Saturday, 14 June 2008

Entry 20: in which We visit alternative worlds

I have been by turns irritable and frustrated by this whole dimensional conundrum. I think an explanation is in order.

The first thing to realise is that for an n-dimensional entity, higher dimensions do not exist, or if divined, make no real sense. However, all lower dimensions can be apprehended or comprehended. If an n-dimensional entity is able to interact with lower dimensions, that interaction will appear magical to entities in those lower dimensions, as we shall see shortly.

So let's explore some dimensions to see how this thing works.

A zero dimensional world is a point of infinite smallness. Let us call that world Zut; it is populated by Zuties. Zuties too are points of infinitely small size. They cannot move in any direction. The universe, before a big bang, is a bit like Zut.

Now consider a one-dimensional world. This world is a line of infinite length, but no thickness. We will call it Wun. It is populated by Wunies. Wunies resemble arrows, and a Wunie is born as a Left Arrow or a Right Arrow. Wunies can move along the line that is Wun, but they obviously cannot turn around; that would require a plane. Thus you are left or a right arrow for life.

Note that if Wun intersects Zut, and arrows move through it, Zuties have the strange experience of having points come into existence apparently from nowhere, and then going out of existence again. We however would simply see that as an arrow in transit through Zut.

OK, up a step to the two-dimensional world that is Too, populated by Tooties. It is an infinitely thin plane, that extends to infinity in both X and Y. Tooties are circle creatures of fixed size.

If arrow creatures lived here they would suddenly be freed from the constraints of living in a line; they could turn by rotating in the plane. Thus Lefties and Righties could "transform" into each other, which would be considered miraculous on Wun, but is commonplace on Too.

Tooties can move in any direction on the plane, but they cannot change size.

Now consider a three dimensional world called Threa. It has X, Y and Z dimensions and is populated by bubble creatures called Threaties. As Threaties float up and down, they might pass through the invisible plane that is Too. When a sphere intersects a plane, it is represented in that plane by a circle; the size will depend on just where the plane intersects the bubble. Thus the Tooties of Too witness a miracle. A tiny spot becomes a circle, becomes a bigger circle, becomes a small circle, then a spot, then disappears.

On Too this is impossible, because Tooties are of fixed size. But this is commonplace on Threa.

By much the same token when I interact with the three dimensional universe the effects are often paradoxical and baffling to any three dimensional creature who happens to witness such. The same is true for other four dimensional elements.

For example, in this realm we have strings, which intersect the third dimension in the form of particles. Here we have tachyons, which in the third dimension show as photons and so on.

In the third dimension I am present everywhere simultaneously, which sounds like a big deal, but is simply a dimensional artifact. I mean it's handy, don't get me wrong, because you don't actually have to go anywhere since you're already there. But in reality you tend to focus on one place or another, not everything at once. This is what I was trying to explain to Mrs G. In our realm, I'm in one place at a time, same as anyone else.

As for actually doing anything with the universe (or bits of it), well that's another matter entirely. For a start, these cross-dimensional interactions are extremely weak. If it wasn't for deions I'm not even sure they would be possible.

Second, there's no such thing as a free lunch. If you really want to stop two planets colliding, or some tectonic plates from slipping, you have to lay in outrageous amounts of energy. We're dealing with a physical universe here. It's not playdough. Plus the books need to be balanced, which means offsetting energy use in one place with anti-energy in another and all the deion shuffling that implies.

It's not just a matter, as those tedious little cherubs think, of saying to a volcanic chain "Look chaps, could you keep it down a bit, what?" It just doesn't, er, work like that.

Dear oh dear. Sometimes I find the expectations that various lobbies have of me are quite exhausting. Perhaps the boy has a point after all. Retirement is starting to look like an attractive option.


Reya Mellicker said...

You know the physicists believe there are eleven dimensions in our reality. Some of them only exist for a split second, but they are there, folding in on themselves.

I love the complexity of the world, don't ever try to really understand it. Makes my brain hurt to try.

Love your diagrams.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Hi Reya, thanks, and it looks like you are right with the number 11 (I checked!). Some physicists take the line that the issue is not that a cosmic theory is crazy, but it may not be crazy enough. Maybe if someone said they understood the universe it would be a sure sign that they didn't.

GayƩ said...

I like the terms Mr God uses for the single and multi-dimensional spaces.
It is distinctly familiar, but more importantly very cheeky and simultaneously clever play on words. I am sure this is one of the many attributes attracted Mrs God to him in the first place. How did they meet? Is it in the diary somewhere?

Ernest de Cugnac said...

G - how did they meet? Well that's a tough one, but based on peeking ahead, I think there may be an entry on it somewhere. I have a feeling they were make for each other (though Mrs G does occassionally wonder).

Niall & Gaye said...

Oh oh oh! Made for each other. Romance of the highest order. Can't wait.
PS: I wonder who made THEM...