Sunday, 1 May 2016

Doublethink 17 - Line World

Index: 421


docmartincohen said...

Thanks, Youngjin, another'thought provoker'! I recall the analagy of a mite on a ball of string. It moves in 2 dimensions - in 'a line', but to us seeing the mite, it moves around and round in 3 dimensions... ain't that so?

Youngjin Kang said...

Exactly! We encounter such cases of "pseudo-dimensions" in our everyday life. For example, a railroad is practically a one-dimensional space (because a train can only move either forward or backward), even though it is technically three-dimensional.

docmartincohen said...

Yes, I suppose a train engine is a bit like a mite on a metal ball of string... intriguing thought!

Keith said...

A wonderfully creative thought experiment. I enjoyed going along with the what-ifs, playing with the alternative dimensions, both literal and figurative. If I may, I'd like to throw into the mix something related to this quote from the account laid out above, in the cartoon: "The thing is, each human being in this planet can only move in his/her unique pattern, which is determined by one's own genetic information and thus cannot be modified." To play along, my only intruding thought at that point was this: Entering stage right is CRISPR. The acronym stands for an ugly name that only its mother could love, 'clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.' But, oh, what CRISPR does is far from ugly and would make a mother proud: It's a tool that allows scientists to manipulate and edit genes -- even to create 'designer babies' with qualities of one's choice. Further playing along, would that still-being-explored capability have any bearing on the 'strict social hierarchy' presumed in the cartoon -- perhaps now allowing people to choose who among offspring will become 'royals,' 'officers,' 'soldiers,' 'peasants,' and 'nobles,' as well as to allow others to belatedly switch around? Would such CRISPR-based intervention, as yet another example of powerfully 'disruptive technology,' play havoc with the one-dimensionality of the planet -- or, more likely, the planet's social order? Many thanks for your ingenious thought experiment. It does indeed offer a provocative other world!

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