Time as Space.

For the sake of clarity, it would seem, the temporal aspect of things is conveniently put to the side in discussions that use Flatland-derived techniques to help us imagine higher spatial dimensions as accurately as we can. It would only add an unnecessary element of confusion.

Anyway, if time is a dimension it makes perfect sense to regard it is a “temporal” dimension with qualities distinct from the three spatial ones. After all, if the temporal dimension were actually a spatial dimension, why would human consciousness experience it in a seamless sequence of three-dimensional cross-sections woven together with causal associations?

Well, those two-dimensional Flatland inhabitants only experience their world through one-dimensional cross-sections. Looking down on their sheet-of-paper universe, we can clearly see a circle, but do the other shapes see the circle? Yes, but not completely, at least not all at once. They would see the circle from the side. They could travel around the circle, see it from all sides and piece it all together in their minds, but they still would have only ever seen sides, and even all sides would not be equivalent to our swift gaze from above — a direction no one embedded into the 2-D Flatland could look at or point to and would only come to suspect and strive to imagine if they developed physics.

There is a side of them we can only see, and it brings together all the sides they can see together into a cohesive whole they are incapable of conceiving.

Similarly, we can only visually perceive 2-D cross-sections of our 3-D universe. 3-D creatures have never seen all three dimensions at once; such a perception would require a creature of four dimensions gazing down on our “flat” 3-D universe. There is a side to 3-D you have to be 4-D to see.

Again, time is ignored: but if it is a spatial dimension, might our interactions with it be similar?

We would have to be a fifth-dimensional creatures traveling through a four-dimensional universe we experience in a seamless sequence of three-dimensional cross-sections. The movement we call time requires the fifth dimension.

The curvature of three-dimensional space implies an additional spatial dimension that is not equivalent to time — again, a fifth dimension offering the necessary direction for 3-D space to warp and fold.

We experience 4-D space by communing with an 4-D object embedded in that space and experiencing it, and through it the detectable 4-D universe, in 3-D cross-sections.

Why are these cross sections woven together with causal associations? For the same reason that the shading on either end of a wall up ahead “suggests” its curvature, and so that this apparent wall is in actuality our necessarily incomplete perspective of a circular boundary: causality “implies” the fourth dimension.

We are always moving forward as we travel through it, though we may do so at different rates — and, it would appear, not towards a fixed and deterministic target but only a probabilistic direction.

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Lifeline for the Double-Blind.

Physicists and cosmologists both have come to seriously entertain notions that our universe may in fact be part of a multiverse, and the implication is that our universe may be but a small part. 

 When it comes to our universe, human beings were a little late to the party. Carl Sagan compressed the entire history of our universe, from the Big Bang New Years Day until New Years Eve now, into a single calendar year. Our recorded history, he tells us, would comprise only the final seconds in the very last minute of December 31st.
 
In our present universe, according to current estimates, dark energy makes up 72% of the universe, dark matter makes up 23% and our familiar matter a mere 4.6%. We are, then, a small, late part of our universe, which may itself be a small part of a vast multiverse. 
 
Our senses each pick up a certain type and range of signal from the roughly four percent of the objective universe to which the body belongs. Our senses then influence one another, as in how the sense of smell effects the sense of taste. Our sense signals are then translated into a species-specific symbolic perception. This perception is in turn influenced or sabotaged by a coupling of present conceptions and memory.
 
Our memories of these perceptions are influenced by other past perceptions and are further contaminated by our present state of mind.
 
So no, I won’t “just have faith.” I will examine, I will question, I will uproot what my culture holds sacred and examine and challenge my own fundamental axioms as well. 
 
No one can trust their perceptions. No one can trust their memory. 
 
Experiments suggest that we cannot even trust the timing of our decision-making, nor that our conscious thinking and emotional evaluation processes gave birth to it.
 
We try to overcome obstacles that keep us from directly contacting reality, that keep us from directly contacting ourselves. A meat-machine tries to pierce through the thick veil to achieve greater understanding of the universe at large through use of strategy, methodology, and the creation and use of technology.
 
He first sees if others have found some of the answers he seeks. If so, that will save him time and will no doubt inspire further questions to be explored. If they have not found the answers, they will provide inspiration for his own ideas.
 
The idea may not be born rational, but that is the quality of the hypothesis that results. He then experiments to falsify or verify. He leaves the fate of his ideas in the hands of the experiment’s ultimate feedback. Going on to revise ideas if found wrong, or test further to ensure we’re as right as it at first seems. 
 
That’s the only hope we have of taking so much as a glimpse beyond the thick cocoon of maya standing between self and reality, self and self.