∆'Aspects' are not Dimensions.

1.                  ‘Aspects’ are not ‘hidden dimensions’.

The universe works in many unusual and unintuitive ways, and these can be made sense of if ‘Time’ is said to exist, and if it is seen as a flexible, or warp-able ‘fourth dimension’.
But if ‘motion’ can be seen as just something that happens, without needing time, then there may be a simpler explanation;

Back to >> ∆ Timeless v.Time distinctions (Rhetoric and Semantics).


I feel quite strongly about the casual and misleading use of the word 'Dimension'. In using this word casually to describe something that is not a simple physical dimension, we are trying to give that other thing the same credibility as a physical dimension without really saying so directly. For example if we say a harmonious cord adds another dimension to a song we are listening to, then that's fine, but really the harmony is just more musical notes played together, and it is really just another fascinating 'aspect' of music.

But if we say 'time' is another dimension to the universe we are starting to pump in the smoke into a world of smoke and mirrors. Things in the universe seem to exist, and to be able to move, and this motion is an aspect or property or feature of matter. But to link this motion to the word 'time', and to then say 'time' is another 'dimension' is to imply time is real, and that it happens a 'right angles' to the three normal dimensions we genuinely observe, which sends us off on a path of wondering if we can imagine, or calculate this '4th dimension'. we find we can't really imagine 4 dimensions, but instead of seeing this as an indication we may be seeing things in a wrong way, we think the fact we can't imagine it means 'it' exists, and 'is' mysterious, and we find we can mathematically calculate in 4 dimensions... so we think the idea grows in credibility.

But in fact, all we observed is 3d objects, moving in a direction... and causally and misleadingly misused the word dimension.

Aspects are made of these, 

Everything in the universe can be described as having different features, properties, or 'aspects'. A car for example might be long, low, wide, fast, red, and so on. Referring to its physical size of something in terms of 'dimensions' makes sense, but referring to aspects like its colour or weight as 'dimensions' might be misleading. thus we should be very careful about constructing the 'idea' of time, and then calling it a 'dimension' if in fact it is just a useful mathematical tool. - if only because 'calling' time the '4th' dimension perhaps incorrectly suggests time exists as a real thing, which in turn opens the door to suggest 5th,6th,7th 'dimensions' and so may exist.

It is important to realise that the word 'Dimension' is normally used to describe the up-down, left-right, forward-back directions in the world, but then the same word 'dimensions' it is often swiftly used to also describe 'mathematical concepts'.

However it is often not made clear that the word 'dimension' is now being used in a very different way, and it seems to me readers are left to assume these 'extra dimensions' really are mysterious 'dimensions', and worse still, it seems that often authors on the subject don't make the distinction in their own minds between the 3 real dimensions they are talking about - and - the mathematical tools they are using to describe complicated 'aspects' of reality.

Albert Einstein questioned the distinctions of the past and the future but he did not remove the notion of time completely from his work, far from it, he went on to merge or integrate the idea of time with space to create the scientifically accepted concept of ‘spacetime’. - This seems to be a contradiction, either time does not exist, or it exists. I think the contradiction can be resolved if it is seen that time does not exist, and instead things 'just' and 'only' exist and move and change 'now' (to use a thus redundant word). 

Spacetime is a term used to express the idea that rather than space just being a ‘flat’ and ‘inert’ or insignificant background in which the events of the universe unfold, and across which gravity operates, space itself plays a major role in every event.

This is because ‘gravity’ is not ‘a force that can operate between two massive objects across space’, but, because gravity ‘is a result of the warping of space by any massive object’.

Einstein summarised these observations by saying that ‘mass’, or ‘objects’, tell space how to warp, and warped space tells objects how to move.

This principle is demonstrated clearly wherever we have a very large object in space, such as the Sun, that is orbited by smaller objects, such as the Earth. In this case the Suns mass warps the space around it so powerfully that the warped space makes the Earth follow a curved path around the Sun, instead of just passing by in a straight line, or gentle curve, and off into space.

Sir Isaac Newton had already explained to some degree the way that gravity works, but not what gravity ‘is’, and Newton had logically assumed gravity to be some kind of a force that acted between any two objects that had ‘mass’.

If this was true, then something like ‘light’, which has no (rest) mass, would not be affected by gravity. But Einstein’s explanation added the idea that because ‘gravity’ was not a force, but ‘warped space’, then anything passing through an area of warped space, whether it had mass or not should be affected by the warping.

Observing that warped space bends light and slows time.

This suggestion was actually observed and experimentally proved when, on Einstein’s suggestion Sir Arthur Eddington and a team of astronomers went to ‘Principe’ an island off the west coast of Africa to take advantage of a solar eclipse and observe how starlight passing close to the sun was deflected by the warped space it passed through.

The observers took photographic images of a group of stars without the Sun between themselves and the stars, and then during the eclipse, where the sun was between themselves and the stars. From careful examination of the photographic plates when back in England they were able to prove that when the star light they were observing was passing close to the sun, it was indeed deflected.

However, Einstein’s theory suggested not only that anything with ‘mass’ passing through warped space would be deflected, but also that time is ‘slowed down’ in warped space, and that this would compound the effect of deflection. 

Therefore the starlight passing close by the sun on its way to Earth was actually deflected around twice as much as Newton’s calculations would have suggested if ‘gravity’ alone was responsible, because the slowing of time around the sun meant the light was ‘being deflected’ by gravity for ‘twice as long’ as it might seem to an outside observer. This is an insight that Newton may have never even dreamt of considering.

So, it was experimentally proven at Principe and thousands of times since, that the idea of space and time being intimately linked or more accurately, both being seen as different aspects of the same single entity ‘spacetime’ was correct. And with this observation come many unintuitive, but well tested details, such as the scientifically verified deduction that ‘moving clocks run slow’.

Diagram - Starlight is deflected and 'time dilated' - doubling the effective deflection, as it passes through the warped space near our sun.
, this does not also prove there is a 'past' or a 'future'.

 This observed and proven effect is known as ‘Gravitational time dilation’, and whatever it is called, it is known to exist and has to be accounted for in technology such as the satellite based global positioning systems.

Our understanding of this ‘warping of space’ effect, along with the warping of ‘objects’ and ‘directions’ within it, and the effect of time slowing or ‘time-dilation’ leads to, and supports the idea, that time is in some way an ‘extra’ or ‘fourth dimension’.

That is to say not only that time exists in a sense in addition to the three normal dimensions we are used to seeing around us (height width and depth) but also that mathematical equations featuring time as a fourth dimension make sense and work reliably.

However this conclusion, that 'time is dilated in gravitational fields',  is reached because Einstein deduced that the deflection of the light should be twice that which Newton calculated, and because experiment showed Einstein was right about the amount of actual deflection. However, the correctness of Einstein's calculations as they agree with this measurement may obscure an error in the definition of what actually causes the deflection. (Specifically that it may not be a thing called 'time' that is slowed by gravity, but just that 'rates of motion or change are slowed' by gravity).

The problem is subtle, the deduction and observation agree but perhaps this can be explained in a number of different ways and with significantly different revelations.


Case 1 – Time is slowed in gravitational fields.

Case 2 – Things happen more slowly in gravitational fields.

Case 3 – Space is compressed in gravitational fields.

If for simplicity we say we are talking about the area near the sun between the two arrows on the diagram, then case 1 seems to make sense and matches what is seen because gravity bends the light there, and time is slowed, so gravity has more time to exert its influence.

But case 2 also makes sense, if we sent some object, or some light, coasting through a strong gravitational field then it would be deflected while in that field, but if we deliberately slowed the object down while it was in the field, say to half speed, then of course the deflection would be double. In warped space this is not a simple mechanical slowing, but the effect should be the same, though to the moving object its speed seems unchanged, while the universe around it will seem speeded up.

Case 3 also makes sense, if we say the area pointed to in the diagram is around 1.5 million km as viewed from some distance away then for simplicity assume the space there was compressed by gravity twofold then in that area the actual distance would ‘be’ 3 million km[1]. that is to say, if I understand it correctly you could feed in a 3 million km tape measure into that area and it would fit, and if you walked along the measure it would look perfectly normal to you, though the stars and space around you might appear to be stretched to double normal size, because this is the nature of warped space, it always looks fine to a local observer, and it always seems that the world around them has the distortion and vice versa.

So in cases 2 or  3, it would seem to the passing object, or beam of light that either, they were covering the 1.5 million km area more slowly while under the influence of the suns gravity, or that the area turned out to be 3 million km, twice as long as expected,  and so in both cases they were affected twice as much as might be expected.

The difference between case 1, and cases 2 and 3 is that case one uses the word ‘time’ and as such it requires or suggests  the existence of ‘an invisible thing called time’, and the idea that this Time can be slowed or dilated by gravity. Which suggests that there is an invisible future, and invisible past, connected as part of a flowing fourth dimension, that can be distorted by gravity affecting the way, and the rate at which events flow through the extra dimension it in one direction only…

While cases 2 and 3 agree with the principles Einstein suggests, and match the observations, but require only that matter exists, moves, changes, and interacts – in complete accordance with Einstein’s calculations for the effects of warped space – but that it just does so wherever it happens to be and does so ‘now’.

The three explanations involve time, distance and speed and normally we say that distance = speed * time, but this statement comes from the idea that ‘things need time to move’. In fact all that can be proven is that things move, at different speeds, over distances. The words ‘over time’ don’t show or prove anything though they seem to have weight just because we are familiar with hearing them. Thus explanation 1 suggests and uses the mysterious ‘Time’, while cases 2 and 3 use easily observable ‘speed’ and ‘distance’ and are just the same point expressed in different ways, while not needing Time.

We should note also here that by using the word Time explanation 1 suggests and requires time, and although at first glance it may seem to be a highly accurate and fundamental proof to do with time in fact it does nothing to prove the existence of time in any way at all, specifically it doesn’t prove the existence of or need for a ‘future’ or a ‘past’.

Given that in this book I am proposing the idea that everything around and within us can be explained and understood entirely in terms of matter and motion in the present moment, I am effectively saying that absolutely everything we observe can be described without the idea of time. So if time is to be eliminated, and replaced with just the idea of motion in the present moment then these ideas of time existing, being linked to ‘warped space’, and being in some way part of an extra dimension have to be addressed and logically re-explained.

Re-explaining a ‘dimension’ as an ‘aspect’.

Diagram - Starlight is in a sense both straight - and curved - if it passes through warped space near a massive object. To make this more comprehensible we can imagine putting a very long 'straight' ruler along the same path as the starlight. This ruler would be bent because the space it is in is bent - but if we looked along it - the standard check to see if a thing is straight - it would indeed 'be' straight. nothing moving along the ruler would be able to detect otherwise. Also because the space near the mass is contracted or dilated, in  sense the increments on the ruler would be closer in the warped space.

Because the ruler is a single solid object we can imagine sending a (very!) long line of ants along it. In doing this we can see how it makes sense to say that the bugs at every point would be able to see their leader, and would at no point feel 'separated in time' because 'time was passing more slowly' for the bugs near the mass. However we can also imagine that near the mass things are more compressed, and could  'move and change more slowly' - in complete accordance with relativity - but -'now' in that area. 

All of this need only be happening now, and not because a thing called time exists - and is slowed as it passes from an invisible future through an infinitely thing present into an invisible past.

(Note Excuse the poor drawings, but the third picture is from Richard Feynmans '6 not so easy pieces - if sketchy 'bug's are good enough for him...)

Re-explaining ‘warped spacetime’ is much easier to do than it might at first seem, and all of the above can be modified to make sense in a timeless view fairly easily, if all of Einstein’s observations are said to ‘just be happening’, as opposed to ‘happening over time’.

(It can be useful to first get a sense of how warped 'space' alone might be, see >> ∆ Tame Warped Space).

So, it is accepted that mass warps space, as Einstein calculated, and it is agreed that the path of anything passing through that space will be ‘deflected’ as calculated, and will pass through that warped space slower than expected, to the degree that Einstein calculated. But by ‘slower’ here we just mean that objects would simply pass through that warped space as if that area was ‘more condensed’, ‘thicker’, or ‘more sticky’ in very simple terms[2], and, critically that this happens because ‘warped space slows motion’, and not because’ warped space slows time’.

(in an odd way all of Einstein’s theories and other peoples subsequent observations verify this anyway, because ‘with time’ it can be said that matter moves and changes more slowly in warped space... so it is confirmed that ‘matter moves and changes more slowly in warped space’. DEL?)

The critical point, things can just happen slowly.

 And the critical point here is to see the difference between

  • ‘things happening more slowly’, and
  • Time being slowed down’.

If we simply say that warped space slows motion, then we can see how deflected light simply moves ‘more slowly’ through such ‘warped space’.

We note here, that it is completely accepted that this ‘slowing’ in warped space is not a simple mechanical slowing, but a ‘complete’ and intrinsic slowing – i.e. people, plants, photons and atoms would all be moving and changing slower in space warped by a gravitational field, than ‘identical twins’ in un-warped space.

But, it is suggested that things are just, or, only, moving or happening more slowly ‘now,’ i.e. because they are happening ‘within an area where things move and change more slowly’.

As opposed to the explanation that things move and happen more slowly in a strong gravitational field because they are happening ‘over’ a ‘thing called time’, and because they are happening ‘within an area where time has been slowed’ – and so this causes objects and events to be slowed.

This is not the same point expressed differently, because the timeless view needs no past and no future, just matter and energy to exist now, as we observe that they do, and to interact more slowly in warped space (as we apparently observe); While the time-based explanation requires the existence of an ethereal four dimensional, ‘incompletely defined’, ‘thing’ called time, that invisibly controls and records all motion throughout the universe in a mysterious and un-observed way – and that is made to pass events from an unseen and undetectable ‘fourth dimensional future’, through an infinitely thin present, to an unseen ‘past’, but at a ‘slower rate’ in warped space.

If we take the Time-based view, then first, we see time as an ‘extra dimension’, similar to a ‘track’ that spans from the future to the past, next we see events as things that travel along this ‘track’, (i.e. everything travelling forwards though time at the speed of light), and we see ‘motion’ as something that happens ‘in’, or ‘as a result of’ the workings of this ‘fourth dimension’; Finally we see this track as something that is ‘stretched’ or ‘squashed’, helped, or hindered, wherever space is warped, giving us the ‘time dilation’ effects we observe.

If we take the timeless view, then we see matter existing, moving and changing, and we see motion as just an ‘aspect’ or property ‘of the object’ or ‘of the universe’, or of the two combined.

What this means is that if we use words like ‘change’ instead of ‘time’ then we can see that the ‘rate at which things change’ is just another ‘aspect’ of the world around us, and seeing this effect as an aspect of the universe, is very different to saying ‘things change over time’, and so saying time exists, and that it exists as another ‘dimension’ of the universe and so on.

Back to >> ∆ Timeless v.Time distinctions (Rhetoric and Semantics).

[1] The mass of the sun does not distort space by anything like twofold, this just makes the maths less distracting.

[2] Which I think is what Einstein may be implying, i.e. that 2 km of space may be squashed, compressed, or condensed down into 1 km, so progress through it is slower than might be expected.