In a small cube, no longer than twenty-five meters each side, there is a civilization. It doesn’t care what goes on outside their cube: they’ve never thought about what’s outside. They believe this is all there is, only their cube, nothing more, nothing less. And why shan’t they? This has all they need, and all they think they will need; there’s no need to make more technology. They know where everything is, what with the size of their world. In the high corner of the box, there sits an object. The people don’t care what it is. To them, it just is. It hasn’t caused them harm yet, and they believe that it can’t, and never will. The thing moves in a strange, seemingly random pattern. It makes noises, but they have no immediate pattern. As with all civilizations, this people has a language, but it isn’t like any other language. They have no words for “up,” “down,” “left,” “right,” “forward,” or “backward.” They know the positions of things by the walls; they say not “to the right wall,” but “to wall(r).” Although they have no word for wall, because with all their neighbors in such a close distance, and so little territory, they have never thought to protect their stuff with walls. The walls have their own, individual, unique name. They have no word for “civilization:” There’s none other than themselves, and why bother creating a word for multiple of something, if there is only one? They can’t think of other groups, because the thought has never crossed their mind, and can’t ever cross their minds, because there’s nothing that would ever prompt them to. They have no word for “light.” Light is omnipresent in their world, from sources invisible to them, yet bright enough and spread enough to light up their world. There’s no need to say light; they don’t think about how it affects the world. This civilization is doomed to this fate indefinitely; they cannot think outside the box. They are trapped not by the walls, but by themselves, their own minds, their own thoughts (or lack thereof.) They weren’t put here for a reason; in fact, they weren’t even put here. This is a unique civilization, evolving in this cube. There is nothing to them but this cube; this is it. This isn’t anything special: it’s just life. All reason, all importance, anything that is real is only in here. There is nothing else. They don’t need anything more. There are three ways they can free themselves: They run out of space for something, such as bodies or food or corpses. One of the slight mutations that inevitably occurs during reproduction creates a child who is able to think outside the box; he spreads his word, and the civilization escapes. An accident occurs, knocking the wall ever so slightly apart. They can ask the thing in the corner to help. But none of these options would work. Each one has their own problems. Problem number one: They can’t run out of space. The math doesn’t work like that. Their reproduction rate prevents any form of severe overpopulation. They have their population ups and downs, but it all settles out in the end. And if there’s never overpopulation, then there can never be too much food. For the last one, the corpses of the dead decompose quick enough that there’s never going to be too many corpses in the ground, especially with the first two. Problem number two: Mutations are nonexistent. Everyone is too related to each other. This means that they can’t mutate into a philosopher who frees them. Problem number three: The walls are too thick. It would take an explosion to break down the walls, and they’re too stupid to develop gunpowder, let alone blow something up. They don’t experiment; they think everything's been discovered. There’s no use in experimenting, because nothing interesting will happen, so you may as well not do it. Problem number four: Narrators cannot interfere with the flow of a story. When that happens, it completely screws the story over. A narrator interfering with the story will make the characters question who they are, and the concept of free will. This easily transforms any good piece of fiction into a philosophy book, and no one likes reading a philosophy book. Furthermore, as has been stated before, they are too stupid to get that idea. The only way that they could get that idea is if he dropped the piece of paper that he just finished. Which he did. This story is really poorly constructed. Albeit there really don’t seem to be enough accidents in stories. So it could be proposed that this is following a great storyline, except that now the narrator is just complimenting himself. He’s also referring to himself in the third person. He’s even acknowledging it. Oh well. At least the creatures in the box can’t read english. So it seems that this is the end of the story. Except you know this isn’t over. Not in the slightest. No no no. If we look back at the creatures, that paper the narrator (who is still referring to himself in the third person) dropped jump-started a chain of philosophy that ultimately led to the escape of the civilization. One of the first conversations of this era went something like this: “Did this sheet?” “Thing.” “But move only it.” “It do more?” This conversation led to the spread of this news. So they thought “Maybe is more not than think.” So they came up with words such as “light,” “civilization,” “crops,” etcetera. (Translated in their language, of course.) But they didn’t just come up with new nouns, oh no. Heck, their language got a lot more complex. They had verbs, adjectives, adverb...really all parts of speech (although interestingly, there are no articles whatsoever.) Because they hadn’t thought to have each sound of each word represented, the writing system that they came up with for this language was a logography. Well, maybe that’s not the correct word. Instead, each symbol changes based on somethings that vary in the word, such as personage in verbs, or adjective of a noun. Similarly, similar things have similar symbols. It would be pointless to transcribe the sounds of the language into the Latin alphabet, because, having evolved separately from us, they hadn’t developed a “mouth” in the traditional sense. Therefore, their sounds that they had come up with would be, if not impossible, at least requiring at least two people or a surgery. The paper drop also caused the people of the box to think outside the box—literally. A completely different person saw the paper drop and thought “Not occur zero! More not?” So they chose to experiment. What happens when you mix these three powders? Ooo, big red thing! What if I mix it different? Bigger red thing! What if I really mi OW OW OW. If you hadn’t realized yet, this person had discovered gunpowder. Others saw what they did, and decide to try it for themselves. Before too long, everyone was exploding. To sum it up nicely, they busted out of the cube. And there wasn’t anything. They were on a desolate world. There was nothing around them. All that was around them was sand. There were no trees, no vegetation. There was nobody who could help them. They were stranded on this desolate land. There was a reason that cube had been created. It was to preserve the life of this world they were on. But, slowly, all in that box died. And eventually, new life forms evolved in the cube. They shouldn’t have left their cube. It was their only hope, their oasis. The world around them had died, and frankly, it was dangerous just to be outside, because of the way the world had died. They were alone in this world. Or were they?