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The model that best describes the universe we see is of the three dimensional surface of an expanding four-dimensional sphere. As we look into space we see that we are apparently at the center of an expanding universe. The further away from us things are, the faster they recede from us. We also only see young things close to us. The very old structures in the universe are much further away. At great distances, we don’t see the type of objects that were formed recently. 
Because of the speed of light, the further things are from us, the further back in the past we see them. The Sun is roughly eight light minutes away from us, so the light from the sun takes eight minutes to reach us. When we look at the sun, we are actually seeing it as it was eight minutes before. The closest star is about four light years away. When we look at it, we see the light that left it four years ago. We are looking four years into the past. 
Using visible light we can see back about 4,000,000,000 years. We can see almost another 1,000,000,000 years, almost to the back to the beginning of the universe, in different electromagnetic spectrums. Close to the edge of our vision, there are only exotic structures from which the galaxies formed. Beyond that, there is only the 30 centigrade background radiation leftover from the Big Bang. 
We can’t think in four spacial dimensions. Our limbs don’t move in the fourth spacial direction. We can’t point in that direction or visualize a fourth spacial dimension. So how do we know that there is at least one other spacial dimension? The three/four interface is beyond our ability to visualize, but we can look directly at the two/three interface and draw logical conclusions. 

Imagine a two dimensional universe that is the two dimensional surface of an expanding three-dimensional sphere. An expanding balloon is a good example. The balloon appears to be covered with white spots. As we look closer we see that the spots are made up of millions of tiny dots. These are the two-dimensional galaxies and stars of our two dimensional universe. Around the two dimensional stars orbit two-dimensional planets, and on some of those planets live two-dimensional creatures. 
To us, these creatures look like something we see under a microscope. Their skin is a line that circles their insides. From our three dimensional vantagepoint, we can see their insides. The Creatures are completely unaware of the third dimension. The third dimension doesn’t exist within their two dimensional universe. 
One of the two dimensional scientists notices some funny things about his universe. For one thing, he appears to be at the center of an expanding universe. Odd that he should just happen to be at the center. He also notices that things far away from him are red shifted. It is as if an ink covered inch worm were crawling across his universe and leaving marks an inch apart, but those marks got further and further apart as they got older. It looks as if the space over which the inchworm was crawling were being stretched. 
In the two dimensional universe, just as in ours, the speed of light limits the distance the two-dimensional scientists can see. The further away he looks the further into the past he sees. When he looks into the past, he sees his universe as it was at an earlier time. As he looks back into time, he sees his universe when it was smaller. If his instrumentation is good enough, he can see all the way back to the beginning, when his universe was just a tiny, very hot point. No matter what direction he looks, at the same distance, he will see back to the tiny point that was the origin of his universe. It will appear as a background that he sees in every direction. 
He can measure the speed at which the stars in his universe are flying apart; reverse the process and figure out how long ago all of the stars were in the same place. This gives him an idea how old his universe is. He can also figure out how hot the universe would have been when all of the matter and energy in it were condensed into a single tiny point. He can then figure how long it would have taken for the universe to cool down to the current background temperature. This gives him a way to confirm his estimate from the expansion measurements. 
He now knows that his universe is expanding, but expanding to where. He is unable to see boundaries to his universe. It is not expanding its boundaries; there is just more space. He begins to wonder if his universe might actually be expanding into a hypothetical third dimension. He has some corroborating evidence for this third dimension. In his high energy physics labs, he has seen particles go from point A to point B without traversing the intervening two dimensional space. It is almost as though the particle dropped into a wormhole at point A and came out at point B. If this wormhole doesn’t go through two-dimensional space; it must go through some other dimension. The scientist starts to wonder if his universe might be the two dimensional surface of a three-dimensional circle (sphere). 
He can’t extend any instruments or any part of his body into the third dimension. If he could, it would be a fatal mistake to do so. If he were to somehow stand up on the sphere’s surface, his insides would fall out. He doesn’t have skin on that side. He has no way to directly experience this third dimension, but there is a way he can measure it’s effects on his two dimensional universe. 
The height of a right isosceles triangle (A triangle with legs a and b the same length, and the intersection of legs a and b forming an angle of 900) is one half of the length of the base. The formula for finding the base of a triangle is c2=a2+b2. The formula for the height of a right isosceles triangle then is the square root of (a2+b2)/2. If our two-dimensional scientist constructs a right isosceles triangle with legs of 36, then a line from the apex intersecting the base perpendicularly will be 25.5. This assumes that the triangle is drawn on a flat surface. 
Our scientist lives on the surface of a sphere. If the circumference of his universe is 144, then a line with a length of 36 will go a quarter of the way around it. A right isosceles triangle with legs of 36 could have the apex at one pole and the base would run along the equator. Any line from the pole to the equator will be the same length as any other line from the pole to the equator. A line from the Apex intersecting the base perpendicularly should have a length of 25.5 according to calculations, but if the scientist measures the line he will find its length to be 36. 
Our scientist will scratch his head, double check that the line is straight and does not curve in either of the two dimensions he can experience, then conclude that the line must be curving in some direction that he can’t see. It is curving, along with the space of his universe, through a third dimension. 

A three-dimensional scientist could construct the three dimensional version of a triangle, a cone, and calculate the height. He could then measure the height and, theoretically, use any discrepancy as evidence of a fourth spatial dimension. The logistics of this method are beyond our reach and instrumentation today. There may be a more elegant way to measure the effects of our universe curving through a fourth spatial dimension, but the method described above demonstrates that such a measurement is possible. 

Is the future set? Is there one future, or many? Do we really have a choice in our actions, or they all ready set as some future’s past? They idea of multi-possible dimensions is a popular one in the realms of science fiction. There have been many stories written about the parallel dimensions created by alternate choices in history. Every time someone makes a decision, so the idea goes, there are two dimensions created one with each possibility. The problems with this idea are legion. 
This multi-dimension splitting is usually pictured as a time line that forks, then each fork forks, and so on until there are billions of universes based on every conceivable chain of events since the big-bang. How often would the split take place?  Does the universe wait on some momentous event in human history before splitting, or does any event where one or more outcomes are possible trigger it? Humans break time down into increments, but time actually flows smoothly. There is no cosmic ticking as times moves on, just a smooth flow from the past, to the present, to the future. Quantum mechanics tell us that at every point in time there are several states that subatomic particles can take. There is no separation of time between possibilities. The multi-dimensional split will look more like a solid fan, that a fork. 
As we move into the future the expanding fan will get wider and wider. It is getting more and more massive, as all of the matter in the universe is doubled at every choice, so that two possibilities can exist. Where does this mass come from?

We experience time one dimensionally, or as a line. We can only move in one direction, forward, in time. We can conceive of moving backward along the time line but, as a practical matter, we either are unable to do so or are unable to detect when we do so. It is possible that we do move backward in time but, just like the characters on a video tape, we don’t realize that we are moving backward. When we start moving forward again we will flawlessly replay the same set of events, unaware that we have been here and done this before. 
If we think of our three-dimensional universe as the three-dimensional surface of an expanding four-dimensional sphere, then our time line would coincide with a ray starting at the big-bang and moving in the fourth-dimensional direction and intersecting the surface of the sphere. The point of intersection, or surface of the sphere, is the present. Anywhere inside the sphere is the past, and anything outside is the future. It is tempting then to think of the dimension into which our universe is expanding as a temporal dimension rather than a spatial one. This model still leaves us with serious problems.

If the present is the surface of an expanding sphere, then the future doesn’t exist yet. There is no matter in the future. As we move forward in time, there is obviously a massive universe when we get there. Where did the matter come from? Did we bring it with us from the past? If so then there is no matter in the past. A time traveler could not go into the past because it is no longer there. 
The Mid-America museum in Hot Springs Arkansas has an interesting exhibit. It has a hologram that is made into a cylinder. As a viewer walks past the hologram he sees a young woman blow a kiss and wink. The image changes as the viewing angle changes. The line the viewer walks is analogous to a time line. Moving along the line the viewer see the apparent passage of time in the hologram as the kiss and wink take place. 
One viewer can stand at one end of the line and see the young woman after she has finished the wink and kiss while another viewer, at the other end of the line, can see the young woman before she starts to blow the kiss and wink. There is no need for two holograms so the each viewer can see different phases of the kiss. It is the same hologram viewed from different perspectives, different temporal perspectives. 
We can further imagine that the hologram is slightly spherical rather than conical, and that the viewers are walking midway up a set of bleachers. If they stay on the same level as they walk down the line they will see the young woman blow a kiss and wink. If they climb upward as they walk across and see the hologram from a higher perspective the woman might only blow the kiss and not wink. If they climb down as they go across and see the hologram from a lower perspective they might only see her wink. We now have the past, present, and future along with several possibilities without the need for the creation of multiple holograms. It is only a matter of perspective 
Is it possible that the past, present, and future as well as every possible chain of events is also only a matter of temporal perspective? This would mean that traveling in time, or to a world with a different history is really just a matter of changing perspective. 
If the time we are at and the history we remember is a matter of perspective, what is doing the perceiving?
According to the above model, right here right now can be described by a set of coordinates consisting of 5 variables. Each variable will describe the position along one of three spatial or two temporal axes. There is a difference between spatial and temporal dimensions, yet they are only different aspects of the same thing.
We perceive our position in three-dimensional space using three-dimensional structures that make up our senses and the brain with which we process the sensory information that comes to us. We exist as three-dimensional structures. It is because we are three-dimensional structures that we have spatial context. In order to have temporal context, and because space-time is a single thing, we must also have a temporal structure. Our bodies extend into three spatial, and at least one temporal dimension.

What do we look like temporally? We probably resemble worms crawling down straws.  We exist in only one temporal dimension and can travel in only one temporal direction. We are aware of the passage of time only as it effects the three-dimensional spatial world we live in. It is probable that we can’t experience temporal events directly, as we apparently have no temporal sensory organs.
It is possible that there are many temporal dimensions, but we only vaguely perceive one. We may move to the left or right temporally every time we make a decision, but we can’t detect the other possibilities. We see time and space in the context of the decisions we have made and are unable to see space-time from any alternate vantage point.

How and why do we move through a temporal dimension? We have some awareness and control of movement through three-dimensional space.  We know when we move relative to something else. Using our legs, we can move over the surface of the earth. We can see that the earth we inhabit is in motion relative to the sun, and the sun is in motion relative to the other stars and galaxies. Einstein demonstrated that we can not detect some sort of absolute motion. We can only determine that we are moving relative to something else.
The laws of relativity involve both time and space. They must hold true in temporal dimensions as well as spatial dimensions. This brings up two fascinating questions. Temporally, why are we moving and to what are we in relative motion?

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It's a familiar scene. In response to some threat to the universe, Kirk, Spock, Bones and a couple of expendable guys in red shirts head for the transporter room. Scotty pushes the slide to it's stop and a whirring sound fills the room. The landing party twinkles and disappears. At the same time they appear on the surface of the planet the ship is orbiting. Or do they? 
Something appears on the planet's surface. In Star Trek lore the transporter has disintegrated the landing party members. Breaking them down to their constituent molecules and analyzing their structures in the process. The information is beamed to the landing site where the people are recreated from material on hand. Are these the same people that left the transporter room or just a set of duplicates? Are the original party members killed when the transmitting part of the transporter disintegrates them? 
At the heart of this ethical debate, raging across an imaginary universe, is the definition of the soul. The word soul has nebulous connotations that make it hard to pin down and study. Few people can give you a clear, concise definition of what it means to them. 
Removing the religious connotations from the word soul we are still left with something that has yet to be well defined. Let us define soul as that which exceeds the sum of our parts. It is that which feels pain rather than acknowledges damage. A thermostat reacts to temperature changes but does not feel cold or hot. The nerves in human skin react to temperature changes just as a thermostat does. Somewhere in the process that follows, as nerve impulses make their way to the brain and the brain reacts, a human feels cold or hot. 
Feeling, rather than registering, is a personal thing that can not be adequately expressed. It can be only discussed with the assumption that the other party also experiences the differences and understands them. 
Scientists studying artificial intelligence prefer words like Consciousness or self-awareness. These sound more scientific but they also have fuzzy boundaries. Most people will agree that humans are self-aware and bacteria are not. What about corals? Jellyfish? Sea slugs? Dolphins and whales? Where do we draw the line that says this creature is self-aware and that one is not? 
There is also a tendency to equate intelligence with self-awareness. There is no proof that this must be true. It may be possible to have an extremely intelligent entity that is not self-aware. The desk top computers that many people use for word processing are clearly not self-aware. Some of these machines have been programmed to mimic mental illness. In a blind thest, psychologist were not able to tell whether they were dealing with the computer or with a patient using the key board to answer questions. 
Machines only slightly more advanced may soon be able to pass IQ tests with high scores. They may be able to make rational decisions as well as humans. They will still not be self-aware. They will not be conscious. They may be programed to know when the temperature drops but they will never be cold. 
Consciousness is also hard to completely quantify. The surgeon preforming heart surgery is clearly conscious. The patient is not. What about the person in the recovery room just coming around? He is not unconscious. He responds to stimuli. He's trying to talk to the nurse but he's not fully awake. He confuses the female nurse for his wife. His state may be described as semiconscious. Exactly when does he cross the line from unconscious to conscious? 
What is responsible for consciousness? Where does the soul reside? The problem with Star Trek's transporter is the intuitive feeling that a new body made from new materials can not contain the soul from the old body. What happens if the old body is not destroyed when the new body is made? Which body has the soul? Are there two souls? Is one an original and the other a duplicate? If the new body is the duplicate would it not still be a duplicate even when the transporter operates correctly and old body is destroyed? 
This line of reasoning seems to suggest that the soul is tied inexorably to the body. That destroying one body and replacing it with another, even an exact duplicate, means killing one person and creating another. Does this observation hold up even if the replacement happens slowly, a piece at time. 
If the transporter replaces 99% of the atoms in a person's body with new ones, is this a new person? What about 50% or 5%? Where do we draw the line and say this is basically the same guy with a few new parts? What does this say about people who have had organ transplants? 
The human body replaces all but a few non-living cells over a period of about 7 years. 98% of the atoms in a person's body were not there 7 years ago. The atoms that made up a person 7 years ago are now in the ground, in fish, in garbage dumps and other places. Is the person who existed 7 years ago now dead, replaced by the person we see today? If so when did it happen? 
There is the feeling that because the process is slow and there is a continuation of consciousness, this is the same person. Is it possible that continuation of consciousness is the key? Is the platform, hardware or wetware not important as long as the stream of self-awareness is not interrupted? 
How do we define an interruption? Our brave star voyagers disappear from the transporter room and appear on the planet at the same time. Thoughts begun on the ship are finished on the surface. Has their self-awareness, their stream of consciousness been interrupted? 
If we accept them as the same people after a trip through the transporter based on the continuation of consciousness, will they still be the same people the next morning? Is sleep an interruption of consciousness? Are we truly new people when we wake up in the morning? Is it possible the memories we have of yesterday and the days before are the actions of our predecessors in this body? 
Maybe awareness continues at a reduced level during sleep but it doesn't during surgery when the patient is so completely unconscious that electroencephalograms show flat lines. A physician thinking along these lines might say, "The surgery is a success but the patient died. That's OK though. We've got a replacement waking up in his body." 
These are complex questions and the data seems contradictory. Any answers we come up with should satisfy not only scientific criteria but also our aesthetic sensibilities. In the mean time, if we can't find pat answers, let's at least look for better questions. 

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Superstition (soo'per stish'en), n. 1. A belief or notion not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like. 2. A system or collection of such beliefs. 3. A custom or act based on such beliefs. 

When I was taking a college psychology class, we read about pigeons trained to peck a bell in order to get food. Most of the pigeons learned to peck the bell to get food. Some pigeons came to believe that they also had to do other things. For example one of the birds, by chance, fluttered its wings before pecking the bell. It now flutters its wings and pecks the bell when it wants food. It believes that the wing fluttering is a necessary part of the procedure. Every time the ritual is repeated and food is delivered, the belief in wing fluttering is reinforced. Behavioral scientists refer to this as superstitious behavior. 
Humans, or at least some humans, are a little more advanced than pigeons. Still superstitious behavior is common in our species. We've all seen the cliche of a virgin being thrown into a volcano. Even in modern societies, superstition keeps a foothold. Every newspaper runs horoscopes. 
Some individuals are very superstitious while others claim to not be superstitious at all. Those claiming no superstition usually base that statement on not believing in the supernatural. Will a behavioral psychologist, studying such an individual, find no evidence of superstitious behavior? 
A psychologist studying my work place might be interested in a certain piece of equipment. We have an automatic film processor into which we place long rolls of photographic paper or film. On these rolls are the fruits of our labor. The stories, graphics and photos that make up a newspaper are brought together and a page is generated using lasers to expose these rolls of film or paper. It is then  stored in a canister on the image setter. The canister is taken from the image setter and placed into the automatic processor where (a) the film or paper is developed and our work is completed, or (b) the processor eats it up in a horrible jam and we get to start over. 
It is my firm belief that the best way to decrease the odds of hitting option (b) is to crimp the leading edge of the paper before giving it over to the care of the processor. My assistant, who has an architectural degrees from Texas A&M and is one of the most logical people I know, is under the mistaken opinion that the paper must be folded. My technician, who has good judgment in all other areas, foolishly insists the paper must be neither crimped nor folded but inserted as is. 
I leave it to my wise readers to figure out which two pigeons are fluttering their wings, but obviously two of these individuals are operating under the influence of superstitious behavior. Their feeble attempts to avoid disaster by folding or not touching the paper have no effect on the results, yet they insist on this behavior. If only that blasted processor didn't occasionally eat my work as well I would be able to demonstrate the superiority of my position. 
An examination of most individuals will reveal similar idiosyncrasies. Engineers assure me that pressing an elevator button more than once will have no affect on the timely arrival of the elevator car. Once the button has been pushed, the electronic controller makes note that the car needs to stop at that floor. There is no way of conveying a greater since of urgency. In fact, pressing the button again has no effect at all. The light doesn't get any brighter. The controller doesn't raise the priority of that stop. Nothing happens. Eventually the car will come. An impatient patron may have just pushed the button, and button pushing behavior is reinforced. 
I don't recommend trying to explain about buttons to people impatiently waiting for an elevator. They may throw you into the shaft if they think you're a virgin. People don't like having the error of their ways pointed out to them. Don't try to force someone into admitting that a precious ritual is mere superstition. After all, you may not believe in ghosts, or be afraid of black cats or Friday the 13th, but take care before insisting that you are not superstitious. You may not be aware that you are a wing flutter yourself. 

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The Other Half
I've taken credit for a lot of his work over the years. That's OK though because I've needed it and he doesn't care. It's a working relationship we've developed with rules we abide by. I need for him to continue being creative and he needs me to keep him fed - not by stuffing organic material into our mouth, but by stuffing ideas into our head. I take care of the administrative details. I'm the one who drags us to work or class. I do the talking and deal with bosses, customers, coworkers and other people. I take the assignments and cash the pay checks. He does the creative stuff. At least, when he feels like it. 
It's amazing how much I don't know about the little guy in the back of my head. I never know when or why he feels like working. I'm not even sure when I first became aware of his presence. The first clues must have become apparent when I was in college. It was then I first noticed that creative work was not under my voluntary control. It was then I learned to "sleep on" a problem. That first observation has grown over the years to the set of rules that I live by now. I'll submit a general set of parameters on a subject, then wait for the results to be delivered. This works just fine when results are delivered in a timely fashion. 
The little guy does good work, but he doesn't understand deadlines. He produces what he wants when he wants with no consideration for the obligations I've put us under. It's not that he's vindictive or irresponsible. He truly does not have any concept of deadlines or obligations. He produces work for his own reasons. I don't understand those reasons, but I've learned to guide him in the direction that I need for him to go. I absorb a quantity of the type of material that I need. If it's comic strips I need, I read comic strips. If I'm trying to produce editorial cartoons, I read editorial cartoons. Whatever I need, I immerse us in until I've got him in the right mode. He doesn't care what my motives are as long as I keep him fed with interesting material. It's rare that he rebels over a particular genre. 
I know he's rebelling when I don't get results. If he's not interested I can't concentrate. Our communication is not verbal. I'm not sure he even understands language. He uses the same eyes that I do, but he sees a very different world. I look at a sign and get information or instructions. He sees a shape that is attractive or ugly,  that fits its environment or is inappropriate for its surroundings. He also sees our goals differently. 
We produced a comic strip that ran in a local paper for a little longer than two years. I started the process by reading a lot of strips. I met and talked with several artists producing comic strips. I designed the characters, the environment, and what I thought was the mood or style of the strip. There came a time when I had to sit back and wait for the creative little guy to take the material I provided and turn out strips. I certainly have no complaint with the volume he provided. Though I was also happy with the quality of the work, it wasn't what I expected. I envisioned the strip as a "Bloom County" knockoff.  The original cast of characters contained a plethora of political morphologies. There were elephants, donkeys, snakes, skunks. . . . 
He didn't use them. The only scripts I was given to draw involved the most family oriented characters. He also only used the personas taken from animals that could be found on an American farm. I had ideas about what I wanted the strip to be. He had his own ideas. The final result reflected influence from both of us. Though I think of us as different people, we are never without each other. 
Most of the time I don't even think about him being there. I'm aware of his presence in much the same way I'm aware of family members in the other rooms of the house. If I stop and listen I can hear him back there, but I'm not sure what he's doing. Something creative I suppose. 
Other people often refer to him as "my subconscious." Maybe. I accept that we live in the same skull, use the same brain cells and have the same memories. Still, I don't feel that I've done the work he produces. We don't feel the same things. During times I've been in a panic he has dispassionately examined the situation and suggested ways out. It's not that he's brave and overcomes fear. He doesn't understand fear. The part of our brain that he lives in doesn't react to the adrenaline that so strongly affects me. The times our life has been endangered I've been afraid. He was annoyed at the prospect of not finishing whatever he was working on. 
Many people think of the creative side of themselves as most closely related to their emotional side. The little guy in my head is not emotional at all. He doesn't have to deal with emotions. That's my job. We each have areas of responsibility in the functioning of our common life. If he truly is a part of me, it's a part that I can only get in touch with in this way. I won't argue with psychologists. I just accept the way we are. 
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