Monday, December 31, 2012

Beyond Three Dimensions

Could it be that the three dimensional world in which we live is not all there is to reality? Is it possible that there are other dimensions, perhaps inhabited by other beings, which, though its all around us, we are oblivious to because we lack the ability to perceive more than three dimensions?

Such a possibility was the theme of a post I did in 2006 titled Plato's Cave for Modern Man. Check it out.

Also, check out this video which illustrates how a being possessing more dimensions than does our world would be completely incomprehensible, even though thoroughly immanent, to us:

2012: The Best of All Possible Years

Reading this editorial in The Spectator will fill you with Christmas cheer - unless you're an inveterate pessimist or a secular leftist who abhors anything smacking of either Christmas or capitalist success stories. Indeed, as I read it I had two thoughts: first, it sounds so Panglossian that it just begs for a Voltaire to skewer it, and second, I wondered whether it could be that we actually are on the cusp of the millenial kingdom. Give it a read and see what you think. Here's the lede:
It may not feel like it, but 2012 has been the greatest year in the history of the world. That sounds like an extravagant claim, but it is borne out by evidence. Never has there been less hunger, less disease or more prosperity. The West remains in the economic doldrums, but most developing countries are charging ahead, and people are being lifted out of poverty at the fastest rate ever recorded. The death toll inflicted by war and natural disasters is also mercifully low. We are living in a golden age.

To listen to politicians is to be given the opposite impression — of a dangerous, cruel world where things are bad and getting worse. This, in a way, is the politicians’ job: to highlight problems and to try their best to offer solutions. But the great advances of mankind come about not from statesmen, but from ordinary people. Governments across the world appear stuck in what Michael Lind describes as an era of ‘turboparalysis’ — all motion, no progress. But outside government, progress has been nothing short of spectacular.

Take global poverty. In 1990, the UN announced Millennium Development Goals, the first of which was to halve the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015. It emerged this year that the target was met in 2008. Yet the achievement did not merit an official announcement, presumably because it was not achieved by any government scheme but by the pace of global capitalism. Buying cheap plastic toys made in China really is helping to make poverty history. And global inequality? This, too, is lower now than any point in modern times. Globalisation means the world’s not just getting richer, but fairer too.

The doom-mongers will tell you that we cannot sustain worldwide economic growth without ruining our environment. But while the rich world’s economies grew by 6 per cent over the last seven years, fossil fuel consumption in those countries fell by 4 per cent. This remarkable (and, again, unreported) achievement has nothing to do with green taxes or wind farms. It is down to consumer demand for more efficient cars and factories.

And what about the concerns that the oil would run out? Ministers have spent years thinking of improbable new power sources. As it turns out, engineers in America have found new ways of mining fossil fuel. The amazing breakthroughs in ‘fracking’ technology mean that, in spite of the world’s escalating population — from one billion to seven billion over the last two centuries — we live in an age of energy abundance.

Advances in medicine and technology mean that people across the world are living longer. The average life expectancy in Africa reached 55 this year. Ten years ago, it was 50. The number of people dying from Aids has been in decline for the last eight years. Deaths from malaria have fallen by a fifth in half a decade.
The editorial goes on to amass more such good news. Perhaps a New Years' Eve toast to 2012 is in order tonight. The Spectator closes its essay with this:
But now, as we celebrate the arrival of Light into the world, it’s worth remembering that, in spite of all our problems, the forces of peace, progress and prosperity are prevailing.
I'll sip some champagne to that even if I'm still not quite sure I believe it.