These days, Rectangle Spiralstaircase is best remembered as the instigator of what later became known as Theory Theory. For a long time in the past people had noticed things, but it wasn’t until the Victorian era when natural philosophers became gentlemen scientists that it became fashionable, especially in polite circles to have a theory of one’s own. The most well-known case of this today is of course Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
Once Darwin’s – and other theories – became fashionable, the gentlemen saw how it impressed the ladies. So, every gentleman wanted their own theory. Soon there were theories about everything, from Darwin’s great theory right up to theories speculating what – if anything – housemaids wore under their uniforms.
It went without saying, back at the beginning of the age of theories, that no gentleman would consider actually testing his theory. As that was something no gentleman would sully his hands with. It was the act of speculation, ideally from a comfy chair in one’s club, that theories were best expounded upon. We can see this trend containing today in areas beyond the real sciences, such as politics. There, theories are presented and developed with a certainty unchecked by any contact with – or even understanding of reality.
Spiralstaircase noticed this tendency of theories developed in isolation from any real or practical exposure to the world the armchair experts of the time were theorising about. So Spiralstaircase came up with a theory of his own.
Spiralstaircase’s stroke of genius was to come up with a theory about the nature of theories itself. This of course, meant he could do it all from the confines of a comfy chair. Furthermore, it needed very little in the way of research. Spiralstaircase merely listened to the latest ideas, and what passed for thoughts, uttered from the chairs around him at his club. He began to postulate several ideas about the nature of non-scientific theories.
As scientific theories were put to the test by the Royal Society and other such bodies they became far more rigorous. Consequently, they evolved into an accord with reality that theories in the other, less rigorous, disciplines ever could. For example, even today any prediction in economics that – somehow – does come true is regarded with the deepest suspicion by other economists, and quickly dismissed as a statistical oddity.
Spiralstaircase proved that for a non-scientific theory to become accepted, it must blatantly run counter to common sense and to all evidence to the contrary. Any evidence for it must be selected and cherry-picked, all counter arguments and opposing theories dismissed as the work of cranks, charlatans and politically-motivated opposition. It is regarded as the work of someone bribed by vested interests, especially if that opposing theory bears a closer resemblance to the truth.
All theories must, Spiralstaircase argues, be made as impenetrable as possible by the use of buzzwords, academic obfuscation and language not normally used, to mean a particular set of circumstances as dictated by the theoriser.
For this groundbreaking work on the theory of theories, despite the fear that some of it may be true or even – shockingly for the time – useful, Spiralstaircase was knighted by Queen Victoria herself. It took place at a special honours ceremony in 1874, thereby assuring Spiralstaircase of his place in the history books, at least theoretically, anyway.