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The Publius Enigma

By Nicholas Palffy



Symmetries are an important feature of TDB album. It is also a main element in the universe (googlize on CPT space-time symmetry to learn more...). Douglas Adams certainly pointed this to Pink Floyd members, and if it didn't come from him, Stephen Hawkins must have said a thing or two about the matter (Read his book A brief history of Time...).

Read the following:

" Three other symmetry principles important in nuclear science are parity P, time reversal invariance T, and charge conjugation C. They deal with the questions, respectively, of whether a nucleus behaves in a different way if its spatial configuration is reversed (P), if the direction of time is made to run backwards instead of forward (T), or if the matter particles of the nucleus are changed to antimatter (C). All charged particles with spin 1/2 (electrons, quarks, etc.) have antimatter counterparts of opposite charge and of opposite parity. Particle and antiparticle, when they come together, can annihilate, disappearing and releasing their total mass energy in some other form, most often gamma rays.

The changes in symmetry properties can be thought of as "mirrors" in which some property of the nucleus (space, time, or charge) is reflected or reversed. A real mirror reflection provides a concrete example of this because mirror reflection reverses the space direction perpendicular to the plane of the mirror. As a consequence, the mirror image of a right-handed glove is a left-handed glove. This is in effect a parity transformation (although a true P transformation should reverse all three spatial axes instead of only one)." (excerpt taken from :

In short, it says that symmetry, reversion and opposition are intrinseque properties of our universe. In this sense, The Division Bell Album is also a commentary on Time, Space and Matter. This is obvious in "High Hopes". Playing with anagrams, showing boxing gloves or facing heads are nothing more than metaphorisation of this essential concept and ruling principle of the Universe. Good Humour works exactly on the same basis...


Haven't read the above mentioned article in full. Big Mistake!

"The great physicist, Richard Feynman, told a story to illustrate this point: suppose you were in two-way contact with some alien species, but only by "telegraph" (i.e., light flashes or radio signals). The well known procedures of SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), starting with prime numbers and progressing to pictures, physics, and chemistry information could be used to develop a common language and arrive at a good level of communication. You could tell the alien how tall you are by expressing your height in mutually understood wavelengths of light. You could tell the alien how old you are as some large number of ticks of a light-frequency clock. Now you want to explain how humans shake hands when they meet, and you describe extending your right hand. "Wait a moment!" says the alien. "What do you mean by "right"?"

Until 1957 there would have been no way of answering that question. [This is starting to be quite serious... Read on the full article for the details, if you can...]

What do we have from this? Mirrors, Boxing gloves, Communication with flashing lights, prime numbers, light-frequency clocks and a big Right or Left handshake problem... This Division Bell Enigma is more complex than expected...