## Is it possible to imagine 4th dimension

• 7
In mathematics there is a shape called a tesseract which is an interpretation of a shadow of a 4D cube. Try as anyone must it's impossible for humans to comprehend it. Here's my question, are 3D beings even capable of comprehending the forth dimension no matter how intelligent. Even if we make a jump in intelligence to lets say a slug to a human and then the same jump from a human, could that being still not comprehend the forth dimension?
• 372
Why Humans Will Never Understand Four Dimensional Space

I have always more or less been on a quest to understand the Universe. I decided to start with understanding the more fundamental aspects of the Universe and then build on that understanding to understand more complicated things. But the question came up as to what was the most fundamental thing in the Universe. Elementary Particle Physics seemed to be a good place to start. What could be more fundamental than Electrons, Protons, and Neutrons? Well you quickly find out that Elementary Particles are just made out of Energy. So Energy seemed to be the thing to start with. Eventually I learned that Energy can arise out of Space itself. So what does this mean about our concept of Space? It would seem that Energy might be made out of Space. So then the regression back to find the most fundamental thing ended up with trying to understanding Space, which of course is Nothing. How do you study Nothing?

Eventually I realized that Space was not really Nothing it was Something. Since Space is Something it could exist or not exist. The common notion that Space is an ever existent background Thing that extends out infinitely in three directions could be wrong. There could be different kinds of Spaces besides our 3D Space. There could be a 4D Space. There could be no Space. The possibility of no Space is almost impossible to grasp by the 3D human brain.

I thought that if I could show that 4D Space is a workable reality for a Universe , then I would be able to convince myself that Space is a Thing just as Energy and Matter are Things. The concept of Nothing then becomes a concept of Absolute Nothing where there is no Matter, Energy, or Space.

To understand 4D Space I thought I should try to experience what it would be like to be a 4D Conscious being living in and moving around in a 4D World. See Exploring the 4th Dimension Using Animations. I generated many Animations to help me do this. I think the Animations were helpful but I still feel that I am unable to exactly experience a 4D World in the same way an actual 4D being would. The key thing that we must do is understand how a 4D being can see a 3D Hyperplane as a Flat object. Anything else you think you know is irrelevant until you understand that.

But even though I was not able to experience 4D in the way I had hoped I believe that the Animations have shown me that a 4D World is possible and therefore that our 3D Space is only one type of Space. There can be No Space if there can be 3D Space or 4D Space.

The one thing I learned from the Animations is that the reason I don't understand 4D Space is because I am too embedded in this 3D Universe. I can think about 4D Space in theory and use all the different techniques for visualizing it but my 3D brain will never let me fully understand it. I do not think anyone can. We would need a 4D Brain to do this.

To be able to see in our 3D World we have a Visual Cortex that is roughly a flat (but folded) 2D patch of a little more than 1 billion Neurons. If it were a square patch it would be about 32000 Neurons on each side. A 2D being would only need a line of these Neurons or 32000 of them. The whole 2D Brain Neuron count would be scaled down by a factor of 32000. A 2D Brain would be 32000 times less intelligent than a 3D Brain. A 4D Visual Cortex by analogy would have to be a cube of Neurons with 32000 Neurons on all sides. It would be a 3D Hyper Plane so the 4D being would view it as flat. A 4D being's Visual Cortex would have 32000 times more Neurons than a 3D being's Visual Cortex. The 4D Brain Neuron count would be scaled up by a factor of 32000 and a 4D being will probably be 32000 times more intelligent than we are.

So the conclusion we have to come to is that we, and I mean all of us 3D beings, can never know what it would be like to actually be a 4D being. We are just not smart enough. You might think you understand 4D using one of the techniques but you never really get there. You need to be able to see our 3D Space as being Flat. I think this is an important realization for Philosophy and the study of the limits of our ability to understand things.
• 121
How does one "comprehend" any dimension? I have no problem comprehending 4 dimensions if one of them is time. I could comprehend a fourth dimension in other ways. For example, I could see a 3D space and put on spectacles of a continuum of various hues from rose to shit. The scene is "flat" (static) until I put on the spectacles.
• 7
I see, that's an interesting way of putting it. That you only need to mental capacity to view 4D space in that instance. Do you therefore think that consciousness is in a way transcendable?
• 121
Would I be correct to say that nobody knows whether 4D "space" is a meaningful concept beyond extending the mathematics by a dimension?
• 772
I've been trying to work on this for a while, so far what I have is some kind of pseudo-science which anyone should feel free to reject.

I think it is possible to conceive of 4D. Personally, I consider the fourth dimension to be that of force. If force, or the lines of force could be delineated like we do with magnets and iron filings, then we could have an idea of what 4D is.

From my investigations (if they could be called that):
1. Length represents 1D which delineates a line,
2. Area represents 2D which delineates a surface,
3. Volume represents 3D which delineates a solid (or bulk/amount for fluids),
4. Flux represents 4D which delineates a force or the lines/field of force.

The problem I've encountered is the many varied influences (forces) which impact any one object. I don't know how far we can delineate the sum total of the confluence generated by all the forces present and interacting with any distinct object in the many states and circumstances it may be in.

Does this make sense?
• 984
Personally, I consider the fourth dimension to be that of force.
Force is defined as the product of mass and acceleration, which is the second derivative of space with respect to time, so it is not an additional dimension. I often startle young structural engineers right out of school when I tell them that force does not actually exist--it is merely a mathematical construct that enables us to analyze and solve problems.

Frankly, I am surprised that no one has already pointed out that time is widely considered to be the fourth dimension, since space-time is a continuum. So the question is really whether it is possible to imagine a fifth dimension.
• 772

I mean forces like gravity, magnetism or weak and strong interaction forces which are generated from a body's inherent mechanism. Mass and acceleration would still be factors but the force still exists even when there is no external acceleration on the object in question. Even when the object is at rest there would still be forces influencing it, generating and maintaining shape/form, generating attraction and repulsion, etc.

Also, I think with the advances in investigations of dark matter and dark energy, it's a safe bet to presume that mass is itself a product of interacting forces since quantum physicists would have us hypothesize that an object's distinct gravitational force is generated by interaction of dark matter and dark energy.
• 772

I don't know about time, I find it to be purely relative. Can a dimension be relative?
• 984
Even when the object is at rest there would still be forces influencing it, generating and maintaining shape/form, generating attraction and repulsion, etc.
There is no such thing as an object at rest. Continuous motion through space-time is a more fundamental reality than discrete positions in space or moments in time, which we arbitrarily mark for the sake of measurement and analysis. Where there is no acceleration, there is no force.

I don't know about time, I find it to be purely relative. Can a dimension be relative?
What exactly do you mean by "relative"? How is each dimension of space different from time in that regard?
• 772
There is no such thing as an object at rest.

I don't mean an absolute state of rest. I mean considering an object through a static frame of reference as is often done in physics.

What exactly do you mean by "relative"? How is each dimension of space different from time in that regard?

Time, for me, is the relation between the transiency (change) of states, objects, etc. It is dependent on at least two distinct values for its delineation. It is not a factor when a state or object is considered by itself without relation to change. For example, length, surface area, volume and force can be considered in a static state or a static frame of reference. Can the same be said of time?
• 984
Time ... is dependent on at least two distinct values for its delineation.
Again, how is each dimension of space any different in that regard? You need to mark at least two points in order to measure linear distance.

For example, length, surface area, volume and force can be considered in a static state or a static frame of reference. Can the same be said of time?
A static state is a hypothetical construct in which we examine the three dimensions of space without considering time. We can likewise omit one spatial dimension and evaluate how a hypothetical two-dimensional state changes over time. We can also omit both time and one spatial dimension for static analysis of a hypothetical two-dimensional state; in fact, this is a very common simplification in my field of structural engineering.
• 772
Again, how is each dimension of space any different in that regard? You need to mark at least two points in order to measure linear distance.

This can be on the same object thus making it possible to maintain a static frame of reference for the object distinctly.

A static state is a hypothetical construct in which we examine the three dimensions of space without considering time. We can likewise omit one spatial dimension and evaluate how a hypothetical two-dimensional state changes over time. We can also omit both time and one spatial dimension for static analysis of a hypothetical two-dimensional state; in fact, this is a very common simplification in my field of structural engineering.

Can time by itself be considered without any other dimension?
• 984
This can be on the same object thus making it possible to maintain a static frame of reference for the object distinctly.
How is that relevantly different from marking two points in time in order to measure duration?

Can time by itself be considered without any other dimension?
Yes--at least from a phenomenological standpoint, thinking has temporal extension but no spatial extension. That is one way to differentiate the mental from the physical.
• 2.3k
I've put 5 in a plot before at work. 3 spatial dimensions illustrating a trend, an animation conveying the transformation of that trend over time, and a colouring over the shape to indicate how a discrete variable changed over time and space.
• 772
How is that relevantly different from marking two points in time in order to measure duration?

Not marking two points in time but marking points on the object while the frame of reference being considered is static.

Yes--at least from a phenomenological standpoint, thinking has temporal extension but no spatial extension. That is one way to differentiate the mental from the physical.

I believe both temporal and spatial dimensions are virtual in the mind, that is, mental time and mental space.
• 984
I believe both temporal and spatial dimensions are virtual in the mind, that is, mental time and mental space.
Then we simply disagree--I believe that space-time is a real continuum; i.e., it is as it is regardless of how anyone thinks about it.
• 772
I believe that space-time is a real continuum; i.e., it is as it is regardless of how anyone thinks about it.

I feel like the dimensions we're discussing (the 1D, 2D, 3D, 4D) exist within the space-time continuum thus making it impossible for either space or time to be its own distinct dimension since they designate the entire field of interaction.

And I accept, this is one of those arguments where we just have to agree to disagree.
• 7.8k
hues from rose to shit

Shit is not a hue.
• 3.3k
The fourth dimension is a mass murderer. It's time and it kills.
• 372
I see, that's an interesting way of putting it. That you only need to mental capacity to view 4D space in that instance. Do you therefore think that consciousness is in a way transcendable?

The Consciousness that is connected to a 4D Brain would have more capability than a Consciousness connected to a 3D Brain. But I don't think that the 4D connected Consciousness would transcend the 3D connected Consciousness. The 4D Consciousness just has better Hardware to work with. You could probably say that the 4D Brain would transcend the 3D Brain.
• 372
Personally, I consider the fourth dimension to be that of force. — BrianWForce is defined as the product of mass and acceleration, which is the second derivative of space with respect to time, so it is not an additional dimension. I often startle young structural engineers right out of school when I tell them that force does not actually exist--it is merely a mathematical construct that enables us to analyze and solve problems.

Frankly, I am surprised that no one has already pointed out that time is widely considered to be the fourth dimension, since space-time is a continuum. So the question is really whether it is possible to imagine a fifth dimension.

Time is incorrectly considered to be the 4th dimension. Space-Time is considered to be a particular kind of 4 dimensional Manifold. Time was never considered to be a Spatial Dimension. In fact the equations of Relativity and Quantum Mechanics show time with the index 0 and the other dimensions with indexes 1, 2 and 3. So in Relativity and QM Time is the Zeroth dimension. If we were to add another Space dimension it would be the 4th dimension not the 5th.
• 372
In mathematics there is a shape called a tesseract which is an interpretation of a shadow of a 4D cube. Try as anyone must it's impossible for humans to comprehend it. Here's my question, are 3D beings even capable of comprehending the forth dimension no matter how intelligent. Even if we make a jump in intelligence to lets say a slug to a human and then the same jump from a human, could that being still not comprehend the forth dimension?

You will never truly comprehend the Tesseract until you can comprehend some more simple concepts. First you must comprehend that a three dimensional cube is a Flat object in 4D. It is called a 3D Hyper Plane in 4D. The sides of a Tesseract consists of these 3D Hyper Planes. A Tesseract is a simple empty box in 4D. That animated self eating Monstrosity that they always show you for a Tesseract shows only how the sides might be connected at the expense of any kind of proper visualization for the Tesseract itself. There is not even any inside to this animation it is all just sides morphing in and out of the scene. The Sides are depicted as 3D things that have thickness. There is no attempt to indicate the Flatness of the sides. This Animation provides almost no insight as to what the Tesseract really is. Let me repeat a Tesseract is a simple empty box. The Sides are 3D but are flat in 4D. A particle randomly flying around inside and bumping off the walls will always hit a wall at a point where there is only 1 point of thickness (the definition of Flatness) between the point of impact and the Space outside of the Tesseract..So the first question is to understand the 3D Hyper Plane. Also in 4D, Rotations are about Planes not Lines. But lets understand the Hyper Plane first.
• 121
Are there not painters whose medium is poop?!
• 7.8k
Indeed there are. Here is an example: The Virgin Mary with elephant dung

Chris Ofili. The Holy Virgin Mary. 1996

MOMA

Depicted on a lush, glittering ground of shimmering orange resin that recalls the gold leaf of religious icons, Ofili’s Virgin appears resplendent, majestic, and imperious, yet also suffused with sexual potency. Close inspection reveals the delicate, fluttering cherubim surrounding her to be crafted from images of women’s buttocks clipped from pornographic magazines;in place of her bared breast, a lump of elephant dung sits on the canvas, protruding into the viewer’s space. A material often used by traditional African artists, elephant dung has been incorporated into works by a number of contemporary African-diaspora artists to evoke their cultural heritage. Ofili began to use dung in his work following a visit to Africa to explore his roots. “There's something incredibly simple but incredibly basic about it,” Ofili told The New York Times in 1999. “It attracts a multiple of meanings and interpretations.

Hmm, sounds like bullshit to me.
• 121
Love the cherubum idea! All else pales.
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