Here’s a very easy way to visualize a dimension: it is the limit as the range of possibilities approaches infinity in a particular direction. The zeroth dimension, of course, is not a dimension at all; it is just a point. The first dimension is a line; it is the set of all points, infinite in amount, in one direction. Two dimensions would be in two directions, and so on.
We live in a four-dimensional world. We have the three dimensions created by space and then the extra dimension known so well as time. Then again, perhaps we don’t live in a 4-D world. An argument can be made for a fifth dimension, as I saw in some video someone made about visualizing dimensions. But that fifth dimension is so hard to imagine, so hard to fathom. Because, alas, that fifth dimension is nothing less than the messenger of fate itself.
You know, before I thought about this topic a little more, I was going to title this blog post “Trees”. Not the pretty green kind, no I mean the kind that exists inside computer hardware memory. A tree consists of a root. A current condition. Then, it branches out. Assuming a non-binary tree, the root can branch out to any number of children nodes. Then each of those nodes (or, as Prof. Harvey asserts, subtrees) in the (as Harvey asserts, Forest) can branch out to any number of additional grandchildren nodes. And it goes on. What is truly amazing about a tree is that the number of nodes increases exponentially with depth. It increases fast!
So what does this tree stuff have to do with dimensions? Well, the obscure fifth dimension combines the notions of dimensions and trees. Yes, it is in fact a tree, a tree where the number of children per node approaches infinity. It is also a dimension, a dimension where the direction is the future. In other words, it is the tree that points towards the future. No other dimension can boast this combination. A point in any other lower dimension is specified by coordinates; a “point” in the fifth dimension is a subtree of time. Other dimensions are sets of unrelated points; the fifth dimension is a branching of points. What nodes lie beneath you – those represent all your possible futures. Each of those possible futures lead to an infinite amount of additional possible futures. Whichever node you land on next, that is fate.
I’ve thought about all the decisions I’ve made, right and wrong. All the blunders – that silly mistake on a quiz, that girl… and then I think about the future. What decisions will I make? What philosophies/values will I hold, that will shape who I will become? How will I control my fate, or will I be able to control it at all? These were thoughts I harbored as I walked down from Etcheverry this morning, holding my quiz in my hand which I had messed up on. Tomorrow’s midterm will indeed shape my future; it is yet another node in my life; it is an uncertainty in the infinite set of possibilities within that tree known as the fifth dimension. Will I make another silly mistake? Will I do well? Or will it just be another 60% blunder, but with far more dire consequences?
The 5th dimension is scary indeed. And so, as humans, we try to ignore it. But the fact is, it’s there. Sometimes I do get scared. I think about how my future’s gonna shape out. I get scared about where I’m headed in this tree of time.
With that said, I’ll cut my post short right here (it’s getting long). I’ll talk about this more in my next post.