Sunday, 9 March 2008
Arthur Schnitzler's "Leinbach Proof"
In his novel "Flight Into Darkness" (1931) the Austrian novelist and playwright Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931) has a fascinating short section which is a pure precurser of CTF (without the supporting science). In this incredible section (pages 29-31) Schnitzler discusses the theory one of his characters, Leinbach. He wrote that Leinbach had:
"discovered a proof that there really is no death. It is beyond question, he had declared, that not only the drowning, but all the dying, live over again their whole past lives in the last moment, with a rapidity inconceviable to us others. This remembered life must also have a last moment, and this last moment its own last moment and so on; hence dying has itself eternity; in accordance with the theory of limits one may approach death but never reach it."
Clearly Schnitzler does not explain the mechanism by which this takes place but it is nevertheless a very similar, if not identical, proposition to CTF.
I found this particular quotation by chance in a book on interesting mathematical anomolies called Fantasia Mathematica by Clifton Fadiman.
As an interesting synchronicity the most famous work of Schnitzler is 1926 novella called "Traumnovelle". The story was used as the basis for the 1999 movie Eyes Wide Shut. This was Stanley Kubrick's last film and starred Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Yet again we seem to have a weird link between Tom Cruise and his choice of movies!