I'd like to add - or perhaps clarify - some thoughts about dimensions I only outlined in my earlier post.
I've seen enough of hollywood's "into the fourth dimension" movies - while I thought it was common knowledge that time was the fourth dimension - but I'd like get rid of altogether the concept of there being a limited amount of dimensions.
I remember, while skipping my own classes to visit my brother's school (for gifted youngsters), listening to a group from his class theorize about what a world that had only two dimensions would look like. Although I found this line and level of thought invigorating (next to the repetitive tedium of my own classes), from the start I had to reject the possibility of such a world: if we're talking mass, there would be no height and width to measure if there is not a depth; and what of time?
I may have stated my views to my brother later, but I left the question as just another of those paradoxes that we have to live with, like the "something from nothing" question that was the origins of our universe. As I mentioned in my earlier post, this changed with the emergence of quarks and string theory.
The concept of mass consisting of three physical dimensions is very approachable for our cognitive abilities (first we draw a square in the air, then we 'extract' it into a cube), but when we get down to an atomic and particle level, we see that there are no 'steps' in dimensional extraction; the only common centre is a centre of gravity; mass projects from the centre in all directions.
So, either we try to count the possibly infinite 'dimensions' projecting from each centre of gravity, or we reduce the phenomenon to the base elements of its existence - clustering and direction.
Time for me is but a chain reaction: elements combining, displacing and changing one another, and our perception of the passage of time is but our witnessing of this chain of events. There is no 'up' or 'forward' in this sense - I can only observe that this interaction is heading in a common direction.
It's this common centre of gravity that we see at every level of our existence - from quarks to entire planetary systems - that intrigues me the most. What if the 'common direction' I perceive as time is in fact but a dimension projecting from a gravitational centre of its own? But this takes me back to my earlier question.