Re-blogged from the Blog of Tsish (Originally published on April 1st, 2009)
After my blog has been several days on your internet, one would have expected that SETI would have found me. I am an extraterrestrial and here I am. But they are not looking here. Their antennas are directed somewhere else. A simple internet search would be enough! Hello, here I am! Nice to meet you SETI people. Or maybe they have seen it, but don’t believe?
They have to be sceptic. That is part of their job. You should not believe anything too quickly. Actually, you should not believe anything!
I am currently flying through space between Mars and Earth. Why does my space ship have a window? Some black paint would have done the job, with some glittering stuff mixed in. So I turned to my books about asifology to pass the time more quickly.
If you have read any of my previous articles, you will know that I am interested in what I call as-if-bubbles, the topic asifology is about. This is a metaphour for something created by “doing as if”.
The main devices I am using are the asifoscope and the asifomat.
The asifoscope is a simple device that turns a statement like
“Gold is valuable”
into a statement like
“Hypothesis: gold is not valuable, we only do as if it is.”
This simple operation (easily embodied into a small computer program) gives you a good start for your investigation. You can then look for evidence for or against the statement and explore it further. In many instances, this operation is already sufficient to make the hidden obvious, like in the gold-example. Who in space needs gold? People dig it out just to cast it into bars and then burry it again in their vaults, because what to do with this useless stuff? Why did they not leave it in the ground? That would have been much simpler. The side-effects (destruction, environmental problems, health problems, violence, war) are terrible, the technological applications few.
The asifomat is a device to create as-if-bubbles. Compared to the asifoscope, it performs the opposite operation. (In Math, it appears as the “let be”-operator, enabling you to cut the quantifiers and the premiss part of a proposition away and turning bound variables into objects.). Children use it all the time in their games (at least in my world, I have not checked yet how your children grow up). It is the ultimate toy! Adults should give the asifoscope the higher priority. If they fail to do so, all the trouble is starting.
Using my asifomat, I gave my asifoscope the looks of a small telescope and turned it towards planet Earth (O.K., the window IS good for something). I was baffled. I could see a kind of multicolour foam. I had to tune the amplification adjustment a lot to make out all the details. The foam is so dense; it nearly is intransparent, with complex systems of bubbles nested inside each other. I am going to analyze some of them in more detail in the future. A good way to pass the time!
I discovered that many of you seem not to notice this as-if-foam. The reason obviously is that you don’t see it, because many of these bubbles are of the trap-variety: they are invisible if looked at from the inside.
Now, you will want to know what a trap-type as-if-bubble is.
My friend from Earth, Nannus, told me that on April 1st, some people on earth play a special game: they create an as-if-bubble, lure somebody into it and then let it burst (this creates a pleasant noise, normally more like a giggle or laughter than a plop). The concept of “as-if-bubble” provides a handy way of thinking about such games. The bubble has an inside and an outside. By entering it, an ontological transition is made: inside, some things (seem to) exist that are not real on the outside. On April 1st, you spoof somebody by letting them enter into such a bubble and than let the bubble burst. This might have happened to some of you today. (Article originally published April 1st, 2009, ed.)
This might be fun if you don’t exaggerate. However, looking more closely, I see some serious problems. The game relies on somebody really believing what you tell them.
Normally, when you perform an as-if-operation, you will know it is just that. But there are some potentially dangerous cases of as-if-bubbles.
So once you enter them, what looked like an as-if-game from the outside suddenly looks like absolute truth. From the outside, you see the bubble (think of a colourful soap bubble) from the inside, it becomes invisible. Now you have been trapped! You have turned into a believer and can’t see the bubble again. It is now hard to find the way out again.
Among asifolgists, such bubbles are sometimes known under the name of semiotic trap or trap-type as-if-bubble (even the term “semiotic black holes” has been proposed).
Definition: Trap-type as-if-bubbles contain the proposition that they are not as-if-bubbles.
In the April-fools-game, normally the bubbles collide with reality relatively soon and collapse. However, some bubbles are more stable, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Such bubbles can make you stupid. They can cause you to be ruled. They can cause you to become wicked, even a killer while you may be convinced of being a nice person, etc.
And there it was on the surface of your planet, a dense foam like I had never seen one before. I don’t even know where to start: I see fashion, racism, religion, nationalism and a million other things. I have to sort these things by their degree of dangerousness. Looks like I have to write about some of them in my coming articles. In a previous article, I already described the catastrophic consequences of doing as if unlimited economic growth is possible. That is the trap-type-bubble currently turning your planet into a desert.
Don’t enter any as-if-bubble that claims not to be one! Entering such a bubble is called “believing”. Beware of them.
In short, you shall not believe!
You shall be sceptic!
Always have your asifoscope ready to hand.
Believing something is dangerous. Where I come from, it is considered a sin! It is the sin at the root of a large number of problems. It seems to be at the core of most of your planets problems.
I suggest you turn April 1st into the scepticism memorial day.