Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott

1235 Words3 Pages

"Flatland" is a story of depth, and the lack there of. The tale of A. Square's ventures through Pointland, Lineland and Spaceland ultimately reveal to him the possibilities of the seemingly impossible. In this case, the "impossibilities" are the very existence of other dimensions, or worlds.

His guide throughout the journey, a god - like figure who refers to itself as

"Sphere", bestows upon A. Square the greatest gift he could hope for, knowledge. It is only after the Sphere forcibly takes A. Square out of his dimension, however, that he is able to shrug off his ignorance and accept the fact that what cannot be, can, and much of what he believed before is wrong. When he sees first hand that a square can have depth simply by lining up a parallel square above it and connecting the vertices with lines he is awestruck by its beauty. A cube now exists, seemingly made out of squares. Where there was but one square before now there are six connected. To A. Square's mindset, this thing of beauty is something he could become if only he could lift up. It gives him hope, for in his world you are ranked without say according to your shape. From the lowest convict shapes to the - not - quite - perfectly - round - but - practically - there priests. When A. Square asks the sphere deity what comes next, what about the fourth dimension, Sphere becomes vexed and sends A. Square plummeting back to his original world without the necessary knowledge to be effective in spreading the gospel of the third dimension. This is, of course, what leads to the end for A. Square; being locked up in an insane asylum for speaking of what simply cannot be. Adding to the irony is that no matter how hard A. Square tries, it is quite impossible for hi...

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...extreme caution for something as trivial as a sneeze could maim you for life. The goal of the inhabitants of Flatland, their reason for being (for the men at least), is to achieve the circular shape. That is their zenith. Ironically enough, it is impossible. Try as hard as they might, they will never achieve a true circular form. They will never technically be circular. The best of them may look and seem circular, but that is just because his sides are indistinct. It cannot be done, but that does not stop them from trying. The idea of always striving fruitlessly towards a goal that will never come to be, instead of finding contentment, holds some uncomfortably close parallels to our own society. I would have to say that Pointland, the Land of Point, has got it figured better than everyone else in all the dimensions. Say what you will, he at least is content.

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