Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Michael spotted a breakout session at the Reality Formation Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It was called "Attraction: A Comprehensive Model of Reality Formation." It featured five panelists: a physicist, an astrophysicist, a psychologist, a neurologist, and the host/convener, a young man from MIT's Learning Lab.

"Anything attracted to something else usually follows a similar pattern," he began. "First comes awareness, if consciousness is involved, which is not a requirement. Second, the beginnings of movement toward the attractor, followed by an often irresistible fall into its embrace."

The audience tittered a bit, then fell silent, as Todd, the leader, brought up an image of a planet circling a sun.

"There are many examples of this procession, which we'll call Attention, Mild Attraction, and Fatal Attraction. I could use more technical terms, but what I hope to demonstrate is a general theory of attraction, best expressed in general terms." Todd flipped on a laser pointer and pointed to the planet on the screen.

"We're all familiar with at least two examples of Attraction. This one, of course, is gravity. As two objects approach each other, the force of gravity will begin to affect their trajectory. Let's say that when a change in trajectory due to gravitation can be detected, the two objects are in a state of Mild Attraction. As the force of gravitation increases by the square root of the distance between objects, the closer the objects come to each other, the stronger the pull, or Attraction. Assuming gravitational attraction isn't sufficiently counteracted by, say, centrifigal force, at some point the pull of gravity will overcome the inertia of the two objects, and they will fall into each other. That point of no return, we can call the point of Fatal Attraction.

"We know the same forces apply to magnetism. The mathematics are the same. What other examples of Attraction do we know about?" A hand shot up.

"What about sexual attraction?" said an attractive woman. The audience laughed.

"What's that? Sexual attraction? I wouldn't laugh. Our work leads us to believe it works the same, though it's much harder to measure, and it's complicated by the various dynamics of psychology, physiology, and cultural and social pressures. The extent to which sexual relations between unmarried couples is condoned. Or maybe when was the last time each person bathed." More laughter.

"Surely you've set up studies to try to measure that at MIT?" added the woman.

"We'd certainly like to," said Todd. "We just need sufficient numbers of scientifically minded volunteers like yourself to help us get started," he said, winking and smiling at the woman.

(excerpt from work in progress)


  1. What is the work in progress, Mike? Scientific RomCom?

  2. Thanks for reading, John. Sci-fi fantasy adventure w/ a romantic subplot. I wish I had chops enough to make it comedic too.