Photo by Manikandan Annamalai on Unsplash

Originally published on November 16, 2008, on

Well, I think I have it right — that string theory is related to multiple dimensions. I read an interesting article about how hyperdimensions may explain experiences of people who claim to have near-death experiences or out-of-body experiences.

Dr. Robert Brumblay wrote in the Journal of Near Death Studies a simplified explanation of how to understand the effect of hyperdimensions.

My understanding of what he wrote is that if we were living in a one-dimensional universe, it would be as if we were living along a line (which is where the term “string” comes from in string theory, from what I understand). We could see only what was in front of us or behind us along the line. We would not be able to imagine anything other than a one-dimensional existence. If there were a dot on the line, it would be as a wall is and block any view of any other individual on the line next to us. We would not be able to see anyone other than the one-dimensional beings to either side of us. If we somehow were lifted away from the line into the 2nd dimension, moving past the dot would not be impossible, and seeing both other one-dimensional beings at once would be possible as well as seeing others along the line that would not have been visible while on the line in the one dimensional world. I could also see the entire being as it appears along the line. If it is darker vs. lighter in different places, which is something I could not see from my perspective on the line.

If I were a two-dimensional being I could see the back of the two-dimensional being in front of me and the front of the being behind me. It would be front, back, up and down only. If I rotated around those beings I could see the other side of them or see the being next to them. But if I were to flip out away from the two-dimensional plane and face it from a three-dimensional point of view, I could see not only both sides of the being next to me, I could see their entire being — including what is inside the lines on the plane. Something I could not do in the two-dimensional existence. In writing this, I came across a description of a story called Flatland that apparently makes understanding dimensions easier, and it deals with a two-dimensional world and a one-dimensional world (Lineland).

As three-dimensional beings in a three-dimensional world, we know we can move front, back, up, down and side-to-side. Walls prevent us from moving forward, unless we go around them. Walls prevent us from seeing other people. But if we were to go outside the three-dimensional world into a fourth dimension walls would not be barriers any longer, we could see people in more than one place at the same time, and we could see those people in a way that is beyond the three-dimensions — we could see inside of them, the same way the

two-dimensional person in a third-dimension could see within the lines of the two-dimensional being they are looking at. There is a computerized demonstration game available on the web that is supposed to make this understandable. I could not download it to my computer, but it might be of interest.

So Brumblay writes that if someone were to leave the three-dimensional world through a near-death experience and enter a fourth dimension, these are the kinds of things that might be possible to them. In fact people who say they died on the operating table and floated up out of their body often claim to be able to see not only inside the operating room but also outside in the waiting room where their loved ones are sitting as well as being able to see inside the building, outside the building from the top of the building to the bottom, all at the same time. They also have claimed to see things like the fact that someone is pregnant and they are carrying a boy — so they can see within a person. They can see different views of things at once — the top of a table and the underside of the table at the same time.

I just thought it was interesting that a theory of physics that can be demonstrated mathematically can also potentially explain non-physical experiences of people who claim to have left their body temporarily.

There are a few blogs that talk about string theory and other dimensions. Such as Study Group of Physics UI and a list of others from WordPress.

I am reading a rough draft of a professor friend’s book that touches on a number of issues relating to death. I am not able to write about what he is writing because his book is not published yet, but through his writing I am learning about theories that exist (like Terror Management Theory) regarding fear of death and denial of death that seem to fit what I want to focus on regarding people looking to media to provide answers to the question of life after death that science and religion are not able to. I will look up those theories and see what I can find that could be informative to my study.

I would like to see the film Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality that looks at fear of death and the works of Ernest Becker, on which Terror Management Theory is apparently based.