The Point

I realize all this science stuff ain't everyone's cup o' tea. "Boring!" You might say. "Bring on the pics of monkeys riding in kangaroo pouches", others might proclaim. And I agree with you all! To a point. This blog, however, is big, and all encompassing. There's really no limit to my interests - pray I don't bog down in financial derivative chat!

But, my point through this last series of posts is to really lay out a vision on Perspective. You'll note that Perspective is one of the main themes of this blog. It determines everything, since we are bound in a series of systems which by default sets certain perspectives on us - our senses. For example, we are evolved to see in a small sliver of the radioactive spectrum - what we call "visible light". But that's just the way it worked out. If things had gone differently, perhaps we could also see in infrared, or ultraviolet, or in radio waves. And if that were the case, you, me, and everything we humans have built would be dramatically different. Probably no humans, for example.

So, through these last series of posts, I have gone from the smallest of the small - the quark, and the theoretical particles that might make up quarks, and the theoretical strings that might make up these particles; through protons, atoms, molecules, chemical compounds, higher and higher up the chain of existence, of complexity, to life itself; and then onto the general environment we find ourselves - citizens of Sol, our Star, re-giver of all the energy we see around us. 

Then we moved on past our star to the galaxy of stars we live in, and the wonders/terrors present in neutron stars and black holes, and finally onto the idea of the Multiverse, or even a Multiverse of Multiverses, scales of existence beyond our ken, and our Barbie.

And through it all, I keep highlighting the idea of "phase changes", for the simple reason that there is no binary, no on/off switch for anything, but rather, everything exists in a continuing spectrum of existence, crossing dimensions, spacetime, cellular boundaries, you name it. Remember: E=MC2, and thus there is no dividing line between energy and matter, but simply phase transitions between different states of existence - like ice turning to water, turning to steam, turning back to water, turning back to ice, and so on. No energy is ever lost, nor created - just transformed.

This is the reality we find ourselves, trapped really. Except we have one thing that nothing else on Earth has: Minds that can reach outside our bodies, outside our senses, and transport ourselves to completely different realities. Einstein was daydreaming on a bus when he came up with his first major breakthrough, and all of his major breakthroughs happened quite quickly in the "miracle year" of 1905.  In that one year, Einstein re-wrote our entire Universe, and moved us from creatures largely determined by our senses, to creatures that now can look past our noses and perceive the true wonders of existence - like the Multiverse, for example. Yes, Einstein built on all the work from his predecessors, and he would not have been able to accomplish what he did without them, but his revelations were truly revolutionary. He in fact took us to another level of reality - a reality beyond our senses.

And that's where we are today, cautiously wading out into an unknown ocean that often seems counterintuitive - for example, time moves at different rates depending on your speed. Weird, huh? And now that we've entered this new reality, the revelations are unfolding with greater and greater speed - it's been said, for instance, that the past 20 years have been the golden age of astronomy, such as with the discovery of exoplanets, black holes, infant galaxies, etc. 

And it continues. For example, a current theory posits that everything you know, our very Universe and everything within it, is a hologram from a higher dimension. It could be true! And perhaps we'll find out soon enough.

Regardless, the vistas that are now revealed to us are so breathtaking, so enormously vast and mind boggling, that I approach it all with the sense of the mystic: These great mysteries can be understood, but it requires one to give one's self over to the idea that everything you think you know is not the full story. In fact, it's just the surface, and beneath that surface, wonders await. Wonders that make the miracles of the Bible seem as card tricks. It's your job to dig, and keep digging, always.

And this is where I am driving all of this: The merging of science and wonder, of knowledge and faith. Faith IS important, it's just almost always misused, corrupted, or otherwise an excuse to refute knowledge. But faith and knowledge are not incompatible. I approach the Universe with Faith, since for sure, I'll never understand more than an iota of it; but! I have faith there is a System, and that system CAN be understood. Eventually....

I also am inspired by how often scientific revelations accord with Buddhist philosophy. When I first heard the phrase "Form is emptiness, emptiness form", I took it from the nihilistic perspective - nothing matters, man!

But now I see precisely what it means: We are - Literally! - empty. Atoms are 98% emptiness. We never touch anything, ever (what we think of as touch, as solid, is really the electromagnetic fields of the atoms which compose us). The galaxy is vastly empty, yet filled with everything. But underneath everything is something else, and underneath that is something else, and so on - all the way down, all the way up. Again, nothing you know in this world is as it seems - it is in fact far more miraculous than anything we could ever dream of.

And yet, still, we suffer with our petty hates and biases, bogged down by our various ignorances, ignoring the miracle which is our very existence. It's sad.

But there's always hope. Through Preachin' the Word, of course, no matter how difficult it can be to get the point across.

And finally, I find all this stuff sexy as hell. These fine ladies no doubt agree:

Peace out, y'all. 


skramly said...

Yep, everything's amazing and nobody's happy. To quote Louis CK. By the way, shouldn't it be spelled 'Bohring'?

Redshirt said...

Should have been!

I'm happy!

l.e.s.ter said...

"People say Stephen Hawking is a genius. I say he's pretentious. Always speaking in that fake American accent." -- Ricky Gervais

Redshirt said...

They've offered to change his voice - he could have had a fully lifelike voice many years ago - but Hawking rejects it. He identifies with the robot voice, and thinks other people do too. He's got a point.

By the by, there's a kinda gruesome race underway: Hawking's health has been deteriorating fairly rapidly. But there's an experiment scheduled to take place at the LHC which could prove one of Hawking's theories regarding black holes and probably win him the Nobel prize. Hawking has stated he wants to stay alive long enough to see that.

We'll see. I hope he makes it.