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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Malpass

Got Gedankenexperiment?

This blog, THE MAIN THING, is committed to exploring our existence's hidden mysteries, and I, Will Malpass, am your trail boss on this grand expedition. No wait. I've thought of an even better analogy. Maybe think of me as a friendly prospector, mining deep down through mountains of superficial reality to find rich nuggets of GOLDEN Truth. Then I share the GOLD with you wonderful readers! Sometimes it's not gold, it's diamonds. Or emeralds. Maybe occasionally just rocks. Okay, frequently rocks. But hey, a rock that's been polished up to its shiniest is still good, right?

Which brings me to today's shiny rock of truth: The Process. What methodologies do I use to discover and uncover this wonderful stuff? Well, my extensive ponderings (with heavily furrowed brows, I might add) sometimes take the form of a Gedankenexperiment. "A what?" you ask. Gedankenexperiment is a term coined by Albert Einstein. In case you haven't heard of him, Albert Einstein was a pretty good mathematician and physicist. He was born in Germany, where they speak German, and Gedankenexperiment is German for "thought experiment."

Albert Einstein, well-known mathlete.

"Wow!" you say. "Thought experiment? That sounds like great fun! Will, can you show us how to perform one of these Gedankenexperiment things?" Yes, readers, I can and will do it!

Before we begin, a word of caution: I suggest we keep this little Gedankenexperiment just between us. See, if we go to a public place like say maybe the skatepark, and start performing a Gedankenexperiment over by the half pipes and spines perhaps, the rich, popular kids are maybe going to notice us and they may cruise over on their cool hoverboards to cruelly scoff and tease us. Maybe even call us nerds! Yikes! Oh popular kids, WHY must you behave this way?

A public place like a skatepark.

Nevertheless, readers, if you remain steadfast in your desire for a public display of Gedankenexperiment, we'll now proceed to the skatepark. As we make our way there, I say aloud, "We still need to think of a way to keep the popular kids from viciously taunting us. How about we use a CODE WORD so the popular kids don't catch on to what we're doing?" Everyone agrees a code word is a good idea, but what code word should we use? We're almost to the skatepark when it hits me! "Hey, everybody! We'll use the code word brain imagining instead of Gedankenexperiment. And if the popular kids ride over on their hoverboards and ask us what we're doing, we'll tell them we're brain imagining. And they'll probably be so impressed they'll maybe let us try their hoverboards!"

When we get to the skatepark, there are no rich, popular kids on hoverboards anywhere to be seen. There is an awkward silence. And then you point out brain imagining is actually a CODE PHRASE.

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