4D (Part 4): Lights & Shadows


When I was a child, my father would amuse us kids with shadow puppets that he created on the wall using his fingers.  He only knew a few tricks, but they were enough to keep us amused for however long it took for my mother to get dinner on the table.  He could make butterflies and dogs and dancing clowns, but the one shadow puppet that impressed me the most was his bunny rabbit.

I remembered asking him to show me how to do it, and to be fair, he did try.  But alas, I was a rather dim child and could never get my fingers to fold into the correct shapes that produced a believable rabbit shadow.  The best I could do was something that was akin to a twisted macabre-looking lumpy animal, but although I was never able to make this rabbit shadow puppet, the whole experience taught me something very valuable early on.

2D Shadows may look as if they are cast by the real 3D objects, but they are quite often not even close to mirroring the objects that created them.


Simply put, a three-dimensional figure can cast a two-dimensional shadow, but it is too simplistic to say that we can observe this shadow and glean some information about the three-dimensional thing that caused the shadow.  After all, that twisted macabre-looking lumpy animal I was trying to create in my childhood was nothing more than the shadows of the tortured fingers of a clumsy kid, when viewed in the 3D electric brilliance of my family’s living room.  Anyone trying to guess at the 3D object which cast that particular shape would have been very wrong on all accounts.

Now, take this shadow anecdote and superimpose it over the laborious attempts by modern-day scientists to capture what are, to my simple mind, 4D shadows so that they can extrapolate what the 4D object is, and we see the very real limitations of doing so.

The January 4, 2018 issue of Nature published something that caused a big buzz within the physics world, and it has something to do with the ‘quantum Hall effect’ [1].


girlLeafNow, far be it for me to claim deep knowledge about a subject that is ‘at the root of 3 Nobel Prizes in physics’.  In fact, I barely understand this image at all, other than the most rudimentary of gleanings from an unschooled mind in the field of esoteric physics (is there such a thing as esoteric physics or is this another Taobabe-invented word?).

I’ll tell you what I see.

I see a box made from glass, with a bunch of holes drilled into it.  These holes are supposed to be conduits which allow a beam of light to travel through unimpeded.  They freeze this box down to absolute-zero temperature and zap it with a strong magnetic field, and this treatment causes the light to exit out, not in a straight line but rather through a hole that is diametrically opposite from the initial input hole.

From this experiment, the light is supposedly traveling in a straight line, except that going straight, in the 4D world, is rather zig-zaggy and not very straight in our 3D world.

drinkingcoffeeHmm.  This kinda reminds me of all those holes in the walls that I talked about in one of my previous post, 4D (Part 2): Hole in the Wall.  I also said, to get to my destination, I had to travel as the crow flies (in a straight line) through 4D, or else I would be totally lost.

This makes complete sense.

Even though the path that the light from the glass experiment takes may look like a zig-zag pattern when viewed in 3D, it’s actually a straight line in 4D, thereby allowing the light to come out on the other side in a different location.  As far as that light beam is concerned, going through 4D is no different than going through 3D.  It is still moving in a straight line.

Now, before you guys get all huffy about this, I promise that even though I wrote the 4D Part 2 post back on January 6th, which makes it 2 days after the Nature article came out, I had NEVER seen said article until very recently (as recently as a few days ago), and it did not influence my dream or my writing in any way, shape, or form.  I like for people to think I keep up with cutting edge scientific matters, but honestly, I’m just a shallow Taobabe who likes to read lolcats, and articles with pretty pictures of Korean cosmetics.  Nature is just not a rag that I peruse with any regularity (except when I need to cite some info for some weird post I’m writing).

OK, so where was I?  Oh yes.  4D Shadows.

In my humble unscientific opinion, it is very tenuous, to say the least, to think that if we can concoct some type of real-world physical system to observe a shadow that a fourth-dimensional object leaves on our 3D world, we would be able to gain some understanding of that object and learn about the fourth-dimensional nature of the object—an object that has somehow left its shadow on the lower dimensions that we are able to observe with our limited senses.

Allow me to clarify.

Our senses are very limited.  No.  I mean, seriously limited.


That tiny band of unicorn colors is all that we can see with our ocular system.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Our eyes are (arguably) one of the most complex organs in our body, and if left by random chance to evolve to the degree that it has, I’m not sure if it would be possible.  Having said that, in the grand scheme of things, we’re blind as mole rats.

Our brain, on the other hand, is something else altogether.  It is not just an organ that allows us to control our bodies, to move about, and to gather information about the external world.  It is also a very high-level receiver.


It is so high level that it can receive information, not just from our mundane 3D world, but it can also receive information from other dimensions.  At last count, we humans are able to receive and utilize information all the way up to the eleventh dimension. [3]  That’s not me making up fake news, y’all.  This is vetted, peer-reviewed stuff.

Remember the topological pastries I was talking about in my previous posting, 4D (Part 3): The Topology of Pastries?  It has an applied side that has to do with mathematically proving how our brain is able to receive info from higher dimensions.  The mathematicians who applied algebraic topology to the study of brain networks are Kathryn Hess from EPFL and Ran Levi from Aberdeen University. [3]  So how does the brain receive data from higher dimensions if it is only a 3D object?

The answer is, it’s NOT!


There is, literally, multi-dimensional geometrical structures and spaces within the networks of the brain, but don’t take it from me (I’m a nobody).  Take it from the professional scientists.

“The appearance of high-dimensional cavities when the brain is processing information means that the neurons in the network react to stimuli in an extremely organized manner.  It is as if the brain reacts to a stimulus by building then razing a tower of multi-dimensional blocks, starting with rods (1D), then planks (2D), then cubes (3D), and then more complex geometries with 4D, 5D, etc. The progression of activity through the brain resembles a multi-dimensional sandcastle that materializes out of the sand and then disintegrates.”  — Ran Levi, PhD.

So, in Taobabe-speak, if our brain receives a one-dimensional piece of data, it creates at that moment, enough rods (1D) to receive this data, and then the rods disintegrate back into base components to be reassembled for other data points.  If it receives data in 2D, it creates planks (2D) to accept the data, and then it disintegrates.  If it receives info that is three-dimensions, it makes cubes (3D) to accept info, and then it disintegrates.  Data received from dimensions 4 through 11 get weirder, more complex shapes and designs so that it has the capability to receive the more esoteric information.

Do you know what this means?

girl talking

This means that we don’t even need to build a glass box to catch a shadow.  Our brain is already doing that, and doing it with ease and perfection.  The only thing that’s missing is an adequate output interface!

So why is it that we can pick up information from up to eleven dimensions but we can only experience things in 3D?  Sadly, just as a small black and white tube television is only able to broadcast black and white images within its limited capacity no matter how much digital information we stream into it, if it cannot handle the delivery, it will be nothing more than a doorstop.

We are only able to see what our limited physiology allows us to see.  This means that anything our brain picks up above the 3D realm can be processed, but it can’t be shown to us because our wetware is not up-to-speed.

We need a serious bio-upgrade.

(to be continued)

[1]  https://www.nature.com/articles/nature25000

[2]  https://phys.org/news/2018-01-four-dimensional-physics-dimensions.html

[3]  https://blog.frontiersin.org/2017/06/12/blue-brain-team-discovers-a-multi-dimensional-universe-in-brain-networks/