brni (brni) wrote,

zig-zag & swirl

I've been intermittently perusing John Grant's Discarded Science: Ideas that Seemed Good at the Time..." - the theory being that if I'm going to be writing odd steampunky things, it might be a good source book. Unfortunately, it's been less useful than I'd hoped; the scope of the book is vast, but the size of the book is that of a bathroom reader. Consequently, much of the subject matter covered only superficially.

Today, however, I left the bathroom with a need to learn about zig-zag & swirl, a theory of motion developed by Alfred Lawson, minor league baseball player and founder of Lawsonomy, a mystical form of science billed as "the study of everything." He purchased the site of the defunct University of Des Moines and formed the Des Moines University of Lawsonomy.

From Time Magazine's 1952 article on the school:

Lawsonites said it would take a student 30 years to earn the degree of "Knowlegian" in Lawsonomy, but that 20 full-time students are working away at it. The school charges no tuition, they said, and it pays no salaries to its teachers. Students (men only) are accepted only on a ten-year basis, and the curriculum consists largely of memorizing Lawson's books. No other reading is permitted; on one occasion, it was even forbidden to refer to a basketball rulebook.

One has to wonder whether Lawsonomy might have been an inspiration for L. Ron Hubbard. Lawsonomy has no Thetans, no aliens that turn us into squirrels, or whatever it is they do, but Lawson seemed to think that we didn't actually think: what appeared to be our thoughts was actually a result of an ongoing war between two factions of microscopic entities that live inside our brains, Menorgs (the Good Guys) and Disorgs (the Bad Guys).

As for zig-zag & swirl - well, all that is seems to be that when you walk a straight line, your absolute motion is actually a zig-zag and a swirl, as the floor you're on is on a rotating planet that's revolving around the sun. Why is this important? Ah, well, that's simple: Relativity is bad.

Fascinating stuff. (More, including some direct Lawsonian quotes, in an earlier Time article here:,9171,802965,00.html )

I do wonder what would happen if Menorgs came in contact with Dr. Bronner's All-One-God Soap, though.
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