Monday, August 24, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #102: The Fifth Dimension and the Soul

Now that we've all had our dose of real expert scientific insight from yesterday's videos, let's get back into the realm of quasi-philosophical pseudoscience. And I mean that in a good way; after all, I'm writing this tripe.

I've rambled without end concerning time, time travel, fate, and free will, so let's talk about one degree higher: The fifth dimension. Please read the pop culture section in the Wikipedia article for this subject, since the scholarly stuff will make my head explode.

Okay, now that we've all read the easy stuff, let me assert the following:

1. We are fourth dimensional creatures, in that we have a physical choice to go forward and backward, left and right, and up and down, and that we are only physically allowed to go one direction in time.
2. A fifth dimensional being, therefore, can physically go forward and backward in a time, but this being is limited by the consequences of changing the course of time, if that is even possible.
(3. A sixth dimensional being is not limited by the possibilities of branching time lines, but let's not get into that here.)

I think that is in line with what a certain philosophical hypothesist (hey, a neologism!) says on the topic. Quoting the Wikipedia article linked above:

Rob Bryanton's book and animation Imagining the Tenth Dimension proposes that the 4-dimensional spacetime in the universe is being created one Planck length at a time from the available probabilistic branches in the fifth dimension.
As I spin it, a fifth dimensional being is not subject to the arrow of time, but he/she is subject to the cause and effect - the branches of probability - available to the fifth dimensional plane that contains our fourth dimensional time line (if that even makes sense).

OK, let's move on, shall we? All I wanted to say is that this hypothetical fifth dimension contains all the more-or-less realistic what-ifs? relevant to our history. There might be a branch of time in "our" fifth dimension in which Abraham Lincoln never entered politics, but there is likely no branch of time in which sapient hamburgers lived among the dinosaurs (because that would be silly for our Universe).

If you were somehow blessed to go back in time to save Abraham Lincoln from being assassinated, some will argue that you saved someone else's Abraham Lincoln, and not your Abraham Lincoln. For, if you saved your Abraham Lincoln, you would never be motivated to save a fallen Abraham Lincoln, in which case, you would never travel back to save Abraham Lincoln, thus letting your Abraham Lincoln get assassinated in the first place - so creating a bizarre loop. The easiest way to unloop ourselves is to say that your hypothetical rescue of the President created a new branch of history - a new time line in a fifth dimensional plane.

What if this special dimension (or another higher dimension) linked all possible Abraham Lincolns - the one who never got into politics, the one who was never assassinated, our martyred President, et cetera, ad infinitum? Quoting again from the same Wikipedia article:
In Hindu philosophy, the fifth dimension of love of the Divine is termed by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas as turyatita, the dimension of the soul's Soul.
I am definitely taking this religious concept out of context, so I must apologize for my deep ignorance, but I like the idea of a soul's soul in this new sense: Perhaps in a fifth dimensional hyperspace, all the possible life-timelines of Abraham Lincoln (as well all your possibilities, my possibilities, and everyone's individual possibilities) are linked together by a fifth dimensional soul. This could be a philosophical compromise concerning the Abraham Lincoln you've hypothetically saved earlier: You might have created a new branch of time by your actions, but Abraham Lincoln is still Abraham Lincoln, linked together by Abraham Lincoln's fifth-dimensional soul.

Since we're talking about possibilities and branched time lines, we can get into the thought experiment of quantum immortality, but let's save that for another time. It would be a bit odd for there to exist a 200 year old, Highlander-esque Abraham Lincoln in some branches of time.

Several days ago, I posed the question whether time or some sort of other hyperspace was the dimension above (folded into, perpendicular to, etc.) the third dimension. Quoting Wikipedia again:
The characters in Madeleine L'Engle's novel A Wrinkle In Time use the fifth dimension as a "dimensional shortcut" to travel through space.
I read that book in high school. If we take all these hypotheses together, the fifth dimension possibly serves several functions, like a Swiss Army Knife of hyperspace:

1. The medium for multi-directional time travel;
2. The plane of all possibilities relevant to our history of time;
3. The connector of all bodies to claim one soul - the version of you who turned left and the version of you who turned right are both you and not something less you (like a clone). Both - and all possible historical versions of you - are you;
4. If the fourth dimension won't let you teleport from one part of space to another, then maybe the fifth dimension will.

The soul-connector concept hit me with yet another borderline sane thought: Subjectively, we feel free will. Objectively, in the big picture of a single fourth dimensional timeline, everything is subject to fate, and whatever happens, happens. In the bigger picture of multiple branches of time in the fifth dimension - guess what? - free will is back.

(I think I might have my copy of A Wrinkle in Time somewhere. I might as well re-read the book, if I ever make the time to do so.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note: Comments are open only for seven days after publication of each blog entry.