The Two Dimensional Table

This story isn’t of my creation. It’s old: probably as old as the first spiritual teacher who walked our planet, teaching it to his followers who asked questions of him, especially questions like, “how do we know what you say is true?” and, “if you can’t prove it, maybe that means you’re some kind of a nut!” This story has been repeated many times down through the ages, in many Learning Centers, in many cultures. 

Having said that, I’ll only add that what’s new in this story is my version of telling it. You be the judge whether It’s true, or, like so many have derided, the man was nuts.

There once lived a man who had a large, flat table in his study. The table was framed in expensive mahogany and, judging by the frame’s ornate design, one could tell that it was of ancient origin and very painstakingly and lovingly carved.  On that table, the man–the owner of that flat table, had created a very bustling civilization: men, women and animals of every kind. The men on that flat table had created roads that connected their homes to their neighbor’s homes that allowed them to travel to the right, to the left, sideways–the full length and breadth of the table. It was all very beautiful! There was just one restriction: they were all living in a two dimensional world!

The man–the owner of that table, came to love is creation very much and wanted to give them even more than they already enjoyed, more than just having to live on that two dimensional table, so one day he appeared to one of the men and asked him if he had ever looked up.

“What’s up?” asked the man. “I see forwards, I see backwards, I see to my right and to my left, but, what’s looking up?”

Ever so gently the Creator of that table took the man and lifted him up and brought him into his world. Surprised and little bewildered at first, the man took a moment to look around and orient himself to his new environment.

“Wow!” the man finally exclaimed, still at awe but loving what he saw. “I can see forwards, I can see behind me, to my left, to my right, and best of all I can now see up! This is truly a wonderful, wonderful three dimensional world that I am experiencing!”

With great enthusiasm and excitement he told his Creator, “I must go back to my two dimensional world and tell everyone how wonderful it is to to look up. Maybe I can show them how they, too can look up!”

The Creator–the man who owned the flat table, blessed the man with the ability to  teach and with encouragement and patience. Then, just as gently as he had picked him up, he placed him back into his familiar two dimensional world.

“People, gather ’round!” the man cried. “Gather around, all of you: old, young, women and children, gather around because I have some good news to tell you!”

“You been smokin’ that weed of yours again?” an elder of the tribe jeered.

“No, it’s true!” the man insisted. “We no longer have to live in just a two dimensional world. We can also look up and experience a  three dimensional world!”

“You’re scarin’ our children with your nonsense!” a women shouted.

“You keep talkin’ like that and I’ll have to arrest you for blasphemy!” added the local constable.

Finally, even after all the encouragement the Creator had blessed him with, the man threw up his hands in frustration and retired to a hidden cave far removed from his two dimensional civilization, and there spent the rest of his days reflecting on the wonders that he had seen while in the third dimension.


You be the judge. Was the man “just smokin’ weed” — disillusioned, a threat to society, or are we the ones who are nuts?