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What Color, the Sky?

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Why is the sky blue? One of my earliest memories is of me asking my mother that question. Her response was fairly quick and bouncy as I recall: “Because God made it that way.” Even at age two-and-some, that was not the answer I sought. I would be a sophomore in college before I both knew and understood the answer to that question.

I have never been satisfied with answers like that. I was born a Catholic, and even received a couple of sacraments, but by age nine, I’d had enough. The beliefs in the religion that was foisted upon me were baseless, or at best had no root in anything objective. Of course, at age nine, I didn’t have the vocabulary to express it as such, so I just pitched a fit until Mom finally gave in and stopped dragging me to church.

Despite all of the rejected dogma, I cannot deny that I have something in me that makes me live. It is a “life force” as best as I can tell, and it is greater than the sum of my corporeal parts. Some would call it a spirit, or a soul, and if that’s the term to be used, then so be it. It goes beyond a simple desire to live. It greatly transcends mere existence. It drives me to do more, to be better, to seek answers, but it is also more than just ego, or ambition, or curiosity. Yet, I am compelled to ask, is it necessarily of divine origin? Remember, I am going to need a much better answer than a simple “yes.”

I discovered Carl Sagan like most people did back in 1980 or so when he published his series Cosmos. I credit him—along with my dad, the Carter Administration, the space program, and Mr. Spock—for fueling my fascination with science and my desire to become an engineer. In a segment of one episode, Sagan describes a two-dimensional universe. It is perfectly flat, as are all the creatures that inhabit it. There is no understanding of up. There is no down. A house would be a simple rectangle or some other empty shape. A creature’s body would be nothing more than a closed line representing skin, in which there would be flat organs that collectively comprised the creature.

Now imagine a three-dimensional being looking in on this two-dimensional universe. Where a flat creature is enjoying blissful privacy within the confines of his rectangle doing whatever it is that flat creatures do, we would be peering in on him and his neighbors and all their collective internal organs simultaneously without their knowledge. It would be an effortless feat.

Imagine being able to operate on their bodies, performing a cholecystectomy (gallbladder surgery) without ever piercing the skin. Imagine picking one of these creatures “up” from his universe. To his friends it would look as if he just disappeared. Imagine him calling out to his friends from above, His friends could hear his voice, but they could not see him. While he was “up” he could see into everyone’s homes simultaneously until we placed him back into his universe where he would seem to simply reappear right before his friends’ eyes.

Now, take these two-dimensional and three-dimensional concepts and extrapolate them each by only one dimension. So in a similar, but quite unknown way, a four-dimensional being could easily see into our homes and our internal organs simultaneously expending no effort to do so. Imagine a four-dimensional being performing surgery on us without ever piercing the skin. Imagine having one of them pick you “up”—whatever fourth-dimensional direction that would be—causing you to suddenly disappear from the third dimension. You could see into your neighbor’s homes, see what they had eaten for dinner, call out their names and watch them look around in utter confusion. Then you could “magically” reappear, say, in the middle of your best friend’s house without ever opening a door or window. (If you have a desire to better understand these bizarre ideas, such as I, google “fourth dimensional being”, “tesseract”, and “flat land” and see what you encounter. Be careful. This is some long-haired stuff!)

Imagine a four-dimensional being and all the powers it would have over a three dimensional universe. To it, those so-called powers would be ordinary, routine—perhaps even dull. We can fly in three dimensions, and that is an amazing feat. What amazing feats could a four-dimensional being perform in its own universe? Should such a being encounter our three-dimensional universe, would it have any more fascination in us than we would have in a piece of paper? Would they use pieces of space in a similar way that we use pieces of paper? Stack them up, write on them, crumple them up, throw them out and recycle them—nothing to it. Could they “fold” space? Perhaps they have yet to discover the importance of environmental conservation, so their world is littered with pieces of space flying around like garbage fluttering in an ignored alley way. Imagine having a choice of placing your four-dimensional groceries in either a paper space bag or a plastic space bag. To us, a four-dimensional being would be very much like—dare I use the word—a god. Interesting.

Perhaps our spirits are four-dimensional beings. (Please pardon my presumption that all human beings have a spirit—well nearly all of them, anyway. I am not sure why I should think otherwise, though.) Perhaps a four-dimensional universe is not so grand after all. Perhaps our spirits are effectively trapped in such a universe, and the only way to really live is to exist in a place in which an intersection of universes can occur. This place of intersection would be a highly organized, very specialized three-dimensional vessel, namely our corporeal bodies. And it would be at this intersection that our four-dimensional being can manifest and express itself.

To a religious person, this idea may not be so far-fetched. Many religions talk of souls existing before a body is born. And by some unknown method and at some time before birth the soul is placed into the body. I am not saying I support that idea specifically, but somebody dreamed it up. I arrived at this universe intersection four-dimensional being manifestation self-expression gobbledygook all on my own. I was not necessarily seeking to provide support for a religious idea so much as I was just wandering around making up questions and looking for answers. And, just to make it clear, I have in no way provided one. But the content is entertaining nonetheless.

I could write pages on end about this stuff, but it would be cyclical, because, again, there really are no answers, just lots of suppositions and questions. So I leave this article with questions, and, perhaps, much food for thought. I suppose that is the plight of the human experience, though: Questions are plenty. Answers are scarce. But I will offer one answer nonetheless.

A rainbow is the result of sun light being refracted through water droplets. The individual frequencies of light are refracted at different depths within the water droplets which causes them to spread out at different angles. The eye interprets these different frequencies as individual colors. Red is the lowest frequency; Blue is the highest. Our nitrogen rich atmosphere acts like a filter to the higher frequencies of light. So, as sunlight penetrates the atmosphere, the blue frequencies of light are scattered all about. This is why the sky is blue.


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