Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Pieces and the Hands that move them

Today, I found someone else who had read City of Paradox. Her name is Srotvi, though I was polite enough not to ask what kind of ethnicity that would be. I found her a few doors down from the quarantined bakery, and she's quite the fan of Professor Dipere.

Srotvi explained to me that Professor Dipere was her teacher once. I consider her to be quite lucky. She said a lot, but I can paraphrase some of it.

"Julian Dipere was well ahead of his time. He never spoke about his childhood, and from what he used to say to us, he made out as if he never even had one, as if he was born an old man. Instead, every day we'd just open our notebooks and write down a very simple equation he had on the board. They were always simple, always a different one every day, and yet they always seemed to directly contradict something we had learned in our earlier education.

"He'd spend the class just endlessly lecturing, talking about things we didn't even comprehend as possible. I remember specifically one class, he told us:

I want you to visualize a parallel universe to ours. We will call its inhabitants "Pieces."
Picture a Piece man. How tall can he be? The answer is "as tall as a Redwood," and even then it's not fully accurate. We think man is limited by his own body, but a Piece's own bodies have no such limitations. Piece Men exist who are as tall as Mount Everest; they simply choose not to be.
Their universe doesn't actually have the limitations we think it does. There are set laws, but they're less of physical formulae and more of... game rules. I know our minds operate on relativity, so I'm going to inaccurately say it's like one large game of Chinese Backgammon.
The Pieces are the ones set to the game rules. They experience them as if they were set universal laws. But of course, if the Pieces are moving, there has to be a Hand moving them. These are the hands that have opened my eyes to the world of paradox.
One of the Hands to this game of Backgammon.. we'll say it cheats. It takes the Pieces and.. switches their places. Or it might place the Pieces outside of the game board. To a game Piece, either one of these would appear as a lifechanging phenomenon, as a paradox. This is because all the game Piece knows is its own perception, its own rules.
 I want you to think about the Pieces and the Hands, and I want you to write a thesis on what a Piece would experience if a Hand switched it with another, or flat-out moved the Piece off the board. You have until the end of the week.
"Dipere was the kind of teacher who told us to consider physics as if we were in a parallel universe, as if our own universe was 'the area outside the game board.' He pushed us to think on levels that don't even sound practical when you're in the classroom.

"But as soon as you exit, as soon as you take a look at the world around you and think of what Dipere taught you, you start to see everything differently. He changes your life."

I'm going back tomorrow to talk more, and hopefully Srotvi will tell me about where Dipere is now.

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