Many science fiction stories have one feature in common. The scientific developments and technologies they project have a sense of credibility about them, even when they appear far from possible. This sense is derived from the fact that the scientific ideas proposed, no matter how fanciful, remain at their heart more or less faithful to the logic systems that characterise the modern scientific method. The stories usually speculate about alternative scenarios regarding the application of this method, not about the method itself as a way to reason with exactitude about the world. Naturally, these speculations might later prove untenable for a variety of reasons, but the system of mathematically grounded principles does not as a rule suffer in terms of its theoretical validity. One plus one remains two. Indeed, demonstrating a grasp of scientific principles, practices, and philosophies is for some authors almost a required leitmotif in the genre.
A collection of stories about technology’s desire to be the master of creativity, and what results when it tries to take total control of this human trait.
Fy-Scy Fables is the author’s second publication in the recent genre, Fy-Sy (Fictive-Science). As the name implies, the science in this genre is implausible, non-credible, and absurd.
After capsule computers, called tapeworms, had been swallowed by all Internet users, it became possible to determine in advance what Virtualists might in the future commit a crime against Virtuality. All those charged were prosecuted in The Court of Possibility; if found Probable, they were immediately stripped of all their user rights, never again, ever, to enjoy the wonders of Virtuality, or even the normal gluttonous fare of the Internet. Their one hope to avoid this bleak, disconnected future was to engage the famous defence counsellor, Roger Sattana, a.k.a. The Devil. The Devil’s Trials were the most visited sites on the Web, claiming the attention of all Virtualists and most non-creative onliners, alike. Even Virtual God logged-on, occasionally.
Virtual Crimes is the author’s third publication in the recent genre, Fy-Sy (Fictive-Science). As the name implies, the science in this genre is implausible, non-credible, and absurd.
Book One: The Battle of the Clouds
In the opening decades of the new millennium a startling fact emerges about the Internet. This revelation changes the entire history of humanity, and eventually leads to the world’s largest corporation trying to take complete control of the Internet. A small band, led by a legendary Web Raider, sets out to stop this happening. A fierce fight between the two forces ends in a catastrophic disaster that causes the entire Web to sink into the depths of electronic madness.
War of the Web is the author’s first publication in the recent genre, Fy-Sy (Fictive-Science). As the name implies, the science in this genre is implausible, non-credible, and absurd.
It is precisely this basic respect for the foundational element of real-world science that enables sci-fi to be positioned as a prophetic window through which to glimpse what may lie ahead, envisage alternative realities, or to speculate on the blessings and dangers inherent in a modern society so dependant on technology. While there is some dispute about just how successful this genre is at prophecy, and whether or not this feature constitutes its main appeal to its readers, there is little doubt that sci-fi is the fiction of choice when it comes to “what-if” questions.
Of course, this linkage to existing scientific and technological practices grounded in mathematical logic comes as no surprise, for no matter how fantastic the world imagined it is always in the style of the world we inhabit. Which is to say nothing more than, stripped of its philosophical raiment and complexity, the system of mathematical logic is said to mirror both the apparent causality of the world around us, and Nature’s ease at repeatability. Little wonder we stand in awe at a discipline that emulates on one hand what it seeks to unlock the secrets of on the other.
For all of that, this highly successful form of reasoning is often critiqued in philosophical and cultural studies as having morphed into a self-generating, self-enclosed activity that speaks the truth to reality over and above all other disciplines. A self-appointed truth-deity or truth-enabler that, nonetheless, has fuelled its explanatory and predictive powers to the point of deserved astonishment. What area of everyday life has not found itself at some point under the gaze of technology, or minutely explained by some mathematical formulae, notwithstanding the rapacious commercialism of the former, and the latter’s tendency to bracket-out the mercurial river of the emotive from its equations? Both qualifiers proving, no doubt, that every paradise has a snake, just as every snake knows where paradise is.
Yet, the western scientific and technological world is not the only world we inhabit. Indeed, a science not strictly and wholly governed by western philosophical-mathematical heritage is also possible. For instance, imagine if science had continued to be driven by Arabic sensibilities rather than having them sidelined by ancient Greek ones, then the very concept of what constitutes credibility would be vastly different. Attempting to control Nature (even surpass, or destroy it, a.k.a. genetic engineering and nuclear physics) would not exist as a motive, or the idea that everything is eventually knowable. All of existence, in this alternative view, would eschew being coerced into a mathematical manifold. Technology would be in the service of celebrating Nature, not posited as some alternative reality, virtually accessed, at a price everyone, well almost everyone, can afford. Twittering tweets, would, essentially, be left to the birds.
Equally, it is also possible to imagine a science not of necessity shackled to any sense of credibility or even plausibility, or exclusively anchored to some dominant cultural sensibility; possible to imagine a science grounded in a form of absurdity, perhaps even in so-called madness, both of which, as is well known, enjoy a logic all their own. What part of the world do we inhabit that could act as the fundament for such an imagined science, such a fictional system of reasoning? One possible fertile ground is the field of derangement, as it appears here and there in a world obsessed with order. A few examples will serve to illustrate what I mean.
Infinity as Paradox (I:
Zeno’s Achilles can never catch the tortoise because before the Greek hero can even get half way to where the tortoise is the erstwhile creature has already advanced further. Getting half way again produces the same result: Achilles’ halves are never quite half enough. In other words, any action can be divided into an infinite number of points; thus, a finite entity must reach each point in the hope of completing any specified action. Hence, all finite actions are impossible to complete.
As some anonymous person once warned: Beware of half-truths, you may have the wrong half. Had Achilles been aware of this musing he almost certainly would never have entered the race in the first place, and he definitely would not have tried to beat the tortoise by running behind it. Alternatively, even if Achilles had given up on halves and ran at breakneck speed in the opposite direction he would still be obliged to cover an infinite distance to get to the finish line before the tortoise.
This well known paradox highlights like no other the problem with division. Nothing can stop it. What can be initially divided can be divided infinitely, (an infinity of continuance is probably also true of the other three common functions of mathematics, but that need not be of concern on this occasion). Infinity is simply a destination too far.
God, on the other hand, is already infinite, (is everywhere at once). Because any division of infinity is still infinity, then any action by God must, by definition, be infinite in its scope, (i.e., without limit). Yet, everyday God is called upon to grant individual requests from mortals, which, also by definition, are finite in their nature. If God granted these requests then infinity (divine action) would be reducible (per pleadings) to an array of finitudes. Thus, in order for infinity to remain irreducible to nothing less than itself (for God to remain omnipresent), all prayers must remain unanswered.
Clearly, a paraph may be gleaned from both paradoxes, namely: 1) Inertia is equal to infinite division if and only if infinity remains indivisible. In layman’s terms, if something needs to be done then avoid fractions and faith.
Infinity as Paradox (II:
From any given point the universe stretches out infinitely in every direction. Because infinity is equal only to itself it follows that the final amount of distance and time to traverse the universe must be the same in every direction. Hence every position (every starting point) is the centre of the universe. That being the case, then every designation is also the centre of the universe. If everywhere is the centre and every destination the centre then infinity is simply the centre of itself. Yet every centre is by everyday definition a finitude implying a circumference/perimeter, which in the case of infinity does not exist because everywhere is the centre. This leads to the conclusion that, either the totality of infinity is a definable finitude, which is a contradiction in terms, or the perimeter of every finitude is infinite, which is also a contradiction in terms. Clearly, there is an unbridgeable gap between finitude and infinity, albeit they depend on each other for a definition of their difference.
The paraph hiding in this gap is: 2) If everything is something, then each something is everything. Or to put that in ordinary psychiatric parlance: anything that is the biggest is bound to be egocentric, bound to think it is the centre of everything.
Combining the two paraphs respectively derived from forever stalled action, and mutually interdependent exclusiveness, produces the first two Obeli that are inherently necessary for any fictional science to maintain its desired level of incoherence: 1) Infinite incompleteness is bounded by limits; 2) Every limit is infinitely incomplete. In everyday language that would mean: if nothing can be done then doing nothing is nothing done.
Brewster’s invention is without doubt the most beguiling instrument ever created by an eminent scientist, who, it needs to be noted, was a genuine polymath. It is also one of the few, if not the only scientific instrument to be relegated to the nursery, becoming an enchanting toy for children and adults, alike. It also became the quintessential metaphor for the fragmentation of modern life. Its particular form of derangement is unusual, to say the least.
Based on a precise application of Euclidean geometry and traditional optics theory, the kaleidoscope generates a visual array that produces to the eye a geometric pattern of clones that are multiples of the scenes within its visual range. The derangement resulting from this empirical action is two-fold: A) it seamlessly joins asymmetrical objects to produce a single symmetrical image; B) it disorders and distorts reality, specifically the perception thereof, by the simple act of radial multiplication. In a nutshell, science is employed to collapse the distinction between symmetry and asymmetry, and to confound perception. Little wonder this instrument of precision was shunted off to the nursery. Little wonder it became a metaphor.
Fortunately, this double infringement of the generally accepted belief that science speaks an unequivocal truth about reality generates an important paraph: 3) Mathematical empiricism is essential in undermining the truth function of the senses. Or, as a child might say to its parents, “Be careful, my toys bite!”
One of the most intriguing plots in the history of English literature, Abbott’s, Flatland, a romance of many dimensions, brings to light, (via an anthropomorphic register), the dilemma of taking for reality what is just a method: namely, the concept of dimensional divisibility.
In this 19th century tale, geometric creatures, let us call them geometricals, are two-dimensional and live in a two-dimensional world (Flatland). They see each other only as straight lines, of greater or lesser lengths. As they have no depth they see no depth. Suddenly, a three-dimensional geometrical, a Sphere, from a higher dimensional world (Spaceland) pays a visit to Flatland. One of Flatland’s inhabitants, a Square, initially sees this tourist as a line that varies in length depending on how much of the visitor’s form penetrates the plane that constitutes Flatland. A dilemma arises when the visitor tries to explain his world to the Square, whose senses are in accord with and limited by the world he inhabits. The visitor’s descriptions of his own world are finally comprehended by the Square, but only after being transported by the Sphere to Spaceland. However, such knowledge, along with the empirical excursion, does not translate into a corresponding change in the Square’s physical form. He remains a square. What then does he actually understand, with respect to this “other” world?
He comes to believe that reality is divided into separate layers each one inhabited by different shaped creatures whose knowledge of existence is limited by the nature of their respective dimension; the higher the dimension, the fuller the understanding of existence. On the other hand, it follows that the Sphere is probably aware that the Square’s understanding does not make the latter into a three-dimensional geometrical. Hence, to the Sphere, what the Square understands can only, at best, be a truncated version of the three-dimensional reality experienced by all Spacelanders. The Square’s understanding is therefore relative, but true nonetheless to his lights, which by definition is also respectively true of the Sphere’s grasp of reality.
Without ascribing a higher truth-value to one geometrical’s dimension over the other, (and cognizant that modern science is forever postulating more and more dimensions), the truth to reality as a whole becomes relative to what dimension the respective geometrical inhabits. Accepting this forces a dilemma onto the scientific notion of an aboriginal reality over and above the diverse realities of human existence. This becomes apparent when the question is asked: if different dimensions generate different truths then what can overcome this relativity? What (non-dimensional?) world needs to be inhabited in order to access this supposed aboriginal reality, access its non-relative (universal) truth? Is geometry the ancilla of relativity or its exit? Or is relativity an inescapable correlate to a multi-dimensional universe, as indeed are different shapes?
Fortunately, along with the emergence of this dilemma, a paraph is waiting in the wings to reshape the problem: 4) The number of spatial dimensions is inversely relative to the amount of space available. Or to translate that into local concerns: The larger your house the less likely you are to bump into any of your relatives.
Two more Obeli may be gleaned from combining the paraphs respectively derived from instrumental truth, and geometry’s myopia: 3) Technology is a form of blindness; 4) Universal truths are impossible to prove but relatively easy to see. In simpler terms: Avoid gadgets that do not work everywhere, unless you like them and your relatives don’t.
In Kafka’s, The Metamorphosis, a man awakens to discover he has become an insect. From that moment on the story relates the changes foisted onto himself and his family by this strange occurrence. Kafka never explains how or why his protagonist suffered such a drastic alteration to his being; neither does he describe in any detail what kind of insect the man has become. No chain of causal logic prior to the event is ever offered, other than the fact that the main character was once a man and is now an insect, albeit one still basically capable of human thoughts and emotions, although unable to communicate them linguistically.
Without an initiating causal chain being established the story becomes a condition-of-possibility tale. In other words: what does being an insect with human memories, and living in a human environment, make possible in fictive terms? One possibility is how derangement can be a generative force in creating a brighter future.
Having begun with a radical, unexplained absurdity – an impossible metamorphosis – the story continues in this vein with the family accepting this transformation without question. This ready acceptance of the absurd leads to derangements for each family member; their normal lives are thrown into disarray as they adjust to the presence of the insect brother/son. Their individual derangements ultimately coalesce into a pattern of deception that masks an insane-like system of caring for, and anger towards, the creature in their midst. This dichotomous behaviour eventually creates a more productive and happier life for everyone in the family except the insect, who eventually dies.
From the perspective of creating a fictional science, this story offers-up a useful paraph that can readily be extrapolated from, namely: 5) Survival is a terminal residue of extinction, specifically in Kafka’s story: metaphoric transference is an essential process for dysfunction to culminate in success. Or in everyday terms, living with relatives can turn one into an insect.
In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, we encounter the myth of Narcissus and Echo. Narcissus is a handsome, fair-haired youth who spurns all love until by chance he looks into a pool. Mistaking his reflection for the face of an ethereal beauty he becomes obsessed with this image to the point where he falls completely in love with it. Echo, for her part, has her own afflictions. The only words she can speak are the ends of phrases uttered by others. She is also obsessed with love, not for some reflection but for Narcissus himself. Given Narcissus’ disdain for the declarations of love from others, and given that Echo’s entreaties are hampered by having no words of her own to speak, her love for the handsome youth remains forever unrequited.
Eventually, Echo hides in caves and withers away until only her voice remains, forever repeating the last words of whatever she hears. Narcissus also fades away because he does nothing else but stare into the pool. At his death he changes into a beautiful flower (with golden petals) that hangs forlornly over the river’s edge, its image constantly reflected in the water.
This myth hides within its folds one of the most complicated derangements imaginable. The key to uncovering it lies more with Echo’s afflictions and only secondarily with those of Narcissus. When language speaks to itself, as it does in poetry, something is lost and gained in this conversation. What is often lost is grammar; the glue that language depends on to secure what will count as transmittable coherency. What is gained is emotive reflection, the opportunity to air that which often remains silent. Any angst that might occur because of loss is usually effectively cancelled by what is gained. In poor Echo’s case, this situation is reversed.
Although an echo in its natural state is a form of language speaking to itself, it rarely involves a loss of grammar. Perfectly grammatically correct sentences can be composed using only two or three words. Indeed, their very conciseness would seem to exalt grammar more than diminish its power. When the initial utterance by someone else is in the form of a question, repeating the last few words can often appear to be an answer or a query, prompting further “conversation.” The derangement an echo produces is not through a lack of syntax logic, but rather when the initial speaker realises he is listening to himself, engaging in conversation with a phenomena, a trick of nature.
Alas-alas, poor Echo. Her derangement occurs precisely because she always knows she is not speaking to herself. The problem is that she has no words of her own to express her thoughts or feelings. The words she is obliged to use are sounds that lack any motive relative to her being. Every time she speaks causes her to lose more of herself, causes her to become a phantom to herself. This process is only further exacerbated by the fact that she can never instigate a conversation; her lot in life is simply one that makes her forever a (sound) reflection of words belonging to others. A reflection that is forever unloved because it is merely a noise in the wind, an unwanted distraction to the object of her love, Narcissus. Reduced to being a verbal zephyr slavishly dependent on the whim of its creator is to suffer a corporeal and existential derangement unlike any other. In a sense, she has become Narcissus’ reflection (echoing his words), except she is forever beyond his gaze, if not his hearing. Alas-alas, poor Echo, poor Echo.
Narcissus’ derangement is less severe. Self-love is without doubt a kind of absurdity, and certainly one that turns everyone else into a phantom, into an unwanted irritant. The problem for him is that he takes for another person what is simply his reflection. Yet this visual echo is unable to speak, although it is capable of gestures, albeit ones that are always dependent on their creator. Ironically, its unflinching gaze encourages Narcissus to believe his adoration is not without hope, trapping him in a cycle of gazing that produces nothing more than itself. Foregoing all other activities, his obsession with this watery illusion finally washes away his life until he becomes merely a sad plant incapable of even seeing its own beauty reflected in the river below its feet. He has been transformed into an object that is unable to see itself, see its own beauty; an object now loved only by others with a passion that is a mere echo of what was once Narcissus’ own love of himself.
The paraph generated by this part aetiological, part cautionary myth is: 6) Reflections are processes of absorption that effectively deflect illumination. Or to put that in the form of a colloquial adage: Seeing yourself and listening to others is highly recommended to those who have poor eyesight and are partially deaf.
Combining the paraph of dysfunctional success with that of collapsing identities, two more Obeli come to light: 5) Continuance is a terminal function that never ends; 6) Terminal functions are self-reflexive and depreciate over time. That would be the same thing as saying in political jargon: Don’t change deckchairs on the Titanic until it has sunk.
Seeing Nothing (I:
The last stanza of Mearns’ 19th century poem, Antigonish, is sensorial derangement at its most charming.
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away.
Seeing nothing is one of those delightful misdemeanours of language. Claims to having observed absence in its many forms is a linguistic commonplace often grounded in exclusion: exonerating oneself, implying a studied indifference, or professing ignorance, and so on. All of which might be called, the three monkeys syndrome. It is also an effective conversation killer, and can be used to elude being labelled as an eyewitness, a very necessary device in a world drowning in surveillance.
Furthermore, verbal incoherency married to visual impossibility is generally an effective bulwark against excessive common sense and the stultifying limitations it often imposes on many creative enterprises. Quite simply, tearing the fabric of language produces seemingly unbridgeable gaps in meaning, thus giving language the opportunity to generate new meanings when trying to mend the tears. Indeed, seeing something that is not there is much more likely to activate the collective imagination, as well as challenging the obsession of verifying in language what is there for all to see. Unfortunately, the sensorial hierarchy of presence over absence is difficult to dislodge, unless one resorts to derangement, as evidenced in the above stanza.
Not only does the poem’s narrator see something that is not there, he also wishes that it would go away. This is a rare example of a double negative that does not generate a positive. The situation described remains forever in the realm of negation. It is therefore linguistic delinquency to label this insightful assault on the tyranny of grammar/common sense as a conundrum or a paradox (or both), or worse, as nonsense verse. No verse could be further from nonsense. Rather, it deranges the order of sight so that it is no longer beholding to physicality, to definable laws of optics, to expectations, etc. Speak to any child to alleviate any doubts on this score. Things that are not there are seen everyday, and twice as many on Sunday, when it rains, or when the lights are turned off.
Indeed, this poem highlights the power of absurdity to over-ride logic, self-evident truths, and all those other foes of fantasy. It also encourages the reader’s imagination to avoid being exhausted by self-righteous plausibility, at the same time as forcing the production of meaning to re-examine its grip on coherency. In short, if the imagination is any one thing then it is surely its ability to see what is not there to be seen, to see beyond presence and look into the teeming void where things forever linger in their absence, just waiting for us to notice them.
Accordingly, the paraph that can be derived from this visual tear is one of the simplest: 7) Seeing isn’t. Or in the now extinct Juu san prosody:
I can see
what is not
if I stare.
Seeing Nothing (II:
Real science is full of derangements that unintentionally appear through the application of more science. In 1877, the Italian astronomer, Giovanni Schiaparelli, reported seeing Canali (channels) on the surface of Mars. This term was mistranslated into English as Canals. As channels they could easily be understood as the handiwork of Nature. As canals they implied deliberate construction by some entity, as yet unknown and unobserved. The entire fictive industry of Life on Mars, Martians, Little Green Men, etc., grew out of this one mistranslation.
Some time later, another Italian astronomer, Vincenzo Cerulli, theorised that the canals were merely an optical illusion. Photographs sent back in the 1960s by Mariner 4 confirmed this view. The first astronomer saw what was not there, the second said there was nothing there to see, wishing no doubt that what was not there would go away. And it did. Mariner 4 saw that what was never there was in fact never there again. The canals simply vanished. The surprising thing is it took so long for the mistranslation to lose it force, with both scientists and the public, alike.
Conversely, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the canals were filled in by those who originally made them. The telescopic power between the time of Schiaparelli and that of Mariner 4 was not sufficient to witness such labour, only its result. If this was the case, then the initial linguistic mistake was simply a fortuitous happenstance. Of course, what the Martians might be up to now is anyone’s guess. We will just have to wait and see, or not, as the case may be. To make things even more deranged, they have probably already left Mars and settled on another planet where they are building more canals, patiently waiting for us to see them, and then no longer see them, respectively – i.e., Last night I saw upon a faraway distant mound/ A little green man who wasn’t digging the ground/ He wasn’t digging the ground again today…etc.
On a more galactic scale, half the stars seen no longer exist but their light is still reaching us; half the stars that do exist cannot be seen because their light has yet to get here. We can see what is no longer there, but are unable to see half of what is there. It would seem that we are immersed in a celestial sea of half-truths, not knowing exactly which half is which. Thus proving, perhaps, that absence is a natural law that breaks the abutment of cause and effect by favouring first one and then the other as the force that drives the heaven’s machinations.
The paraph brought into view by both these extraterrestrial absences is: 8) Seeing with words enables what is not there to come into view before it goes away. Or in the language of translators: If the meaning is cross-culturally, or trans-galactic-ally sensible, it is probably wrong.
The final two Obeli generated by the paraphs of visible negations and negated visions are: 7) Absent tropes affirm reality by subtraction, lingering in the process; 8) Reality is the sum of all tropes and a multiple of itself. Or in the words of the unknown, ancient Spanish card player: “I’ll see you, and raise you one, no, two reals.”
Before concluding this cursory examination of derangement as a fundament for the creation of any fictional science, it will be useful to include a list of the observations thus far, and then precede to an important matter, one that will act as a staunch barrier against any slide back into credibility.
Disordia of Paraphs & Obeli:
Paraphs: (applied science)
1) Inertia is equal to infinite division if and only if infinity remains indivisible
2) If everything is something, then each something is everything
3) Mathematical empiricism is essential in undermining the truth function of the senses
4) The number of spatial dimensions is inversely relative to the amount of space available
5) Survival is a terminal residue of extinction
6) Reflections are processes of absorption that effectively deflect illumination
7) Seeing isn’t
8) Seeing with words enables what is not there to come into view before it goes away
Obeli: (theoretical science)
1) Infinite incompleteness is bounded by limits
2) Every limit is infinitely incomplete.
3) Technology is a form of blindness
4) Universal truths are impossible to prove but relatively easy to see
5) Continuance is a terminal function that never ends
6) Terminal functions are self-reflexive and depreciate over time
7) Absent tropes affirm reality by subtraction, lingering in the process
8) Reality is the sum of all tropes, and a multiple of itself
After the Theory of Relativity appeared, and Quantum Physics challenged the inviolability of cause and effect, several scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and the like, devoted their efforts to finding a Theory of Everything (ToE). Unfortunately, accommodating Nature’s endless vicissitudes, both macro and micro, make this task extremely difficult. The fact that such a theory must also be unimpeachably coherent, and irrefutably provable, does little to suggest that success is just around the corner.
Conversely, fictional science will be able to avoid these constraints due to the fact that a concept dealing with everything, and unfettered by coherency and proof, already exists in the world of the deranged, namely: a Theory of Nothing (ToN).
There are two things that presumably are indivisible: Infinity, and Nothing. Divide all you like, the net result will be the same: Infinity will remain infinite, and Nothing will remain Nothing. On the other hand, many things can be divided infinitely (see Zeno), except Nothing. This situation is reversed with addition. Infinity plus something still equals infinity. Yet, add something to Nothing and the result is something, albeit the same something that is being added. In fact, any thing that may doubt its existence need only add Nothing to itself and its existence will be instantly affirmed. As existence is by nature precarious, then Nothing is essential for any stability to be enjoyed. This simple fact accounts for the ubiquity of Nothing. Its presence is everywhere, yet it also represents absence, including the absence of itself, i.e., presence. Not even infinity can boast that range.
From this may be deduced a perfectly incoherent theory, which, applied correctly, can derange anything: Nothing guarantees Everything. It is hard to imagine a more elegant or simpler theory.
Given all of the above, fictional science will certainly inhabit many interesting cul-de-sacs, perhaps even one day taking up permanent residency in the supreme infinite finitude, i.e., the Mobius Strip. Fortunately, in all of these places it will not be burdened by credibility; or respect for its origins. It will also probably be impervious to criticism as it is unabashedly deranged in the first place. Not a small plus for writers with a left-handed twist to their quills.
Or, as the ever elusive E.T. Anonimo once said, when outward bound:
If time was all, and space was naught,
Think of all the time we’ve gaught.
If life was long, and death was short,
There’d be nothing to exhort.
If absolute vacuums don’t exist
Because they are abhorred,
Then who’s to say what will be missed
When everything can be stored
If all the animals were dead and gone
And we had ceased to be,
There’d be no beauty in the dawn
Because nothing left could see
If stars that shine aren’t always there,
And moonlight’s just a trick,
Then all of space is just a prayer,
And infinity’s much too thick.
So let us wish that nothing stays
And all the mights turn into mays.
Then the little man who isn’t there
Will have the time to grow his hair.
Any shift in a literary focus from fictive scientific scenarios shadowed by credibility to that of a fictional science born from derangement will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows among the true-bloods. However, the memory cited below, will, I’m sure, go a long way in assuaging their concerns.
I once heard of an eleven year old child who was asked by his science teacher to describe the heavens. The student replied: “The stars are holes in the sky that let the light shine through. They are higgledy-piggledy so the light can shine on everything.”
“That’s absurd!” said the teacher to one of cosmology’s rare prodigies.
“Exactly correct,” said the young genius, no doubt delighted to have such a perceptive teacher.
I am not referring here to something akin to pseudo-science, which pays more than lip service to the logic systems of modern science. Indeed, it aspires to be taken seriously, which will never be said of the fictional science imagined here.
The tortoise has the same problem: it can never get to the finish line (its only advantage being that it started ahead of its rival). Therefore, the more interesting problem is: how stable is the finish line? Is it also moving in a universe that may be expanding faster than previously thought, rushing, one might say, to the final disembarkation point: in the quick-sand of entropy? If so, then the closer the universe gets to this gluttonous trap the slower everything will become because things will begin to be increasingly starved of energy, finally getting to the point where no race can even begin, let alone be won. Clearly, athletics of any stripe will not feature largely when energy equalises itself at the end of time.
Albeit, a musing quite difficult as the supposed Trojan Wars, in which Achilles’ prowess were so lauded, occurred almost certainly before this anonymous alert was sounded; still, such pedantry has little to do with paradoxes.
Running sideways would perhaps have been better, because the curvature of space might have been to his advantage, although certainly this would entail an infinite amount of navigation on his part.
Even God’s Particle is already rapidly dividing into anaemic angels.
Here, a paraph refers to some salient idea that underpins a derangement, and/or can be subsequently applied in a specified situation in order to retain incoherency, or mark the border of one derangement and the beginning of another.
Used in this context, Obeli (sing: obelus: symbol ÷), are infinitely divisible mantras that generate deranged concepts that indicate a spurious or doubtful grasp or reality, and as such, are essential for fictional science to remain unshackled to either credibility, plausibility, or the onus of proof. This in turn allows Fy-Sy to journey through a literary universe not governed by the philosophical lineage of reason or the rigorous exactitude of mathematics. It may therefore happily make its way without the slightest possibility of becoming today’s prophetic harbinger of tomorrow’s wonders or fears.
Or, to paraphrase a famous Chinese conundrum generator, perhaps the protagonist was once an insect that dreamed it was a man dreaming he is now an insect that was once a man. In this alternative view, Kafka’s story could also be seen as an insect’s somnambulistic speculation on the human condition and its tendency to emulate the world of the insect in an effort to bring more order to existence; (i.e., modern society inhabiting forests of identical high-rise apartment blocks that resemble hives. Regrettably, a honeyed life is rarely the outcome of such planning delinquency.)
A fictive case in point: in order to maintain its incoherence, Inward Larches’ little known, unpublished, and lost theory, Terminus of Species, through Natural De-selection, is grounded in this paraph.
Gazing only at the self causes its significance to fade away in the eyes of others (in contemporary American slang, “he’s nothing but a plant to me”) whose gaze is essential for self-hood to exist in the first place; (or as will be noted in a yet to be compiled, Gray’s Deranged Dictionary of Fictive Science: self (from Old English, sylf), with suffix, –love: a plural noun masquerading in singular form in order to, 1] generate more flora, which in turn will help combat pollution by making the world more beautiful; 2] create ego-based immolation, without the flames).
It needs to be noted that, speculating on what could be there but is not there, is not the same thing as seeing something that is not there.
Juu san poetry has 5 lines with 13 syllables in a 3/3/1/3/3 formation. Regrettably, this is the only extant example to survive the Cascadia Tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan on the 27th January 1700. The original is in my private collection of non-existent prosodies.
i.e., it will be some time before all the ToEs find their sea-legs. Furthermore, these last two requirements of coherency and proof also make it difficult for any deity to step into the breach and become the ToE.
By Nothing I am not referring to empty space, which has recently been filled up with Higgs Bosons, and dark matter/energy. Surely there is enough of everything without finding more of it? If this obsession with origins is not curbed, then Nothing will be the only thing left that hasn’t been found.
The fact that this makes ToN also a ToE is merely a gift from Nature.
From this may be deduced the one truly dubious law that governs all derangement, and hence a necessary aid in formulating a fictional science: If a child can’t understand it, it’s probably wrong. Or to put that in Zoological terms: Laughing in the ruins is the perfect antidote when bitten by the European Common Adder (vipera berus) or its insatiable cousin, the Sand Divider (vipera divido), the two most venomous members of the species, vipera mathematicus, more commonly known as, “The Serpent of Logic.”
How fortunate for the student to live in an age that is on the cusp of endarkenment, itself driven by derangements that will surely meet all his expectations, and then some.