Can a person see another dimension

Would a 4-dimensional being be able to see into other people?

The fourth dimensional directions you are referring to are called " Anra " and " Katra "as I remember a long time ago.

(Edit: Turns out my memory added an 'r' to each word. The actual words seem to be "Ana" and "Kata".)

There was a line of thought that 'dimensionality' could exist, so to speak, as a potentially endless series of linear, ever-increasing series of directions. In modern thought, this concept has largely been discarded in favor of the more popular idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtime as the fourth dimension. It can still be found in various locations in older science fiction.

The basic idea is that a dimension is like a line. You can only move in two directions. From the position of our observer, we will call it left and right. Everything that exists "in" this one-dimensional line should either be a point or a line in nature.

We move up to two dimensions and have one level - left, right, forward and backward. This effectively adds two directions (a single axis) to our options. Flatland was mentioned, and I remember another excellent story in which a man wrote an AI program that emulates a 2D world and what kind of life could exist only to accidentally talk to a real resident of a real 2D world. Communicating world - a very good thought and interesting story it was.

Next would be three dimensions, a cube, or some other three-dimensional object. This adds yet another axis to our options: left, right, forward, backward, up and down.

If you assign a spatial direction to the fourth dimension, time may become a dimensionless phenomenon, but this is out of range, so I'll leave the question of time alone. I remember the terms "anra" and "katra" used to describe these directions. They result in left, right, forwards, backwards, up, down, anra and katra. Activating a "lower-dimensional" being for observation in such additional "higher-dimensional" directions could have the following effects:

  • Objects that are at home in a three-dimensional plane appear "flat" to a four-dimensional sense of perception, similar to how a three-dimensional native would perceive a two-dimensional world or a two-dimensional object as being flat. However, a three-dimensional native being would not be able to perceive naturally or ordinarily in the anra or katra direction, unless the being was also able to move, as would a "flat" being that is in an additional higher one Dimension perceiving could further position itself along the 4th axis (either in Anra or Katra direction) in order to see along this axis. Think of this as a Z-axis order: If two three-dimensional beings are on the same plane of the fourth dimension, they cannot see into each other but would only perceive each other normally. One of the beings not only has to be on a different level (z-order), but also has to be able to twist its sense organs in order to perceive along the axis of the fourth dimension.

    Example: A two-dimensional native can only see into another two-dimensional native if the first outside its two-dimensional plane is positioned. However, if they were able to get out of their plane easily " lean "and had the mental training to put together the panoramic series of two-dimensional slices, that would be all they would" see "to understand what is in the second being. Then they would be able to understand the inside of someone or to understand something else - and would likely have a maddening headache from the exertion of booting. Similarly, a three-dimensional native should at least be able to move his or her sense organs (probably a human's head) easily in the anra or katra direction, or to lean and then close your head rotate to align with the opposite direction to look into a companion who is in the same three-dimensional space as he is.

  • Perception also presupposes some kind of visible coherent medium. Does the sun shine in 3 or 4 spatial dimensions? Our current experience would say that it only shines in 3 and that light does not normally penetrate into the 4th spatial dimension unless, of course, there was a source of light that was natural even to a fourth dimensional plane.

  • Other senses are likely to be affected as well. For a mind trained to accept fourth dimensional phenomena, it is possible that the other senses may be stimulated from time to time, which can become uncomfortable. Does someone from the fourth dimension smell? Tastes good? Hearing, touching, balance, spatial awareness, position awareness, inner awareness, heat, cold, pain ... so many possible receptors that could be affected.

  • Let us also briefly consider the effects of multidimensional interactions. Since objects that are natural to a three-dimensional space are flat to a four-dimensional native, that native could theoretically turn something or someone over and over, much like we could turn a piece of paper over. This could have some strange effects: ketchup tastes like a heavenly concoction while other foods taste terrible, someone has suddenly parted their hair on the opposite side and is right-handed instead of left-handed, or a poor young woman suddenly looks the ugliest and weirdest. (Any story references dealing with multiple dimensions for those who receive them.)

    Worse still, consider this: Could an "upturned" person get food from un-upturned foods? Or what if an "upside down" person or object is now technically made of antimatter?

I hope these thoughts are helpful in generating more ideas. For a more detailed description of four-dimensional spaces, objects, beings, and interactions, see this excellent (and illustrated) resource.


Holy crap, nice answer. Thank you for that, I will definitely use this. It's also pretty nice that the names are "anra" and "katra", which in itself sounds a bit shamanic and tribelike.

Stephen Ruhl

For more inspiration, see a short story by Arthur C. Clarke entitled "Technical Error". In the story, an accident leads a man to move into the 4th spatial dimension with interesting consequences.


@ StephenRuhl I remember reading this! Thanks for the hint.


I like this answer because I am summarizing a more historical view of what SciFi writers have developed in the past, but it suffers from the non-holistic view of spatial dimensions. From that point of view the 3 are kind of "normal" and then step through the 4th or something like that. It all comes from a mind game (i.e. flatlands) and the idea that we as 3D observers somehow liberate the flatlands. Similar to the "4th dimension aliens" - as if this were a place to travel to. It just doesn't work that way.


@AnoE Are you sure you don't mean "8th Dimension Aliens"? ; D While it may not be a "place" to travel to, it is certainly a "direction" to travel along, towards, or away from. Be it time or a literal spatial dimension, the journey along this displaces you in terms of your proper framework ... pun intended.