Sphere Quotes

You are living on a Plane. What you style Flatland is the vast level surface of what I may call a fluid, on, or in, the top of which you and your countrymen move about, without rising above it or falling below it. I am not a plane Figure, but a Solid. You call me a Circle; but in reality I am not a Circle, but an infinite number of Circles, of size varying from a Point to a Circle of thirteen inches in diameter, one placed on the top of the other. When I cut through your plane as I am now doing, I make in your plane a section which you, very rightly, call a Circle. For even a Sphere which is my proper name in my own country if he manifest himself at all to an inhabitant of Flatland must needs manifest himself as a Circle. Do you not remember for I, who see all things, discerned last night the phantasmal vision of Lineland written upon your brain do you not remember, I say, how, when you entered the realm of Lineland, you were compelled to manifest yourself to the King, not as a Square, but as a Line, because that Linear Realm had not Dimensions enough to represent the whole of you, but only a slice or section of you? In precisely the same way, your country of Two Dimensions is not spacious enough to represent me, a being of Three, but can only exhibit a slice or section of me, which is what you call a Circle. The diminished brightness of your eye indicates incredulity. But now prepare to receive proof positive of the truth of my assertions. You cannot indeed see more than one of my sections, or Circles, at a time; for you have no power to raise your eye out of the plane of Flatland; but you can at least see that, as I rise in Space, so my sections become smaller. See now, I will rise; and the effect upon your eye will be that my Circle will become smaller and smaller till it dwindles to a point and finally vanishes. There was no "rising" that I could see; but he diminished and finally vanished. I winked once or twice to make sure that I was not dreaming. But it was no dream. For from the depths of nowhere came forth a hollow voice close to my heart it seemed "Am I quite gone? Are you convinced now? Well, now I will gradually return to Flatland and you shall see my section become larger and larger." Every reader in Spaceland will easily understand that my mysterious Guest was speaking the language of truth and even of simplicity. But to me, proficient though I was in Flatland Mathematics, it was by no means a simple matter.

Edwin Abbott

At times my spirit was too strong for me, and I gave vent to dangerous utterances. Already I was considered heterodox if not treasonable, and I was keenly alive to the danger of my position; nevertheless I could not at times refrain from bursting out into suspicious or half-seditious utterances, even among the highest Polygonal and Circular society. When, for example, the question arose about the treatment of those lunatics who said that they had received the power of seeing the insides of things, I would quote the saying of an ancient Circle, who declared that prophets and inspired people are always considered by the majority to be mad; and I could not help occasionally dropping such expressions as "the eye that discerns the interiors of things", and "the all-seeing land"; once or twice I even let fall the forbidden terms "the Third and Fourth Dimensions". At last, to complete a series of minor indiscretions, at a meeting of our Local Speculative Society held at the palace of the Prefect himself, some extremely silly person having read an elaborate paper exhibiting the precise reasons why Providence has limited the number of Dimensions to Two, and why the attribute of omnividence is assigned to the Supreme alone I so far forgot myself as to give an exact account of the whole of my voyage with the Sphere into Space, and to the Assembly Hall in our Metropolis, and then to Space again, and of my return home, and of everything that I had seen and heard in fact or vision. At first, indeed, I pretended that I was describing the imaginary experiences of a fictitious person; but my enthusiasm soon forced me to throw off all disguise, and finally, in a fervent peroration, I exhorted all my hearers to divest themselves of prejudice and to become believers in the Third Dimension. Need I say that I was at once arrested and taken before the Council?

Edwin Abbott

Below the highest sphere four Regents sit Who rule our world, and under them are zones Nearer, but high, where saintliest spirits dead Wait thrice ten thousand years, then live again; And on Lord Buddha, waiting in that sky, Came for our sakes the five sure signs of birth So that the Devas knew the signs, and said "Buddha will go again to help the World." "Yea!" spake He, "now I go to help the World. This last of many times; for birth and death End hence for me and those who learn my Law. I will go down among the Sakyas, Under the southward snows of Himalay, Where pious people live and a just King."

Sir Edwin Arnold

No coward soul is mine, No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere: I see Heaven's glories shine, And Faith shines equal, arming me from Fear.

Emily Jane Bront

And truly, I reiterate, . . nothing's small! No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee, But finds some coupling with the spinning stars; No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere; No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim: And, glancing on my own thin, veined wrist, In such a little tremour of the blood The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul Doth utter itself distinct. Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees, takes off his shoes, The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries, And daub their natural faces unaware More and more, from the first similitude.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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