How To: Think Properly - 13. Reality as Energy
After washing both my plate and Trevor’s, I headed upstairs to—well, it’s pretty boring so I guess I’ll see what I can do when I get to my room. It wasn’t that tedious of a task when you only had to clean up after yourself and one other person. Washing two dishes were much easier than washing a dozen. The plates were basically spotless either way—unless sandwiches are supposed to be messy food. Compared to food I had to cook at home… Yeah, I’d rather have a single plate of food per person than multiple side dishes paired with an individual bowl of rice per person. With how advanced technology has become, I still question why so many people prefer to wash the dishes themselves rather than use the dishwasher.—I can’t really complain though, since I am equally a hypocrite. Imagine inventing a toilet and people still unanimously decided to shit outside next to a tree. That would be a big fat slap to the face of the inventor of the toilet. I wonder if that’s what the guy who created the dishwasher feels whenever people wash the dishes with a sponge instead of chucking it into the dishwasher. Either way, it didn’t look like the kitchen had a dishwasher so that’s the end of that.
As I slid closed the doors of the kitchen behind me, I noticed Trevor was on the sofa watching television. I guess this guy did do stuff other than weight lifting. Must be boring to wake up every day only to end up lifting weights. Then again, I can see myself being entertained by sitting on a bench at a park observing people for the entire duration of the day. I guess I can’t really criticize him for that. We all have things we enjoy doing after all… What’s up with this guy’s financial situation though? If all he does is this, does he not have a job? Is he one of those rich ass investors who have millions of dividends¹ everywhere in all the best companies? That would be one explanation for his wealth. But still, doesn’t he do his taxes? Maybe he does but I’ve only been here for two days, meaning I won’t know shit until I have stayed here long enough. Even then, he could always be doing things in private. Half the time, I have no clue where he is but I’d assume he’d be in the basement lifting weight since I could hear loud music playing.
As I was about to head up the stairs, Trevor switched to the news channel which was what caught me in my steps.
“…kidnappings have been happening spontaneously this past week. The police do not have any leads yet, but they are saying that they should have a breakthrough soon. Now onto our next segment—woah woah, who are you? Hey, get out of here! Eh—” The news reporter who happened to be filming on some random street intersection with police everywhere was blocked by a man dressed in a black trench coat and a fedora to match. His eyes were sharp like a tiger’s which made me take a step back as if I were there right in front of him. He was intimidating, but a different kind. It wasn’t the sense of physical intimidation I felt from Trevor, but more of a…predators? I’m not too sure… Maybe it’s the scar edged along his right cheek. Perhaps that’s what is accentuating his intense aura. Now that I looked at it closely, the filming was taking place in front of what appeared to be a crime scene. There were those same police tapes everywhere—just like the ones a couple days ago. It was only a street corner, but judging by the corner of that building which looked much too dark, I’d assume it was raining a couple minutes ago. That explained the trench coat as well as the news reporter’s rain suit attire.
Looking at the guy again, I had a strange nostalgic feeling as if I recognized him… But I can’t think of who it would be. It’s not every day that I talk to strangers that were many years older than me—I hardly talk in general. If I don’t need to communicate, I’d rather not waste my saliva and keep my mouth moist. Having a dry mouth is the worst state one can be in.
Perhaps I’ve seen this guy on the train or from windows… I seriously don’t remember who it could be, but his face was definitely familiar. Especially that distinct scar on his right cheek. I couldn’t see his hair since he was wearing a fedora, but it didn’t matter much.
“We know your next move, the ‘Invad—’’ The channel switched all of the sudden—wait, it’s still the same channel, isn’t it? At the bottom right corner was the logo, News York. I get it was supposed to be a play on the word ‘News’ and the state ‘New York,’ but it still sounded stupid. Since the logo was still there, that meant it was still the same news channel.
After a couple seconds, the blank screen with the transparent logo on the bottom right blinked back to somewhere else. It was no longer a scene of a street intersection, but a room. It wasn’t just any room, but one with a lot of blue everywhere. There was a big slab in the middle which was sort of like a long desk. It curved around into a semicircle and two people were sitting at this news desk. One was a woman with short curly hair while the other gave off the stereotypical American man with a shaved beard and mustache in a suit. He had a buzz cut that was bordering the realm of baldness. The extra little hairs on his hairline fluffed upward, exposing his shiny forehead that would have been perfect had this been a laundry commercial. He did not have any flaps or creases on his forehead which just went to further enhance his young appearance. The bright shiny smile he gave off also added to the atmosphere. While it was supposed to be a two-person host, this guy was obviously dominating the segment. The woman sitting just right of him could be mistaken for a ‘behind the scenes’ worker had she not been sitting at the news desk.
Right behind the two of them was a giant glass window—a glass wall, actually. It was like a perfect frame shot in which the entirety of New York City was captured within the confines of the glass. It was still daytime so it didn’t look as glamorous as the night city.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out this was the news channel just from this single scene alone. Still, something didn’t feel right.
Looking at the grandfather clock, it said 2:14. It didn’t make sense for the news to be on at this hour. Usually, it was during the early mornings: six or seven AM²; or the later nightly hours: seven or nine—even as late as eleven PM³. The Catskills were still included in the Eastern Standard Time (EST) zone, so there shouldn’t be much of a difference. Plus, with the advent of 8G cell towers everywhere in America, it wasn’t an overstatement to say that you could stream things on the internet at breakneck speeds. It didn’t matter if you were watching a live concert from the West Coast of America or halfway across the world, the data transmission and range was basically global. There were only four 8G cell towers in America, and still, there wasn’t much latency or internet traffic. Perhaps if there was a magnitude 8.0 or 9.0 earthquake, then that would cause problems; but for the most part, natural disasters could hardly affect the internet. Unless a tornado directly hit one of the cell towers, literally nothing will happen. While I may not understand how 8G cell towers work, I know they use some interesting technology and whatnot. I wasn’t too sure, but from the rumors that have been popping up recently on the web, it was some newly discovered universal electromagnetic wave thingy. They say it can be transformed to all sorts of electromagnetic radiation very easily which was why it was compatible with almost all devices—even the old ones that relied on radio waves. It was certainly an interesting topic, but I obviously couldn’t believe all that bullshit since it was all coming from a ‘world-renowned’ expert online. Maybe it was true and maybe it wasn’t. Either way, I’m not a physicist nor would I want to be one. Electromagnetism sounds fun and all, but I don’t have time to go to college and waste years of my life to get a degree in physics just to understand the electromagnetic spectrum.
“Thank you for the update, Josh. Now onto the next segment is an interview with the head scientist of Nexon Laboratory Facilitations. They have recently made a “revolutionary” breakthrough,” said the guy as he emphasized the ‘revolutionary’ part. The woman beside him followed up, “What exciting news! We have Rachel Normandy reporting in at the scene.”
The screen then blinked to another place and gave a short montage of a building from the air. It was probably a drone recording. The sun cast its arrows straight at the single skyscraper towering above all others in its parameters. The following view collected by the drone was no doubt a sight—tens of streets were covered over by its darkness. Judging by the street view camera, it looked to be somewhere around Central Park in the middle of Manhattan—also known as the center of New York City. It was indeed a sight to behold. As the screen zoomed in to the logo imprinted on the building entrance, the words made out a familiar conglomerate’s name. Nexon, it read in big red words.
A couple seconds more of the sightseeing then prompted a transition to the reporter. She was a simple reporter that wasn’t anything extraordinary. The person beside her though was a different story. His hairs were grey down to his feeble shoulders. He had messy hair like Einstein, but it was much straighter compared to Einstein’s. The individual hairs themselves looked thin and the greyness of it made it appear as if a bright silver strand. It’s amazing how advanced cameras have become for them to be able to capture every individual part of everything. Maybe it was the flat-screen television’s amazing display resolution.—Either that or it was the news channel on steroids with some brand new equipment.
Despite being a scientist, he was not wearing any white lab coat which was clearly a breach of dressing etiquette. How is one going to be able to differentiate a scientist who doesn’t wear a lab coat from the average run of the mill obese American? Wearing a lab coat was like the signature style of a scientist or someone in the scientific field. Without it, they were basically crazy Floridians who spoke the language of madness. Not even science can figure out what’s up with Florida. The only thing I know for sure is that spending even a second in Florida will deteriorate your brain cells beyond repair…
I want to die.
“…Dr. Jung, can you enlighten us on what this could mean for the future of science?”
“Future of science is a major understatement. Something this big will supersede everything we have come to know as reality. With the advent of superpowers, it only goes to support this current theory right now.”
“You say theory, but it’s just a theory isn’t it?”
“Well, when it comes to this discussion, a lot of the public is misinformed of what the term, “theory,” means inside the science community and pretty much most other fields of academia. A theory is different from a simple opinion, statement, and hypothesis. A theory is a claim made through thorough observations and analysis that has come to be supported heavily by others who have reached a similar observation. The moment it accumulates some flaws, the theory is abandoned since it is not sound enough—hence, no longer a viable theory. If a theory collapses by simple logic or the studies were founded based on erred observations, then it is not solid enough to be a theory. Basically, a theory needs to be supported heavily to the point in which it can be assumed as true and it would still be applicable in the world,” he took a breath.
“Take, for example, the theory of plate tectonics. It has combined the theory of continental drift and the theory of seafloor spreading. Together, they form a more complete picture of the world—or geography as we interpret it. Since the theory works when assumed to be true and does not face any counter-arguments posed by the real world’s consequences, it is considered a strong theory. Even the history of the continents corroborates the theory. The only reason it hasn’t become law is that it isn’t precise enough to be considered natural law. Take numbers for example. One finger will always mean one. If you add another finger of equal parts as the first, that will always mean two because that is what “addition” means. It is a definite element that never changes naturally. But for plate tectonics, it still requires a lot of thinking and—I guess you could say “Sciencing,” and “Mathing.” The current theory that has been circulating in the scientific community is the theory of reality as energy. With it, it can explain a lot of the unanswered questions of the universe, such as dark matter, electrons, photons, and basically everything. Similar to plate tectonics, reality as energy is also built off of many other theories, such as Albert Einstein’s theory of special relativity and Niels Bohr’s and Max Planck’s theory of quantum mechanics. In a way, the theory of reality as energy is a rival to the much recent string theory, and we here at Nexon Laboratory Facilitations believe our theory is the more accurate model.”
The news reporter looked extremely interested, but that was obviously a front. Like any other news reporter, it was just the typical bloodthirsty look of someone ready to stir up a scandal.
“Can you tell us more about your theory and how it compares to string theory?” She asked, pointing the microphone back to the old guy.
“Well, much like string theory, it is yet to be fully developed. But—we have been able to get some interesting experimental data and our best physicists are currently analyzing the data. The general idea behind reality as energy is that energy is the founding state of existence. I know it sounds paradoxical, but I assure it is not as crazy as it sounds. This base form of energy, we here at the laboratory have named it, “Mana.” Mana does not have any particular charge so it by itself is neither positive nor negative despite being energy. It is the purest form that energy can be. Our best physicists have theorized that even among Mana variants, there is a singular essence within that is common among all Mana types. The reason why Mana is categorized is based on current observations. We have found that different Mana types create different observable properties. Different types of Mana form to create different sorts of energy which in turn, can be transformed into other things such as matter or electromagnetic fields and other higher orders of energy. By understanding all the types of Mana out there, we will be able to understand more and more of the universe. Take, for example, black holes. We don’t know what they are made of, but we know that they have to be made of something, whatever that something maybe. Based on the theory of reality as energy, whatever that something is—must be composed of Mana as its most essential form. The more we can understand it, the more efficiently we can utilize it. Once we’ve completely figured it out, the idea of whisking oxygen out of thin air would no longer be an issue. Astronauts would be able to produce their own oxygen with the usage of Mana. We would be able to produce limitless amounts of usable energy to sustain the operations in the world. The possibilities are endless.”
The news reporter immediately struck back with another question. “If Mana is the most essential form of energy, how will we be able to harness it when we can’t see it?” She asked. These questions were most likely prepared beforehand because I doubt she could understand all that the scientist guy just said. He was basically lecturing and it is without a doubt that even the best students will sometimes have trouble understanding the material being taught by the professor, which is why I doubt she came up with the question herself. Such a vital question was also what I was wondering about too. After all, ‘assuming that Mana exists, how is it possible for humans to utilize it?’ This scientist guy is seriously overestimating the intelligence of the human species. Some people don’t even understand the basic mechanics of a computer and he expects us to be able to control some mystical force known as Mana? There are literal morons out there participating to win the Darwin Awards³ and here we are, trying to solve the ‘important’ issues in the world… I can’t blame him though. If those idiots want to be idiots, they might as well go ahead and kill themselves. The only problem is that their deaths would be a detriment to society since we would lose some ‘hard-working’ men… That aside, the terminology used is a bit strange. Mana would refer to fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons which is an odd reference. It was either something related to those fantastical elements or a complete coincidence. I’m thinking there may be an obvious reason it’s called Mana and I’ve glossed over it… Maybe it has something to do with superpowers? I mean, I still remember that one hooligan on the train who manifested a fireball out of nowhere. And based on this knockoff game terminology, the idea of something appearing to have been wooshed out of nothing seems to fit.
“Funny you mention that because it’s actually one of the founding pillars of reality as energy,” he said with a chuckle, “You see, I would never have discovered Mana had it not been for this!” He lifted his right hand in the air with his palm opened. At a second’s notice, a transparent floating ball appeared. Water.
The news reporter gasped as she backed away. It was natural to be scared of such a supernatural phenomenon but I’d have expected her to be prepared since news reporters are on the front-line of gathering intel. Everyone knows about superpowers. Whether or not they may believe it is another story—but I’d have expected a news reporter to confirm the truth themselves.
“You see, a lot of other people have also awakened their powers around the world. It is an unknown force which means a new realm for scientific study. I’m sure a lot of the world’s governments are running experiments on superpowers too, but my team here at Nexon Laboratory Facilitations are undoubtedly one of the first which is the reason for our quick findings,” he said, as he dropped his hand. The water followed along and stayed near his palm. It had already been a few seconds since he had manifested it. Compared to before, the ball of water started to wiggle like jello as if in an unstable state. Visible sweat could be seen from the guy’s forehead. Indeed, whoever was filming this was on steroids—that’s the only explanation for why the quality is so good. If a single drop of sweat that was practically transparent could be captured, then that camera being used was some next level shit. Has television always been this highly defined? It feels weird to question it since I grew up in this high tech society.
After a couple more seconds, the guy puffed a breath of air as he released his hand from the air. The ball followed suit as it dropped to the ground naturally.
“It’s probably because of my old age, but maintaining it is tiring. Our volunteers can maintain their abilities far longer than I so it may mean that being youthful helps in the control of Mana,” he said, trying to keep his voice steady. To think a single conjuring of water would make him that tired… Maybe there’s something more to it. The fireball hooligan didn’t look tired at all from a single fireball so there was definitely another factor to be considered. Perhaps it was some sort of mental stamina?—no, a scientist should be in a much richer mental state compared to a hooligan. Then was it physical stamina? Interesting…
“If you’ll excuse me for some rest, we can continue the interview,” said the scientist guy as he took slow steps away.
“Well, that’s quite interesting if I do say so myself! Now we’ll be back after this commercial break,” said the news reporter as the screen changed to some random commercial about back pain in elderly folks. There was seriously something up with that cameraman. It was quite obvious when it transitioned to the commercial—it was like turning an HD film into 64-bit pixels. The damn thing would look like censored pornography.
I looked at the grandfather clock. 2:42. Did I really just lose half an hour of my life watching the news? Wow, I’m fucking regretting it now. I ought to go upstairs to my room and stare at the wall for another hour. It’s not like I have shit better to do. Yesterday, I kind of reorganized some stuff in my room so that was that. The time I had right now was basically free and I hated the fact that I had no chores. It feels too weird. I was usually the one who maintained everything and did all the chores out of my own will. I’m weird aren’t I? What the fuck is wrong with me for liking to do chores? I guess it soothed my mind when I had something to do… But I didn’t even get an allowance…
As I turned my back to the television and was about to walk up, Trevor said, “Go to the basement in twenty minutes, I’ll be waiting.” With a muted grunt, he got off the sofa and looked to be getting some water while the commercials played. Now that I think about it, normal news would have a lot more commercial breaks spaced out evenly—once every fourteen or fifteen minutes. The fact that it went on for thirty minutes straight was unsettling. There was also the time it was being broadcasted. Perhaps it’s because there was a special event that required the broadcasting time to be rescheduled…
What did Trevor say again? Damn, I should stop getting off task whenever people talk… Let’s see… Did he say something about the basement in twenty minutes? So at three, I need to head down to the basement… Why again?
As if I had been suffering from mental retardation back then, I realized Trevor said something about sparring back when we were eating.