Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Imponderables

 
                                 
 November, 2011

    Piscator says-- that he is puzzled that the recent programs on PBS’s Nova about string theory as a possible explanation of everything about our universe fail to take a  step back to  discuss the  problem of language itself. Can it bear the burden of the secrets of the universe?
     Piscator fears there may be a great gulf fixed between our daily language and cosmological understanding. For instance; is it really of any help to compare the universe to slices of a loaf of bread, each slice representing a  “membrane” on  which our  universe is made up of strings-- and the next slice of the loaf,  another and parallel universe? Piscator worries and so do I.
 
    My daughter tells me, in her new book, that the French philosopher Alain Badiou holds that he can show mathematically that absolute Truths exit and enter history as events. And so makes possible a “new politics”.Yet he attempts to explain himself in our daily language.
    It’s hard.

   July, 2012

   And now we have the Higgs Bosom, the ultimate particle that may, in fact explain everything. For a metaphor in order to think about it, we retreat to the language of trekking through deep snow and the accretion of that snow to our feet.
   Perhaps the universe resides outside all possibility of metaphor…. The universe may be like nothing but itself.
   Anyhow, I like the snow idea better than that of sliced bread-- which is another problem: our emotional and aesthetic preferences for one metaphor over another. Meanwhile, all that dark matter is still out there-- lurking, we think….
    It only gets harder.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Language and metaphor are not the problem.  We do not think with language,  we use language to translate our thoughts.  Unconscious thoughts are even more powerful, more precise.  Science uses the language of mathematics to speak more directly to truth.  All things are known to us.  We simply do not have the capacity to recall. The singularity of the universe flows through us. I think soon, in this this lifetime, we will have the ability to communicate thoughts directly. As artificial intelligence develops and nano technology interfaces biologically with the brain, we will see this happen. The problem is, as Jack Nicholson says, we can't handle the truth.  

Isn't science-fiction wonderful. 

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