Monday, July 15, 2024 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Lewis Padgett

Lewis Padgett was a pseudonym used for the joint efforts of the science fiction authors and spouses Henry Kuttner and Catherine Lucille Moore.
Lewis Padgett
If the undeveloped minds have been turned into the x channel, it's necessary to divert them back. I'm not saying that's the wisest thing to do, but it probably is from our standards. After all, Emma and Scott will have to live in this world.
Padgett quotes
Idiotically he thought: Humpty Dumpty explained it. A wabe is the plot of grass around a sundial. A sundial. Time  it has something to do with time. A long time ago Scotty asked me what a wabe was. Symbolism.
'Twas brillig
A perfect mathematical formula, giving all the conditions, in symbolism the children had finally understood. The junk on the floor. The toves had to be made slithy  vaseline?  and they had to be placed in a certain relationship, so that they'd gyre and gimbel.
On the carpet lay a pattern of markers, pebbles, an iron ring junk. A random pattern. A crumpled sheet of paper blew towards Paradine.
He picked it up automatically.

Padgett Lewis quotes
"'Babies of course are not human they are animals, and have a very ancient and ramified culture, as cats have, and fishes, and even snakes; the same in kind as these, but much more complicated and vivid, since babies are, after all, one of the most developed species of the lower vertebrates. In short, babies have minds which work in terms and categories of their own which cannot be translated into the terms and categories of the human mind.'"
Padgett Lewis
Paradine poured himself a stiff shot of whiskey. "That's pretty awful. You're not limiting to math."
"Right! I'm not limiting it at all. How can I? I'm not conditioned to x logic."
"There's the answer," Jane said, with a sigh of relief. "Who is? It'd take such a person to make the sort of toys you apparently think these are."
Holloway nodded, his eyes, behind the thick lenses, blinking. "Such people may exist."
"They might prefer to keep hidden."
"I wish I knew. You see, Paradine, we've got yardstick trouble again. By our standards these people might seem super-doopers in certain respects. In others they might seem moronic. It's not a quantitative difference; it's qualitative. They think different. And I'm sure we can do things they can't."
"Maybe they wouldn't want to," Jane said.
Lewis Padgett quotes
"Your mind has been conditioned to Euclid," Holloway said. "So this  thing  bores us, and seems pointless. But a child knows nothing of Euclid. A different sort of geometry from ours wouldn't impress him as being illogical. He believe what he sees."
"Are you trying to tell me that this gadget's got a fourth dimensional extension?" Paradine demanded.
"Not visually, anyway," Holloway denied. "All I say is that our minds, conditioned to Euclid, can see nothing in this but an illogical tangle of wires. But a child  especially a baby  might see more. Not at first. It'd be a puzzle, of course. Only a child wouldn't be handicapped by too many preconceived ideas."
"Hardening of the thought-arteries," Jane interjected.
Lewis Padgett
It was the random element that baffled investigation. Even that was a matter of semantics. For Holloway was convince that it wasn't really random. There just weren't enough known factors. No adult could work the abacus, for example. And Holloway thoughtfully refrained from letting a child play with the thing.
The crystal cube was similarly cryptic. It showed a mad pattern of colors, which sometimes moved. In this it resembled a kaleidoscope. But the shifting of balance and gravity didn't affect it. Again the random factor.
Or, rather, the unknown. The x pattern.
Padgett Lewis quotes
He took from his pocket a gadget he had found in the box, and began to unfold it. The result resembled a tesseract, strung with beads. Paradine didn't see it at first, but Emma did. She wanted to play with it.
We are dealing with madness. All children are mad, from an adult viewpoint.
Padgett Lewis
Paradine found himself growing slightly confused as he attempted to manipulate the beads. The angles were vaguely illogical. It was like a puzzle. This red bead, if slid along this wire to that junction, should reach there  but it didn't. A maze, odd, but no doubt instructive. Paradine had a well-founded feeling that he'd have no patience with the thing himself.
Scott did, however, retiring to a corner and sliding beads around with much fumbling and grunting. The beads did sting, when Scott chose the wrong ones or tried to slide them in the wrong direction. At last he crowed exultantly.
Lewis Padgett
One can no more think like a baby than one can think like a bee.

Lewis Padgett quotes
The soft, woven helmet was the first thing that caught his eye, but he discarded that without much interest. It was just a cap. Next he lifted a square, transparent crystal block, small enough to cup in his palm much too small to contain the maze of apparatus within it. In a moment Scott had solved that problem. The crystal was a sort of magnifying glass, vastly enlarging the things inside the block.
Lewis Padgett
Let's suppose there are two kinds of geometry  we'll limit it, for the sake of the example. Our kind, Euclidean, and another, which we'll call x. X hasn't much relationship to Euclid. It's based on different theorems. Two and two needn't equal four in it; they could equal y2, or they might not even equal. A baby's mind is not yet conditioned, except by certain questionable factors of heredity and environment.
Padgett quotes
Holloway picked up the crystal cube. "Did you question the children much?"
Paradine said, "Yeah. Scott said there were people in that cube when he first looked. I asked him what was in it now."
"What did he say?" The psychologist's eyes widened.
"He said they were building a place. His exact words. I asked him who  people? But he couldn't explain."
Padgett Lewis
Candidly, I don't see the point of teaching those apes philosophy. They're all at the wrong age. Their habit-patterns, their methods of thinking, are already laid down. They're horribly conservative, not that they'd admit it. The only people who can understand philosophy are mature adults or kids like Emma and Scotty.
Padgett Lewis quotes
Having finished his supply of cheese, chocolate, and cookies, and having drained the soda-pop bottle to its dregs, Scott caught tadpoles and studied them with a certain amount of scientific curiosity. He did not persevere. Something tumbled down the bank, and thudded into the muddy ground near the water, so Scott, with a wary glance around, hurried to investigate.
It was a box. It was, in fact, the Box. The gadgetry hitched to it meant little to Scott, though he wondered why it was so fused and burnt. He pondered. With his jackknife he pried and probed, his tongue sticking out from a corner of his mouth Hm-m-m. Nobody was around. Where had the box come from? Somebody must have left it here, and sliding soil had dislodged it from its precarious perch.
Lewis Padgett
In the latter half of the nineteenth century and Englishman sat on a grassy bank near a stream. A very small girl lay near him, staring up at the sky. She had discarded a curious toy with which she had been playing, and now was murmuring a wordless little song, to which the man listened to with half an ear.
Lewis Padgett quotes
His find he hid at the back of the closet in his own room upstairs. The crystal cube he slipped into his pocket, which already bulged with string, a coil of wire, two pennies, a wad of tinfoil, a grimy defenses stamp, and a chunk of feldspar. Emma, Scott's two-year-old sister, waddled unsteadily in from the hall and said hello.
"Hello, Slug," Scott nodded, from his altitude of seven years and some months. He patronized Emma shockingly, but she didn't know the difference. Small, plump, and wide-eyed, she flopped down on the carpet and stared dolefully at her shoes.
"Tie 'em, Scotty, please?"
"Sap," Scott told her kindly, but knotted the laces.
Lewis Padgett
But it had not been lunacy to Emma and Scott. They thought differently. They used x logic. Those notes Emma had made on the page  she'd translated Carroll's words into symbols both she and Scott could understand.
The random factor had made sense to the children. They had fulfilled the conditions of the time-space equation. And the mome raths outgrabe
Paradine made a rather ghastly little sound, deep in his throat. He looked at the crazy pattern on the carpet. If he could follow it, as the kids had done  but he couldn't. The pattern was senseless. The random factor defeated him. He was conditioned to Euclid.
Even if he went insane, he still couldn't do it. It would be the wrong kind of lunacy.
Padgett Lewis
Scott stirred in his sleep. Without awakening, he called what was obviously a question, though it did not seem to be in any particular language. Emma gave a little mewling cry that changed pitch sharply.
She had not awakened. The children lay without stirring.
But Paradine thought, with a sudden sickness in his middle, it was exactly as though Scott had asked Emma something, and she had replied.
Had their minds changed so that even  sleep  was different to them?

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