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Archive for the ‘Fourth Dimension’ Category

(Le Pigeon aux Petits Pois-Picasso, 1911)

Raise your hand if you like cubism, please! I used to not like it. The first time I saw some cubism, I was just bored. But then again, I was 15 and I felt bored with everything. You could have shown me a mathematical equation for a process that eliminated the need for petroleum products, cured cancer and directed the way to all the lost favorite socks in the world (with the only by-product of bars of warm dark chocolate), and I would have shrugged and gave you a friendlyish half-smile, all the while dying slowly inside of soul crushing boredom.

The next time I saw a cubist painting, it made me feel icky, like I was looking at a picture of the inside of an ant colony, eggs and all. Ew. At that time I was in college looking at slides in an art appreciation class. (Truthfully, at that time the only art that I really appreciated was my own.) It was so very busy and not really OF anything. Just, thingies and stuff, all over the place. Ew.

Then somebody told me that Picasso had admitted to somebody else that he had sold his soul to the devil. That seemed interesting to me, but not enough to really look at his artwork. I might have thought about looking at his artwork a time or two, but wasn’t really motivated enough to get up and do it. Probably because of the ant colony thing.

It wasn’t until recently that I actually started to understand what the heck the big idea was about cubism. I was reading a book called Surfing Through Hyperspace: Understanding Universes in Six Easy Lessons by Clifford Pickover when I began to understand. A quote from within said volume:

Einstein’s theory of general relativity describes space and time as a unified 4-D continuum called ‘spacetime.’ Consider yourself as having three spatial dimensions-height, width, and breadth. You also have the dimension of duration-how long you last. Modern physics views time as an extra dimension; thus, we live in a universe having (at least) three spatial dimensions and one additional dimension of time. Stop and consider some mystical implications of spacetime. Can something exist outside of spacetime? For example, Thomas Aquinas believed God to be outside of spacetime and thus capable of seeing all of the universe’s objects, past and future, in one blinding instant. An observer existing outside of time, in a region called ‘hypertime,’ can see the past and future all at once (pgs. 18-19).

This is a neat idea, but the inspiring cubism part didn’t come until 32 pages later…

When you look at a 2-D painting on a wall, you step back in the third dimension and can see the boundary of the painting (usually rectangularly shaped) as well as every point in the painting. This means that you can see the entire painting from one viewpoint. If you wish to see a 3-D artwork from one viewpoint, you need to step back in the fourth dimension. Assuming your eyes could grasp such a thing, you would theoretically see every point on the 3-D artwork, and in the 3-D artwork, without moving your viewpoint. This type of “omniscient” seeing and X-ray vision was known to Cubist painters such as Duchamp and Picasso. For this reason, Cubists sometimes showed multiple views of an object in the same painting. Present day sculptors such as Arthur Silverman, often place six copies of the same 3-D object, on separate bases, in six orientations. People viewing the six disjoint sculptures often do not realize that they are all the same object. Mathematics professor Nat Friedman (State University of New York at Albany) refers to this theoretical seeing in hyperspace as “hyperseeing” and points out in his writings that in hyperspace one can hypersee a 3-D object completely from one viewpoint.

Wow. Now that is far out. Maybe he sold his soul to the devil in order to do it, but Picasso figured out a way to paint so that the viewer can see multiple sides (points of view) all at the same time and from the same place. That is cool. Not icky or boring in the least! I wonder what Einstein would say about all this…wait! What’s that you say? Einstein came up with the theory of relativity in the same decade as Picasso started painting as if he lived on a beam of light?

(Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler-Picasso 1910)

Guess I’ll have to make an Einstein/Picasso posting soon…

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Surely you’ve got to go somewhere when you die. Most of the ancient cultures had a place where they stuck the souls of folks who weren’t of the most savory classes (i.e. weren’t gods or directly related to gods) after they die.

The Sumerians called the underworld Irkalla and it was ruled by Nergal, the god of death. The Egyptians believed that a newly dead person travelled through the Underworld to the Kingdom of the Dead, where his heart was weighed by Anubis and Thoth. The Mayans called this underworld Xibalba, the place of fear, where the dead were confronted with a river of blood, a river of pus, and a house full of razor blades. The Greeks called it Hades, where the river Styx flows, and where the dead stay until they are reborn again.

Some theologians, philosophers, and even scientists* have argued that when people die, their soul may separate from their body and go on to reside, at least temporarily, in a higher dimension. This dimension could exist a millimeter from your face, and you would never know it.

A.T. Schofield wrote that:

A higher world is not only possible, but probable; such a world may be considered as a world of four dimensions. Nothing prevents the spiritual world and its beings, and heaven and hell, being by our very side. (quoted in Surfing Through Hyperspace by Clifford Pickover)

But what does this have to do with anything concerning alive people (aside from the fact that it is a fascinating and slightly eerie hypothesis)?

The answer is death. Dying. Deadness. Putrification. Decay. Release. Circlin’ the drain. Kickin’ the bucket. Roundin’ up the chickens (that’s a new death phrase, coined by me). I’d go on, but I think you might be getting annoyed.

We experience death, on some level, every single day. Whether it be as infinitesimal as a few billion skin cells drying up and sloughing off into the air, or as infinite as losing a loved one, the continuum is broad and complex and is by no means limited to the physical realm. Hopes and fears die every day too…

Do they all go to the fourth dimension/land of the collective consciousness when they die? If so, that’s a lot of skin cells.

*Henry More (1671), Arthur Willink (1870), Karl Heim (1940), J.C.F. Zollner (1840),

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So. I’ve been practicing bringing consciousness to inner space when I am feeling attacked. Here’s a running list so far: 1. made a joke, partner didn’t think it was funny=I got mad. I felt attacked and failed to experience consciousness in the moment. Waah! BUT I did think about the fact that my partner is worried about her child’s teeth, four of which were forcibly removed by a masked tooth bandit today. I thought about that after getting mad, of course. But sympathizing with the enemy=putting myself in her shoes=accessing the collective consciousness. In my world anyway. Equal signs can be relative you know.

2. got taxes filed with the AARP volunteers at the credit union on the corner. They were running late and…gasp…eating food when I arrived. They didn’t hurry up and wolf down their food when I arrived=I got mad. BUT I did think to myself: what a great example they are setting! Here I am, demanding and impatient, and this retired volunteer lady is just eating her bagel, one…tiny…little…bite…at…a..time, calm as a frog on a log. I should be like that. And then, I took some breaths and just sat there, a tiny bit less impatient. Not a complete fail. 75% perhaps.

3. I said that I enjoyed the brown sauce on my french toast. My partner said that it wasn’t brown, it was white. She had a slight sneer (as perceived by me, of course) in her voice=I got mad. I said, ” You’re doing that thing that bothers me, when you get upset over something tiny like the fact that I said it was brown, when it’s really white. Why does that bother you?” My biceps were poppin’ and my calves were rippin’ as I said it, but I was trying to stay conscious. Staying conscious was hard work for my brain and so the blood went squirting back up there stat, and then we proceeded to have a conversation about what annoys us and why and we weren’t even that defensive or angry! Whoa! That was probably a good 50% success!

P.D. Ouspensky, quoted in Clifford Pickover’s book Surfing through Hyperspace, had this to say about it:

We may have very good reason for saying that we are ourselves beings of four dimensions and we are turned towards the third dimension with only one of our sides, i.e., with only a small part of our being. Only this part of us lives in three dimensions, and we are conscious only of this part as our body. The greater part of our being lives in the fourth dimension, but we are unconscious of this greater part of ourselves. Or it would be still more true to say that we live in a four-dimensional world, but are conscious of ourselves only in a three-dimensional world.

I can be all-powerful. From time to time, I make (3D) choices that limit my (4D) powerfulness. (deep breaths, deep breaths…) Why do I do that? I have to admit, after many long moments of meditation on the subject, I think that I limit myself because I’m afraid of dying. It must be a throwback from childhood, These things usually are.

As the great sage JK Rowling says, death is only truly conquered when one does not run away from it, but understands that there are worse things in living than dying.

I’m not exactly sure what I mean by that yet. More about the ghosts later on…

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So, now that I’ve proved beyond all shadows of doubts that the fourth dimension exists, let’s get serious. Here’s my hypothesis: the collective consciousness is the fourth dimension. Seriously. Here’s a camera viewing the inside of a 2D being’s house in real time. (willing suspension of disbelief powering up…I know it’s really a drawing.) Look it over carefully, because it helps me explain my hypothesis.

(drawing by Edwin Abbott Abbott, Flatland)

Notice, by the way, the characters inside the house that you are (perhaps inappropriately) spying on: the wife (she’s the needle shaped character in the middle there), the napping pentagonal sons, the butler and the policemen. None of them can see you staring at them, because they are trapped in 2D. But you can see them…all of them at the same time. You can also see into the bedroom, into the cellar and you could see into the kitchen cupboards too, if they had any, all at the same time.

In the same way that you can see into this Flatlander’s house, a 4D being can see into yours. A 4D doctor could do heart surgery on you without even cutting your skin, just the same way that you could do heart surgery on a 2D being without cutting his skin. You can just see inside him. The fourth dimension is all around us and even inside us.

Eckhart Tolle on the discovery of inner space:

Whenever there is beauty, kindness, the recognition of the goodness of simple things in your life, look for the background to that experience within yourself. But don’t look for i tas if you were looking for something. You cannot pin it down and say, “Now I have it,” or grasp it mentally and define it in some way. It is like the cloudless sky. It has no form. It is space; it is stillness, the sweetness of Being and infinitely more than these words, which are only pointers. When you are able to sense it directly within yourself, it deepens. So when you appreciate something simple–a sound, a sight, a touch–when you see beauty, when you feel loving kindness toward another, sense the inner spaciousness that is the source and background to that experience.

I’ve felt the inner spaciousness before, although it was a fleeting experience. I can even remember some of the times: driving home from the airport late one night and seeing the full moon golden against the horizon, my mom and a perfectly brewed Americano in an antique shop in Paducah, KY, a hike at Buford park on Christmas eve at sunset…

These are some moments when I accidentally slipped into the fourth dimension, the innerly perceived space that touches us all around, or, in my hypothesis, the collective consciousness. More about the ghosts later…

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The reason that Aristotle said that there isn’t a fourth dimension is this: you can’t draw a fourth mutually perpendicular line in the corner of a cube.

Aristotle also said that women have fewer teeth than men because they have less blood.

I do have to say though, looking at the above trivector, you can’t draw a fourth perpendicular (9o° angle)  line in this 3 dimensional object (the cube corner)…unless you hop outside the third dimension to do it.

Now, in my plan (the one where I begin to utilize the fourth dimension in my effort to balance my ancient conflict triggered fight or flee mechanism) I don’t need to remove myself from the third dimension. Which is good because according to Clifford Pickover in Surfing Through Hyperspace, entering into the fourth dimension with this body would would likely prove difficult for our organs. We have a 2 dimensional retina for heaven’s sake! We’d need to upgrade to a 3d retina to be able to see properly in the fourth dimension. We have 3d hearts, 3d livers, 3d brains…who knows what would happen if they were suddenly thrust into a 4 dimensional world?

What is necessary for my plan of action, is that we have a relatively satisfactory trust that the fourth dimension does, indeed, exist. Yesterday 8,970 of the world’s smartest physicists eagerly awaited the start up of the Large Hadron Collider because they think there might be a fourth dimension. Also, somebody spent 10 billion dollars on this project because they, too, think there might be a fourth dimension. (The physicists are doing a couple of other things with the LHC besides looking for the God particle, but those things aren’t that important to me, so I’m going to pretend that they aren’t there.) It’s a pretty compelling reason to believe in the fourth dimension, don’t you think? Other people believe in it. Smart people. And rich ones too. And they’re all probably very attractive! What more do you need?

Ok, I imagine that somebody might want a little more information before taking this leap. Read on:

The first dimension is a line. It has no depth, only length (in red). The second dimension is the line squared, shown in the picture as a plane (blue). The third dimension, the one that we know and love, is the original line cubed (green). So what would the fourth dimension look like?

There it is. The tesseract. It is the original line swept out into the fourth dimension. If you watch, you can see the cube in the middle for a moment, before it sweeps out into hyperspace and becomes the bottom, then the side, then back inside…and on and on. Except that in the fourth dimension, it is all of these places at the same time. Because in the fourth dimension beings are not limited to experiencing time linearly, everything is happening all at the  same time.

That might have been confusing, but close you eyes for a second. Well, I mean read this first, and then close your eyes. Imagine that you are the original line (just height) in the aforedisplayed figure (the red, blue and green one). You expand sideways to give yourself width, but you are flat (no depth). Your world is flat. You cannot see outside your flatness, because you are two dimensional and you have no eyeballs (they are 3d). In other words, you could only see something beside you on your paper thin world and it would look like a line. If a three dimensional being were to enter your flat world from the 3rd dimension, you could only see it as the edge of a circle that gets bigger and then goes away, like this:

(drawing by Edwin Abbott, Flatland)

Imagine what it would be like to be flat like that and have that be your whole world. You would have no real idea at all what a sphere or a cube would look like, because you only see 2 dimensional shapes, and at that you can only see them from one side.

Now imagine that someone comes along with a basketball pump and pumps you up like a balloon. Now you have height, width AND depth. You can peel yourself out of your flatland, stand up and experience the third dimension! Wow! You feel great! (willing suspension of belief, because your 2d organs can’t work properly here in the third dimension).

If there is a fourth dimension, and I think there is, we are limited by our 3rd dimension in the same way that a 2d beings are limited in theirs.

Can you feel the fourth dimension? Close your eyes again and try. Imagine that you can open up into a hyper-direction that you didn’t even know existed! Maybe its called deighth. (That’s depth, height, and width all mixed together.) Feeling the fourth dimension is the first step in utilizing it for assistance. Meditate on that for a while…

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Aristotle said that the fourth dimension didn’t exist. Aristotle also said that women have a lower temperature than men and are lower life forms. Times, they are a changin’.

Scientists and mathematicians have extrapolated theories using thought experiments and mathematical equations that point to the existence of the fourth (and higher) dimensions. Einstein defined the fourth dimension as time. Theodor Kaluza suggested that everyday things that we look at might have hidden, tiny dimensions within them.  Modern physicists have been contemplating, experimenting and honing theories trying to understand the mysteries of a multi-dimensional universe.

Today at 1:05 pm, at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, after 16 years of trying, scientists recorded the first proton collisions at 7 trillion electron volts. 7 trillion electron volts is a super duper seriously lot of energy. The collider takes two particle beams (hadrons) and sends them out onto a 17 mile race track where they pick up as much speed as they can (nearly the speed of light) before they smash together. The scientists hope that when the hadrons smash together a Higgs boson (aka the God particle) will be released.

This Higgs boson, which is, by the way, a theoretical particle (in other words, a lot of folks have spent a lot of time and a lot of money on finding something that might not exist), is said to have the ability to move between dimensions because it isn’t affected by our gravitational pull. In other words, if we find the Higgs boson, we might find out how to travel to a nearby dimension. Wow! That’s pretty neat.

All in all, this seems like a timely time to explore possible uses for this fourth dimension (which I fully believe exists) for my own benefit. More specifically, I’d like to devise a plan to use the fourth dimension as an aid in making decisions under (perceived) attack. How convenient that the scientists have made their discovery just as I am exploring this question! Perhaps we are linked in some way…

In my last post I spoke about how I read self help books in order to help me make good choices toward a healthy and happy life. However, human physiology is such that when I am presented with conflict, my ancient genes flare sending me into fight or flight mode and all my carefully laid plans for health and happiness evaporate into the cosmos as if they never did exist at all.

How can I take advantage of all the time and money and intellect that has gone into the search for the Higgs boson? How can I use this monumental historical event to accelerate myself forward into new, healthier horizons?

I have a plan. It’s going to take a few days to fully germinate though, so, check back tomorrow…

UPDATE: Read the plan for using the 4th dimension as an anger management tool HERE and HERE.

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