|(quoted from The Time Machine)|
`You must follow me carefully. I shall have to controvert one
or two ideas that are almost universally accepted. The geometry,
for instance, they taught you at school is founded on a
`It is simply this. That Space, as our mathematicians have it,
is spoken of as having three dimensions, which one may call
Length, Breadth, and Thickness, and is always definable by
reference to three planes, each at right angles to the others.
But some philosophical people have been asking why THREE
dimensions particularly--why not another direction at right
angles to the other three?--and have even tried to construct a
Four-Dimension geometry. Professor Simon Newcomb was expounding
this to the New York Mathematical Society only a month or so ago.
You know how on a flat surface, which has only two dimensions,
we can represent a figure of a three-dimensional solid, and
similarly they think that by models of thee dimensions they could
represent one of four--if they could master the perspective of
the thing. See?'
`But,' said the Medical Man, staring hard at a coal in the
fire, `if Time is really only a fourth dimension of Space, why is
it, and why has it always been, regarded as something different?
And why cannot we move in Time as we move about in the other
dimensions of Space?'
The Time Traveller smiled. `Are you sure we can move freely in
Space? Right and left we can go, backward and forward freely
enough, and men always have done so. I admit we move freely in
two dimensions. But how about up and down? Gravitation limits
`Not exactly,' said the Medical Man. `There are balloons.'
`But before the balloons, save for spasmodic jumping and the
inequalities of the surface, man had no freedom of vertical
movement.' `Still they could move a little up and down,' said
the Medical Man.
`Easier, far easier down than up.'
`And you cannot move at all in Time, you cannot get away from
the present moment.'
`My dear sir, that is just where you are wrong. That is just
where the whole world has gone wrong. We are always getting away
from the present movement. Our mental existences, which are
immaterial and have no dimensions, are passing along the
Time-Dimension with a uniform velocity from the cradle to the
grave. Just as we should travel DOWN if we began our existence
fifty miles above the earth's surface.'
`But the great difficulty is this,' interrupted the
Psychologist. `You CAN move about in all directions of Space,
but you cannot move about in Time.'
`That is the germ of my great discovery....