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Fiction: LW-inspired scenelet

23 Post author: DataPacRat 27 January 2012 06:43AM

A short science-fictional scene I just wrote, after reading about some real and actual scientific research. I'd love to turn this, or something like it, into an actual scene in Dee's life story, I just can't think of a good enough story to insert it in, and so I present it on its own for your amusement, even if it does mean I'm likely to lose more karma than I gained from my last post...

 

 

Not your grandfather's science fiction.
A scene from Dee's life



We join our heroine, Dee, and her plucky-yet-sarcastic sidekick holed up in a hotel room.

"Well, this is another fine mess you've gotten us into. Got any great ideas for getting us out of it?"

"No - but I know how to have one. Since I lost my visor and vest, including my nootropics and transcranial stimulator... I'm going to need a syringe, sixty millilitres of icewater, a barf bag, and a video camera."

"I don't know what you're planning, but I'm not sure I want to have any part in it."

"Start MacGuyvering as much as we can now from the mini-bar, I'll explain as we go. Without a camera, and with our time pressure, I'm going to need your help to get this to work, and you need to understand some of this or else you'll be really confused later. Physically, all I'm going to do is squirt water into my left ear."

"... and this will help us, how exactly?"

"By shocking my vestibular system, which causes all sorts of interesting effects. One of the unfortunate ones is that when done right, it induces immediate vomiting."

"Ew."

"Yes, well, that's just a side-effect. The main point is... well, really complicated. In layman's terms, there's a part of the brain that's responsible for triggering the creation of profound, revolutionary ideas, and another part that makes you create rationalizations to explain away just about anything, and usually, these two parts of the brain kind of balance each other out. This vestibular trick happens to hyper-stimulate the revolutionary part for about ten minutes, allowing me to realize things I normally wouldn't, and to see them as being obvious that I don't know why I didn't think of them before."

"well... okay, even if that's so, why haven't I seen you do it before?"

"For one, I don't want to risk some sort of long-term adaptation which might reduce its effect. But there's more complications to it than that."

"Of course there are."

"The thing is, after it's been hyper-stimulated, the revolutionary part gets tuckered out, and then the rationalizing part effectively kicks into overdrive - and I pretty much forget everything I thought of during those ten minutes, and even crazier-sounding, I won't be able to accept the idea that I said any of what I said. I literally won't believe that those ideas came from my mouth."

"'Crazier-sounding' sounds right."

"Which is why I'm going to need you to remember whatever it is I come up with - and then tell me what the best ideas were, but not tell me that I came up with them. At least until my brain's gotten back into balance again. I'm now precommitting myself to do whatever it is you tell me to do - even if I don't understand it, even if I think it's a bad or stupid or useless idea. Do you think you can handle that level of responsibility?"

"I... think so. And this really works? How the cuss did you ever come up with this, anyway?"

"I once noticed that when I was in a certain state of mind, my head kept twitching to the left every time I thought of something, showing there was a link between idea-generation and the vestibular system. Later I read up about some experiments with people with anosognosia, people who aren't aware of being paralyzed or blind... are you done with that straw yet?"

"As much as I'll ever be, I guess."

"Alright. Hand me the bucket, and squirt the water in my ear - my left ear. It only works in the left ear. Except for left-handed people."

"I'm beginning to wonder if it's just the idea that's crazy."

"We'll soon find out. Remember, being the only right person in the room doesn't mean you feel like the cool guy wearing black, it feels like you're the only one wearing a clown suit. I did that once, just to try. Now, here we <hralph!>"

 


Comments (8)

Comment author: Anubhav 27 January 2012 09:01:12AM *  7 points [-]

Related: LW post about the same thing.

Comment author: Prismattic 27 January 2012 11:53:45PM 5 points [-]

Needs a later segment where the sidekick gets the treatment, preferably working in the line "I'm not left-handed either".

Comment author: atucker 27 January 2012 01:58:27PM 13 points [-]

I just can't think of a good enough story to insert it in, and so I present it on its own for your amusement, even if it does mean I'm likely to lose more karma than I gained from my last post...

I would like to see a LW in which there is more fiction, and will upvote accordingly.

Comment author: gwern 27 January 2012 04:11:38PM 4 points [-]

Having recently started watching the new BBC Sherlock Holmes, I can't help but read it in their voices.

Comment author: DataPacRat 27 January 2012 07:54:43PM 1 point [-]

Sherlock did have his seven-percent solution... and L (from Death Note) had to sit a certain way to keep his reasoning processes from dropping forty percent... so it's certainly a reasonable parallel.

In case anyone's curious - the Dee in this scene is at least based on (if not the same character as) a particular character in a small set of comic strips, stories, and pictures; but since most of that background was extraneous to the ideas of this scenelet, I consciously left them out to avoid interfering with said ideas. "We Were Here", http://www.datapacrat.com/sketches/FinalWebSafe1.jpg , is one of the better pictures of that version of the character - though, of course, that may have nothing to do with the version of the character you prefer to envision or enaudion.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 27 January 2012 12:14:02PM *  7 points [-]

I'll try to write an ending...

"Now I will give you an instruction, and you have to do exactly what I say. Promise?"

"Yes."

"Here it goes -- You need to fully realize that a map is not the territory and apply it consistently in all your thoughts."

"OK."

"So?"

"I'm trying..."

"And?"

"Well, I am not sure how exactly should I do this thing. Is there some additional instruction?"

"Sorry, there isn't."

"I don't get it. Perhaps something went wrong. I expected the effect to last about ten minutes, so I guessed I would say more."

"It was a few minutes, but you just repeated this one sentence. It seemed extremely imporant to you that I remember it precisely. Do you have any idea now?"

"I don't. This is just too crazy. Or maybe I do. Let's try another ear. It sure can't make things worse."

Comment author: beoShaffer 27 January 2012 11:12:51PM 3 points [-]

I'm now precommitting myself to do whatever it is you tell me to do - even if I don't understand it, even if I think it's a bad or stupid or useless idea. Do you think you can handle that level of responsibility?"

I hope Dee has a trustworthy sidekick. On second thought, given that this is fiction I hope she has an humorously untrustworthy one.

Comment author: DataPacRat 27 January 2012 11:47:36PM 7 points [-]

I will admit that when I was considering whether to continue any further, the first thing that came to mind for the sidekick to say was, "Okay, the first thing we need to do, according to your plan, is start making out with each other...".