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Sex in a One Dimensional universe?

Life as we can conceive of it could probably not exist in a one dimensional universe; however, that does not mean it’s not interesting to think about life in a world with only one dimension


The world you live in is an infinite line. It stretches endlessly in both directions; however, you would never be aware of that. You would also be a line (and in all probability) you would be a great many degrees of magnitude smaller than the universe). The world around you would probably be even smaller. The only part of the world you would encounter in any way would be the world in directly in front of you, and the world directly behind you. These spaces would in all likelihood (assuming life) be the relatively short distance between you and your two neighbors. In your entire existence, those would be the only other beings that you would be aware of at any given time other than yourself. (You could know of other organisms indirectly, but you can only encounter two at any given moment.)

Assuming the existence of life, some sort of reproduction is necessary. Sexual reproduction would be possible. For that sort of reproduction to be possible, two adjacent line organisms would have to somehow sever a part of them and have them joined to form a new line organism. The mother and the father would then never see each other again. (If movies and literature are possible in this world, I suppose this would surely be a common topic) Even more disturbing (and possibly very Freudian) is the fact that each line organism would have a choice of only two possible partners: Mom and Dad. In addition, One of every “baby-line’s” parents would also be its grandparent! This is one society where everything really does Stay in the Family!

This diagram is an example of a family tree in this universe. Only the mother’s side is completely expanded, so we’ll assume that this stick world is a matrilineal society.

---------------mom----------- ------------------------dad----------------
---------mom------ -----------baby I--------- ------------dad-----------
----grandmother/mom---- -----baby II---- ---baby I/dad--- --dad--

For the sake of this diagram, we assume that Baby I and Baby II are both male to illustrate this point. Each has the choice of two mates, and the original mom continues to have children who only have the ability to reproduce with her. This means that in this world, having sex with your own grandma is not abnormal, but instead a fairly common experience!

This would be a nightmare for biodiversity. The gene pool would remain virtually stagnant as there would be no way to spread the genes out among “lines” of different families as that would require the existence of a whole extra dimension (the 2nd dimension) for that to occur. Mutations Could still occur as it would be assumed that for life to exist, some sort of electromagnetic radiation must also exist; therefore there would be some sort of radiation that could possibly alter a gene.

Homosexuality while not a means of reproduction on its own could prove to be a very prevalent issue in this world. For example, let’s take this family tree:

---------------female1----------- ------------------------male1---------------
--------female1------ -----------male2--------- ------------male1-----------
----female1---- ---- ---------male3---- ---male2 (trapped!)------ -----male1---

It’s not an unlikely scenario in this world that an organism of a certain sex be trapped between two organisms of the same-sex. As the nature of the world: an organism may only communicate with two organisms at any given time (both of them close family); therefore it is a very common event that an organism become stuck in a position where it is unable to reproduce. In that state, it will live out the days of its life. The only friends (and lovers if line creatures are so inclined) that male 2 may have is of the same sex! It is trapped unless a 2nd dimension magically manifests itself! As that’s not too likely, it’s trapped for the duration of its life! Even if he kills his brother or father he is still trapped. The corpse cannot go anywhere- there's only one dimension.

The best survival scenario example for these organisms would involve hermaphroditic sex organs. It would maximize the number of lines that could be produced, and would prevent isolation syndrome.

In general sexual reproduction is a better way to maximize the spread of advantageous genes, and this one-dimensional universe would be no different. Even in a world without any pleasures conceivable to us and other three dimensional organisms, sex would still serve its purpose and possibly lead to interesting societies unlike anything on earth.

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