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Flatlanders
  1. I R Schwab
  1. University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA; irschwab@ucdavis.edu

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    In the classic book, Flatland, written by Edwin A Abbott in 1884, the life of a square in a two dimensional world called Flatland was portrayed. The protagonist square explores perception by discussing what the world would look like if it were one dimensional or three dimensional. Eventually, the poor square is jailed for discussing a three dimensional world. In many ways, this extraordinary book broke the boundaries of the time by challenging what we knew, and still struggle to understand, about the boundaries of perception and the potential for dimensional worlds beyond our current understanding. This odd, and short, text has been repopularised by Clifford Pickover in his book SurfingThrough Hyperspace. Pickover brings the conception of higher dimensions and higher dimensional consciousness to life. It is unlikely, though, that he will be visited by the local constabulary since such considerations are not such strange concepts to our society. Physicists and mathematicians deal with these concepts on a daily basis. But, how are dimensions perceived visually?

    Proper interpretation of a three dimensional world with a two dimensional retina, such as ours, requires sophisticated neural processing and perhaps binocularity. Such neural …

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    Footnotes

    • Cover images by Peter Parks/imagequestmarine.com