Warning: the following post may be somewhat magical.
Whoever invented the idea of alchemy, I’ve often wondered. It doesn’t seem quite obvious to think that substances could be transmuted into gold. Although, I guess, if I’d taken a history class, it would make sense that it was a greedy person’s natural corollary to transubstantiation.
Whoever invented the idea of transubstantiation, then. I cannot think of anything it would be a natural corollary too. Faked miracles, maybe.
Imagine if alchemy worked, I bet the wizards working on it did not fully.
What would a universe where things could be turned into other things be like? I could say very very confusing, but I think we all know that I mean very very bad. “Look, you are suddenly made of carbonite!” I saw that movie. More than once.*
But still, imagine that it did. Perhaps chemistry was more flexible back then.
I couldn’t tell you exactly when the plagues were (see above), but it does satisfy the imagination to consider history’s great devastating acts of God as course corrections– pruning, if you like Michio Kaku, or simply steering, the future so that it is the right one. Call me a romantic.
Call me a romantic some more. I like it.
Anyway, whatever I am, there is no alchemy now.
It also satisfies the imagination to imagine that somehow it’s pursuit (or invention! magic!) could have quite unmysteriously, although indirectly, CAUSED the plagues. You can put a narrative on it: some chemical byproduct that that should not have been, mutating some poor innocent bacteria into some disease that never should have been. And all we have to show for it now is a) hundreds of thousands of corpses, b) a universe made of study and intact fabric, maybe something akin to polyester, and c) some really good literature.
I wonder if there’s anything we human civilization members are currently working that would have a similarly idiotic degree of power as alchemy. What would it be? Would it perhaps land us in a world similar to The Matrix, where reality is rearranged at will by some evil parasitic force much more powerful than ourselves? I’m glad I already read about three-valued logic before I had that thought.
I wonder though. Just the other day my mom seemed like she was in the mood for a plague. What does she care? I never call anyway, and she’s old. Not that her opinion matters.
Events cascade out from their intentions like paint from a brush. The selected color is at first intense, then fades out as the brush moves across the canvas or paper. But it doesn’t turn from red to green.
A second brush, dipped in yellow and brought alongside, makes something we can predict thanks to plagues. HAVE I BLGGD ANOUGH ABOUT COMMUNICATION STILL PROLLLY NOT LOL.
Noone ever thinks of confusion as a powerful force, but it certainly is. Mix an incomplete inspiration with malcontent and bam! you’re painting mushrooms.
PS: I like modern art. A lot. I imagine each hideous painful-to-view piece of it as a possible future I’ll never have to experience, captured in a frame. Although others I wouldn’t mind living in.
Shoutout to Terry Pratchett
*This sentence seems like a very good place to talk like yoda.
**What movie was it? I frget?
**See standard rants about over-focus on STEM in education deriving from outdated ideas leftover from the space race that I will not ever be writing.