Blinded by the light
Sunday, May 27
In Edwin A. Abbott’s story Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions, the two-dimensional square narrator encounters a three-dimensional sphere that changes his perception of reality. While trying to find a scientific metaphor for religious experience in 1884, Abbott created a delightful story that is still a favorite among students of mathematics and physics, religion and social criticism.
Panicked, the square cries, “Either this is madness or it is hell.” “It is neither,” calmly replies the voice of the sphere, “it is knowledge; it is three Dimensions: open your eye once again and try to look steadily.” After getting used to the reality into which he has been transported, the square beholds beauty until now only “inferred, conjectured, dreamed.”
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