The Elegant Universe

Right on the heels of admitting how I think too much, I decide to relax and unwind by watching TV.

Well, not really.  What actually happened was I watched the first DVD in a series titled The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene.

(I sort of wandered into the non-fiction DVD section of the Library, while there to pick up my inter-library loan books on Botanical Latin.)

So, in my usual rebellious way, I answer accusations of  thinking too much by entering the world of String Theory and the Unified Theory of Everything (translation: Einstein).

What on earth was I thinking?!?

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The fields of archaeology and quantum-physics amuse me.   As do most scientific fields.

Mainly because they are writing a story and filling in the blanks as they go along.  And often returning, editing and rewriting history as they find out what they didn’t know they didn’t know…

Much as I do.

Remember, I’m a big fan of keeping yourself entertained….

Here’s the deal:

  • Man (or woman) wants to understand why something is.
  • He/She observes, postulates and theorizes why that something is a certain way.
  • Publication of thoughts and funny squiggles that mean something to only those who carry slide rules in their pocket, follows.
  • Others set about forming experiments and such to either prove or disprove original thesis.
  • TV news, Documentaries and educational textbooks declare: “The Final Answer Found!”
  • 2 minutes or 500 years later, theory is either discounted or those destroyed by daring to put it forth are restored to their rightful glory.

The viper pit of Academic Publication resembles, in a civilized sense, The Inquisition.

Careers are born, destroyed and then raised again.  Sometimes eons after the person actually lived.

The man who proposed 11 dimensions was laughed into seclusion, until string theorists figured out they needed his extra dimensions in order for their little mathematical formulas to work.  He has wavered between genius and idiot status so often, I’ve lost count.

My sister-in-law rewrote her PhD thesis I don’t know how many times total, but by turns, cut, then pasted back in the exact wording previously deleted, all at the behest of her mentor (who I referred to as Cruella).

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In the world I grew up in, WAG was a favored term, as was ‘guesstimate’.

I’ve discovered a lot of WAGing and Guesstimating going on over the years, simply because I tend to follow the circuit.

If you don’t believe me, just watch an Ancient Mysteries special (circa 1986) then watch a documentary on the same subject (circa 2010) – I tell you, the scientific world flips flops between theories more often than politicians do on their campaign platform.

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But string theory does fascinate me.   Those who are not blessed by the gift of instant faith do a lot of thinking about why we are here, what our purpose is and how does it all work?

Those who dream of a peaceful world, where we all sit around the campfire, admiring each others’ taste in clothes and decorations, singing Kumbaya, are really interested in The Theory of Everything.

Because you see, if we discover it, then somehow we’ll find a way to work within the Law of the Universe and all those things that sadden us and make us cry will disappear.

Our human experience will possess the beauty and serenity of distant star nurseries.  Without all the explosions.   Instead, when viewed from The All, it will look quiet, serene and peaceful.

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I have to admit, I fell asleep for awhile part way through.   Soft-spoken scientists, who explain what squiggly marks on a board mean, lull me into a sense of quiet and peace.

I have yet to stay awake through the entire documentary Six Degrees of Separation.   It is so beautifully and quietly elegant, I just nod off to sleep, safe in the knowledge I do truly live in an Safe Universe.


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