The School - Part 3
“You could say," continued Dr. Nagle, "that our school is designed for de-education. We strive to remove the homeostatic controls imposed by education, to whatever degree you desire and from whatever source your education was derived.”
Montgomery is invited to take a tour of the campus and to see students in action. The first room they visit is a music lab. Upon entering the room, Montgomery notices a large stage at the far end of the room and a hundred-piece orchestra. There are only five people in the room – one is conducting the orchestra and the other four are watching him and not the orchestra. Montgomery can only see the backside of the conductor, but thinks he knows him. When the conductor finishes his piece and collapses on the couch, Montgomery recognizes him as Norcross, the engineer from Boeing.
Montgomery is more than surprised to see Norcross, and comments that he had no idea he had any interest in music. Montgomery is also stunned to see that the stage and orchestra has disappeared from the far end of the room. Norcross indicates that he wasn’t sure he was going to make it through the last movement, but he felt this performance was his best thus far and wanted to be sure his wife would see the final video recording.
When Montgomery comments about the stage and orchestra disappearing, it elicits an audible laugh from the others in the room. Dr. Nagle explains to him that the stage and orchestra were never real; a shadow box projects onto a wall what a student’s mind imagines via a headset the student is wearing. Mental images, once conveyed to the mechanisms inside the shadow box, become visible and audible when projected onto a wall. Whatever an individual can imagine is capable of being viewed on a screen.
As the engineers are leaving the room, Dr. Nagle assures everyone present that the mental exercise of arranging music and conducting an orchestra is on par with anything they would ever do in creative science. He asked them to consider the number of factors that had to be coordinated, manipulated, and kept under absolute control at all times in the demonstration they had just witnessed.
Norcross gives another demonstration of his mental powers by projecting onto a whiteboard, via a headset, a schematic drawing of an airborne radar with a capacity of thirty miles. It takes him about ten minutes to complete the very complex drawing, but once finished both he and Dr. Nagle are confident it will be successful.
The final demonstration utilizes a 3-D box into which Norcross projects his imagery of a jet aircraft. Realistic jet fire poured from the jet engines, and the aircraft maneuvered as if in actual flight, diving, climbing, and rolling. Norcross offers the headset to Gunderson and suggest he give it a try. Gunderson tries to create the XB-91, but the aircraft appears in the box, minus a tail, and he’s unable to keep the engines on the left side of the plane ignited, but the effect is overwhelming to both Gunderson and Montgomery to realize that what their mind can imagine can be visualized on a whiteboard.
The next morning, Don Wolfe, an assistant to Dr. Nagle, introduces Montgomery to the mirror. He tells him the mirror will give him a reflection of himself that is stripped of any phoniness, false front, or façade that he may have built up over the years.
“It will not interpret you to yourself," he says. "It will only hold up a reflection of yourself and allow you to draw your own conclusions.”
Wolfe goes on to explain to Montgomery that the mirror has only one control – fear control, which controls the magnitude or extent of the reflection being viewed. He tells him that it’s a fearful thing to attempt to know oneself all at once; it would be best to take only a peek, get used to what you’re seeing, and then when comfortable, move on. Wolfe explains that the mirror allows you to ask: Who am I? What am I doing? What do I know? It gives the inquirer a perfect, undistorted answer: you. Finally, Wolfe cautions Montgomery to go slow with the mirror and its fear control feature, as a full reflective view can be filled with terror. He says again to look at himself in a piecemeal fashion.