5 D Thinking

Peoples' senses only allow them to visualise in 3 dimensions, i.e. length, breadth and height. Indeed it is quite often the case that they tend to look at the world as though it were flat, such as viewing a television screen, with perhaps a more enlightened number wishing to see beyond the front end picture. These are the people who want to know the answer to the questions: what ? why ? how ? when ? who ?

Then there are the lateral thinkers.

The 4th dimension - TIME

For most of us, time is, broadly speaking, a measurement of events on a given scale. There is a start and a finish, which can then be compared to other spatial continuums, such as in a race. Why is time so important for lateral thinking - because it enables the first 3 dimensions to be measured outside the normal parameters of our accepted senses. Can time influence events and/or conclusions ? Is time travel possible ?

Example: The Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base of Honolulu, Hawaii, that brought America into World War II.

Question: The vast majority of history books quote the time of the main attack as at 07.55 hours, on the morning of Sunday 7th December 1941. The same history books also note the Japanese attacks on the British colony of Malaya, just after midnight on Monday 8th December 1941. Which country was attacked first ?

Answer:  Malaya ! (yes, no typing error).  The time zone for Honolulu, Hawaii, lies in the far western half of the world time bands. Go further west, and you move, initially, further back in time, then, cross the international dateline, and you travel forward one day in time. Thus, the time zone for Malaya is in fact some 17 hours forwardof the U.S. naval base. Therefore, the Japanese attack on the British occurred approximately 55 minutes earlier than the Americans.

So, how important is all this - well just think of what it did for Phileas Fogg ! Seriously though, understanding the concept of time is vital in training your mind to think laterally, for it gets you to understand that sometimes a problem should be approached in a segmented manner, such as in critical path analysis. Not all problems must be solved by going from A to Z in a direct line, e.g. perhaps K to N must be dealt with before F to H. As with the above illustration, the obvious answer was the wrong answer. This is why the 4th dimension, time, is so vital to identify. 

The 5th dimension - Space

The identification of space as the 5th dimension, allows one to acknowledge the infinite extension of the 3 sensory dimensions, in which all matter exists. Using this unlimited expanse enables the lateral thinker to broaden his/her horizons, to the very edges of the current known universe, or possibly even beyond to a 6th, as yet undiscovered, dimension ?

Einstein's Theory of General Relativity gave possibility to the consequences of "wormholes", when two or more massive bodies warp space, causing the fabric of space to collide, thus forming a tunnel between distant places. The idea being that mass warps space, and the bigger the mass, the more space will be bent. Put more simply, by analysing a problem using the 5th dimension, space, it might be possible to link 2 "bigger masses" within said problem, thus creating a more expedient solution.


Some of history's most successful generals have distinguished themselves on the battlefield by using both time and space to their greatest advantage. From Alexander the Great, Hannibal, John Churchill, Nelson, Napoleon, Rommel and von Manstein to Dyan, all have "bent the rules" and done the "unthinkable" - or, perhaps unlike their opponents, they were just being lateral thinkers !

By thinking laterally, you are allowing your brain to operate dynamically, and not in a "flat" 2 D mode. You will succeed in problem solving, where even the more recognised, but conventional, 3 D solvers will falter. Do not be put off by criticism, for generally, in my experience at least, it is more a case of fear of the unknown that causes the 2/3 D's of this world to write-off your greater evaluation techniques as "barmy" or "unworkable". Want some confidence building proof - read up on modern "blitzkrieg" warfare as practiced by the German and Israeli armed forces. See how lateral thinkers left the conventional thinkers flat footed, and beaten !

5 Dimensional Thinking

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Lateral Thinking