Halation Intermissions 5 – The Great Equalizer

I chose a desk.

It was an obvious choice; my left-handed friend had taken an aisle seat so I’d take the second one to his right. Intelligence osmosis has never worked before, but perhaps this time at 8AM it would for the first time, maybe the stars were aligned in a manner I had not predicted, or perhaps it was just to ensure that at least one of the people sitting in my immediate vicinity would not disturb me during the test. But any reason that existed was not discovered for it was not necessary. Why sit next to friends? We’re not going to cheat, share materials, talk, leave at the same time, or derive any other particular benefit. And? There is no problem with failing to have a reason. Why question it to begin with? It’s a given. One does not question the givens. It would be like questioning procreation.

There was no particular goal for this test, which was the final for this class. It was supposed to be cumulative yet a focus on everything since the second midterm, meaning it would be at least 50% weighted on the last two chapters – and two thirds of the second chapter was taught to us on the last hour in the last day of class, 42 hours ago. Or perhaps the word should be not “taught” but “mentioned”, because all the not “professor” but…. well, I don’t know a respectable replacement, did was put 50 pages of PDFs online, in a scattershot attempt to cover all the material which was dictated in the original description of the course. But back to the math: assuming equal weight between both of the last two chapters, that would be 2/3*1/2*4/10 of the final’s material only “mentioned”: 13.3%  of your course grade. Then again, syllabi always talk about how students will be “proficient” by the end of the course, so perhaps we shouldn’t have been taking it so seriously to begin with? That one other “professor” did tell us one third, or was it two thirds, of all that we learn in university will be obsolete within seven years.

The man on the internet was right, universities are hedge funds.

The plan was to retake this course in the summer. For engineers, the [narrative of the] stairway to heaven requires an internship in or before the summer after the third year. [narrative] may not be the best word for it, because it seems like nobody really believes it, at least there are judges who truly believe in the Constitution and the justice of law. When I ask those who have already been in the field, the professionals, they refuse to tell me what the response rate is. Just keep applying to everything you can, they say, if there’s a minute of your waking life where you aren’t studying or performing functions to keep your body above minimal functionality you should be applying, they imply. Friends in other majors get a response rate of about 1/8. All those I know in my major get a response rate of about 0/8, unless it was a fully automated system where there was not even a pretense that there was more than a computer searching for buzzwords. Perhaps I should get a sex change operation, because it’s interesting how girl here or girl there gets a job in europe with some international corporation. No, I should stop being facetious. It is not at all interesting. So since even that works against me, But you can’t say that because your evidence is only anecdotal they say, Yes, but I’m correct; may as well retake and truly learn, because that’s what companies look for in the resume. Five more kilos, thank you for your business.

Waking up that morning was only so it was impossible for any to write up my grade as an Incomplete and force a retake of the final by this same “professor”. I refused to do the last homework, which was due 15 hours beforehand, inside finals week. The system as it is already had no dead week for review time, I intended to make as much as I could out of my time as was reasonably expected.  Conceptual review of the entire course, with the main problem types for each chapter. Discussed with friends the new material and how to mentally approach each, even though I had no actual practice on the execution.

The professor passed out the tests, I looked at the distribution of problems.

We were wrong: 2/3*1/1*4/10

__________________

I don’t remember how it came to be.

I had come to this town with nothing, and started from the bottom. Became familiar to the locals and built true wealth, perhaps sweat and emotions were never too far away, but bread is not sweet if you are not hungry. Why did I come here? Perhaps there was a reason, and as with all important reasons, I would remember it again. It felt like that time was coming. This was a story, after all. But someone who I had known from before, a veritable brother considering only birthplace, appeared. And he took it all.

And by the time my doubt had caught up with reality, it was a party, my party in fact. All the locals had thrown one for me, because I was going away, and that’s what you do for friends, right? Except no one was talking to me, and I was sitting alone next to the wooden wall of a hall I’d helped build. Everyone else was further down, towards the stalls. It looked like a traditional festival if you warmed your eyes a bit, which wasn’t difficult at all considering the weather was perfect. I had seen something like this coming, a little. Of course I had at least this much respect among the people.

But even I didn’t know I was going away. Where was I going? The time hadn’t come yet. It was too early.

The “man of honor” was perhaps the best dressed, because no one knew better than him where I was going. He walked towards me, across the open field of saturated greens and wine blues, a straight line. No one from the lights in the distance noticed. He sat down next to me, the dirt ground not suiting his suit, between me and the setting sun.

“If there was one thing I wish I could’ve done differently…”

“If there was one thing I wish I could’ve done differently–“

He got up, looked to his right. Breathed in, then out.

“Okay, nevermind. …Goodbye.”

“Oh, so you actually only wanted to talk. Fuck you, then. Run away.”

But I was the one running away, from taking back justice with my hands.

_________

Sometimes I ignore you so I feel in control
Cause really, I adore you, and I can’t leave you alone
Fed up with the fantasies, they cover what is wrong
Come on, baby, let’s just, get drunk, forget we don’t get on
You like my dad, you get on well
I send my best, regards from hell

It almost feels like a joke to play out the part
When you are not the starring role in someone else’s heart
You know I’d rather walk alone, than play a supporting role
If I can’t get the starring role

– lyrics from Starring Role

_________

Proof is unnecessary! It’s a Devil’s Proof. It’s impossible to find a hidden door and therefore impossible to disprove that it exists! Therefore, no one can deny the possibility that Kinzo escaped from this study through a hidden door!

I will not allow a hidden door to exist in this ROOM.

“Wh, why can someone like you, who is neither the owner of the study nor the Game Master… use the red truth…?! And what was that?! What do you mean you ‘will not allow’ hidden doors to exist?!”

In this world, there are no other gods except our god, and no hidden doors EXIST. They must not EXIST, we won’t let them EXIST. It is blasphemy against our GOD.

“Enough pride in you to shock a witch. Hah, it’s a pleasure greater than shock!”

[…]

“As I thought, you’re no different from any witch after ALL. I’m DISAPPOINTED.”

It’s possible that, after slipping out the door, Kinzo noticed the trick with the receipt and correctly returned it to its original place.

Denial of that with the red has already been FINISHED. After 23:00, the door to the study was not opened even ONCE.

Kinzo might have been a marvelous magician and an inventor, right?! He might have invented a drug that turns his body into mist and slipped out through the keyhole!

No such drug EXISTS. It must not EXIST.

Or maybe he invented a teleport device, right?! That possibility is impossible to deny because of the Devil’s Proof!

Such a machine does not EXIST. I will not allow it to EXIST.

Oh, so you can examine every drug in the world? You can deny the existence of unknown scientific devices?! There’s no way you can, it’s a Devil’s Proof! You cannot deny that they might exist!

I will REPEAT. By the name of god, I will not let such a drug or machine EXIST. I will not allow them to exist for all ETERNITY.

“The future, too?! Oho, so you think you can deny something into the future of the human race?!”

“The progression of humanity, as well as techniques and knowledge that might be obtainable in the future, are decided upon by our GOD. And the denial of their existence has been proclaimed for ETERNITY. Therefore, I will not allow such a technique to exist for all ETERNITY. It is not PERMITTED.”

[…]

“Is that ALL? There was no need for me to come HERE. I’m DISAPPOINTED.”

“I’m not done yet. I was just testing a few moves just now. I was only trying to measure your abilities… The time for playing is over. Here I go. In that case, I shall acknowledge that Kinzo did not enter or leave the study. Why don’t I accept your closed room?”

“…HMM.”

Natushi claims to have ‘talked with Kinzo in the study’, but she never said that she spoke with him face to face. Therefore, if Kinzo was in a location other than the study, there is no contradiction as long as they held a conversation.

“…nn-“

Natsuhi used the internal phone line in this study to speak with Kinzo, who was in another place! There’s nothing strange about Kinzo, who hates the relatives, predicting that they would enter his study and leaving to go elsewhere. He might have gone to the hidden mansion, Kuwadorian! I’ve got more, so get ready. There’s a chance that the Kinzo Natsuhi mentioned does not refer to the person himself! The Kinzo Natsuhi spoke of might have been another name for this room, right? Kinzo had taken refuge in Kuwadorian and was impossible to contact. Perhaps Natsuhi called this room ‘Father’, and by contemplating inside of it, she felt as though she had received some sort of revelation from Kinzo!

“…Interesting. Is that ALL?”

“You don’t call it a full course dinner if you stop at the soups and hors d’oeuvres! I’ll hit you with the main dish and the dessert at once, so watch your stomach explode and die! Even if, as you say, this is a closed room and impossible to escape from, you can’t deny the possibility that he is still hiding in this room. I’m not talking about a hidden door! He might be under the bed or above the ceiling! He might be hiding in a truly unobtrusive blind spot that only demons could know of, right?! Or, it might be that Natsuhi, who was ordered to speak specially on Kinzo’s behalf, considered herself both his representative and another Kinzo! In other words, it’s possible that Natsuhi was also Kinzo! I’ve got plenty more! At 23:00 last night, Kinzo escaped out the window! Natsuhi watched him go, then locked the window! This doesn’t lead to any problems. In fact, it might be the most beautiful blue truth yet! How’s that?! Dlanor A. Knox?! Hyahahahahahah! There are many ways to escape from this closed room!”

[…]

“All that remains… is this one WEDGE. It was about Kinzo hiding somewhere in this room, CORRECT? …Allow me to ASK. Just where in this study is Kinzo HIDING?”

“Heheh… well then… Maybe he’s under the bed?!

A check of that place has been FINISHED.

Maybe he’s in the bathtub!

A check of that place has been FINISHED.

Inside the closet! Under the desk! Behind the curtains!

A check of that place has been FINISHED. Check FINISHED. Check FINISHED.

Behind the bookshelf, behind the closet, under the carpet, under the floor, above the ceiling, behind the wallpaper, inside the sofa, inside the chair, inside the bed, inside the blankets, inside the walls, inside a rock, inside a stone, inside the room!

CheckFINISHED checkFINISHED checkFINISHED
checkcheckcheck FINISHEDFINISHEDFINISHED
checkcheckcheckcheckcheckcheckcheckcheck
FINISHEDFINISHEDFINISHEDFINISHED
FINISHEDFINISHEDFINISHEDFINISHED
<Die The Death>!
<Sentence To Death>!
<Great Equalizer Is The Death>!

__________________

“[…] golem chess, the asura thing with golems that isn’t chess, keg brawl, there’s even a stupid jumping minigame that’s everywhere.”

“But that’s variety. You’re never going to run out of things to do.”

“What’s the most important thing for a game?”

“To have fun.”

“Can we agree that “to have fun” for the players is equivalent to “making the players want to play the game” for the developers?”

“Yes.”

“Is having more things to do sufficient to make people want to play a game?”

_________

I discovered that I had been intuitively using the less-is-more idea as an aid in decision making (contrary to the method of putting a series of pros and cons side by side on a computer screen). For instance, if you have more than one reason to do something (choose a doctor or veterinarian, hire a gardener or an employee, marry a person, go on a trip), just don’t do it. It does not mean that one reason is better than two, just that by invoking more than one reason you are trying to convince yourself to do something. Obvious decisions (robust to error) require no more than a single reason. Likewise the French army had a heuristic to reject excuses for absenteeism for more than one reason, like death of grandmother, cold virus, and being bitten by a boar. If someone attacks a book or idea by using more than one argument, you know that it is not real: nobody says “he is a criminal, he has killed many people, and he also has bad table manners and bad breath and is a very poor driver.”

Antifragile

_________

The air shone brightly, and the piece Erika had guided there showed its form… That form resembled a clergy member perfectly suited for confronting an evil witch…

“Pleased to meet you. Dlanor A. Knox is my NAME.” Even though this space was like a bomb just waiting to go off, she introduced herself in a neat and frank manner. …Her out-of-place appearance, completely different from those of demons and witches, felt blatantly odd and had a kind of severity to it.

“…This is the first time I’ve met you, but I’ve heard all the rumors. Therefore, this truly doesn’t feel like a first meeting.”

“The same goes for me, <Miss> Beatrice. The detailed materials about you in Eiserne Jungfrau are summarized in 600 PAGES. I always read those, so this doesn’t feel like a first meeting to me EITHER.”

“The secretary of hell could summarize those 600 pages into 6 letters.”

“Allow me to ASK.”

“’Danger’.”

“That’s a good SUMMARY. When I get back, out of respect to you, I will summarize the materials related to you with only two more letters than that, a total of eight LETTERS.”

“<E x e c u t e d>.”

– Dlanor A. Knox, Beatrice, Erika Furudo, from Umineko no Naku Koro Ni: Chiru

_________

“There is nothing that is not healed with TIME. And there is no truth that cannot be reached if you spend enough time SEARCHING. …However, all trials have a limited time in which the truth must be DECIDED. Therefore, a truth that cannot be reached within that limited time cannot become TRUTH.”

In other words, once a certain limited time has passed, the truth inside it is sealed for some period of time where it has absolute authority. Though note, often, this “period of time” only needs to extend past the attention span of all involved. It matters not if the truth can be changed in the future, if that which the truth governs has changed irrevocably due to the truth at that time. And it usually does, due to the function of time called entropy. Or perhaps time is entropy.

This is why decisions must be swift, why vigilance and discipline are important, or, why opportunities and time wait for no one.

What exists is not truth at t=∞, what exists as “truth exists at t=∞” is a kind of passive faith. The discovery of this is simple; by what means do you see that truth exists there? Do you have a time machine? Or is it merely an interpolation, because truths get overwritten in time? If simpler explanations truly are preferred, then the theory should not be that truth exists at t=∞, but that truth is the story of the present time.

That being said, it is not that truth at t=∞ does not exist. Again, there is no way to show what happens at eternity, nor, as has just been shown, what happens as t goes beyond the present time. If it does exist, it is a truth of great power, one which exists by definition on the level of prophecy. Pursuing this truth often has the cost of forgoing all the truths inbetween, which you may or may not choose to do, depending on which side of the scale you want to fall upon. Or perhaps more visibly, which scale you are choosing to model reality with, but reality only has one scale – are you modelling with the right one? So even those who seek truth at t=∞ must use models with truth at t=n, and improve it at t=n-1. So which truth is more important after all?

It may be important to be mindful of the time attribute of all beliefs/truths you hold, to note that they are true because they are true now, or because they are true always. Please ignore significance when evaluating this, it is a clouding factor and not a clarifying one. Comparing the sizes of objects does not require the input of their colors.

If truth at t=∞ does exist, we would only be able to comprehend it by the same model we do now: if something is called truth it must be similar in attributes to all other truths, so it must fit under the same definition – it must be created, have won out over all other truths inside a certain timeframe, and at t=n must not be subject to doubt or change due to the forces of entropy.

At t=n, around t=n, but perhaps not much further beyond in either direction. Any truth can always be attacked from the past by the revelations of shifting sands, and from the future, by any new rulings. It only matters that it holds at t=n because, again, entropy also works in the other direction.

Ergo, again, their creations must be swift and decisive.

The approach in the creation of a truth at t=∞, however, has always been to expand linearly from a point that has already been captured. An argument or a case has been won somewhere, therefore we must use it again, and build on top of it! With all due respect to the ancients and correctly acknowledging the shoulders of giants, they take no actual function in gaining the ground at t=n. Gaining ground at t=n is not the same as using previously gained ground from a previous t=n. This is an important distinction. Ideas are more similar to food than stones: they rot quickly regardless, and attempting to extend the expiration date of something cooked a long time ago does not make it more desirable at t=n. Of course, any truth which holds for more t is stronger. But reviving the dying, who have already mostly fallen due to law of exponential decay, is not a solution with a high probability of succeeding. Or perhaps we can simply go with “inelegant”, as “beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all you know on this earth and all you need to know”.

To build truth at t=∞, it would require at least an iteration of itself at t=n, and thus, following all the same rules for truth-building at t=n: timing, discretion, focus, charisma, et cetera. The only difference is how much entropy enters the system. There appear two ways to counter entropy. One is to solve it: the creation of a truth so powerful, it overcomes the Second Law itself. A truth that brings t=n=∞, ending the World. We will assume this is not possible. Two is to stave it: entropy can only begin its natural process at a certain speed and only after the creation. If truth is created again and again, it never truly disintegrates.

In other words, t=n would not be one point in time. t=n is the time of creation: it would happen more than once. While its domain is potentially infinite, it is not uncountable. By its nature there must be local maximums, high enough to rise above the noise to become signal, but not so frequent that the signal itself cannot be perceived. A t=∞ truth is a t=n truth that must happen once… then again… and again… again… and again… each time strong, then silent, strong, silent, strong, until the end of time.

Like breathing. Or heartbeats.

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4 thoughts on “Halation Intermissions 5 – The Great Equalizer

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