* ''Anything'' and ''everything'' made by...

** Creator/SalvadorDali.

** Creator/MCEscher.

** Rene Magritte.

* [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible True Art]].

* PostModernism ''loves'' this.

* Many ChuckNorris Facts and Soviet Russia jokes count as this. Just ''how'' does a car drive a human?

** Here "drive" means persuade by force, like "slave driver" or "DrivenToSuicide". Original RussianReversal jokes are all based on verbs of this category.

* The [[http://www.maydaymystery.org/mayday/ May Day Mystery]], an uncategorizable and indescribable series of bizarre documents, possibly the coded annals of a conspiracy. Sure, it could all just be an (insanely) elaborate hoax, but WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic?

** If you squint and turn your head it kind of looks like an AlternateRealityGame.

* TimeCube ([[http://www.timecube.com/ here]] it is) - either his mind is screwed up or [[OnlySaneMan everyone else's is]].

* FanFiction quite often drifts into this trope, either by being so full of personal in-jokes and/or bad grammar that it might as well be written in Sumerian, or simply by having a writer who enjoys playing with his/her readers' heads.

** Clearly you don't hang out in writing groups, because original fiction has this problem as well. It's just more pretentious than dumb, is all.

* [[http://samehat.blogspot.com/2007/06/abstraction-by-shintaro-kago_26.html What.]] That's SameHat, a (mostly) defunct blog that covers a variety of {{mindscrew}}y topics, but mostly obscure anime and manga.

* [[SchrodingersButterfly This CreepyPasta]], which becomes FridgeHorror when you think about it for a moment:

--> ''"It has been reported that some victims of violence, during the act, would retreat into a fantasy world from which they could not WAKE UP. In this catatonic state, the victim lived in a world just like their normal one, except they weren't being raped. The only way that they realized they needed to WAKE UP was a note they found in their fantasy world. It would tell them about their condition, and tell them to WAKE UP. Even then, it would often take months until they were ready to discard their fantasy world and PLEASE WAKE UP."''

* RichardFeynman once quipped: "If you think you understand quantum mechanics - you don't understand quantum mechanics."

** To give ''one'' example: small particles behave like waves. When a light wave goes through two slits right next to each other, it creates an interference pattern of light and dark bars. Doing the same with lots of electrons yields the same results, with light bars meaning more electrons hit there and dark bars meaning less. Doing the same with one electron at a time and adding the results together yields the ''exact same'' result. Translation: the electron goes through ''both slits'' and ''interferes with itself''. Observing the electron as it goes through gives a pattern of just two bars, as if the electron behaves solely like a particle, meaning simply ''observing the experiment'' changes the results.

* The theory of relativity: Classical mechanics is incredibly intuitive and elegant: location, distance, speed are all unambiguous, time is the same for everyone, etc. It's also wrong, because the time and space just doesn't work that way. Simultaneity is relative, time can dilate and distances contract. And thats just Special Relativity. Its big brother General Relativity is a lot more mind-screwing than that.

* The programming language Haskell is purported to have a similar effect on some unwary programmers for its extensive use of unusual programming concepts -- everything from lazy evaluation, to algebraic data types, to currying -- and some large amount of borrowing of concept from category theory, a branch of mathematics that even other mathematicians call general abstract nonsense. Also possibly the only programming language with a case of WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic for its use of the term "Monad" to refer to one of its central concepts, which has nothing to do with the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monad Monad]] of the Pythagoreans or of Gnosticism.

** Category theory has gained quite a bit of respectability among mathematicians in recent years, partly because of its applicability to computer science (not just Haskell, but all kinds of things). The Monad in question is actually a straightforward implementation of the category-theoretic concept, so the category theorists are to blame for the nomenclature, which was influenced by Leibniz. Haskell isn't so much a mind screw itself; it just points up how much of a mind screw programming is when reduced to its essence.

*** Haskell ''is'' straightforward - as long as you've never tried programming before. Once you get used to it, it makes a lot more sense than, say, C. Most programmers are just too used to thinking about things the way the machine does them, rather than following an intuitive logical process.

** If you think that Haskell is a mind screw, try using Lisp. The parentheses alone will drive you insane. The fact that the language only has one type (functions) will also generally throw programmers unfamiliar with non-object oriented programming into fits.

*** Once you get it (there's a saying among lispers that to understand recursion you just have [[ShapedLikeItself to understand recursion]] first), the whole thing gets really neat. ''Any'' new lisper first tries to invent the new syntax to throw away all that parentheses -- but then he or she ''gets'' it, and never returns to the idea.

** The esoteric language Homespring, on the other hand, was intentionally a mind screw. It might have been created to make a language higher level than anyone could ever need or want. The name? It stands for Hatchery Oblivion through Marshy Energy from Snowmelt Powers Rapids Insulated but Not Great. And a paradox is explicitly defined within the official language documentation, just to make sure no-one manages to fully implement it.

** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainfuck Brainfuck]].

*** This requires a bit of explanation. Brainfuck is an ''extremely'' literal implementation of a minimal turing machine where most of the actual work is done with increment and decrement instructions. Meaningful programming requires the programmer to keep very close track of the memory state as well as a thorough knowledge of the ASCII character set, so the mindscrew comes from the extreme tedium required to do anything useful.

** Brainfuck is actually pretty simple. Try [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malbolge Malbolge]] instead.

** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Befunge Befunge]] is pretty similar to Brainfuck, except it has a [[UpToEleven two-dimensional]] instruction pointer. No jump instructions; instead you turn left or right on the source code plane.

*** With Befunge, you can still edit the source code with a normal text editor. Trefunge is three-dimensional. And then you have [[AbsurdityAscendant n-funges]]: as many dimensions as you like.

** Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'s [[StealthPun ~ATH]] coding language is a parody of programming in general, and esoteric languages in the specific.

* Any [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esoteric_programming_language esoteric programming language]] will qualify as a MindScrew.

* Abstract algebra, topology and anything in mathematics that isn't immediately usable in some engineering/economics field (and those aren't completely exempted). Forget everything that you claim to know about such "trivial" things as addition, multiplication, division, space (space, as in 3D space), etc. Remember that some of the trippier aspects of quantum-mechanics are just special cases in mathematics.

** Mathematically, Quantum Theory is quite simple, really. It's in trying to make sense of it that things get ugly.

** One of the weirder things to come out of topology and set theory is a mathematical structure called the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_line_%28topology%29 long line]]". It's like the usual real line, but ''much longer''. Yes, it's longer than a line of infinite length. (Making sense of what that means requires some set theory.) So much longer, in fact, that even an infinite sequence of steps can only cover a tiny portion of it.

* Fractals. Taken from the right perspective, it's impossible to tell a tiny sliver of melting ice from a glacier hundreds of square miles in size. Many natural features exhibit self-similarity across a boggling number of scales.

* Then there's Complexity Theory (aka Ramsey Theory), which is at least as old as Chaos Theory and is the counterpart to it; it states that, given enough data, it is impossible for there '''not''' to be some kind of pattern to them. (Which doesn't signify that said pattern "means" anything...)

* Also, the work of the French philosopher JacquesDerrida (notable for founding {{Deconstruction}}) is nearly completely composed out of Mind Screws '''and openly admits it'''.

* The religion of UsefulNotes/{{Discordianism}}, which either inspired ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'' or was inspired by it, claims to have a long-running project to undermine consensus reality known as "Operation Mindfuck". They also cheerfully admit they might be lying about it.

* Biggest MindScrew in Mathematics or a faulty proof?

--> [[FermatsLastTheorem "It is impossible to separate a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general, any power higher than the second into two like powers. I have discovered a truly marvellous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain."]]

** i.e. for "x[[superscript:n]] + y[[superscript:n]] = z[[superscript:n]] you can only find integer values for x, y and z that will produce a valid equation where n <= 2.

** Considering that it was never mentioned by Fermat again and that the eventual solution was 150 pages of extremely complex math involving mathematical concepts that didn't exist during Fermat's time (i.e. before ''basic calculus''), it's almost certain that Fermat discovered his proof was wrong and never mentioned that fact, or [[{{Troll}} had no proof at all]], but we may never know.

*** Some have suggested that his theorem was a practical joke to frustrate fellow mathematicians: It's true, they just couldn't ''prove'' it. It is now the mathematical equivalent of the TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: Some Sci-Fi shows say that Fermat's Theorem has still never been solved (Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration, for example, made a reference to it saying that it wasn't solved), when it fact it finally has.

* For spatial mathematics, consider this: The 'right-hand' 3-dimensional Vector direction of Y is counter-clockwise from X, which is clockwise from Z, which is counter-clockwise from Y. What this means is that Left is -1, Right is + 1, Down is -1, Up is + 1... and Backward is + 1, Forward is -1. Somehow, this makes the math work ''right''.

* A great many (and there are MANY) theories pertaining to the assassination of President JohnFKennedy. There's even one about the driver shooting him, even though he didn't (taped evidence) that all other conspirators find ridiculous.

* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banach-Tarski_theorem Banach-Tarski theorem]] states that any ball can be divided into pieces and reassembled into two balls the same size as the original. ''IrregularWebcomic'' offers an [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/2339.html explanation]] in (almost) layman's terms as to how this is possible. [[spoiler: It isn't. It only works with mathematical abstractions, not actual objects]].

* e[[superscript:iπ]] - an irrational, transcendental number raised to the power of the product of another transcendental number and an ''imaginary'' number - equals ''[[ShockingSwerve what now?]]''

** [[spoiler: -1]]

** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_%28mathematical_constant%29 E (mathematical constant)]] will serve as a MindScrewdriver, provided you know a little about trigonometry and complex numbers.

* Speaking of E, it has so many nice properties in so many seemingly unrelated areas that it seems to be an key component '''OF MATH ITSELF'''. Think about it.

* Black holes. This phenomena is so messed up that even Einstein, who proved their existence, couldn't believe that such an invisible impossibility could exist in a universe beyond his theories. To make a long story short, a black hole is the result of very, very dense neutron stars collapsing under their own gravity. The force of gravity in a black hole becomes so powerful that nothing, not even light will escape once it crosses its event horizon. In a black hole, matter gets so condensed it can't even be measured. If someone were to watch you fall into the event horizon (the region where nothing can escape) of a black hole, they won't even see you fall in because according to laws of general relativity, the intense gravity of the black hole would make you appear to go slower and slower until time actually stopped. Your visible appearance would also change as the light wavelengths gets stretched as you near the event horizon. First you will look red (a visible part of the light spectrum that has long wavelengths), then become infrared (making you appear invisible without infrared goggles), then become radio waves, and then your light waves will get so stretched you won't be detected anymore. Black holes have also sparked theories about "white holes," the exact opposite of a black hole. It is a region where nothing can fall in. Instead of sucking shit in, it spits it out, but it works only if time goes backwards, so that means white holes would have to be in an alternate universe. But because white holes only spit matter out, that means it would have to be connected to something, like a black hole, to get that mass to throw back out. Scientists call that connection between a black hole and a white hole a worm hole, and transportation between the holes would be instantaneous (if you didn't get spaghettified first, an official scientific term for being pulled apart by the black hole's tidal forces). That means if you went through a black hole and escaped through a white hole you would end up in a different place where the laws of physics don't apply in the universe we came from.

** In other words, even if you somehow found a way to survive the incomprehensibly high gravitational forces and made it to the other side, you'd likely be ripped apart or disintegrate due to different physics suddenly affecting your body.

** Nothing can escape, except Hawking radiation, which is what everything in a black hole is turned into. Apparently this is due to quantum effects near the event horizon.

* Pick an origin theory. Whichever you choose, you're left assuming ''something'' has ''always'' existed, unchanged, with no beginning or end.

** Atheism/Naturalism: constant = matter + force

** Creation (Biblical): constant = God

** Theist Evolution: constant = all of the above or God first then creating matter and force for the heck of it

** Pantheism: constant = God + matter + force, [[CompositeCharacter all of which are one and the same]]

** Panentheism : Uhhh...

* Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems anyone? The first one shows that any consistent axiomatic system sophisticated enough to encompass elementary arithmetic contains statements that are true but cannot be proved in the system. Even more mind-screwtastic is Tarski's Indefinability Theorem, which states that the set of true statements in an axiomatic system is a non-namable set. Just think about it: it states that ''truth is indefinable in an axiomatic system''.

* If you thought Film/TheMatrix was mind-boggling, and you Did The Research, you already should be familiarized with Monsieur Jean Baudrillard. If don't, and you don't want to know that we live in a increasingly complex fake reality over-imposed onto reality by the media apparatus and the exchange system which we gladly buy in a daily basis, you better keep it that way. A brief reflexion on his school of thought:

** Simulacrum is not what covers the truth.

** Is truth the one which covers the fact that there is no truth.

** Simulacrum is true.

*** You may find it amusing at first, the scary part comes when you start nodding and saying "[[OhCrap Uh oh, it's starting to make sense]]".

* ''Wiki/TVTropes'':

** At least half the entries in WildMassGuessing.

** The ThirdPersonPerson page. How many of the RealLife entries are posted by the person they speak of?

* This erotic hypnosis audio starts as a figurative MindScrew and then becomes a literal [[MentalAffair Mind Screw]]: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1650400839213702733#

* The Zen Koan is to make you achieve enlightenment by Mind Screws.

** What did your face look like before your parents were born?

** Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand?

*** Don't know, ask [[{{Starcraft}} Rory Swann]].

*** [[TheSimpsons Bart Simpson]] figured that one out--[[FridgeBrilliance he just slapped his fingers against his palm]].

*** [[Literature/{{Discworld}} It's "cl". The other hand makes the "ap"]].

*** [[http://buttersafe.com/2007/08/09/consulting-the-master/ This apparently]].

** "What is Buddha?" Dongshan said, "Three pounds of flax."

** Mu

* Ever think about parallel universes? Most would have completely different sets of physical laws, assuming "laws" are a viable concept; or even if "concepts" have the capability to exist. Or if existence in itself is warped beyond human comprehension. And the worst thing of all, is that all these crazy, otherworldly, incomprehensible laws all makes sense within that universe, it all conforms to that universe's rules or "laws". Just thinking about it makes your head hurt.

** It's even worse. See the "infinite" entry below.

* Anything related to time theories. To further the point, look at the VideoGame/BackToTheFuture game by Tell Tale Games and tell me if it's not confusing. [[spoiler: How did Doc get back to1930 if the [=DeLorean=] was taken by Edna?]]

** As [[LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya Mikuru Ashahina]] explained it: '[[MindScrewdriver Think of it as a flipbook.]] My presence here is like adding an extra drawing to one frame. [[SubvertedTrope It's not going to impact any other frames.]]'

* Dreams. The ones that make sense are perhaps the least common.

* LIFE ITSELF.

* The [[TabletopGames tabletop RPG]] ''Noumenon''. You play as insect people trapped in a building full of messed-up symbolism. The best part? ''It has no set meaning'' -- The GM gets to make up a new answer every time. Oh, and the book's writers didn't know what the others were writing about the building's rooms, just to make it even less coherent.

** The assorted tabletop works of Jenna "TabletopGame/{{Nobilis}}" Moran, AKA Rebecca Borgstrom, have received this kind of reputation, to the point where rpgnet defines "[[http://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/Borgstromancy Borgstromancy]]" as 'The ability to understand a complex, outlandish, or badly explained setting or system well enough to run a game based on it.'

* [[http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/60-completely-unusable-stock-photos This collection of stock photos]].

* LSD's effects. Completely subjective to the individual and utterly incomprehensible to someone who has never taken it.

* A whole ''lot'' of stuff related to [[UsefulNotes/NorthKorea North Korea]]. For example, the world recognizes that the nation's leader is Kim Jong-Un. But as far as North Korea is concerned, the leader of the nation is Kim Il-Sung, Un's grandfather, who is also ''[[TheNecrocracy dead]]''. What's more, this isn't just some posthumous honor bestowed upon the founder of the nation, its something that the government expects its citizens to accept at face value, completely seriously.

* Infinity and eternity will make your head hurt. [[UpToEleven Especially the fact that some infinities are larger than others.]]

** If you consider possibilities such as our Universe being infinite and/or an infinite number of [[AlternateUniverse other universes existing]], is even more brain-hurting, as ''everything would happen an infinite number of times''. Solutions to the paradoxes brought by them range from assuming time will end someday to [[YouCannotGraspTheTrueForm our inability to compute infinite probabilities]].

* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imaginary_number Imaginary numbers]]. A product of sheer impossibility created by the simple action of taking the square root of a negative number.

* Speaking of negative, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_temperature negative temperature]]. No, not negative Celsius or Fahrenheit, that would make too much sense. It is a truly negative temperature in ''[[BeyondTheImpossible Kelvin]]''. It is the temperature of something so "cold" it is hotter than anything with a positive temperature so when they come into contact heat will flow from the system with negative temperature to the one with positive temperature.

* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boltzmann_brain Boltzmann brain]]. A [[BraininaJar Brain in a vat]]-like, self-aware entity that, [[TimeAbyss given enough time]] would appear from nothing, complete with false memories and totally oblivious to the fact it's in the middle of the most absolute nowhere.

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