I shall now recount to you stories from the harem.i
Around the table, funeralia being discussed, specifically my ownii, it was proposed by a daring damsel in an ululatory tone that "he was so persnickety he was buried in an impossible object" as retribution of my shooting down her nutty proposition that dead people would prefer being buried in the fetal position and caskets should therefore be spherical.
This occurs to me is a fine sententia in the style of Classical Oracles and their associated period fanfiction ; just like Oedipus was foretold to marry his mommy and be daddy's daddy, and just like Tits the Nymph dunked Achile in the Stige to render him invulnerableiii it is conceivable a mythological character would be at some point foretold to be buried in the first impossible object.
This then would serve reasonably well as a proxy for immortality, except of a rather defective, derived kind, perhaps reminescent of the classical Lich - not so much immortal as actually incapable of dying. These aren't the same thing (and while we're on the topic - yes there's a major relation between harems and Koscei, think about it if you will).
Except, of course, at the point where the first impossible object actually appears. Which opens the following mental conundrum : for the entire interval up to the apparition of the first impossible object, the mental heuristic interpreting the prophecy as a proxy for immortality held, and so a question such as eg. "What are the chances of X surviving through the week ?" would have received 100% as an universal response. After all, he can't die, can he.
The day after the apparition of the impossible object, however, the same question, ie, "What are the chances of X surviving through the week ?" would receive a much lower than 100% average response, perhaps about 30% or so.
Nothing has changed, whatsoever. If the prophecy was in fact a valid description of reality in the manner the 2nd law of thermodynamics is, then the two unrelated (as per the prophecy) events are unrelated in the statistical sense alsoiv - they will be reunited by the contemplated final event and not before. Not before, see ? Whereas evidently if one doesn't credit such nonsense, then one doesn't credit them and that's that.
Yes, the subjective understanding of X's death by others has changed, but this isn't germane to the matter - he'll die when he dies not when they think he shall.
One way out would be to pretend that inasmuch all death is dubious (which it certainly isn't) then the confirmation of part of the prophecy lends credence to the other part, and consequently it is discovered that the fellow actually is mortal and will die, to the great surprise of everyone who thought otherwise because reasons.v
This is about as ridiculous as it sounds once plainly stated, and in more general terms : notwithstanding deep dedication of the errant human horde to the contrary, quid quodcumque faciemus, nomina nuda tenemus.———
- Throughout my younger years in the 90s, I lived with a vague and unexamined notion that the Sultan of Brunei is like you know, the definitive, consummate hedonist.
Did you know that his palace has 6 rooms to the bathroom ? This... doesn't sound right, does it ?
Did you know the man took a second wife, divorced her (kept the kids), took a third wife, divorced her too (kept the kids also) ? How, pray tell, is this Sultan of Brunei in a better position than the average Schmuck of Hollywood ?
Sad, but true : there are no fiat heroes out there. [↩]
- How's that for keeping the Roman traditions alive! [↩]
- Think about it - invulnerability comes from a mantle of hate! [↩]
- What if yesterday he hadn't died and the impossible object hadn't showed up ? They both necessarily will, in their due time. And what if today he hadn't died yet the impossible object showed up ? It wasn't said how soon or late one event follows the other, the observation makes no practical difference, he could be buried in the impossible object sometime around year 75 billion for all you know. [↩]
- I actually met a fellow recently, educated, well travelled, married with children, who told me, earnestly, point blank and in social company that he believes immortality to be achievable within our lifetime. Which amusingly reminded me of a very similar conversation I had with some other similar guy about fifty eight or so hundred years ago. [↩]