Mouse brains, the universe and invisible things

Today at the Folk Hall we talked about so many things we needed a trail of breadcrumbs to find our way back to our starting point. Here’s a few of the things we talked about — if you live in the area and you’d like to know more about this group (and join!) drop us a line!

We started by asking what it meant that we were all so caught up in technology these days. It’s hard to imagine that mobile phones and social media hardly existed only ten years ago. What would happen if the electricity cut off? We reflected on the things we use our technology for, which we’d lose if the electricity went off. We’re constantly using them – texts, phones, FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, YouTube, and even BeBo (we were a bit surprised to hear this last one, as 2 out of 3 of us kind of thought it was all over with BeBo). We’re always sharing information with people. It’s like our brains are connected up, so that no one person has to know everything, if someone else does. It’s extremely cool, and extremely amazing, and also extremely useful. But how would we cope if all those brains got cut off from each other once again?

Would we just sit in the dark and wait for the electricity to come back on? Or head outside into the street to find out what was going on? We had different views. Maybe we’d go and sit somewhere unexpected, like in a road or something, and see what happens. Why a road? A bench was more comfortable! Then it turned out that in the group we meant different things by ‘comfy’. Some of us thought couches, sofas and beds were comfy. Others thought that the floor and the ground were more comfy. We wondered whether any other words we’d been using had different meanings like this. Did we really understand anything at all that we were saying to each other??

We started to investigate what we meant by certain words. ‘Strange’ and ‘weird’ — did we mean the same things by these words? What colour were these words, anyway? We didn’t think they had a colour, but then again — surprise is purple, isn’t it? After one group member suggested this, we went through some other ideas that had colour: love, red or pink; anger, red … and then we asked (and maybe we wish we didn’t) — does everything have a colour? And then we tried to decide whether it does or not.

Glass. Does glass have a colour? Not coloured glass like in a Quality Street wrapper, but clear glass. We said definitely definitely yes it does have a colour, because it’s a thing and you can see it and so it has a colour and that colour is clear. And then someone else said no it doesn’t have a colour; or, really, it does have a colour but it has the colour of whatever is behind it. Like the white van outside the cafe window: the whiteness of the van is making the glass white. But no way: this idea got argued down: it’s not the glass that is white, it’s the van.

<<Then we had a massive detour into the shape of the universe and the shape of the brain. More on that in the next post. But here’s a starter: what’s this, below?>>

Anyway, we ended up coming back to the question of whether anything is invisible. One of us said glass was invisible. No way, said others: it’s clear-coloured, and clear is a colour. And we can see the glass right there. We can see it. So, it’s not invisible. Then it really looked like nothing was invisible. One person tried saying that a black cat in a dark room was invisible. But everyone else jumped on this idea, like a lioness attacking a mouse, and said no way: if you hide behind a curtain I might not be able to see you but that doesn’t make you invisible.

Ok then – what about AIR? Is that invisible? Suddenly all bets were off. Some of us thought air was invisible. Some said no way, it’s not. We all hit the road, vowing to come back next week with proof that even air is not invisible.

About B.B.

I'm based in York.
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