comforting thought


Life is a Moebius Strip. I find that a comforting thought.

Cut an inch-wide strip of paper lengthwise from a sheet of copy paper. Bring the ends to meet to form a ring but give it a half twist before you seal the ends with tape.  Now you have a one-dimensional paper ring with only one surface. To prove it take a pencil and run a line down the centre of the ring all the way round. You’ll never have to lift the pencil off the paper to do the other side because there is no other side. You will run into your pencil line.  

You probably already know this because you have many dimensions.  I was delighted when I first encountered it and still am. It’s not time in a bottle, it’s time on a piece of paper. You go forward in time, you meet the past.  I find that comforting. Plus ça change and all that.

A Klein bottle is a similar marvel: a bottle with a twist in it so there is only one side. That’s possible to make, too, but a tesseract, a cube with a twist, is not because it brings in the fourth dimension which we can’t manage yet. I read a science fiction story in which a man went into a tesseract house and jumped out a window, not into the garden below, but into another place in space-time. I don’t remember anything else about him or it. 

Permit a tangent here: if you retain one idea or image or emotion from something you’ve read, that makes it worth having read it.  I’ll have to consider reading soon.

But not before I get on to Ursula LeGuin.

In the meantime, my damaged leg is not progressing as it should, I am gaining weight because I’m not swimming every day, I am getting tired, literally, from dragging my leg around and trying to walk normally in spite of it, and it’s February, for goodness’ sake. What better time for a trip on a Moebius Strip?