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In its evolution, our brain has had a 3D identity. The 2D surface of our brain has gradually folded into a 3D volume so that its surface area could increase. We have a 3D shaped brain and so it goes we live within our perceptions of the confines of a 3D world. As discussed in the previous prehistory section, the brain stopped expanding outwardly within the cranium thousands of years ago due to the restrictions placed by the birth canal. It has since been developing internally, and perhaps developing 4D characteristics in the process.

Hyperspace has become a popularized term used to describe higher dimensions in the universe. It was coined by John W. Campbell in his short story "The Mightiest Machine" (1934). Various modern theories of hyperspace suggest that dimensions exist beyond the commonly accepted dimensions of space and time: the entire universe may exist in a higher-dimensional space.

The 4th dimension is not some wild drug induced idea; it has been confirmed to exist as it is used by physicists and mathematicians every day in their calculations. Michio Kaku in his book Hyperspace, states "the fact that our universe, like the surface of an apple, is curved in an unseen dimension beyond our spatial comprehension has been experimentally verified." These experiments, performed on the path of light beams, shows that starlight is bent as it moves across the universe. Physicists have the sharp edge of their minds to understand 4D calculations, but how could it translate for every day people?

Woman entering into fourth dimension

In his book "Surfing Through Hyperspace," Clifford Pickover asks, "is there really a fourth dimension we can understand? Or are we just limited by our trained perceptions to see only three dimensionally? " For instance, we know that certain animals only see things in a certain way, such as dogs who are color blind. Dogs do not have the visual capacity to see in color. Do our brains have the capacity to see the 4th dimension? The pineal gland in the brain may hold the secret to 4D perception.

Rene Descartes illustration
Courtesty of Mapping the Mind, Rita Carter
Illustration from Traité de l'Homme by René Descartes,
1664 in which the pear shaped pineal gland was thought to
be responsible for consciousness and soul.

In the early seventeenth century, the French philosopher René Descartes conceived the notion that mind existed in a separate sphere from the material universe, a concept that lingers still. In his theory, the brain was sort of a radio receiver that tapped into the dimension of mind via the pineal gland -- the only brain component Descartes could find that was not replicated in each hemisphere.

Among the most recent hyperspace theories is
Superstring Theory by physicist Michio Kaku, that predicts a universe in ten dimensions--three dimensions of space, one dimension of time, and six more spatial dimensions. The basic idea of string theory is that particles, including quarks, electrons, protons and neutrons, vibrate like the strings on a violin, in the 10th dimension. In this theory, the universe can be thought of as a hyperdimensional orchestra. Yet, who can hear it or "download" it? And, is there a quantum Mozart conducting?

Information derived from:

Surfing Through Hyperspace, Clifford A. Pickover
Permission granted by Oxford University Press, 1999

Mapping the Mind, Rita Carter
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998