[Normaphoto: Robert Matsui U.S. Courthouse}]
I like to think our present selves are genies who grant
wishes to selves we used to be, and continue to do so
even while the present becomes fixed, certain, passes and turns to stone. Variables disappear. Present self becomes former and joins immutable
history like stone doodlebugs.
can pursue some certainty by asking questions that span
time. I asked two of the many mischievous doodlebugs that infest our
courthouse down by the river --a process recorded by Norma in the picture above. Doodlebugs are turning to stone. I am on their right, turning to
jerky. Here is a transcript:
"Do our minds associate ideas or do ideas, aware of themselves, group out of affection?"
"Are more things far away than close up because there is more room for them?"
"After Galileo and Copernicus shattered Ptolemy's "Celestial Spheres" theory, did he ever let them play with his things again?"
"Is thought the only physical process exempt from the predetermined behavior of matter?"
"To future observers, what is the difference between an arrow shot into a
bulls-eye and a bulls-eye painted around an arrow shot anyplace?"
"Why do all children, at a certain age, eat pitted olives off their fingertips?"
"Does zero, which reproduces itself mathematically by subtraction, prove its own absence?"
"If all players in a game of tag touch each other at once, who's it?"
"Can I hang a photograph of itself hanging on my wall?"
only defense available to stone doodlebugs against human questions is a
U.S.Court-Approved Silence Act to minimize annoyance to them. So I
left and joined some family and friends aboard the Delta King, an
old sternwheeler docked off Front Street and stocked with food and beer. We all asked each other many
questions over the table. I found interrogatives dispel
all concept of a stagnant universe and make lunch more fun.
Delta KingCC BY-SA 3.0
question did occur to me aboard the riverboat. I thought of Heraclitus,
who said, "It is impossible to step into the same river twice." I hoped
it would at least be possible to have lunch on it again. I wanted to
ask someone about it but my company had already seen me talking to
statues and framed their own interrogatives about my sanity, so I refrained. Such an inquiry might defeat its own motive.