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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Poem

Weighing the stars in one palm
The heavens burning the side of my face
Looking through that little window
It’s like the eye of some great
Sea monster

The aloneness comes crushing down on me
Like the Red Sea on the Egyptians
I stare out the window and expect to see
A blue sky—clouds—trees—
The sun

Somehow it’s claustrophobic there floating in
The very middle of black eternity
It’s suffocating to breathe this
Icy air recycled from
Star dust

When up and down are just a figment of your
Feverish imagination and it’s hard to think
Of which direction heaven is
Then you’ll really understand
That from
Dust you came.
And to dust
You shall return.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stranger Than Fiction: A Guest Post by Kat

Brief Biography: Kat is a lemon. She's also a friend of mine from school who was so kind to share this piece with me to put up on this blog. Her favorite color is all of them and her favorite word is "beezlebub."

I think we can all agree that for something to be “real,” is must be a part of reality in the waking world, a thing whose existence can be proven. With that in mind, I have two questions.

Question One: Is your left ear real?

Question Two: Is Harry Potter real?

Now, discounting the possibility that at some point in your life you’ve had an unfortunate accident with a stray tiger, or you have the ability to warp reality into a state which allows you to attend a previously fictional wizarding school, the answer to the first question was most likely “yes,” while the answer to the second was most likely “no.” Here’s where I prove you wrong with my insane troll logic, see?

First we’ll tackle the Harry-er problem. See what I did there? Boy, I crack myself sometimes.

For as long as I can remember, Harry Potter has been a part of my life. When I was too young to read the books myself, my parents read them to me. I saw every Harry Potter movie when it was in theaters. When I was ten, I remember growing increasingly desperate as my eleventh birthday approached. I still hadn’t gotten my letter from Hogwarts yet, informing me of my magical potential. I knew Harry Potter and his friends weren’t real, but a little part of my younger self, the final part that hadn’t been corrupted with logic, still wished that they were. I don’t remember much of what happened on my eleventh birthday- I think I can safely assume that I had a wonderful time- but I do remember that feeling of bitter disappointment. I wasn’t going to Hogwarts. I couldn’t do magic. (And I also didn’t get a cat, but that’s another issue entirely.)

I know so much about Harry; his likes, his dislikes, his whole life’s story. That’s why, one day, when I realized I had no idea who one of my classmates was, I had an epiphany. I had been sitting near this person for the entire year. I had been attending Woodward with this person for multiple years. But, despite all this, if you asked me to tell you something about this person, I couldn’t.

I know more about Harry Potter than I do about this very real person, whose homework I may or may not have copied at some point. Hundreds of millions of people around the world could tell you who Harry Potter is. How many people could say who this one completely average, completely real person is? Unless there’s some major world event I am completely out of the loop on, not nearly as many. Does this make Harry Potter more real than my classmate? Maybe it does.

Think of your favorite fictional character. It could be anyone from Han Solo to Haruhi Suzumiya, one of the guys from The Mighty Boosh to the mighty Kamina himself. What would you do if you saw them in real life? Hug them? Ask them for an autograph? Fall to your knees and worship them as a physical god? Think of all the real people that you pass everyday; how many of them would you do one of those things for? You’ve probably never even talked to most of them, nor could you, without the help of a time-turner.

But hold up. How does this make Harry Potter more real? Here’s where your ear gets to play.

I’m thinking about my left ear right now, and so should you. I am not touching it, but I know it’s there, because it exists. But how do I know it exists? Because it’s there?

What we have now is an example of petritio principii, also known as circular reasoning, a logical fallacy in which something is assumed to be true, but the proof for its truthfulness depends on that initial assumption. Think about this; people believe God exists because it’s written in the bible, but those same people believe in the bible because God wrote it. Granted, that’s immensely simplifying the biggest philosophical debate ever, but for a large number of people that is essentially true.

As long as you don’t touch it or look in a mirror, your left ear is in the exact same situation as God. Sure, it was there the last time you checked, but anything can happen in our universe of infinite possibilities. There’s no way you can know it’s still there, just like there’s no way you can know God exists. Atheists can deny the existence of your ear, and it will be just as valid as all their other arguments. Do you even know what your ear looks like? If I gave you a pencil, could you draw it? Okay, now you can touch it if you want, just to check, but keep in mind that the moment your finger moves away from it, we’re flung into the same debate all over again. Your ear is Schrödinger’s cat, the famous thought experiment, except in ear form. By extension, I suppose that means Schrödinger’s ear is also Schrodinger’s cat, which I believe is a different logical fallacy entirely.

But what about poor Harry? What about that guy you sit next to in class? The same situation as your ear, aren’t they? This would also work as an excellent pick up line, “Excuse me, Miss, can I grab those right quick to make sure you’re real?” She’ll probably smack you, you see, but if she’s a philosophy student and/or Harry Potter fan, there’s a chance you’ll hit it off.

So what do we perceive as real? That’s the very key; our perceptions. Your perception of the world’s concrete facts is what you accept as true. Essentially, everyone really does live in their own separate universes. That’s why we go to school; to literally broaden the scope of our little worlds with knowledge. In theory, Harry Potter could exist. Millions of people perceive him, in some form, making him real in their worlds. In theory, that person you see every day couldn’t exist. In theory, your ear could be God, Harry Potter, or not exist at all. In theory.

You see, theories are weird, and reality is stranger than fiction. Maybe this is why I don’t do to well in science.

* * *

That was Stranger than Fiction, by Kat, the lemon. I found it almost as hilarious as it was insightful, so I just thought I'd go ahead and share because I have such a big heart.

I'd also like to mention that while The Nerd Archives is indeed coming to the end of its relatively short but happy life, Death is like a lemon will continue to be in existence, like it or not. So that means you have to stay.

Finally, this month's Blog of Specialness is Left Alone With a Full Moon, and it can be found at the top of the page.

Monster Mask, by Pomplamoose


Sunday, October 9, 2011

From the Night Sky: A Short Piano Piece by Myself

Thank you and good night.