Travels in Four-Dimensional Space

Mar 11, 2019, 06:00 AM

We have no problem thinking mathematically about four-dimensional space.

Where a 3-d cube has 8 vertices, a 4-d hypercube has 16 vertices.

Where a cube has 6 faces, like a dice, a 4-d hypercube has 24 faces.

The problem is imagining what that actually looks like. We live in a three-dimensional world. We can’t see a fourth dimension. We simply can’t imagine what a 4-D world would look like.

However, that doesn’t mean that lots and lots of people haven’t tried to, in a huge variety of ways: mathematicians and physicists, philosophers and theologians, occultists and mystics, artists, architects, designers, authors.

The fourth dimension, when you start to look for it, is everywhere.

On this week’s episode I’m joined by Professor Christopher White who has just written a book with a fascinating central premise: in the U.S, and in many parts of the Western world, the number of people identifying as Christian has been consistently falling, for about 30 years now. Yet the number of people who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious”, people who still believe in a god of some sort, has remained very high.

So, if people believe in spirits or angels, in God or life after death, in heaven or another world of some sort, but not in traditional religious institutions, how are they constructing these supernatural worlds?

Well, in many ways, as Professor White explains, they are relying on science and maths. On other dimensions, multiverses, quantum entanglement, string theory, parallel universes.

There is, and has been for well over a century now, a type of scientific supernatural.

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