An opinion brought by Dr. Stanley Bolsson:
Sophomores at Wyoming Catholic College just presented one of the famous Euclidean postulates, Proposition 17 of Book XII, a.k.a. the Disco Ball or more commonly, the Death Star. It certainly does look like the Death Star. Doesn’t it look like it to you?
It’s one of the most frightening propositions to present, both due to its absolutely massive scale, its complexity, with both construction (QEF) and proof (QED) portions as well as a corollary and a hyper-related follow-on proposition that’s practically a porism.
In other words: That’s no moon.
Student stress levels reflect this, with a panicked focus being the order of the day before the presentation of the Death Star among sophomores in Mathematics 201: Euclidean Geometry II. Students take the terror of the Death Star, the real Death Star, and apply it to the prop, treating it as the prop that will make or break the career at the school, the plans of which they must learn perfectly in order to have any hope of crushing it and avoiding it from crushing them.
But I wonder. Why haven’t we noticed the obvious? I guess we have, of course, we do call it this prop the “Death Star”. But why haven’t we reasoned backwards from the obvious similarities and wondered. And wondered.
Why do they look so similar?
Look at the drawing again. Quadrilateral KBPS is circumscribed by a circle. It’s not shown in the diagram but it’s there in the reasoning. Add it in there, connect XS and XP and the thing looks even more like the Death Star. Too much to be coincidence. Too much to explain way as incidental.
We have to consider the obvious.
It’s not a coincidence. Euclid built the proof because he saw the Death Star.
How else could it look so similar?
And as to why he built it that way… Not only did he see the Death Star, he saw it at work. At work destroying his home planet of Alderaan.
You see Euclid was a smart cookie. Too smart to be a man of his time, a time where you have people like Democritus thinking that there’s hair in bread. Euclid must have come from somewhere other than Earth. Somewhere like maybe a galaxy far, far away. From sometime a long time ago. Someone who, traumatized, escaped the annihilation of everything he knew, casting himself off into the great unknown… and ending up on Earth, in ancient Greece, but with the knowledge of a trained scientist of the Galactic Empire.
Proposition XII.17 is near the end of Euclid’s work, the Elements. It reflects the terror that struck deep into his heart (likely according to a talk I had with psychologist Dr. Jeremiah Baur having given him extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)). It transmits that same terror Euclid felt onto every student who has to learn or present it. It was Euclid’s attempt at coping with the deep trouble within him, a trouble that no one around him in his time could even understand, but as a message for the future, a future where Earth would learn the saga of the rise and fall of the Galactic Republic and Empire through the messages transmitted to George Lucas, to a future that could understand him.
And WCC students, in their terror this week in presenting the proposition, reflect his memory, and the memory of all those who were killed at the end of the superlaser beam, line AX in the drawing until Luke Skywalker managed to use a flaw at point O in the drawing, the thermal exhaust port, to destroy it.
May the force be with all you sophomores…
Dr. Stanley Bolsson