Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One Direction's Infinite Causality Loop

After hearing about the alleged feud between The Who and One Direction, I got roped into listening to the 1D song in question, "Best Song Ever," which indeed sounds a lot like The Who's "Baba O'Riley," and scrolling through some of the kind of psychotic 1D fan tweets.

The feud itself doesn't interest me that much, but "Best Song Ever" does. As I listened to it, I realized it is not only a half-decent pop song, it's also a quantum causality loop. As you may already know, this isn't their first song to employ "infinite fractal recursion," as Stephen Colbert explained brilliantly in his deconstruction of "What Makes You Beautiful."

The chorus to the song is as follows:

And we danced all night to the best song ever.
We knew every line. Now I can't remember
How it goes but I know that I won't forget her
'Cause we danced all night to the best song ever.

I think it went oh, oh, oh
I think it went yeah, yeah, yeah
I think it goes oh

Based on the admittedly spotty memory of the band, the "best song ever" could be the New Kids on the Block classic "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," but I believe that's too simple an explanation. Instead, in a brilliant display of Jedi mind trickery, the best song ever refers to "Best Song Ever." 

Here's where things get a little complicated.

When 1D refers to this halcyon night in which they danced to the best song ever, a song which goes both, "Oh, oh, oh," and, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," you'll recall, they are talking about their own song "Best Song Ever," which indeed goes both, "Oh, oh, oh," and, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." But how could this be? How could Harry and co. have listened to their song in the past, while also recording it in the present? 

That's right: infinite causality loop.

Of course, it's impossible to say which came first, the dancing to the song or the recording of it, because temporally speaking, neither one came first. They are two separate yet mutually dependent events. At the same instant they recorded the song, they had already danced to it all night, and when they were dancing to it all night, they had already recorded it.

Less enlightened peoples--from the 1990s, say--would certainly have decried such a quantum paradox as incontrovertible evidence of witchcraft, but in the enlightened, post-Harry Potter 2010s, we know better than to jump to the "black magic" explanation. Instead, as Speed Levitch said in Waking Life, "[we] can learn to love...the paradoxes that bug [us]."

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