Now and then the distractions I suffer as a writer are of cosmic proportion, the sort of distractions that send me off on wild tangents that I am physically forced to take, otherwise my brain will crack for want of exploration, and I get completely lost in them. The trouble is, in some other universe I’m actually a theoretical physicist.
Have you met Quora? This is Quora’s fault:
And that’s just the little bits and bobs I scribbled down as I took this weekend’s adventure that spilled over into all of Monday and now Tuesday, as I write this post. To think, I was actually going to post about the music that inspires my writing. Ha! I’ll just save that for another time.
All of this began when a fellow on Quora asked the question: “How can I understand the 5th dimension? Problems related to N-dimensional spaces are seen in Mathematics. But I can’t visualize how a 5th dimension would look? What exactly is it?”
Boy, is that a deep and never-ending rabbit hole.
Do you want an answer? I’m afraid you aren’t going to like it.
Basically, the answer, theoretically, comes down to something like this: A three dimensional cube is made up of two dimensional squares by doubling the points, and a two dimensional square is made up of one dimensional lines by doubling points, so it stands to reason that a four dimensional tesseract would be made up of three dimensional cubes by doubling the points, and by doubling the points again, we can make a five dimensional object (or pentaract) that is made up of tesseracts, made up of cubes, made up of squares, made up of lines, made up of points. Or something like that, but then it could be argued that three dimensional rules couldn’t be applied to a three dimensional object to make a four dimensional object in the first place, because they would require four dimensional rules, so a fifth dimension would definitely require fifth dimensional rules, and that in our third spatial dimension, the first spatial dimension only looks the way it looks, because we see it with three dimensional eyes, etc., but you see that spatially, there is (theoretically) no limit to the number of spatial dimensions possible. As a rule though, you must know that the 5th spatial dimension would actually be six dimensions–five spatial and one time (at least), otherwise there would be no seeing it for anyone, because perception of any kind requires time… Unless he was talking about what the fourth spatial dimension looks like, which is actually 5 dimensions, in which case, he might just watch the film Interstellar and have his mind wrapped around on itself rather than ask Quora what it looks like (and then instead he could ask why it is presumed that time would be folded in a 4 spatial five dimensional construct, so that a girl who thinks she is witnessing her mother’s ghost is actually witnessing her father interacting with his own past from the future in order to save the world). Unfortunately, we live in a three spatial dimension world, so we can’t know what a five dimensional object actually looks like (even in the movies), all we can do is make shadows on a two dimensional plane and rotate the shadow object in three dimensions, and pretend what we’re seeing is a reasonable representation. (Which begs the question, what does rotation look like in the 5th dimension anyway–is rotation even possible,or is spin only a three spatial dimension thing?)
I’ve seen all sorts of crazy on this little journey of mine. I would love to explain to you all of the ideas spawned by this particular rabbit hole, to explain why, in my humble opinion, time must be the first dimension or how I think I actually diagrammed the folds of time in a tesseract a few years ago without even realizing it, because I have been down this rabbit hole many times before, but I’ve really got to stop now. It’s time to declare this rabbit hole officially closed for business until some future Saturday, when I don’t have real work to do.
The Eleventh Age won’t write itself.