An essay by Dr. Earnest Lee Lightweight, as provided by Alan Meyrowitz
Art by Luke Spooner
I had the privilege of delivering an invited talk to the 2014 Conference on Pushing the Boundaries and took that opportunity to speculate on the possibility that the Law of the Excluded Middle is not an immutable law after all. In its form most simply stated, adapted from Aristotle, the Law of the Excluded Middle asserts “Any statement must be either True or False, and can never be both.” I provided some equations that were highly suggestive (at least to me, if not to the scientific establishment) that a region of space might be made to accommodate a contradiction to the Law, if that space were properly exposed to electromagnetic radiations.
As I could not entice funding from the usual research agencies and foundations, I proceeded as best I could with my own resources. Of necessity, a scientist working in his basement must make do with compromises. I purchased some items and scavenged others out of odd and ends. My efforts yielded a device consisting of a glass sphere, a meter in diameter, with field generators attached to its outside surface. Most importantly, the points of attachment were precisely dictated by my equations.
Two thermometers were included, side by side at the center of the sphere. They were connected to heating elements on the base supporting the sphere, and by computer I could direct the air in the sphere to be heated to precisely 90 degrees as determined by one thermometer, and to precisely 95 degrees as determined by the other. With all field generators active, I predicted that the temperature would register as both 90 degrees and 95 degrees simultaneously. Thus, the air inside the sphere would be at 90 degrees and not at 90 degrees, contradicting the Law of the Excluded Middle.
Regrettably, almost immediately after the heating elements were turned on, the sphere became a mass of glass fragments. Some of them littered the corners of my basement, but most piled around what had been the sphere’s base. The catastrophe had been an implosion, not an explosion.
I could only conclude the air in the sphere had vanished, and moreover had vanished so quickly that in that instant, the glass could not support the sudden stress of the ambient air pressure impinging on it.
The logic of that soon became apparent. The universe would do what it must to preserve the Law, and so the simplest solution was for the air not to exist.
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If you believe I immediately started to consider other designs for an experiment, you would be correct, but fortunately I also took the time to review my equations. I was startled to discover they not only allowed for an adjustment such as the air vanishing, in order for the universe to stay consistent with the Law, but any number of solutions were possible. Indeed both the air and the sphere itself might have ceased to exist, or my basement with all its contents including myself, or, as I believe, the whole of our universe might have vanished in an instant.
Preservation of the Law was not necessarily going for the simplest solution. It seemed a random choice to select implosion from among the possibilities, a fortunate choice considering the implications of the others.
So I must conclude no further experimentation can be risked. I will not be publishing any elaboration of my preliminary equations, nor will I be suggesting any further exploration of this topic. I strongly urge the scientific community to do the same.
P. S. The whereabouts of Dr. Toby Flakey, with whom I collaborated early on, should be determined. I fear he may not be inclined to the same research constraints as I.
Earnest Lee Lightweight received his Doctorate in Animal Husbandry from Miskatonic University in 1992. He credits his insights into physics to his keen observations of billiard ball behavior, all documented in his book Revolution in Physics. However, publication efforts were suspended upon learning his ideas substantially duplicated those of Sir Isaac Newton. Undaunted, Dr. Lightweight aggressively pursued experimental research. The U. S. Patent Office notes that he holds the record for the highest number of rejected patent applications submitted by one person. Still, Dr. Lightweight has collected his ideas in the draft of a new book, The Virtue of Perseverance.
Alan Meyrowitz retired in 2005 after a career in computer research. His creative writing has appeared in California Quarterly, Eclectica, Existere, Front Range Review, The Literary Hatchet, The Nassau Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Shroud, The Storyteller, and others. In 2012 and 2015, the Science Fiction Poetry Association nominated his poems for a Dwarf Star Award.
Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.
“Note On the Law of the Exclusded Middle” is © 2016 Alan Meyrowitz
Art accompanying story is © 2016 Luke Spooner