This section is about The Balance, and the necessity of maintaining that balance. It's going to be a bit long; but I think this is a very important topic. For that reason, I've lifted this part directly from the book I'm currently writing, with hardly any editing for length.

You have probably heard talk about The Balance before. It's been a topic of discussion for a very long time, in both the Eastern and Western schools of philosophy.

You hear that the balance is necessary. You may read in the Tao that the Universe is made up of opposing forces, and keeping these opposing forces in balance leads to harmony; that we are incapable of even perceiving good without evil. You may hear people saying that every force needs an equal and opposite force; that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You may even find that those you most admire calmly accept the absolute necessity of all kinds of evil, just so the balance can be maintained.

That's not how I see it.

I know that I may be alone in this; but I don't think that evil is necessary at all. I think we only have it because people insist on having it.

I first heard about the whole “we wouldn't know what light was without darkness, or good without evil to contrast it with” when I was taking a psychology course in college. (My major was special education, and all education majors had to take psych courses.)

The teacher stood in front of the class, and made that pronouncement, and all of the other students went “ahhh” as if they had just been enlightened as he explained to us that everything had two sides.

I was about nineteen years old at the time, but I knew that that couldn't be right. So I stopped taking notes, and made a Mobius strip* out of paper torn from my notebook. After the class was over, I went to the front, and simply handed it to the professor. In his defense, he recognized it immediately, and for several seconds he couldn't think of anything to say. Then he tried to tell me that we could only perceive it because of the visual interface between it and the stuff around it.

I told him to close his eyes. Still there, wasn't it?

He said something about that being because of the interface between our hands and the paper, and I left disgusted because he wasn't willing to even look at a new idea, he just wanted to cling to what he already had.

If I had decided to stick around, I would have pointed out to him that he hadn't been telling us that we could perceive things because of their interfaces with other things. That may be true. He had quite clearly said it was because of the opposition inherent in things. That we knew one thing because of the contrast with its other side, its opposite. Well, where was the opposite of the Mobius strip?

I have been thinking about this very problem for over 25 years now; and I have come to the conclusion that you can't form a reasonable argument to prove you have to have an opposite in order to perceive something because it simply isn't true.

Think about it.

Have you ever been surrounded by total silence? Yet you know what sound is, don't you?

You don't need to ever be in complete darkness, like the inside of a cave, to know what sight is. (Unless you have been in an unlighted cave, or are completely blind, you have probably never seen real darkness. It's not what you have with your eyes closed. That's called Light Projection, and is considered partial sight. Not only can you tell if there is a light or not, you can tell where the light is coming from. It's not much vision, but it is vision.)

You don't need to experience total sensory deprivation, ever, to know what your senses are.

Still less do you need to experience evil to know what good is!

You brain is full of thought. You know what thought is, right?

Have you ever been totally without it? If it is true that you cannot perceive something without experiencing its opposite, then we should all either be incapable of knowing that we are thinking, or used to having periods of no thought at all. Since the very same schools that teach the idea of opposites being necessary also spend a great deal of time trying to teach people how to quiet their brains, and experience no thought, I can't help but wonder if even they actually believe what they are saying.

Look at it another way.

When a tiny child runs to his mother for a hug, he doesn't need the experience of having been hit so hard that he bounced off the wall to know that a hug is a good thing. He doesn't even need to have been refused a hug, ever, to know that this is nice.

In fact, if he has been treated roughly by his mother, the hugs are not better in contrast. Far from it. The hugs will never be as good again, because he knows that he cannot really trust her; and trust is a large component of hugging.

So evil is not necessary in order to know good. Ever.

Does this mean that we are going to throw the concept of balance out the window?

No.

Because the ancients were not completely wrong, I think. They were just off a tiny bit. Like the rest of us, they were getting clues from the world around them. We do that now, in order to find out how the universe works. And then we extrapolate that out to other things.

They noticed that day had to be followed by night. That when you inhale, it's also necessary to exhale. That periods of activity needed to be followed by periods of inactivity. And they took that to mean that the universe was composed of opposing forces.

What they didn't know, and we do, is that the universe is actually made up of what we now call electromagnetic energy. Sometimes, this stuff looks like a particle, and sometimes it looks like a wave. Sometimes it seems to be matter, and sometimes energy. But they aren't two different types of stuff. They are the same stuff, in two different states.

All of the universe, the seen and the unseen parts, seem to be made of these waves. You know, like sound waves.

Which raises another paradigm.

The universe isn't a conflict.

It's a song.

A lot of the ancients knew this, too; although they couldn't prove it. They knew it from experience. And if you turn off your walkman, and your radio, and stop talking, and get away from all the noise and bustle that constantly surrounds us, and listen with your inner ears and your heart, you can hear it. Really.

Slow down, and be still, and you can hear the universe and everything in it singing.

We are part of that song; and so are the trees, and the insects, and the stars and everything else in the universe.

It's up to all of us whether the song is full of harmony or discord.

And those are the appropriate words.

Think about a sound wave.

It has its peak and its trough. These are the things that were mistaken for opposite forces. But they aren't in opposition at all. Far from it. They are parts of the very same thing! Not a struggle between two armies; a song!

That makes it very different, doesn't it?

And in this worldview, evil is no longer necessary at all.

Can you see that?

Let's define evil.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as;

My definition is slightly different.

I think that evil happens when someone thinks that they are more important than anyone else. That gives them, or so they think, the right to make decisions for other people, or to use other people, or to destroy other people. After all, other people are simply not as important, so what they might want isn't important either. That's assuming that they are even real, which, so evil tells us, they probably aren't.

We really don't need that at all.

See, every single one of us is important.

Vitally, absolutely, and extremely important.

But no one is more important than any one other person.

Let me explain by talking about a restaurant. (I'm choosing a restaurant because most people have worked in one at one time or another. If you never have, then draw the same parallels in whatever sort of job you have worked in. They are the same everywhere.)

It takes a lot of people to staff a restaurant, from the hostess who meets folks at the door and directs them to a table, to the waitress who takes their order, to the chef who prepares their food, to the busboy who cleans the table afterwards. There are also people like the cook's help, busily washing all those mountains of dishes and pots and pans, the person in charge of actually purchasing the food, the manager who keeps the whole thing running smoothly, and so on.

Every one of these people is important.

If the chef decided to take a break, and not do his job for a while, meals would stop being cooked, and everyone in the restaurant would suffer. The very same thing would happen if the busboy decided to wander off, and none of the tables got cleared, so no one could be seated. Every single one of those people is necessary in order for the restaurant to do its job, and feed the customers. They are all vitally important.

The difference between them comes because some of them are more highly trained in one field or another. Not more important. Just more highly trained.

Because what happens in a restaurant is exactly the same thing that happens in the universe. If someone decides to slack off, everyone else has to work a bit harder to get the job done.

Now if the person who is slacking off is not so highly trained, more people can step in and do that job. If the busboy thinks his feet are too tired, and he sneaks off to the back room for a while, nearly anyone else there can get the dishes off the table. It means that everyone else is doing more than they planned, and they are probably not going to be happy about it. But the job can get done.

If the chef decides to sit down for a while, though, there may not be anyone else who can do his job. Then the restaurant is really in trouble.

Not because the chef is more important than the busboy. From the point of view of the restaurant, he's not. The restaurant really needs them both. It's just harder to find someone who can step in for the chef.

You are not any more important than anyone else. But, depending on the job you have agreed to do, you may be harder to replace. Far from giving you license to do as you please, that means that it's more important for you to buckle down and do the work that you are supposed to do.

I hate to hear people say that they aren't important, because that sounds to me like they are lining up excuses not to do anything. If you aren't important, then what you are doing isn't important either, and you can wander off and play. And I think that means that someone else will have to take up the slack. If you are running under the delusion that you are not important, you are probably just making more work for the rest of us.

I think if you weren't important, you simply wouldn't be here.

So stop slacking off, admit that you are important, and get to work!

Just don't think that you are more important than anybody else, because you aren't.

If you are highly trained, that means that you need to work even harder, not that you can rest on your laurels and get someone else to do the grunt work for you.

The one job that I know you don't have, that none of us has, is the job of manager. That's something for the grown up Gods to handle. Which means, of course, that none of us does have the right to make decisions for other people, or to use other people, or to destroy other people. That, as I may have mentioned, is my definition of evil.

Which, if I may repeat myself, is not at all necessary for the Song. It disrupts it, it doesn't help it along.

Now think about that sound wave again.

It has its peak and its trough; and the interval between them determines the length of the wave; which is to say the note being sung.

In just that way, we do need to balance our lives between working and resting, between inhaling and exhaling, between giving gifts and receiving them, between standing at the podium and sweeping the floor.

Sometimes, the job of floor sweeping should be done by someone who can't stand at the podium. Not because the speaker is more important, but because there are things the speaker can do that the sweeper cannot. Just as it will not be good for the clients in the restaurant if the chef decides that he must be humble, and bus the tables. The busboy probably cannot just trade jobs with him. They each have their own to do.

But if the busboy is behind, and the chef doesn't have any meals to prepare, the best thing for the restaurant is for him to come to the front and bus tables. What is really important is not who is doing the job, but that the job gets done.

In just that way, if there are people sticking around to ask the speaker questions, he should answer them. But if there aren't, I think he should go ahead and put the chairs back where they should be. Why not? He might even enlist the help of the people with questions to help him put them back. They can talk while working. What's important is to get things done, not worry about who is doing them.

Not false humility, which says “I am a leader, and I should be humble. So I have to be the one sweeping no matter what I'm neglecting to do it.”

Real humility, which says, “The floor needs sweeping, and I'm not doing anything else right now. Where's the broom?”

Real humility which knows that all of us are equally important, and the only thing that is more important is the job itself!

And that is where balance really starts to come into the picture. Real balance, which, I think, is like balancing on a tightrope, not like pans in a scale. Real harmony, which isn't a struggle, but a song.

If harmony were really achieved by balancing two opposing forces, then you would have harmony between two enemies when they were equally armed. Neither one would be able to get the advantage, and every battle would end in a draw. In spite of the bloodshed, that would have to be harmony, by definition. And that's obviously nonsense.

Harmony is when they put down their weapons and stop fighting.

I've seen too many people say that the universe needs to be in balance, so it's OK for them to do evil things. It's needed for the balance. What an excuse for bad behavior! If that were true, then we should be congratulating everyone who takes a gun up on a top of a MacDonalds or into a school building and opens fire. That gives all of us an opportunity to be even better, to balance their actions.

But it doesn't work that way, now does it?

Those murders don't make us richer, they make us poorer.

And we don't need that sort of thing to make us turn around and love those we love, even though it sometimes seems to work that way.

There is nothing keeping us from realizing that those we love are mortal, and we should love them while we are together. You can turn around right now and really look at your spouse, or your parent, or you child, or your lover. Really see them and love them for exactly who they are. Take a good long look and think about what they would like. And then do that thing for them.

You can do it without anyone having to die.

You can choose to wake up without a painful wake-up call.

When I was a kid, I read the play Our Town, written by Thorton Wilder in 1938. In it, a young woman dies in childbirth, and her ghost sits on her grave and talks to all of the other dead people from the town. They tell her that she can choose to go back, and relive a day from her life. She chooses her tenth birthday, even though they all advise her not to choose an important day; to choose the most unimportant day of her life. It will be painful enough.

When she gets there, she realizes that no one in the family really looks at anyone else. They all take each other very much for granted; like parts of the furniture. Even though she knows what will happen to the family members, and tries to tell them, they cannot hear her. She leaves after only a few minutes, heartbroken because they did not really take the time to be with each other when they were all together.

That story made a lasting impression on me; because I realized that it was true. The members of my own family rarely looked at each other, and we spent more time complaining about each other than we did loving each other.

I realized that it didn't have to be that way. And ever since, I've made the effort to love those I'm with while I'm with them. Because we are all mortal.

No one in my family had to die for me to realize that. No one in yours has to die for you to realize it, either.

And someone dying won't necessarily bring you that realization.

It doesn't work that way.

We don't need random shootings. They are a sign of something desperately out of balance, not a sign of balance itself.

See, if those people had been in balance, they would not have taken up guns and started shooting.

Think about the tightrope again. If you are on the tightrope, and you are secure in your balance, then everything is fine. It's fun to be up there, and you feel secure and safe. You can relax.

But if you start to lose your balance, it stops being fun. The more out of balance you are, the more you feel that you need to grab onto something, anything, to save yourself. You become desperate. And desperate people will do almost anything.

In just that way, when your life is in balance it's fun. You are happy and secure. You have all of the things that you need, and you don't have a lot of worries.

When you have balanced your work time and your rest time, you are not overtired, and apt to be cranky and show poor ability to gauge a situation.

When you have balanced your nutritional needs, your body becomes healthy, and you have more energy and feel better about everything.

When you have balanced your budget, you have enough money to meet your expenses, and aren't worried that your creditors are going to be knocking at your door, or that you will be going hungry.

When you have balanced the time you spend away from your family and the time you spend with them, no one feels neglected (neither you nor your family) and so no one is demanding, and there is harmony in your home.

When you have balanced the amount of time you spend working as a Priestess, and the amount of time you spend on purely secular stuff, then you know that you are accomplishing the things the Gods need you to do, and at the same time you are avoiding burnout.

Now these balance points vary for each individual, and may even change over time. You know when you have achieved balance, because things run smoothly, and you can maintain them with joy and equanimity. You don't need someone else to tell you; in fact no one else can tell you, any more than someone else can tell you when you are balanced on your bicycle. Remember learning to ride? Took a while to find your balance, didn't it? But when you had, you knew it. You could feel it.

It's just exactly like that.

Know that the balance needs to be found before it can become automatic, and find it by leaning a little in one direction or the other until it's there. When it is, you will know it. And don't let anyone else tell you you are wrong.

You may need four hours of sleep a night to stay in balance. Some people really do need only four. You may need ten. Some do. Don't let anyone tell you you should need eight. You need the amount you need to feel rested and alert, day after day after day. Get it, and your whole life will improve!

Find the balance in any portion of your life, and you will find your whole life improving!

When you are truly balanced, I think you will find that you have lost all desire to hurt other people. Why would you do that?

There will be no point in tearing them down to build yourself up. You will have a good, balanced self image, and other people will have nothing to do with it. Gauging your worth by other people is silly. They aren't you, they aren't in your situation, and they aren't working with the same resources that you have.

The fact that they can do something well does not mean that you do it poorly!

I had that discussion with a very bright, talented seven year old. We mentioned that someone else had a lovely singing voice. She said, “Don't I have a lovely singing voice?” I laughed, and said that the two had nothing to do with each other. She was wearing shoes, wasn't she? And her mother was wearing shoes? And her dad? And me? And everyone else at the table? Well, if I said, “Harry is wearing shoes.” did that mean that she wasn't? More than one person can wear shoes! And more than one person can have a lovely singing voice. And she laughed, and relaxed.

But it's true.

If someone else can do something you can do, it doesn't mean that you cannot do it. It just means that more than one person can. Which is a good thing.

If only one person could have a lovely singing voice, we would never get to hear a lovely duet.

A balanced view rejoices in the accomplishments of others, even in the very same field that you excel in! It gives more opportunity for collaboration and increases the richness of the whole world.

I'm not going to go over each reason that people have for hurting each other one by one here. There are too many. And besides, I think that you have a brain. Think them through one by one yourself if you need to.

But it seems to me that most of them really rise out of people being unhappy. And that makes them angry and bitter. And that makes them want to strike out.

If you are balanced within yourself, you won't be unhappy. So the rest of the equation falls apart.

Now that doesn't mean that you will never be sad, or never grieve. It doesn't mean that your life will be one long summer picnic in the park, all happy happy, joy joy. You will have plenty of that.

But, life being what it is, you will have sorrow as well.

You will be able to handle it, though; seeing it for the temporary thing that it is. Even when a loved one dies, you will be able to see that the separation is only temporary. It hurts, but it's not something you cannot recover from. Don't try to “get over them.” You love them, and it's perfectly alright to love them even when they are not with you. After all, you loved them when you were apart while you were both alive, right? Well, then.

And their death probably isn't anyone's fault.

If it is, that is what courts of law are for. Channel your anger and grief into the proper action and render the person who did this incapable of doing a similar thing to anyone else. It may be too late for the one you loved, but it's not too late for his next, as yet untouched, victim.

And that is the other ramification of not needing to balance good and evil. If evil isn't necessary, then we can fight it with no conflict of interest, and with a good chance of winning.

And while we are on the topic, I personally dislike using the term "dark" for evil, and "light" for good.

It's misleading, and confusing.

Dark is the time of rest, and healing, and loving, and mystery. We need all of those things. None of them are evil. But equating dark with evil seems, in this society, to have given them an overtone of unwholesomeness.

Think about it.

In this society, people who don't rest are highly respected. Those who only need four hours of sleep a night are looked at with awe and admiration. Those who require ten are seen as slothful.

This society seems to admire the walking wounded, as well. If someone can "keep on going" or "not give in" they are respected for that. The football player who gets up and finishes the game, and doesn't admit until afterwards that he has torn the ligament in his knee is considered a hero, even if he never fully recovers from that injury, and his career is over. The one who lies there and demands a stretcher is deemed a wimp, even though he fully recovers and plays for years because he took appropriate action, and refused to cripple himself.

We all know how this society views lovemaking. I think that the act of making love together in the tender and intimate dark is one of the most sacred, joyful, loving and life affirming actions we can engage in. But in this society it's been perverted into something shameful, dirty, and bad. Something that is considered "naughty" at best, and "sinful" at worst. Something that has been preached against and held to be part of a wicked nature that needs to be overcome, and suppressed until it's all that people can think about, and they are inclined to rape and pederasty and all sorts of things. After all, if you are going to be bad anyway, you may as well be as bad as you can be. In for a penny, in for a pound and all of that. How sad.

And the very term "mystery" conjures visions of murder in most people's minds. After all, that's what mysteries are, isn't it? No. I don't think it is. The joy of looking at life when it's not all laid out clearly in front of you, of finding things out using senses other than vision, the sweet discovery of a hidden truth that lies at the center of mystery is lost to most of us now. And I find that pathetic.

Our use of language changes the way we think.

Our symbols become the thing.

Most people can only think in words; so for most of us, we can only form concepts and make connections when the language will go there.

When "dark" is seen as a synonym for "evil," then children have to be afraid of the dark, and everything that is done in the dark will have connotations of evil.

And using "light" when you really mean "good" isn't any better. It implies that anything done during the light is automatically good, in just the way that things done in the dark are bad. Which lets people who claim the light while doing horrible things off the hook entirely. Do any of us know how many people have been tortured and killed in the name of the light?

You get the point, I'm sure.

I think if we start to call good, good and evil, evil it will be far clearer.

After all, if you hear that someone follows "the left hand path" that doesn't sound too bad, does it? It's just another path. Not something we can judge, after all. We are supposed to be tolerant here.

But if they come right out and say, "I'm dedicated to glorifying myself, no matter the cost." then that doesn't leave any room for doubt, does it? No judging necessary. If they are dedicated to selfishness (which, by my definition, is the root of evil, remember,) then sooner or later they are going to hurt everyone around them as a matter of course, and it's best to avoid them.

Not judge them. That's really not our job. Just have nothing to do with them.

They probably won't say that. After all, even they realize that if you go around saying that you are evil, you have no right to expect decent folk to have anything to do with you.

But they may use one of the euphemisms for evil. It's better, I think, if you know what those phrases mean.

But don't use them yourself. Call evil evil, and it takes away some of its power right there.

If someone tells you that they are dedicated to evil, no matter how they couch it, believe them, by the way. They may think that none of this is real, and they are just playing a video game, and it's fun to be Darth Vader. Or they may be deadly serious. Or they may know that magic is real, but not think that you are. They may even hurt you just as badly when they think they are playing a game as they would if they knew that it was all for keeps. It doesn't matter. A lot of these folks, in my experience, make sure that they have told you up front, so that later they can say, "But that was the first thing I told you." They don't expect you to run away when they say it, because that would be rude, and because we are expected to be so very tolerant. Not, as they will be sure to tell you if you do run away, like the Christians.

Remember this, because it's important.

Your enemies' enemies are not always your friends.

Better rude and safe, than polite and bleeding.

These people think that the rules don't apply to them. But they know that other people play by the rules, and they despise them for it. Don't believe me? Check out what they say about themselves on the Internet. If you encounter one of these guys, he's likely to tell you what sect he belongs to; run a search using your favorite search engine. Most of them do have stuff up on the 'net to tell you exactly what they espouse.

It's part of the game they play.

You are expected not to believe it. You can't, because you aren't one of the intelligent people who knows that the rules don't apply to you. You are one of the sheep, the not-real people, the prey animals.

Don't let them get away with this.

In reality you are every bit as real, intelligent, and important as they are. So is everyone else. (Well as real and important, anyway. I would argue that most of us are more intelligent, because we know that everyone else is real, which seems like a very basic thing to me. I mean, I think you would have to be pretty dense to miss that one.)

But there are no rules, really.

Politeness is something that we use because it helps to put other people at their ease, so that communication and interaction can take place.

There really isn't a whole lot of sense in being polite to people who intend to be rude to you. And purposely hurting you is fairly rude, wouldn't you say? So don't be afraid to engage in the rude behavior of cutting them off, or getting away from them, and staying away.

And don't let anyone tell you you are a bigot for it, either. Bigotry means judging people without knowing anything about them, simply because they are members of a group without really knowing anything about the group.

If someone tells me that she performed in “Riverdance” I don't have to know her a bit to know that she has to be a really good dancer, singer or musician.

If someone tells me that he won the Heisman Trophy I don't have to know anything else about him to know that he must have played football (and played it well) at one time.

If someone tells me that she wins marathons, I don't have to get out the blood pressure cuff to know that hers is going to be really low.

There are some things about groups of people that are simply true. If you know things about the group, you can, in fact, extrapolate that knowledge to every person in the group.

That's not bigotry, that's reality.

If someone says they belong to a group that is dedicated to evil, and to the glorification of the individual at the expense of everyone else, I don't need to know anything about the person to know that I don't want anything to do with them. I just have to know what the group stands for. If the individual in question doesn't stand for that, what is he doing attaching himself to the group?

I confess, by the way, that I find the phrase “gray” as a description of a path really strange. What does that mean? That they help and heal when it suits them, and take care of only their own interests when it doesn't? What is the real difference between that and those who admit that they are evil? Even they may help out if they see something in it for them.

Perhaps those who describe themselves as gray are trying to imply that they are balanced. You know, neither black magic nor white magic.

I have even heard them say that they normally help people; but if they or theirs are attacked then they will finish the fight.

Well, sure. We aren't told to turn the other cheek. That doesn't do anyone any good. The people who were injured obviously aren't helped if those who injured them aren't brought to justice. The people who did the injury aren't helped either, because it leads them to think that it's an acceptable thing to do since there were no bad consequences. And the people who haven't been injured yet, but will be, aren't helped because the one who is injuring folks is given free rein to do it.

If someone is running around injuring others, I think he does need to be stopped.

I just don't think that stopping him should be considered evil.

There may be consequences when we take action against someone who is trying to injure others, and we may have to pay for it in one of several ways. But if it is necessary, and we are willing to accept those consequences, then in my opinion it isn't evil to take that action.

Let me give you an example. Say that there is a fellow shooting people from the top of a building. If I had a gun (which isn't likely, but if I did) and I knew how to use it (even less likely, but say I could) and I had a clear shot at the killer, I would not hesitate to blow him away.

And after doing it, I'd take my gun and turn myself in.

I would take the consequences for that action, knowing that it might very well mean that I'd spend a lot of years behind bars. In this twisted society, the killer might be seen as confused and mentally ill, and not responsible for his actions. I might be seen as using excessive force. And I know that.

But I have to live with myself. And I could do that a lot more easily behind bars, knowing that I'd saved the lives of the rest of the people in the street, than I could in freedom with my family, knowing that there were people dead that I could have saved, but I had decided not to in order to keep myself safe.

If you look back at my definition of evil, the selfish act of letting people die so I would not have to worry about jail time would be evil. Killing a madman to save those people would not be.

Do you understand?

I wouldn't expect to get off scott free, or be given a hero's welcome, although that might also happen. That wouldn't matter. It wouldn't have any bearing on my actions at all. I would be compelled, by my own sense of good and evil, to stop the murder of the innocents. That's all.

And that would not require any balancing of good and evil in my life.

But it would require me to be so balanced within myself that I would be willing to risk the approbation of the world in order to do what I thought was right.

And that, my friend, is the essence of what I mean by balance. To be balanced within yourself; not to balance outside energies or forces, not to be balanced according to some rule or yardstick determined by someone else, not to appear balanced to please some authority.

Simply, and naturally, to be balanced within.

And when you are, you know that you are.

And when you know that you are, you are.


*In case you don't know what a Mobius strip is, it's a physical body with only one side. Take a piece of paper about an inch wide and seven or eight inches long. Put the ends together to make a loop. Turn one of the ends upside down, so that there is a twist in the loop. Tape the ends together. Put a pencil down so that the point is in the middle of the paper, and start drawing a line. Rotate the loop so that the paper is always beneath your pencil until you come back to the beginning of your line. If you did it right, you will find that there is no side of the paper that doesn't have your pencil line on it. This is because the thing only has one side! It was discovered by August Ferdinand Mobius (1790-1860) in 1858. Back