“Metaphysics is a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse, strewn with many a philosophic wreck.” — Immanuel Kant
What if we we were to consider that one of the prospectively-assumed eleven dimensions (typically considered to be the conservative estimate) is something along the lines of consciousness, awareness, intention or some kind of intangible and imperceptible realm that we simultaneously exist in. Something that Kant may consider the noumena behind his transcendent idealism or that Aristotle would group under his notion of intelligibility.
An example — say we consider the visually-represented world as a dimension on its own and, to exist in this dimension, you’d need only the ability of sight. If you happen to lose your ability of sight, are you fully departed from this visual dimension in the same way that we would consider a physical body to be departed from a physical world when its heartbeat ceases? Because that’s not really what happens.
In the physical world, the matter that constructs what we call a ‘body’ still exists well beyond what we call death. We’re atomically constructed from compounds that have floated about (and will continue to float) through space and time for eons.
“Because they’re so long lived, atoms get around. Every atom you posses has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you.”
— Bill Bryson
So while the all-pragmatic science-mind may say that it’s kind of arrogant or grandiose to subscribe to the belief of an eternal soul, and further state that we’re nothing but a random collection of atomic compounds, it may rather be arrogant to assume that we’re a one-and-done kind of deal and that these compounds organized themselves in such a fortuitous way as to give us a temporary shell through which we can experience reality for a blink of time — ceasing to exist when our heart stops.
“We are so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms — up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested — probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven”
The problem is how identity comes into play — something that philosophers have grappled with since the sails of Theseus' ship caught wind.
But, there is something to be said about the energy underlying these atoms that make up who we are:
“You may not feel outstandingly robust, but if you are an average-sized adult you will contain within your modest frame no less than 7 x 10 (18) joules of potential energy — enough to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you know how to liberate it and really wished to make a point”
The scientific assumption is that the individual loses his or her ability to intelligently maneuver through some shred of existence, on the further assumption that consciousness had been tied into the molecular assembly of our identity. Read that one again, then consider: is it so far fetched to think that this blueprint (our consciousness, memories, self-awareness) can’t also exist on one of innumerable dimensions that, try as we ever might, we’ll never be able to understand?
Maybe some philosophers can anachronistically weigh in on this debate.
Like Immanuel Kant theorized, we’re unable to transcend the limit of our perceptual reality in a world that’s constructed from mental and intangible ideas as much as it from physical matter, contextualized (but not fully comprehended by) the mind.
Rene Descartes would say that consciousness has to exist simply because one cannot deny the existence of their mind while using said mind to make that denial. Though many have pulled apart this axiom, it prompts us to question the link between our thoughts and our physical body.
Friedrich Nietzsche also envisioned a universe of wills, a constantly in-flux and ever-evolving cloud of motivations and intentions, wills that perpetually try to overcome one another. It’s not unlike the natural world we inhabit.
“Socrates died soon after the war ended, but, as he told his friends in the prison on his last day, it was only his body that died”
— Edith Hamilton, The Echo of Greece
The entire point is that we maybe shouldn’t preclude the existence of certain dimensions ruled by the intangible. If time is afforded its own dimension, why not throw a bone to will-power as Nietzsche did? Why not apply the same rules to consciousness that we do to the physical body like Descartes did? Why not simply concede that we don’t know and can’t know, like Kant did?
Because, in fact, this is all a long-winded way to say that we can’t know. We can’t know that there does or doesn’t exist a dimension solely meant for occupancy by our ideas or our consciousness; for time or for whacky mathematical principals; for intention or for the energies that bind each individual atom.
And such is the way of ontological endeavoring - it’s an ouroboros-style a way of stabbing at solutions in the dark.
“When one denies the existence of something, he is saying that something does not exist. However, even the very act of denying can only be possible if existence exists.”
— Paul Kleinman
To briefly set aside scientific bravado and just consider whether it’s possible, in a universe where we don’t have the slightest idea of what possible even means, that as soon as self-awareness is gained, that self-awareness can also then occupy a certain plane of existence or a dimension constructed specifically for that quintessential frequency that we call thought.
Every religion and culture also exists with an innate concept of some sort of unearthly plane(s) of existence — the six Buddhist realms or the Hindi Swarga Loka or the Shinto Takamagahara. Perhaps this also winks at a hint that there’s more than meets the eye.
Ultimately and unfortunately, there’s no way to know. And while this is no new revelation, it’s worth at least thinking about as we may seem to be acting like we’re all too sure. Nevertheless, we’ll chase these secrets until we cease to exist, but even then, we may continue our pursuits in a realm beyond our understanding.
For a particularly curious man once said:
“Energy is liberated matter, matter is energy waiting to happen”