Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The North Pole Or Someone’s Garden

The Hollow Earth hypothesis proposes that the planet Earth is either entirely hollow or otherwise contains a substantial interior space. The hypothesis has been shown to be wrong by observational evidence, as well as by the modern understanding of planet formation; the scientific community has dismissed the notion since at least the late 18th century.

The concept of a hollow Earth still recurs in folklore and as the premise for subterranean fiction, a subgenre of adventure fiction. It is also featured in some present-day scientific, pseudoscientific and conspiracy theories.

“Does it matter,” she asked, “if the Earth is hollow?
“I mean, whether the Earth is hollow or structured,
both of these views just describe our understanding
of the representation we’re confronted with.”

I asked, “Reality’s a representation?”

“No,” she said, “reality is reality.
But our conscious awareness of reality
is a representation. And it seems to me
we should spend more time looking for explanations
of reality than the representations
we’re consciously aware of swirling around us.”

“If the Earth were hollow,” I said, “we could go there.
Isn’t that worth understanding, whether or not
an actual, physical, other place was there,
somewhere, and we could leave here and, somehow, go there?”

“Blah, blah, blah,” she said. “And while you’re looking around
for a hole in the North Pole or someone’s garden
wouldn’t it be better to try to understand
what it really means to say ‘here’ and to say ‘there,’
what it really means to be ‘here’ and to be ‘there’?”

“If the Earth were hollow,” I said, “I mean a place
we could go to by dirigible or something,
I would know what it means to go there or not go.
But what do you mean, to understand ‘here’ and ‘there’?”

She was silent for a moment, then said, “Listen—”

I was silent for a moment, too, then asked, “What?”

She asked, “Do you hear it? That hum. In the distance.
Is that the sound made by dirigible motors?”

Now it’s a question I can’t get out of my mind.

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