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A Poem by RobertRonnow


Author: RobertRonnow
Created: November 14, 2015 at 09:34 pm
Upload Type: Poem, G (All)  
Category: Free Verse | Writing | General/Other
Upload Stats: 4 Stars by 1 users with 1 comments and 220 views

Fundamental Physics  

The four fundamental forces:
Zeus, Aphrodite, Ares (or Mars), and Adam and Eve.

                                  <<0>>                                               >>> 0 <<<
                   Electric field induced by                  Electric field induced by
                  a positive electric charge                 a negative electric charge

Deutsch thinks that such 'jumps to universality' must occur not only in the capacity to calculate things, but also in the capacity to understand things, and in the closely related capacity to make things happen. And he thinks that it was precisely such a threshold that was crossed with the invention of the scientific method. There were plenty of things we humans could do, of course, prior to the invention of that method: agriculture, or the domestication of animals, or the design of sundials, or the construction of pyramids. But all of a sudden, with the introduction of that particular method of concocting and evaluating new hypotheses, there was a sense in which we could do anything. The capacities of a community that has mastered that method to survive, to learn, and to remake the world according to its inclinations are (in the long run) literally, mathematically, infinite. And Deutsch is convinced that the tendency of the world to give rise to such communities, more than, say, the force of gravitation, or the second law of thermodynamics, or even the phenomenon of death, is what ultimately gives the world its shape, and what constitutes the genuine essence of nature. 'In all cases,' he writes, 'the class of transformations that could happen spontaneously--in the absence of knowledge--is negligibly small compared with the class that could be effected artificially by intelligent beings who wanted those transformations to happen. So the explanations of almost all physically possible phenomena are about how knowledge would be applied to bring those phenomena about.' And there is a beautiful and almost mystical irony in all this: that it was precisely by means of the Scientific Revolution, it was precisely by means of accepting that we are not the center of the universe, that we became the center of the universe.

Danger comes from the root bad brakes and bald tires. Chain saws and
      wildfires. Poisonous
ideologies, housecleaning chemicals and toiletries. Powerful industrialists,
      alcoholic fathers.
Invasive species, illegal immigrants. Concentration camps, attention
      deficit disorder.
Performance phobia, identity enhancements. Pleasure, applause. Quiet
      moments, walking and
talking war buddies. Electoral politics, marriage and divorce. Pest
      exterminator, Yeats seminar.
Love affair, pencil sharpener. Whatever, matter. Ionic and covalent
      bonds, republican hairstyle.
Events in their mere chronology.

What is a typical place in the universe like? Let me assume that you are reading this on Earth. In your mind's eye travel straight upwards a few hundred kilometers. Now you are in the slightly more typical environment of space. But you are still being heated and illuminated by the sun, and half your field of view is still taken up by the solids, liquids and scum of the Earth. A typical location has none of those features. So, travel a few trillion kilometers further in the same direction. You are now so far away that the sun looks like other stars. You are at a much colder, darker and emptier place, with no scum in sight. But it is not yet typical: you are still inside the Milky Way galaxy, and most places in the universe are not in any galaxy. Continue until you are clear outside the galaxy?say, a hundred thousand light years from Earth. At this distance you could not glimpse the Earth even if you used the most powerful telescope that humans have yet built. But the Milky Way still fills much of your sky. To get to a typical place in the universe, you have to imagine yourself at least a thousand times as far out as that, deep in intergalactic space. What is it like there? Imagine the whole of space notionally divided into cubes the size of our solar system. If you were observing from a typical one of them, the sky would be pitch black. The nearest star would be so far away that if it were to explode as a supernova, and you were staring directly at it when its light reached you, you would not even see a glimmer. That is how big and dark the universe is. And it is cold: it is at that background temperature of 217 Kelvin, which is cold enough to freeze every known substance except helium. And it is empty: the density of atoms out there is below one per cubic meter. That is a million times sparser than atoms in the space between the stars, and those atoms are themselves sparser than in the best vacuum that human technology has yet achieved. Almost all the atoms in intergalactic space are hydrogen or helium, so there is no chemistry. No life could have evolved there, nor any intelligence. Nothing changes there. Nothing happens. The same is true of the next cube and the next, and if you were to examine a million consecutive cubes in any direction the story would be the same.

The 5 colors of sadness:
disappointed, didn't get what was wanted
confused, don't know what to do next, where to go
lonely, no one to love or be loved by
sorry, unable to help or change what happened
depressed, can't get out of bed, want to kill self

Unless a society is expecting its own future choices to be better than its present ones, it will strive to make its present policies and institutions as immutable as possible. Therefore Popper's criterion can be met only by societies that expect their knowledge to grow -- and to grow unpredictably. And, further, they are expecting that if it did grow, that would help. This expectation is what I call optimism, and I can state it, in its most general form, thus: The Principle of Optimism -- All evils are caused by insufficient knowledge. Optimism is, in the first instance, a way of explaining failure, not prophesying success. It says that there is no fundamental barrier, no law of nature or supernatural decree, preventing progress. Whenever we try to improve things and fail, it is not because the spiteful (or unfathomably benevolent) gods are thwarting us or punishing us for trying, or because we have reached a limit on the capacity of reason to make improvements, or because it is best that we fail, but always because we did not know enough, in time. But optimism is also a stance towards the future, because nearly all failures, and nearly all successes, are yet to come.

As I think of things to do I do them.
Thing by thing I get things done.
That's how my father and his father did things.
I guess my mother and her mother did things that way too.

Sometimes I'm driving and I think how my father and his father drove too.
There was weather and they had problems. There is weather and I have problems.
Time exists only in the human mind. But if the mind exists, time exists.
Joy everywhere. Joy at birth. Joy at death. All joy, all times.


Last Modified: September 09, 2016 at 07:42 pm
© RobertRonnow - all rights reserved

Author Notes


www.ronnowpoetry.com

--Alpert, David, "Explaining it All: How We Became the Center of the Universe", NY Times Book Review, August 12, 2011
--Deutsch, David, The Beginning of Infinity, Viking Press, 2011


 
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Comments & Reviews



a112yearoldman
November 15, 2015
Helpful? Thumbs UpThumbs Down
You lost me
In all of your positive and negative ionic charges, and iconic charges. I would have loved to have read the whole thing, but like the new novel by Harper Lee, I found what I read to be confusing and mystifying. Sorry!


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