Flatland

September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

The alien species in my creation would understand little about humanity as we know it. This species exists only in two dimensions, length and width. Depth is something that flatlanders would not understand even if described to them. This species has very little mass and no sense of direction other than forward, backwards, left, and right.

They lack the sense of sight, a sense not required by those who do not need it to interact with others of their own kind. Alas, it is difficult to see something on the same plane as yourself when you have no depth. They find their way around their universe by utilizing their own version of communication that is similar the sonar system utilized by marine life, yet dissimilar because it does not rely on sound. The communication system allows one to transmit telepathic waves and determine the manner in which they bounce back.

Communication through sound is also unnecessary because this species has a collective conscious. While all beings are physically independent, each individual is only a small part of the entire network of consciousness that has the ability to communicate with each other telepathically. This communication, of course, would not take place through language but instead through a series of fleeting snapshots of thought. Likely, they would scoff at our own rudimentary and inefficient means of communication. While ours takes time and effort, theirs is instantaneous and automatic. While we spent a good portion of our evolution developing a language to covey meaning, they were able to evolve faster without it. Death, then, does not scare them because it does not mean the end of a consciousness, merely the temporary loss of fleeting thought or awareness.

The species also has specializations of roles in their society, like our specialized professions, including a field of study that many could compare to humanity’s “science.” They study the way in which the universes interact with them. Then, one fateful day, these scientists become aware of their own situation—even if they do not know the ramifications of it—that flatlanders are on a plane between two universes. They are able to experience the pulling effect of one universe on another. As one universe pushes on the other, for the first time, the flatlanders experience a wrinkle in their previously perfect flat plane. They learn this through their sonar-type communication system, by bouncing back signals although the flatlanders are able to continue on their path in the direction of the signal reverberation. The result, for those flatlanders who were either brave or stupid enough to travel into the sonar region where an object was supposed to be, was altering the flatlanders’ course ever so slightly into the realm of “depth.”

Although this does not happen often, it creates an anomaly that flatlander scientists cannot explain. Fortunately, these identified bent universes generally correct themselves in a very short time, returning flatland to its comfortable, flat state, much to the relief of the citizens who live there.  Scientists, however, always wonder about that newfound awareness of a temporary alteration of their society that cannot be explained. We know, however, that somewhere in one of those universes, one of those strange bends in the flatlander plain, sits a diminutive little rock known as Earth.

-Libby

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