If the landscape depicted in Madonna and the Yarnwinder describes a 3-manifold ( a 3-dimensional object which encloses a 4-dimensional space) then it also describes a method of space-time travel. If you were to travel along the circuitous routes that lead around the edge of the painting, you would arrive back in time to meet yourself before you left. Here walking in space is equivalent to walking through time.
In his seminal work Valis (1980) Phillip K.Dick discusses the idea of space-time reversal from the perspective of Wagner's opera Parsifal.
PARSIFAL: I move only a little and already I seem to have gone far.
GURNEMANZ: You see, my son, here space turns into time.
If space can turn into time, PKD speculates, can time turn into space?
According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, space and time are one thing. So it should be possible to reverse their symmetries without breaking any of the laws of physics.
A) Consequence of time becoming space; choosing a particular direction and walking in it means that we would either be walking into the past or the future.
B) Consequence of space becoming time, our surroundings would noticeably move in a four-dimensional direction.
If space is time, and time space, then all the matter that exists within the universe is a type of time condensate. The mountains and valleys could represent the rise and fall of civilizations, and the tufts of grass and clumps of earth, the trials and tribulations of the common man. This phenomenon is not limited to landscape and trees, but would extend to all life forms; including our own. Thus, using a piezoelectric needle, it could be possible decode the voice of King Henry VIII from the grooves in people's fingerprints and skin.
Our minds have the ability to perceive space (the objective world outside) and time (the subjective world of our internal memories) with seamless continuity; indicating that space and time are not two sides of the same coin, but a mobius loop with only one side and one edge (and a half twist). This half twist is the consciousness of man. Since space is beheld outside the body and time beheld inside the mind, all that is needed for time travel is to look within and explore the past and future already contained there.
In order to see the depth of the third dimensions, we rely on the tiny differences in position between our right and left eyes. This difference is known as the paralax shift. To see into the fourth dimensional plane our bodies would need the addition of a third eye. Conincidently, in PKD's book, the time traveling aliens, which might well be us from the future, have 3 eyes. What would the world look like if you viewed it through three eyes?
To answer this question I would like to recourse to a short anecdote;
One morning, while walking along a beach, I came across the plastic cap of a motorcycle's filter light that had washed up on the shore. The filter cap had four holes or apertures in it. I placed the cap over the lens of my Nikkon camera I had with me at the time; it was a snug fit. Then I aimed the central aperture of the cap at the horizon, where the ocean meets the sky, and took a picture.
When I got the roll back from the developers, I was shocked to see, not one, but two horizons captured at different levels and in different apertures. I could tell that what I had captured in the top-most aperture was the sea, and not the sky, because of the ripples/waves clearly visible there. Also the hues and ratio of both spy-holes are remarkably similar.
I deduced that light from the horizon had entered through both apertures; by dint of their different angular alignments to the horizon, and created two slightly different perspectives of the same thing. To validate my theory I constructed a pinhole camera with multiple apertures and began taking and developing my own photographs. Here are a few examples;
This image of a wash-hand basin in a college lavatory,
was taken using an 11-aperture pinhole camera.
This is a partial image of a widow with railings and stacks of chairs in front of it - taken by the same camera. It reminds me of a theory I heard once about the action of light on a mirror. The theory goes that light bounces off of mirrors in all directions, so if you were to view a mirror 'properly' (i.e. from all angles), it would just look like a bright shining light. As we know––and as these pictures demonstrate–– light is bouncing off everything at every angle all the time. So, if we were able to view the world 'properly,' or from every conceivable angle possible, the whole world would look aglow. It is the aim of magi and holy men to transform the world into a world of light. In order to do this, I now believe, we must look at the world from every aspect and from every angle possible; only then will we be able to see our true worth, and the worth of others, and realise that, in reality, we are all shining beings of light.
These images show what it would be like to have multiple eyes. But our question was; what would the world look like viewed through just 3 eyes? Well, according to mystical interpretation, the human body does possess a third eye; the spiritual eye of the pineal gland. This eye would mostly likely not give you the different spatial aspects, as seen in these images, but rather add a different temporal aspect to your reality.
If you have ever had the good fortune to have your third eye activated by a gnat while meditating by a stream when a train went by, you will know something of what it is like to see into 4-dimensional space. As I concentrated on the gnats convolutions, my slightly crossed eyes observed the different sections of the train collide harmoniously with each other. The back of the train appeared to arrive into the station after the train had left.
The Crab Story
Coincidentally, the aliens in Valis, who might also be evolved humans from the future, have three eyes and clawed hands; like a crab. This reminds me of the three-eyed aliens in Toy Story, who worship "The Claw"––their God. Don't forget the U2 stage of the same name, which Bono compared to a House of God. The implication here being that an celestial being, possibly extra-terrestrial in origin, will reach down from the sky and pluck the U2 boys to safety (or perhaps, so they think)...