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Time: a four-dimensional object viewed in cross-section?

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posted on Feb, 25 2004 @ 10:09 PM
All right, this is going out on a limb here... an English major trying to explain quantum physics... but I had an idea.

Okay, first of all, I am assuming that the fourth dimension of space is that which we know as Time. Now, some explanation.

Imagine that you are two-dimensional; your world consists of forward, back, left, and right; the concepts of "up" and "down" are totally foreign to you. If there is a line (a one-dimensional object) in front of you, you cannot see through it, unless it is viewed from an angle in which it has no width; this can be likened to viewing a sheet of paper width-wise in the third dimension.

Now, imagine that, as a two-dimensional person in a two-dimensional world, something very strange happens: a sphere arrives. A sphere perhaps the size of a basketball. As this sphere descends out of the sky (moving in a third dimension, and wholly incomprehensible to your 2-D eyes), you would be very unable to percieve the whole of it at once, and would not be able to see it at all until it was parallel to you at some point along its second dimension.

Imagine that this sphere has no physical substance, and is capable of passing entirely through the two-dimensional plane you define as your world. As it first comes into your field of vision, you would see a point in front of you, a point that would quickly grow in size into the two-dimensional equivalent of a circle as the sphere passed through your plane. It would grow until the center two-dimensional plane of the sphere was parallel with your world, and would then shrink back to a point and, ultimately, vanish.

Essentially, you would be able to view it only in cross-section, seeing at any given moment only the part that occupied a dimension you were capable of percieving.

All this is scientifically valid, and makes sense if you think about it.

Now comes the tricky part; this goes back to the recent idea of Ekpyrotic theory, which basically states that the real universe consists of five-dimensional "membranes" that do an agonizingly slow dance in the ether, occasionally running up against one another and creating a Big Bang via the resultant friction.


what if Time is just one of these membranes, currently moving through our three-dimensional universe in a manner only perceptible to us in ever-changing "cross-sections" that we percieve as a measured continuation of and delay between causes and effects?

Now, if this is valid, I have to ask...

what happens when this time-generating membrane moves out of three-space? I'll tell you what: the collapse of linear time.

This goes back to some even more bizarre theories... our universe has been alive for unimaginable billions of years... what if it runs out soon?

Any thoughts on my theory and the implications are welcomed; please let me know what you think.

[Edited on 2-25-2004 by Xenographer]: If anyone can figure out what the devil is up with that hyperlink, I'd be much obliged if you'd let me know.

[Edited on 2-25-2004 by Xenographer]

posted on Feb, 25 2004 @ 10:13 PM
I said something similar to this in this post:
4th Dimension
I didn't go into detail, but I've always thought Time is the 4th dimension.

posted on Feb, 25 2004 @ 10:21 PM
I think that time as the fourth dimension is fairly accepted amongst scientist types... I'm just very curious as to why... odd stuff, time.

posted on Feb, 25 2004 @ 10:28 PM
Time as we know it is fake. We invented time to keep track of things. But REAL time is simply light. Everything you see is time, and you could not see it without light. In earlier posts, people have said if we looked in a mirror of Earth that is 20,000 light years from earth, we'd see earth 20,000 years ago. Without light, there is no time. Tme is very real, you can touch it, taste it, whatever, EVERYTHING is time. But as to why this is considered a dimension? I have no clue. As I said in the other post, If you give something time, It can age and grow, while when time is taken away, the opposite happens. Time allows things to change, and when you add depth to an object, it changes. That's why I think it is the 4th dimension.

posted on Feb, 26 2004 @ 09:20 PM
Okay, guys, sorry to double-post... but could any of you see your way to reading my ideas and telling me what you think?

I'm very curious as to the potential veracity of this theory... if any of you have an opinion, please let me know.

Thanks a ton

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 08:46 AM
I was watching some show the other night when some scientists started talking about the 3 dimensions. They of course explained, width, highth, and depth, but the catagorized Time as a dimension OF Time. They said our 3-D world does not physically interact with time. I mean this by saying, they were saying you cannot combine the time with highth, depth, or width.

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 09:16 AM

I can tell you how your theory/idea matches with science if that helps.

For starters it appears that time doesn't even exist. The more science progresses the less it seems time is even there but rather just a human illusion.

So in that respect, time being an illusion, sceince is in agreement.

Also, you weren't talking about quantum physics you were talking about Brane or M theory.....sort of. Thats what the two 5D branes are from.

Now on to what i think of your theory. I think its very interesting, but doesn't have any support, its just a neat idea. The problem with reality as we know it is that it is REALLY WEIRD, so it generates many many many ideas, but only some of those ideas can be suported by observations and experiments. Currently time is considered a dimension in our universe for several reasons. First of all you can manipulate it, well gravity and movement can. Time is interwoven with spacial dimensions so that as gravity warps space it also warps time. Secondly time is a 4th dimension because we move through it.

Of course that is all IF time exist. A lot of current theories sugest that there realy is no time, at best there are just frames, each one having a set of particals known as "human brains" that just happen to be set up in a way that makes them "remember" previous events.

In the end, I think no one really knows. Physics theories are great for thinking about the way reality really is, but remember, physics ISN'T reality, its math that describes that reality, and when people take those math theories and apply them to existance, well, none have ever stuck so far.

Neat ideas though. That kind of thinking can generate some GREAT scifi if nothing else.

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 09:42 AM
lilblam will be in here soon to tell us how "TIME IS AN ILLUSION, DAMMIT!!"

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 11:29 AM
Actually, Quest, I did have a link in there to a page on membrane theory, but the HTML got all screwy on me... it may be in there, just very, very broken.

I don't really think about it as a supportable theory, though... just, as you said, a nifty idea.

Thanks for the responses

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 11:43 AM
Just to help visualize, a few things taught in most physics relativity units:

Because the speed of light is special in relativity, space-time diagrams are often drawn in units of seconds and light-seconds, or years and light-years, so a unit slope [45 degree angle] corresponds to the speed of light. The set of all light speed world lines going through an event defines the light cones of that event: the past light cone and the future light cone. An example of light cones is shown above. The fancy light picture on the left shows both the past and future light cones of the event where the two worldlines cross, while the schematic version on the right is easy to use in more complicated diagrams.


1: We regard time here as an added fourth dimension to three space. Time is an imaginary space dimension of Minkowski's spacetime triangle. Time is also a real time dimension of his spacetime triangle. (Sort of complementary alteregos!) Space is a real space dimension of our spacetime triangle. Space is also an imaginary time dimension of our spacetime triangle. You can think, using this spacetime triangle in two modes: timelike or spacelike.

If you think timelike (say to calculate an age of a traveler as perceived by self or an observer) time's dimension is real and space's dimension is imaginary. Timelike separated events appear earlier or later in real time for all observers. Earlier/later relations for timelike events are preserved.

If you think spacelike (say to calculate a distance traveled as perceived by self or an observer) space's dimension is real and time's dimension is imaginary.

Einstein's relativity theory limits itself to four dimensions. Note how quantum science has no limits on space dimensions and uses Hilbert space as a tool. Doug (12Dec96).

2nd diagram and text from

[Edited on 28-2-2004 by Shoktek]

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 03:10 PM
That is a fascinating diagram, Shoktek; thanks for bringing it to this discussion.

The implications are amazing, if you think about it... special relativity allows for an object to 'exist' in two places at a given time, or to travel far beyond the speed of light... now all that remains to us is to figure out how to circumvent these pesky laws of physics and tap into those undervalued paradigms of reality.

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 03:18 PM
Yea, things like this make you realize that there is so much about our world (and universe) that we can not begin to understand or solve...thinking about special relativity, and time as the fourth dimension, and so forth can really give you a headache just trying to compute how it might to think about nevertheless, and hopefully we will find out more about it soon, but it is hard to prove that anything we "know" about space-time is true..

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 03:24 PM
i dont think i can understand something complicated like that......

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 03:41 PM
You're hardly an idiot, CookieMonster... you've found this site, and you post here with enough regularity and confidence that you can't be called stupid; we all have our strong and weak points in terms of knowledge, and this theoretical math stuff is pretty dense.

By the way, for anyone that's interested... this site features an interactive wireframe model of a tesseract, a four-dimensional solid effectively analogous to a three-dimensional cube; it lets you rotate the thing along its four axes to view it from different angles, hopefully gaining some insight into the fourth dimension (or at least a headache

It's fun to play around with, and very interesting if you consider what it would be like having an extra pair of directions to walk around in

[Edited on 2-28-2004 by Xenographer]

[Edited on 2-28-2004 by Xenographer]

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 07:55 PM
First post here. Been lurking in the shadows and finally decided to register to reply to this

That last site really does give you headaches. I didn't understand it until i tried the right mouse button also. Actually it didn't really make me understand it but it made it un 3d so to speak.

One question that has been buging me for a while now:

If light travels the speed of light and if something travels the speed of light then everything around it will seem to stop still in time then....

Why is it that we can measure the time it takes light to travel somewhere? If time stays still for something which moves that fast then say you shine a flashlight into space. The light would basically be there at the EXACT same time it originated. But wouldn't that mean that all light particles would have to be omnipresent (all places all the time) if that were to be true?

Now please excuse me while i pop a few asprins

[Edited on 28-2-2004 by Mistro]

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 08:02 PM
Welcome to the boards, man...

...and you raise a very perplexing point there.

This stuff is beyond me, really... I just had a theory one night after imbibing too many espressos...

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 08:16 PM
Just thought you guys might want to read this:

Just some Opinions on the Big Bang among other things.

EDIT: oh and also this since this ATS is about conspiracies and such:

[Edited on 28-2-2004 by Mistro]

posted on Feb, 28 2004 @ 08:42 PM
mistro thats what special relativity is all about from the perspective of the flashlight photons, it takes no time whats so ever to travel anywhere in the universe but according to us it takes 8 minutes for those same photons to reach the sun thus time is relative to your viewpoint

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