"Your mind has been conditioned to Euclid," Holloway said. "So this-- thing-- bores us, and seems pointless. But a child knows nothing of Euclid. A different sort of geometry from ours wouldn't impress him as being illogical. He believes what he sees."
"Are you trying to tell me that this gadget's got a fourth dimensional extension?" Paradine demanded.
"Not visually, anyway," Holloway denied. "All I say is that our minds, conditioned to Euclid, can see nothing in this but an illogical tangle of wires. But a child-- especially a baby-- might see more. Not at first. It'd be a puzzle, of course. Only a child wouldn't be handicapped by too many preconceived ideas."
"Hardening of the thought-arteries," Jane interjected.
Paradine was not convinced. "Then a baby could work calculus better than Einstein? No, I don't mean that. I can see your point, more or less clearly. Only--"
"Well, look. Let's suppose there are two kinds of geometry-- we'll limit it, for the sake of the example. Our kind, Euclidean, and another, which we'll call x. X hasn't much relationship to Euclid. It's based on different theorems. Two and two needn't equal four in it; they could equal y, or they might not even equal. A baby's mind is not yet conditioned, except by certain questionable factors of heredity and environment. Start the infant on Euclid--"
"Poor kid," Jane said.
Holloway shot her a quick glance. "The basis of Euclid. Alphabet blocks. Math, geometry, algebra-- they come much later. We're familiar with that development. On the other hand, start the baby with the basic principles of our x logic--"
"Blocks? What kind?"
Holloway looked at the abacus. "It wouldn't make much sense to us. But we've been conditioned to Euclid."
-- "Mimsy Were the Borogoves," Lewis Padgett, 1943