A Romance of Many Dimensions

by Edwin A. Abbot

“Does this still seem strange to you?

Then put yourself in a similar position. Suppose a person of the Fourth Dimension, condescending to visit you, were to say, ‘Whenever you open your eyes, you see a Plane (which is of Two Dimensions) and you INFER a Solid (which is of Three); but in reality you also see (though you do not recognize) a Fourth Dimension, which is not colour nor brightness nor anything of the kind, but a true Dimension, although I cannot point out to you its direction, nor can you possibly measure it.

What would you say to such a visitor?

Would not you have him locked up?

zerne illustration

Well, that is my fate: and it is as natural for us Flatlanders to lock up a Square for preaching the Third Dimension, as it is for you Spacelanders to lock up a Cube for preaching the Fourth. Alas, how strong a family likeness runs through blind and persecuting humanity in all dimensions!

Points, Lines, Squares, Cubes, Extra-Cubes —we are all liable to the same errors, all alike the Slaves of our respective Dimensional prejudices, as one of your Spaceland poets has said — “

from Project Gutenberg’s Etext of “Flatland, A Romance of Many Dimensions:

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