Markus Stocker bio photo

Markus Stocker

Between information technology and environmental science with a flair for economics, the clarinet, and the world of soups and salads.

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It is a nice sunny morning. I’m walking along sidewalks, my brain dreaming, as usual. A mysterious line crossing the sidewalk under my feet suddenly brings me to halt. I have to look twice to recognize the caterpillar train slowly moving over and around the tiny stones frozen in asphalt.

A sight to behold; 225 caterpillar, 2 cm each, in-line moving forward as a group following the most elegant rule to never loose touch with the one in front. Such beauty, simplicity and perfection can’t last in a universe headed towards chaos. In fact, it doesn’t.

The rotating wheel of a postman’s motorcycle running over the sidewalk claims 8 casualties. A split universe. The perfect train lost continuity to a head and a tail. Alarmed by the last caterpillar, the head quickly comes to a halt. They simply wait and hope the universe will resolve. Part of the tail, instead, collapses into chaos. Erratically, the first 20 caterpillar turn into an aimless crowd.

A few minutes later. Like synchronized, both the head and the tail move forward again. A caterpillar of the crowd - head of the tail - takes the lead and turns chaos into linearity. The head simply continues on its way. The tail miraculously moves towards the head. At first, it looks like they might find together. Is there believe, a split universe can rebind? Unlikely. In fact, the head is moving too fast.

I decide to help, after all I did learn what to do. With my front door house key, I bring the last caterpillar of the head to a halt by breaking continuity with the key. A second later, the entire train halts, 72 caterpillar. I don’t have to do anything further. The tail is heading in the right direction. Minutes later the reunion; 217 caterpillar move again as a group. With some outside energy, a little supervision, a universe found back its beauty, simplicity and perfection.

It can’t last, I argued above. In fact, it doesn’t. A few minutes later, a car drives over the sidewalk onto a private driveway, my supervision lacks. I count 14 casualties; the universe splits in three parts. After 30 minutes with the caterpillar, a 10% drop in population, this is the moment I give up. I’m sure they won’t.