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Get out!

Physicists say that the day will come when the universe reaches its thermodynamic equilibrium. Ever since the big bang, as the universe expands, it has been cooling. Now there is evidence that the Hubble expansion is actually accelerating, due to some quintessential substance. The substance is perhaps linked to dark matter or dark energy. Albert said that the cosmological constant was his biggest mistake. Now physicists are all too eager to vindicate Big Al as if there can be no other explanation. Is the speed of light a constant? Could it be that light slows down as time goes by? What about the geometry of existence? Is geometry not the determining factor of both the macro and the micro universe? How about fractional dimensions? Ever since early humans started counting bananas, “one banana, two banana, three banana, four…” they think everything is a whole number. Numbers are for galactic pedestrians. Nature deals in concepts — as in aleph and omega.

All the same. We have a more immediate problem. It seems in at most 10^120 years or so, even the black holes will dissipate. What do we have left then? How do we escape the thermo-death, and the eventual evaporation of matter? We cannot even seem to manage a little global warming. If humans cannot stand the heat… Well, what can I say? First expelled from Eden, now from the proverbial kitchen, would you not agree?  And there I was, all along, believing that some liked it hot.

I meant it

Philip

This is Mr P.

I met him on an unusual — global warming kind of — hot April day at John Kehoe’s in Baile Átha Cliath. In the few hours we sat, he told me his life story. He told me how he left the rat race to the rats and became an artist. How he was free. Life may have been rough, but he was happy. He said it was better this way.

I think he meant it.

He asked and I told him about my hometown. He knew all about Florida. He told me how he spent time in Kissimmee. He told stories that can only be told hunched over on a stool. And just like a skilled artist, he changed his emotional complexion faster than a playful cephalopod. His speech had a carillon-like quality: the words would end, but the meanings seemed to ring on and blend in some intangible harmony.

It was over all too soon. I had things to do, people to see, and places to be. I wished I had more time, but I did not. As I stood to leave, thinking that our paths would never cross, I told him that I hoped we could continue our conversation on the other side.

I meant it.

Coincidence

There is no such thing as a coincidence. Once things happen and we observe, it has been and it cannot be any other way. It becomes part of reality. Reality just like any other. And permanent just like anything else that is real. As real and as permanent as the the laws of mathematics; you know, one, two, three… So coincidence shmoincidence — sorry Virginia, no dice.

Relativity tells us there is no synchronicity in the larger scheme of things. There is no before or after — it all depends on the observer. Then, as Godel asks, how could events be stacked one after another as if they are hotcakes at an all-you-can-eat breakfast bar? So if things seem to have influenced each other, no really.  If things seem to be happening at the same time, not so.  You see, as you stand looking at the hotcakes and contemplating maple syrup, think.  Think really hard.  Not only the party, but the breakfast is over. At least for some observer somewhere, sometime, somehow. All that remains now is the hangover. Not even memories remain. What happened? Did something happen? Really, did anything happen, anything at all?

We may, at best, think that we are here now… but all else is only speculation. Godel is cute; but just because events do not stack up does not mean that the reign of time is necessarily over. Neither are those books that say “if it has happened, it was meant to happen.” This is all too simplistic. The truth may be out there, but it is far to distant. Why even argue? Why apotheosize time? Grandma used to say “neither apologia, nor polemic.” But then again, that is neither here nor there.

Individuality

Humor, evil, kindness, atrocity, care: each are based on the situation and individual perspective of the recipient. What one may find humorous may be vile to another. What one may find kind, another may find annoying.
We are influenced by those around us, and yet we hold onto a sense of individuality. Perhaps the location of these differences is where biological and environmental influences collide. Then again, there are differences between a parent and child. It is very possible that one may have ideas or feelings completely contrasting those of the people most influential to him. Different from teachers, parents, friends, idols…
Is it fate, perhaps? Individuality? Or is it simply the outcome of a rare combination?
If the last holds true, there is no such thing as “uniqueness,” all personality traits and preferences are simply the result of two forces. A problem of math.

Is intellectual maturity a prerequisite?

scaleFor the quest, that is… and if so, how can one acquire it?

Let us postulate… Progress in human thinking only comes when truths are discovered. Truths are discovered only if we are on the right tracks of thought. These tracks must be, by its very nature, unbiased, unemotional, void of any plan or agenda. Does all this not sound far far away from the common human traits? We could blame evolution for making us humans intrinsically and intuitively inclined towards being selfish, conniving, plotting, and shall we add, sinister. But then again, we think and judge. We can tell right from wrong. How come it is so difficult, even for the most learned of the human race, to be unbiased and fair?

If one sets out to discover what one considers to be the truths of existence, one must be intellectually fair. It seems this fairness requires maturity. But intellectual maturity is not enough. After all, many-a big shots are unfair, plotting, influencing. Neither can one argue for the ultimate and universal fairness. Otherwise, I fear, not only there would be no room for politicians, but as paradoxically as it may seem, there would be no progress.

What then, you may ask, does one need over and above fairness to seek one’s truths. I say it is the completeness of viewing all sides of an argument. Without this, one is by definition limited to what is seen and what is not. It should not be bothersome that irrespective of how hard we try, we only see the part, never the whole. Well, so what? As we see more and more, we discover more and more.

One thing for sure, though. If it were not so, the universe would be a much more boring place than it already is.