Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Ideas about how a world with more than three spatial dimensions would work - what laws of physics would be needed, how things would be built, how people would do things and so on.

Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby SteveKlinko » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:15 pm

See http://bit.ly/2frZJST to understand why Humans will never understand 4D Space.
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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby ICN5D » Mon Nov 28, 2016 4:36 pm

I think you're giving up too soon, Steve. It has nothing to do with being smart enough. It's the amount of time you put into it. You might find that the people who have a very good grasp of +4D geometry have been studying it for more than 5~10 years.

The type/level of math one has access to can also be a limiting factor, which relates to the sophistication of the visuals one can make (the diff between an approximation of your 'best guess', and a direct mathematical output of a function, for some hypershape) Another thing that can happen is not enough collaboration with others who study the same thing. Often times, you'll run into a barrier in reasoning, when it just doesn't make any sense. This is when a lot of people give up, when they should be posting more questions than they have answers for.

Instead of "Just give up everyone, it's impossible!" , maybe try a "Alright, this is as far as I can go with my reasoning. Anyone have an idea, or a visual that might help?" . One leads to greater knowledge, the other does not.

We are embedded in a 3D physical reality, this is true. Any attempt to grasp a 4D object is met with great resistance for some time. But, you can still use a little 3D intuition and 2D -> 3D analogy to help the process. The truth is, a 4D physical object is about as alien as it gets. They're truly alien to our 3D understanding. We will never come across anything like a tesseract passing through a 3-plane. But, we can create a tesseract in 3D slices (or 3D projection) and play around with it, on a computer.

In addition to that, the very best way to study such a thing is to reduce these different n-D shapes into a math expression, and work out the finer details from it. On this forum, there are several forms of math that do this. This method is far superior to visual-only, or best guesses. The exploration you've taken is a great intro that will help with further study. You've got the basic concept down, regarding how flat a 3D object is in a 4D space. That's further along than most other people.

So, don't stop here with your interest. I also recommend giving yourself some mental breaks from such intense studying/visualizing. It is exhausting, trying to imagine something clearly for the first time. Your mind can't always be 'on' the whole time.
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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby quickfur » Fri Dec 09, 2016 8:51 pm

While our physical senses will never see 4D directly, nothing theoretically prevents us from mentally grasping it.

Case in point: we actually cannot see 3D. Our eyes only have 2D retinas, which can only capture 2D projections of 3D objects, so what we're actually seeing every day isn't 3D at all, but merely 2D projections of the surfaces of 3D objects. Nevertheless, our brain has no problem at all in constructing 3D models of the world that are, in spite of certain borderline flaws, pretty darn accurate. All the 3D that you imagine you see every day, is actually a mental construct produced by your brain trying to reconcile the binocular disparity between the 2D images that your two eyes see! In fact, your brain does this so well that you don't even have to think about it, you just instinctively interpret these 2D images in a 3D way.

It is definitely possible to learn to "visualize" 4D mentally. It takes some effort, but it's quite possible. True, it probably will never attain to the same level as a hypothetical 4D being with 4D eyes (that can see 3D projections of 4D objects), and it will probably never become instinctive in the same way 3D is instinctive, but it's possible to get pretty darned good with it. Good enough for me to (re)discover quite a number of 4D objects, in fact, that afterwards were verified to be correct mathematically.
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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby Klitzing » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:19 pm

In fact, the best way to get from grasping one dimension towards the next, is by considering prisms or pyramids of things of the lesser dimension. This once let me to the inventon of segmentotopes, i.e. monostratic orbiform polytopes. Those are defined to be polytopes with unit edges only, where all vertices are contained within a pair of parallel hyperplanes, and also are on a hypersphere. Those pyrmaids and prisms then are just a special case of these. - These segmentotopes are just being designed to be easily being grasped from the underlying dimension of the bases.

Having managed that step, then one could aim to conquer multistratic figures also. Or even could apply that cross dimensional step over and over again, thereby climbing into ever higher dimensions!

Thus, I fully second what Quickfur just said.

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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby wendy » Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:48 am

What you see is only part of the picture. The mind does a good deal of processing, and it is easy enough to trick this process. It apparently takes learning for us to read pictures, even photographs. It is probably different of movies, but for still pictures, we need apparently to be taught these things. Laurence of Arabia, for having presented some Arabs a group painting of themselves, the arabs were unable to decipher the picture into visual clues that they were people, and asked were such a spot the camel's nose.

If you wear glasses, at a different prescription to your want, then things will be seen and read further away or closer than normal, and you will act accordingly. You should also note that optical illusions also work by tricking the mind to something that the eye reads separately.

4D space, is not so much building a holographic picture in your eye, but tricking the mind into reading what is in front of it, is actually a holographic view of the 3d image of 4d. If you look at some of quickfur's pictures, especially the stereo pairs, the mind would be tricked into building a foam of cells. This is what quickfur draws. But we can as readily read a foam of polygons into a picture of a polyhedron, and if we know the foam of cells are polyhedra forshortened by sloping, we can appreciate four dimensions.

And this is the trick. The mind may, or may not actually create a visual of 4d, but one can build a thing of changing scenes, which to the mind is 4d.

And we can well understand spaces of 4D or 5D or 6D, with a degree of understanding of the mind, and a good deal of help from the eye.
The dream you dream alone is only a dream
the dream we dream together is reality.
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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby gonegahgah » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:32 pm

I love the thought of 4D space. I just wish I had more time to spend there...

For me it was a case of understanding the relevance and nature of extra side-ways and the relation of those to our common actions.
Common actions include moving forward and backward and gravitational downwards or the opposite upwards.

These tend to be common to all numbers of spatial dimensions where something might occur (ie. 2D and above).
We will tend to want to do things in relation to these 4 directions no matter which nD universe we are in.
For example: trees will always grow mainly upwards. Also, we will still need to travel towards destinations.

My approach to understanding extra-sideways is to rotate the extra dimensions around our own.
For a 2Der they would take a rotation of sideways slices of our 3D world and rotate them instead vertically in their own.
For us we would take a rotation of slices of a 4D world and rotate them vertically in our 3D space.

There is going to be crowding when there are a lot of 4D objects but it gives us somewhere to consider them.
We can then just think of the bulk as the sum of all these rotations.
It is this which allows me to more readily see a 4Ders world and predict what would eventuate; which I couldn't do originally when I first started.
This approach helps me to avoid the mistakes that are easy to make when we think from our, only really available, 3D experience...
It helps me to more easily describe the world of a 4Der and what 4D would actually mean that is different or similar to what we have.
That is an exciting thing to do!

For me it is more about the day to day gritty things of the 4Der's life and how their life would be the same or different to ours...
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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby Richard T H Ellis » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:17 pm

I do know a way, but it may be you won''t like it. Does it fit with the requirement that we will never understand 4D? If it doesn't fit where should I write to? It takes a long time for me to write. Studying previous comments especially ICN5D. Depends on how one defines what constitutes "dimension" possibly.
All sense impressions are encoded using identical nerve impulses that create the qualities of the world we "know". It is taking place in our brains, these patterns of impulses and the connections created by them, are recoded through our history to form words that represent these qualities, these words we can use to "think" with and communicate with and store.
They may mean different things to different people.
Spacial dimensions are mutually at right angles to each other. This, if correct, means what follows might be correct.
From my viewpoint front/back, left/right, up/down form the first three directions. They have the following qualities -
They are of indefinite length. They can in combination define all intermediate directions. If a direction is a vector then
They either diverge from a point or converge to a point or cross at a point. This point can be called an "Identity". I am one such identity though the meaning of 'point' has been stretched and may not apply. I cannot see these directions, they are lines of sight LoS. I see along these directions. I believe they are there. They are special to every identity. Imaginary, created by the brain. Visualisable.
Difficult bit here. A sphere cantered on the Identity is at right angles to every LoS as are all spheres no matter what the radius. This complies with the mutuality. The mind is capable of visualising this 4D interpretation, providing the meaning of the word "dimension" can be extended. If it is accepted, then the world I am conscious of is just that 4th dimension for I can't see my Identity or my LoSs. For a conscious being we have to accept ones own Identity as unique, with all other entities having their own Identity unique to them. If this is barking mad, please do not accept anything else.
To boil it down to its simplest form, the two lines at right angles joined by an arc are three dimensions. The arc is a third dimension defining a surface. It seems crazy. I look at it over and over. It mucks up all my beliefs about multidimensional shapes but my brain keeps saying why not?
I would be most pleased if someone could convert me back.
If it is acceptable, it results in a nearly visualisable 5th to do with motion which in turn alters ones perception of time. Perhaps this is playing with words, but it does match ones perception of the world and destroy every frame of reference I have encountere.

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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby gonegahgah » Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:47 am

Though... I did just realise that I shouldn't be rotating the up direction with the sideways rotation...
This then gives the characteristic turning in on itself that has always been demonstrated on this forum...
Hmmm, what will that mean for what I was thinking?
I only realised that when I was trying to design a 4D chain and I knew there was something wrong!
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Re: Why Humans Will Never Understand 4D Space

Postby gonegahgah » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:35 pm

In 2D we can't have chains because there is no sideways. So we are reliant on a series of S-hooks or alternating C-hooks.
In 3D we can have proper chains made of alternating O's locked together.

In 4D we can have a linear hole along one dimension and in a second linear dimension for the alternating links.
And we would still have the linear direction of the length of he chain; as in our world.
But that leaves one linear dimension - or circle of dimensions - to fulfill to prevent unlinking...

Does that mean we would need to combine both the 2D and 3D worlds and have a link and hooking system working together?
Or, one of the fellows on here invented semi-rail cars.
So alternatively, could we do something similar and use some sort of incorporated guide channels to lock the chain along the two perpendicular alignments allowing the chain to work?
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