|The Transformation Story Archive||Horses and Doggies and Cats, Oh my...|
Finishing up swim team practice early, Andrew took a look at his watch and saw that he enough time to stop by his friend Peter's house. Peter was a shy boy of weak body, not prone to doing much outside his house. It didn't help him that his mind was not all that great either, but they both struggled together to get good grades in school, and sometimes were even successful.
Andrew had met Peter back in the earliest of days, on the elementary school playground, and they had been fast and firm friends ever since. However, as they each had grown older, Peter had started to get weaker and more sickly, while Andrew had grown stronger and more athletic. Peter often missed school, and he almost never left his house if he could help it. Andrew didn't mind though, he liked to visit his friend and hang out at his place, since Peter was alway sup to something new. Since swim team practice had ended early, he could stop by for a few minutes before heading home anyway.
Peter was the only one home at the moment, and he was more than happy to see Andrew. Andrew noticed that Peter was pale in the face, and his eyes were bloodshot. His near-vermillion hair was a disheveled mess, and he was walking about in PJs. "I just thought I'd stop by and see how you were doing," Andrew said apologetically upon seeing Peter's condition.
"No, that's all right. Come on in." Peter motioned with his hand, and Andrew reluctantly stepped into the house which reeked of sterilization.
"What is it this time?" Andrew asked him. "Bronchitis again?"
"Just a simple fever," Peter replied, weakly smiling. He then looked a little eager, "I haven't been getting much of my homework done either. I have been reading this book, hoping that it would help me be smarter, but I'm now only confused."
"What book?" Andrew replied, now interested himself. He was alwaysinterested ins omething that could make him smarter, what with his C grades and all.
"Oh, something that my Dad had in his study. Come to my room, I'll show you," Peter replied before turning to head up the stairs to the upstairs bedrooms. Peter's room was a mess: the sheets on his bed were upturned, there were several pairs of clothes lying in one corner, and his desk was just covered with random papers and notes. It looked like the floor had been swept recently, but other than that, nothing looked to be in anyway tidy. Peter pushed a bunch of papers off his desk, and picked up a small book with an orange and blue cover.
"Aristotle's Logic?" Andrew asked, reading the cover. "Why would you want to read that?"
Peter took the book back and tossed it on his desk, before slumping down in his cushioned chair. "My Dad said that it was the classic book on thinking, so I figured it might help me in my class work."
"Has it?" Andrew asked hopefully.
"No! It's only confused me more." Peter wailed, before coughing suddenly. After the brief fit ended, Peter continued. "The one thing I do think I understand doesn't seem to make any sense either."
"What is that?"
"Wait a second, let me find it." Peter began flipping through the book, till he fell upon an ear-marked page. "Here it is. The Syllogism. It is three statements consisting of three subjects. The third statement follows from the first two. He then lists a bunch of examples. Those are the editor's words though, Aristotle is very confusing."
"I don't get it." Andrew admitted.
"Here's an example that I think makes sense. The Statue of Liberty is a National Monument. The Statue of Liberty is in New York. Therefore, there is a National Monument in New York. See what I mean?"
Andrew nodded then, not really sure he completely understood, but he could see what he thought was the principle now. "Okay, so what is confusing you?"
Peter put the book down, and it immediately folded back up. "What I don't get is that I can make syllogisms that don't seem to be true, and yet according to Aristotle they make perfect logical sense."
"What do you mean?" Andrew asked, not really sure he wanted to read Aristotle's Logic now, convinced as he was that it was certain to be well above his head. His teachers probably had never read it, so why should he?
"Here, I'll give you another example. Dolphins can swim fast. My friend Andrew, that's you, can swim fast. Therefore, my friend Andrew is a dolphin. but you aren't a dolphin, why didn't it work?" Peter lamented, his face one of consternation. He coughed violently again, sending the back cover of Aristotle to flip open.
Andrew sat thinking about it. There had to be something wrong with it, since he certainly wasn't a dolphin. However, maybe it was just an exception. He thought about, wondering if there were any other connections he could make. In a flash of insight, he saw that this instance was not singular at all, but easily repeatable, with similar results. He waited until Peter was looking better before he spoke, "I think I see what you are saying. Here's another one. Turtles never leave their home. My friend Peter never leaves his home. Therefore, Peter is a turtle."
"I'm not a turtle!" Peter objected, as the page sof Aristotle flipped over in the opposite direction.
"And I'm not a dolphin." Andrew pointed out, a look of confussion on his face.
"But Aristotle says it should work! Aristotle says that the syllogism is the truest form of knowledge!" Peter bemoaned, wishing his limited mind could comprehend such matters.
"No I didn't!" a third voice suddenly rang out, coming directly from the book. Peter and Andrew turned to look at the now open book, Andrew's face just as pale as his sickly friend's. From out of the pages of the book came seeping a vaporous mist, that rose into the air above them, coalescing into an ethereal image of what was probably Aristotle. From the curls of the hair, and the head piece he wore, to the image of the toga drapped across his shoulder, there could be no doubt to the origin of his being, but of course, both were two scared to realize it.
"Who are you?" Andrew mumbled, his whole body trembling from the sight of the apparition.
"I'm Aristotle, who else could I be?" the image intoned impatiently.
"But didn't Aristotle die like centuries ago?" Peter quavered.
"My physical body died two millenia ago, but my spirit lives on in my works," Aristotle explained.
Andrew was now even more confused and frightened. "I thought Aristotle spoke Greek or something like that."
"I speak English becuase this is an English translation of my works," Aristotle droned as if it were a chore. He then looked down at them from his spiritual height. "Now you too have been distorting my words and making me say things that are not true! I don't like that, since I know that I am correct."
"We only read what you said," Peter protested. "We can't be held responsible if you are confusing."
Aristotle scoffed, "No, you misunderstood what was plain as day. Instead you fancy to use my syllogism to prove things that are not now true. I overheard what you were saying, you concluded that Andrew here is a dolphin and that you are a turtle. Do you both look like that now?"
Andrew, who was visibly shaking, shook his head, "Of course not. But you said the syllogism is the highest form of knowledge. How can that be untrue?"
Aristotle laughed racoucusly, "The syllogism is never false."
"But neither am I a dolphin, nor is Peter a turtle," Andrew objected again.
"You did not use a proper syllogism, so of course it wasn't true," Aristotle replied petulantly. "I do not like it when that happens."
"We don't understand," Peter whined, his own face nearly completely white. "Your Logic says that the syllogism should work."
Aristotle shook his head sadly, "I'm afraid that you all can never understand what I was saying. I suppose that you both will maintain that your supposed syllogisms are true syllogisms?"
"I guess so." Andrew said quietly.
"Well, in that case, we must make sure that they are true then!" Aristotle laughed. He reached out a wispy hand, and brushed each of them momentarily. "I don't want to catch either of you reading my works again!" And then the ethereal figure of Aristotle vanished back into the pages of the book. The binding then pulled on itself, and the book slammed shut.
Both Peter and Andrew looked at each other for a few moments in shock and dismay. "What did he mean by making sure the syllogisms are true?" Peter asked.
Andrew put a hand to his stomach, suddenly feeling very ill, "I don't know,but I think he might have given me whatever you got."
Peter fell out of his chair suddenly, doubled over, "And he made mine worse!"
Andrew reached up to his head, holding his temples as he developed a massive headache. He rubbed his scalp to take away the pressure, and then noticed that his hair was falling out. He looked into Peter's mirror, and noticed that all his hair was gently falling to the floor, leaving him with completely smooth skin. Andrew stared at his visage in shock, before the pain in his body became too great for him to stand anymore. He fell tothe ground, his clothes suddenly beoming tight on him, till they simply tore off his body, under the pressure of his expanding chest, and what appeared to be a protrusion comgin from his rear.
Andrew got a good view of Peter for a moment, before his neck straightened out completely. Peter's back had become quite distended, and hard, much like a shell, and his ams were thickening and shrinking at the same time. All of Peter's hair had fallen out as well, and his eyes had become sickly yellow. That was all he could see before his neck straightened out and he was staring at the door, unable to look elsewhere. He felt many things though. He knew that he was growing a tail, and that his arms were shrinking. He felt something push out form his back, and his face became quite distended. He sensed his eyes moving somehow, and he saw something grey before him. THen the pain stopped, and he felt quite straight in design. He tried to roll over, but he crunched what had been one of his arms. He moved his tail, and found that he could spin himself about. He managed to get himself facing the wall mirror, and saw where he should be the body of a prone dolphin.
Andrew began chirping in alarm, making frightened clicking noises. He heard a strange moaning to one side, and he peered over where Peter should be. In Peter's place was what appeared to him to be a Galapagos Turtle. It stared at him grumpily, before retreating into it's shell. Andrew felt himself become a little light headed, and suddenly, his cares were washed away by the effervescent dolphin personality. Well, at least their syllogisms had been true, he consoled himself. No, how was he going to find water?
Syllogism copyright 1998 by Charles Matthias.
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