User-generated content has resulted in an explosion of exchange, to the extent that every citizens’ subjectivity is indistinguishable from every institutional objectivity. The terminal velocity of information shot from the cannon of YouTube – and others – commands equalized authority, as the celebrated accompany the anonymous, the scientific is rewoven into the spiritual, cries for help coalesce with cries of wolf. This standardization is a flattening of the world by our unwavering access to it. To click is to know and every click beckons its echo, in embedded interconnectedness, in the compulsive free will of your fingertips. I am privileged to access the whole world, but as it beams into me I am unable to swallow its totality. The experience of absorbing without end is a strangely controlling development of democracy.
The Flat Earth Society’s website includes projections of the 2D world that resemble – if not directly lifted from – the United Nations logo. This is the vision of a world that does not need to be traversed to be controlled, but wraps all nations’ sovereignty under a global standard.
In this flat world all the cubby holes and over-hanging cliffs are ironed out; there is nowhere to hide without the psychological effects of being observed. A flattening of the geographical landscape constitutes a flattening of humanity’s mental landscape to a rationalized, controllable slate. As the world’s information becomes uniform – we are part of the world’s information – so we become uniform also: humanity emerges from the candlelit cradle of superstition and alchemical chiaroscuro, onto the shadowless world.
This need not mean the end of secrecy for the human race: there is timeless wonder in what was not, cannot and will not be known because it was misunderstood, was not heard, or chose to lay unexpressed. The real work of art is in what refuses to be there, in the futures that cannot be told because the mere utterance of those futures would effect their outcome!
If the Flat Earthers or indeed the UN have their way, with the stagnant utopia of a Flat Earth achieved, a tantalizing dichotomy will have been created: the manipulators and conspirators of a Flat Earth must shield their actions in secrecy just as much as those dissidents of the the Flat Earth will have to in order to hide from view. It was in darkened caves that the first men plotted to enslave those outside, it is in stately homes that beaurocrats do the same. And it will be in hidden enclaves that the escape artists of the flattened, shadowless world will hide. As long as each party keeps their secrets the Earth retains its spheration.