Klein Bottle

Sometimes, discussions of the world

turn to mathematics, which might

make me seem intelligent

if I had the slightest clue

what I was talking about.

Take yesterday, Alex and myself

talking philosophy with our

pre-freshman visitors.

Somehow we moved on to math

and how it relates to human

perception; abstract ideas,

four-dimensional geometries

and such. No big deal, right?

But then silly me decides

to describe the idea of

a Klein bottle. "Well," I say,

"It's what you get when you stick

two Möbius strips together

along the edge." The response?

Blank stares, although one of them asks

"What's a Möbius strip?" "Well, it's a

one-sided three dimensional-figure,"

I tell him. Like that helps.

But really, how can I explain

something I don't completely

understand, something that's not

even possible to express

in 3D space? I could tell him

it's a single-sided container

you can make in 4D, but not 3D,

because it would have to intersect

itself, which it doesn't do.

Math can prove these things exist,

but it's a tool to describe

the indescribable. We can only

discuss the weirdness of reality

on its own terms, so how can we

make claims to understand it?