Y Magazine

Column: Is the Earth round?

Is the Earth round? Hasan al Lawati tries to figure out the truth after YouTube-hopping and decides — flat out — to keep the door open to unpopular opinion, too.



Last week, during an aimless YouTube-surfing session, I dived deep into the world of conspiracy theory videos.

I stumbled upon an interview with a Brazilian scientist who asked very basic questions to debunk the widely believed round-Earth story.

Thanks to my embarrassingly shallow understanding of science, I failed to see any flaw in his speculations.

But the man successfully made me question the very basic belief that we were taught at a very early stage of life.

I know. It sounds stupid, and I am not here to prove anything. But the idea of doubting the principles that formed the foundation of our belief system was just scary and amusing at the same time.

Nothing is utterly wrong (except in maths). And blocking our minds from seeking the truth and accepting the 1 per cent chance of mistake is, I believe, an acknowledgement of insecurity.

Even — possibly — the most agreed upon reality, ‘our planet is round-shaped’, has deniers. A whole organised society was formed more than 60 years ago to prove otherwise.

Moral of the story: Why not keep a small part our brain doors open to unpopular opinion? How harmful can this be? Prophets, scientists, philosophers and many others who made history started their journeys with an unpopular opinion that cost some of them their lives.

Over to Japanese author Aki Shimizu: “Every lie contains truth, and every truth contains a lie.”