Are There Other Dimensions?

Mathematically a dimension is a vector of measurement. In the “real world” a dimension is a vector of existence. Mathematically any measurement you can take, plug into a formula and plot on a graph, can exist in it’s own dimension. Mathematically you can have an infinite number of dimensions.

In the “real world” dimensions must have “real” properties, and their numbers are limited to what we can measure. At this time scientists are only able to take measurements in four recognized “dimensions”, height, width, depth and time. But what if there are more? Science and mathematics are hinting that there are.

Scientists recently created a mathematical model of the way the brain creates and accesses memories, and discovered that the mathematics involved requires as many as 11 dimensions to do so. The mathematics of string theory also requires as many as 11 dimensions. Scientists will trip over themselves to assure everyone that this doesn’t meant that there are 11 actual vectors of existence, that’s just the current state of the mathematics involved.

Science fiction has long speculated about the existence of other dimensions, dimensions that function almost as separate universes where anything is possible. But one must understand that other dimensions, if they exist, are all variables in the same equation, or set of equations. All the variables are connected, and while some may be 0’s or negative numbers, they can’t be isolated, one from another. Other dimensions, if they exist, don’t represent discreet universes, they are an indivisible vector of our current existence.

There are theories which suggest that there are 12 dimensions, and that the 12th dimension is unknowable, or undefined. There is even a mathematical symbol for this.

In this humble layperson’s opinion, “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” If the mathematics and the science are pointing to the existence of eleven dimensions, then perhaps they actually do exist, and are more than just an arbitrary tool for solving equations. And perhaps, just perhaps, inserting a twelfth, undefined dimension might be the key to a final proof for string theory and who knows what else.

5 thoughts on “Are There Other Dimensions?

  1. Math that works is usually correct– just takes us time to come up with the means to measure or explain what the math tells us the universe looks like.

    By us, I mean humans that can actually understand high order math–I can’t (except intuitively, and I don’t have any language with which to express it).

    There is a theory that there are as many realities as there are observers–I think that may be right, just not rightly understood. I think part of addressing the cognitive dissonance between observed and objective scientific reality (along with how the heck we interact effectively across our individual realities) will come down to understanding the vectors/dimensions we just don’t perceive/observe (yet), or have a way to measure (yet).

    A quantum experiment suggests there’s no such thing as objective reality | MIT Technology Review

    If observable reality is tied (at any degree) to the observer position in however many dimensions there are, it explains a lot. We know, for example, that there exists a difference in time caused by the separation in space and velocity of any two observation points. Until recently that concept was theory, but we know this to be true and we have to account for it in GPS navigation because of the relative differences in space and velocity of GPS satellites and the earth.

    Here’s another way to see why there have to other vectors at play: You observer the Sun rising earlier in the day than I do because you are further east than me. What if we had no concept of the earth’s rotation around a central axis? If we had the means to communicate across the distance between us, and both recorded an observation at exactly the same instant in time (accounting for speed of light lag), all we’d have would be a difference in perceived reality. At 6 AM my time, I call you, and it’s dark out for me. For you, it’s light.  both are reality, and based on point of observation–the key to understanding that both states exist objectively, that the observation is not incongruous to reality, is understanding one vector.

    Assuming time and space were accounted for in the experiment in the MIT article (a safe bet), that leaves something outside of 4 dimensions to account for the variation in observation… To think otherwise, our basic scientific foundation of objectivity is incorrect, and that doesn’t bear out. There are objectively measurable experiments–the key is accounting for all variables that affect outcome.

    For reality to be objective and observably non-objective without dissonance, there must be vectors that account for the change based on observation point. There must be something at play we can’t measure… We hopefully add “yet” to the inability to measure. because measuring those vectors is likely the key to many of science-fictions greatest concepts…


  2. Math that works is usually correct– just takes us time to come up with the means to measure or explain what the math tells us the universe looks like.

    Took me a while to come around to the idea of 11 or 12 dimensions.  Not sure my little brain can handle the idea of an infinite number of dimensions…

  3. 11 dimensions and as many “realities” as there are observers isn’t incongruous to me, because the current definition of our observable reality lacks the measure to define the variable(s) affecting it. If perception alters reality in any number of uniquely measurable ways, then reality is still objectively constant, even if the measurement required is the cosmic equivalent of a dodecahedron dice roll (+1 save against 13th dimensional beings).

    Infinite dimensions/applicable variables? That’s incongruous and feels like a cop-out. It feels like another way of saying ineffable, and when someone says ineffable, it’s usually an excuse to say “stop trying to understand this, to measure it.”

    Infinite dimensions may turn out to be true, but if there are, some are also likely irrelevant, just as not all variables are relevant in all experiments. Humidity for example, doesn’t affect perceived oppressiveness of heat in humans until you cross 20c it’s not relevant below a certain threshold. I suspect that in the same respect, it’s likely that only 11, or 12, or 26  dimensions interact with space/time in any way that’s meaningful enough to affect the outcome on a corporeal being grounded in the reality of space and time.

    So, we assume it’s not ineffable; we start looking for ways to measure dimensions outside of time and space more and more accurately–just as we’ve done for time and space… 🙂


  4. Then you throw in the theories that our whole universe is a hologram projected on two dimensional spacetime from an infinite distance.  I have wondered if the “other dimensions” aren’t, at least in part, vectors that we can already measure, but we don’t recognize that they are actually dimensions.

    I wonder, for example, if mass is actually a dimension.

  5. I’ve wondered about mass as well– some say no, because it’s not directional; it’s scalar, but that feels nit-picky to me as it relies on our current understanding of the linear directionalness of dimensionality (and directionalness is a word now, because I say so).

    But what if we could affect the mass of an object? would that make mass a vector? If the right kind of force could be brought to bear to change the mass of an object (up or down) without changing the compositional state of the object that would make mass dimensional, wouldn’t it?  Aside from allowing for anti-gravity plating from Sci-fi…

    What’s always struck me about mass and space is that we affect the directionality of objects in space with the appropriate applications of linear force to overcome its mass. At the same time, without the application of external linear forces (beyond its own mass), the mass of an object in space will change the vector of other object in space–mass has a sphere of influence (for want of a better descriptor). Sufficient mass bend light–really large amounts of mass, and even light can’t escape the mass–and that’s all without the need to have a velocity along a spatial vector…

    As Ender Wiggin said, “the enemy’s gate is down.”

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