things having happened differently. The dimension that shuns fixed destinies and tells you that you’re what your choices make you and not always my favourite dimension (Damn you, fifth! Taking away my chance to get away by blaming it all on fate and universal order). And sixth, well, that’s somewhat hard to explain. Suffice to say, that’s the dimension that let’s you meet your alternate selves. I mean the coffee drinking self meets the rambling reading self. Something like
‘How’s the coffee?’
“Decent, how’s that thing you’re reading, did I decide right by having coffee?”
To which you’ll answer honestly saying it’s interesting, I hope. But you get the idea. So the sixth dimension can make that possible.
Now, it will be interesting to know that none of what I discussed above is the inexplicable problem I mentioned in the first paragraph. Oh no. This was the easy part. The tough part deals with progression.
Remember what I had told about time being the facilitator of existence? Of motion? Yeah. That’s what I referring to by progression. The ability to move from one state of being to another. And progressions are inherently facilitated by time. Now think about a being belonging to any of these higher dimensions we just discussed. No, not a human accessing time travel technology. Not a flatlander in 3D universe. A being that exists in all the 4,5 or 6 dimensions depending on the dimensions of the world you’re choosing and is aware of it and is possibly even unaware of the lower three dimensions as we’re of the meaning of points and emptiness of space that we’re made of. Now the question, if we move over space through time, if time facilitates our existence, when these higher dimensional beings move over time and alternate timelines, what do they move through? What facilitates their existence?
Now lucky for you, I don’t have any answer yet. This whole article, if you may, was not a journey to the answer as I had hoped, with the answer presenting itself at the end. It was the journey to the question that I pose to you. And if you find an answer, I am all ears, and mouth, to listen and discuss. Of course, I shall be wracking my brains for the same as well. But the torch is lit and passed on. How much light you’ll now bring with it, that’s up to you.