In his Allegory of the Cave, the Greek philosopher Plato described prisoners who have spent their entire lives chained to the wall of a dark cavern. Behind the prisoners lies a flame, and between the flame and prisoners parade objects that cast shadows onto a wall in the prisoners' field of view. These two-dimensional shadows are the only things that the prisoners have ever seen—their only reality. Their shackles have prevented them from perceiving the true world, a realm with one additional dimension to the world that they know, a dimension rich with complexity and—unbeknownst to the prisoners—capable of explaining all that they see.
Plato was on to something.