Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Two-Dimensional Thinking in a Multi-Dimensional World...

In 1884 a book called "Flatland" was published that explored what life might be like in an imaginary two-dimensional world where its citizens could go left, right, forward and back but had no idea of the third dimension that surrounded them. The people of this world merrily went about their business constructing their society within the confines of this limited planar view. Since all they knew was constrained to this surface over generations this notion of reality was ingrained into the very fabric of their culture – their traditions, beliefs and institutions all reflected back to them this singular vision.

Then one day something new happened when a little at first but then with greater frequency objects from the third dimension (cubes, sphere, cones...) began to pass through and occupy their space – from the Flatlanders' perspective popping into and out of existence and creating all kinds of bizarre shapes as they spun and rolled about. At first the Flatlanders simply laughed at these events or turned away in horror since such things completely defied what was deemed possible; and what years of flat-tradition and flat-academic insight told them could never be.

As time rolled by however a few began to question the old ways – since what they were experiencing could no longer be "squared" with this new emerging reality – and with much concerted effort (and a bit of luck) these stalwarts finally managed to hit the jackpot and the theory of the "Third Dimension" was born! Of course, when this grand discovery was enthusiastically shared with the rest of Flatlander society the discovers were branded infidels and locked in a 2D-tower ( looks like this: ====[> ) for the rest of their days. THE END. 

...well not really. A few generations later – since those damn cubes and spheres kept showing up – eventually the theory of the Third Dimension came to dominate and almost everyone came around – except a minority in the F.O.P. (Flat Old Party).

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed this lame story and saw the not very subtle analogy embedded between the bad puns – namely that today we all are trapped one way or another in our own cultural "two-dimensional" planes and why this next video offers a fascinating peek outwards into the emerging realities now impinging on our world:

Peter Joseph  |  "When Normality Becomes Distortion"

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