maxcowan

Speeding towards infinity … or is that irrelevance?

In General Mish-Mash, Mixed Up Mish-Mash (Confusion) on December 12, 2011 at 6:28 pm

The universal speed record may have been broken!  No, not the land speed record, nor the water speed record, nor airspeed.

But THE record for speed!

The one that is constant. The speed that defines. The irrevocable, the upper limit of all possibilities.

And it may have been shattered – “Faster than light” particles spark science drama.

The World's Abuzz!!

Even bigger news than the buzz caused by Roger Bannister’s effort at the Iffley Road Track on 6th May 1954. 4 minutes!!

This may turn our world on its head. Mind you, that might not be a bad thing. Sounds like a turn for the better – especially for those of us for whom everything is relative and – relatively speaking – wrong – the wrong size, shape, time, and place.

Paying homage to relativity is getting a bit tiresome … and it is often very, very, bloody difficult. Even for relatively (mmmm!) simple things like …

Like when you’re sitting on a train, the train starts to move but you could swear you are still still! It’s the adjacent train that’s moving, isn’t it? And in any case if are you moving (or stationary) it is relative to what?

Oh, you “know” you’re stationary. Stopped. Fixed to the spot.

Really?

You’re sitting in a train on the surface of the Earth which is moving at around 236,000 metres/second in an Easterly direction.

Your train is moving – westerly (from Central Station to Penrith) – so you think!  Are you really? How do you work that out? How do you account for your easterly roll in that calculation.

No matter how hard it all seems, there are solutions … whether you have to called on rotational physics or fluid dynamics, or Einstein’s theories of relativity, answers can be worked out  … it’s all in the physics and, there are finite degrees of freedom. The metrics are discrete! Do the math.

Well there were solutions, the metrics were discrete, until now. Until news about particle motion faster than the speed of light!! (Yeah, I know it is still just speculation but … sheesh!, let me have my fun.)

Physically discrete, calculable, tangible phenomena of the world of science become blurred, indistinct. They shift into hazy, shady, mysterious and poetic realms.

It is as it should be! Worlds collide and merge. Fact is stranger than fiction. Science more imaginative than art, art adopts the technological.

Voila!! Square pegs now fit into round holes.

Dimensions shift. Our linear approach is disrupted. Our simplistic models need discarding … or at least augmenting.

Even to our emotional worlds we apply pragmatic cause-effect formulae. They undermine our very being, our value, our humanity.

Damn!!  That sentence is straight line logic, irreversible cause followed by effect. But we have this one track sensibility, don’t we, we depend on it in many ways … and now with one swift kick.

A kick at a speed faster than the speed of light!!

The immutable is muted, boundaries broken, straight-jackets loosened – the insane CAN run the asylum. Particles are emitted and collide with unprecedented force … exploding into new models, new dimensions – the rigid order of Cartesian pairs & triples cast aside for more chaotic models. The birth of a deep and moving structure  where the chaos and predictable patterns are one and the same – beauty is both simple and complex.

This stuff can do your head in!!

But look at connectedness in the modern world. What could be more chaotic, structured, and patterned than the networks we immerse ourselves in … are we immersed? or really just sitting and watching it unfold around us, doing our best to keep from being swallowed up.

What could be more damaging to your head and your heart than to be part of something but disconnected from it – that is incongruence. Constructively damaging, of course.

Embedded within networks but also distant from them.

A context, a moment of incongruence when you are awash with simultaneous senses of insignificance and feeling that your presence is significant.

Slouching towards infinity and irrelevance.

Slouching faster than the speed of light.

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