Expression used by William Knoke to refer to the new age we are entering of Everything- Everywhere, where the effortless flow of people, products, and knowledge from one location to another is creating a world where near equals far. Brought on by revolutions in communications and transportation technologies, it is creating a Fourth Dimension is emerging that transcends time and space. In this Fourth Dimension, distances still exist, but they no longer so powerfully determine how society will be organized. It is this erosion of the primacy of place, the principal foundation on which all traditional economic, political, and social structures have been built, (...), that is leading to one of the largest societal upheavals the world has ever known.
According to Knoke, no corner of the earth will escape its embrace. If you think about the social structures that have evolved in civilization over the last twenty thousand years, the basis of them all has been the primacy of place. But if you ask, "What if place no longer mattered? What if people, resources, and ideas could be connected and interlinked in new ways?," it puts the traditional foundation of our societies at risk. The power of the nation-state that was reliant on a contiguous land mass will be called into question. How businesses are structured, where they are headquartered, whom they employ, must be rethought. The rules of wealth and how it is assembled out will have to change. All those institutions that depended on place must be reorganized.
From 2 million years ago to as recently as 5,000 years ago (only 250 generation back), our ancestors lived in a Zero Dimension world. early humans started living in a zero dimensional space. Early humankind "understood" a world of three dimensions. Threes had height and depth and width. The caves had walls and a roof. Yet, in a social sense, these Ice Age nomadic tribes were largely insular "dot cultures" with a minimum of social interaction. he group was limited to the number of people that could be supported in any one area. Contact with other dots was not helpful for survival. Each community was self-sufficient, but when an idea was developed it only accidentally spread to other groups. To a great extend, each band needed to reinvent its own mens of survival. Knowledge had little opportunity to accumulate and advance.
The first dimension emerged when groups of people settled in permanent villages, and people began interacting on fixed trade paths with neighboring villages. The dots of humanity had been connected, making it possible for ideas and knowledge to be traded.
As the single trade tracks grew and crisscrossed, in time a two dimensional concept of the world evolved. Human beings left the First Dimension and moved on to Secon Dimension, where they could explore the length and width of their world.
Later on, realizing the power of dimensional freedom, inventors as far back as Leonardo da Vinci fantasized about traveling beyond the horizontal to the vertical. Scarcely a thousand days into the twentieth century, man developed and built a flying machine powered by an engine. More sophisticated machines have allowed men to visit the moon, establish the International Space Station, and placed exploratory robots on planets and moons in the solar system. This is the Third Dimension.
From "Bold New World: The Essential Road Map to the 21st Century, Kodansha, New York, 1996".