The Inverted Spectrum

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The Inverted Spectrum is the second book in the Noumenal Realm Trilogy, which focuses on the unconventional educational initiatives of an institution called the New Smithsonian Foundation, whose aim is to educate the children of America through virtual reality experiences instead of through the Smithsonian Institution’s dusty museum artifacts. In this novel, middle schoolers Jonah and Roslyn must solve the mysterious disappearance of philosopher John Locke in order to save one of their classmates from a philosophical thought experiment gone awry. In the process, they learn about empiricism and its connection to the birth of democracy.

The storyline of this volume focuses on John Locke’s famous thought experiment about a man who wakes up one morning to find that he perceives all the colors opposite of how he used to see them. This thought experiment shows that we can’t know how others perceive the world. But what if other aspects of our consciousness could be inverted? The young heroes of this novel discover that consciousness is what gives human beings personal identity and a basis for political equality.