If you're interested in science at all, especially physics and cosmology, then you'll have heard of String Theory and so then M-Theory. M-Theory is a unification and extension of String Theory which until the M came along had 5 competing versions plus another outsider called Super Gravity. All of the theories used 10 dimensions to describe fundamental strings which vibrated to give the appearance of what, up until now, we thought were discrete, individual, particles.
M-Theory added another dimension, making the total 11, and with mathematics that one person sort of understands and many more try to, unified the 5 string theories and with them the Super Gravity theory into one theory of which they all now constitute parts. What on earth do we do with all of these 11 dimensions and are they meaningful beyond mathematics?
The strings and membranes in M-Theory are described mathematically and they vibrate in this mathematical world within these 11 dimensions. They appear to us in our 4-dimensional space-time as particles, space and time. Can we usefully build this into an understanding that is useful to the day-to-day person? We can. We can offer various paths to this goal even accepting that the theory itself may one day be proven false.
For the mathematically minded there is the theory itself. For the scientifically interested but mathematically limited majority of people there are great books and documentaries and for the few people on earth who think like me there is the following.
Firstly in my rendering, dimensions make up maps that we form in our minds. We draw well in 2 dimensions, we see well in 3 dimensions and if you want to be in the right place when something else is there too then we manage that task well by adding the 4th dimension that we call time. We don't have much use for dimensions above this model and so we can see that what String Theorists are doing is placing information they need to map out, but that does not fit within the 4 dimensional space time, onto new dimensions. Easy in maths but unintuitive to the evolved ape in every day life.
Cosmologically science has measured with great accuracy how the 3 spatial dimensions are accelerating in expansion and from our common perspective we live in a world where the time dimension is also expanding (at about a second per second depending where you look from). Seen together these two expansions are intuitive enough and most people accept some kind of beginning where there was a dimensionless point, followed by an expansion and so the expansion we measure today between galaxies.
From my perspective I see that we need to expand time as more stuff has happened now than had before, so our time dimension needs to be ever larger to accommodate this added information. So I return to the idea that dimensions are for mapping information. More information requires a larger map and so larger dimensions. So, as more stuff takes place, spacetime must grow to accommodate.
An interesting step from some of the same great minds that gave us string theory is to create a slightly more intuitively acceptable description of reality in reduced dimensional space. Using the idea of a Hologram, which is a 2 dimensional creation containing the information of a 3D image, and again with deep maths behind it, they've proven that all that we know may well be explainable and even actually, 2 dimensional, appearing to us as 3 plus time.
Again they may disprove this but this is the method of science. Great ideas and proofs for great minds to work with and even what comes to be wrong is still progress towards greater understanding.
To move again away from the science and into my world that few people apply their minds to I have increasingly come to view reality as zero dimensional. I've arrived here from my own thoughts, intuition and by using ideas from Neuroscience and ancient wisdom. Ancient wisdom is useful as it exposes the thought of great minds which were not contaminated with modern terminology. Neuroscience is useful as it exposes things that are simply impossible to probe with our intuition. Who, without neuroscience could sit, even for a million years, and say that there are as many connections in our brain as there are stars in the known universe? As great as meditation and self enquiry are, this mind blowing conclusion requires tools far beyond those we are born with.
A zero dimensional viewpoint is to say that yes, dimensions are for mapping. We may well map Membranes and Strings in 11 dimensional space as that is the map required to lay out the relevant information. We may well map our own world best in 4-dimensional spacetime as that is the best map for the job at hand. We can accept that while our world looks 3D that our vision is in truth 2D and our brain adds the 3rd spatial dimension of depth by processing this 2D information and the firing of neurons to achieve this adds time. So then a holographic model makes good sense to us so long as there is a perceiver to comprehend this information (naturally our intuition demands this "observer of the information" as that is how we work. Reality beyond our prejudices here may well be very different. It is unlikely there is even one observer in the entire universe).
So. Why not Zero dimensions? Why when we see 3 but map those 3 through 4? Why, when we visualize 3 but have 2 as input? Why when 2D is processed, bit at a time, as 1D? Are we not truly Zero Dimensional?
You will not naturally accept this. As when you think over the 11 dimensions of M-Theory and find it impossible to picture, you also draw blank at Zero. Continue if you dare on my path through the unprovable.
Where is all of this taking place? Reality is and always has been in your mind. You have one point of attention and this may rest on one thing at a time. Even the best at multi-tasking only focus on one thing at a time, they are just good at jumping between things. One point of attention gives rise to reality. You map reality. You take in one bit at a time. You map it as 2, you form 3 and in doing so you add a 4th. The 4D world is your map of something truly dimensionless.
This is mathematically unprovable and I'm unaware of a version of maths that operates in zero dimensions. Rather than saying that the world is made from constituent parts though, like every theory I know of, and so being open to infinite regress. I begin and end in the same place. The awareness or one-with-no-other, the Tao.
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