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Paul Hartal


The Miracle of the One Edged Loop


The real world in which we live
is an uncanny place.
Our wondrous blue planet,
Space Ship Earth,
gyrates in miracles.

And, mind you,
some of these miracles are even
scientifically reproducible.

Take, for example,
the case of the Moebius Strip.

I am always amazed
by the curious properties
of this reality-defying band:
A one-sided continuous surface;
a loop with only one façade
and one edge,
which makes the invisible visible
and tangible.

And, lo and behold,
in this topological configuration
the inside becomes outside
and the outside becomes inside..

You can see with your own eyes
how a Moebius Strip arises,
a geometrical object made
from a twisted ribbon in space,
one side of a rectangle turned
through 180 degrees that then
joins the ends on the opposite side.

The twist creates a one sided-surface.
You can move along to any point on it
and return to your original starting point,
without crossing an edge.

And when you cut along the centre line
of this topological wonder, the strip
does not fall into two separated parts
but remains a single loop,
twice as large as the original.

And now if you cut down
the new Moebius Band
it will yield two interlocking loops.

It Is not a mirage, nor an optical illusion.
The Moebius Strip is surreal, a piece of
Non-Euclidean geometry made real,
a three dimensional geometric object
with only one side that has descended
from another world into ours.

Transcending geometry,
you can view the strip
as a wondrous synechdoche
for the haunting enigma of existence,
and also a curious metaphor of the Self
a self-referential strange-loop
in the fragile construct of consciousness.

You move downwards and upwards,
or sideways, through complex labyrinths
of tangled hierarchical systems,
but whichever direction your mind moves
you find yourself coming back
to the place where you began.

Submitted: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Edited: Friday, May 16, 2014

Topic(s): science


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