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Flatland: un romance de varias dimensiones

Flatland: un romance de varias dimensiones

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Flatland: un romance de varias dimensiones

valoraciones:
3/5 (1,717 valoraciones)
Longitud:
148 páginas
3 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
16 jun 2011
ISBN:
9789874086051
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Flatland cuenta la historia de El Plano, un mundo bidimensional donde sólo existen el ancho y el largo en el que está a punto de iniciarse un nuevo milenio. El último día del año 1999, un Cuadrado —hasta aquel momento indistinguible de las otras formas de ese universo de dos dimensiones— recibe el Evangelio de las Tres Dimensiones, que se revela a los planos habitantes de ese mundo sólo una vez cada mil años. El Cuadrado, protagonista y narrador de la historia, retrata crudamente su experiencia en El Espacio, un mundo tridimensional, e intenta, en vano, convencer a sus coterráneos de que existe una tercera dimensión, y que es posible percibirla. Pero todo es plano en Flatland.
Editorial:
Publicado:
16 jun 2011
ISBN:
9789874086051
Formato:
Libro

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Flatland - Edwin A. Abbott

136

Prefacio del editor a la segunda edición revisada, 1884.

Si mi pobre amigo de El Plano conservara la lucidez de los tiempos en que comenzó a escribir sus Memorias, yo no necesitaría escribir éstas en su lugar. Con este prefacio, el autor desea, en primer lugar, agradecer a sus lectores y críticos de El Espacio, cuyas buenas apreciaciones han llevado –con insospechada celeridad– a la necesidad de una segunda edición de este trabajo; en segundo lugar, disculparse por algunas equivocaciones y errores de imprenta (por los que, sin embargo, no es enteramente responsable); y por último, explicar uno o dos malos entendidos. Pero mi amigo ya no es el Cuadrado de antaño. Al decaimiento propio de la vejez se le han sumado años de encierro y la carga aún más pesada de la incredulidad y la burla general. De manera que muchas de las reflexiones y nociones –como también gran parte de la terminología– adquiridos durante su corta estadía en El Espacio, se han ido borrando de su mente. Por esa razón me ha solicitado responder en su nombre a dos particulares objeciones, una intelectual, la otra moral.

La primera objeción es que un habitante de El Plano, al ver una Línea, necesariamente ve algo que debe poseer tanto espesor como longitud (de otro modo sería invisible, si no contara con cierto espesor). En consecuencia, el autor debería reconocer que sus compatriotas no sólo son anchos y largos sino que también poseen (aunque parezca, en principio, dudoso) algún grado de espesor o altura. Esta objeción es plausible y, para los habitantes de El Espacio, prácticamente irrebatible; de manera que, debo confesar, cuando la escuché por primera vez, no supe qué responder. Pero la réplica de mi pobre amigo parece dejarla sin fundamentos.

Acepto –dijo cuando le mencioné la objeción– Acepto la exactitud de los hechos que menciona tu crítico, pero rechazo sus conclusiones. Es cierto que, efectivamente, en El Plano existe una Tercera Dimensión no reconocida llamada ‘altura’, de la misma manera que en El Espacio se ignora la existencia de una Cuarta Dimensión, cuyo nombre no se conoce hasta el momento pero que yo llamaré ‘altura extra’. Yo mismo –que he visitado El Espacio y he tenido el privilegio de habitar, durante veinticuatro horas, la ‘altura’– no puedo comprenderla ni percibirla con la vista o a través de cualquier proceso lógico; sólo puedo admitirla por fe. La razón es evidente. Dimensión implica dirección, medida, el más y el menos. Ahora, todas nuestras líneas son igual e infinitesimalmente espesas (o altas, si así lo prefieren); de manera que no existe nada en ellas que pueda conducir a nuestra mente a la concepción de esa Dimensión. Ningún ‘delicado micrómetro’ -como sugirió un crítico algo precipitado de El Espacio- nos permitiría medirla, pues no sabríamos qué medir ni en qué dirección hacerlo. Cuando vemos una Línea, vemos algo que es extenso y luminoso; el brillo, junto con la extensión, son necesarios para que exista una Línea. Si el brillo se apaga, la Línea se extingue. Así, todos mis amigos de El Plano, cuando les menciono la Dimensión desconocida que es visible, de alguna manera, en una Línea, objetan: ‘Ah, te refieres al brillo’; a lo que respondo: ‘No, me refiero a una verdadera Dimensión’. De inmediato rebaten: ‘Entonces mídela, o dinos en qué dirección se extiende’. Ante esto debo yo callar, pues no puedo hacer ninguna de las dos cosas. Ayer mismo, el Círculo Principal (es decir, nuestro Adalid) vino a inspeccionar la Prisión Estatal y me concedió su séptima visita anual; y cuando por séptima vez en la vida me preguntó: ‘¿Te encuentras mejor?’, intenté convencerlo de que, aunque no lo supiera, él era ‘alto’, así como largo y ancho. ¿Y qué respondió? ‘Dices que soy alto, pues mide mi ‘altura’ y te creeré’. ¿Qué podía yo hacer? ¿Cómo hacer frente a su desafío? Estaba indignado, mientras que él abandonó la celda con aires de triunfo.

"¿Sigue sonando extraño? Entonces colócate en una situación similar. Imagina que te visita alguien de la Cuarta Dimensión y te dice: ‘siempre que abres los ojos ves un Plano (que posee Dos Dimensiones) e infieres un Sólido (que posee Tres); pero en verdad también ves (aunque no lo reconozcas) una Cuarta Dimensión: sin color, sin brillo, sin nada por el estilo, pero una verdadera Dimensión, aunque no puedo señalarte su dirección ni podrás tú medirla’. ¿Qué contestarías? ¿No lo encerrarías acaso? Pues bien, tal es mi destino; y resulta tan natural para tí, habitante de El Plano, encerrar a un Cuadrado por predicar la Tercera Dimensión como para ustedes, habitantes de El Espacio, encerrar a un Cubo por predicar la Cuarta. ¡Ay de nosotros! ¡Cómo se extiende el parecido entre familias ciegas y perseguidoras a lo largo de las Dimensiones! Puntos, Líneas, Cuadrados, Cubos, Extra-Cubos, todos culpables de los mismos errores, todos Esclavos de nuestros prejuicios Dimensionales; tal como un habitante de El Espacio lo refirió:

‘Un toque de la Naturaleza hace que todos los mundos se asemejen’¹

".

En este punto la defensa del Cuadrado me resulta irrebatible. Desearía poder decir que su respuesta a la segunda objeción (moral) fue tan clara y convincente. Se le ha objetado que odia a las mujeres; y en tanto tal objeción ha sido proclamada con vehemencia por aquellos que, por decreto Natural, constituyen la gran mayoría de los habitantes de El Espacio, desearía, en la medida de lo posible, despejarla. Pero el Cuadrado conoce tan poco la terminología moral de El Espacio que cometería una injusticia transcribiendo literalmente su defensa. En tanto intérprete y compilador, entiendo que siete años en prisión han modificado sus propias ideas, tanto en lo que concierne a las Mujeres como a los Isósceles y las Clases Bajas. Personalmente, en la actualidad, se inclina por la opinión de la Esfera según la cual las Líneas Rectas son, en muchos aspectos, superiores a los Círculos. Pero, en tanto Historiador, entiendo que se ha identificado (tal vez demasiado) con las opiniones comúnmente aceptadas por los historiadores de El Plano y (así le informaron) también de El Espacio, en cuyos libros (hasta tiempos recientes) poco se ha mencionado y tenido en consideración el destino de las Mujeres y las grandes masas de la humanidad.

De forma menos clara aún, pretende rechazar también el apego a ideas propias de los Círculos y la Aristocracia que algunos críticos le han adjudicado. Aun reconociendo la superioridad intelectual de algunos Círculos, que por generaciones ha servido para mantener su autoridad sobre las multitudes que habitan El Plano, entiende que los hechos ocurridos en El Plano –que hablan por sí mismos, sin necesidad de comentarios de su parte– señalan que el asesinato no siempre alcanza para sofocar las Revoluciones; y que la Naturaleza, al sentenciar a los Círculos a la infecundidad, los ha condenado al infortunio final. Y aquí –dice el autor– veo cumplirse la gran Ley de todos los mundos: mientras la sabiduría del Hombre supone que algo funciona de una manera, la sabiduría de la Naturaleza hace que funcione de otra, de una diferente y más efectiva. En cuanto al resto, solicita a sus lectores no suponer que cada minúsculo detalle de la vida cotidiana de un habitante de El Plano debe corresponderse necesariamente con algún otro detalle de la vida en El Espacio. Así, espera que su trabajo, tomado como una totalidad, sea provocador a la vez que entretenido, para aquellos habitantes de El Espacio de mente más modesta y sencilla que –al referirse a lo verdaderamente importante pero que no puede probarse en la experiencia­– se nieguen a afirmar: Esto nunca podría ser; o Esto debe ser necesariamente así, y lo sabemos todo sobre ello.

Pies de página

1.

El Autor desea agregar que las falsas ideas de algunos de sus críticos en esta materia lo han llevado a incluir, en el diálogo con la Esfera, ciertas observaciones que se relacionan con el punto en cuestión, y que previamente había omitido por considerarlas tediosas e innecesarias.

Parte I: Este mundo

Be patient, for the world is broad and wide

1. El Plano

Llamo a nuestro mundo El Plano, no porque ese sea su nombre, sino para que su naturaleza resulte más clara para ti, mi feliz lector, privilegiado habitante de El Espacio.

Imagina una gran hoja de papel en la que Líneas, Triángulos, Cuadrados, Pentágonos, Hexágonos y demás figuras, en lugar de permanecer inmóviles, se desplazaran libremente, aunque sin la facultad de erigirse sobre la superficie ni de hundirse en ella. Algo así como sombras, sólo que compactas y de bordes luminosos. De imaginar algo así tendrías una idea más o menos cercana de mi país y sus habitantes. ¡Pensar que años atrás habría dicho mi universo! Pero mi mente se ha abierto a una forma superior de ver el mundo.

En una ciudad de estas características, resulta de inmediato evidente que no podría existir algo sólido; pero me atrevo a decir que suponías que al menos podemos ver a los Triángulos, los Cuadrados y demás figuras moviéndose tal como las he descripto. Pues no. No podemos distinguir una figura de la otra. Nada resulta visible, ni puede llegar a ser visible para nosotros más que Líneas Rectas. Rápidamente demostraré la necesidad de ello.

Coloca una moneda en el centro de una de tus mesas de El Espacio y obsérvala desde arriba. Se verá como un círculo.

Ahora inclínate hasta que los ojos estén a la altura de la mesa (te irás acercando así a la condición de los habitantes de El Plano) y verás cómo la moneda se vuelve más y más ovalada a la vista. Cuando hayas ubicado los ojos a la altura del borde de

Has llegado al final de esta vista previa. ¡ para leer más!
Página 1 de 1

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Lo que piensa la gente sobre Flatland

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  • (4/5)
    This was fascinating.
  • (4/5)
    A wonderful mixture of science fiction and satire
  • (3/5)
    In Flatland, Edwin A. Abbot uses fiction to provide a unique understanding of dimensions. Rather than start with a three-dimensional subject and descend "downward," he starts in the "middle," with a two-dimensional square in Flatland that first visits a one-dimensional world called Lineland before "ascending" to the three-dimensional world of Spaceland. Abbot's narrative technique is quite effective in setting up his explanation of spatial geometry, though the first part of his story suffers from many of the biases and prejudices of his day. The first half of the book, and much of the second half, is replete with blatant misogyny and an approving portrayal of eugenics. Though Abbot's work plays a significant role in speculative fiction, he could not escape the views of his own time even as he invented new worlds. This work will interest fans of speculative fiction and those looking at the history of science fiction, but is unpalatable to modern sensibilities.
  • (4/5)
    A book that will challenge you to think about dimensions in a simple and surprising way.
  • (5/5)
    Have you ever had trouble visualizing what a high-dimensional space would look like? Have you considered what possibilities such a space would offer, and what it would be like to encounter a higher dimensional being?Abbott's Victorian age novel explores these questions through analogy. This is the story of the two-dimensional world of Flatland, and its inhabitants' encounters with a mysterious and powerful three-dimensional being. Humorous and entertaining, this is one math text everyone can enjoy.
  • (4/5)
    The first part of Flatland is a little dry, but in Part II it gets into the exploration of dimensions and perceptions. The blatant sexism and classism seem ridiculous -- perhaps they are meant to show how limited thought can hold you back. By opening your mind to more liberal thoughts, new dimensions may be revealed to you. Or something. At any rate, it's a quick read, and carries amusing thoughts to ponder.
  • (4/5)
    Science fiction meets geometry meets fairy tale. It gets odder. Published in 1884, this has to be one of the first book that uses a story to illustrate principles of geometry. Part I describes the world of Flatland where all its inhabitants are shapes on a flat and very large piece of paper. Part II tells of a messiah, a 3D sphere, descending into Flatland and appearing to a Square. When the Square wants to spread the gospel of 3D, no one believes him. It's a political satire, social parody, philosophical argument, and scientific enlightment. How odd can that be.
  • (4/5)
    Political satire mixed with philosophical and scientific enlightenment.Interesting, thought provoking and very quick read
  • (2/5)
    A classic--all fans of science fiction should read this book.
  • (4/5)
    This is a short easy read, but within this simple work are ideas that are almost beyond our comprehension. A majority of this story takes place in a 2D world, but there is so much explanation as to how everything works in this world that you feel as if you are in this world. Putting yourself in a smaller dimension the 3 Dimensional world seems impossible, but we know its there. Therefore it makes you think...are there more dimensions?
  • (3/5)
    This short work is rooted in the English tradition of political dissent and social commentary through satire (see, for example, Swift). In this book, Abbott describes a two-dimensional world in which various shapes exist, living their two-dimensional lives. The status of a shape is determined by how many sides it has - the more sides, the more important a shape is. Females, who are simply straight lines, are of lowest status. Slightly higher than females are triangles, the lowest status male. As shapes get progressively more sides, they are also supposed to get progressively smarter and thus, those with 50 or 100 sides are the elite, and rule the others. Oddly, those with fewest sides (and thus sharp points) are the most lethal - to such an extent that houses are constructed so that females have their own door to enter and females are required to waggle back and forth and cry out to warn others of their approach (so they don't puncture anyone else with their sharp point).The book is a satire of class politics, gender, and social status in 19th century England. While it makes numerous insightful points, the weakness of the work is that its social commentary is so very heavy-handed. It is so blunt that it overwhelms any kind of story at times, and so obvious that it mutes its own effectiveness with a kind of shrillness. A little more subtlety would have made this work much more effective.
  • (5/5)
    Set in a two-dimensional world that could be represented on a large sheet of paper, we meet A. Square, a free thinker in a land ruled by oppressive religious zealots who will hear nothing other than "the world is flat."One day, however, Square meets Sphere, and is bumped out of Flatland and sent on a multidimensional journey.If you've ever been interested in the mathematical concept of dimensions, and want any reason to believe that the fourth dimension is not time, per se, I suggest you read this book, as it will open your eyes to a whole new perspective by likening yourself to Square.
  • (3/5)
    This book was given an overview in a silly book from the 1960s which my father once gave to me-- it was a book of math puzzles and the like. That book, however, did not hint to me that Flatland is really more of a Victorian social commentary than a book about math. I enjoy creative books about math, like 'The Math Devil'. The Math Devil is one fine book.Anyway, Flatland is interesting, yes, but-- well-- it's Victorian social commentary! Not something I enjoy reading for the sake of itself. Victorian social commentary is fine when there's an interesting plot to be had, but using MATH to make Victorian social commentary more interesting? Hmm. Not exactly the best decision. But it's still good, and it's very easy to see why this is a classic. Everyone should get around to reading it at least once-- and it's so short that this shouldn't be a problem for anyone, really.
  • (3/5)
    Interesting novella, a sort of mixture of science fiction/social commentary and a Dummy's guide to dimensions and relativity.Very , very clever.
  • (3/5)
    I had such high hopes for this book. I figured any speculative fiction that stood the test of time so well must be something really special. Instead, I got porn for math geeks. The whole first half of the book, a description of the inhabitants of Flatland, might have been more interesting if the details were revealed through narrative, but the explanations and diagrams would make a good cure for insomnia. The second half was more interesting, and indeed the last bits were exciting. But the cost to get there was too much.
  • (2/5)
    Meh. Not great, but it's a really short read and somewhat entertaining. The "flatland" society is actually rather horrific, full of eugenics and chauvinism, but the story is kind of fun. I wouldn't discourage you from reading it, but I'm not going to run around shouting that this is the best book ever.
  • (3/5)
    I find it very interesting that this book was written 130 years ago and has survived so long, but not many have heard of it. I found it an intriguing book - a reflection of society at the time, which in some ways still holds true today. It has a definite religious theme, as well as a philosophical one. While I cannot say that I liked it, I'm glad that I read it, because it was indeed thought-provoking, which I'm guessing was what the author intended. I would say that it is a must read - and should definitely be on that list of classics which everyone should read. It was an easy read as well, however, I believe it may help if you have a basic understanding of geometry.
  • (4/5)
    Written in the late 19th century, this book is both a mathematical fantasy set in a two-dimensional world and a satire on Victorian society. Sphere from Spaceland tries to explain the 3rd dimension to Square, a resident of Flatland, but refuses to countenance the possibility of a 4th dimension when Square extrapolates further. Very interesting.
  • (2/5)
    The first half of this book appears to be an allegory of victorian class and gender discrimination, with some additional political things thrown in that went over my head but probably made sense to contemporary readers. For example, was the thing about colors and equality talking about the French revolution?The second half is a comparison of worlds of different dimensions from the viewpoint of someone living in a two-dimensional world. This part is easier to understand, but it's a bit overdone. I got the concept after a few pages, and after a while it felt repetitive.
  • (2/5)
    Very imaginative but very boring. I was waiting for the story to reach a conclusion or at least a revelation which gave a meaning to it. I think, perhaps, I've missed the underlying meaning of the book, as there only seemed a slight parallel with our own past society. Then again, I doubt that was what the author was aiming at.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating sci-fi classic about life in a two-dimensional world, and the difficulty therein of imagining a world with THREE. Written c.1882, before Einstein even grew up. Illustrated by the author, "A Square".
  • (5/5)
    A story told using simple geometry, brilliant! This is a journey of a 2D man into a 3D world and conveys much of the firm arrogance of Victorian society towards its scientific views, where to interrupt the set way of scientific thinking at that time, was tantamount to heresy. Perhaps not quite as an accessible subject as Alice in Wonderland, but this a fable of the same proprtions - elightening us to endless worlds of possibilities.
  • (5/5)
    (Despite what my daughter says, this is not a book about Illinois.) This is an odd little book--kind of like a geometric fairy tale. The narrator of this tale is A Square. He tells of his world, a universe of two dimensions. It's inhabitants are all polygons and in the first section, Mr. Square describes the society in which these creatures live. In the second section, he then describes his encounters with other dimensions: Lineland, Pointland and Spaceland. It's not a terribly complex book--I happened to have read a book called The Planiverse which offered a two dimensional world with much more scientific detail--but Flatland has a definite style and essence to its tale which makes it memorable. That's probably why this book from 1884 (second edition) was reprinted 68 years later in 1952 and why it's going on my shelf 118 years later in 2002.--J.
  • (4/5)
    A wonderful philosophical novel which is a must read classic. This is basically the best book without real people that you are ever going to see. Abbott may be completely out of his mind, but he knows what he's talking about.
  • (4/5)
    Very interesting concept...the world of two-dimensional shapes explained by a square (named, appropriately enough, A. Square) who visits other planes and dimensions (Pointland, Lineland, and Spaceland). While it makes some valid points about humanity's false sense of superiority and true ignorance of higher consciousnesses, I could not overlook the blatant sexism. Yes, yes, I know it's supposed to be a parody of Victorian society, where women were shamelessly repressed and thought of as inferior to men, but I could not help bristling when I read "...among Women, we use language implying the utmost deference for their Sex...but behind their backs they are both regarded and spoken of - by all except the very young - as being little better than 'mindless organisms.' " The women in Flatland are ruled by emotions such as love and morality, which are thought to be silly ideas by the men who abide solely by logic. Parody or not, I cannot forgive the author for this. So, Mr. Abbott, if you were alive I would have this to say to you: "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries." So there.
  • (3/5)
    Ok Ok we get it, the possibility of many dimensions by looking past our own, great now shut up.
  • (5/5)
    This is a fantastic book!Written by A.Square, he tells us of his 2D world and his experiences of our 3D one. On one hand an amusing whimisical story which lampoons Victorian society and morals, on the other an intresting intellectual and imaginative exercise. It's a brilliant read!
  • (3/5)
    Not at all what I was expecting. No romance was involved. Instead, it was the romance of the mind; figuring out how to move upwards but not northwards. The book is a satire, an essay on multidimensional space, but not a romance novel.
  • (3/5)
    Flatland. A nice read. A nice suggestion from a friend. At one point early in the book, when the narrator describes the lot of women in Flatland (and the “obvious” reasons for that lot) I could not help but think back to time spent in Qatar and the points of reference historically, socially and religiously describing the view of women in Islamic and Arabic cultures.I thought the mathematic and geometric explanations were masterful. I was struck by the powerful description of the way in which the paradigm with which we view the world limits our ability to comprehend certain things, while for others with a different paradigm, it is a matter of course. The various passages related to this theme reminded me of two works which have affected me a great deal: George Engel’s description of the his biopsychosocial model for medicine in “Where You Think You Stand Determines What You Think You See” – and Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions.I smiled and laughed at one point during the description of Lineland, when it was pointed out “once a neighbor, always a neighbor.” I immediately thought Lineland would necessarily have to be rampant with incest and homosexuality (or both simultaneously) until the author (or Lineland Monarch) anticipated my thoughts and described the marriage and mating rituals and processes. I breathed a sigh of relief and read on.A brief, but enjoyable book.
  • (4/5)
    You don’t have to be a math geek, but it doesn’t hurt. There isn’t an extensive plot; it’s not a novel in any real sense. And it is written in a style of the late 19th century, a style of writing that can leave readers working harder to decipher the language than the actual story. But there is a reason this exploration of dimensions has been around a really long time. It is fun to read, the language is actually pretty penetrable, and, while posing as an exploration of interesting things about the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. dimensions (which it does well), it does a fairly decent job of pointing out the problems with society and people. While it’s easy enough to think of this as showing the intolerance and narrow-minded thinking of the late 1800’s, do not be fooled – we have gotten no better. It is a relatively quick read (for me, a flight from Kansas City to Phoenix), but the kind that will keep coming back.