It good to think about how Euclid's postulates look like in the real projective plane:
- two parallel lines on the plane meet at a point on the sphere!Since there is one point of infinity for each direction, there is one such point for every direction the two parallel lines might be at. The parallel postulate does not hold, and is replaced with a simpler more elegant version: every two lines meet at exactly one point.
- points in the real projective plane are lines in
- For every two projective points there is a single projective line that passes through them.Note however that not all lines in the real plane correspond to a projective line: only lines tangent to a circle at zero do.
Unlike the real projective line which is homotopic to the circle, the real projective plane is not homotopic to the sphere.
The topological difference bewteen the sphere and the real projective space is that for the sphere all those points in the x-y circle are identified to a single point.
One more generalized argument of this is the classification of closed surfaces, in which the real projective plane is a sphere with a hole cut and one Möbius strip glued in.