Let us assume for a moment that the world is flat, regardless of the obvious implications and shear violations of just about every law of physics that keeps the world as it currently is, round. This blog may start out as a rant, for good reason, but it ends in what is really a serious topic. What if the world was flat and what could we do with such a world, and more importantly what we couldn't do?
There are actually societies and organizations out there that believe that the world is flat. 'The Flat Earth Society' is but one of them I have discovered while writing this blog post, although literally dozens exist around the world. There are a lot of crazy things people do and believe in. Isn't it especially a scary notion to know there are people out there that believe in something that is so obviously untrue as the world being flat?
I don't think it is all that hard to believe. As I've written about before we humans are driven mostly by our emotions and needs rather than common sense or altruism. Another factor is that as humans we need to believe, in anything. It doesn't matter if it's a type of religion, alien invasions, our grandmother's apple pie on Christmas, or a flat Earth hypothesis. Think about when you're hungry how fast you react to that hunger by satiating it with food. Now think about how you usuallydon't think about that process...
The reason we are driven to focus on such ideas and so obvious untruths, as I like to call them, is because it helps us to feel a part of something and to feel special about being in the world. As truthful as this may be and how many may deny it, we are adrift in the sea of the heavens, essentially alone without any company but ourselves. I do believe in other intelligent species out there, but unless there are some fantastical inventions within our reach, such as wormholes and other transportation discoveries, we might as well be alone.
Ships passing on a turbulent sea at night, icebergs adrift in the great oceanic expanse, shoppers in a supermarket trying to find each other when they are but one isle apart yet both turn away at the wrong moment. Whatever the case, you can bet someone will believe we have discovered aliens or preaches to the end of the Earth that the Earth is flat. Not because it may be true, but because it feels good and gives them drive to do so. The best part of it all, those who believe these things will deny understanding otherwise, yet ultimately deep down they know what is true. It simply doesn't matter.
A True Flat World
Implications abound in such great quantity that a book could be written about this one subject. Heck, how many books are on store shelves right now that are written about grooming your dog? I still have a challenge finishing the book I am currently writing about the online game industry, and that topic far exceeds the content about how to cut a dog's claws! Although someone please let me know if I'm wrong about that assumption...
For starters, a flat world would eventually end, so what is at that end? As many in the past have imagined, that end was usually depicted in the form of the great oceans simply spilling off and disappearing below. But below to where and how come the water in the world wasn't already drained, and can land spill off too?
Other problems stem from mere hanging on to our atmosphere to the rotation around the sun, to the reasons the sun simply shifts in a repeated pattern in the sky. Gravity has always been a mystery to us and still is, so we'll let that one go as a "maybe", somehow. The point is, there are clearly very logical and sensible reasons for understanding why our world is in fact round and why it is in fact not flat.
The incorrect assumptions began years ago before we had a grasp on the true size of our world and were able to explore it. So there is no excuse for "Other Worlders", except for the reasons I mentioned above. While it certainly is a laughable notion today, it really was a serious discussion years ago. But it still can be a serious discussion today not for real world research, but for online virtual world research. What if a world were flat, and also infinite in all directions?
An Infinite World
We could probably put this right on the scale of the universe, heck even the galaxy. The sheer volume of space out there, the trillions of stars, billions of galaxies, and all of it in all directions makes me quickly lose grasp of the sheer scale. The human mind simply cannot comprehend how large an existence we really live in. Which should give real pause to those that understand even a bit about this scale and then still proclaim we have to be the only ones out there...
What if just our own world were infinite and Christopher Columbus never did return, where he kept on exploring until the end of his crews days? Ignoring once again the physics involved, it certainly would be interesting to experience new things on an almost daily basis! Everyone could stake a piece, perhaps any size piece of land they wanted to themselves as everyone would simply keep spreading out, right? Maybe.
The problem with this is whether population growth could continue, and if we as a species would continue when we were so exploration happy other more practical consideration were forgotten. Though if you look at the sheer size of our own world and what we were able to accomplish hundreds of years ago at even a snails pace, scale might not be an issue, except for one problem. If we were indeed able to explore an infinite world, it stands to reason there is an infinite amount of possibilities on that world.
It also stands to reason with infinite possibilities that somewhere another intelligent species, or simply a very dangerous species such as dinosaurs, roams not far beyond the current areas explored. "Here there be dragons"... Depending upon our current civilizations level on such a world, would we survive these encounters? Possibly, if our civilization were spread out enough, with sheer scale negating any possible true extinction events. Those are just a couple of examples of pre-industrial challenges in an infinite world.
What about problems we'd have in a technological civilization such as our own? Eventually communication over vast distances would become delayed, although long before that become a problem the idea that we could hold such a vast civilization together comes into question. Parallel that thought with us exploring the vastness of space, could we truly hold our civilization together on such scales? Most of everything else in our society would function in its immediate vacinity, but what about space exploration itself?
If the world were flat and infinite, satellites would naturally be impossible without falling right out of the sky from not being able to sustain a centrifugal orbit. And what happens when we send rockets up to explore beyond the atmosphere, what really lies beyond? Will we discover empty "space", or will it be some sort of weird painted canvas that our rocket ship crashes into? And even if that happens, there must be something beyond that boundary, right?
Imagination Knows No Bounds
Exploration and our human imaginations simply know no bounds. We are forever curious about the "what if" of existence, regardless of whether it's shoved in our face as an impossibility. Be damned those ridiculous thoughts, for we'll work around them! Computers, the Internet, virtual worlds, are all tools to push aside conventional thinking, logic, and rationality for the boundaries that know no boundaries--human thought.
"I think, therefore I am" - Descartes