*SPOILER WARNING FOR LOKI*
In the season finale of Loki on Disney+, we see our protagonists/anti-heroes Loki variants confront the man behind the scenes: He Who Remains. It is explained in his time castle he has resorted to developing a “benevolent dictatorship” necessary to prevent a variant of himself from engaging in a multiverse war for supremacy.
In this last episode, we get a full picture (maybe still incomplete) of the scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). But we also get a glimpse and visual representations of the different theoretical dimensions proposed in physics. More specifically, the first seven dimensions.
First, it is important to note dimensions are not parallel worlds, dimensions are concepts of measurements. Basically how 2D is a flat drawing and 3D would be a sculpture.
Dimension 1 — A Flat line
The first dimension is just a line. No width, no depth, just a line connecting two points.
This line has one dimension: length. Now let us move up a dimension.
Dimension 2 — Flat Pictures
The second dimension can be pictured with flat drawings on a paper. Like a King, Queen, Joker or a Spade on a card. We consistently refer to this as a 2D object like a square compared to a 3D object like a cube.
The second dimension is just as straightforward: length x width.
Dimension 3–Our World
An example of an object in the third dimension is a 3D cube. Length, width, and depth. That is the third dimension. We exist and perceive the third dimension. This is where we see each other and interact, feel, and think.
This is the easiest to picture because we see the third dimension for ourselves. Now pay close attention as we move up. Luckily for us we have Loki to help visualize the next four dimensions.
Dimension 4 — Time and the Sacred Timeline
The fourth dimension is exemplified as time. In this dimension, we can see all of time. More specifically all of our one timeline.
In Loki, you can see this as the timeline presented on the Time Variance Authority (TVA) monitors. There is one timeline. Yet, the TVA is able to navigate that one timeline. We see this when the TVA use their TemPads to navigate the timeline and police it for “time criminals”. The TVA exists in the fourth dimension as a bureaucracy that exists to preserve the Sacred Timeline, this one timeline.
The fourth dimension adds time to our measurements: length x width x depth x time. We cannot exist in this dimension, but the TVA provides a perfect representation of existing on the plane of that dimension. And the TVA represents another visual representation of the fifth dimension as well.
Dimension 5 — The Sacred Timeline Branches
Okay, pay close attention because it only gets more trippy as we go along. This dimension incorporate other timelines. While the TVA works to keep one timeline, the fifth dimension incorporates alternate timelines. We see this visual representation when Nexus Events (moments when variants step off the path of the Sacred Timeline) occur in Loki and a branch begins to spawn.
Therefore, the TVA exists in the fourth dimension and the fifth dimension as well because they experience that divergence from the 4th dimension into the fifth dimension. Understand the difference? The 4th dimension is a straight line measure one timeline: The Sacred Timeline. The fifth dimension incorporates the branches of that timeline: the Sacred Timeline with Nexus Events. The scope of the fifth dimension is larger because it includes branching timelines, like a tree.
Another visualization is that if the fourth dimension is a river, the fifth dimension are streams peeling off the main stream. However, the limits of the fifth dimension require anyone navigating it to go up and down the river and double-back if one desires to visit another stream or branch. The sixth dimension allows someone to hop over from the Sacred Timeline into another branch. Loki provides another representation here as well.
Dimension 6 — Jumping from Timeline to Timeline
Okay, so, we know the fourth dimension is the Sacred Timeline and is one line of time. The fifth dimension is capable of incorporating multiple branches or alternate timelines of that Sacred Timeline and its Nexus Events. The sixth dimension links those alternate timelines with the Sacred Timeline.
Loki meeting Sylvie is an example of this. No matter how far back in time Loki would want to travel back, he would never be able to travel to a point in time where he was Sylvie. The Sacred Timeline required Loki to be the Loki we see live and die in the MCU. Therefore, Loki could never travel back into his past to see himself as Sylvie, he would need to meet her traversing into other timelines. It’s like jumping from branch to branch in a tree instead of up and down it. Or hopping from the river to another stream instead of traveling back down the stream.
The key difference between the sixth and fifth dimension are how one would be able to navigate it. Branch to branch is the sixth dimension and down the line is the fifth dimension.
A key differentiator in the higher dimensions (higher than our 3D world) are how to navigate them. In the seventh dimension, we find a single point upon where we can navigate all of the lower dimensions.
Dimension 7 — For All Time. Always.
The seventh dimension is exemplified in He Who Remains’ castle. Loki and Sylvie see the entire timeline in all its beauty in the background. Yet, when Sylvie kills Kang *cough* He Who Remains, you see the Sacred Timeline branch infinitely. Here we see all that can exist, will exist, and exists from one infinite single point. No TVA to restrain the branches from growing.
This is the key requirement of the seventh dimension, it is a single point of all of time that has happened, will happen, and can happen. This is where all the infinitely possible worlds and lives exist in one point.
The seventh dimension is represented as an infinite point. This is what we can use to reach higher dimensions. But that is for another time perhaps.