October 7, 2012, 10:36 PM
BC Editorial Team
Join Date: March 9, 2008
Aladdin's lamp, Genie and Your Wish
Little Harmonic Labrynth
excerpted from Göedel, Escher, Bach - by Douglas Hofstadter
Full chapter available on Scribd
Achilles: I forgot, Mr. Tortoise-I've got this lamp with me! But-what's magic about it?
Tortoise: Oh, you know, just the usual-a genie.
Achilles: What? You mean a genie comes out when you rub it, and grants you wishes?
Tortoise: Right. What did you expect? Pennies from heaven?
Achilles: Well, this is fantastic! I can have any wish want, eh? I've always wished this would happen to me ...
(And so Achilles gently rubs the large letter `L' which is etched on the lamp's copper surface ... Suddenly a huge puff of smoke appears, and in the forms of the smoke the five friends can make out a weird, ghostly figure towering above them.)
Genie: Hello, my friends – and thanks ever so much for rescuing my Lamp from the evil Lizard-Duo.
(And so saying, the Genie picks up the Lamp, and stuffs it into a pocket concealed among the folds of his long ghostly robe which swirls out of the Lamp.)
Genie:As a sign of gratitude for your heroic deed, I would like to offer you, on the part of my Lamp, the opportunity to have any three of your wishes realized.
Achilles: How stupefying! Don't you think so, Mr. T?
Tortoise: I surely do. Go ahead, Achilles, take the first wish.
Achilles: Wow! But what should I wish? Oh, I know! It's what I thought of the first time I read the Arabian Nights (that collection of silly (and nested) tales)-I wish that I had a HUNDRED wishes, instead of just three! Pretty clever, eh, Mr. T? I bet YOU never would have thought of that trick. I always wondered why those dopey people in the stories never tried it themselves.
Tortoise: Maybe now you'll find out the answer.
Genie: I am sorry, Achilles, but I don't grant metawishes.
Achilles: I wish you'd tell me what a "meta-wish" is!
Full excerpt to be continued here
What do you wish?
- You have 1 wish only
- You can wish anything you want, except a meta-wish.