Hinton, Charles - The Recognition of the Fourth Dimension – Triangles, Cones and the Egg – Carroll’s Cheshire Cat
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Recognition of the Fourth Dimension By Charles H. Hinton
If space is really four dimensional, certain conclusions follow which must be brought clearly into evidence if we are to frame the questions definitely which we put to Nature. If space is four dimensional, there must be a solid material sheet against which we move. This sheet must stretch alongside every object in every direction in which it visibly moves. Every material body must slip or slide along this sheet, not deviating from contact with it in any motion which we can observe.
The necessity for this assumption is clearly apparent if we consider the analogous case of a suppositionary plane world. If there were any creatures whose experience were confined to a plane, we must account for their limitation. If they were free to move in every space direction they would have a three-dimensional motion; hence they must be physically limited, and the only way in which we can conceive such a limitation to exist is by means of a material surface against which they slide. The existence of this surface could only be known to them indirectly. It does not lie in any direction from them in which the kinds of motion they know of leads them. If it were perfectly smooth and always in contact with every material object, there would be no difference in their relations to it which would direct their attention to it.
But if this surface were curved--if it were, say, in the form of a vast sphere--the triangles they drew would really be triangles of a sphere, and when these triangles are large enough the angles diverge from the magnitudes they would have for the same lengths of sides if the surface were plane. Hence by the measurement of triangles of very great magnitude, a plane being might detect a difference from the laws of a plane world in his physical world, and so be led to the conclusion that there was in reality another dimension to space a third dimension as well as the two which his ordinary experience made him familiar with.
The source of the experienceHinton, Charles Howard
Concepts, symbols and science items
Activities and commonsteps