Posted in Philosophy

Red String

During the Tang Dynasty, there was a man named Wigo. He wanted to find a partner but no suitable girl showed up, so he decided to travel instead. One day, he came across a strange old man. In fact, the old man was Wolha-noin, a man who could tie a sacred bond between a man and a woman with a red string. Wigo, already desperate, begged the old man to tell him who his future spouse was. The old man, simply pointed to the three year-old daughter of a poor vegetable store owner. Wigo was furious and he told his subordinate to kill the child, but luckily she survived with only a scar between her eyebrows.

14 years later, Wigo finally married a beautiful, nubile wife. However, Wigo’s wife never appeared to show her forehead. Wigo found this strange and asked his wife: “Dear, why do you always hide your forehead?”. His wife replied: “When I was three years old, I was hit by a knife which left a scar between my eyebrows”. Wigo realised that his wife was the child from the past and begged for her forgiveness. The two, as predicted by Wolha-noin, lived happily ever after as man and wife.

According to this legend, we are all born with a red string tied to our little finger. This red string is tied on the other end to the little finger of your true love, with every person in the world having a destined partner. It is said that if two people who are linked with the red string meet, they will fall head over heels for each other and eventually marry.

The legend of the red string is, in some ways, half mythical and half true. Of course it is impossible to follow some string to your true love (how good would that be?), but whatever people say, there is somebody out there for you to love and be loved by. However, unlike the legend of the red string, you do not have just one person you are destined to wed. If we were truly born with one destined partner, then what guarantee is there that they would be born or live in the same place as you, let alone the same time period as you? If this is true, then it would be statistically improbable for a “happy couple” to form. But look around you. Happy couples are everywhere. This tells us that we are not bound to love only one person. Yes, the “red string” is not a single predestined bond, but a symbol of someone who is just right for you. “The One” is simply someone who is right for you, someone who lives in the same time and place as you, someone that makes you happy and someone you want to make happy. Whether there is one, ten or a hundred of these people depends on your preferences and your heart. So never lose hope and believe that you will be forever alone. Somewhere, “The One” who fits the empty spots of your heart like a puzzle piece is looking for you too.

Love is not a single strand of red string, but a network of countless strings crossing each other. When the string of the person that perfectly complements you crosses your string, you must make a decision. Will you continue onwards in the same direction as before? Or will you make all the effort to bend your string so that you can travel with your true love, side-by-side? If you two are truly meant to be, only then will a real red string form between your hearts. As the two lovers get to know each other and spend time with each other, the line shortens and shortens until someday, the two become one.

Posted in Science & Nature

Marriageable Age

When is the right time to get married? According to Professor Tony Dooley, you can use an equation to find the right age for proposing. To do this, take “the youngest age you want to marry” and minus it from “the oldest age you want to marry” then times 0.368. Add this number to the youngest age. For example, if you would consider getting married from age 21 onwards and at the latest 30, your ideal age to marry is: (30 – 21) x 0.368 = 3.312 + 21 = 24.312, thus about 24 years and 4 months old. 

This equation is very practical as it is a modified version of equations used in financial and medical fields. This equation is used to maximise profit while minimising loss using mathematics. It may not sound romantic, but according to Professor Dooley, after you reach the calculated age you should not waste time and ask the hand of the next person you date in marriage.


Posted in Science & Nature

Dimensions: Time Warp

The first three dimensions covered the three variables that determine space: length, width and depth. Then what could the fourth dimension possibly add? The answer is duration. The third dimension effectively becomes a point and the 4th dimension connects different 3D points to form a line that we refer to as time. For example, the “you” at this exact time is different to the “you” in five years time. These two “you”s are different (3D) points that lie on a 4D line (more specifically, your life). This is exactly the same principle as the 0th dimension being points in a 1D line, except three dimensions higher.

As a “moment” in 3D space is just a point on a 4D line, travelling from one point in time to another (i.e. time-travelling) would be as easy as walking along a straight line for a four-dimensional being. This concept is mind-blowing for us as we cannot fathom the concept of manipulating time. We are unable to see time as a dimension as we exist in a lower dimension. Every single moment in our lives is a brick that paves the road called time, meaning that we can only see each individual brick and not the overall picture. This is exactly the same as how a Flatlander could not understand the concept of depth and how we can be above them.

Although we see time as linear and straight, we are under the same illusion as the ant walking down the Mobius strip. Time is actually twisting and turning in the fifth dimension, creating multiple timelines that branch out like a tree of possibilities. These branches are influenced by our own choice, chance and the actions of others.
In other words, if a man proposes to girl A then he will go down the branch where he marries girl A. However, if he chose not to propose, he would end up marrying a different girl (or not at all). Therefore, he has entered a different branch than the girl A branch.
Now, if the man wanted to go from a timeline where he married girl A to another timeline where he married girl B, what could he do?

One method would be if he bent the 4th dimension (time) on itself through the 5th dimension to travel back in time to when he met the girl and not ask her number. This is exactly like folding a 1D line into a 2D circle to make the end point meet the starting point. However, to marry girl B he would have to make the right sequence of choices that lead to him marrying girl B (much like a role-playing game). This is the long-way round that would be too time-consuming and complex.

A simpler approach would be if he folded the 5th dimension through the sixth dimension and jump from the ending of timeline A to timeline B. This would be like the finger-lifting analogy we have been using time after time. If we pretend that the 5th dimension was a piece of paper, then we could fold it into a 6D cylinder so that the two edges meet. Now we are able to jump from one ending to another effortlessly, just as we did in the 2nd dimension.

It is easy to confuse the 5th and 6th dimension as they both deal with “alternate realitites”. Here is one way to differentiate the two: 5D space is like a 2D space for time – a flat plane where different timelines cross each other. Therefore, it can contain all of the possible outcomes from an initial condition – that depends on an action, choice or chance – such as your conception (visualise a dot on a piece of paper with many lines radiating out from it).
If we were to put a dot on a piece of paper above the first piece of paper (in the 3D space for time), we have entered a universe where there is a completely different starting point (before your conception), such as dinosaurs not existing. This means that the line called “you” may not even exist, and the two pieces of paper would never meet. The only way to jump from one piece of paper (5D) to the other would be through the 6th dimension.
Therefore, by jumping up a dimension, we gain a degree of freedom where we can move in yet another direction. This is seen between every dimension, such as 2D versus 3D. The 6th dimension merely lets us travel between different sheets of 5D paper.

So somehow we have reached the 6th dimension where one can not only time-travel, but jump from one alternate reality to another. Shall we venture further into the seventh dimension – infinity – and beyond?

(This post is part of a series exploring the concepts of dimensions. Read all of them here:

(Stick figures from xkcd)