Lyrics written by Kris McDaniel and Carrie Jenkins
Kris McDaniel: vocals, edrums, keyboards, electric guitar, melodica, bass melodica
Ben Bradley: bass guitar, electric guitar
Hille Paakkunainen: vocals
Will Bradley: trumpet
Cover art by Carrie Jenkins
Pretty much everywhere you look, examples of vagueness can be seen. Tom has some specific number of hairs on his head. Now repeatedly remove one hair from him, and immediately ask yourself, “is he bald yet?” At some point, the answer will be yes—but when? Does a single hair really make a sharp difference between being bald and not bald? Sally is not rich, but we will repeatedly add a dollar to her bank account and ask, “is she rich yet?” At some point the answer will be yes, but when? Which dollar made the difference?
Just as the boundary between bald and not-bald or rich and not-rich seems to be vague, so too are our own boundaries. The Cabinet is a fictional device that appears in one of Peter van Inwagen’s (aka, “PvI”) thought experiments. If you enter the Cabinet, it will be vague whether the thing that leaves the Cabinet is you. Whatever it is that makes you be you, the Cabinet disrupts, but not enough to clearly destroy you. Is it your memories that makes you be you? If so, the Cabinet removes your memories one at a time just like the hairs on Tom’s head, until it is vague whether enough of your memories have been preserved for you to be preserved. Or if what fundamentally makes you be you is the persistence of your physical body, the Cabinet will remove cells from you one at a time until its vague whether enough of your physical body remains for you to remain.
If you enter the Cabinet, it will be vague whether you will exit it—and so it will be vague whether you are still alive or have been destroyed by the Cabinet. The Cabinet does not determinately kill. But the Cabinet is terrifying.
Going in, going in, going in
Will I survive?
What is life, what is life, what is life?
This cruel, cruel test that PvI designed
To refute a theory, but it’s my life that’s on the line
He closes the door, do I look outside one last time?
Will my body start to fade away or my mind?
How can a thought be indeterminately mine?
When the door opens, it will be vague whether it’s I
What do we fear … in The Cabinet
It’s so unclear … in The Cabinet
What will befall … in The Cabinet
But aren’t we all … in The Cabinet
We’re not fully here … in The Cabinet
Do we lose what’s dear … in The Cabinet
You won’t be spared … in The Cabinet
So are you scared … of The Cabinet?