Sunday, June 25, 2017

On the 4th Dimension and Beyond

Those of you who may have been following the Whitewode Campaign may have noticed along the way references to a certain class of creatures known (euphemistically) as "Time Beasts". I do not wish to go into what they are at this point. However, here is a mental exercise for those who may be curious as to what the ramifications of their existence may mean in relation to recent events in the Campaign. I am referring to, of course, Hermel's most recent encounter with a Time Beast, and his subsequent projection "Out of Time".

Here are some thoughts, based on this video:

If a point is a coordinate in space, then it has no existence unless it has an aspect of time (aka duration). But the concept of Space-Time suggests that Space and Time are actually two aspects of the same thing... the same fabric, if you will. Space and Time are not distinguishable, except as a matter of point of view. A 0 dimension object is a point, which exists in Space-Time.

Therefore, there is no need for a 4th Dimension to be defined as Time, as that is already accounted for due to the existence of the 0 dimension being situated somewhere in Space-Time (or it simply is an idea / theory without existence). If this is the case, then the 4th dimension as a Tesseract still makes sense as an object existing in Space-Time, and we are to understand that it is an object that is at right angles to the cube.

The problem is that by considering Time the 4th dimension, which leads to the next idea, that the duration of the universe from beginning to end should be considered the 5th dimension, which would encompass the infinite possibilities. If this is the case, then how can we go beyond the 5th dimension at all?  And in this case, what is the meaning of the "right angle to the original object" aspect of the dimension, which is how we define the first 3 dimensions? It loses context and meaning because time is not "at right angles" to anything because time is not located in space (therefore it can not be referred to in terms of spacial directions) but is one of the aspects of Space-Time, or the framework in which all objects have their existence.

So it seems to me that we take a wrong turn when we start considering the 4th Dimension as Time. Instead, if we continue along the trajectory of the idea of dimensions being "at right angles" to the previous dimensions object, we get tesseracts, and beyond that more exotic shapes, which maintains consistency with the first part of the theory of dimensions.

We already have a very hard time imagining a tesseract. So shapes at higher dimensions than that would become even more difficult to visualize. That, however, is not an impediment to their existence, but instead an impediment of our ability to imagine. That said, if we can postulate a tesseract as a 4th dimensional shape, then we can also posit 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, etc, dimensional shapes simply by expressing them as "at right angles to" the former dimension. So the 8th dimensional shape is at right angles to the 7th dimensional shape. This could, I would imagine, go on infinitely as there is no limit to the number of right angles that could potentially exist. If this is so, then there are infinite dimensions... all of which would be referenced as objects within the Space-Time continuum, which itself has an infinite capacity for dimensions to exist within it because there can be no limit to the number of right angles possible. If this is the case, then Space-Time is infinite.

If Space-Time is infinite then when did it begin? When does it end? What about the Big Bang? Does the universe ungulate over infinite Space-Time with an infinite series of Big Bangs? If Space-Time is one thing, and not two things, then is it possible to have Space without Time, or Time without Space? If not, then what is the difference between Space and Time exactly, if they are really two aspects of the same thing? Should we consider Space and Time to be at right angles to one another (ie - two dimensions) of another more fundamental "fabric"? If so, what is that Fabric? What are its characteristics? Where did it originate?

These are the kinds of questions that the students of Doctor Krumpus' class were examining in their Advanced Cosmology Class, when our heroes arrived at Whitewode. Unfortunately, due to disturbances outside of their control the class was cut short, the final exam truncated for that reason, and some of the more exotic implications were "left to the students to explore on their own time".

Make of this what you will.

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