The Principle of Continuity

A Passage from Luminous Airplanes, or Things As They Were: A Hyperromance

The principle of continuity was proposed in the nineteen-twenties, by an American named Charles Hoy Fort, who, if you’re curious, also invented a game called “super-chess,” to be played on a board of four thousand and ninety-six squares. In a nutshell, it—the principle, not the game—states that everything in our experience is a part of something else that is a part of still something else, until you arrive at a universal totality in which all things are included. We only see these things as separate, Fort says, because we exclude their continuity from our awareness. Red is not absolutely different from green; it is only another form of the same vibration, and by the same token, the normal is not absolutely different from the paranormal, or the para-paranormal. That’s what the SFCIPPN was trying to prove. If the lights in the sky turned out to be real, and alien, then what we think of as outside the normal would actually be inside; in fact, there would be no inside or outside at all. Actually, if the principle of continuity is correct, nothing has an inside or an outside, a beginning or an end. Everything fits together, because everything is together—which is what Pearl Fabula seemed to prove, sometimes, with his music. All records are one, and all books, and all cut-up scraps of paper; all machines are one, and all people, and all animals and plants; there is no such thing as love or joy, or sorrow, or hope, or fear or despair; all are continuous with their opposites and ultimately indistinguishable from them.

Ultimately, Fort is less known for his philosophy than for the data he accumulated over the course of a lifetime’s trolling of the British Library and the New York Public Library, the reports of thousands of anomalous weather phenomena that science was at pains to explain.

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