Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Dimensional Philosophy

Originally posted on August 15, 2017

I use the metaphor of “dimension,” drawn from geometry. From the internet: “A dimension is a measurable extent of some kind, such as length, breadth, depth, or height, as, for example, "the final dimensions of the pond were 14 ft. x 8 ft."  Synonyms might be size, measurement, proportions, extent, volume, capacity, area, breadth, width, length…or a mode of linear extension of which there are three in space and two on a flat surface, which corresponds to one of a set of coordinates specifying the position of a point. In Physics, an expression for a derived physical quantity in terms of fundamental quantities such as mass, length, or time, raised to the appro-priate power (acceleration, for example, having the dimension of length × time -2). Or an aspect or feature of a situation, problem, or thing, as in “sun-dried tomatoes add a new dimension to this sauce." As in aspect, feature, element, facet, side or, for example, "the cultural dimensions of the problem."

In approaching new territory, sometimes our standard vocabulary of words are insufficient. I’m stretching the word dimension here. You might argue with me here, but what would you call it?

I’m suggesting that being aware of something is a dimension, and being aware of being aware is yet another higher dimension. Being aware of all of this, of consciousness and its aspects, is still another even higher dimension, the 7th dimension, and although it’s hard to take in, being aware of this whole thing and how it’s near-instantaneously created and re-created so it all makes sense, is yet another, 8th dimension.

So, to recap: Dimension is first of all a term from geometry. It notes how relationships of phenomena on a flat plane (two dimensions) differ from relations in a sphere or solid figure (three dimensions). For example, mathematicians hypothesized one dimension—a line—which can also be a spectrum: On a spectrum, in one dimension, things are indeed more and less.

If there are two dimensions involved, location becomes more complex. It may be more to the left or right! The horizontal axis creates another dimension—all the complexities of plane geometry! Then, adding a third dimension, a vertical one, you get solid geometry.

But dimensions are not always at right angles! There are infinite numbers of variables and just right or left doesn’t capture the complexity. It may also be up or down. Things become far more difficult to quantify when projected in higher dimensions! And there may be imagined four and more dimensions. (This is not to say that the imaginary is not “real.” I would concede that the imaginary is not “material.”)

Nor do dimensions, with this broadened view, need to be about the same stuff. Einstein imagined time as sort of a geometric “fourth” dimension, though others have also imagined higher dimensional actual spaces. (Note that time is also non-material.)

Here Einstein did something radical: He used a word beyond it’s “proper” setting! But then, what else could be done when expanding the frame of reference?

So I’m just amplifying Einstein: Using what I call a “trans-dimensional” perspective, then, the fifth dimension, rudimentary mind, perceives and registers both time and the three spatial dimensions. This is animal mind.

The sixth dimension, a higher dimension is called for when the subjunctive tense is involved— what could be but is in fact not, or not yet. This 6th dimension is mind that is aware of mind, plus alternative interpretations. Human mind operates here.

At the 7th dimension, one thinks about how human minds work. Various philosophies dance, form, are critiqued, undergo transformation. Much of the progress in science as well as philos-ophy involves this dimension. The intuitive imagination is added for this dimension.

A 7th dimensional perspective also is able to conceive of a theoretical point of zero dimensions. It shows the mind’s capacity to imagine! It’s not as if other interpretations are wrong, exactly; it’s more that higher reality cannot be communicated in ordinary language!

Then there’s the 8th (eighth) dimension, talked about by mystics. It goes a level beyond intuition about the world, and involves intuition about the perception of reality. The late scholar Huston Smith, the comparative theologian, talks about this rather clearly in one of his last books.

At even low levels of the eighth dimension, it becomes clear that there are indeed higher dimensions yet! If the 6th dimension adds the subjunctive, and the 7th dimension adds imagination, the 8th dimension adds intuitive metaphysics. My interpretation (among other interpretations) is that all we know are in a sense thoughts of the Higher Reality that lower level visionaries may glimpse and call God. The 8th dimension isn’t God, nor even angelic, but they become obvious to me. They point consciousness to something greater, more encompassing. The world then appears as real but known in stages: Humans can outline the first four stages, but few can note the next two or three, and very few can glimpse the 8th. However, at 8th, further stages are also more or less vaguely glimpsed. (This is also sort-of my theology.)

Some Implications

It’s fine for people at whatever “level” to envision what works for them, lifts them. However, they should realize that different folks need different strokes. They shouldn’t presume that their view of ultimate reality is the only one. To say again, people with one perspective should not hold back those who glimpse or even operate at different levels, either to them “simpler” or more complex, encompassing levels. It’s all true!

The idea that truth can operate at different levels is challenging. Human mind tends to think in terms of hierarchies, and “higher” or “more subtle” may seem to imply “more true,” but might just as easily suggests “finer” or “esoteric” angles that fit certain minds. There is no guarantee that such minds are ethically “better,” for example. Some simple truths such as love may clearly outrank sophisticated thinking!

What I’m attempting to do is create room for the finer perspective that I have presented here. I don’t pretend to be a saint. I try to do good, but there are so many ways to be good that I don’t even compete.

Another example: I heard a sermon the other day about humanism and theology. The problem lies in what I interpret as the tension between what I’ll call 7th and 6th dimensional theologies. It’s not as if one is true and the other is not, or is less true. They’re all true, each at its own level of understanding. To explain this we need the aforementioned dimensional philosophy as a kind of  map to keep people oriented.

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