flatland
Before Orwell's masterpiece novel, 1984, about a dystopian society and what politically motivated and propaganda-induced groupthink looked and sounded like, another Englishman by the name of Edwin Abbott Abbott wrote a semi-satirical, allegorical sci-fi novella called Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, in 1884. In his story, Abbott ingeniously uses flat geometric shapes to represent different strata of society in his contemporary experience of Victorian England. Taking aim at his era's biases, prejudices and social mores, Abbott satirizes the thought processes and modes of oppression towards those who would begin to consider other, higher, levels of reality, and allegorizes the reception of divine inspiration using a mathematical conceit that may have more reality to it than perhaps even Abbott supposed.

On this week's MindMatters we discuss Flatland in all its cosmological glory. Like a dimensionally flattened, but fleshed-out, Plato's cave, we delve into the book's significance as a profound allegory, its many intricately bound insights, and what Edwin Abbott was entertainingly imploring us to think about and consider. In a world where ever greater numbers of people actually believe that the world is flat, we'll be thinking on a story which suggests that higher dimensions are not only possible - but probable - if only one can open one's mind enough to 'see' it.


Running Time: 01:01:04

Download: MP3 — 55.9 MB


See also: