Tue 21 Mar 2006
String theory postulates ten or eleven dimensions, only three of which we can “travel” in. Time is a fourth dimension that we experience “now” and can experience “the past” through memory, but we have no knowledge of “the future”.One could say that we traveling in only one direction on the time dimension, and cannot reliably control our transit through time. (Although when one is bored, time certainly approaches stopping!)The other six or seven dimensions are often referred to being “curled up” in a microscopic manner so that we cannot experience them. This is not something that is intuitive, and is tough to keep straight.
One alternative to envisioning these other dimensions as curled is to postulate a brane – a flat surface that is analogous to an infinitely large and thin piece of paper, but in two (or more) of the “other dimensions”. Any entity that inhabited a brane would have no or little knowledge of anything the might exist outside of the brane.
The existance of branes, facilitates string theory to describe gravity, and could be the source of missing “dark matter” and where particles in an adjacent brane reduce gravity to the weaker than expected effects of recent experiments.
For visualization sake, let us postulate a two dimensional brane consisting of time, and one “other” orthogonal dimension. We live upon this brane. This brane would be transiting on the time axis, and we can freely move with respect to the “other”axis.
If we change our perspective so we can visualize this “brane” appearing as a plane of two of our “real” dimensions traversing down the time axis, you can approximate the picture in your mind of the intersection of this brane with the three dimensional “material” world.
Our life would begin, exist and end as a single solid object extended in the time dimension. We can look upon our existence with a “third party” (Like God, maybe?)view. From this perspective, our life is a complete object – this godlike viewpoint has no lockstep on time. This viewpoint is free to move or observe all points in time with equal freedom, irrespective of the limited viewpoint of the entity existing within the brane.
This viewpoint can explain many aspects of theological thought – the origin of the concept of predestination, the nature of death, the punishment of an ill led life (it is there for “eternity”)
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