We have established the concept of four dimensions and how we interact with them on a daily basis. Now to understand how we are able to observe the other dimensions we will need to dig a bit deeper into things. The main concept of observing the dimensions is that they can only be observed when we do so from an additional dimension.
What Can We See?
To begin we’ll start with the idea of the zeroth dimension or what comes before a line. So this would be a simple point as is taught in geometry. A single point with no width or length or height. From that single point because nothing else exists, we cannot observe anything at all. When we add another point to create a line now we can see the preceding dimension which was the single point. If you were on that line traveling either forward or backwards you’ll only be able to see a single point. Much like walking through a tunnel in the dark with only the entrance and exit visible. While you are moving along a line all you see is the point of light at the end of the tunnel.
Imagine a worm stuck in a straight tube which will represent our line. The worm is able to move straight along the tube, but cannot turn in any other direction because the other directions do not exist. It cannot turn nor move up or down along this tube, but only has the option of moving along the existing line. From the viewpoint of this poor earthworm the only thing that is visible is a single point. If you’re curious about what this may look like you can just close one eye and take a look through a straw at something of solid color. The line exists and the earthworm exists within that dimension but is only able to comprehend the previous dimension.
To see the first dimensional line our poor earthworm is traversing we’ll place the tube on the two-dimensional surface of a piece of paper and an ant on the piece of paper to act as our observer. The ant is not trapped in a single dimension as it is able to walk forwards, backwards and side to side so has the freedom to use both dimensions, but cannot go up nor down. Now the ant is in the second dimension and able to see the line not as a single point, but as what it is a line of the first dimension. Once the earthworm finishes his leisurely trip down the tube it too can realize that he did not exist in a single dimension, although that was all it could see but existed in at least two dimensions as it was able to travel along the tube.
So the ant and earthworm are able to see far across their two dimensional space, but again limited to what is visible which is the line of the horizon. No matter which direction they turn or go all that they can observe is the first dimension of a line which would be the horizon.
Now we can add a third dimension to the equation by adding ourselves to this imaginary scene. We stand above the ant and caterpillar in the third dimension and can see the different directions that they can go. Whether it is forwards or backwards, left or right or in circles both creatures are free to move in two dimensional space, but we are the only ones who are able to see all of the possibilities available to them as the only thing observable for them is a line. For the ant and the caterpillar their vision is strictly limited to the first dimension.
We readily accept that we and everything around us exists in three dimensional space, but how do we observe this? Again, if we existed only in three dimensional space while we would be able to interact with it, we would not be able to observe it just as the caterpillar is one dimensional space was only able to observe the preceding point of the zeroth dimension and the ant in two dimensional space was only able to observe the first dimension of a line. We are three dimensional beings are limited to observing only two dimensions.
What We See Without Time
Without time we can only everything that we see frozen in a moment like a photograph or pausing a video is what we see at that single moment in time. In that aspect everything we see is two dimensional as it requires movement or time in order to perceive things in depth (3D). We can look at the buildings above which as actually false fronts typically used in movies and TV shows. They are two dimensional images that fool us into thinking that they are three dimensional. Mainly our brains assume that there is a side and back like a real building, but if we actually took time to move around those building we would realize that there is no depth. Normally with most objects we look at them assuming that they are three-dimensional, but our minds can easily be fooled and the objects can only be proven to be three dimensional by moving around them.
The only way to see the back of the building or the top of the building would be to move to a different viewpoint. That movement is time and the fourth dimension. Even our basic idea of depth perception is based on the use of the fourth dimension of time. Visual information comes into both our eyes at different times and our brain is then able to compute the differences to add depth to what we see. The same thing is done with 3D cameras where two images are overlapped to give a sense of depth instead of just a vertical and horizontal image.
So by existing in time we are now able to observe all three dimensions. The basic concept is that if we are able to observe something than we must exist in a higher dimension which we are able to interact with even if it is in a single direction much like the caterpillar in the tube. To be able to see the first dimension you need to be in the second, to see the second you need to be in the third and finally to see the third you need to be in the fourth dimension and so forth.
Since our minds are able to perceive the passage of time and understand the difference between the past, present and the future we currently are able to observe and understand the first four dimensions, but in order to do so we exist on the dimension above which would be considered the fifth dimension. While most physicists do agree that there are higher dimensions that the four that we perceive their is disagreement on what those additional dimensions are. We won’t go into the nuances of quantum theory and string theory to discuss the dimensions as there has been no substantiated proof to prove one or the other. In the end though the existence of additional dimensions is pretty much agreed upon even though it doesn’t make sense to most of us in our everyday lives, however using the logic of the first three dimensions and how they are observed we can accept that we not only exist in the spacial three dimensions that we accept as everyday fact, and not only the fourth dimension of time moving forward linearly, but that we exist in at least the fifth dimension.