Flat-Earthers Have a Wild New Theory About Forests


EXCERPT: Something tremendous is happening; over the last few weeks, without too many of its globe-headed detractors noticing, a surprisingly vast community on the tattered fringes of intellectual orthodoxy is in turmoil. A bizarre new theory has turned the flat earth upside down. The flat earth is still flat, but now it’s dotted with tiny imitations of the truly enormous trees that once covered the continents, and which in our deforested age we can hardly even remember.

[...] among all the bizarre, self-enclosed universes the internet has to offer—gold-standard bores, UFO chasers, people who believe that cartoons are real in a nearby dimension or that the secret rulers of the world are betraying their existence by leaving little clues on the currency—the flat-earthers are special. Flat earth insists on the primacy of direct experience (look at the horizon, really look, and try to see the curve) against abstract domination. It’s an imaginative protest against the stupidity of our actual dreary sphere. As I’ve written elsewhere, “in an era where so much of the world is disenchanting and so much of social existence is already a given—you will have your job, you will have your life, you will be exploited and then you will die—there are people who can dream the Earth itself into a different shape.” All this is obvious nonsense, but it’s worth thinking about why it’s had the impact it has.

But lately, there’s been a change; something new and furious is growing in the community. ‘No Forests on Flat Earth’ is an incredible new theory, proposed only last month. Its claim is grand, counterintuitive, and beautiful: we were lied to; our flat earth has no forests. Thousands of people are ready to believe it. This might prove to be important; you can’t understand our reality without understanding those dark and secret places where it’s denied. New discoveries in mainstream science just tell us about the physical universe; earth-shattering developments in the conspiracy-theory fringe tell us what’s happening to ourselves. ‘No Forests on Flat Earth’ might be the future of weirdness, and it’s utterly magnificent.

The response to the video has been huge...

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