This is not the same nine. There’s a correlation, a connection, at least in name, or in the way we chance to make “one love” our universe. Granted, the possible existence of a set or collection of nine objects is a physical thing that quite possibly exists without us. But the number nine as an abstract object? As part of a system? That nine is a human creation and cannot survive without us. Ask yourself, honestly, does inflation in the early stages of the universe mean that the universe must be expanding at close to the critical rate at which it would just avoid re-collapse, and thus will not re-collapse for a very long time?
For the sake of squabble, let us use the Relationship-As-Third-Party model, and give a/the/our relationship its own named identity, thereby allowing us to submit it to tests we might normally reserve for a prospective house-painter or special-needs child. (According to Harris & Akhtar’s Not So Secret History, in the mid 1990s two Bennington students—referred to only as “Tim & Terry”—went so far as to reverse-engineer their personalities. Working backward from their union, which they chose to christen “Sam,” Tim & Terry would refer to their individual selves only as “½Sam.”) A Non-Criterion-Referenced Test, for example, does not compare a relationship’s performance to a preset standard of satisfactory outcomes, but rather measures it against the performance of other relationships (e.g. scores are not used to answer the question Is it a fulfilling relationship? but Is it more fulfilling than Couple X’s relationship?). We should employ a camera to augment our awareness of our third party’s physical form and the opportunities for studying mutations in its form. This may involve surveillance from several agonizing angles, but remember: a clear picture in our files not only recalls pleasant memories but is a scientific and legal record of what was witnessed. Let us be sure to reserve time every day to thoroughly investigate our new images.
Neo-Intuitionist poet John Berryman, analyzing the third-party product of he and his Muse, was startled by the offspring’s resemblance to Uranus, and pondered why the axes of both were abnormally tilted. Was it due to a massive collision? If so, with what? Said Berryman in an address to the graduating class of Brooklyn’s Lafayette High School, “Faced with this deformity—nay, this monstrosity—I persevered. I sought inspiration, fortification, inebriation anew in Monet and Renoir’s images of Argenteuil, done between 1871 and 1874, when the painting of intuition bore its bravest brood. Ah, works that show an un-equivocal elation with the visible world, and the unequivocal conviction that their new technique alone can convey it!”