THE FOURTH DIMENSION
We perceive space as volume – everything extended in the three dimensions of measurement (length, breadth & height). We cannot see more than three – that’s how we are made and it is one of the many limitations of the human apparatus. If we perceived from within the volume, we could only see two of the three dimensions – our world would be two-dimensional and it is suspected that non-humans live in such a two- or one- dimensional world. Just think of the antics of a wasp or fly on a window pane when the adjacent window is wide open. We could not cognise three dimensions unless we were looking from a fourth because it is only possible to cognise inferior dimensions from a superior dimension. Only from the second dimension can one perceive the first, the first & second from the third, the first, second & third from a fourth. It’s from this fourth dimension that we are looking. This we interpret as Time or Duration. In fact it is a measurement of space but we cannot see it as space. Einstein was the first to show that time is a spatial concept. A useful analogy to help understand the idea of dimensions is that of the runway lights we see as our plane takes off, seen one after the other (i.e. in Time) as the plane gathers speed but seen as one in a pattern when we gain height in another dimension and look down on the runway.
Perceiving being outside the three- dimensional volume, there must be a centre outside, from which perceiving operates. From this ‘centre’ is measured three-dimensional volume and must itself be a fourth dimension – inconceivable and inaccessible objectively because of our inability to perceive more than three dimensions. This centre in the fourth dimension must be in the only place and time that it could be – Here and Now. It operates from here and not from there and from now and not from then. This is why each of us can say we are the centre of the universe and this centre is ‘I’ and it is always here and always now. Even the spider could say it if it had speech and self-awareness. Apart from calling it the fourth dimension, no description of it has ever been found, except possibly “the within”. Jesus is said to have said the Kingdom of Heaven is within and he can’t have been talking about ‘in here’.
How do we see what is really in four dimensions with our limited faculties that can only perceive in three dimensions? Take the example of a growing plant. We can conceive the totality of the growing plant in four dimensions from seed to flowering, stretched out in serial time. But what we experience in our limited three-dimensional space is the development of a four-dimensional object, apparently growing from what we regard as ‘within’, in a time sequence. This suggests that what we are may well exist in multiple dimensions, not even just four, but we are forced to represent them to ourselves in the three dimensions to which we are confined by our perceiving apparatus and, of course, the language we use to describe them.