Monday, June 27, 2005

Quantum Mechanics and Enlightenment

So, I read this book about two months ago called "The Dharma of Star Wars." It was, as you can imagine, ridiculous. I mean, it explained interdependence and interpenetration using R2-D2 and the six movies. Equally ridiculous is that it got the point across just fine (I think). Immediately afterwards, I read a book on the mathematical nature of infinity and Georg Cantor, a mathematician that studied it intensely and went completely and utterly insane in the process. This was, in turn, followed by reading into economists throughout history. Finally, I started reading a book on Superstring theory, which began by introducing Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. That last one sorta stopped me in my tracks.

So, I decided to backtrack a bit and take a look at the Quantum Mechanics from a different angle. I bought "The Quantum and the Lotus" which is a dialogue between a Vietnamesse buddhist-raised astrophysicist teaching at the University of Virginia and a French scientist-raised buddhist living in Nepal. They discuss the discoveries in modern science and the teachings of buddhism, which reach eerily similar conclusions on various subject. I particularly like how the buddhist guy could substantiate his stuff with more logic than the astrophysicists could. Poor scientist had to resort to faith, towards the end, to explain prime causes.

Of course, buddhism rejects the notion of a prime cause entirely, so maybe that's cheating.

Anyway, with this view, now we'll jump into Life of Pi, which has nothing to do with math and, as I've been told, a book that will make you believe in God. I'll follow that up by picking up where I left off in the Superstring theory book (The Elegant Universe), though I might have to find something about Quantum Mechanics specifically to get past that part. I mean, really, a paradigm that establishes the microcosm is nothing but chance? That any given particle within my body a) has a chance to be anywhere in the universe, whether inside me or on mars and b) that any given particle is also a wave is pretty fucking weird to get a grasp of. General Relativity makes a lot more sense (mass determines gravity which is acceleration and thus affects time and affects space, or something like that), but them quantum mechanics are just plain wonky.

Eventually I'll take on the ultimate puzzler book, though, and crack open the bible again (I intend to prove conservatives are the greatest threat to Christianity since...well, ever). Best to practice on easy ideas first, though, and stick with physics and math for a bit, right?

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to take some Tylenol (head hurts...a lot).


At Tue Jun 28, 01:10:00 AM EDT, Blogger Jack and Coke said...

I've read Life of Pi and wasn't entirely impressed. I also read parts of The Elegant Universe and it blew my mind. What's more questionable is why we have a similar reading list.

You actually have me interested in the star wars book.

At Tue Jun 28, 09:16:00 AM EDT, Blogger Danger said...

Nice to hear a non-positive review of Life of Pi. Dunno about the reading lists, but both of those are mass-market paperbacks, so co-incidence might still play a role.

At Tue Jun 28, 03:39:00 PM EDT, Blogger Dave/Scott said...

While I, the oblivious one, have yet to read any of the aforementioned books!


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