The 10 dimensions of reality

In my previous post on possible worlds I pointed to the excellent flash animation (click) that covers the 10 dimensions of string theory.

The summarise the points made in that film (worth seeing again and again):

  1. The 0th dimension is the dot. You don't need any numbers to identify its position.
  2. The first dimension is the line. You need two dots to define a line. Any other dot on that line can be located on that line using one real number that will give the distance of the third dot to the first dot using the distance of your first two dots as the unit. So on a ruler your first two dots can be the 0 and the 1cm dot. Every other dot is at some cm length from the 0.
  3. the second dimension is the plane. You need two numbers to identify a point on a plane. Usually called the x and the y axis. On a plane you can find the distance between two points by drawing a line that does not go through your reference dot.
  4. space is the third dimension. You need three numbers to determine the distance of an object in space. These are usually called the x,y and z axes.
  5. space time is the fourth dimension: it requires four numbers to place a dot in space-time. 3 for the spacial position, and one for the time. The four dimensional world we live in, seen from the beginning of the universe to the end of the universe, is the actual world we live in.
  6. The 5th dimension is the first dimension in which the notion of possible worlds starts needing to be used. Imagine some possible world a little different from this one (maybe one where you did not read this blog). This possible world will give you a unit of similarity measurement with which to compare the distance of other possible worlds to the actual one.
  7. The 6th dimension will give you a plane of possible worlds. You can find out the similarity distance of two possible worlds from each other without having to go through the actual one. So with 6 dimensions it is possible to compare the distance of the world in which last Sunday I entered another café, with the world in which I made a huge groundbreaking invention when I was a child, without having to compare that to the actual world. We can also measure the distance of any of those to the possible world in which the earth was never created, for example. The 6 dimensions allow us to compare and position all the possible worlds that start with the same initial conditions (the big bang) as this one.
  8. The 7th dimension will give you access to the possible worlds that start with different initial conditions (big bang). A point in the 7th dimension consists of all the possible worlds that start with the same initial big bang and lead to all the possible endings that such an initial condition can lead to.
  9. The 8th dimensions gives us again a plane of such complete possible universe histories, which in the video they call infinity. We can there compare two such infinities without necessarily having to take ours into account.
  10. With the 9th dimension we can compare all the possible universes histories starting with all the different possible laws of physics and initial conditions.
  11. The Tenth dimension is the point in which everything possible and imaginable is covered. Since we can't imagine any further, we have to stop here.

David Lewis does not specify an upper limit to possible worlds: he does not exclude impossible worlds. It's just that it would be impossible for us to describe them (if indeed there are any).

Here are a couple of quotes worth remembering from that presentation. In the description of the 5th dimension the narrator says:

Quantum physics tells us that the sub atomic particles that make up our world are collapsed from waves of probability simply be the act of observation.

In the description of the 10th dimension he says

In string theory physics tell us that superstrings vibrating in the 10th dimension are what create the subatomic particles which make up our universe and all the other possible universes as well. In other words all possible universes are contained within the tenth dimension.


very interesting!

Posted by guest on May 10, 2007 at 05:30 AM CEST #

Hi Henry, I have posted a new Imagining the Tenth Dimension blog entry today that references you and your work, it's called "Collective Intelligence, Cognitive Surplus, Chaos". I'm interested in anything to do with creating maps and visualization tools that help us see how it all fits together, and your work in helping to make those connections happen is much appreciated.


Rob Bryanton

Posted by Rob Bryanton on May 12, 2008 at 09:05 AM CEST #

great work here, and nice summary of the Video.

Please check out my site about the Dimensions ;-)

Posted by guest on June 10, 2008 at 07:27 AM CEST #

does this have anything to do with string theory?

Posted by dain regis on December 02, 2008 at 12:06 PM CET #

that was cool

Posted by guest on June 02, 2009 at 08:12 PM CEST #

A friend gave me your information from the 2006 blog and I have been wondering:

Who is David Lewis?
How can I find out more about him?

Posted by Dan Breithaupt on June 24, 2009 at 04:46 PM CEST #

David Lewis has a wikipedia page:

And he has a lot of books that you can find in libraries, or that you can buy.

Posted by Henry Story on June 24, 2009 at 04:55 PM CEST #

I always figured mass was an irreducible dimensional quantity as well, seeming as how it's variant along with time and lengths under lorentz transformations- could that not somehow be 5th? Also, could these "many possible worlds" be invisible to us because they are in fact virtual dimensions? (also implied by the lorentz-fitgerald transformations above C). What is the eleventh dimension? Temperature?

Posted by ET on September 07, 2009 at 03:50 PM CEST #


Posted by guest on September 29, 2009 at 08:44 AM CEST #

ive thought of a theory where everything is possibe somwhere somehow. everything is interconnected in some way through some type of pattern which branches off into many more patters. existense is absically just evolution and mirror effects. what is real and what is possible is just interpretations of different reaslities and its all just cause and effect. the way things react, reflect, and adapt and change and effect other things are just occurances of nature. now im not saying everything is possible anywhere at any time but theres a time and place for everyting. evrything happens for some type of reason. everyone has different beliefs and i respect all of them. who is anyone to say they're beliefs are wrong? different dementions and interpretations of reality collide and come in contridictions with eachother just as many other things do. the same way different personalities contridict eachother. i believe that existance is everlasting and everything runs its cycle and every ending is the birth of a newbegining. dude, i wish i was in the demension of peace and i could just black out and exlude myself from every other demention of existance. live life, do what you believe in. expand your mind. find new possibilities. everything has bounderies but with bounderies you find loopholes and in those loopholes you can expeirience endlesspossibilities. i wish that everyone could understand that reality goes beyond their own beliefs and that for every question theres an answere. for every doubt theres hope. with every disbelief theres belief. with every no theres a yes. i can name so many of these but at the bottom line everything has endless pathways to the future but one isnt just randomly selected but its chosen due to some type of reaction, relfection, effect, or solution of a cause. you can connect all this stuff in saying to your 3rd eye. you dont necessarily use it to see your surroundings but you use it as like a mirror. i see it as your personal pathway to different dementions. when dmt is released in the brain and you dream is like a look into a different reality. some people experiences that were from a previous dream and they say they're psycic. but they're just seeing a reflection of the demention their in. its seeing into the future. other people have dreams where things happen but they dont actually experience it for real and thats because there seeing a reflection of a different reality. i believe in gods but i believe that they are currupt higher powers from more complex demensions that minipulate simpler demensions who are astounded by them. just like how everything minipulates its surroundings opurtunities and conveniences to theyre use. thats again how things contridict eachother. i think that enforcment of laws restrict us from possibilities. nature has a way of working everything out and evolving and everything has a varying amount of power and control. exsistance is and amazing never ending list of occurances and possibilities.patience is key. everything works at its own speed. i believe that everything should be respected. negative energy is natural positive energy is natural life is natural death is natural. oh yeah again with the mirror effect with the different veiws of rationality and understanding. there are demensions to everything. think about the demensions of earth. one example of where im getting at is trees for example. they branch out into the world underground and they branchout into the world above that we live in. the earths crust is like theyre mirror into another world where things arent quite the same but have the same basic rules, outlines. and understandings. you can apply so many reasonings to so many differnt things. if you really thought about it you could explain a legit connection between the sun and dog shit. find your way through the maze of existance and expand your thinking. it will totally give you a better understanding for who what where and why. and i know it all sound so complex. and it is. everyithing is at a different level of complexity. you know how when you were little you found the simpplest things to be the most amazing and you were just high on life? well if something is new to you of course its going to sound unbelievable, rediculous, or impossible, but thats just how your mind portrays it. leginament reasoning is how i like to think about stuff. just understanding different ways of thinking and different possibilities. kay i htink i should stop rambling now but really seriously listen. people. if you obtain the right energy, the right state of mind, the right knowledge and understanding and you put your mind to something you can accoplish anything. try not to have a restricted mind. there is no right or wrong way. nature does what it does, it does not intend. dont plan too much because you ruin its natural way of happening. youll stress yourself out. go with the flow. do what your mind and soul tell you. dude im sick of living in a controlled so called "free" country. having some tyoe of order and ballance is key to peace. but curruption comes in and theres always somehting that fucks with it and you just gotta do what you gotta do. i wish i could go to a place where god holds a perfect balance of every opposite. every contridicting occurence. where peace was within every bit of its reality. where everything had some typer of relationship where there was understanding and repect between everything. where everything was possible and there was a perfect alignment of everything. but that reality doesnt exist here so all i can say to myself is get used to it and dont take it personally. take it or leave it. existance overall is limmitless, but the existance of and individual thing in a certain position in space and time is limmitted.

Posted by katyrose on November 03, 2009 at 04:48 PM CET #

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