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Comparing Flatland and Plato's analogy of the cave.

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In the Flatland novella, there was an imaginary world called Flatland. It only had two dimensions-length and width. Those who lived on Flatland were called Flatlanders. No one on Flatland had ever seen anything three-dimensional since Flatland was flat. One day the man in Flatland is visited by a sphere. The sphere is a three-dimensional object just as we are, and it just so happens that it crosses Flatland right in the man's living room. As it made first contact, a single point appeared in their world, which grew to be a small circle. We can realize that for the man in Flatland a rather incredible thing has happened. A dot appears on the man's floor with no cause that the man in Flatland can understand. And then the circle grew larger and larger. At one moment, the circle was very large, the largest it ever got. This moment corresponded, of course, when the ball's largest circumference was passing through Flatland. And then, for no apparent reason, the circle started getting smaller and smaller until it disappeared into a point. And then the point disappeared. There were many ideas about what had happened, but no one on Flatland knew what had actually occurred. The Flatlanders simply could not imagine anything like a sphere because they could not conceive of anything outside the reference of their two-dimensional world. ...read more.


what the man in Flatland does is to rotate the circle about its circumference, spinning it like a record on a record player. "No, no--rotate it the third way,' says the sphere." There is no third way you fool," cries out the man in Flatland, and for him this is true. There is no third way, no up and down in a thickness direction, and absolutely no way for him to comprehend what the sphere is talking about or what the sphere is. The only thing that he can understand is the world or dimension in which he lives. I think we are like that, like Flatlanders. We live in our day-to-day three-dimensional world thinking that this is all there is. The perception of those living in Flatland limits their interpretation and awareness of a three-dimension world. Then an idea might come to our mind. Is there a existence of a four-dimensional world in which God, who is in a higher dimension than we are, a God who has the same kind of relationship to us which the sphere had to Flatland (and much more), has indeed touched our little "Flatland," so to speak, and in violation of all of our laws of science created matter out of nothing. In the allegory of the cave, Plato states there are four stages of knowledge development: Imagining, Belief, Thinking, and Perfect Intelligent. ...read more.


We live in our day-to-day three-dimensional world thinking that this is all there is. In the cave, Plato describes a narrow vision of shackled prisoners seated in a dark cave facing the wall. Chained also by their necks, the prisoners can only look forward and see only shadows. These shadows are produced by men, with shapes of objects or men's, walking in front of a fire behind the prisoners, Plato states that for the prisoners, reality is only the mere shadows thrown onto the wall. So as we can see, only those living in a higher dimension (in Flatland) or in a world outside of the cave, a world of real objects can interpret the world correctly. Some of the prisoners may deny the existence of a world outside the cave and challenge anyone who claimed otherwise. The chains, in the allegory of the cave and the Flatland indicate the lack of freedom of those locked into an understanding of the world that is entirely reliant on unreflective sense-perception. Remember that for Plato, the more one knows the more one is able to act in accordance with the forms, with what is actually true and best. Knowledge is thus both liberating, as well as the necessary and sufficient path to happiness. Thus the individuals in chains are ignorant, and this ignorance of the true nature of reality is what is keeping them in the cave or in the Flatland. ?? ?? ?? ?? Flatland- A Romance of Many Dimensions ...read more.

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