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Safe in their alabaster chambers, Untouched by morning and untouched by noon, Sleep the meek members of the resurrection, Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine; Babbles the bee in a stolid ear; Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence, -- Ah, what sagacity perished here!

Grand go the years in the crescent above them; Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row, Diadems drop and Doges surrender, Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.

-Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

Nothing better to start the day with than a thought experiment: Hold out your hand at shoulder height, close your left eye, and line up your thumb with a distant object. Hold that position and switch eyes, so that your left is open and your right closed. If everything unfolded as it should, then your thumb should appear to slightly shift in its position, seemingly teleporting between two distinct points in space. But your thumb isn't actually moving, it's just your perspective that's changed. This shift in perspective is called a 'parallax', and it's nothing less than a metaphysical can of worms, seeing as it raises the problem of the incommensurable nature of different perspectives. Which perspective is the 'right' perspective? Which one accurately conveys the thumb's place in space?

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." ― Albert Einstein

"Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think." ― Erik Qualman
A Peephole Into Nothing

Let's back up for a second. It will be helpful to first survey the rich history of the concept of parallax; to examine when and where the concept came into use, how it was used, and why it is so fundamental to modern science and Astronomy and Geology in particular. Ever since the Ancient Era, parallax has been used to calculate the exact distance between two celestial bodies (i.e. stars, planets, asteroids, and so on). To put it simply, the parallax effect was used to measure a star's apparent movement against the background of other, more distant stars as the earth revolves around the sun. This is called a "Stellar Parallax" or a "Trigonometric Parallax".

But how does it work? In short, it's all a matter of geometry. The apparent shift in a certain celestial body's location as viewed from two distinct vantage points is calculated. What's important is to calculate not only the change in the body's (in our case, the thumb's) perspective but also the distance between the two vantage points (the distance between our eyes). This data is enough to measure the great distances between stars. In fact, it was by this method that the Earth's distance from the sun was first determined in 1672 by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Cassini. and has remained the gold standard for measuring distance in astronomy.

The way the story is usually told. the fact that a fissure in our visual field, that our perceptual incompleteness, that our inability to grasp the exact location of every single object of the world as it really is, is actually crucial to determining the exact distance between objects is nothing short of a scientific marvel signaling the triumph of man over his own shortcomings. This is undeniably true, yet it seems as though the further science marches onward, the more our world, in its calculable certainty, breaks down into seemingly incompatible components. Parallax, according to some, has become an appropriate way to describe such developments.

These novel theoretical approaches aim to take the world's volatile inconsistent nature into account. The realms of quantum physics and general relativity have proved to us the baffling role of perspective in the world. It is held that many fundamental properties of the world, such as speed, are constituted in relation to other things. In other words, they are relative and perspective-dependent. But what of the schisms which constitute the difference between perspectives? One could say that somehow, our world has the innate feature of containing its own gaps in perspective; as if the 'parallax gap', that same apparent change in location of our thumb, is none the less a part of the world than our thumb itself.

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