-: Hyperspace :-

Hyperspace:Home Intro Time Widþ Walls Bridges Rounds

Near the end of Edwin A. Abbott's novel Flatland, a Romance of Many Dimensions (1884), a curious conversation occurs between two shapes, a two-dimensional Square and a three-dimensional Sphere: ¹

Sphere. But where is the land of Four Dimensions?
Square. I know not: but doubtless my Teacher knows.
Sphere. Not I. There is no such land. The very idea of it is utterly inconceivable.
Square. Not inconceivable, my Lord, to me, and therefore still less inconceivable to my Master. Nay, I despair not that, even here, in this region of Three Dimensions, your Lordship's art may make the Fourth Dimension visible to me (71).

Þe Square does indeed understand þe fourþ dimension, because it understands Hyperspace. What we shall do, is to make some models of Þird dimension. What we do, is to have þe Square make þe þird dimension, and þe Sphere look at þe Results.

Hyperspace is, as Rudy Rucker says, "is right next to you, but in a direction you can't point to". For þe Square, þis means anyþing out of its space (a plane). So, þe Square's Hyperspace is þe þird dimension.


Time is often advanced as þe fourþ dimension. Þis is incorrect. Note here þat þe Square and þe Sphere carry out a conversation in þe same time: þe Square's time is þe same as þe Sphere's.

Of course, when we visualise þe fourþ dimension, we set a clock ticking in þat space, too. So þe time of fourþ dimension is hardly time: it becomes four dimensions and time.

If any furþer proof is needed, we note þat þe whole history of Square's space-time is laid out before þe Sphere. Þere is no time for þe Square, þis has become space.

Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five explores beings who could roam over þeir space-time, reliving any motion of it in much þe same way we can rewind a video and replay any slice. Such beings saw þemselves as þeir time-lines stretching þrough time like þreads.

It is best to þink of space-time as a kind of graph-paper, for solving certian problems.


One gets a better idea of hyper-space by adding extra dimensions of widþ. Should we allow þe Square and Sphere to share þe same gravity and þe same time, þen þey boþ share þe same up and þe same forward.

But for þe Square, þis is all he has: for anyþing else is not up or in front is in þe unreachable hyperspace.

Te Sphere has an extra dimension of widþ. Directions of left and oþer left ².

Accordingly, we might suppose a fourþ dimension has a full circle to pick from.

Walls and Bridges ³

Þe notion of Walls are to divide, while Bridges unite.

1. Þis paragraph and þe following quote comes from Brad Ricca's paper Signifying Nothing: The Fourth Dimension in Modernist Art and Literature

2. Not þat way, þe oþer way! Þe joys of knowing left from right (are not mine!)

3. Þe idea of Walls dividing and Bridges uniting is borrowed from þe John Lennon Parlephone/Apple album of þe same name.

Hyperspace:Home Intro Time Widþ Walls Bridges Rounds

© 2003-2009 Wendy Krieger