Two years of my childhood spent living in Vientiane, Laos and Bangkok, Thailand prepared me in some degree to grasp how truly strange life can be. Travel advice from one Dr. Leary in the 60s brought the lesson to shimmering, pulsating and mind-warping life. I sometimes find myself wondering if LSD isn’t what’s missing in our curriculum, but it’s just a thought...and possibly a deranged one.
Or maybe not.
I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift from the materialistic, dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a new consciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate nature and all of creation.
Dr. Albert Hoffman
Fair Warning: Don’t try this at home kids.
At any rate, I have come to possess a firm belief in and profound respect for the weirdness of it all. Some are born to weirdness, some attain weirdness and others have weirdness thrust upon them...but those who miss the weirdness miss everything. There are those who would explain away the strangeness of this life and when they’re right they’re right. But not all the weirdness can be explained away so easily. There is a book titled "Where Does the Weirdness Go" Why Quantum Mechanics Is Strange, But Not As Strange As You Think by David Lindley. I haven’t read it so it’s not fair for me to comment but I would hazard a wild guess that for every instance of weirdness he debunks (not saying that’s what he does, just making a point), I could raise him two. Don’t tell me an accelerating and expanding eleven-dimensional universe, 95% comprised of we know not what, isn’t perfectly weird. And thus far in the history of science, every discovery has led to new and deeper questions, and so often when we think we know something we come to find out we just thought we knew it...but were wrong.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
There is a mystery that lies at the heart of the inverse and I’m not sure if that will ever change. It almost seems its nature, as though a prime function of the universe were to confound the human intellect with infinite layers of ever-increasing complexity. But maybe the layers aren’t infinite. Maybe we will one day understand the laws of nature/physics in their fullness, but I wonder if anything as strange as relativity or quantum mechanics will ever be commonly and matter-of-factly understood. The only way I can imagine it is in the generations that come along after we have a complete set of universal laws. Even then I wonder if we are capable of grokking the universe in its totality, if our brains are even built for it. The sheer enormity, intricacy and counterintuitive nature of the subject would seem to militate against it. As a civilization we might come to understand it all fully one day, but for the majority of individuals, I’m thinking it’s still going to seem mighty damned weird.
How can anyone contemplate this universe, much less a possible multi-verse, without experiencing the profoundest sense of wonder? And it seems that the more one knows, the greater the wonder
Anyone who says that they can contemplate quantum mechanics without becoming dizzy has not understood the concept in the least.
Check out this masterpiece from melodysheep at YouTube. I love this.
A Glorious Dawn
The following concerns the Large Hadron Collider, soon to be restarted for another run at the Higgs boson (the God particle), or whatever else may come from the smashing together of protons with unprecedented force.
Published in the New York Times: October 12, 2009
Then it will be time to test one of the most bizarre and revolutionary theories in science. I’m not talking about extra dimensions of space-time, dark matter or even black holes that eat the Earth. No, I’m talking about the notion that the troubled collider is being sabotaged by its own future. A pair of otherwise distinguished physicists have suggested that the hypothesized Higgs boson, which physicists hope to produce with the collider, might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather.
Holger Bech Nielsen, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, put this idea forward in a series of papers with titles like "Test of Effect From Future in Large Hadron Collider: a Proposal" and "Search for Future Influence From LHC," posted on the physics Web site arXiv.org in the last year and a half.
According to the so-called Standard Model that rules almost all physics, the Higgs is responsible for imbuing other elementary particles with mass.
"It must be our prediction that all Higgs producing machines shall have bad luck," Dr. Nielsen said in an e-mail message. In an unpublished essay, Dr. Nielson said of the theory, "Well, one could even almost say that we have a model for God." It is their guess, he went on, "that He rather hates Higgs particles, and attempts to avoid them."
The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate
In our early conception of atoms, we thought of them as the smallest units of matter, indivisible and consisting of a nucleus, some neutrons, protons, electrons and little else.
We did not dare to imagine the grab bag of crazy-assed subatomic particles we now know atoms to contain...not to mention those we merely suspect, such as the Higgs. With respect to the time-traveling self-canceling theory of God particles cited above, many will counsel the application of Occam’s Razor (I almost typed Hatchet), but just because Occam’s Razor is a useful tool doesn’t mean it’s the right one in all cases. Every now and then you’re going to get a herd of Zebras down through here.
We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.
Nielsen and Ninomiya, of the self-canceling Higgs Boson time travel theory, may not be taken seriously by just everyone...but they are serious physicists. Their theory is sufficiently weird to have the ring of truth to it if you ask me, but just how much weight to give it is hard to say. I tend to think it rather fanciful, or even whimsical (quantum-mechanically speaking)...but one just never knows. The universe is that weird.
November 6, 2009
Baguette-toting bird stalls atom smasher
This is too weird: A bird reportedly has dropped a "bit of baguette" onto the world's largest atom smasher, causing the machine to short out for a period of time.
It's just the latest mishap for the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, which scientists plan to use to get insight into the universe's origins. The LHC, which has a 17-mile track to circulate protons and is located underground on the French-Swiss border outside Geneva, Switzerland, is the largest particle accelerator in the world and cost about $10 billion.
(Maestro? Cue the spooky music please.)
Scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man's struggle for good and evil seems inadequate.
Richard P. Feynman
Another masterpiece from melodysheep at YouTube:
We Are All Connected
Thanks to melodysheep, Niels Bohr, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. No subatomic particles were harmed in the making of this diary.
Comments are closed on this story.