Saturday, October 25, 2008

Visualizing Time

Me: Yeah, it's a little difficult to deal with. Whatever you can't perceive well becomes something like "time" to you...I'll have to think about this a little longer. It's very interesting though. I wonder if humans are perceiving all other dimensions as just time. Hmmmm....

Matt: That's exactly it. Dimensions of space that we cannot perceive directly, as space, we experience as time.

Me: I still don't see how dimensions that are not perceived are just automatically "time" for that being. Maybe I need to re-read what you said...the saga continues..

Matt: Basically, if you can't perceive a dimension, that doesn't mean it isn't there. So you will perceive it, when you come across it, ie it will express inside your sensorium in some way. However, rather than being perceived as an integral part of something, ie simultaneously (the way when you look at, say, a cube, you perceive it's length, height, and breadth), it will be perceived as something that expresses itself temporally.

I know, it's a difficult concept. I highly recommend the link I included in the last email. It's a much more rigorous treatment than I'm capable of giving you.

Me: Sweet. Thanks a lot. I wish I could ask more questions but at this point my well is dry and my cup is full. I'll let you know when I have some more. Do you like hockey?

Matt: Hmmm. Hockey? Only when the gloves come off.


Different Thread

Me: I wonder what all dimensions together would look like...some kind of timeless energy tube?

Matt: That's a good question. Visualizing it is probably impossible, at least with a human brain. This doesn't stop me from trying, though ... and the best I can say is that, when I think of it, I think of something that is simultaneously a point source, a sphere of infinite radius, and an endlessly branching tree. If that makes any sense at all.

Words are inherently insufficient.

Check out Electric Sheep. If you can run it on your computer (you need a decent graphics card) it might help you visualize higher dimensions. It's also possibly the most beautiful screen saver you've ever seen.

2 comments:

pengd0t said...

http://www.electricsheep.org/

Matthew Shultz said...

A quick clarification about electric sheep: I jumped the gun linking the screensaver to higher dimensional visualization. That information came from a friend who was showing it to me, the first time I saw it. Her math background is, shall we say, somewhat skimpy. Further investigation was unable to turn up any mention of hyperdimensional geometry in the software ... according to the author, the math is basically fractal in nature.

That said, it's still quite beautiful.