Flatland, Fez, and M-theory

lineland

Written by Edwin A. Abbott in 1884, ‘Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions’ is an excellent, laugh-out-loud satirical novel that provokes deep thought about dimensions beyond our daily experience. You think ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe’ is good allegory? Fuhgeddaboudit! I think Flatland should be required reading for all Christians.

Now, if Flatland existed in video game form, ‘Fez’ would be it. Fez stars a pale protagonist who has the amazing powers to walk, jump, climb, go through doorways, swim, and pick up small objects! A lot like us, actually. One day, this simple-living character has his perspective radically expanded. Something dimensionally beyond himself impinges upon his 2D universe. He can now perceive a much more complex reality, and one that is in peril.

fez

I have written before in brief about Kierkegaard’s concept of ‘dimensional beyondness.’ God, as an infinite being, is qualitatively different than anything within the created cosmos. But where does the cosmos end and the supernatural realm begin – the realm of spirit which is invisible to our unaided senses? In Brian Greene’s popular book on theoretical physics, ‘The Fabric of the Cosmos,’ Greene references a version of superstring theory called ‘M-theory,’ which hypothesizes ten space dimensions and one time dimension (we commonly experience three space dimensions and one, forward-moving time dimension). If this is true, at what level of “physical” reality do we find Christ holding “all things together?” (Colossians 1:17).

endworld

Back to Fez – I do not believe that video game creator Phil Fish is a Christian – at least not based on what I saw in ‘Indie Game: The Movie.’ Fez certainly does not get into deep theological territory, but is pleasantly stimulating aesthetically, philosophically, and is fun to play. It is also rife with mind-bending puzzles that you may never, ever unravel – much like the universe itself! I recommend playing it right after you read Flatland.

So says a Fez NPC, “My favorite shape is a square. Not a cube – those don’t exist!”

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2 thoughts on “Flatland, Fez, and M-theory

  1. Dude I am loving your site so far! I actually found your site via searching around for molinism resources. I recently posted a concept of a computer programmer as an analogy to God’s incorporation of creaturely counterfactual freedom on Reddit (https://m.reddit.com/r/theology/comments/53xps1/preprocessed_libertarian_freedom/). However, after trying to think through the analogy and reading about molinism, it seems to fit well or have already thought through a lot of what God’s pre-creation determination may have involved. Also, I didn’t know it at the time, but I recently worked alongside Phil Fish in artist in residence program with Google’s Tilt Brush VR team.

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    1. Hey, thanks for the kind words. You sound like a great person to have coffee with and talk theology! If you see Phil Fish again, tell him to release Fez for Xbox One! (I know he sold the company though…)

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